Yes I am still alive, I know it’s been awhile, but life gets in the way occasionally, after my epic Atlantic crossing in February 2016 I thought I would never be able to top a trip like that, I was wrong.
It all started again on the 28th August 2016, nearly didn’t make the flight to L.A. as I only had a one way ticket and my visa didn’t cover that, after some
negotiation pleading and then bribery grovelling I made it, I then had the same on arrival in L.A.
Anyway, now in L.A. I made my way to the domestic terminal to get a flight to San Diego, ticket in hand, bag checked in, I joined the queue to be body scanned, now as I took my belt and shoes off all the TSA (Transport Security Administration) staff suddenly ran off, now I know it had been a long day……… Oh wait it wasn’t my feet after all, there was a suspected shooter.
Now most people were pretty cool but a lot were running, screaming and crying, bags had been dropped, pushchairs had kids grabbed out of them and both parent and child were long gone leaving the pushchair behind, me being daft walked with my shoes still in the tray to the balcony to see if I could see the shooter, my thought was rather than just run, at least see the shooter first and run in the opposite direction, I decided to put my shoes on now and did so keeping one eye on the floor below. The airport was now going into lockdown, everyone was directed to one location while heavily armed police checked everywhere.
After about two hours of nervous chit chat with fellow travellers we all seem to receive a text message, now I never have my phone on vibrate, data roaming was off, wifi was off but my phone still vibrated and the tone was something that isn’t even built into my phone, very spooky, this was the message.
I love it when technology like this works.
Finally boarded a flight to San Diego, short taxi ride and I was met at the marine gate by my brother Sean for the short walk to Kapowai, bags dumped, quick chat and bed, it’s been a long day. At this point I didn’t know Kapowai would be my home for the next 90+ days.
Now i’m back home things have calmed down and the excitement of the Atlantic crossing are but just a memory, It’s holiday time now and my two boys are both home, one from university and one from school.
Now all the separate breaks are over we decided to spend a day together, we didn’t want to go far and my wife didn’t fancy driving so we jumped on a bus and headed down to Greenwich.
Some local old buildings and boats.
Here you can see the old working docks, now nice flats. You can just make out ‘The Emirates Air Line’ or cable car to most of us, and ‘The O2’ the Dome.
The O2 from the cable car. You can also see the walkway over the dome, My wife and boys walked over this later, I couldn’t due to my arms not having the strength to pull me along.
Looking back at the cable car from the top of the dome.
Another view towards the city.
There is a lot of building work going on in the area and a lot of waste land, one great use of waste land, build a golf driving range, a very nice place but £5.00 for a glass of coke poured out of a £1.20 bottle into a plastic glass was a bit excessive.
There are loads of restaurants and bars in the O2 so its a great place to finish up and if no big event is on its not busy at all.
Well all good things must come to an end, We spent the last days cruising up and down the coast between Deep Bay and Jolly Harbour meeting some great people on the way, During one trip to Jolly Harbour we picked up my Son Sean and his Girlfriend Katie, they flew out from the UK to join us for my last ten days, later we ended up back at English Harbour where a couple of days later we said goodbye to Kate, Jordan and Matt, so sad to see them leave, and now i’ll have to make my own cocktails, and at least the bathroom is free of makeup, creams and hair products, (I don’t think you forgot anything Jordan!)
Sean and Katie on their own private beach.
Back in time for cocktails.
Leaving Deep Bay.
I spent 37 days on Kapowai, some feeling seasick, some feeling hungover but most feeling totally relaxed, safe and very well looked after, Thanks again to Sean & Lois.
After a couple of days at Jolly Harbour we headed up the coast to Deep Bay, the name is a bit misleading as the bay isn’t very deep at all. There is a wreak at the entrance, it’s a ship called the Andes.
The Andes was a three-masted steel sailing barque built in England in 1874. In early June of 1905, it left Trinidad with a cargo hold full of pitch (tar) bound for Chile.
They first sailed northeast before sailing south in order to sail the trade winds to Cape Horn, but had a problem approaching Antigua. The barrels of pitch were rubbing against each other and this generated a lot of heat, enough to create smoke that started drifting above decks.
The captain of the ship wanted to anchor in St. Johns Harbor, but the harbormaster directed them to Deep Bay. The busy St. Johns Harbor was no place for a burning ship – it would have been a hazard to any other vessel in the harbor.
So they anchored in Deep Bay, and as soon as the hatches were open enough oxygen was introduced to the cargo holds to ignite the tar. The ship burned and sank bow first, but all of the crew were spared.
The beach was very nice with not a lot of people, there was a small bar where we could grab a beer to cool down, we spoke to all 7 guests of the hotel, not many guest for such a large hotel. This is a shot from Goat Mount looking down at said Hotel and the small bar at the top of the beach.
On the way up to the Fort.
A shot of Kapowai from the fort at the top of Goat Mount.
After the cultural visit to Nelson’s Dockyard we needed some fun time, by now Sean’s kids were onboard, they came out to surprise Lois for her birthday so with my nephew, niece and her boyfriend we headed up the coast to Jolly Harbour, this was only 90 minutes away so a nice short hop after the crossing.
Arriving at Jolly Harbour.
The berth was a bit tight but Sean made easy work getting Kapowai along side, we couldn’t of been any closer to the pub/restaurant unless we ran aground.
A short walk and we were at the beach, and not a bad one.
A short walk from Kapowai is Nelson’s Dockyard a cultural heritage site and marina in English Harbour, Antigua. It is part of Nelson’s Dockyard National Park, which also contains Clarence House and Shirley Heights. Named after Admiral Horatio Nelson, who lived in the Dockyard from 1784 through 1787, Nelson’s Dockyard is home to some of Antigua’s sailing and yachting events such as Antigua Sailing Week and the Antigua Charter Yacht Meeting.
English Harbour quickly became a focal point for the establishment of a naval base in Antigua. Its position on the south side of the island meant it was well positioned to monitor the neighbouring French island of Guadeloupe. Additionally, the harbour is naturally well-suited to protect ships and cargo from hurricanes. In 1671 the first recorded ship to enter English Harbour was a yacht, the “Dover Castle.” It was chartered to the King by a Colonel Stroude for the use of the Governor of the Leeward Islands when he visited the islands under his jurisdiction and “chased ye pirates.”
The first reference to the defence of English Harbour occurs in 1704 when Fort Berkeley was listed as one of the twenty forts established around the coast of Antigua. By 1707 naval ships used English Harbour as a station, but no facilities had yet been built for ship maintenance or repair. By 1723 English Harbour was in regular use by British naval ships and in September of that year the harbour gained a reputation as a safe natural harbour when a hurricane swept ashore 35 ships lying in other ports in Antigua, while the HMS Hector and HMS Winchelsea, both moored in English Harbour, suffered no damage. Soon British naval officers petitioned for the building of repair and maintenance facilities in English Harbour. In 1728 the first Dockyard, St. Helena, was built on the east side of the harbour and consisted of a capstan house for careening ships, a stone storehouse, and three wooden sheds for the storage of careening gear. There were no quarters for dockyard staff or visiting sailors and the seamen themselves conducted all work and repairs on the ships. Naval operations in English Harbour soon outgrew the small original dockyard and plans were made to develop the western side of the harbour with more facilities.
Admiral’s Inn (the former Pitch and Tar Store)
Construction of the modern Naval Dockyard began in the 1740s. Enslaved laborers from plantations in the vicinity were sent to work on the dockyard. By 1745 a line of wooden storehouses on the site of the present Copper & Lumber Store Hotel had been built and the reclamation of land to provide adequate wharves had been started. Building continued in the Dockyard between 1755 and 1765, when quarters were built for the Commander-in-Chief on the site of the Officers’ Quarters. Additional storerooms, a kitchen and a shelter for the Commander’s “chaise” were also erected. The first part of the present Saw Pit Shed was constructed, the reclamation of the wharves and their facing with wooden piles was continued, and a stone wall was built to enclose the Dockyard. Between 1773 and 1778 additional construction was undertaken. The boundary walls were extended to their present position; the Guard House, the Porter’s Lodge, the two Mast Houses, the Capstan House, and the first bay of the Canvas, Cordage, and Clothing Store were built; and the first Naval Hospital was built outside the Dockyard. Many of the buildings in the Dockyard today were constructed during a building programme undertaken between 1785 and 1794. The Engineer’s Offices and Pitch and Tar Store were built in 1788 and the Dockyard wall was extended to enclose the new building. The wharves were improved and the northern side of the Saw Pit Shed was built in the same year. In 1789 the Copper and Lumber Store was completed and by 1792 the west side of the Canvas, Cordage, and Clothing Store had been completed. The Blacksmith’s Shop also dates from this period. This building programme overlaps with Nelson’s tenure in the Dockyard from 1784 to 1787. The Sail Loft was built in 1797 adjacent to the Engineer’s Offices and Tar and Pitch Store. Around 1806 the Pay Master’s Office was built and in 1821 the Officers’ Quarters building was constructed to accommodate the growing numbers of officers who accompanied their ships to the yard. The Naval Officer’s and Clerk’s House was built in 1855 and is now home to the Dockyard Museum.
In 1889 the Royal Navy abandoned the Dockyard and it fell into decay. The Society of the Friends of English Harbour began restoration in 1951 and a decade later it was opened to the public. Among the original buildings are two hotels, a museum, craft and food shops, restaurants, and a large marina. Hiking trails radiate across the surrounding national park.
Check out some of the rules below.
Whoop whoop land at last, was that a nice sight or what? We had the BBQ on the fly bridge all ready to go and some beers on ice (just a few) I even had a cigar ready, It was such a nice feeling lighting that.
Here was our first sighting of land just before sunset. The Island of Antigua to the right of the sun.
By the time we got to English Harbour it was pitch black and very hard to find an anchorage with enough room for Kapowai, keeping in mind anchor chain length, water depth and staying out of the shipping channel and away from other boats. However we did find one and dropped the anchor, phew G & T time.
This was the view in the morning.
After a leisurely breakfast, and the first one where you didn’t have to hold your plate down, we got Kapowai ‘Caribbean ready’ deck chairs out, snorkelling gear ready, ice maker working, suntan lotion to hand. A quick radio call to the harbour master and we were on our way to a berth.
Kapowai berthed along side, so nice to step onto dry land after so long at sea, I couldn’t have done it with better people on a better boat, big thanks to Sean & Lois and of course Kapowai.
After not seeing a thing for 11 days, the last thing you want to see is a boat in trouble, this morning thats what we saw, to be fair it wasn’t really in trouble now but had been at some point, we first saw it off to starboard and made our way over to it, I grabbed my camera and went and stood on the bow, I took as many shots as I could trying to get a name and to see if there was any sign of life. Sean carefully manoeuvred Kapowai to within a few meters of the boat and blasted the horn, yeah scared the hell out of me. We watched and listened but there was no-one onboard. Rang it in on the sat phone to Antigua SAR and they told us the lone skipper had been picked up by a cargo ship on the 19th February – before we left the Canaries. Brings it home as to how dangerous this sailing can be, i’m glad I didn’t see this early on in the crossing. The boat is a Dufour 29 and I think the name is Masupa.
You can see the mast is gone and the sails are in the water, all the fenders are out so we were pretty sure a rescue had taken place. Hope all involved are safe and well.
Still very little to see and not a lot to do either, except for the all important scrubbing of the decks and engine room checks.
Later we tried some trolling and despite keeping the speed up had three strikes and landed one Mahi-Mahi. Dinner that night, it was great.
Mahi-Mahi or common Dolphinfish (Coryphaena hippurus)