Sunday, 11 May 2014


Easter in Antigua

Deep Bay is becoming our second home! We know the rhythm of the tourist catamaran arrivals and departures and the two yachts that bring holiday makers for lunch and a snorkel. They keep coming even though it is very windy and a bit choppy.

Deep Bay

On Good Friday we decided to explore ashore, starting with the old hotel near the beach. We had been told it was empty and only used when flights had been cancelled, so we were surprised to see people everywhere and taxis coming and going. It looks very dated and a bit shabby but appeared to be hosting a conference. We looked up the Grand Royal Antiguan Resort on Tripadvisor later – some very unflattering reviews, but surprisingly a few good ones. Whoever designed their website employed a really good photographer!

Seen on the road to 5 islands village - what can the hoops have been used for?

We had to go through reception to get to the road and had an interesting walk almost to Five Islands village. The road runs through dry forest with evidence of past cattle farming – water tanks and dry water troughs. 

Ruined Windmill

We went inside an old stone windmill, one of Antigua’s many. We eventually reached Ballast Bay and could see across to a windblown St John’s. We stopped at Pensioners Corner, a snackette, which unfortunately was closed. 

Where we all end up!

The rest of the weekend was spent doing boat jobs including re-stitching the mizzen sail cover, the canvas is ok but the cotton is degrading. We also beached the dingy and scrubbed its bottom – Jolly Harbour must be full of nutrients and as we had not been raising the dingy at night on the work dock, it had a good covering of green and tiny barnacles and mussel shells!

On Tuesday it was back to Jolly for Carl to have another look at the engine which still stalls now and again and is sometimes slow to start. His verdict is that we now need the top end doing! Not yet, though!

Sunset on the work dock
   After meeting with friends new and old, doing the usual laundry, provisioning and collecting the refilled gas cylinder we plan to leave for St Kitts on Saturday 26th in company with Vivace.

Saturday, 10 May 2014


Tuesday 15th April and we are finally off to Barbuda. The weather looks settled for the next few days before the swells and stronger winds arrive for the Easter weekend!

From Deep bay to Barbuda is 32 miles and it is recommended that you arrive before 14.00 so you have good light to see the reefs. We depart at 0600 and with a gentle Easterly breeze we head north. As a precaution we have reefed the main and a good job we did so, as the wind freshens to a steady F5 and we are really flying along. At this speed we will be there before lunch. We called our friends on ‘Secouden’ on the VHF to find out where they are anchored and make plans to join them.
Arriving in Barbuda - Beautiful!
They are anchored off Coco point and we lay a course outside the reef and arrive before lunch. We sail the last mile or so in about 5m over coral bombies that seem very close to the surface. The water is an exquisite turquoise, so bright that the undersides of the wings of the terns flying overhead seem blue not white.  Three fisherman come by selling a huge lobster, but we have read that their reefs are being over fished, so decline.  Richard would not let me spend $50 to put it back! Lunch and then a swim followed by sundowners on the beach with ‘Secouden’ and ‘Sara Lane’ who we met last year and hadn’t seen since.
A 'Sundowner' of 'Admirals'?

There were turtles surfacing all the time and a huge one kept Krista and me company while we did our water aerobics – magic.
Life is just one long pink beach in Barbuda!

Barbuda is beautiful, just one long beach. We walked along the soft, pink sand beach to the K Club, a very exclusive beach resort near Coco point, now derelict, where it is believed Princess Diana and other celebs stayed.   

Robinson Crusoe and Girl Friday?

While wandering around the deserted chalets we were accosted by some workmen who said that they would be ‘doing up the place’. From the look of things demolition and starting again would be the best option.
The deserted K-Club

We didn’t explore ashore as the resort on the point doesn’t welcome visitors and the only way to get to town is a 5 mile walk or a very expensive taxi ride (US$70 return). Being in the south of the island also meant we didn’t get to see the Frigate bird colony either as the cost would have been expensive for two (US$50 for the tour + US$70 taxi + US$2 each entry fee to the national park.) It is much better with 4 people so the taxi and tour prices are shared by 4. Hopefully, next time.

We only had 2 nights in Barbuda before the weather that was predicted arrived. Windy with northerly swells (not the place to be in those conditions) so we sailed back to Deep bay in Antigua, not the most pleasant sail with the wind varying between 15 and 30kts and a few heavy showers. It took the same time to get back as it did to go to Barbuda with exactly the same mileage although somehow on the way back it just seemed longer. We could see Antigua from afar whereas sailing to Barbuda you cannot see it until you are 3 miles away. Deep bay anchorage here we are for a wet and windy Easter weekend. There are more boats here than we have ever seen (16). I felt sorry for the locals enjoying the beach dodging the heavy showers while trying to have a picnic.

We will spend Easter here and decide where to go next. Probably St Kitts and Nevis and then Montserrat always assuming the weather is favourable.