Archive for April, 2012

Everyone Knows This is Nowhere

April 26, 2012

The group we often sail with decided to rendezvous at Nonsuch Bay on the east side of the island. Our friends Janice and Steve on Sailacious sailed down from the north end of the island – a fairly easy trip. The rest of us – Compass Rose, Persephone, and Chimayo motored around crashing and bashing into the wind and waves. It took about three hours to go 11 miles.

Nonsuch Bay is a fairly large body of water protected from the waves by a reef and a couple islands. The wind, however, blowes unabated so the anchorage is breezy, but relatively calm. Antigua has placed some free mooring balls behind the reef between Bird Island and Green Island, so you can sit on a mooring and and look out eastward to sea. This is quite novel, because most anchorages are protected by part of an island, so the eastward view is usually a mountain.

You can just see the waves breaking on the reef that protects Nonsuch Bay

We had barely settled after tidying the boat from the trip when Jackie spotted a woman with a windsurfer in the water nearby. She appeared to need help. It turned out that the mast had broken loose from the board and she was looking for a tow to the beach. We already had the dinghy in the water, so I gave her a ride to shore. (Let’s see – I’m here for half an hour and Jackie is arranging for me to go to the beach with some French girl in a bikini….)

I rescue a windsurfer

We tried some snorkeling by Bird Island, but there wasn’t too much to see. We later heard that it is better out by the reef. We took a hike on Bird Island one morning and spoted some birds. There were a lot of humming birds and Bananaquits. One of the best places to spot birds were in the Century Plant flowers.

Hummingbird having some lunch

A bullfinch sits on a Century Plant flower

A couple of anole lizards pose for us. They are everywhere on the islands

Our dinghy waiting under a palm tree on one of the Green Island beaches

There was a little excitement the day before we left to go back to Falmouth Harbour. The bay is a popular place for kiteboarders because there is a beach to stage from, the wind is steady, and the water is flat. There were obviously some people giving lessons.

Some of the kiteboarders sail pretty close to the moored sailboats. One guy landed in the water right in front of our boat, but he was able to get back up and sail off without getting his kite caught in our rigging. A little later he wasn’t so lucky and snagged a mast with his kite. Someone in a support boat came by and helped him get the kite loose.

A kiteboarder's kite caught in the rigging of the boat next to us.

The rising sun shines down through clouds to the east


Next: Classic Yachts

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Hanging in Antigua

April 24, 2012

Falmouth Harbour is a large anchorage.  Most boats gravitate towards Pigeon Beach in the southeast and the middle of the anchorage off Falmouth Harbour Marina and the Antigua Yacht Club Marina.  We were trying to beat a rain cloud coming over the mountain, so headed for a big open space and quickly anchored. We liked the spot and stayed there. We looked around a spotted boats of people we knew and boat names we have heard on the radio, but never met.  Clearly we wouldn’t be lonely.

Falmouth Harbour is just west of English Harbour, home of Nelson’s Dockyard.  The dockyard was built in the seventeenth century and is the only continuously working Georgian dockyard in the world.  Most of the buildings have been restored and are homes to modern businesses such as restaurants, clothing shops, a bakery, and a sail loft.

Looking down at Nelson's Dockyard

Pam and Jeff on Foggy Mountain invited us to join them for breakfast one morning in Nelson’s Dockyard.  They have met a group of people who make it a daily event.  We had a lot of fun, so we often joined them.  The group is made up of mostly retirees.  One of the locals refers to the group’s table a Pensioner’s Corner.

Breakfast in the Pensioner's Corner

The old dinghy dock between Nelson's Dockyard and the Antigua Yacht Club Marina

Crawling around in the old dinghy dock

Falmouth Harbour is separated from English Harbour by a peninsula called the Middle Ground.  There is a trail from Pigeon Beach near the mouth of Falmouth Harbour that climbs up over the Middle Ground and ends at Nelson’s Dockyard. Along the way it passes the remains of an old barracks and three of the forts that guarded the harbours.

We have spent a lot of mornings hiking the trail and a few “roads” on the middle ground.  These were exercise/bird watching hikes, but also helped us to figure out the best vantage points for watching the upcoming vintage boat races.

White Crowned Pigeon - a new bird for us

Where do little bugs come from?

Like most of the islands, Antigua has a bus system.  Many of the buses are vans, but there are quite a few larger buses that look like they came out of tour service.  Fares are cheap so we’ve taken the bus a few times.  The buses run from here to the bus station in St. John, Antigua’s capitol.  From there we have caught buses to Jolly Harbour on the west coast and to the shopping mall, grocery store, and cinema complex in St. John.

Bus station in St. John, Antigua

Jackie and Debbie shopping at the produce market across from the bus station

Next: Nonsuch Bay