The 48 mile sail to Antigua was unexpectedly great. We anticipated being harder on the wind, going into 6-8 feet seas as forecasted. As it turned out we were able to head above our route anticipating having to fall off as we got closer. We were really going fast most of the trip- between 6.5-9.5 knots with 2 reefs in our main. We slowed as we approached Antigua but sailed all the way. We ended up with two rips in our jib sail, not big ones but something to get fixed which we did in Falmouth Harbor.
Cruiser Stuff: We heard a number things about the fees associated with being in Antigua and it’s all a bit foggy. In the cruising guide Chris Doyle writes some of the information but it seems to change. Apparently the best/cheapest thing to do is to clear in at Jolly Harbor which is what we did. We arrived, entered the channel and pulled up to the customs dock which has a yellow flag and is all the way at the end of the harbor. The customs dock in the smaller dock directly in front of the yellow flag. There are two other concrete larger docks on the right of it that you could also tie to. Clearing at the customs dock in mandatory and only the captain (Marty in our case) takes the papers in to clear. The cost is $40EC ($15 US). There are no other fees. Marty asked about the fees associated with being in Falmouth/English Harbor and the customs officer responded that we don’t have to pay them because we cleared there- that didn’t seem right to us but whatever. After clearing we pulled off the dock, went back out the channel and anchored for the night. The anchorage is calm enough and completely fine but there isn’t much attraction to stay there.
|Deep Bay & St. Johns harbor from the ruins|
|Beach at Deep Bay|
The next day we went to Deep Bay where we were hoping to snorkel as there is a wreck there but as blue as the water appears, it’s not clear. I’m not sure if that is the case normally or if there is something affecting the clarity. We went on a short walk up the trail to the ruins where the view is really nice. Afterwards we started walking toward the town of St. John, which is not close but we were out for an adventure and assumed we would get a ride by hitch hiking. Once off the back road to the resort that is at the anchorage a very friendly girl picked us up and took us to St. John. She told us we could get the number 61 bus to get back to a point and walk the rest of the way- which is what we did and actually had a very short distance to walk from the closest bus stop. However, you probably wouldn’t find a bus coming all that way unless they we dropping someone off so I don’t recommend waiting for it. The town has a good vegetable market and tons of other shops including the touristy ones at the cruise ship terminal.
After Deep Bay we went to Falmouth Harbor and anchored- the anchorage is great with no swell and a good breeze. We set off to do some exploring. First walking to the historic Nelson’s Dockyard at English Harbor and made our way to Fort Berkley via the trail. We did a couple other walks from Falmouth taking the other trail from English Harbor that goes off to the right before you get to the fort- the trail leads to some really nice views and it continues around to the road that goes along the beach and then back to Falmouth Harbor- it’s a nice walk. We also walked the road/trail toward Shirley Heights. Part of the National Park is along the way with ruins, a small museum, and great views of the harbor.
We were in Falmouth Harbor for 3 or 4 days and were there during the Super Bowl. The Wild Mongoose had a super bowl party and we went in our purple gear to cheer on the Ravens! Our new friend, Marc, who we met in Dominica (see blog post) works as a chef on a 192 ft. yacht that is currently in Falmouth Harbor. He gave us a tour of the galley, which has more built in refrigerators and freezers than most restaurants and the showed us around the rest of the boat too.
|Chris & Josh from "Liberty"|
We also did a hash with another family who was in Grenada with us this summer hashing as well. It wasn't quite as interesting and remote as the Grenada hashes but I'm glad we went- it was a 7 mile run through mostly fields and small dirt paths. Since we were "virgins" we had to chug a beer (but I managed to chug a Ting instead!) and then I got "called out" for following another girl who ran across a corner instead of going around so I had to chug another beer (an actual beer this time). Me and the same girl also got lost as we didn't keep up with the group when we tried to re-unite a lost and crying baby goat with it's Mom- that didn't work at all!
Cruiser Stuff: For our groceries we took the dinghy to Catamaran Club Marina and walked the short distance to the supermarket which is the biggest and has the best selection/prices of any other place within walking distance- for a small store they have tons of vegetables and fruits. We also found the one vegan/ital food shack in the area which is just a bit further from the super market- we had lunch there a couple times and it was great- vegan pizza, rotis, lasagna, fried vegetable balls, carrot cake, and lots of other stuff too. We dropped our laundry off at a full service place across the street from the dinghy dock. There is no option to do it yourself- she asked what time we wanted it ready and it was ready. The cost is $29EC (about $11 US) per load- not cheap but the best you’ll find. We got our sail stiched at North Sails. Andrew (the owner) is really nice and got to our sail in one day. They have massive sails in there from the big super yachts and he said it was easy to "work ours in." They charge $80 US/hour.
|beach at Green Island|
We made our way to Green Island which is stunning and likely one of the best anchorages we’ve been in. Presently there are really nice mooring balls and there is no charge for them. There is a great reef for snorkeling and lobster hunting- Marty caught a lobster which he happily ate for dinner. There are also nice beaches and an interesting view from Devils Bridge. I would say the only downside of the anchorage is that you can’t see the sunset to the horizon as it goes behind the mainland first- it’s a rough life sometimes!
We were hoping to go to Barbuda but more northerly weather in the forecast cancelled that idea for us. We have to be in St. Martin next week to meet my Dad and it’s possible we wouldn’t have enough time to wait out the weather here, go to the other places we want and then be in St. Martin in time. So instead we went back to Jolly Harbor to clear out on Saturday (today.) It’s not required to pull up to the customs dock to clear out so we dinghyed in from the anchorage. No fees to clear out either and they didn’t ask us about being in Falmouth or English Harbor so the fees still remain a mystery to us. Perhaps we should have gone somewhere separate to pay in Falmouth… Tonight we watched the sunset go straight down against the horizon and saw a green flash!
Tomorrow, very early, we are off for a 77 mile sail to St. Barts. Then to St. Martin on Monday.
Thats all for now, cheers.