16 May 2016
Who said you can't write on a full stomach? Can you say Mahi Mahi? We just sailed from Antigua to Guadeloupe in record time. Strong trade winds and a few squalls pushed us along at over 8 knots average. We anchored, invited neighbors aboard for sundowners and had a nice dinner from the fishing tournament in Antigua.
We missed Antigua Sailing Week by a few but anchored in Freeman's Bay in time for their 50th anniversary fishing tournament. Boats from all around the Caribbean converged on English Harbor, the site of Admiral Lord Nelson's naval base, for a three day tournament.
This was not a tourist attraction. It was strictly local folks from Antigua and surrounding islands. A large stage was erected with hooks and scales to weigh the trophy fish. Local restaurants set up operations for barbecue and Caribe beer and English Harbor Run had tents to peddle their beverages. As everywhere else, kids were buying LED toys and running amok.
The fishing boats loaded their Mahi, Wahoo and Tuna into wheel barrows headed for the scales. Fishing boats were paid $5EC/pound of fish they brought in. Fish butchers were hard at work, donned in their garbage bag smocks hacking up the fish to sell to the public for $15EC/pound. That's about $6US/pound for the freshest and best the Caribbean has to offer. The only problem was the complete lack of organization about how to get in line, pay and get your fish. After three tries, I scored some beautiful Mahi and Wahoo hunks, enough to fill a bit of Uproar's freezer. Now you know why I have a full belly. I grilled some Mahi and gobbled it right up!
Lisa and I feel we are doing a “drive by” tour of the Caribbean. We spent a lot of wonderful time in the Bahamas and left short time to get to Grenada for the mandatory hurricane season. It is two days here, three days there and perhaps only one day in a beautiful island like St Barts. Everywhere we go is special but we consider Antigua quite special.
They treated me with their best medical care when we arrived. People are generous and friendly. The more we saw, the more we liked. English Harbor is a functional and historic place. Gary, our cab driver, said, “We don't have much rainfall. Our fruits are small but sweet.” This is analogous to the Antigua people. They are shy but when you engage, they are so sweet.
Four days in Antigua wasn't nearly enough.