Beginning February, Antigua

Dick and Irene Craig
Sun 12 Feb 2012 15:54

We have spotted quite a number of turtles in the bay although mainly, one can see them just under the surface. Occasionally, they might poke their head or the shell on their back, above the water.

We tried to buy some tonic at the small supermarket in Nelson’s Dock yard but the lady who was tending the shop said that they had none and their other shop didn’t have any either. Quite by coincidence, Caroline and Mia appeared, introduced us to the shop keeper and miraculously, five cold cans of tonic were available from the fridge. It is obviously all about who you know.

A captain from one of the super yachts was married on the 1st February. The ceremony took place on the beach, just near to where we are at anchor. The bride arrived by boat. The celebrations went on long into the night.

Early Saturday evening, Roger, Mal and Caroline all arrived together, in a mini-bus style taxi, from the airport. We had moved to the marina at Nelson’s Dock Yard and were less than fifty metres from where they were dropped off. We actually saw them stepping out of the taxi.

The water around the dock side was very dirty, not just with litter but slicks of oil. We were moored, stern to the dock, next to a massive, three storey motor cruiser which kept one of its two generators going, twenty four hours a day. The exhaust contributed to the black oil smears across the bottom of the sugar scoops.

We spent two nights in the marina which gave our friends time to explore the historic Dock yard and walk to Fort Berkley.

Late Sunday afternoon, we all took a taxi to Shirley Heights to be entertained by steel bands and reggae music, consume vast quantities of rum punch and partake of the sumptuous barbecue, while we waited for the sun to set over Monserrat.

Around noon on Monday, we left our berth, “sailed” around Falmouth Harbour and then took to the sea, traveling no more than five miles to Carlisle Bay, where we dropped the hook, had lunch on board and idled the afternoon away, occasionally slipping into the blue water to cool off.

Tuesday, though still very warm, was cloudy and showery with poor visibility. No big deal for Dick and myself but a shame for visitors who are staying here for just a week.

Off to Five Islands where we stayed overnight. While I was in the galley preparing lunch and just as it was ready, Dick noticed that the boat was dragging. There was a slight delay while we re-anchored and then it was time to relax.

Next morning we moved on to Deep Bay, keeping a sharp look out to ensure we didn’t get too near the wreck. We laughed as a couple of tripper catamarans came into the bay and anchored almost on the beach. We didn’t laugh when the pirate ship arrived and picked up a plastic bottle, which had been marking it’s mooring, too close to comfort. Fortunately a monohull left and we moved to the vacated spot, sufficiently far away from the pirate ship to not have to be concerned about too close an encounter.

Next day, after exploring the nearby beach, hillside and old fort, we left the bay and motored around St Johns harbour, where four cruise liners were tied up against the dock. Then back to Jolly Harbour where we had booked a berth for two nights.

The wind was blowing quite strongly as we tried to maneuver between the two piles without letting the fenders on the port side, vanish below the wooden pontoon. It took longer than expected to get the boat tied up safely but we weren’t in any rush to go anywhere.

After drinks on the boat, we went ashore to an Italian restaurant within the marina complex. Although it was the 9th February, by 8pm local time it was midnight in the UK so we celebrated Mal’s birthday in style.

A lot of snow was expected to fall during the night in the UK and there was some concerns the flight on which Roger and Mal were due to return home, might not leave Gatwick on the morrow. However, everything turned out OK and the flight left for Antigua, on time.

Next morning, after stocking up with fresh fruit and a very limited amount of fresh vegetables, we refueled, left Jolly Harbour, keeping clear of a group of small boats which were racing around a set course, and made way to Deep Bay where there were only two other boats at anchor.  

Entering the bay, we passed the sunken wreck, where people were snorkeling from a waiting dinghy. Only one tripper catamaran arrived and there were no stalls set up on the beach so the vendors were obviously aware that Saturday was not a good day for them. No sign of the pirate boat but we did watch the goats as they climbed down the hillside, the north of the bay, almost to water level. It wasn’t easy to see them as they merged into the environment.

A peaceful night, with not much wind then, after breakfast we swam in the pale blue water. As she swam, a small turtle, just two metres away, raised its head and looked at Caroline, before taking a dive.