As I sit here in Antigua looking for dates of the Russian Revolution on the internet (don't ask!), I am constantly surprised and delighted by the sheer volume of information that is available to me at the touch of a few buttons.
Recently, to demonstrate the power of the internet, a friend of mine from the UK mocked me when I said I had seen an article about a turtle that was given wheels as he/she had lost the use of his/her back 'legs' (I'm sure that I will be corrected about the use of the word 'legs'). The popular view is that if you live in the islands you spend most of your waking hours full of rum (and a few sleeping hours, too, for good measure) and tend to talk a lot of nonsense. Imagine my satisfaction when I searched for said turtle and there he was; in all his back leg, wheely glory!
The purpose of this ramble is clear (!). You can do so much research on the internet for your next sailing trip, weekend away, or annual vacation, that you actually start to believe you have been to that place already. This happened recently when I started to research, with some gusto, a trip to Scotland. I had routes planned around favourite restaurants and had even reviewed the menus so knew in advance that I would be having the lobster and Chardonnay on said date. The upshot of all of this research was that I felt like I had already been to Scotland and the result was a trip to Las Vegas (now that is a sensory experience!).
Imagine what I missed through not having the experience through my own eyes. I did not get to smell the wild heather growing in abundance on the moors. I did not get to pet that sheep in the lane or try and understand what the barman was asking me with his broad, Scottish accent and I certainly did not get to smell the salty freshness of the sea first thing in the morning. There is just no substitute for having the experience.
When people ask me, as they do each and every day, so what's it like to actually sail and vacation in Antigua, no matter how hard I try, I can not truly get the experience across. I can articulate the feel of the white sand under your feet when you jump out of the dinghy - I can certainly say it is as soft as flour, but it does not get you the reality.
I explain the smell of the island as you emerge from the plane after so many hours in a small, confined space; you know you've arrived in the tropics the minute you step foot on the steps. If you were blindfold, you would immediately know: "I'm in the islands".
I explain the feel of the tropical sun at different times of day; the gradual heating of the island as you move from breakfast time to mid day and beyond and how it feels on your skin. I explain the look of the sunset each night as you sit on deck (clutching said rum) or on the beach and the sense that another day is coming to an end.
In my view, in the days of information overload, it is always best to leave something to be discovered and enjoyed and remembered. Sailing Antigua? Wake up and smell the tropics.
Wednesday, 24 August 2011
Friday, 19 August 2011
I'm quite often asked by guests how is the sailing in Antigua & Barbuda during October. My answer is always the same; blissfully peaceful. Having spent some time travelling this Summer: Hong Kong, Australia, UK and Singapore, I am constantly drawn back to Antigua for the complete laid-back pace of life and quiet-ness. It is such a contrast to the fast pace of life on other Continents that when we travel overseas, our eyes are not big enough to take in the people, the lights and the energy that simply reverberates from person to person.
To give you an example of an October anchorage, the photograph below is typical of the closest anchorage to our base here in Jolly Harbour. Quite often, guests arrive anxious and stressed, having worked hard all year to have the vacation and then to have the stress that airline travel brings! This anchorage is a possible overnight anchorage for your first night of slow down:
From here, you could either sail north or south, the choice is yours. If you head north, you might find yourself in the North Sound of Antigua. Plan to eat on board as there aren't any restaurants in this part of the island. Take a look:
| North Sound area of Antigua|
There's something very magical about Barbuda that draws you back. You have a choice of two delightful overnight anchorages; one of which is 11 miles of unbroken white sand beach. It's hard to capture that in a photograph:
A trip up to Barbuda (just 25nm) would not be complete with a call into our man Goldilocks to arrange for some fresh lobster. Goldilocks is so accommodating that he will even give you top tips on how to prepare and cook your lobster. Remember the lemon from Antigua as there is only one store on Barbuda, and that is a water-taxi ride across the lagoon!
There are so many peaceful anchorages when you sail Antigua & Barbuda, that I hope we have given you a flavour of just a few that are special to us.
Sailing the islands of Antigua & Barbuda during October is very good for you and your soul... at the end of a day of sailing, swimming, snorkelling, exploring or just good old book reading, it's a reward in itself to enjoy a rum on ice and the perfect sunset.
See you here!