Hermitages & Hermits

After a short afternoon sail from Jolly Harbor, we dropped the hook in Hermitage Bay. Hermitage Bay as its web site writes is a “…sensitively developed resort [that]celebrates the peace, warmth, and extraordinary natural beauty of the Caribbean”. Well, who could object to that! Not I for one.

Hermitage Bay, Antigua is just past Stony Horn and Bakers Cellar. It actually sits on the edge of York Salt Pond. The other edge of that lies Mosquito Cove. Due east, up wind, is the refuse dump where the areas waste is often disposed of and burned. There may be the haze, and definitely the aroma, in the distance. Always know your surroundings!

But we come to Hermitage Bay for the peace, warmth and extraordinary natural beauty that is endemic to the islands. The winter snows that others enjoy, and perhaps as we did in some distant past, never touch the pink and white sands of Hermitage Bay. And that is ok by me.

The waters of the bay, unfortunately, are not the typical clear Caribbean water we are accustom to. The local geology deposited a very fine clay like sand in the bays in this area. The result is rather murky, not dirty, just murky near shore waters. But other than that, the area has “extraordinary natural beauty”. Mostly.

It is also fitting in this time of pandemic that a hermitage is called to mind. Of course, Old Hickory’s plantation home in Tennessee was called The Hermitage although I’m not sure why, especially for a President. And there are many other historic hermitages around the world. I remember one we visited in the Bahamas had a door about 4’ high. Must have been a very short hermit. I think the reason why there are so many hermitages is simple. A hermitage is a place where hermits live; or a group of them living in seclusion. If the world is full of hermits, and by definition they keep to themselves, you’ll never see them. Actually, we will never know how many there are, as we just keep finding traces of them here and there.

Plainshill , England

The pandemic may have made many more hermits. Interestingly, however, a “hermitage house” in the English planned landscape park Plainshill was constructed in the park for a hermit. He was actually hired to occupy it. Seemed he only lasted a short time as he was frequently absent. I guess it is hard work being a hermit.

As I mentioned above, I assume many have become hermits given the present world-wide situation. It is too early to determine if this lifestyle will then “catch on”. Perhaps with enough bandwidth to Zoom everybody you know, it may. This is something to think about. The current idea of bringing the country “back together” maybe like fighting the last war. Can we all just get along better living in our own bubble and carrying our home on our back? Can we self-sort our lives and political, religious, and social philosophies independent of physical space? I’m thinking like Doctors Without Borders. Live in your own state of persuasion. 

Many people think that living on a boat may be akin to living like a hermit. This is not necessarily true. Cruisers do like to socialize when not practicing hermitage. Think hermit crab: he/she carries his/hers home on his/hers back. A much more apt description of cruisers. Whatever.

Looking at those little boxes on the hillside (apologies to Malvina Reynolds), which may or may not be made of ticky-tacky, it is expensive to live like a hermit in this resort. Much less so on a boat. Theirs is also very exclusive. We are seriously dissuaded to land our dinghy on their beach and wander around their hermitage. I understand that they will accept a fistful of money to buy drink at their bar. We try not to carry a fist full of money when in our dinghy.

The Hermitage Resort, Antigua

In any case we see the same setting sun from our boat, anchored free in front of their hillside boxes and can enjoy the “peace, warmth, and extraordinary natural beauty of the Caribbean” just as well as they (including their free internet!). The big difference is that their hermits go away to their own abode after a week or two. We just move our home to the next extraordinarily natural place of peace, warmth and beauty. Mostly.

Our next anchorage will be Deep Bay. That, of course, brings to mind Deep Thought, the super-computer from the Hitchhikers Guide to the Universe.  Until then keep the peace, stay warm, and enjoy the extraordinary natural beauty of wherever you are.

One thought on “Hermitages & Hermits

  1. Great post! Would love to be there with you. Still in full lockdown. Don’t even see the kids. Very lonely. Roman under the weather. Bitterly cold outside. Miss being on the water.

    Hugs to both of you, Olha


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