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  • Writer's pictureSophie Dingwall

'I'll Only be An Hour"

Boats - It’s never simple. Our adventure continues in Antigua…

Antigua I’ve missed you!

Ashore we had a talk scheduled at Antigua yacht club, to share our experience crossing the Atlantic Ocean and what and why we were here.

For the first time in 18 days we really were clean and tidy. We had scrubbed up well and looked healthy glowing a radiant shade of bronze. The girls had smashed the presentation! Enthusiasm beamed from the audience and we were given a very warm welcome by everyone.

I hadn’t really expected anything else to be honest. Antigua feels like a second home after spending so much time here in the past and sadly, I had forgotten how much I love it. The laid back lifestyle, the locals accent, wooden shacks, white beaches! I’m not one for a busy town…This is more my bag - salty hair and bare feet go hand in hand here!

Crew dinner later that evening was devoured as we acted like hungry school children and funnily enough, nobody ordered beans or potatoes! Dancing was next on the list… Our small army of ‘Exxpedition’ ambassadors had marched in unison to the local bar and taken over. Travelling so far together we had become one family and our energy levels were of an all-time high. We were land high!


The crew were leaving us and it was sad to be saying goodbye to these girls… I think of it more as a ‘see you later’ as I’m sure many of us will still be in contact and will hopefully cross paths in the future.

Thank you Leg 2, you’re all beautiful!


Work Commences

I’m sure it's no surprise to you that there’s a lot of work involved when running a boat, especially after crossing an ocean. So, I started my day sitting on the galley floor in nothing but my bikini emptying the condiments cupboard. Half way through this sticky job, while dripping with heat I was ushered to leave the boat quickly and head out with someone who was popping to town and kindly would give us a lift to get some parts for the boat. For the record, I did put more clothes on to leave the boat, but by no means was I ‘clean’. “I’ll see you in an hour” I said.

This guy Mark.

We had previously met Mark in the bar a night before and was happy to see a familiar face. The 4x4 is already running, the door handle consists of a piece of string poking out of the passenger window and its pretty beaten up. He informs me that he can’t turn the engine off as it broke down yesterday and he’s worried he will never start it again. I mean…Not the most confident of starts but it looked like a regular island car to me. We start driving down the neglected roads of Antigua and it’s not long before a clattering comes from the boot - The doors only gone and fallen off!

To my surprise we didn’t stop immediately and Mark didn’t seem to fussed about whatever he’d already lost out the back of his car. I felt useful by ingeniously using the strap from my dry bag to bodge the boot of the car shut and I carried on being chauffeured around the island looking for boat bits. My shopping trip was pretty unsuccessful, but after collecting some of what was on the scrunched up bit of paper that was ‘the list’ I was sent out with, I felt it best I get back to the boat where Maggie and Anna were hard at work.

Mark had been so generous and he seemed desperate to show me a view point called Monks Hill. I’d never been there before and didn’t see the harm… It was kind of on route and plus I think you should take opportunities as they come along… Might not get the chance again?

“It’s going to be a bit bumpy”

Antiguan roads are bumpy, all of them! So this didn’t seem strange at the time. We then pull over to the bottom of what looks like a goat trail and Mark gets out to pump up his now flat tyre with a dive bottle. Good job this didn't manage to fall out of the boot.

This obviously happens a lot and he seems to be very happy with his new method. However, it had crossed my mind…Why hadn't he just got a new tyre…?

Bumpy was an understatement. It was like being on an episode of Top Gear and I loved it. Gripping on with two hands we climbed up the rocky track, occasionally getting stuck and the smell of rubber filling the air from the deflating skidding tyres. I found myself leaning away from the window to avoid the branches that were engulfing the inside of the car as we wrecked our way through the bush.

Staring back at me, Mark shouts over the revving engine “You need to take off your seatbelt”

This seemed a strange thing to say… I should take my seatbelt off? Right now seems like the most perfect time to be wearing one!

“If we roll it, it’s easier to get you out!” explained Mark.

Ohh F*** I thought… Panic set in slightly as I was half way up a mountain with basically a stranger, a man I’d only met once. We hadn't seen a house or person for miles and we were travelling cross-country in a 4x4 that only a few hours ago the boot door fell off, the tyres are flat and was now smoking rather a lot. Fond of Mark I reassured myself all was well but also hatched a plan of how I could escape incase he turned out to be crazy man who would kidnap me or throw me off the edge. I got as far as I’d just run down the big hill… Seemed faultless!

We had made it! I couldn't actually quite believe it. Everything says we shouldn't have made it to the top but this car is amazing. Considering purchasing one when I get home… What would be helpful is if I could actually remember what type of car it is… Maybe from the photo someone else can tell?

The view was incredible. A 360 view of the whole island. Shirley Heights is the common viewpoint that overlooks Falmouth and English Harbour but forget that! Monks Hill is the place to go. Of course I didn't have my camera with me on this spontaneous adventure out, so you’ll have to believe me. Unfortunately the photos here taken on my old iPhone just don't do it justice.

4 Hours later I arrive back at the boat. Faces of relief popped up from the hatch as the girls had similar thoughts of a crazy man kidnapping me too.

Turns out, Mark might be a bit crazy… But in a good way and I want to thank him for the best car ride and boat shopping trip I’ve ever had!

Antigua, I’ll be back

This Guy Mark

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