Sunday, April 10, 2011

Life in Antigua, so far

We came into the anchorage with a long list of things to accomplish here: jib repair, halyard replacement, new glasses for John, laundry, water tank fill, Tot Club, and so on. So far, we've managed most of these, or at least gotten them started, but we haven't explored very much, at least not scenic places. There are lots of yacht services where we are in the English Harbour/Falmouth Harbour area of Antigua, as you might expect since it's something of a sailing center. For example, it's easy to find a way to get your laundry done by someone else for only a little more than it costs to do it yourself in a machine. (We were low on water, so that was my excuse for not doing the wash by hand on the boat. I'll be back to that next time.) And there are lots of bars and restaurants. What isn't easy here is provisioning. There are several mini-markets, but they're very mini and fairly expensive. We'll be going to St. John's on Monday, after the rigger comes to the boat, for a major shopping expedition. We found the big supermarket there while we were looking for an optician last week.

Meanwhile, we had our first Tot Club introduction on Friday night. It was at the Copper & Lumber, a hotel and restaurant in the old Nelson's Dockyards complex, which is now a national park. The location no doubt partially accounts for the huge turn-out since the historic building is really lovely. We now fully understand what happens at Tot Club gatherings, which are daily at 1800 but at different locations throughout the week. First, you sign in. Members are allowed two guests, but our friend Chris had three on Friday (I opted out of the official gathering since I prefer punch with my rum). The others were a couple from Finland whom Chris met in La Gomera in the Canary Islands. Each participant gets a glass of water and a tot of rum. (That's a full measure of straight rum, no ice, for men and a half measure for women.) Then they form a circle and guests are introduced. After that are announcements followed by readings from this day in British naval history and a cleansing of the palate (that's what the water was for). Finally, there's the toast, a different one for each day of the week, and bless the Queen, then slam that rum.

Our group during the introductions. Next to John is Chris.

Membership in the Tot Club requires four things: an introduction, a minimum 1,000 non-stop miles under the keel, and attendance at seven meetings. If you want to join after the seventh meeting, you have to buy the tots for all in attendance that night. The huge turn-out Friday night isn't, Chris assures us, usual. I think the trick to joining without taking out a bank loan is to pick a night with a small circle, but I don't know if you have to say in advance that you're going to join that night. Probably. Members can buy a burgee and logo shirt. John wants the burgee and can always use another shirt.

Chris was busy last night, so we didn't go to the tot. I think we're on again for tonight, though. On Saturdays and Sundays it's at Life on the Corner, which is right next to the Mad Mongoose, where we've been going for happy hour and free Wi-Fi.

1 comment:

Phil said...

To keep perspective...we've gotten another suprise 10 inches!!(of snow, LOl)
Ahh, las palmas