20 April 2019 | Antigua
Race week in Antigua is fast approaching and here I am in Antigua. Throughout the season I timed my travels to be here for the classic sailboat series of racing even thinking I might want to crew on one of the classic designed sailboats. A friend of mine had done this two years ago and really enjoyed it. Giving this a little bit of thought I came up with:
I have never been in a sailboat race.
Once you commit to crewing you spend the next 5 days racing no matter what the weather is or high the seas are.
I do not think I am really the racing type.
So giving up on this idea I invited people aboard to experience sailing. It is their spring break so we will not have a lot of time but enough to enjoy various aspects of sailing. He is a history teacher so my first adventure was to go to the Nelson Dockyard on the south end of Antigua. Nelson’s dockyard is a cultural heritage site and part of Nelson’s Dockyard national park. A Unesco World Heritage site. When England Acquired British Antigua and Barbuda in 1632, it became a focal point for the establishment of the British navel base in the Caribbean. Very interesting history and very well restored.
I ask my guests “Do want to get a taxi to travel to the dockyard or would you like an adventure?”
They give me the what are we getting into look and decide,”We’re always up for an adventure.”
“Ok then the local bus ride is our ticket.”
The local bus system consists of various types of private vans with the capacity of seating 14 or more people. Some are quite new while others look like they could barely make it up a slight incline and may rust out half way up. There is no schedule for when they will arrive so we just walked to the nearest “Bus Stop” usually a wide spot on the road with some shade where you wave at the driver and hopes he might stop. He may be off duty or taking some friends to the local rum shop so you are never quite sure if he is looking for a fare or not. The fare, yes, it’s exorbitant cost 2.5 $EC which is less than one dollar US. It can take you from one bus station to the next, that might be 15 miles or more or you may only go two blocks. The fare is always the same.
We get on the bus and it is all locals except for us. A beautiful little girl of about 5 gets on the bus with her dad. Her white top is sparkling clean, her corn rolled hair is braided and closely cut, her 1000 watt bright white teeth smile explodes from her smooth flawless chocolate skin.
“Good Morning,” She yells at the top of her lungs.
Everyone on the bus smiles and returns the greeting. The innocence and exuberance is contagious on the entire bus.
When we finally get to the national park after another bus change I ask “How did you like that adventure.”
“It was amazing.”