Wednesday, December 13, 2006

National Heros Day

Every year in Antigua we seem to get another holiday thrown at us, and this past Monday was National Heroes Day. The former Gov. tried to make it V.C. Bird Day after the old loved PM who led the island into independence, but it didn't happen before the new Gov. got into power. Of course, they couldn't go along with anything that had been thought up by the old guys and had to change the name to National Heroes Day. They knew that most of the island wanted to acknowledge VC Bird, so compromised with a holiday celebrating all of the past "heroes".
Anyway, we don't usually run tours on public holidays, but had pre-booked several people on the Eco Tour for that day. Adam, Tony and Trevor took the guests out and seemed to have a great time too.
I decided that it would be a good opportunity to take my mom and grandmother out boating. I haven't had the chance to take my grandmother out since she's been here which I felt bad about, and it was such a lovely day for it: great sunshine and about 14 knots of wind to keep it coolish.
I called my sister Nell, and my other sister Fran who just arrived from the UK and told them to invite who they wanted. Captain JD said he'd come with us too so it was a nice little "lime" (social gathering).
We ended up leaving the dock in Jolly Harbour at about 2 pm after we had carefully taken nana on board. My grandmother is 87 years young and has had a knee replacement. The rest of her hinges are not that great but she can still walk on her own. On the boat it’s a little different so we did give her some help getting in and out later on.
We were in Xtreme which is a little more difficult for someone like nana than the Eco Boat is, but she says that she likes "shocking people" and also thinks that she can do anything. I love that kinda attitude and hope to have it at 87 if I am still around.
I zoomed out of the harbour once we had made it past the no wake zone and headed north to Five Islands Harbour, where sadly they are cutting up the beautiful hillside of Pearns Point for development. I say sadly because it was such a beautiful bit of natural coastline with lovely original forest. I say forest only in the Antiguan sense of the word, but it was and still is pretty thick in certain areas. There are not many places left in Antigua that have this kinda vegetation. We cruised way up into the harbour and went around the West Coast's Maiden Island which is owned by JD's family. We saw a big mega yacht doing a photo shoot with several beautiful models and zoomed past them and their jet-ski toys. From there we cruised into Jolly Beach and kept going past Coco's and Coco Bay then on past Fry's and Darkwood Bays towards Turners and Johnson's Point. The waters were lovely and I think apart from the winds, my grandmother was having a lovely time. We were doing about 30 mph going into winds of about 15 knots so there was plenty of wind straitening out your hair......if you were lucky enough to have that much. I didn't have to worry about a bad hair day. ha ha
As we left the calm Caribbean waters of Carlisle Bay, it was time for the Atlantic which I knew would be a bit of a surprise for some on the boat. I remember Nana telling me when I was a kid that she would go on "Nothing Smaller than the QE 2" and here she was about to go into the Atlantic on a 45 foot off-shore powerboat. Nell doesn't like the Atlantic either and there were another few people who had no experience in big swells. Anyway, I had slowed down as we rounded the point into the Atlantic and everyone seemed fine. We had about 2 miles to go to get into the protection of Rendezvous Bay and Xtreme's design carried us there comfortably. Later Nana said she loved the "beautiful" boat and that she though it was a very feminine boat. "I can tell when a car is masculine or feminine and the same with your boat. It is a lovely woman". Hmm I wasn't sure about this comment, but she enjoyed it so that part was cool.
Rendezvous was perfect....well almost perfect. The beach is truly one of the best in the Caribbean, and I love going there every time. One of the things that makes it so perfect is the fact that it’s difficult to get to: it’s in the Atlantic and not close to any other bays, its got a terrible "road" going to it but its difficult even in a jeep, and there are no shops or buildings in sight. All these things make it very quiet. Most of the time we go there we are alone and when people are there they thing that there will never be anyone else coming. It fools many people as it did the two naked men who were sun bathing on the beach when we arrived. woops!
We went up the beach from them and we helped nana get down the ladder into the water. I then took her to the beach where she and my mom chilled in the shade for an hour. I almost fell asleep on the soft sand. Its soo funny when in life you sometimes rediscover things that you take for granted. The sand felt so soft and perfect something I hadn't noticed in ages....and I felt totally relaxed laying on it.
When we got back to the boat I decided to head up to Falmouth Harbour where the Yacht charter Show was finishing that evening. As I have spoken about in the blog several times, the yachts are totally amazing. We stopped at the marina and all got off to go and have some Italian coffee and gelato.....yum! roddy and Ian of Acqua films met up with us after doing a shoot for one of the yachts. Nana isn't into coffee or Italian ice cream and had a beer instead. The ride home was the best, and with the sun bursting through a rain cloud over Montserrat the water was golden.
JD drove and I took a few shots of the gang sitting in the back of the "bus".
National Hero's Day ended up being a lovely day out for us, and my family enjoyed the time we could spend with one of our very own heroes. Nana has been a beacon of support and strength for her family members for about 80 years and never give up. Hope to do a trip like this again soon.