May 3, 2023
Now that we are back in the Caribbean, we are starting to move, but not so far . . . while we expected that we would see a lot of Antigua on our return, we have been rather lazy. We did catch a quick flu before we left Canada and that has abated now, but we also thought we would rent a car and drive around the island. That didn’t work out so well either.
It turns out they won’t do a one day rental on Saturday because they are closed on Sunday, and Monday turned out to be a holiday and so they didn’t have a clean car, and by Tuesday (yesterday) we decided to just go.
We also discovered that this is Antigua sailing week and there are races all week. That hasn’t really impacted us much as all of the action is centered around English Harbour (we are in Jolly Harbour).
I did finally get up the energy to take on the roads here in Antigua (on the bicycle) and they are not all that bad. Of course riding in traffic requires a very confident cycling style (i.e. sitting behind a car in the lineup could take a very long time to get anywhere.) The drivers here are very accomodating and the roads are okay, if not great. I enjoyed seeing some of the island from land as usual. I do love riding a bicycle.
After a short 40k ride yesterday, we did some last minute grocery shopping, paid our bill and slipped our lines once again, heading for new places. We have decided to stay in Antigua for a little while as there is a pretty nice bay (Nonsuch Bay) with some good reefs for snorkeling, and so we headed to Green Island which hosts a very calm anchorage in the bay.
It took a few minutes before I remembered how to run a boat. Perhaps the flu wiped some of my brain, but I did make a safe exit from Jolly Harbour. We really enjoyed our time there, and the marina was very well run with helpful and nice people. Michael kept an eye on our boat while we were in Canada and that was a nice bonus.
As we made our way to the East side of Antigua, we were faced with 15 knot winds and 2-3′ waves after rounding the bottom of the island. After being motionless for over two weeks it was an interesting reminder of the sea. No undue stress for the boat or the crew, but we felt good about being underway again.
Rounding the SW corner of the island, we were greeted by breaching whales. While they were about a half mile in front of the boat, it was both shocking and beautiful to watch them play. Unfortunately, we didn’t get many good photos as they were too far away and they only breached a couple of times, as if announcing themselves to the sailing cat in front of us (not the one in the photo).
The South side of the island was littered with racing boats, and while we couldn’t distinguish the path of the fleet we did change course a couple of times to provide plenty of way for any vessel that may have been competing in a race.
And finally we rounded the East side of the island and were met with beautiful rock cuts, with caves and cliffs.
Late in the afternoon we arrived in Nonsuch bay to anchor in a quite idyllic bay with excellent protection. We will remain here for a day or two and see what the reefs have to offer.