Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Antigua & Barbuda

Saralane looked clean the whole time we were in the lagoon in St. Martin.... but two weeks in the marina at Cupecoy left her with a stripe of muck around her waterline. To be fair, we were tucked into the snuggest corner of the marina where there's not much room for water to flow in and out so all the muck stayed put. In the clear water at Ricketts Harbor on Green Island, Antigua we gave her a scrub and she's sparkling clean again.

Crystal clear water at Ricketts Harbor Green Island
The same clear water and pristine beach brings in day boats full of cruise ship tourists in each day. We considered pretending we were day trippers too when we smelled the chicken the crew was grilling for everyone for lunch!

Happy day trippers.
Same beach photographed about a hour later.
We had planned to head right for Barbuda but we had this pleasant anchorage all to ourselves so we decided to stick around for a few days. We both had some work to do and I must admit that part of the decision to stay had to do with the great wifi signal we got on the boat here. We did boat chores too. Our list of boat chores is ever expanding, but thankfully "fix windlass" is off the list (for now). It, um.. magically fixed itself - so we're crossing it off the list. 

Cleaning the 'glass' windows

I made a cover to protect our fishing line from the sun.... maybe it'll help us catch a fish?

Made a little 'seatbelt' arrangement for our herbs for passages
Before moving around to Green Island we'd gone into Falmouth and stopped in at a small local grocery for fresh herbs. The closest dinghy dock to the store is a tricky one. If you've been following along you'll remember the sign at the other end of the not-so-welcoming dinghy dock. If not, click here to see it.

Tricky and unwelcoming dinghy dock.
Once the weather was in our favor again we made a beeline for Barbuda. We loved it as much this time as we did last time. We did the rounds at the K Club collecting coconuts and spent most of our days here swimming and walking.

Century plant
Aloe plants at the K Club bungalows
The first of many coconuts cracked this day.
After a few days anchored off Cocoa Point, we threaded our way through the coral heads into Spanish Point and spent several days there. The visibility was good and we snorkeled on the reef around the boat. Unfortunately we spotted a lion fish - which were plentiful in the Bahamas and are not indigenous to the waters of either region. They have no natural predators in the waters here and there's concern about their affect on the local fish population.

There's something about Barbuda that really appeals to both of us. The more time we spend there the more we like it. I have too many photos of the beaches and skies from this trip there and thought it would be best just to show the photos and not keep trying to describe it.

Walking the windward beaches we met up with some locals....

Checking out the view
There's lots of 'treasure' to be found on this side - where stuff washes up from across the ocean.

Skip models his big find from the windward beach
Back on the boat I try it on....
We decide it's time to sail back to Antigua and make plans to continue south. Barbuda will always be on our 'return to' list.

Stormy skies behind us as we leave the shallow water at Spanish Point
The dark weather follows us all the way into Jolly Harbor.
First stop was Jolly Harbor. We had to fill our water tanks - despite the threatening looking storm we didn't get a drop of rain - and pick up some provisions. Our friends on Absaroque arrived from St. Martin while we were in Barbuda and we saw them on our way into the harbor. We also saw friends Tomaz and Lili on s/v Heron, who we haven't seen since last year in Barbuda. They had guests on board and we chatted over drinks in their cockpit one evening. We're all planning to spend some time around Antigua before sailing south and I sense some Pastis, prepared by Jean Pierre, in my near future. 

Passing Five Islands on the west side of Antigua
There's certainly no snow down here, but the big weather patterns up in the western Atlantic have been having a marked affect on the conditions here. The lows up north have generated huge swells that roll down to the islands in heights up to 14 feet. Some anchorages are not comfortable during north swells, but Nonsuch Bay north of Green Island in Antigua is pretty secure. We came around here to sit out the latest swell and found almost 40 boats in the bay. We typically see about six or eight boats in here. 

Sailing around to Green Island - Monserrat in the distance
It's been beautiful though, and the winds have been light ahead of the weather pattern that's on it's way. We've been snorkeling and socializing here with the crowd. We met some young Swedes on a boat they spent ten years or so building. Having already spent three years circumnavigating - on a 25 foot boat - they knew they wanted to live their lives exploring the world by boat, but this time - a big solid boat. Talking to them I felt like the sea-going rookie that I am. There's no end to the interesting people from around the world that we meet out here.

Damselfish on the reef in Nonsuch Bay
Saralane anchored up close to the reef.... seen from my snorkeling point of view
We were anchored up close to the reef so we felt the swell as soon as it started to roll in. We decided to move west into the bay to a calmer spot. There are private homes and a resort or two along the shores in here and it's lovely and quiet. We snorkeled with schools of little tiny fish and baby barracuda in the mangroves along the shoreline and floated over bright starfish in the shallow water.

Glassy calm evening in Nonsuch Bay

We'll be in Antigua for a few days more, then we're off to Guadeloupe.


Cindy Barnard said...

This was/is a spectacular post. Your photos just get better and better, Madeline. YOu have not lost your touch and the photography biz out there is missing the boat not glomming on to YOU. Really, this was a terrific entry. Mr. 10-pair will have his goods tomorrow or Thurs.

Janice & Bob said...

Great photos as ever - you make us almost want to come back to the Caribbean now! Met up with Tom today - had breakfast with him - nice guy.

Miles said...

Nice....hard hat. Skip

Madeline said...

Careful Miles.....

David said...

Hey, Skip & Madeline.

We are in the Saintes for a couple of days, then on to Portsmouth in Dominica. Would be great to meet up.

David & Gretchen
s/v Callisto

Linda said...

Stunning photo's in this post girlfriend.