26th Jan 04

Hi,

We’ve now made it to Antigua , although I haven’t seen enough of the island to really say anything about it other than it seems nice enough. We’re in a place called English Harbour , which is very pleasant with a restored Georgian Dockyard just next to us. The masts of all the mega-yachts that are parked in the next bay round poke over the palm trees on one side of us, while a small mangrove swamp completes our surroundings. It’s quite an artificial place as there is no town here, just lots of bars, restaurants, sports clubs etc. all built for the benefit of visiting yachties. We met up with one of Thom’s friends (from Devon ) on Saturday night, who is living in the most stunning house any of the Alleykat crew have ever been to. Can’t even begin to explain how perfect it was, although it was obvious that a huge amount of effort (lighting candles, shutting blinds just the right amount etc.) goes into keeping it that way. Our life is a stark contrast to the gap year girls we met who are working further up the island in a school for disadvantaged kids. They say that some of the kids are almost feral, and they were clearly finding the whole thing very hard work. Sounds like the organisation who sent them there are taking advantage a bit, as out of the £1600 fee they charge (before flights etc.) they have kept £1300 for ‘admin’. Thom is now talking about setting up a company that will distribute more of the money to charity, although worries that he may find it a little difficult to overcome his natural instinct for making money.

No exciting incidents to report from the boat, although Rowan has an infectikn in his leg and had to go to the doctor this morning. Apparently it is fairly common among yacht people, and is caused by general lack of showers, clean bedding etc. Ro was disappointed that the doctor didn’t cut it open to clear the pus, but apparently the abscess hasn’t formed properly yet.

Off to be Will’s partner in a tennis tournament tonight. Hopefully I will play better than yesterday when he beat me in straight sets.

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