Falmouth Harbour, Antigua. 17:00.98N
The cold front which had been lurking
around over New Year was still in evidence on Monday and we were just on the
southern side of it going north. One weather guru predicted it moving
south and the other suggested north. However by the time we were ready to
leave the Baie des Cyclones the rain had cleared northwards and we had the most
beautiful down wind sail to Diamond Rock at the SW corner of Martinique, and
thence to St Pierre where we anchored in the shadow of the Mt Pelé
volcano which erupted in 1913 killing all the inhabitants.
The Admiral is on the bridge
- for the downhill leg to Diamond
We could still see the southern edge
of the cold front to the north and we knew that Dominica and Guadeloupe were
still having a hard time with heavy rain and strong gusty wind. By the morning
we could still see the edge of the front, but further north, so we got under way
and had apart from some brief rain showers which killed the wind as they went
through we had an uneventful trip for the 50 miles to Prince Rupert Bay at the
north end of Dominica. As we approached the bay we were greeted by our
friend Martin, one of the Indian River Guides, who told us it hadn't
stopped raining for three days. At which stage the visibility shrank to
near zero as the mother and father of squalls went through. In a brief
lull we got our anchor down, and the front, which we had now caught up, did its
thing for the next eighteen hours but by midday on Wednesday had confined
its activities to Guadeloupe (our next station stop).
This was just the forerunner - radar
warmed up ready to go.
The following morning, an antipodean
voice announced on the VHF that his dinghy had disappeared during the night -
either drifted or stolen, he knew not which. From the drunken revelry
from his yacht in the early hours of the morning we strongly suspected
the former! The Indian River Guides take security very seriously with
regular night patrols of the bay, and they did not want to have a crime notched
down to their patch. So off they went in their fast patrol boat and
retrieved the dinghy and outboard which had drifted miles out to
sea. They returned it promptly to the owner who offered scant thanks
for its return. Presumably he still had a montrous antipodean
As we sailed out of Prince Rupert Bay
Chris was presented with a bouquet of magnificent tropical flowers by
Martin as well as fruit from his garden.
Guadeloupe and the Isles des Saintes
were next stop after another good sail and we stocked up with French delicacies
and barbecued a magret de canard for supper. We were very sorry not to
have bought more to put in the freezer!
On Saturday we sailed up to Antigua
in perfect conditions - 15-20 knots on the beam and anchored in Falmouth
Harbour. It feels just like coming home - within seconds of calling
on the VHF to our friends on Moonsong RCC our friendly taxi
driver Oliver came on the radio with a warm welcome to Oriole to
Antigua! This year sadly Andrew is not here to welcome us too.