After a 6.5 hour sail from Guadeloupe we arrived to Antigua where we anchored in turquoise waters outside of Jolly Harbor.
As we arrived after immigration and customs had closed, we raised our “quarantine” flag and shared sundowners with Leif and Anna Carin on Beaucastel. The next morning we both went direct to the customs dock. Anna Carin and I had to remain on our boats until Leif and Roland had cleared customs and immigration.
We then proceeded to the Jolly Harbor Marina for a couple of days for charging batteries, provisioning, and dinner at a restaurant that had live Reggae music. Fun! The four of us commented how nice it is at Jolly Harbor Marina. Extremely friendly staff and the grounds around it are nicely landscaped with colourful flowers. It is a small marina so has a very calm, cozy atmosphere. We took a taxi tour of part of the island and ended our tour at Shirley Heights (fort), overlooking English Harbor for the Sunday traditional BBQ, rum punch and steel band music. After some hours of eating and swaying to the music, it was time to depart and as our taxi driver returned to pick us up, he also was to take 4 other people. When they came to the taxi it was the same people we had shared a table with during dinner. When we saw each other cheers erupted from all of us. The taxi drive got a big grin, a laugh and said – “small world on Antigua”.
Our next stop took us a short distance from Jolly Harbor to an anchorage called Deep Bay with a beautiful beach and another fort to explore at the top of the ridge.
The port of Antigua and city of St. John’s was just a short distance away, however we did not want to take our boats in and anchor so we called our same taxi driver, Trevor, and he picked us up and drove us into St. John’s where we spent several hours looking around, shopping, lunch and ending at the market for some fresh fish and vegetables/fruits.
One of our favorite spots is on the north coast of Antigua; Great Bird and Outer Islands. Many reefs provide protection to this area. The landscape is more arid with Cactus vs. Palm trees. The rock shapes are more dramatic and the waters provide good snorkeling with all the many reefs. Today we had a big Stingray swimming with us. Nice to see new colorful corals.
Our stay at Iles Des Saints celebrated Öyvind’s birthday. Terre D’en Haut is a lovely island with a quaint french village. Goats roam freely outside the village. Many lovely beaches, a marvellous atmosphere, oh yes, and a scrumptious bakery. Unfortunately while we were there the winds were blowing stronger than normal so the anchorage was very active. Because of that we left earlier than expected and had a fast sail to Guadeloupe.
We spend a few days sailing up the west coast of Guadeloupe as it was soon time for Iris and Öyvind to return to cold, snowy Sweden. One morning we woke to fisherman near us using their nets. It was interesting to watch them and the amount of work it requires. We also enjoyed the birds that were staying close to them in hopes of a breakfast snack.
Since Martinique we have met our Swedish friends, Leif and Anna Carin at different anchorages and have enjoyed spending time with them and sailing together to different destinations. Leif and crew arrived from the Canary Islands to Martinique in January on their Hallberg-Rassy 46, Beaucastel.
From the last anchorage at Deshaies on Guadeloupe, the six of us visited the Jardin Botanical gardens where we also had a marvellous lunch with views.
Next morning it was time to say good bye to Iris and Öyvind and as they left on the bus to the airport, both Bella Luna and Beaucastel pulled up anchors for our 6-7 hour sail to Antigua.
We endured a spirited sail from Martinique to Dominica. In the past Dominica was not visited often by sailors due to crime but we saw nothing but positive, helpful and friendly people in Portsmouth harbour. Arriving we were met by Albert, a member of PAYS, who arranged any tours, laundry, any yacht services and told us of a beach BBQ that evening, sponsors by PAYS.
It was a fantastic evening of very good food, unlimited rum punch, great music and dancing. Albert’s son we now call “Caribbean John Travolta”. The atmosphere was friendly, fun and a highlight of our cruising.
We took the Indian river tour with Albert who is very knowledgable and has a lot of passion for the river’s history, wildlife and fauna.
We took a van tour of the northeast end of the island which was spectacular. The island is so lush with many waterfalls and mountains. Agriculture is big for the island’s prosperity, passing many banana fields. Iris and Öyvind took advantage of the Emerald pool and waterfall.
Next day we took a hike up to Fort Shirley and much to our surprise they were shooting a music video so there was a lot of dancing and costumes. It is quite amazing how they can dance and perform on the long stilts. Fort Shirley overlooks the bay of Portsmouth.
We will certainly return to Dominica when it is time to sail south at the end of the season. There is much more to see and we like the overall feel of the people of Portsmouth and the beautiful island.