Finally we have arrived in Antigua, our last station before we go back to Europe. And we have chosen to stay in the historic English Harbour, together with Falmouth Harbour the two places to be in Antigua.
POSITION : 17°00' N , 61°45' W
DAY : Monday, 19.03.13
Time : 12:00 UTC
MOOD : NOTHING LASTS FOREVER
and immediately abandoned by him after 1493 because of its lack of water,
the English occupied it by latest 1632.
And with the exception of a very short period it stayed like that.
It became the stronghold of the
English Leeward Isles Squadron,
and from here , also due to numerous fortifications and natural harbours,
the control of all the islands of the Lesser Antilles was secured.
Why didn't the Spanish have the same idea ?
Antigua became one of the major english naval assets in the West Indies, and three hundred years of constant English presence have left their mark.
producing little, such as cotton or vegetables.
But it is not much, and does not feed the local population of 70,000 like on Dominica for instance.
As a result, besides the fishing,
everything needs to be imported, and the prices are accordingly.
Historically Antigua is overrated with its connection to Lord Nelson.
as he was here or better in the area for only 3 years, from 1784 - 1787.
The Antiguans and other islanders nearby even didn't like him at the time.
as his job as a young commander of the frigate HMS Boreas was to enforce the "Navigation Act",
a non-embarcation order for every vessel that had any other flag than the english.
The background was the uprising of the american colony against its Masters.
So in order to strangle the young thoughts of 'revolution' the English tried to prevent any trade with its colony outside its own control. Of course that was not very much liked by anybody, the english traders, the american revolutioners, the islander's merchants, and the other nationalities that were sailing in these waters.
But as years have passed by, and as one of he very few tourist attractions,
besides some very beautiful beaches,
English Harbour is now 'the Lord Nelson's lair',
where the visitors get introduced into the operation of a naval station with all its facilities and back-up services, from carpentry to sailmaking to bakery to laundry, etc.
And the place has been nicely restored, one has to give credit to those private souls who initiated this in the 50's , 1950s that is !
However Nelson already at that age was some kind of a 'Young Gun',
almost a celebrity,
ambitious , often ruthless and career orientated,
which was well recognised by the female gender !!!
Sailing in these waters brought him to Nevis.
Not only did he use the island as a 'water hole' for his ships, literally speaking, no,
he married on 11.03.1787 a local "girl" just the same : The young widow Frances Herbert Nisbet,
from the Nisbet plantation.
He must have been a romantic, the old womaniser : He married her on her uncle's estate ,
the Montpellier Plantation,
under a tree .
He was just 29 years of age.
13 years later, with battles, scars, and titles under his belt, he infamously
slept with Lady Hamilton on a voyage from Naples to Britain,
where she probably conceived their illegitimate daughter Horatia.
That did not stop her husband ,
Sir William Hamilton,
to have him staying at their house in Britain
after his marriage had broken down .
Nelson wrote to his wife Fanny :
"I love you sincerely but I cannot forget
my obligations to Lady Hamilton".
They never lived together again, whilst
Nelson with both the Hamiltons did in 1801.
Neither the last , I guess !
Gosh, Sir William, quite a Gentleman, upper stiff lip, hey !
You gave a good example I guess to Mr Parker-Bowles,
previously husband to Camilla, the current wife of Price Charles.
Wow, history is exciting, even when you live in it here and now.
Because life is repetitive !
Did I say that before ?????
Anyway, if you want to be seen in Yachting, and if YOU want to see Super-Yachts,
Antigua is the place to be.
Beyond that, there are only some nice beaches to talk about.
Whether you have a Sailing Boat, or like Abramovich ( Chelsea, yeah ! ) the
Philip Stark designed "A" Super Motorvessel , it is all the same.
Boats with the value of millions of $, no expense spared.
A financial burden, may be, but I wonder whether they actually realise it looking at their bank account.
Before that they have been attending the Heineken regattas in St Marteen, Bequia, and others.
And the crews love it.
They are the true "owners" of these vessels,
as the real owners are never here, or for just a week or two.
The rest is cleaning, partying, cleaning, partying, etc.,
and sailing , of course.
THE NEW "YOUNG GUNS"
And all get payed of course.
A skipper with a 6 digit figure, the crew less, but all inclusive : Food, cash and health insurance.
What else does a young person need ! ? ! ?
For them it's PARADISE !
But it comes at a price. The partying takes over, and the alcohol is flowing "freely" in the evening.
The side effects are clearly visible every morning in the blurted eyes of the participants.
But it is a problem, that seemingly gets out of hand.
Help is available, but who
would admit to have problems.
Then , from May onwards, the
time is up for them to move on anyway,
so where is the problem ?
We will leave shortly, and the beautiful beaches of the Caribbean will be even more empty then they already are.
NOTHING LASTS FOREVER !!!!!!!!!!
Or , to say it bluntly,
we miss Europe and its variety of
Culture , Landscape and ( even the ) Weather.
.....EXCEPT THE ONE IN ENGLAND !
Before we leave, I will explain what happens next, so be on stand-by !