Sailing Antigua: Part 2

Day Three: Woke up early in the morning, 6:50 to be exact. This was much easier to do as the sun was up and shining by 5:30. If I had waited any later than 7, I most certainly would have passed out in the heat of the sun. This side of the island, aside from the resort, had a much different feel. It’s amazing how you can take one island, yet every different beach, bay, marina, or port had a completely different feel. You’d think you were traveling to multiple islands! Anyway, this run once again was a HUGE struggle for me. My body was just not accepting the fact that it needed to accommodate to the change in weather. Anyway, I trekked through it and made it into a solid thirty minute run. I was content with that.

Following my run, we chowed down on breakfast and then my dad and I took to assembling the wind surf that we had rented for our charter. This was only the second time I had ever gone wind surfing and it was QUITE challenging. For those of you who haven’t wind surfed before, it takes a number of different skills and expertise. For one, you need to understand the concept of sailing and being able to read the wind direction in correlation to the sail. Number two, BALANCE is a must. The last part is establishing trust. Once you have the sailing down (check), then the balance (check…this took a bit, but I eventually found it!), then you need to trust that your balance and the sail will move you right along. The key is to not get shaky or move the sail around too much. When you catch some good wind, don’t lose it! Anyway, after many failed attempts, I finally got myself up and sailing. This was a quite a good core, quad, and arm workout for all you fitness junkies out there looking for an active water sport!

Once we were worn out from the wind surf, we set sail for our next destination. English Harbor it was! Home of Lord Nelson, the English Naval Hero. This harbor was actually once and still is a famous fort on the island and therefor holds a great amount of history and pride for the island of Antigua. This was a bit of a long sail, but hey, more time on the water for me to get my tan on! Also, for all of you out there familiar with how much I enjoy the sun…I did apply sunscreen CONSTANTLY throughout the day, every day. Ask anyone on the trip! This sun was STRONG!
As we tied up dock side in English Harbor, we spent some time settling in, then wobbled off the boat to go for a nice long walk around the area. I say “wobbled” because your legs literally feel like jello after being on a boat for a certain amount of time, you almost begin to forget what it feels like NOT to rock from side to side! Justin and I spent a solid hour, walking through the local town, enjoying the scenery and making our way through the village. The views were beautiful and the streets were quite lively and made up of the following, as the local’s like to put it: “you’re either a yachty, a crew, a vacationer, or a local”. Another side note: our boat look liked a dinghy compared to all of the mega-yachts that surrounded us in the harbor. These yachts meant, LOTS of crew to keep these boats in tip-top shape for the owners.
That night, we went to dinner at this beautiful little spot in the harbor called Admirals Inn. Again, this place holds lots of history as it was made up of some of the old ruins and passage ways from the fort. Shockingly, this place had a real Vegan meal on the menu that wasn’t just steamed veggies! I had an eggplant ratatouille dish that was divine!
Day Four: We sailed back to Jolly Harbor to pick up the rest of the crew! Since we couldn’t possibly hold everyone on one single boat, they charted a similar catamaran. Her name was “Raindrop”. Again, what is up with these generic names?! Anyway, my dad was the only sailor, so the group had a captain come onboard to sail with for the next few days. The captains name was Dave and he was fantastic. He was just what you would picture a British, local sailor to be like. His year-long home was a yellow sailboat which he kept in Falmouth Harbor on the island. He was quite hilarious, had some interesting drunken nights in the past (some of which included waking up on the dock and inside his dinghy), and had some jaw-dropping sailing stories to keep us entertained. Once everyone arrived, we set sail once again to another bay and anchored off the beach there. We arrived just in time for the sunset once again. There’s just something so majestic about sunsets over the water while on a sailboat. That night, we attempted to dinghy into a quaint little beach-side restaurant and bar. I say attempted because right as we piled into our dinghy, the engine died and left us stranded. Luckily, Captain Dave was to our rescue in the other dinghy and towed us to shore. Of course this was not a very smooth landing as the surf was still quite significant. We made quite the entrance as we rode in on one wave, which left half of us completely drenched in the dinghy. Well, that was enough entertainment for the night.
Day Five: This morning we left rather early as we had a solid 4-5 hour sail to the extremely flat and secluded island of Barbuda. This island was home to only a 1,000 people approximately on the island, so you can only imagine how petite it was. The sail was beautiful and winds were just right. As we arrived to the island, all I could see was gorgeous shades of blues and coral in the water, plus a vast amount of white sand that covered the shoreline. The view was spectacular and we were more than pleasantly surprised. We spent the day frolicking in the bright aqua water, walking along the beach, paddle boarding, and wind surfing (this only lasted about 20 minutes, as mid-way through, the mast snapped on me…SOS!)
As the sun began to set, we freshened up and dressed in our most casual attire. We took the dinghy to shore, where we then met Rodney, our driver, hostess, and chef for tonight. He was a man of many hats. As we piled onto the back of his pickup truck, we made our way down the bumpy dirt road for several miles, passing wild cows, donkeys, and sheep on the way. We then pulled up to the restaurant which turned out to also be Rodney’s house! You couldn’t possibly get more of a local experience than this! One large table was set just for us on his porch. Rodney’s wife worked on preparing our Rum Punches, while Rodney took to the grill. Beginning with grilled bread, then served buffet style, there was rice, grilled local plantain, a mixed salad, and some fresh local lobster and chicken for everyone else!

As the dinner wrapped up, we all piled into Rodney’s pick-up truck once again. Of course, the second we jumped in, it began to down pour, leaving us soaked in the back! Hey, at least this happened on the way back from dinner, rather than on the way there! Right as we pulled up to the beach, the rain stopped…SHOCKER! We then all piled into the dinghy, not caring at this point whether we got wet or not. Once again, right as we pulled up to the boat, it began to down pour. It was a quick rush to get inside from that point. Case in point, can’t go a day without a little bit of a thrill on the water, huh?!

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