Friday, 3 May 2013

Falmouth Harbour

On Wednesday we sailed round to Falmouth Harbour. We went on the inshore passage as it is much shorter, but very shallow all the way about 7-8 m max. The was on the nose (as usual!) so once we were past Pelican Island we were motoring in fairly rough seas . The you really have to pay attention as the land is to port and to starboard there is Cades Reef (Where we had dived, so at least we had had a little preview) which is easy to see with breaking waves all the time. But, inside this is Middle Reef which you can't see so there is a 600m wide channel you need to be in. This sounds a lot but there are bits of land jutting out and odd rocks to avoid as well. Quite nerve wracking.

Once past Old Road Bluff the water deepens so a much easier sail up to the harbour mouth. We had seen how many boats were at anchor when we came up before so were wondering where to go. Just inside the harbour on the eastern shore is Pigeon Beach, which is lovely white sand and again turtles bobbing up and down. That settled it. We found a nice sandy patch amongst the seagrass and dropped the anchor in  4m.

We had a snorkel to check the anchor - well dug in. There were turtles grazing on the sea grass, some corals, cushion sea stars, sea cucumbers and sea eggs.

Once again, there were old friends and new, invitations to dinner and to go to the Red Hat party (Mountgay Rum), the Yellow Hat party (English Harbour Rum) and various other events for Classic week and then Antigua week. From our mooring near the mouth we could watch all the racing boats coming and going and watch some of the racing out in the bay.

I joined a group of ladies (the men can't take the pace) doing water aerobics with "noodles" in the mornings, very good fun and harder than you think. They are run by Awilda "Willie" Haskins who has written a Kindle book, Noodling at Sea or Staying Fit with Water Aerobics. Part of the proceeds from the sale of this book will go to 'Hands Accross the Sea', a charity that supplies books, computers and other materials to schools in the Caribbean. For the uninitiated noodles are 2m long thin solid foam cylinders. You sit on them or push or pull them.

Water aerobics - Falmouth Harbour
There is a new marine park at Windward Bay, a short walk to south of the island. There are magnificent corals and lots of marine life. There are several buoys which mark nice corals and name them. They are publishing a booklet to go with it, bit it so new that when I went to the Dockyard museum to get one they were not ready yet. The rocks around the beach are covered in small black sea urchins, so getting in was a bit tricky.

Elkhorn Coral

We joined the Antigua Hash House Harriers for a Saturday afternoon walk or run - we walked - from Pigeon Beach up to the old fort at Middle Ground and back. Lovely views of the sea and both harbours, trees, birdlife including hummingbirds feeding on cactus flowers and goats along the way. Back on the beach, a few drinks, good socialising and delicious rotis.

English Harbour entrance from Middle Ground

The day ended with Richard breaking a filling in his tooth while eating supper back on the boat. Monday will be a busy day arranging a dental appointment and getting our gas cylinder filled.

Falmouth harbour is adjacent to English harbour, the site of Nelsons Dockyard. It is the original Georgian naval dockyard that has been partially restored. Some of the buildings are being used as workshops for sailmakers and other marine trades, other buildings have been given a new lease of life as bars, shops, restaurants and even a hotel. The original dockyard bakery is guess what... a bakery! It is definitely worth a visit. Probably the oldest working dockyard in the world. Complete with a Sunsail base!

Restored Dockyard Buildings
Old sail loft ruins

Wednesday we are up early to catch the bus to St Johns for the dentist. Good news is that the tooth can be repaired but will eventually need to be capped. Open mouth and wallet and an excellent job done. The bus rides are always an interesting experience, on the way to St Johns we have talk radio with the usual morning show chatter. On the way back we are treated to Gospel music all the way. We are now experts in local politics and our souls have been saved! Fortunately most of the time it is just reggae.

Local House

Arriving back at the boat we discover that there is dinghy racing taking place off our beach. Our anchoring spot gives us a grandstand view. This is a new event for the 'lay day' of sailing week, where an invited few skippers and crew of the largest race boats compete against each other in dinghies.

Dinghy racing off Pigeon beach

It is not only us that consider our position to be a good viewing point as we are surrounded by anchored boats, fortunately they move when the racing finished as they were really much too close. Tomorrow we are planning to sail to Deep bay near St Johns harbour, light winds are forecast so we may only sail as far as 5 Islands harbour.

Don't get too close -  I hardly know you! (Sunsail again!)

A slow gentle sail in 10kts or less takes us to 5 Islands harbour and the anchorage in Hermitage bay. We are anchored off a pretty resort complex with chalet style rooms among the terraced hillside gardens and a white sandy beach.

Deep bay can wait until the weekend.

No comments:

Post a Comment