We pulled into Falmouth Harbour, Antigua and were immediately struck by the number, size and glitz of the super yachts! Holy cow are they on a different budget?! We milk the limited power from our solar panels and they string Christmas lights to the top of the mast and turn on their underwater lights. All the professional crews were busy shining, waxing and cleaning their yachts in anticipation of the arrival of their owners from the different capitals of the world…. and the eye candy was spectacular.
From beautifully restored antique sailing ships, to the helicopters wrapped up for Christmas, the most notable yacht was a several hundred foot ship, with a 60 foot Oyster sailboat on deck, complete with integral travel lift, so the owner could sail during the day and return to the comfort of his/her floating palace at night. Quite a change from the rag tag, penny-pinching, derelicts that have become our circle of friends.
After exploring Falmouth and English Harbour we repositioned around to Jolly Harbour (most aptly named) for Christmas. We had initially intended to meet several boats in Barbuda for the “holidays” but weather conspired against us and we decided to stay in Jolly. We were joined by the Dubois family from La Jeannoise, Ronald and Catherine from Oseo, Dominic and Marie-France from Reve d’Ocean, Dave and Toutou from 4 Coconuts, Oren and Darya from Del Max, and Katherine and George from Picaro.
Oren and Darya were kind enough to invite us over to celebrate the last night of Hanukkah and, using fine nautical MacGyver ingenuity, they had made a menorah out of bottle caps and a piece of wood. The prayers were the same, the challah was delicious and except for the setting, it brought back memories of friends back home.
We changed it up a bit and had our Christmas dinner on the 24th. You had decorated the boat with paper snowflakes, home made garland, and christmas lights. George and Catherine Pyrpiris joined us for a turkey dinner; a little ambitious given the cooking facilities.
Santa arrived on a surfboard and the following morning we opened presents in our bathing suits and enjoyed a lazy breakfast before heading ashore in search of Internet to contact Grandmommy and Moma.
That afternoon all the families met ashore in a vacant residential lot on the beach for football, soccer and a potluck Christmas dinner. It was a great afternoon of delicious food, wonderful friends and sport, which was a welcome distraction from the inevitable melancholy that comes from spending the holidays away from family and friends. In the evening we relocated to a remote beach and, following the adage that it is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission, built a huge bonfire. The kids roasted marshmallows, the adults drank rum and we all enjoyed the simplicity and camaraderie of this once in a lifetime experience.
After filling our water, fuel and propane tanks we left Jolly Harbour and sailed around to Deep Bay, which was a quiet and picturesque little anchorage. Over cocktails we amended our route planning…always a dangerous idea, and decided to head for the ever-elusive Barbuda the following morning. We leave Antigua with a sense that we have not fully done the island justice because while the community ashore is not compelling, there are a myriad of secluded beaches which we would have liked to explore.
The following morning, with 20-25kts on our beam, we set off with Del Max for the 35 nm run to Barbuda.