John and Susie Blair.
Fri 10 May 2013 11:26
'Antigua Blog' etc.... must be nearly time to return to blighty and the
joys of Castle Square to shake the money tree.
Ah well, fair do's, we've had a good run out here, it's been over seven
months since we slipped our frosty pontoon berth at Neyland Marina.
Another 4000+ miles to add to the 10,000+ that Chelone's notched
up since leaving the beautiful harbour of Rockland, Maine five years ago.
Since my last report we've been continuing to explore pastures new by
sailing up Antigua's west coast past the capital St.John's and around to
the North.... to Long Island, anchoring in Jumby Bay.
Now this was very nice indeed! from our last stop (Deep Bay) we've only
sailed eleven miles but it's as if we're on a different island, very shallow
water with much sea life and those funny Pelicans wheeling around us
providing much amusement. Ashore all is very private and exclusive, very
similar to Palm Island in the Grenadines and ever curious, we asked for
a look around and hey-ho....off we go!
I'd say the island is around the same size as Palm Is (about a mile across)
but this little piece of paradise beat all others that we've seen so far
hands down. I'll spare you the waffle, take it from me it was fabulous,
we asked if we could come ashore that evening for drinks but no-go.
As an 'all inclusive' resort there's no provision to take payment, they did
however offer for us to come and stay but at up to $3450/night we opted
to return to Chelone.
After two nights anchored in the mirror calm waters of Jumby Bay with it's
gorgeous stretch of white palm fringed beach (not to mention the excellent
wi-fi!) we weighed anchor and motored the two miles across to nearby
Great Bird Island. Other cruisers have told us it's a 'must do' so we wove
our way through the many reefs and shoals and dropped the hook again.
We ventured ashore in the dinghy landing on a small beach where a sign
directed us to the hilltop and informed us to keep an eye out for the
Antiguan Racer, according to the guide book, a snake whose only home
in the world is here, furthermore it's possibly the rarest and most
endangered snake in the world too!
The hilltop afforded us panoramic views across the bay to the mainland
and other small islands nearby as well as a look down the two 100 foot well
-like blow holes that fall straight down to the sea. All around us the
Laughing Gulls, Terns etc wheeled about making a hell of a row, the
breeding season is just starting here and soon they'll be laying their eggs
just around where we were standing so we didn't hang about. Humming
birds sipped nectar from the Century plants as we passed by through the
scrub on the way back to the dinghy, with hardly any wind it was mega hot
so we walked straight out into the crystal water for a cooling dip before
returning to Chelone.
We stayed the night at anchor off the island then the next day we motored
across the bay a couple of miles to Parham village where we again took the
dinghy ashore. The sky looked ominously dark and Susie brought the big
army cape thoughtfully left behind by Laurel after our first Atlantic
crossing. Good job too as half way across the heavens opened with a
monsoon like deluge! By the time we'd walked a hundred meters towards
town it stopped, leaving the air thick with humidity and streams of water
running down the road.
Parham was mega quiet, well, it was Sunday I suppose, we asked a passer
by if there was a shop open anywhere and she hailed a woman from a
dwelling hidden in the vegetation who appeared and asked us to wait while
she opened the shop. We purchased eggs, bread and Heinz baked beans
then took a wander up the road to a huge church which we had seen from
miles away and was just as conspicuous in the village with massive pillars
at the entrance. Inside we were amazed by the round wooden ceiling, it
was constructed just like a boat! A wall mounted epitaph was, we noticed
in dedication to a Welshman, originally from Porthmadoc and a member of
the Royal Society of Surgeons, a resident of the parish, he died in 1885
Back to Chelone, and back across the bay to Bird Island.
We're planning to hire a car and take a look around Antigua tomorrow as
well as making plans to have Chelone hauled out so more news on how
we get on with that next time.
Bye for now.
JB & S