Serenity of Swanwick
Phil and Sarah Tadd
Sat 20 Feb 2016 00:36
We left Deshaise at 7am on Thursday morning, taking delivery of our breakfast croissants as we were motoring out through the anchorage (we had told the woman selling bakery products throughout the anchorage that she needed to deliver by 7am or we would be gone). It was 40 miles to Antigua and we covered the distance in good time, doing 7 knots for most of the early part of the trip.
As we approached English Harbour we called the Antigua Slipway Marina and asked if they had a berth to get the reply ‘that's a negative, I’m off my head here’, which we understood to mean he was a bit busy and had no space. So we are now anchored at the entrance to English Harbour in Freeman’s Bay. Its a lovely spot fringed by white sand beach and palm trees, and behind us are the lights of the masts of the super yachts moored in Nelson’s Dockyard Marina (unfortunately our camera equipment isn’t up to night photography).
English Harbour was used by Nelson as a base to patrol the Antilles, and the dockyard buildings have been restored to form the basis of the marina with shops, bars and restaurants. Its a major centre for yachting in the Caribbean, and the marina is full of an amazing mixture of boats from lovely classic wooden sailing yachts, through modern super yachts and motor yachts, with the odd ordinary white plastic boat in between.
Today we went looking for a Digicell shop to buy a local SIM card for internet access and ended up catching the bus to St Johns, the capital of the island. The buses are all minibuses, privately owned but identified by their number plate which starts with the letters ‘BUS’. You flag them down anywhere and when you want to get off just say ‘bus stop’ or the name of the place you want to get off and the driver will stop. It seems that no matter how far you go the cost is EC$3.50 (less than £1).
Tonight the anchorage is very full. We have a second anchor set out the back of the boat to stop us swinging onto surrounding yachts, but not everyone else has, so we are hoping none of them swing on to us in the night, as happened on our second night in Deshaies. The most likely culprit is a boat called Parotia that we have seen on several occasions since we were in Portugal- tonight may be the first time we get to talk to them!