Antigua classics, and much more….

Okay, so you know how in my last post I said how happy we are in the marina and how we’re just going to stay put for the moment? Well, that’s all very well and good, but then this weird weather system came through which basically meant there was absolutely no wind whatsoever- not even a little bit- and as a result life onboard in the marina became absolutely unbearable. It was muggy, still, hot and generally uncomfortable. We tried to go for a swim down the beach to cool down, and it was like wading into a warm bath. We decided it was time to go and spend a few nights at anchor.

Tina and Mark on Magic and Holly and Simon on Tudor Rose were already in Falmouth Harbour as it was the beginning of Antigua Classic Week so it didn’t take a huge amount of head scratching to decide where to go. We dropped our mooring lines after 5 weeks in the marina and motor-sailed down to Falmouth Harbour in wonderfully calm seas with a bright blue sky above us. It was a great feeling getting back on the water and not being bashed around by inter-island Atlantic swell.

Once tied up in Falmouth, Tina and Mark descended on us almost immediately with our itinerary for, like, the entire week. We’d only planned to stay one night, perhaps two, but we ended up hanging around until our food ran out a week later. There was an open mic night that evening at the yacht club, put on for Classics, and so Tina signed her and Nick up to do a couple of songs.

Nick and Tina at open mic night- before it all went wrong!

Nick and Tina at open mic night- before it all went wrong!

It was a great atmosphere and there was even a stage- a real stage!- for the performers. However, it was clear from the very first performance that there was going to be some sound issues. The first group to go on stage was a Cornish family who played some English folk music. They were fantastic, but only those who literally went right up to the stage could hear them! The sound was dodgy all evening, and although Nick and Tina’s first number was actually fine, by the time they got up on stage for the second time, you couldn’t hear Nick on guitar or another guy who was playing the bass at all. The atmosphere had gone from merry and festive to irate and disgruntled as the performers struggled to be heard, and the sound technician was possibly the most miserable and surly man I have ever met. He made no attempt whatsoever to adjust the sound levels and during Nick and Tina’s second performance you could actually hear over the speakers another couple of musicians out the back warming up!

The organisers tried to address these issues with the sound guy, but he was having none of it and basically refused to cooperate. Nick and Tina tried asking him to adjust the sound, but he just shrugged irritably and did nothing. Eventually, Nick gave up and left the stage and I, several rums down by this stage, may or may not have accosted this sound guy- about 3 times my size by the way- and given him my best “You should be ashamed of yourself” speech accompanied by some high quality finger wagging. He responded defensively, and then sat back down in his chair which he promptly fell off of. There’s no coming back from that in an argument, and I felt that I’d made my point, so I summed up my position by saying, “You’re just a massive asshole, mate” (I get very Australian when I’m angry) and, with a flick of my hair, exited stage left to a round of applause (okay, I may have made that last bit up).

Mark stared at me open-mouthed, Tina clapped me on the shoulder and Nick just rolled his eyes and was like, “You see what I have to put up with?” Poor Nick. At least he never falls off his chair when I’m telling him off.

We didn’t get a huge amount of classic yacht watching done, but did manage plenty of rum drinking, eating out and generalised socialising. One day we went to Boom, a restaurant overlooking English Harbour which has an infinity pool and sun loungers for an afternoon of relaxation- not that we were feeling particularly stressed! It was so nice to swim in a pool instead of the sea, pure luxury these days. The weather was quite rainy, and on one particularly miserable afternoon mid-week we converged on Magic with sweets, popcorn and chocolate and watched a movie on their big flat-screen.

On Thursday night we went to the Red Hat party. Allow me to explain. During Classic Week, there are a number of opportunities to acquire tickets that will eventually convert into a coveted Antigua Sailing Week Red Hat. So, there’s a schedule and several bars in Falmouth Harbour participate. You have to buy a Mount Gay rum-based drink (they’re the sponsors) and each drink gives you one red ticket, and 3 tickets gives you a different ticket which is for the party on Thursday night and includes a free bar for an hour (only for rum!) and a free red hat. For some reason, Tina- who doesn’t even like wearing hats- became borderline obsessed with acquiring one of these red hats and as such our entire week revolved around being in a certain bar at a certain time, drinking rum, and collecting tickets. We ended up a few tickets short as we were trying to get some for Simon and Holly who sensibly stayed on board, so had to revert to some seriously questionable flirting techniques in order to get the party ticket. There was some cringwe-inducing flirting by Nick and Mark and Tina and I were in a state of sort of horrified hysteria at the spectacle. Eventually, the boys got fed up with our piss-taking and reverted to challenging us to do better. How predictable. I was like, “Leave it to me, boys,” and walked up to the booth, behind which a girl in her twenties stood, a big pile of tickets in front of her. I gave her my best ‘just between us girls’ smile and 30 seconds later I walked back, tickets in hand.

Nick later redeemed himself by getting 6 drinks tickets, which put a stop to my gloating and left us with several spare. All in all, mission accomplished!

Red hats!

Red hats!

The party turned out to be brilliant fun. We turned up early to secure a spot and ended up with one of the few outdoor tables and chairs. The bar was free for an hour only and only served rum, which was fine by us. I think you can imagine the carnage that followed. We also finally managed to get our red caps which is great because my Musto one flew off my head coming into Antigua in March. The band was awesome and there were stands selling kebabs and pork and coleslaw buns. All in all, it was a great evening.

May got into the spirit of things...

May got into the spirit of things…

The following day we decided to give our livers a much need break and headed back to Jolly Harbour. It was a bit like coming home after a holiday and we descended on Epicurian, the supermarket, like a couple of starved animals. Sunday night was yet another beach BBQ, but will be Tina and Mark’s last; they’re leaving on Friday to fly back to the UK. The fact that it’s currently snowing back home has not made this week easier for them. Yesterday was their last day on the water for some time as Simon and Holly kindly took us out on Tudor Rose to anchor for the day in Deep Bay. We wanted to snorkel on the shipwreck but the visibility was terrible- you could barely see a metre in front of you- and so it was a bit of a let down. However, it was sooo nice being out on someone else’s boat and not having to think about actually doing anything.

So we approach the end of April already- time has absolutely flown by. May will see us madly working on the boat to get her ready for summer storage and soon it will be our turn to say goodbye to the Caribbean and our home and fly back to London.