9th December 2006
9th, first sighted the lights of Antigua!
After 21 days
it is with great excitement and relief that Antigua now beckons. The last few days have been fairly
consistent 20+ knots of Easterly
winds, with big seas driving us on. Wave sizes have been a matter of some
debate but we reckon approaching 20 feet, and carrying huge volumes of water.
But all the big waves are easily ridden by Moondance as she surfs her way
towards the Caribbean. The small side-on, nasty
little waves that get under the stern and
twist her around are much more uncomfortable and threatening to deal
with, but again Moondance seems to cope well. We are poled out and are
goose-winging it, as we have been for days; ever since blowing out the Twistle
rig. Fortunately the wind has remained strong.
The 5am watch
takes over (Nigel) and we cruise on with the dawn at our
Harbour bay we decide to
drop anchor and swim. A fantastic way to celebrate the end of a long passage, in
which we never once got the expected becalming (and promised mid-Atlantic
swim!). The water is of course fantastically warm and seductive. Sally and
Maddie and I swim to the shore to make an illegal (pre-customs and immigration)
landing, while unfortunately Nigel gets an attack of the cramps, but
is rescued by wife Sally. An interesting exercise in underwater massaging.
Back on board we hoist all our celebratory flags and head for the harbour, all a
little dazed and overwhelmed by both the joy of arrival and the amazing scenery
that greets us.
horn-blowing and whahooing greet us at the quay as Tony, Christine and Carolyn
announce our official arrival! We get checked in through customs and head down
to our marina berth. At the moment Antigua is
lush green, with cool winds and occasional squally downpours, and lots of very
hot sun. The Caribbean as we know and love it
!!! We rejoin the company of Dick and Leslie from Aragorn, who are celebrating
the completion of their own full circumnavigation.
Jolly Harbour is a reclaimed mango
swamp; now a fantastic resort of private apartments, marina berths and general
facilities. Very tasteful actually, and nice locals; friendly, helpful,
to follow, but in brief, the next few days have been all about exploration of
the locale, checking out the facilities, the local food and drink, and of course
doing the Shirley
Heights experience! Steel
bands, chicken and ribs in lashings of barbeque sauce, reggae blastin. And Nigel
doing the Funky Chicken (Caribbean barbeque
style). The Moondance crew have definitely