Sunday, February 8, 2009


I have been in Jolly Harbor Antigua for a couple of days now, and I am
healing nicely. Yesterday I took a tour of the overcrowded noisy and
industrial areas. Oddly, none of the commercial tour operators offer this
tour, so you have to design it yourself. The plan was to check out one of
the local kiting spots, but you have to go through St John's and transfer to
another bus to get there. Either that, or you have to pay ~$35 each way for
a taxi.

St Johns is the capital and the landing spot for cruise ships. It is
UNBELIEVABLY NOISY. First, our bus driver had chosen a selection of Bob
Marley tunes played at about 100 dB. No problem there, but the Marley
classics were overlaid by a DJ who, I kid you not, just randomly interjected
video game noises, laser noises and sirens. I do mean randomly, as in with
no regard to the beat or mood of the music. Awful. Like listening to Bob
Marley in a war zone.

Overlay on that the noise of street vendors selling music CDs, and the cars
with the megaphones on the roof driving around broadcasting political
speeches (it is election time here) and the horns and you have an actual
cacophony of noise.

The other unfortunate thing about St John's is that it is typical of many of
the cruise ship landings. I know everyone who goes on a cruise ship seems to
like it, but I can't figure out why based on the landings. 13,000 people a
ferried over great distances at considerable expense to be disgorged on a
foreign shore only to be greeted by the very same chain stores that they
left at home. There is a sveral block area with "The Body Shop", "J Crew",
"Nautica", "Borders Book Stores", etc. (I have not seen a Starbucks yet, but
I would bet $100 that there is several on the boat). It makes me wonder if
the cruise lines actually buy up the property and build a mall in an area
before they announce that they will be landing there, so that they can make
money coming and going. It looks like the islanders don't have a chance of
getting a piece of the action. The attraction of the cruise ships has to be
on the ship. If you take a cruise that stops at St John's Antigua, stay on
the ship, or just get off long enough to make you appreciate the ship.

We did make it to the kiting spot, where I found out that the site is not
suitable for anchoring the oat nearby. I did meet some kiters who were crew
on one of the big sailing yachts in English harbor, and they told me that
there was a great kiting spot right next to an anchorage by Green Island
(Antigua). I will head that way today.

My friends Dave and Kristen are heading this way, so I should soon have some
company. I had some of the other cruisers in this anchorage over for a pot
luck on Madness last night and served them the last flank steak from Dana's
provisioning effort in October. The freezer kept it just perfect all this
time; The steak was great and everyone seems healthy this morning.