It is New Year’s Eve and we are moored at Nelson’s Dockyard for the next week.
We arrived in Antigua on Friday night and moved all our stuff aboard Pandora, where she had been on a mooring for the last six weeks. The bottom was pretty nasty so I hired divers to clean her up. (more on why I didn’t do it myself in a moment)
The view when we woke up on Saturday morning. The weather: Mid 80s and sunny with puffy clouds. I do love clouds. A big departure from the grey weather in CT this time of year.
Pandora was on one of the Antigua Yacht Club Marina moorings. Back in October a lightning strike sparked a fire at the marina. The flames consumed every business on the marina pier but luckily, nothing on shore. Fortunately, the wind blew the cinders into the water. Had the wind been from a different direction, the loss would have been far worse. The pier was completely destroyed down to the cement slab.
When I was here in November evidence of the fire was cleared away and there was nothing but a concrete slab. Now, they have put a number of very nice tents covering seating areas and lots of potted palms. I am told that in a few days there will be food served daily. Brenda and I had a few drinks our first night after arrival. (and that is why I was not up to spending an hour under Pandora scraping away)
Of course, a bar would be the first business to open.
When the taxi left us off at the marina I took the luggage out to Pandora, leaving Brenda on the pier with a glass of wine, of course. This gave me an opportunity to air Pandora out and move all our luggage aboard.
When we arrived from the airport we also had some groceries that we had picked up along the way as our driver, Eric, was nice enough to stop at the market. Between all of our luggage and groceries, probably about 200 lbs of stuff, we stacked everything on the dock for me to take out to Pandora. Unfortunately, we left a bag of fresh food, meat, cheese, all expensive stuff, probably about $75 worth, on the dock. It wasn’t until after a few glasses of wine, of course, that I realized that the bag was missing.
I went ashore but nobody had seen the bag. Or so it seemed… Somebody was lucky and got a bag of very nice food, complements of Pandora.
I reported the loss to the marina office and checked back the next morning, just in case.
Amazingly, the bag was there and cool from a night in the fridge. It seems that the marina staff, when they heard of the loss, reviewed security camera footage, recognized the person that had picked up the bag and retrieved it. Mystery solved…
As you can imagine, we were thrilled and more than a little bit amazed to get the bag back and with everything intact.
I often get questions about safety in the islands and tell everyone that it is very safe here in Antigua. Well, it’s actually safer than I thought as I can not imagine another place where a bag of groceries left on a street corner (or marina dock) would ever be returned. I understand that this wasn’t the first time that a security camera saved the day.
I have been told by Carlo, the owner of the marina, that the pier would be fully rebuilt by next season. In the meantime, it’s looking pretty nice already.
Their fleet of Dragons was untouched.
The marina office is now in an adjacent area, spared from the fire.
We moved the Pandora the short distance to English Harbor the next day and are now in the Dockyard where there will be a huge New Year’s Eve bash beginning today at 10:00 and running through 02:00. The loud crowd will be huge as thousands show up every year. We will be hosting BYOB cocktails on Pandora and a few other Salty Dawg boats at 10:00. Midnight fireworks never disappoint. Pandora, second in, on the dock with a number of other Dawg boats that moved here to enjoy the festivities.
They do a nice job of holiday lighting in the Dockyard.
Well, it’s time to get going on preparing some food to share tonight before the fireworks.
Oh yeah, we are meeting our friends Barbara and Ted of Raven for a very fancy dinner at one of our favorite spots, Collibri, a French style spot in Falmouth. I think it’s 7 courses. Hope I can keep up.
Happy new year from Antigua where you only take home what is yours, or else…