Antigua landing

Chris & Sally Longstaff
Tue 12 Dec 2006 17:05

Antigua arrival 9th December 2006


03:15 Saturday 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 backs.


Arriving outside Jolly 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.


Much 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, laid-back.


More details 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 landed.