So, here I am in Antigua, a couple of hundred miles north since my last entry when I arrived in St. Lucia. St. Lucia was a bit of a slow time at first since we had anchored in the busiest harbour there, Rodney Bay. It was there that I discovered that this would be the only place on the island the boat would stop. From there, Tanya and I were left to fend for ourselves if we wanted to see any of the other parts of the island. Now Rodney Bay had a beautiful beach, but this is not where I would want to spend a vacation by any means. Jet skis were everywhere and people were walking up and down the beach trying to sign you up for different day trips and what not while you tried to sit there and relax. Definitely not what I look for in a Caribbean island. Too much mass tourism there. After a couple of days of sitting on the beach, Tanya and I rented a car and headed south to hike the pitons. Those are those two giant peaks you see in every photograph of St. Lucia that make the island look so beautiful, remote and tropical, not the side of St. Lucia that our captain liked. Anyway, we spent a couple of hours driving south to Gros Piton, the bigger and taller of the two where we planned to hike up to the top. Upon arrival at the bottom of the trail, we were made aware by the parks service that they required a guide to take you up and this would cost you $25 each. We reluctantly agreed and headed up the mountain. Now this guide was about the worst guide I have ever had. On the way up, she pointed out that some wet rocks were slippery, there was a river down the hill, a cactus that grows there, two small football sized rocks that were loose, and a low branch that we should watch our head on. The hike went on without incident on a slightly overcast day. The trail was easy to follow so the only reason I could guess that you needed a guide was another way of someone making money off tourism in the islands. Either way, it was worth the hike up to the top with amazing views of the nearby coast as well as the views of petit piton, the other mountain.
From there, we had one day left in St. Lucia and decided we would do a dive. We checked a few dive shops in the morning and they were all booked up. One however called over to the local Sandals resort where they had a couple of spots available for us to do an afternoon dive. Over the phone the cost was $40 each but by the time we arrived, it had gone up to $50 and they claimed to have never said $40. Oh well, I guess I just imagined it, probably not another person down here trying to rip off the tourists. That could never happen . . . . The dive turned out to be well worth the money. I am still working out how to get the best shots with my underwater camera case, but they will be on the website soon! The reef was in great shape, considering most down here have been depleted by the number of divers crashing into everything over the years. There were tons of bright green, red and purple corals everywhere and not too many big fish, but lots of small ones that you would usually see on a reef down here.
That night we set sail for Antigua where the captain of the boat had more business to take care of. The sail to Antigua would be about 36 hours and over two hundred miles. We began at 9:00 at night, passed Martinique, Dominica, Guadeloupe and Montserat. Again we pulled into the busiest harbour on the island with the same basic amenities as the one in St. Lucia. Upon arriving, I had decided that it was time to move on to something different. This trip on the boat was not exactly what I was looking for. I was hoping to be on a boat, visiting a different beach every day with great snorkelling and good diving. Instead, I am on a boat where the captain has business on each island so we pull into his favourite and most convenient harbour, drop anchor and are run into shore every day at 9:00 and left to fend for ourselves to get out and see the island. Its nothing different than flying to each island, getting a hotel and exploring the island by foot, bus and car. I could do that without the sailboat (Although we were are under sail it is quite exciting). Anyway, as I was saying, I had decided that it was time to get off the boat. I spent some time on line the first day here, booked a flight to Miami for Sunday, and then a flight to Ecuador on the following Tuesday. From there, I fly home to Birmingham on May 25th from Lima, Peru where I will have about 10 days before heading on to Tonga.
Antigua has been uneventful, minus a day of hiking and exploring Nelson’s Dockyard. Nelson’s Dockyard is this historic harbour that has been preserved and is much like it was four hundred years ago. You can imagine what it would have been like to be here in the British Colonial days with large wooden ships rolling into the port. Anyway, Tanya left on Saturday. Her time on the boat was over and I am left here with the captain and his friend Dave who has been on board since St. Vincent. Dave is a good laugh and breaks the tension on the boat when Captain Norman get’s angry. I enjoy having someone else on the boat to talk to. I have spent the past two days sitting on the beach and it looks like today will be spent on the boat typing emails that I will send tomorrow. As for tomorrow, we set sail for St. Martin, my last stop in the Caribbean journey!