Antigua … Part 1

April 20, 2023

St. Kitts was an unexpected surprise. We didn’t know much about it before we got there, but (despite the modestly dirty and noisy Port Zante), it was a country full of beautiful vistas, contrasting volcanic and pastoral landscapes and nice people.

Over the past couple of years I have heard a lot about Hamilton, the broadway show and movie, and know a little bit about Alexander Hamiliton (I do follow US Federal Reserve policy closely, and that’s why I get invited to all the cool parties). I did not realize that Alexander Hamilton was born in Nevis and raised in Christiansted, St. Croix before being sent to the USA to study (an orphan in his teenage years). That history is prominently displayed in both countries.

We did not make it to Nevis because we simply didn’t have the time to see everything, but driving around St. Kitts allowed us to explore the island in a bit more detail, and it was worth the drive.

The fort, Brimstone Hill, is remarkable for its vistas. As a defensive position it appears to be pretty remarkable, but then you realize the whole south of the island is undefended, and perhaps explains the many changes in control of the land mass. Still a beautiful place and even better views of the surroundings.

Being at the cruise port meant that there was plenty of life throughout much of the day. Loud music, food, the typical cruise port shopping and more. It was a good stop, but we were happy to move to quieter environs.

We did meet James and Danielle on Les Voguers, another Nordhavn 50, and Canadian flagged as well! We even swapped some good assistance with a packing puller tool on loan to Les Voguers and an insurance contact coming our way. We will probably see each other in Grenada if not before.

Les Voguers at anchor near port Zante

After experiencing some of St. Kitts from Port Zante Marina, we signed out of the country on Sunday and pulled away from the dock to anchor in Whitehouse bay. While it only pulled a couple hours off of our transit time on Monday it was also nice to be anchored again after some time immersed in all of the excitement around the port.

It was barely 6 am on Monday, the 17th when we left St. Kitts and headed to Jolly Harbour in Antigua. The seas were a little more confused, despite better weather, but nobody was sick and we arrived in the early afternoon. Check in at Antigua was a bit more complicated. After entering all of our arrival details in SailClear (and getting an arrival code!), we find out that they use SeaClear and have to repeat the whole process. Yay. It was also the first place we have visited that has Covid protocols in place. Minor to be sure, but masks are required for checking into the country along with a health questionnaire.

Whitehouse bay (on the right) as seen from the roadway

Mabuhay was already tied to a dock at Jolly Harbour marina and we pulled in a couple of slips away. We benefited from their information about local help and processes.

A vista while riding in Antigua

We did decide to hire a local to clean our boat. We won’t make that mistake again. The gentleman we hired was slow, lazy and started by telling me about all the things I would have to do for him! It cost me $200 usd for a day of boat cleaning, and while the end result was good, it wasn’t great and I did 20% of the boat myself. I normally clean the boat, tip to toe in 4-5 hours. He did 80% of the boat in 9 hours, and needed, food and drinks and different tools than the ones I had aboard. It wasn’t a good deal, at all.

Because we are heading home, we cleaned the boat thoroughly, inside and out, put things to bed well and setup for someone to check the boat while we are away.

I also had short opportunities to ride the bike in St. Kitts and Antigua. The benefits of seeing the landscape slowly can’t be overstated. The vistas and people and scenery in general are easier to enjoy at 25-35 kph (and so much slower on the climbs 😏). I’m getting so slow and weak!

When we return to Antigua we will have more time to explore before we restart our journey south to Grenada.

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