After a pretty brutal 24hr sail north from St Lucia we arrived in Antigua. Sophie steered the boat across the last bumpy stretch from Guadeloupe… big smile on her face… driving home for Christmas! It would’ve been great had it not been for the buckets of water the sea was chucking into the cockpit and everything falling over inside, paddle boards almost floating away and girls screaming to Christmas music… other than that it was idyllic! Coming back to Antigua has been really surreal, everything is the same but different. It has been fun walking into places where people who once knew us are rendered speechless, finally recognising us and reaching out for hugs.
We have taken the girls to all our old hangouts (if they are still in business). We have been swimming with stingrays… not recommended, very weird, I screamed…. a lot. We have driven the length and breadth of the island – not the girls favourite part it seems . We’ve swum in azure waters and been blown by the wind and waves at devils bridge, body surfed in big swell, listened to amazing steel bands and watched many sunsets. Unfortunately that elusive green flash is still to be seen. We showed Sophie the place of her birth, now an overgrown derelict building – it wasn’t far from derelict when I frequented it 10 years ago to be honest – but peeking through the wire fencing you could see the exact room where it all happened. We went to our old house, that was looking great, it had a new paint job and was a bright blue and majestic in the afternoon sun. And of course we went to see grandma Lornette – Sophie and Isla’s surrogate grandma whilst we were living here, she looked after both girls from the age of 5 months after I returned to work. It was so lovely to see her, the girls had nothing but smiles for her as she regaled stories from their baby days. It took Ryan and I right back to when they were tiny, Sophie and her chubby cheeks and bright blue eyes and Isla with her face always covered with food trying to get in on the action even if she could only shuffle around on her belly! It was a real treat to see her again and even though she had failing eyesight, her sense of humour and don’t-mess-with-me personality were just the same as always!
And then the carnage of Christmas began. We moved the boat to Nelson’s dockyard on Christmas Eve and met the Wilson’s, old friends and their family joining the boat for a week from the states. Christmas Day was loud – mostly down to 6 kids on the boat and a very loud (world renowned) party going on about 20 metres from where we were docked – but it was so much fun. We subjected the Wilson’s to the tradition of charades before presents. Champagne was consumed soon after presents and we were dancing to the loud DJ by 1pm. Some friends we had met in lanzarote joined us and moored next door to us, thankfully they hosted lunch as they had a much larger communal area (thank you John and Lucy). We all descended on ‘Desert Eagle’ and ate our body weight in Caribbean food, BBQ ribs, curried chicken, rice n peas, mac n cheese and more.
With our bellies full we got the kids on the paddle boards and 15 of the 18 who had lunch retired to the beach. The kids worked off their lunch flipping the paddle boards over relentlessly. After sundown, once we had dusted the sand off the kids and the boat, a movie was put on and the teenagers babysat on the boat whilst the adults hit the bar for a Christmas cocktail. A great great day. Made so much better by all our friends who are as close to family as we have out here!!
So with a hectic schedule that the Wilson’s are keeping up with admirably, we left Antigua on the 27th, stopped in Guadeloupe to walk 3 hrs up a waterfall on the 28th, overnight sailed to Dominica and completed an awesome canyoning tour, of which Jocie was undoubtedly the star! Now we are currently 1/2 a mile off Martinique on route to St Lucia to drop our US friends off and head to Bequia for NYE. wow. It’s 0021 in the morning, I have soggy feet and chilly legs and could do with a sleep but other than that am pretty darn good.
We are trying hard to upload new photos but the data and WiFi stream are not playing ball so will keep trying! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year one and all!