Posted by: bearcruzer | December 5, 2010

Lord Nelson’s Stompin Grounds

Nov 13th – 14th

We made our way from Guadeloupe, north to Antigua.   As usual we dropped our lines in the water on the passage and soon the shout of “Fish On” was heard.   Mike brought in a nice Kingfish.   It put up quite a fight for the first few minutes and then suddenly stopped fighting and he brought it aboard easily.   Apparently we are not the only ones who enjoy the taste of Kingfish.    It was nice of it to only take the tail and leave us the majority of the filet.     Upon our arrival in Historic English Harbor, Antigua we reconnected with our friends aboard s/v Faith who we had first met in Tobago.   They are based in South Africa but are back here in Antigua at the request of a former employer and are working through the paperwork to obtain a work permit for continued employment here, not an easy task.    They are a wonderful family and we enjoyed our time together sharing stories and swapping movies.   They filled us in on the local amenities, hikes, food, and customs here, which is always a blessing when arriving at a place we have never been before.    We checked in with Customs and Immigration and took a walk across to Falmouth Harbor where we ran into Susie from s/v Queen Emma.    We stopped for a happy hour drink at the Mad Mongoose Bar and upon returning to the boat found s/v Diana had caught up with us once again.     We spent the weekend hiking around the ruins of Fort Berkely.  The trails here are not well maintained and now that we are back on the drier Islands much of the vegetation is scrub and shrubs with long thorns making the walk nearly impassable without good shoes.   As we picked our way carefully through the scrub we could see and smell evidence of the many goats who are the main users of these trails.   As we hiked the ridges we startled more than one group of them relaxing in the shade causing them to bleat in protest before reluctantly moving away from us.   We also spent some enjoyable hours learning about the history of the area as we wandered through the beautifully restored Nelsons Dockyard here in English Harbor.   Named after the Famous Lord Nelson who was stationed here in 1784.   The museum gives a wonderful glimpse into the life of Nelson and of the English Sailors who lived and worked on the Islands in the late 1700’s.   Their living conditions were less than accommodating.   Clothes washed once weekly in saltwater after being soaked in urine (thought to remove stains).  Mosquitoes were insufferable.   Those that didn’t die from dengue or yellow fever often succumbed to ailments brought on or exacerbated by alcoholism.   Sailors were issued a gallon of beer everyday much of which would go bad because of the heat.    Clean fresh water was in short supply and so was mixed with rum to make it drinkable.   Those that were unfortunate enough to contract more severe cases of these diseases or were severely injured in the course of their duties were normally finished off by the barbaric medical practices of the Fort hospital.  Bloodletting  and massive doses of heavy metals were the treatments of the era.  These treatments compounded by lack of knowledge regarding hygiene and sterile surgical procedures pretty much guaranteed that those who ended up there had a one way ticket to the grave.

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  1. Great pics, you are looking fabulous!

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