This has been one of our busiest Christmases with so much going on we often had to turn down invitations. If you want somewhere to really celebrate with friends, old and new, Antigua is a good choice. Some boats prefer their own company and there is plenty of space here to find a quiet, scenic corner to anchor in. We didn’t hear much, if any noise from shore during the festive week and the winds only create a slight chop rather than a swell, so we had restful nights. There were a few strong gusts and everyone held tight in good holding.
Christmas Eve Rob and I got the boat ready as we had 9 of us on Beyzano for the evening, with plenty of food and drink laid out inside. The boats were ‘Horizons’, ‘Flyin Low’ and ‘Blue Moon’, all lovely company.
We played just 1 round of the board game,’ Taboo’ with the girls easily beating the boys, despite the latter cheating and saying they didn’t understand the rules. Having found my old descant and treble recorders, last played many years ago, we sang a carol and then decided to let Wham and Slade take over.
We are usually quite courteous to our neighbours and keep the noise level right down but this time we turned the volume up and all of us danced on the deck for a short while. None went overboard but it was a close run thing. Great fun ☺
Ginger and lime pie, Caribbean ‘Black Cake’ or mince pies was dessert with most of us having a trio rather than have to choose. Fortunately the cake turned out well, and was very moist after the fruit was steeped in alcohols for a week before baking it. I will definitely use the recipe again. I didn’t ice it though, as the heat often makes icing, especially buttercream, melt and look a mess.
Rob and I were up until gone midnight attacking half the washing up, as in the morning I needed to produce mincemeat muffins and savoury pastries by 1000 for some other friends we had invited over.
‘Secret Smile’ and ‘Partners’ duly arrived for champagne just as a water-skiing Santa went by, very casually whizzing through the anchorage without even getting his suit wet. We obviously hadn’t been very good this year, as he didn’t stop with any presents.
At midday we joined ‘Blue Moon’ and met up with everyone in Nelson’s Dockyard for the annual Christmas party, with proceeds going to charity. The entrance fee was 1.25 GBP each and you had a selection of champagne to choose from with prices starting at 10 GBP for a fizzy something. They kept all the bottles in a rowing boat full of ice. Some people brought picnics and were sitting on the lawns overlooking the harbour. Nice way to spend the day.
We managed to Skype with 2 of our children but the connection wasn’t great due to the demand, so we continued milling around in the sunshine and soaking up the great atmosphere. Many people had gone to great lengths to look seasonal, including this man in his tree outfit, putting our simple bought hats to shame.
After a couple of hours we felt in need of a rest before the evening’s meal, got an hour’s sleep and then joined another 16 people at ‘Life On The Corner’ just by the Falmouth dinghy dock.
They had created a lovely environment with lots of lights, a set of hats along the bar and laid our table with crackers, candles and tableware. The meal exceeded our expectations, given it was a casual bar and the cost was only 25 GBP per head. I had prawns in a creamy sauce wrapped in smoked salmon, then a turkey roast with no less than 6 vegetables, cranberry sauce, stuffing and bacon wrapped sausages. All followed with a chocolate mousse and accompanied by a bottle of chilled rosé. Everything was cooked perfectly and we thoroughly enjoyed the evening. Thanks to Richard and Lavinia, on ‘Partners’ for organising it all for us.
We now have a boat full of goodies we shouldn’t be eating, including some mini Toblerones ‘Flyin Low’ brought us due to reading the blog and noting how much Rob loves them. ‘Blue Moon’ found a lovely photo frame with all the Caribbean islands depicted around the sides, something for us to hang in our ‘Sailing Room’ when we finally settle back down for good.
Boxing Day 10 of us went back to the Dockyard for the ‘Seafood Friday’ and this time we treated ourselves to steak and lobster, seeing as it is Christmas. In the New Year we will reign in the spending and eating.
The winds have picked up for a few days but are forecast to calm a bit around New Year before increasing again. Our friends Bob and Lin are flying back from the UK on the 4th and we would like to see them again as we last saw them in April. After that we hope to head to Nevis for a 1 night stop before doing a 24 hour passage to St Croix in the United States Virgin Islands, another new place on our list for this season.