Sailing the Caribbean – St Barth’s to Antigua – 7th to 9th June 2010

St Maarten to Grenada – Part 3
Sailing from St Barth’s to Antigua.

An Historic Beating

St Barthelemy to Antigua (Overnight)

[dropcap]W[/dropcap]e’d decided not to heed advice to go with the wind, which would have had us stopping at the “Islands that Brush the Clouds” – how romantic a name is that? – Saba, St Kitts & Nevis, in favour of the historic harbours of Antigua, 60 nautical miles away to the South East. Setting sail around 5.30pm, we settled into an early watch routine, hoping to be in Antigua sometime mid morning, however it was almost 24 hours later that we finally dropped the hook in Freemans Bay, English Harbour.

The overnight leg was pretty easy, though we were close on the wind the whole time, but daylight found us around 10 miles to the West of the island and it was an 8 hour beat (zigzag against the wind) into harbour, seemingly getting almost half way to Guadeloupe on the outbound leg before heading back in a better direction.

After our 24 hour marathon, we didn’t have the energy to venture ashore and stayed on the boat that evening celebrating a safe arrival

English Harbour – Antigua

Early next morning headed over to Nelson’s Historic Dockyard to check in and do a bit of exploring. We also had a little provisioning to do; bottled water, gin, tonic, rum, coke, wine and Camembert…. the staples.

The Customs & Immigration staff were some of the friendliest I’ve come across and the dockyard itself is very picturesque and, well….historic! A visit to the museum started to give us a feel for the times of huge wooden ships made from thousands of oak trees, sailing into uncharted harbours such as this one, where they could ‘careen’ their boats (using ropes and capstans to pull the ship over on its side) to repair the underside.

But the whole place was very quiet and we began to realise exactly what “out of season” means in the Caribbean. English Harbour and next door’s Falmouth Harbour were pretty much deserted; there was one big sailing superyacht in English Harbour, but the rest of the berths were empty and wandering along the road in search of provisions, we found many eateries & bars were boarded up or empty.

Although in many ways it was nice not to be surrounded by tourists, I don’t feel we got the true measure of Antigua on this visit and it would be nice to come back in Regatta Week when the place has some life to it

Getting to Know You

Despite the long and tedious trip down to Antigua, the sun was shining and life could have been a lot worse! Iain & I got to get a little better acquainted as we discussed the contents of his Ipod. He likened it to a window on his soul, and I guess that’s partly true; in contrast, my CD collection is in a case for all to see and I don’t own an Ipod! Things were going ok – I like Supertramp and Van Morrison from my hippy days, and I have some James Morrison, Snow Patrol and Pink Floyd…..but SUSAN BOYLE????? PLEEEEEEEZZZZ!!

Thankfully I can’t play the Ipod through my boat stereo, so SuBo is confined to Iain’s ears alone. …PHEW!

I’m having a hard time training Iain in the “no shoes down below” rule and he rashly decided that he’ll buy me an ice cream every time he makes a mistake….bring it on!

Unfortunately Iain is suffering, like my friend Angela, from an adverse reaction to mosquito bites, and as he squeezes his way through a tube of antihistamine cream each bite is swelling to the size of half an orange with a blister in the middle….his legs are beginning to resemble those of Mr Blobby, poor chap.

Read what Iain had to say about his trip….

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