Jolly Harbour, Antigua

Mike and Liz Downing
Wed 11 Mar 2009 12:00
We came round to the west coast last Wednesday and picked up a buoy at Jolly Harbour. It's a natural harbour that's been dredged and landscaped to create a number of canals allowing a large number of waterside homes to be built. They had already started it when we were here 13 years ago, but there is still a lot of land waiting for people to buy plots and build homes. It is effectively a village ashore with a good beach facing the west, so a good place to watch the sun go down and see the elusive green flash as it dips over the horizon. Not that we have seen too much sun over the last 3 days - it's been hot, but there's been a fair bit of cloud about. The buoy is costing £10 a night, so not too bad and a lot cheaper than the marina here. There's very little fetch where we are so the water is flat and it's an easy 5 mins dinghy ride to the marina and the shops and restaurants around it.
The trip from Falmouth Harbour was only about 10 miles, but quite interesting as the passage takes you inside Cades reef on the south-western corner. The water round the reef is very clear and a lovely turquoise colour, being only about 25 feet deep. Once round the western corner the whole of the west side up to Jolly Harbour is very shallow, being only between 15 and 20ft for a long way out, but it's a lovely turquoise colour. As you approach the harbour the beaches are covered in ground-up shells and the water is milky as a result. The new wind generator blades have made it to Antigua, but not yet to Jolly Harbour. We have our fingers crossed for tomorrow.
You start to see the bottom as you pass between Cades reef and the coast.
Sea off the west coast - its all very shallow!
The anchorage outside Jolly Harbour which we went past to get to the mooring.
The sea really is this colour! Looking to the left (or towards the north west) as you head towards the anchorage you can see 5 islands - the next bay is called Five Islands Harbour. There is no harbour, but several deserted beaches that in the right conditions you can anchor off. We're getting quite a lot of northerly swells for this time of year and any bay open to the north is then quite rolly, and it's difficult, if not dangerous to get ashore - you're likely to be dumped upside down as you close the beach. If you attempt it you have to get your timing right - hit the beach between waves, jump out, pick the dinghy up and get ashore before the next wave clobbers you!
Clouds over the hills as we approached Jolly Harbour.
Looking back from the mooring towards the entrance to the Harbour. While the water has been flat, it was only this flat once!