First Two Night Passages to Antigua

First Two Night Passages to Antigua

May 03, 2010 18:47:00 17:04.6N 061:53.2W

Well here we are, after a week of adventure, in Jolly Harbour Antigua. We sailed out of St George’s and said a fond farewell to Grenada, heading north on the first leg of the trip, full of expectations and the promise of Coconut Prawns at Palm Beach restaurant on the tiny island (population 2,000) of Petit Martinique. We made good time and anchored early afternoon off the glistening white beach of the private resort on Petite Saint Vincent. After a swim in clear aquamarine water, the restaurant was raised on VHF channel 68 and the owner/chef ferried us across the ½ mile strait between Petite Saint Vincent and Petit Martinique. There the anticipated promise of Ryan’s “The best prawns in the world” became a beautiful reality!

At 1000 hours on 28th April we were off to Tobago Cays to swim with turtles and for Nigel and Ryan to say their goodbyes to a few old friends like Walter the gold-toothed t-shirt seller and for Rob and David (me) to invest in some of his wares. We left the Cays after a swim and a successful turtle spotting snorkel expedition, with Rob clocking up the best head count. The Cays, hard to reach by any other mode of transport than a yacht, are truly magnificent. Motoring carefully between evil reefs, this would be our first overnight passage, spurred on by another of Ryan’s culinary promises “the big beef experience” on the French Island of Martinique, proper. We arrived early morning and after a grumpy greeting from a French harbour master to our request for a berth to “call us back after 10.00 am” we dropped anchor to wait and decided that we were better of at anchor anyway, so there Oboe remained for the night. We took the dingy ashore later in the morning for Cote de Boeuf. Again Ryan was correct “what a piece of beef!” Fed and watered we spent the rest of the day ashore and relaxed.

Friday 30th we headed off for a non-stop overnight 180 miles to Antigua, passing Dominica, Guadeloupe and west of Montserrat. Ryan and Rob had the good watches whilst Nigel and I had the squally night watches. Nevertheless we arrived in Jolly Harbour as planned at 1300 hours and moored up. After a “rehydration programme” we all retired to what we thought would be a well deserved night’s sleep, only to find we had moored in the hottest mosquito capital of the world, so were up all night cursing and scratching. The next day, after a rethink, Nigel came up with a bit of genius …..why not rent an air-conditioned villa with a dock so we could berth Oboe at the end of the garden and work on her and use the villa to prepare all the meals and freeze them and work in comfort. Decision made we checked the depth of the channel this morning and moved Oboe to her new dock and us to the villa (well smallish townhouse really) in preparation of the next stage passage.

A few days of hard work ahead of us; two more crew, Maggie and Wendy, soon to join and then …

David

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