Where to go? Antigua! So many choices.

It’s only about five weeks until I head back to Pandora to run her the 1,500 miles from Beaufort NC to the Caribbean.  As of now, that’s likely to be within the first few days of the new year. I have my crew all set and we plan to spend some time in the BVI sailing together once we get there.

The work on Pandora is progressing.  I understand that the new charger/inverter is in and the new port lights are moving along.  The next part will be to deal with the leaking heat exchanger and a general check-over of the engine.  I can’t wait to write some checks.  Not.

And speaking of writing big checks, work on Pandora is pennies compared to the 130′ yacht I crewed on last fall to Ft Lauderdale from Greeenport LI.  I wrote a number of posts about that amazing trip as we made our way south.  Of course, with WIFI all the way.  This post was a sort of tour of the boat.  Amazing.

Anyway, I mention that boat again as Captain Mark told me, when I spoke to him a few days ago, that he will be in the BVI for a while following a month long visit to St Barts over the holidays and we talked about getting together. Yes, that would be fun so hopefully I will get to the BVI before he leaves.  Fingers crossed.  I am also hopeful that I’ll be able to crew for him again sometime next year.  Yes, fingers crossed on both counts.

For sure there’s lot’s happening and I can’t believe that I’ll be heading to the Caribbean and for the first time on my own boat.  We won’t talk about my aborted attempt last year.  This time I actually expect to make it all the way.  I’m excited.

I am also getting pretty wound up about some of the places that Brenda and I will be visiting along the way.  The plan is for me to head back home after Pandora is settled in the BVI for a quick visit to see our soon-to-arrive grandchild (Exciting? yes, yes!!!) and then back to CT to shut the house for the winter.  After that, Brenda and I will head south and join Pandora for a few months of sailing together.

One of the most fun parts of going places aboard Pandora is that we can visit any island that we wish and not be limited to single spot with an airport.  When we visited Portugal (by air, not Pandora) for a month a few years ago, we didn’t have a set itinerary and instead booked each location “just in time” as we went from town to town.  That allowed us to get local advice from folks along the way, a great way to really see a country.

So, as we head from island to island, we will undoubtedly get advice on the most fun spots to visit.  As we have many friends who have sailed for years in that area that we will hook up with along the way, I am sure that we will get plenty of great advice.

One island nation that I am particularly excited about visiting is Antigua, home of Nelsons Boatyard, a colonial stronghold of the British Navy way back when. It’s beautiful and has been recommended to us as a must-see stop.   I found this short three minute drone video tour of the island.  Can’t wait to visit.Interested in learning more?  I was and this slightly longer video talks about some of the attractions of the island.  And, as an added bonus, the narrator, a women, has a voice that, I’ll admit, makes me want to go.One more thing.  This piece is a brief, if slightly irreverent overview of the history of the island nation.   The clip should probably be about twice as long but the narrator is so highly caffeinated that he jams everything into  a brief 7 minutes.   Yikes, he talks fast!!! But, it doesn’t take long to get hundreds of years of history.

Well, there are many, many videos of the islands of the Caribbean but most are terrible, probably as bad as any that I’d post myself and most fit into the “you had to be there to understand” category.

So, let me toss yet another wrench into the mix.  The Salty Dawg Sailing Association, of which I have become more involved, is considering a rally from the BVI to Cuba in the spring.  I know that Brenda would love to visit Havana again to see her new friend Adriana who she met on our visit last winter.  Both Adriana and Brenda do hand-work, lace making in particular.  As Adriana and her group can’t get decent materials, Brenda put out the word to her local guilds here in CT, that she’d like to find a way to get quality materials to the lace makers in Cuba and they sent lots of great stuff.  So, will Brenda meet me there? Will Pandora go to Cuba again?

The problem is that there are just so many months in the year and so many places to visit.  And, for sure, Brenda has PLENTY to do to keep herself occupied here in CT when she is not aboard Pandora.   So, will we head to Cuba again this coming spring?  Who knows, but it’s plenty appealing and there’s all that lace making stuff to deliver.

In any event, the SDSA gang would like me to participate in the rally as I am the only member of the group that’s EVEN BEEN TO CUBA at all so that makes me the closest thing to an expert that they have and that’s not saying much.

I guess all that I can say about that is “THERE’S SO MANY THINGS TO DO”.  So, what’s a cruiser to do?  Not sure but you’ll just have to stay tuned and find out. I promise, when I learn more, you will too.

Yes indeed, so many choices and, for sure, Antigua is high up on our list.

One more thing.  If that caffeinated video about Antigua didn’t totally put you off, you can sign up to be notified when I post again.  Just register on this home page, upper right.   I hope you do.

Until next time…


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