5. For a few nights you stayed on a boat as well. How did that come about and what was it like?
Living on the sailboat for a few days was a very unique experience – three adults, one child, two cats and a dog all in a confined space! My coworker’s mother has been living in Antigua for 14 years now and her boat is her home. We used little, two-man dinghies to paddle to and from the shore each morning and each night. Although fully equipped with galley and head (toilet), accommodations were a little tight to spend too much time on the sailboat particularly as it rained for the better part of our stay at the harbour.
Now, the head on the boat was an experience in itself – happy thing I am not claustrophobic! The toilet was a tiny closet that you had to step up into from within the cabin of the boat. I was instructed (and good advice at that!) to step up and in with my left foot so that when my right foot followed suit, I would automatically be swung accordingly to ‘take a seat’. This process caused me to knock my head on several occasions on the inside roof of the toilet and at 5’ 8”, I am not as monstrously tall as that might make you imagine me to be! Closing the door once seated simply became optional given the warmth (and sorry but toilets and heat virtually always equal smell) of the tiny cubicle and the lack of knee space – it was simply easier to leave one leg dangling out the door. Modesty went pretty much out the window!
My first night on the boat, with not much persuading, I slept snuggled up in a sleeping bag on the back bench in the cockpit of the boat. It was fabulous to sleep under the stars! I didn’t even much mind when it started to drizzle in the early hours of the morning. What was a little harder to ignore was the accumulation of drizzle that began to drip off the rigging and torpedo my head. Torpedoed or not, it was a fantastic experience!
That first night on the boat, we also experienced a rare treat. The harbour waters were so still that night that the lights from the other boats around us could be seen as near mirror images on the surface of the water. My coworker’s mother was so excited when she discovered this view that she ran around the boat and woke us all up to see it. It was a lovely sight.
6. You also had a chance to interact with some of the locals. What did you learn about life in Antigua?
One of the most interesting things that I learned about Antigua was the closeness of community. The stories I heard while staying in English Harbour were often about the community rallying together to do good by one of their own or about local business men and their successes. On such a small island, the locals seem to know almost everyone.
7. What is your favourite memory of this trip to Antigua?
There are many very good memories of my trip to Antigua but my favourite remembrance of my holiday is a feeling. It is a warm, sunny feeling I experience when I remember all the things that we did and the people we met over the course of our stay.
Thanks, Leslie, for sharing all those pleasant experiences with us. Good luck for your next adventure (one of which will be our kayaking weekend this summer..)