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Jol Byerley’s Nov 05 Letter from Antigua

It looks as if we in the Caribbean
may have had as many as 17 named storms and hurricanes come blasting through or
near the islands so far this summer. Now, that is one heck of a lot! Especially
since, for many years, we only had a few! It must be said, though, that both
Katrina and Rita pounded pell mell
into the low-lying areas of New Orleans and
Galveston and into the south coast of the
USA, like a
marauding army of men from Mars. They were both very big in size and packed a
punch the like of which I hope we in these islands never see. Katrina in
particular dismantled and flooded the city of
New Orleans, a place Judy and I know well and
love. Now, I hate to be critical, but did it not seem that it was the impoverished
people who suffered the most?

Truly, I hope
that a hurricane of Katrina’s fury doesn’t rip into any of the
Caribbean
Islands. The loss of life could well be
monumental. By the time you read this, we should be well past the hurricane
season and into the winter. So we might as well tell you what has been
happening here in Antigua.

On Hugh
Bailey’s very big dock in Falmouth
Harbour, there has been a
considerable enlargement and I believe that dredging has been carried out as
well. This is now one of the biggest areas of stern-to and alongside dockspace in the Caribbean.
Meanwhile, over on the south side of Falmouth
Harbour, the Yacht Club
Marina has also been modernized. Here also, a hotel has been built overlooking
the Bay and the Marina.
It should be pointed out here that this marina has its own restaurant as well
as shops, boutiques, travel agents, along with a good
provisioning and liquor store. Also Cable and Wireless, an Art gallery, Yacht
Brokerage, Marine Store, Dougie’s Bar, and an
Ice Cream shop. Hugh Bailey’s Catamaran Marina on the north side of the
harbour is a favourite place for the racing and cruising set, which
incidentally is just across the road from Bailey’s Supermarket, and an
excellent ice cream parlour. In the same area, there is a flower shop and a
first-class cake shop. From any of these places, taxis and buses can be taken
into the town of St John’s.

Jolly Harbour
is over on the island’s west coast and this vast area of sheltered water
has now gone ahead by leaps and bounds. There are many shops, and of course a
new supermarket and a large new casino and restaurant facility.

Perhaps the
biggest change in the island
of Antigua is the large
number of houses that have been built in the last year or so, of which many are
for rent to guests. By the same token, there are dozens of small hotels,
especially in the English
Harbour and Falmouth
area, which are close enough to the yachts to be in touch but maintain their
privacy. Also remember that without going through customs or anything one can
take the fast Wave Piercing catamaran ferry across to our sister island of
Barbuda and return before dark. Spending the day at the Frigate Bird Sanctuary
or partaking in the many delights of this splendid little island of only
slightly more than 1,400 people. By the way the capitol Codrington
looks almost as it did many years ago!

Anyway, I get
the feeling that this is going to be a bumper year for
Antigua and Barbuda.
We still have many, many unspoilt beaches, delightful little towns and probably
the friendliest people you will find anywhere in the island chain.

On another tack
did you know that our own “yachtie”
doctor Mrs Madeleine Fraser had baby twin boys this summer? They are called Digby and Drummond. She will happily see you if you are not
up to par if you call Tree House in English Harbour on VHF 68.

Finally, as we
have already said some time ago, Nelsons old Naval Dockyard in
English
Harbour had its sea wall entirely
rebuilt. Now it looks just as the day it was completed way back in the days of
stage coaches. There are new electrical outlets, mooring bollards and heaps of
new bits and pieces without the old place looking like a new country estate.
So, do you know, I am really looking forward to the start of this season.

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