Location: Antigua

When I woke, it took me a minute to remember where I was, as the lack of motion and the feeling like I was going to be flung from my bunk were absent. When walking down the halls, I didnt bounce from one wall to the next but walked straight down the middle. Its a whole new world from the last twenty-one days, and we love it. We appreciate even the littlest things, like not having to wrestle the doors shut or that we now have access to an onshore head that flushes. Antigua has more to offer, however, than solid ground and flushing toilets. We couldnt have ended our crossing in a more beautiful place; the water is crystalline, the islands are splendiferous, and the locals have welcomed us like old friends. And of course, theres nothing like that first sip of tropical smoothie that convinces you that being on land can even taste good.

Of course, we cant just have all fun and games. After some lovely time ashore, sampling drinks, and exploring beaches, we settled back into the belly of Argo for a practice NavMaster exam. We have now all learned the pain of being plunked indoors to work while looking longingly through the sunny portholes. There is a time for work and a time for play, and our saving grace as we worked was that we knew we had much more play ahead of us.

And play we did. This evening, we were shuttled to a sandy beach across the way, which would be our starting point for a short hike to the top of the island. At the top of the island was the destination for the rest of our evening: Shirley Heights. Even as we hiked through dense, swallowing vegetation, we could hear distant steel drums that goaded us to hike all the faster, until we emerged onto the hilltop that had been cleared for a collection of open structures, including a bar from there, the night swept by in a whirlwind of jerk chicken, fruity drinks, fun music, dancing, and magnificent views. I think its safe to say that we will sleep well tonight.

Pictured: A bunch of the ladies enjoying their time together at Shirley Heights; view from the hike to the top of Shirley Heights; Emmalee, Jackie, and Natalie pictured by the dance floor; view from the dock at Galleon Beach; steel drum band at Shirley Heights.