Saturday, June 27, 2009

Off-season in Antigua

Things have been quiet here in Antigua. We've spent a month between here and Barbuda and it's time to head south. Hurricane season officially started June 1st and it's time to get ourselves a little closer to our destination, 12 degrees latitude or Grenada.
Before we left the anchorage outside Jolly Harbor, we were treated to the sight of these boats heading out for a day of racing. It was a beautiful sight to see them sailing wing-on-wing. Things got a little hairy when one of the boats got their spinnaker tangled up with the boom of the boat next to them. They recovered quickly and were on there way.
We left Jolly for the sail around the southwest corner of the island to Falmouth Harbour. You can see by the chart that we chose the route inside Middle Reef down the Goat Head channel. This make for calmer waters to sail in and involves lots of short tacks as you keep your eye on the reef to starboard and the shoreline to port. Don't rely on your GPS or chartplotters here. You need good, old fashioned eyeball navigation!

We've been enjoying the quiet and uncrowded feeling of sailing in Antigua in the off-season. There usually hasn't been more than 3 or 4 boats anywhere and most of the time it was our friends on Wildcat and Metalia. But it's been kind of strange being in Falmouth Harbour for the past week. We've never been here in the high season but we've seen pictures and read about the hundreds of boats that can be found here, especially during race week and the Classic Yacht Regatta. So to be here with very few boats ( there are probably only a handful of cruising boats in Falmouth, even less in English Harbour) is kind of eerie. There is absolutely nothing going on in the harbor. You rarely hear a dinghy or see anyone during the day. On-shore is the same story. Many of the businesses and restaurants are closed for the season. We are here because it's a good place for us to stage ourselves while we wait for the right weather to head to Guadeloupe. It will be interesting to come back in the high season when things are bustling.

These are the completely empty docks for the mega-yachts.
They are long gone, headed for their summer cruising grounds in the United States and the Mediterranean.

We've really enjoyed Antigua and Barbuda. Antigua boasts that they have 365 beaches, a different one for every day of the year! I don't doubt it. Beautiful beaches are everywhere. We only got to experience a few. Guess we'll have to come back!

Tomorrow we head south. We'll overnight in Guadeloupe before heading to the Saints. We can already smell the fresh-baked baguettes!