Sailing Dominica, Guadeloupe & Antigua February 2012
Our sail from Dominica to Antigua with a full crew on board, including 2 Iron Men, was also a transition from one of the poorest nations in the Leewards to one of the most affluent areas; Antigua – where the Superyachts spend the winter.
Trudi, Dwayne, Scott, Ian & Steve Sail from Dominica to Antigua
[dropcap]A[/dropcap]nother great crew joined Ibis in Roseau, Dominica for a fun-packed adventure from the wild rainforests of Dominica to the superyacht haven of Antigua, stopping along the way for a visit to Cousteau’s Underwater Park just off the coast of Guadeloupe.
Roseau to Prince Rupert Bay & Isles des Saintes
We all met up in the ramshackle Dominican capital of Roseau and had a night chilling out on board before heading North. Dwayne, from Ontario, had organised a group of 4, including his longtime friend, Scott, and Iron ‘Men’ Ian and Trudi who were pretty new to sailing, but eager to test their muscles on the winches!
The town of Portsmouth is around twenty miles to the north of Roseau along an amazing coastline with forest covered mountains reaching steeply up from the shore. With one reef in the mainsail we had a fast and exhilarating sail up the coast, tacking into Prince Rupert Bay and dropping the hook for the night.
With time for a wander through town that evening and a trip up the Indian River, the next day brought lovely sailing winds and sunshine and we set off mid morning after a quick clearance through Immigration & Customs.
20 to 25 knots of wind and some fast blue-water sailing with 2 reefs brought us into the holiday islands of Les Isles des Saintes where we picked up a bouy near the main town of Terre d’Haut. [pullquote_right]”it’s easy to imagine the huge gunships of Admiral Rodney letting loose the cannons”[/pullquote_right] That evening we had dinner ashore at the lovely “Colours” restaurant with its balcony overlooking the bay, and the next day split up to enjoy the hilltop fort with its museum depicting the sea-battles between England and France just in the waters to the South. From the vantage point on the ramparts it’s easy to imagine the huge gunships of Admiral Rodney letting loose their cannons in the blue waters below.
We motored a short way that afternoon to pick up a bouy at Pain de Sucre, a pretty anchorage with beautiful blue water and some cool rock formations.
Point a Pitre, Pidgeon Island & Deschaies
It was another beautiful sail North from the Saintes to the southern end of Guadeloupe and the capital town of Point a Pitre with its bustling markets and modern, if rather grubby, character. We struggled to find a restaurant open that evening near the Marina Riviere Sens and eventually ended up at one run by deaf people! Steve had taken a cold at some point and was reduced to drinking tea, which was served to him in the world’s biggest tea cup – made out of a calabash!
Next morning we set sail along the coast again and by lunchtime we were on a bouy at Pidgeon Island. This area just off the Guadeloupe coast has been dedicated as the Cousteau Marine Park and the underwater life is certainly amazing. In around 8 metres of water, the sea was crystal clear and teeming with fish swimming all around the boat. We enjoyed a few hours of excellent snorkelling and saw many different fish species and corals, before heading on a little further to the lovely fishing village of Deschaies to the north of Guadeloupe.
Deschaies to Antigua
A fabulous sunset in Deschaies and another great meal out and the next morning we set off early doors for Antigua. By this time everyone was taking the rolling Atlantic swells and 30 knot winds in their stride as we sailed close hauled to Falmouth Harbour. It was a long day’s sailing but we made it just before the sunset, glad to be safe at anchor and enjoying a sundowner. [pullquote_left]”we’ve really sailed up the food chain of islands”[/pullquote_left] As Trudi remarked, we had “really sailed up the food chain of islands” from the wooden open boats of the Dominican fishermen, to the bristling mast lights of Falmouth Harbour’s superyachts.
We took a walk the next morning and explored the beautiful old dockyard at English Harbour replete with sailing superyachts and busloads of tourists, and then sailed a short distance under the genoa to the pretty Carlisle Bay anchorage where it rained…quite a lot! Feeling quite refreshed the next day set sail again for the beautiful anchorage of Hermitage Bay, tacking into the bay in less than 4 metres of water and 30 knots of wind!
Finally, we took a berth in Jolly Harbour Marina where everyone bid a fond farewell to Ibis before hopping on the plane home.
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