Antigua again

Leaving Deshaies we knew that the winds would get up while crossing over the channel to Antigua. Sure enough the winds increased and were between 25 – 30 knots. We all wore our life jackets and settled in for the morning. It was a fast crossing and we were in Jolly Harbor before we knew it.
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Dad raised the Antigua flag and look what else we now have, a NZ flag. Not long after raising it some kiwis went by on a charter catamaran and yelled out that they were from Nelson.
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We all decided we needed a little culture and caught the local buses to St Johns. The mini van to town had air conditioning and was actually a pleasant ride for EC 3.25. The bus depot in St Johns was right near the fish and meat markets so a busy area with lots of people buying and selling. The main street of St Johns was busy with cars, fruit & veg vendors and lots of clothing shops.
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Redcliffe Quay, the historic district near St Johns harbour was once the slave trading area for the town and has been renovated and painted with duty free shops for the tourists. Quite a different area to the rest of town and anything we have seen for some time.
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The bus trip to English Harbour was interesting. Our rasta driver did not leave until his bus was full and everyone had paid there EC 4.00. Once on the road we passed through lots of communities honking and tooting to everyone along the way. He seemed to know everyone and got lots of waves back. The door on the left side of the bus was left open the whole trip I guess for breeze or perhaps it didn’t close. Hmmm at least no one fell out. Far better driver than our ride back! P1040242
We wandered around Nelson’s Dockyard Marina surprised at the super yachts that were already here. It’s a picturesque place. The fort at the entry to the harbour has great views back to the Marina.

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It was a nice change of scene off the boat for the day.

We moved up to Deep Bay ready to head to Barbuda. The winds were pretty strong and were meant to continue into the early morning. We climbed up to Fort Barrington with views to St Johns and out over Deep Bay.

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We wandered along the lagoon to the hotel at the end of the white sandy beach. It was so nice to sit and look out at the boat.

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We tried to sail to Barbuda to see the pink sands but the winds would not cooperate so we sailed changed course and headed to the french island of St Barths.

Antigua – South Coast

We anchored in Falmouth Harbour home to Antiguas Yacht Club and the many events and businesses associated with sailing. We decided to head over to Falmouths town dock past some of the mega yachts in the harbor that had just been racing in the Antigua Sailing week event. Trust me these yachts are huge….P1020097a

We wandered along the road towards English Harbour and walking around the dock everything seemed pretty empty and closed. Maybe it was too early to be out and about or they needed a rest after Sailing week? We wandered into English Harbour with its famous Dockyard named after Admiral Horatio Nelson. It’s now a National Park and all the buildings are used for the various sailing businesses.P1020101aP1020107a

 

 

 

 

 

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We walked out to the Fort ruins at the point to get the panoramic view out and back to English Harbour. P1020125a

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We stopped for a drink out on the Terrace at the Admirals Inn. Really impressive place with beautiful gardens. The stone pillars were the foundations for a sail loft that was mounted above them back in the day.P1020126a

While in the dockyards we noticed the “Womble” a row boat (24ft long 6ft wide) that had rowed across the Atlantic four times. Hmmmmm……not for me.P1020103a

The next day we decided to take a tour on our bikes and see a little more of the outskirts of Falmouth and English Harbour. Some of the houses are so colourful, which I like.P1020135aP1020136a

 

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We climbed up towards Shirley Heights, which has views over the whole valley. The weather was a little on the damp side so we headed down to a beach called Galleon Bay opposite the Fort to see if things would clear.    P1020140aWe made our way over to the Slipway to a French restaurant called Catherine’s Cafe, which was right on the waterfront and the food was amazing. We arrived around noon for lunch and had the place to ourselves while we ate. When the rain finally left the restaurant was full. The owner told us that they were closing on Sunday for 5 months and that most restaurants in the area did this.

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English Harbour and Falmouth are definetly more geared to the sailing community but there is a lot of history to wander around and see.

We put the scretcher up and sailed downwind towards Jolly Harbour past a number of Bays. The South Coast was very green. P1020148aP1020152a

 

 

 

 

 

We came back into those nice green blue waters near Jolly Harbour for groceries, laundry and to clear out ready to head to Deshaies in Guadeloupe. On our way out of the harbour we were followed closely by a sailing race, which started in the harbour. P1020155aP1020160a

 

 

 

 

 

We enjoyed Antigua and will be back as we missed going to the island of Barbuda, which is also meant to be incredible with great snorkling and nice pink sandy beaches.

Antigua – East Coast

We had heard good things about Green Island from S/V Salty Ginger so decided to head down the coast hoping for some sun, again. Green Island is Antigua’s easternmost tip and is right at the entrance to a bay called Nonsuch Bay. Green Island itself is a private island and is still in its natural state with no buildings just birds perched in trees. We picked up a free mooring buoy and looked up to see S/V Salty Ginger in front of us. Too funny. We enjoyed a couple of evenings with Graham and Julie. A little too much wine one night that’s for sure.P1020071a

We decided to stay in the bay a few days as it was so peaceful and beautiful. We got the kayaks out and went out to the reef which protected us from the Atlantic ocean. The Atlantic was pretty calm, which was surprising given the stories we have heard.   P1020053aP1020055a

 

 

 

 

 

There were kite surfers out reminding us of Tobago Cays.

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We went snorkeling off Bird Island where the water was clear with mainly shallow coral.P1020069a

There are a number of sandy beaches off Green Island so we couldn’t resist going for a swim in the warm waters. The Northwest corner of the island has been made available to yachties.  When you go ashore you get that feeling of being on Robinson Cruso’s Island as it’s not developed.

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We went for a dingy ride around Nonsuch bay. There were a lot of places that you could anchor to get away from it all. There were some beautiful homes on the cliffs. On the way back our outboard engine overheated so we ended up rowing back part of the way. Good exercise for one of us. It ended up being a cooling system blockage, which Brett fixed when we finally got back.P1020073aP1020074a

 

 

 

 

 

 

We continued along the rocky East coast past a few resorts and Eric Claptons house perched over Indian Creek Point.

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Eric Claptons House

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We rounded the corner past English Harbour into Falmouth Harbour, Antiguas largest yachting harbour and some rather dark clouds. Oh no!P1020087a

 

 

 

Antigua – North Coast

We rounded Boon Point to the North Coast of Antigua, past some really impressive homes on the coastline. We weren’t expecting it to be as built up as it was along the North Coast. Had told my Dad he probably wouldn’t hear from us for some time. Hmmm was I wrong! Internet is amazing in Antigua.

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We wound our way through the Boon Channel being careful through the reefs to Jumby Bay on Long Island. We anchored outside another all inclusive resort, which is upwards of US$1400/night. Amazing green water. P1010976a

Long Island is a private island and when you see the homes along the shoreline you know there’s money here. I liked the look of the big infinity pool at one of them and would have loved to sneak ashore for a swim in fresh water. P1010986aP1010988a

 

 

 

 

 

We got the kayak’s down and heading around the shoreline where we spotted a lot of colorful starfish in the crystal clear water of the reefs. P1010992aP1010989a

 

 

 

 

 

We ended at the beach where we wandered along the white sands and went for a swim outside the resort. The water was incredibly warm and so clear. P1010994a

Antiguas airport is very close and given it was a Saturday we watched ALOT of planes come in, even Air Canada and Westjet.

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It felt like we were back in our home in Calgary with the planes coming over the house but these were alot closer and very noisy. Oh the poor people at the resort.

 

 

There were a number of cruisers in the bay one being John from S/V Out of Africa who we had met in St Thomas. He invited us over to Maiden Island for a cruiser BBQ. We joined them and enjoyed a couple of beers and dinner before sunset, then we all returned when the bugs started coming out. A nice night out with a friendly group of cruisers.

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The mosquito’s drove us nuts that night so we moved on and continued up the channel to Great Bird Island, which is an island in amongst a series of islands within the reefs. We were lucky enough to pick up a free mooring buoy. P1020019aP1020020a

 

 

 

 

 

We went ashore just before the skys opened and drenched us. We wandered up the trail to see the views including a couple of blow holes while the birds watched and squawked around us. It was neat to see all the islands in the North channel off Antigua.

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The winds have been coming from the South and the West, so bizzar. In the evenings theres hardly a breath of wind so pretty warm. It was very peaceful with just the sound of the birds chirping around us. We awoke to rain and waited for a break in the clouds and some sun to go snorkeling on one of the small islands off Great Bird Island. When the sun came out we jumped into the dingy. The water was crystal clear with lots of shallow coral and a few fish. On return to the boat the skys opened up yet again….see its not always perfect here! Can you see our neighbor?P1020031a

When the skies cleared after lunch we decided to head down to Green Island on the East Coast as the weather looked better.

Antigua – West Coast

We cleared into Antigua at Jolly Harbor, a harbor side community where many of the homes have docks rather than backyards so their boat is parked out back in the canal and everyone seems to have a canal view. We enjoyed going up the canals to look at the homes and boats perched on lifts.

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We anchored in the Jolly Harbor channel for the first night, along with about 30 other boats. The next night we went around the corner to Hermitage Bay and anchored just off the beach under the view of the Hermitage hotel and the hillside cottages. Nice. We spent the evening listening to their live jazz band at the open air restaurant/ lounge. Unfortunately we couldn’t join them as it’s an all inclusive resort but did “utilize” their high speed Internet services. Why were all the boats anchored in the channel, this was awesome?P1010914a

After getting our Internet fix we moved up the coast to Deep Bay. On entry to the bay there are some really impressive homes and you see the wreck of Andes from 1905, right in the middle of the bay. You can see the top of its mast sticking out of the water.

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We kayaked to shore and climbed up the hill to Fort Barrington, a battery and observation post, which has views all around. It was nice sitting at the top looking out and catching the breeze. Its hot in the bays and when the wind drops at night you need to have all the hatches open to get as much air through the boat as possible.

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To St John's

To St John’s

The beach at Deep Bay was deserted so we decided we had to go back down and enjoy the nice white sand. There was no one around so we enjoyed having the beach to ourselves.  The beaches in Antigiua are all public so you can go to the high water mark even if there is a private resort on that beach or the island is private.    P1010923aWe kayaked out to snorkel the wreck in the middle of the bay. It had a lot of small fish and a couple of invading lion fish and was starting to grow coral on it. The wreck stands upright on the bottom of the Bay so pretty cool looking down on it. My focaccia bread needed to get in the oven so we returned so I could bake my first bread. We enjoyed it with our Canadian neighbors S/V Salty Ginger; Graham who had worked with Brett about 15 years ago in Seismic. What a small world. P1010944a

Just past St John’s is Dickenson Bay a busy beach with many resorts and hotels and all kinds of water sports. So different to the other Bays we have been to on the West Coast. P1010949aP1010953a

 

As you do we went ashore to walk the beach and see the sights. Things were pretty quiet, as they had just gone into the low season. The view and drinks were good! We sat at one of the open air bars on the beach watching the sun set. The daytripper catamarans come right up to shore and pull out a laddar to let everyone off. Its amazing watching these boats pull right up onto the sand. P1010958aP1010962a

 

 

 

 

 

The West Coast definetly had a lot of really nice anchorages in the various bays we passed and for the land lover lots of nice looking resorts. The colour of the water is very green but not real clear for snorkling and we didn’t seem to see alot of marine life.

Antigua

The seas were good so we continued East ending up in Antigua a day and a half after setting out to the SE.  We think we will stay for a couple of weeks to enjoy a few of the 365 beaches and explore the island a little.