Friday, 30 April 2010

10 fun-filled days with Andrea

Andrea arrived on Monday afternoon sadly missing the last of the racing in the morning. On Sunday we watched the gig races and enjoyed a cream tea on the lawns of Admiral’s Inn in English Harbour. The next day we rented a car and toured the island ending up at Shirley Heights for its spectacular sunset view across both English and Falmouth harbours.

Our next stop was Deep Bay where we snorkelled on the wreck seeing lots of angelfish, a turtle, barracuda and a ray. We were plagued by mosquitoes at sunset and dawn so were relieved to sail up to Barbuda and anchor on the stunning Cocoa Beach. We then moved around to Low Bay and had a great beach BBQ with another boat, Belle.

After a long walk along the 11 mile beach we hired Clifford to take us by boat across the huge lagoon to do our check out. This involves 3 stops, the one for customs is actually in someone’s house! Clifford is definitely the man to use for this if you are planning to visit Barbuda – 25 EC for 3 of return and he helpfully escorts you around all the offices. He also does visits to the frigate bird sanctuary.

Our sail the next day to St Barts was a slow one. We arrived after dark and anchored in Baie Colombier to avoid the swell running in Gustavia. Under the full moon we could clearly see the bottom as we dropped the hook in 7 metres of water. The next day we snorkelled with the many turtles and had a lovely walk to Baie Flamands before motoring around to Gustavia for drinks and dinner. It was then up to St Martin in readiness for Andrea’s flight out on 30th April - another passage with no wind necessitating employing the iron sails. We went through the the 17:30 opening of French bridge into the lagoon.

Monday, 19 April 2010

North again

On leaving St Lucia we managed to sail up the coast of Martinique before we lost the wind. We had to press on because we needed to be in Antigua to meet our guest arriving on 19th April. After a night of motoring we dropped anchor in the Saintes, islands just south of Guadaloupe. We only had a short time in Terre d’En Haut but loved it. The water was fantastically clear in our anchorage at Pain de Sucre and we had a hot but interesting walk into Bourg des Saintes, the pretty “town”. We left wanting to return and spend some more time exploring these islands.

Since the winds were still either non-existent or against us, we decided to head up to Pointe A Pitre in Guadaloupe and traverse the island via the Riviere Salee, a saltwater mangrove channel through the centre of the island. We had to anchor near the first bridge ready for its only daily opening at 5am. The dark and early start was not improved by heavy rain showers which severely limited our visibility and made the short transit somewhat unpleasant. Dawn broke as we left the last bridge and made our way towards the north of Guadaloupe where it was impossible to eyeball navigate through the reefs to our chosen anchorage at Ilet a Fajou. We had instead to rely on our chart software, never a comfortable feeling but as we monitored it for accuracy through the buoyed channel we decided it was worth the risk.

The anchorage was stunning despite the grey skies and continuing rain. We stayed overnight waiting for some more favourable winds and were ready to sail up to Antigua the next morning. It was a fast passage and we arrived in time to anchor and head in to the Yacht Club party for Classic Week. It was a night to catch up with many friends all there to participate or watch the racing.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

In-between St Lucia and Martinique

With some commitments in St Lucia we have been sailing in-between there and Martinique. We had a great time (and a lot of rum punch) at the Friday night "Jump Up" in Gros Islet with friends from a couple of other boats. We also went Sunday night jazz at Jambe de Bois on Pigeon Island which is always worth a visit.
Back in Martinique we did part of the Trace des Caps walk along the southern coast which was spectacular - varied scenery, stunning beaches and no development.
We head up to Antigua today to catch the end of Classic Week.