We had come to spend the holidays on Antigua for one reason, Nelson’s Dockyard’s annual Christmas Day champagne party . Our friends Jeff and Di first told us about the event, while we were all still in Grenada. Champagne, sunshine and cruising friends?!? I was immediately sold.
Shortly after we settled into Falmouth Harbour, Howard went into the water…possibly an attempt at a holiday bath? At our latest count, he’d been in the water six times, in four countries.
Scott trimmed Sea Life in her holiday finest, we snapped a Christmas photo and were ready for the holidays to begin.
On Christmas Day, we walked over to the Nelson’s Dockyard to meet our friends. A crowd of people were already gathering in the midday sun when we arrived.
Under a huge tent, a large, old wooden dinghy was filled with champagne bottles on ice. The process was simple: buy a bottle, and grab some cups for sharing. Prices ranged from $15.00 usd, up to $95.00 a bottle, with proceeds going toward the fight against breast cancer.
I’d brought along two insulated drink thermoses, with a splash of mango juice in each one. I divided my champagne between the two, and voila!…chilled mimosas ready to go! Scott, not being a champagne drinker, had come armed with his own thermoses, filled with vodka and Orangina; let the merriment begin!
As we walked the grounds, I snapped some photos of some people in their holiday garb.
An odd-looking boat was on display, outside one of the buildings. We went for a closer look, and learned that James “Tiny” Little had used it to row 3,000 miles from the Canary Islands to Antigua, in 2005.
Little left the Canaries in January, and arrived on Antigua four months later…looking much lighter. Notice his interesting, daily schedule.
We spent the day in the company of good friends, enjoying the champagne, sunshine….and silliness.
Di and I posed for a photos with one of the many Santas in attendance. This particular Santa was sitting by a case of Heineken beer; it must have been a stressful Christmas Eve.
Our friend Ian was a dancing machine, performing a one-man show as the band played nearby.
Eventually, he took his moves closer to the band, dancing with several partners.
And he still had energy left to take his wife, Manuela, for a twirl as well.
It was a great Christmas Day.
Next up, New Year’s Eve., and our friend Karen (our official cruising visitor), flew in to celebrate with us. As we prepared her room, Howard firmly claimed the pull-down bunk. We thought she wouldn’t mind sharing with him, and officially made them roommates.
Steady rain poured the entire morning of Karen’s arrival, so I sent Scott to the dinghy dock armed with a raincoat for her, and trash bags for her luggage. Thankfully, by the time Scott picked her up at the dock, the rain had stopped.
We spent the first part of our evening up at Shirley Heights. A reggae band played, the crowd was festive, and the view was beautiful.
Karen broke her flip flop on the historical site’s uneven surface, but not to fear…”MacGyver” got right to work with his knife and some cocktail straws. In no time…presto!, she was back in business.
As the night grew later, we left Shirley Heights, and made our way back down the hill to Nelson’s Dockyard, where a large crowd was gathering for the countdown to midnight, and continued our celebration.
As a DJ played music for the crowd, Ian shared some dance move tips with Scott, who caught on pretty well.
Before we knew it, midnight arrived, and 2018 was ushered in with cheers and a colorful fireworks display.
Our journey back to Sea Life was full of acrobatics. Scott fell on the uneven sidewalk, and rolled his way into some nearby grass, and shockingly came up unscathed. I fell soon after, but did not roll, and instead came up with one of my toes bent sideways. A friendly local gave me a hand off the ground, asking….”Do you people need help?”
We arrived at the dock, where Karen promptly fell into the dinghy. After managing to all acrobats seated, and the motor started, we sped off and ran over a bouy. As he cut away the tangled mass of line from the prop, Scott barked at Karen and me to row. Eventually, we made it back to Sea Life without further issue, and safely climbed aboard. Maybe a bit too much celebrating.
On New Year’s Day, Karen and I spent the afternoon at Boom, a nearby restaurant with a pool on site. We walked the drive leading up to the property, past colorful tropical plants and flowers, and settled into a poolside daybed.
We enjoyed lunch, drinks and some pool time, before making our way back to Scott, who’d spent the day napping.
On Karen’s final day, she and I walked the street leading to Nelson’s Dockyard, chatting with locals and perusing shops as we went.
When we were all shopped out, the two of us made our way out of the dockyard, but not before getting a final glimpse of Boom across the water, while trying not to disturb one of the resident iguanas.
We took a short cab ride to nearby Papa’s for some lunch, before she left for the airport. Scott arrived at the waterfront restaurant by dinghy, with Karen’s bags in tow.
We enjoyed a relaxing lunch, said goodbye to our friend and put her into a cab, bound for the airport.
It had been a wonderful Antigua holiday, as we spent time with cruising friends, and our good friend from home. We wonder what 2018 has in store for the crew of Sea Life?? Here are more photos.
“Shells Sink, Dreams Float. Life’s Good On Our Boat!”