Family, Chocolate Rum, Outlaw and Sea Hare

Cam and Paul, Green Island Nonsuch Bay

Cam and Paul, Green Island Nonsuch Bay

Chocolate Rum in the morning. . .

Chocolate Rum in the morning. . .

Paul swimming off Green Island, Nonsuch Bay

Paul swimming off Green Island, Nonsuch Bay

Sea Hare

Sea Hare

Karaoke noodling with my sister

Karaoke noodling with my sister

At the fort, English Harbour

At the fort, English Harbour

Sign on Antigua Courthouse wall

Sign on Antigua Courthouse wall

On the dinghy, headed to town.

On the dinghy, headed to town.

I love the history you share with family.  Whether they really get you or it’s compulsory that they understand you, families can laugh about things that no one else would find funny. My sister makes me laugh. A lot. She took a picture of something while visiting us in late March and caught my head in the lower part of the screen. It was the worst picture of me with my mouth hanging open and my eyes half closed and we blew it up just to see my expression and you’d think we’d just heard the funniest joke of the century we laughed so hard. So having my sister and brother-in-law visit us in Antigua for a week was joy to my heart.

It was very windy so we decided we’d hole up in Nonsuch Bay for the week they were here rather than trying to get ourselves from anchorage to anchorage. It’s a beautiful location with some snorkeling spots out of the wind and waves that were making the main reef difficult to swim and we used the dinghy dock in Cloverleaf Cove to walk to Devil’s Bridge, the bus stop and find a public trash. The bus stop is about a 15-20 minute walk, but it gets you to St Johns for EC$3.50 (US$1.50). The drivers will take you all the way back to the fishing dock for EC$5.00, which is great if you’ve been to the Epicurean and you’re carrying heavy bags of groceries. Waiting for the #33 back to Willikies can be a bit tortuous because they are allowed to wait up to 1 hour for the bus to fill. We have had to wait as long as 45 minutes. Sweaty and hot, but great time spent people watching.

The winds were up for the entire week, about 20 knots steady with gusts up to 35 knots. But we still swam and snorkeled. Saw lots of lobster, porcupine and burrfish, the largest trunkfish I’ve ever seen and many other beautiful fish. We saw a Sea Hare while walking on the beach. That’s a first for me. It was so beautiful and, apparently, they squirt an ink out of the back of their hump in distress. Interesting little creature. We saw an eagle ray leap out of the water on the first day. Well, everyone but Cam.  Cam does not like being in shallow water. If she thinks the sea grasses might touch her, she swims faster than any Olympic athlete and screams like a sissy. It makes me laugh as I type this.

The last full day we decided to go into St. Johns to wander around and meet up with our friends on Amaris, Steven and Shawn. They are headed south and we are headed west so I don’t know when our paths will cross again. We walk to the bus station and a kid tells us no busses today, it’s Easter Monday. Okay, we will just walk into the little village of Willikies and see what we can. On the way, we come across a small group of Antiguan men, probably early 20s. If you say hello to an Antiguan, they will usually talk to you. They like to talk, but you have to start the conversation. So we ask about busses, getting a taxi. One kid bangs on the window of a house, wakes up his buddy and says to give these people a ride to town. The newly woken kid goes to another house where he gets a 3rd guy up and this guy makes a phone call to his girlfriend who is a taxi driver. She’ll take us in for $25. So we stand around with a 4th guy whose nickname is Outlaw. I start out by sitting on a piece of concrete away from Outlaw, but Outlaw says no, come over here and sit with me. He was a great guy and had a lot to say. Outlaw taught us some new cuss words. Cam thought it was great that these 20-somethings dress like the gangsta thugs used to dress 10 years ago in the US, but then you see them hold the door for the old ladies and stop to give directions to strangers. They are way cooler than they could ever know with or without the baggy jeans and wife beater t-shirts. Antiguans always want to ask if you’re having a good time. They want you to love Antigua. And we do.

Cam and Paul’s last night on the boat there were hundreds of fish swimming around the boat, probably 4-6 inches in length. We hadn’t seen them before or since. Then at about 9:30 p.m. after we’d gone to bed, I was woken by the sound of something outside the boat. It sounded like a person breathing hard out of snorkel after diving under water. That puuuuush sound. I stood on the bed and looked out the hatch, thinking person or turtle? I hear it again, but can’t see anything so I wake Stan. He sticks his head out of the hatch and we hear it again. He says, “It has a fin”. So we go outside to look and the dolphin swims fast past the boat. I yell for Cam and Paul to get up and we all sit in the dark listening and watching. Cam and I got to see it twice swim out of the water. After about 15 minutes it seemed to be gone. The fish were gone the next day. Did the dolphin come into the bay attracted by these fish?

Always sad parting. I’m so glad they came. It was worth going through my last 5 bottles of chocolate rum with them.

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