SEA GEM LOG: March 22, 2002 Antigua-Barbuda

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Sailing in the Caribbean is such a pleasure. The distances are not great, the sun is warm, the water clear, and each island has its own special character. One of the most delightful anchorages is Antigua. English Harbor is a
delightful anchorage. You can walk across the isthmus to Falmouth Harbor which is much larger and more commercial. The fort is a fine example of the efforts made by the rival colonial powers to hold on to their conquests. The old fort is in good shape and has been remodeled to hold restaurants, gift shops and other business establishments.

Our friends, Kyle and Steve Miller from Orlando flew down to meet us in Antigua. They have been on Sea Gem many times, the most recent visit was in Greece. Kyle and Steve arrived with a whole chest full of food including some excellent US prime steaks. Despite the provisions aboard we always enjoy eating at interesting restaurants.

We toured the old fort including the museum in which we found some rather strange looking soldiers. Vintage sailboats come and go which adds to the ambiance of the restored old structures.

We enjoyed the ambiance of Antigua. It is a beautiful island with good accommodations and a fine destination for visiting friends. We also had the hull polished by a singing "Rasta Man" who did better polishing than singing.

From Antigua we sailed to Barbuda. Barbuda is not on the usual circuit because it is upwind, out of the way, and has very exclusive private resorts which do not welcome yachtsmen. Guests that are not registered at the resorts are not welcomed to dine. We ate aboard Sea Gem.

Reputedly Barbuda has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The guard at the resort set
us up with a relative who took us on a ride around the island, he helped us check in, which was pretty interesting since each official's office was in an unmarked home. I have no idea how you would locate any of the "officials" if you did not have local help. He also
arranged for us to take a tour of the Frigate Bird Rookery which is located in one of the largest most beautiful estuaries we have seen.

We wound through the clear shallow water slowly and the birds were not disturbed by our very close presence. We found both males and females sitting on nests with the snowy young heads peaking out. The Frigate birds not nesting filled the sky with their graceful soaring.

The taxi driver took us to the caves and rugged cliffs on the north end of the island where we picked up shells and climbed into the rocky caves.

We enjoyed a lovely sunset and delicious dinner provided by Chef Steve and Kyle, before setting sail early the next morning for Nevis and St. Kitts.