Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Back in Antigua again,
We are tucked up in Falmouth harbour and enjoying some peace, quiet and a bug free environment.
The anchorage is not so busy but the marinas are full of mega yachts, most of which are available for charter.
The charter mega yachts are not seeing much business and some are even anchoring out to save the dockage.
However the Maltese Falcon, a stunning tall square rigger was on the dock. It has fifteen square sails stored inside the mast which unfurl into tracks along the yards. The masts rotate. It's weekly charter fee is between €325,000 to €335,000 per week plus expenses. Who pays for something like that?
We spent a fascinating afternoon looking at the history of the English Harbour dockyard. It was abandoned in 1889 after a 150 years of service to the British navy.
The Nelson exhibit in the dockyard covered his life including the time he spent in English Harbour which he did not like much, the locals wanted to arrest him because he enforced some unpopular legislation so he stayed on board and he was badly affected by mosquitos. We both could appreciate the last point as we got badly bitten when we transited the River Salee this time, Gisela suffering more than I.
Gisela was intrigued to find that some of the troops stationed in and around English Harbour were mercenaries from the area of Germany where she lives. A Ferdinand von Hompesch raised over a 1000 troops reputedly worth £24 each to him ! which then fought for the British Army in the Caribbean.
I was intrigued to find that in the very early days of chartering out of English Habour in fact some of the very first charters anywhere in the Caribbean were Philip Openheimer, the father of the atom bomb and C S Forester, author of the Hornblower novels. Names to conjure with!
RECENT WILDLIFE SIGHTINGS
The little herons are off to roost in the mangroves on the River Salee.
This fellow seemed to pose for us but was also keeping a wary eye out as he had already lost one tail!
This fine fellow Gisela spotted is about 5 inches long and is a Tetrio sphinx caterpillar. They love frangipani trees and can defoliate a tree in a few days or couple of weeks.
The caterpillar will eventually become a giant gray sphinx moth.
Posted by John Duncker at 3:51 PM