Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas in Antigua
(click on photos to enlarge)
After Nancy's arrival, and with the decision to remain in Antigua for Christmas, we had some time to explore the island and the town of English Harbour.  Using Ed's rented car, we took a day to tour the island of Antigua where we found a beautiful beach at Half Moon Bay.  This was exactly the kind of place people in the Caribbean use to send sunny beach pictures home to friends and family in really cold places.

 English Harbour is a place seafarers have been visiting since Christopher Columbus.  It is full of history and beautiful yachts.
The British thought it was better to keep it for themselves so they built a fort at the entrance. 

And they stocked the place with cannons... lots of cannons!

Now days, they'll let almost anybody come and hang out here.

Still, it really helps if you have a HUGE super yacht.
This is  289 foot sailing yacht Maltese Falcon.

The buildings around Nelson's Dockyard are preserved from the olden days when Horatio Nelson anchored here.  The buildings remain in use for restaurants, bakeries, a sail loft, shops, etc.  

Christmas Eve was time for a dinghy ride to a fabulous meal at a waterfront restaurant called Ristorante Paparazzi

 But Christmas day was the day for the big party at Nelson's Dockyard in English Harbour.  Everybody said we had to go, we did, and it was a blast.  Lots of beautiful yachts here give their crews the day off to attend the Christmas day party.  Here's one now!

 There was plenty of food and drink, live music, dancing, people in costumes and lots of happy smiling people.

After an ocean passage, sometimes all you want to do is dance...

Hakeem, who had helped the Moonshadow crew with restaurant reservations and our laundry showed up.  Hakeem is from Guyana and a really friendly kid who hit it off with all the crew.

We found Alli hanging out with the locals...

...but all eventually returned to Moonshadow to prepare for the next day's sail to St. Lucia.

We departed Antigua at 1230 on Boxing Day, which is the day after Christmas.  Conditions were perfect to hoist the spinnaker.

It was all smiles when the chute started pulling Moonshadow faster and faster on a smooth Caribbean sea.  

By sunset, we had to alter course around Guadeloupe so the spinnaker came down and we settled into a loose watch over night as we motorsailed through the lee from the islands of Guadeloupe and Dominica.   

After breakfast the next day, Alli held a ladies sailing clinic.

Alli is like a horse-whisperer for women on sailboats.  We all chipped in to help her start a venture called Alli Bell's Caribbean Women's Sailing Spa.  Really, she has a gift!

The girls scoffed at suggestions from the men as they drove and sailed Moonshadow for several hours clicking off the miles as she surged along at nine and ten knots.

We comfortably covered the 196 miles in 25 hours at an average of 7.5 knots, and tied to the dock at The Marina at Marigot Bay.

After clearing customs, the crew was rewarded with fresh ice cream a mere 25 paces from Moonshadow's transom.

The Marina guests have full use of the adjacent hotel, including... you guessed it... a swim up bar!

As part of Alli Bell's Caribbean Women's Sailing Spa business plan, the Moonshadow crew thought a visit to one of the local spas would be a smart idea.  We arrived equipped with a full travelling rum bar and playing cards.

The girls came away with custom Moonshadow toenails and at least one of the men in the crew had his first pedicure.

Alas, after nearly a month aboard Moonshadow, our wonderful crew had to return to the States.  we had one last morning outing surrounded by St. Lucia's amazing beauty, then bid Alli, Nancy and Ed farewell.  

We are truly grateful for the help on passage and the companionship as we discovered a few of the Caribbean islands together.  We have memories we'll treasure for life and new members in the growing list of Moonshadow crew.  

Safe travels friends!

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