Our 2002 Hylas 46

Monday, May 1, 2017

Around Antigua

Around Antigua

Very dear friends arrived on board to spend 10 days with us enjoying sailing in Antigua. We spent a few days gently making our way all around the island of Antigua.

From Falmouth we had a short sail to Mamora Bay – noting that you do not want to depend on the electronic charts to get you in, you MUST be able to see the bottom colours to determine where water depth and the reefs that are just waiting to eat fiberglass to pieces. There are two items of significance here – the home on the point as you head into this bay is owned by some guy who supposedly played a little guitar in his time …. Eric Clapton. He didn’t play for us however, perhaps next time eh? The other item is a rather impressive, all-inclusive resort called the Saint James Club. There was absolutely no other sailboat in the bay with us – it was cool to have the Hobie cats and paddle boarders pass buy to say hello! One neat thing is if you tie up to their dock, they offer you full access to the resorts amenities including the restaurants.

Next stop was to sail to Nonsuch Bay. This is a bay protected from ocean swells and waves by a coral reef and few islands. We wiggled our way in between the reefs and anchored in Ayres Creek beside Nonsuch Bay Resort. Ayres Creek is a very narrow bay where we anchored again completely alone, which is so delightful after weeks in busy and crowed anchorages. The plan was to take advantage of their restaurant for a 5 star dinner. Well the resto gods were not in our court this evening – they had a full house and no room for us. Maryse and Chantal pulled together a fantastic dinner of mahi mahi that was certainly 5 stars for James and me!

A grey and wet day followed so it was a perfect opportunity to say comfortable on board Ambition and just watch the day go by. The fact that we emptied a couple of nicely chilled wines, enjoyed afternoon nappies and another great dinner on board, made the day zip right by! As I said before – “life is good on Ambition”

The next morning we pulled up the anchor and headed out of the bay past Prickly Pear island and through Boon Channel. This is by far the most challenging channel we have navigated this winter.  The electronic charts are of absolutely no use whatsoever. It is 100% eyeball navigation based on the colour of the water – the darker the blue the deeper the water – brown is CORAL REEF – this is to be AVOIDED all the time. While navigating the darkest blue water I could find, I looked down at the chart-plotter and we were right on top of the reef… of those times when technology fails us and eyes don’t lie! We have no pictures – too damn busy finding blue water!

Our next anchorage was in Deep Bay, which is just south of St. Johns, the capital and deep-water port of Antigua. 

Our guide book indicated that there was another chance to use a resorts restaurant facilities in this bay. Well when we checked Tripadvisor and compared the reviews to the guidebook, we opted to believe Tripadvisor. The guidebook indicated two great restaurants – Tripadvisor indicated that one of the two restaurants was abandoned and the only one open was less than 1 star – in fact the entire resort was the worst. They had no excellent ratings. In fact the only rating they had was HORRIBLE. In my experience I ignore the horrible and the excellent and see what the middle of the road tells of a restaurant. In this case…… we ate on board again! Chantal and Maryse certainly did MUCH better and James and I gave them a 5 star rating!

Jolly Harbour was our next stop. This is where we will be storing Ambition for the summer. From what I see, I am not disappointed at all in my choice. We took a mooring in the inner harbour to be closer to the marina. This marina complex is so much like Fort Lauderdale. There are about 150 villas built on fingers of land with dock in the front. They were probably built 30 years ago and today they are in various stages of renovation or need of renovation! Empty lots are selling for US$250,000 and the older villa units are easily available for under US$250,000. The whole site is very eclectic indeed!

Car rental organized by James and off we went on a land tour for a day. We stopped to visit St. Johns. Luckily for us there was no cruise ship in port and so we had a much better view of the old city. The architecture is such a collision of styles – t really is quite special. Lunch was at the Roti King – 5 starts on Tripadvisor and the MOST amazing chicken roti! Afternoon stop and Betty’s Hope – one of the largest sugar cane plantations from the 1800’s. Walking through the little museum send chills down your spine as you see the ships registers of the slaves that they delivered from Africa and the prices paid for each of them. It is hard to even fathom the notion of such an important / ugly part of black history in all the islands of the Caribbean.

Betty's Hope

Next stop was back to Falmouth Harbour to participate in the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta activities.  There were opening festivities parties, fireworks, music and rum … life is good!

Below is a selection of pictures that we took of the start line of a few of the races of these beautiful sailboats. To put it in perspective, some of the yachts are more than 180 feet long with crews of 40+ folks on board and some are 30 feet long with crews of 1 or 2. They are all beautiful and the passion for sailing classics is very obvious in the pride displayed from the owners and crew. Spectacular is an understatement.

English Harbour

The boat on the left is 90 feet long ... on the right .... who knows???

Just the aft deck ....

Wild Horses

How did they get the helicopter up there????

David and Goliath

Hold on tight boys!!!

1 comment:

  1. It was such an amazing treat to spend time on Ambition with you guys. Life is good indeed! Thank you!