Day 31: It’s Just Not Cricket!

31.01.09: Up early and off to see the two contacts I had on the island. The first one, Shauna, was not in work this weekend. The second, the enigmatically named Mistress Challenger was also not in this weekend either. With no cargo ships to talk of and hardly any yachts in port, I despaired of ever getting off this island to anywhere, never mind Antigua. So I headed down to the marina and tried my luck asking around - it didn't take long - there were only 5 people there. I got chatting with Seamus (from Ireland) and Derek (from Manchester) - a couple of guys in a glass-bottomed boat who, liking the idea of The Odyssey, offered me a beer and then promptly kidnapped me and took me on a impromptu snorkelling trip. The captain of the boat was a local lad called Wayne who…

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Website Stats: Jan 2009

So...The Odyssey has been running now for 31 days, and our man on the ground has seen his fair share of action already! But what kind of action has his website seen? Here's a round-up of the stats for January: Total number of hits: 214,539 Maximum hits in one day: 14,562 Total number of pages viewed: 44,692 Most popular time of day: 22:00 - 23:00 Website hits by country (below)

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Day 30: Caught In A Trap

30.01.08: Slept on a three-foot long wooden bench on a rusting cargo ship that went up and down, up and down, up and down.... The Eastpack got into port in St. Kitts at around 1pm, but I stayed on board desperately pounding the internet for all it was worth trying to find a cargo boat, yacht, hovercraft, whatever, that would take me to Antigua. Finally getting off the boat at 5pm (after depositing a hefty bribe in the captain's pocket) me and the team back in the UK - John Dino and Lorna, had no leads and no clue how I was going to get off this rock. There were no boats whatsoever in the deep-water harbour and only about three in the marina. Where on Earth is everyone? I thought all the rich bankers were hiding out in the Caribbean while the rest of the…

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Day 29: Trick Of The Mind

29.01.09: Martin and Fabio had to be up for 6am, as they were getting a plane to South America, so I thanked them profusely, got their photos for the ‘heroes' page and had a much-needed shower before sneaking out of the hotel before the receptionist woke up. Ha! I win Martinique! I WIN!! I'm now on the ferry (another one - bliss!) to Dominica, where, if all is fair in love and war, I might just be able to smuggle my no-good hide onto a cargo boat bound for St. Kitts. As always, nothing is confirmed, so fingers crossed! Had to argue my way through immigration - not having an onward ticket is like showing up to a funeral in the nack around these parts. A bit of over-earnest "it's okay - I'm booked on the Eastpack cargo ship heading for St. Kitts" (even though I…

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Day 28: The Rubik’s Cube

28.01.09: We docked at about 4.30 in the morning in Vieux Fort, St. Lucia. This is an unreasonable hour, and one that I refuse to believe exists. I stayed on my floor until 7.30am when the chap from the shipping company (who, like me, does not believe in unreasonable hours) climbed aboard to sort out the formalities. I was a bit worried about not having an exit stamp out of St. Vincent (I had asked for one!) and was terrified that they were going to send me back - but I needn't have worried, customs where happy, I had to grab a taxi to the nearby airfield to get the required entry stamp and before I knew it a nice chap called Mike was giving me a lift to Castries, the capital, in his minibus. Like a fat American tourist, I paid double so I could…

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Day 27: A Night On The Floor

27.01.09: Awoke on the metal floor of the Melinda II. I had made it! I hadn't been seasick (even though the boat was thumping the waves like a cartoon dog hitting a cartoon cat) and I had stayed out of the captain's (and most of the crew's) way. I had befriended the cook, Banray, who's a top bloke and keeps sneaking me food. So far so good. We got into port in Barbados at around 9am. Not wanting to get under the feet of Captain Ainsley Adams and his crew, I made my excuses and tried to leave but my god, the Barbados authorities are bureaucratic. They wanted a word with the captain before they would let me go. No - please - it's okay, I'll stay with the boat, he hates me and it's just started raining and he'll get wet and please don't radio…

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Day 26: 30,000 Pounds of Bananas

26.01.09: Dragged myself out of bed and headed to the port. I was halfway there when I realised I had left my coat in my room, so returned, red faced, and headed to the port again. Got to General Maritime, the shipping agents that Kim and her husband Earl Halbich had sorted me out with. I had to talk to a woman named Rochelle. Rochelle was on her lunch so I spoke to a lady who looked at me like I was something she had scraped off her shoe. She rang the captain of the cargo boat I was supposed to be getting a ride with and had a quick chat. She then smiled at me in a way that one would smile at a kitten before throwing it the oven. "The captain say he not takin' no passengers today". My heart leapt into my mouth.…

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Day 25: That’s Not Very Christian!

25.01.09: Everything closes on Sunday on St. Vincent. I tried to get to (what's left of) the Pirates of the Caribbean set on the other side of the island. I got a minibus to town, so far so good, but then the second minibus I got was good until I got to Layou, when a bunch of people came out of a frickin' CHURCH and told me to get off the bus, there was no room for me! Not very Christian of them. So I started walking to the next town. Easy! Only about five miles. Ah - five miles uphill. D'oh. Flagged down every minibus that drove past, but they were all full of church folk doing whatever church folk do. Minibuses on St. Vincent move in mysterious ways. But then - what's this? A car slowed down, the driver leans across... you alwight mate?…

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Day 24: The Ticking Clock

24.01.09: If you can't beat them, join them. Got on a minibus to Kingstown and had a great time meandering around the fish market and the fruit market before checking out the old churches (yes I did go all Dan Cruikshank and used the word ‘wonderful' far too many times - I think I'll edit that out of the video) and heading up to the Botanical Gardens (the oldest in the Western Hemisphere no less) for a moment of Will and Lyre-esque calm. Not a single other tourist in sight. Seriously - when I finish this odyssey we're all coming back here en mass and taking over this one-horse archipelago and freeing the people from the tyranny of the cruise ship companies!! Note to Leo - edit out that last sentence if a cruise ship gives me a lift sometime this trip. Nothin' doing tonight so…

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Day 23: Trouble in Paradise

23.01.09: Another early riser and onto the ferry ‘Barracuda' up to St. Vincent, the big daddy of the Grenadines. It's where they filmed most of Pirates of the Caribbean around here and it looks bloody marvellous. But no time for sightseeing - I've got to get to Barbados! So I met with Kim from the Paradise Beach Hotel in Villa. Lorna Brookes had got in touch with her and had let her know I was interested in getting a speedboat over to Barbados. Now you have to understand that my budget for travelling around THE WHOLE OF THE AMERICAS was about £1500, max - that was based on sleeping on buses, only eating street food and cadging free rides around the Caribbean. I was steeling myself to be told that it was going to cost me £500 to get to Barbados in a speedboat. I was…

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