Antigua Bound

Yep, we’re in Antigua, Jolly Harbor to be exact. After a few days at Grande Case, St. Martin; we motored around (it’s only 5 nm) to Orient Bay were the action was happening. This is described as the “French Riviera” of the Caribbean and indeed if I can imagine the Riviera since I haven’t been there; it was. Besides the lack of clothing on the beach there were things happening all around. Over 10 jet ski’s at any one time, two boats pulling the parasailers, wind surfers sailing by, snorkelers mosying by, and of course beach restaurants all along the shore.  We hung there for a day and thought the anchorage wouldn’t be too bad for the evening. We were farther out than we would have liked but the new motor on the dinghy made trips ashore much easier for

Wendy's New Ride

Wendy's New Ride

W/. Once all the boats and jet ski’s stopped the anchorage actually got worse. Waves broke over the reef on one side and curled in the channel on the other and the net result was more roll and less pitch. With the evening wind slacking we ended up with some slightly uncomfortable roll (not St. Thomas like 🙂 ).

The following day we were to sail to St. Barts and hang out at a park then that evening head out to Antigua. The prior evening when I had risen about midnight the winds had shifted slightly N or NE. Great, the following evening should that happen we might actually get to sail some to Antigua. What a treat that would be. 🙂

Leaving Orient Bay we unrolled the Jib and floated along at about 3.5 kts.  Not fast but hey! We’re not motoring. However the sail wasn’t to last for long. When we slowed to around 2 kts (slower then a stroll on land) we rolled the jib in and started the Iron Genny (the engine). We motored the last 8 nm to St. Barts and picked up a free mooring at the park. The time waiting we watched the boats come and go, watched hikers climb the hills in the park, watched the charterers cruise around 10 to a dinghy, took a nap, and readied ourselves to leave soon after midnight.

Midnight arrived sooner then we would have wished. We set up the boat for leaving and slowly motored out of the harbor and then turned S for rounding St. Barts. Again we tried to sail, tried motor sailing and eventually rolled up the sail.  We kept hoping for the breeze that the gribs said would be and for the winds that the evening before we had but obviously Mother Nature just chose to not read the weather reports! We were cursed with burning more fossil fuels. On goes the engine and forward towards Antigua we traverse.

We motored slowly at first mostly 4-5 kts attempting to keep the spray down and because it was still dark. The current didn’t help and although the data shows the current at only .4 kts against us I think there was more. As daylight approached we added speed to the boat and cruised the rest of the way between 5 – 6 kts.

Still not fun. Although we didn’t take on much water; hardly any, we kept up a  steady misting of salt water. So in essence we were building up a layer of salt on the decks. The mist would hit the boat and instead of taking the salt and running off it would evaporate and leave a salty surface behind that was actually as rough as the non skid. Fortunately we hid behind the dodger for most of the trip (except for fishing).

I’m tired of motoring and I’m tired of reading and I’m tired of doing Sudoku. So I hang out a couple of lures. Two hours later I’m watching as one pole looks to bend then it stands right up. Damn, I check the line and it’s flying free. Damn. I discover I had way too much drag on it and the line broke at my knot on the swivel. DAMN! Ok, there goes 10 bucks. Get another lure out, another swivel, tie it on better ( I hope) and let her go. This time I check the drag and make sure it will drag.

About 5 hours later we’re coming up on the banks and have watched Antigua grow off the horizon. I’m getting ready to pull the lines in because mostly on the banks the fish that one can catch ain’t the fish I want. About 60 seconds before I summon the energy to move my behind from the seat aft the dodger the new lure I put out goes ZING!  Wendy rushes to slow the boat and I rush to the  line that now has a fish. As the boat slows she hauls in the other line (we don’t really want two fish at a time again) and I notice that what we’ve caught is a Barracuda. DAMN!  We don’t eat those because of the potential for Ciguatera. So we haul it aboard, using a pliers and leather gloves I take the hook out and then slide him / her over the side for the ocean to do with it what it will. It will either survive or be a meal for a larger fish. Out of the three parties; us, the fish, or the fishes main course, one will be happy. But now the Barracuda has torn up another skirt on another lure. Not a good day fishing.

Easy Clearance

Easy Clearance

Clearing in in Jolly Harbor Antigua was sweet. Although the guide said that the officials were there till 1700 we had arrived too late. We made the dock by 1630 and were informed that Customs had already left but we could stay tied here and it would be ok if we ate ashore. W/ was happy. We tied up, cleaned up, and then Jim and Cheryl arrived on Orion. They were Antigua regulars and had just arrived from Guadaloupe and needed to clear in too. So they tied on the other side of the finger pier and we shared some stories w/ them as well as bored them with ours.

The following am we cleared in with Customs, Immigration and the Port Captain. We’re now good to go. So out to a mooring we motored to finish getting the boat ready for Antigua. Mike and Jenny (from Annopolis) are down on a chartering / diving vacation so we’ll see them on their return.
Good times; Soon come.

Fair Winds

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