Liz and I were introduced to Geoff by Dobby, and is based in English Harbour working as a chippie. Originally reigning from Cowes, Isl of Wight, sailing is obviously in Geoff’s blood. He’s single-handedly crossed the pond a couple of times, which when you think about it is pretty remarkable.
When I finally left I got a taxi ride to the airport, which took me through the inside of the island. As I said my memory is a little vague but that taxi journey sticks in my mind as being one of the best road-trips I’ve taken in my life. Why? I’m not sure. I think it was the stark contrast of a Caribbean blue sky, distant shimmering waters and the rich green vegetation of the banana plantations.
The great thing about sailing is the social life. Many an evening has been spent propping up the bar, drinking rum and chatting to locals and yachties alike. Edward and I met Alan and Bev whilst doing exactly that in Marigot Bay. This is where Admiral Rodney hid from the French, using coconut fronds to disguise the tops of the masts from the passing enemy. We didn’t make any enemies whilst we were there but we did bump into a fantastic couple, Alan and Bev, who where on a make-it-up-as-you-go-along world cruise.
Blue Monkey was a tired old Beneteau 46 belonging to the charter company Moorings. It was our duty to deliver the boat to the Moorings base in Marigot Bay, St Lucia, in one piece. It wasn’t until we completed our task and got off Blue Monkey that the steering went, the autohelm was lost and the boat literally fell apart in front of our eyes.
When you’ve spent over three weeks at sea Antigua really is a piece of heaven on earth. We don’t need to tell you what it was like because it’s all that you imagine it to be: warm, idyllic, welcoming and simply stunning. With free-flowing rum and the fact it was approaching Christmas the vibe was fully switched on to ‘party’ mode. Tim, Dobby, Michel and myself rented a shack for a month on top of a hill overlooking Falmouth Harbour and quickly sussed the perfect recipie for rum-punch. Yachts came and went, providing the south of the island with crowds of party people who crammed the local joints like the Mad Mongoose.
Expecting an open-armed warm welcome, three men appear on the deck looking a bit perplexed at our arrival, what with our kit and bags. Even an explanation of our presence seemed to confuse the guys on board.