Antigua via The Saints and Guadeloupe

Island Wanderer
Peter and Avril Brookes
Wed 22 Feb 2012 01:38
We left Dominica after moving north to Portsmouth for a few days. Here there was large yachting community and we enjoyed socialising with other couples. We attended an outdoor traditional cooking demonstration on wood fires and a beach barbeque. We learnt about the Caribbean net ssb radio broadcast run by the Ocean Cruising Club, and even managed to get up early enough one morning to listen in. We were most impressed with the way local enterprises had turned this once risky, unsavoury anchorage into a safe and delightful place to stay.
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    Cruise ship Star Clipper leaving Dominica                           Coach crushed when tree fell in hurricane, Roseau Botanical Gardens
Our next stop was the small group of Islands known as The Saintes, part of Guadeloupe. Here we spent just one night, enjoying the almost quaint feel of the islands, including a walk across the island to the lovely beach called the Plage du Pompierre (Fireman’s beach) on Valentines day. We celebrated with an ice cream!
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Looking for the firemen...                                                                    Delightful town centre, Bourg des Saintes
The crossing to Guadeloupe was uneventful and because we had done the customs bit in the Saintes, we were free to go where ever we wanted. However the generator had just packed up, leaving us little option but to go to a marina for power. We spent several days trying to sort one or two technical problems, which left little time for sight seeing. The Marina in Bas du Four was very pleasant and had a lively vibrant atmosphere, quite a contrast to it’s sister island Martinique. Once again we were spoilt with delicious food from the local patisseries.
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Monserrat, if you look hard enough under the clouds                            Antigua
Yesterday we travelled from an anchorage in northern Guadeloupe to Antigua, hoping that spares would be readily available for the genny. On the way we passed the island of Montserrat, and could see it’s active volcano silhouetted against the horizon. We also saw turtles and a large pod of dolphins, seemingly in a feeding frenzy. With winds varying from 5 to 25 knots, the journey kept us on our toes. An engineer confirmed Pete’s diagnosis of the genny problem, but we still await spare parts, which could take another week to arrive.
We are currently in Falmouth Harbour Marina, home of the superyacht! Our little boat looks like a dinghy here!
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English Harbour                                                                               Falmouth. The teeny tiny boat far right in the marina is us!!
When we arrived in St Lucia after crossing the Atlantic, we were inundated with locals offering to sort our teak trim out, which was looking like patio furniture that has been left outside for several years. “Nice boat, Skipper” they said, “if you sort the teak out and remove the rust stains from the hull”. They would then leave us a business card and a quote to sand and varnish the teak. Having decided to tackle the job ourselves, we commenced sanding in Cariacou many weeks ago, and are now, finally, the proud owners of gleaming teak that you can see your reflection in.
As we tied up in Falmouth, a local strode over. “Afternoon Skipper”, he said to Pete. “Can I give you a quote to redo your varnishing....”
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Part of Nelson’s dockyard                                                                  Spring chicks in Antigua
We have explored English Harbour and Falmouth, greatly enjoying the restored Nelson’s dockyard, where the British fleet were provisioned and maintained, giving the British a huge advantage over Dutch and Spanish boats that had to return to Europe for repairs in the 1700’s. Apparently the dock workers had to work 363 days a year, and were denied access to women and washing facilities, both of which were considered bad luck. No wonder Pete is having such problems with the genny and the teak....