After two years of vicariously being aboard the Pura Vida, we, the proud parents of Lauren, were met by Dallas and Lauren at the V.C. Bird Airport to begin our Caribbean holiday. Our rental car also began its brutal venture with us as it stumbled over the many potholes, “speed humps”, and narrow two-lane roads that merged into one because of double-parked vehicles. Robin is our designated chauffeur and continues to remember to drive on the left-hand side.

One of many skills to be learned as part of the crew is how to enter and exit the dinghy. Multiple ways have been tried with varied levels of grace. The second lesson presented by the ever patient Dallas was how to drive the dinghy into the dock and the side of the boat without playing bumper boats. Use of the on-board head was the necessary third lesson.

Meals aboard the boat have ranged from fresh wahoo and mahi-mahi to Shrimp a la Lauren with red pepper sauce and coconut milk. Tonight is homemade tortillas for burritos. One evening eating out at La Mia Cucina, we were treated to red snapper. Who goes to the tropics without a pina colada and rum punch galore? A selection of local beers and S. African wines have rounded out our dining experiences.


Awaiting our fresh fish at the water’s edge at La Mia Cucina

This week in Antigua is called Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta. Spectacular super yachts were also on display in the marina. One that I had seen on the TV show “Wealth on the Water” , the Maltese Falcon, was amazing up close with electronically operated yard arms. In contrast to the  flashy yachts, there was one sailboat built in 2003 from a 1908 design with no engine, yet sailed beside the more advanced boats with ease.

Antiguans have proven to be exceptionally friendly and helpful. When taking a “wrong” turn home one day, a young pickup driver assured us we were taking the local shortcut as he proceeded to lead us over a road we had previously determined was impassable. Robin agreed to follow the 4-wheel drive truck, and later, remembered he was in a low-riding Nissan. We determined a Nissan oil pan is substantial beyond all expectations and is qualified for off-roading …so far. On Palm Sunday we were blessed with attending the St. Barnabus Anglican church where Father David greeted the Kansan visitors with remarks about the KU Jayhawks and Kansas City Royals. Our hosts at the Blue Moon Antigua villa have been so kind to assist with reservations and directions to local attractions. Often we asked for directions along the road and each person’s answer was always cordial and accurate. One man said, “You are right on your journey.”

church We were welcomed with open arms here even though the service had already started

We are in awe of the natural beauty of the land. The flowers, plants and cactus that adorn the multi-step ascent to our villa makes the walk easier. The island of Montserrat is viewed (26 miles) in the distance where you see steam rising above the active volcano. Sunsets colors reflected in the clouds and water cannot be captured in our small camera lens, but will long be remembered. One day on our touring we stopped for lunch at a beachside cafe; as the sailboats passed in the distance, the palm trees and pink sand framed a picture that would make a Corona commercial proud.  The shades of blue lived up to all our anticipation.

combinedViews en route to the upper villa

blue2 Montserratblue

Shades of blue

Local attractions in the area recalled the days of slave trade, sugar plantations, and English/French military battles. Devil’s Bridge, an eroded cliff area creating an unsupported rock arch, was a site of suicide for slaves escaping the cruelty of their captivity. During a trek to a rainforest we stumbled upon a delightful artist, Sallie Harker, who had been selected as the artist to represent Antigua in the international sculpture show held in China.

Our upcoming sailing trips to Barbuda and St. Kitts should include additional chances for snorkeling, touring, and hopefully, fresh lobster eating! We appreciate Lauren and Dallas’s generosity in providing us with this unique opportunity.