Antigua Boat Life Dog Lovers

Antigua: Time to give
Ipanema some rest

Written by Renato Matiolli

We spent around one week in Antigua and to be honest we didn’t love it, maybe because we were a bit lazy and did not do much in terms of water activities and exploring the island. On the other hand we had some really amazing guests; a couple always on high spirits that were really funny. We felt like we were attending a 24/7 stand up comedy show at Ipanema, so can’t complain about our past week.

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To be honest we did not like Antigua so much mostly because we were really tired and lazy to explore the real cool spots like Nonsuch Bay, the Green Island or the kiting spots. Nevertheless Sarah decided to make a symbolic gesture on how we felt about Antigua.

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Just kidding. Sarah actually like Antigua more than I did, but I like this sequence so I decided to put on the blog.

Our initial and superficial impression was that the island is very expensive for really suboptimum services, for example, we paid US$55 for two loads of washing machine (just washing, drying would be more!). We didn’t feel the locals were very receptive, nor welcoming, nor joyful, nor polite (of course there were exception and cool people can be found everywhere, but we did not feel good at the island). Of course the beaches are beautiful with white sand and very peaceful, but while the water has a beautiful color from far, it is really murky, sort of milky, you can’t see more than 20-30 centimeter in front of you. Moreover, unlike Barbados where the beaches are full of locals, we had the impression that in Antigua the beaches are for tourists only. Finally a lot of people had their eyes on Feijão for the sole purpose of using him and/or his puppies for dog fights. Can you believe it? Apparently this is still quite popular in Antigua. How can people still support this?

We can’t even think about Feijão being kidnap to fight until his death, that Sarah starts crying.

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What has really saved our stay in Antigua were the guests we had onboard. We still had Duda and Raquel for the first couple days. Having them on board is just like having family, we like the same type of stuff and think very similarly.

Then, we had a very pleasant surprise with our new guests: Cesar and Bel. Having them onboard is like having a non-stop stand up comedy just for you. Cesar is the most people’s person ever and he can quickly make friends with anyone. He makes all types of jokes, including the politically incorrect ones. He says a lot of crazy stuff to Bel and she laughs about it, ignores it or just plays along. What an amusing few days for us, just watching them interact was really funny.

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DSC02724_FotorTo make things better, Cesar brought Dende Oil from Brazil, a key ingredient to make one of our favorite dishes, Moqueca. And e taught Sarah step by step how to make it. I couldn’t be happier.

One day, Sarah’s childhood friend, Carola, saw a few pictures we had posted on facebook and sent Sarah a message to say that she and her husband, João, were also in town. Sarah couldn’t be happier and we quickly invited them to come and spend the day with us on the boat. João is a doctor and Cesar drilled him with questions about weird things and situations he has seen in his profession. João played along and told us innumerous funny and embarrassing stories about his days in ER, it was a great day. We really enjoyed having them with us for the day, pity it was so short.

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After a really funny week it was time to say goodbye to Cesar and Bel, and welcome Marcelo and Carol, a really cool couple from Porto Alegre, who will stay with us all the way to Saint Martin, a trip which will also include Barbuda and St Barts. They showed up bringing, amongst other things, herbs and flour amongst… and we couldn’t stop laughing picturing what would have happened if they had gotten stopped at customs… they probably would have thought it was marijuana and cocaine! But in fact it was just two very Brazilian products: tea herbs (Chimarrão) and tapioca flour which Sarah loves!

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As per exploring, we have been around the English Harbor, Falmouth Harbor, Tranquility Bay, Jolly Harbor and Deep Bay.

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At Jolly Harbor we stayed a couple of days in the marina with Bel and Cesar to give Ipanema some well deserved rest. I have to tell you, sometimes it was great to have the facilities of being on dock: unlimited water and energy as well as not having to think about the next anchorage.

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IMG_4998_FotorAt the English Harbor and Falmouth Harbor we saw dozens of the most beautiful Mega Sail Boats we have ever seen. There are lots of Mega Yachts as well. Some of them were beautiful and others very tacky. However ALL the Mega Sail Boats we saw were really stylish and classy. Who own these boats? Who are these people? All these boats seem to be owned by the British Royal Family. I respect people who really know how to spend their money. I think it is sort of a virtue.

Deep Bay was our favorite spot in the island, they even have a really shallow wreck dive, which is supposed to be amazing, but the water was so milky that we didn’t dive it. Apart from the murky water the place is amazing. Not so many boats in the bay, really beautiful and quite calm waters.

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We arrived right after one of these Mega Sail Yatchs and anchored a few meters in front of them. Soon after we saw their kick ass dinghy zoom by towing two small sail boats for the owner’s kids to play with. We sat there sunbathing and watching the whole thing from our deck. Soon the two little girls on one of the boats kept capsizing over and over and were struggling to pull it back up as the wind was very gusty and quite strong with 30+ knots. The only poor crewmember taking care of them was trying to sail the other boat but wasn’t the most skillful dude I have ever seen. So after watching the girls being dragged by the current whilst trying to pull the boat back up right for a while and barely missing the bow of another sail boat on anchor at the bay, I decide to jump in the water and swim towards them. They must have been around 8-9 years old, super fun and sweet. We put the boat back up and sailed together close to shore. When I felt they were in control again, we passed by Ipanema and I jumped back in the water and swan back to our boat, watching them successfully reach the beach. Sarah was so proud of me. She is so adorable. The crew and kids stopped by a couple of times to thank us. I was so happy I could ride that little boat with those girls. I could have done that for hours, but unfortunately it was just a few minutes.

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Well, now it is time to move to Barbuda. We are extremely excited to get there. It is probably the most beautiful place we will go to in the Caribbean. Having said this, we are quite concerned, the wind forecast shows strong gusts and it is an upwind ride, which means a difficult and uncomfortable sail… Furthermore, when we get there we have to negotiate our way through a series of very shallow coral heads and find a place to anchor around them. Let’s hope we don’t do anything stupid.

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About the author

Renato Matiolli

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