Monday, January 30, 2017

Antigua Continued....

After dealing with flies in Jolly, Deep Bay and Five Islands, we decided to venture to a little south and anchored in Falmouth Harbour.  Falmouth is a short walk to English Harbour and Nelson's Dockyard (as in Horatio Nelson).  Lots of history and cool relics that are still in use today.

While we were on the boat one afternoon, our friends Malcolm and Elia on Orion went by looking for a spot to drop the hook.  It was great to see them since our last rendezvous was in the BVI in November.  We spent a couple days hanging out with Malcolm and Elia hiking, playing music and going to the Shirley Heights party on Sunday.  

The next day, Patty and Peter on Seredipitous was in the anchorage...that night Orion, Terrapin, and Nomad were all invited over to Toodle-O! with Bill and Laurie who needed us to help them "mop up" a bag of wine that had broken during a passage.  Oh, yeah, everyone was happy to participate.  Also, there was Tom and Susan on Nomad and it was great to make new friends and share a toast together!

As the weather was abating, it was time for us to say goodbye and sail to Guadeloupe to pick up Molly's Mom and Sister.  Patty and Peter even stopped by to lend us a fender step to help if needed with boat access...the people you meet cruising are truly kind and so thoughtful!

Looking north into Falmouth. Terrapin is left of center. 

The inlet into Falmouth on a beautiful calm day.

Many parts of the island is inhabited by goats...the new babies were so adorable...Elia considered taking one as a birthday present.
Hiking with our sailing friends from S/V Orion. English Harbour is in the background which lies to the east of Falmouth about 1nm.

A better view of the inlet to English Harbour which encompasses Nelson's Dockyard a very famous naval yard and UNESCO Historical Site.

Some of the yachts in English. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Cheri-O and Pinkies Up! Greetings from Antigua

Hello from Antigua, a very British island with a lot of fun bays, islands and anchorages to explore.

We checked into the country at Jolly Harbour and spent a week between Jolly, Deep Bay and Five Islands Bay.  The water in Antigua is an amazing color of teal and the sunsets at Jolly are enough to make you stop and stare while the sun says goodbye for the day.

We also love English Harbor so we cruised the Goathead Channel along the west coast of the island and anchored in Falmouth for a few days.  The latest cold front is moving in and the winds are backing to almost 350 (just west of due north)...crazy for the Caribbean and it's typical trade wind pattern.

Molly snorkeling on the Andes which sank in 1905 in Deep Bay, Antigua. Guess the bay wasn't deep enough :>)

The anti-siphon valve that keeps our aft-head (toilet) back flowing for a few weeks until we located the issue and replaced the $5 valve. Yay, boat projects.

New snubber and Wichard chain hook. The hook is french and very cool especially since we love all french sailing toys.
The much talked about and awesome Wichard chain hook. As an aside, Wichard donated a lot of hardware to Bernard Moitessier when he entered the Golden Globe race.

Fort Barrington overlooking Deep Bay.
View from Fort Barrington with Terrapin in the center and the Andes wreck barely visible on the far right
Obligatory dog & beach photo. This was secluded beach #4 on this day for Kala. #doglife
When you don't have kids you add more photos of your dog. :>)
The sail from Deep Bay to Five Islands, Antigua. We were doing 6kts with the genoa only. This was the kind of day that we look forward to.
Yes, the sunsets in the Caribbean are awesome too!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

A picture is worth 1,000 words

Sailing by the Star Clipper Cruise Ship (from top of a wave)
Same picture from bottom of the wave - notice you can't see the 20 ft hull of the ship
Antigua sunset - waiting for the green flash
Anse de Colombier - Terrapin just to left of rock and Ile Forchue in background, St Marten in far background.
Leaving St Barth's...all those white dots are the dozens of mega yachts clambering for an anchor spot on NYE
One of ??(we lost count) squalls
After squalls, come rainbows....this one over St Kitts (we are on the leeward/ behind the island side) as we made our way to Nevis
Heading to anchor in Nevis for the night.  Christopher Colombus named Nevis "Nostros Senoras de los Nevis" or Our Lady of the Snows after the cloud that is usually over the top of the mountain.
Beautiful schooner as a neighbor in Nevis
Sailing to can see the volcano is still smoldering more than a decade after the first eruption and seven years since the last.
The view of Montserrat (you can see the bottom edge on the left side of the picture) as we sailed to Antigua 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Sailing South and East

As you may have realized, we really like St Barth’s.  The hiking, the beaches, the culture immersion, working on our “pigeon French” the mega-yacht sightseeing, it is all just fun!  But, we have other places to go and things to do so we ventured out into the Caribbean. 

This season has been very “unique” in that the forecasted stray squalls have not been stray at all – you can watch a line of them, sometimes 10 miles wide, cross from east to west on a daily basis.  One day I stood in one spot and counted four black rainy, windy squalls in every direction.  When you’re sailing, the squall could go from 15 knots to 40 knots in an instant, or it could just be rain with no wind change.  You never know.  The hard part is the sails you would use in 15 knots of wind are very different than in 40 knots….so, what’s a boat to do?  We end up hoping for the best and planning for the worst which means that we have very little sail up and don’t go very fast but are prepared for the big hit.

We were thinking about going south to Antigua which means going generally east from St Barths and, since the tradewinds (the same ones that Columbus sailed to the Caribbean) come from the east, it is hard to go east on a sailboat without a lot of tacking. (“Tacking”: since a sailboat can’t sail directly into the wind, which is from the east, you have to sail at an angle to the wind in one direction, away from your destination, and then tack, or change to the opposite direction off the wind, essentially making zigzags to your destination). Also, when the strong winds blow across the water they create big seas and swell. That means that a 30nm sail can actually be 50mn beating into lumpy 7-9’ seas.  Needless to say, this can get old and is the reason that early sailors coined the phrase; “Gentlemen don’t go to weather” meaning that no one with any sense, or the ability to avoid it, sails upwind (in this case, to the east).

So… since we don’t have better sense or no other options, we decided to take three days and head to Nevis and anchor overnight and then to Montserrat and anchor overnight.  From Montserrat, the trip to Antigua is more of a northeast direction and less than 30 miles without including the tacks.
We were happy (jolly?) to make Jolly Harbour, Antigua on New Year’s Eve and check in to the country – just in case they were closed for the holidays.  Every country requires boats to check in and out with customs and immigration but on top of that, with Antigua being previously a British island, they have strict regulations and document requirements for animals and Kala needed to be examined by a vet to obtain a permit from customs.  We set the anchor in a rainy and windy squall and set off to check in to the country and make arrangements for Kala.  With all that done, we enjoyed a great NYE dinner at a local restaurant and even stayed up until “cruiser’s midnight” (about 10pm).

Waking up to the beautiful teal color of the water in Jolly Harbour is a great way to start 2017 and we are excited for the adventure ahead!  Wishing you all the best of the New Year and hope you are making the most of every single day.

Dolphins are just amazing creature, wouldn't you agree?
Terrapin at anchor in Montserrat with Redonda (uninhabited big island/rock) and Nevis in the background.