Great Bird Island. 7
OK, sorry about the break from blogging, it’s been a busy time and
I’ve been lazy, and slipping into Caribbean mode. After a week of chilling and tidying and
relaxing in Jolly Harbour, I needed to move and see some of the North of
Antigua. The first day (Sunday 5th)
I went into the Marina for fuel and water – at least Jolly Harbour is very
user-friendly for single-handers.
Then it was off up the coast and into Deep Bay, somewhere John Cody
mentioned as an anchorage, and we had passed a couple of times already. It was easy to find a spot to anchor,
only about 4 other boats in the bay and pretty sheltered. I went ashore to check out the Royal
Antiguan Resort and to see if the wifi signal was any better than on the boat –
no joy. The hotel was extremely quiet, again an example of how the recession has
hit the Caribbean. Two restaurants,
one right on the beach, were completely empty apart from the staff. The next day I moved around to St. John
(the capital) – not an easy anchorage and it never feels as comfortable in a
built up area compared to the remote bays.
I tied the dinghy up at the boardwalk along the touristy bit and checked
out one or two things in town, including oil for my engine service. Not successful in any way, so I moved on
north to anchor off Maiden island.
Very pleasant area and scenery, just across the bay from the
airport. The first chore was to
dinghy across and check out ease of access to the airport. Unfortunately it was not that easy, it
would involve a long, potentially wet, ride and then a long walk. I returned across the bay and went to
the neighbouring island (Long Island) which is a private resort, and went ashore
at Jumby Bay. It was all very quiet
so I went for a walk – mmm, this is quite pleasant and up-market. Then I was stopped and quizzed by a
youngish guy in a golf buggy – he was the manager and informed me that I
shouldn’t be wandering around the island as it was private – residents
only. We got chatting – the
properties ranged from 3 to 40 million dollars (US) and the resort facilities
were currently undergoing a refurb’.
OK, it was nice place – but not that good.
I returned to Maiden
Island and went ashore there. I
found a family ‘camping’ on the beach and the two older kids (about 7 and 9)
gave me a tour of their island. It
was owned by Alan Stamford apparently, but the government had reclaimed it
during his current ‘difficulties’ – I don’t really understand all this fiasco
but it’s a big deal over here.
Anyway – it was a small, very interesting island with a fantastic
mini-cliff made up of coral and shells (see pics) and some great marine
wildlife, and a few buildings that were uninhabited, a great jetty –
perfect. I said my farewell to my
new-found family Crusoe and returned to Whitemeadow for a meal and a peaceful
night at anchor.
In the morning I went
ashore again for another look at ‘my’ island and to say hello to the
husband/father of the family – we got into politics, which is a pretty marginal
subject for me at home, let alone the Caribbean – interesting times everywhere
at the moment it seems. I moved on
to Great Bird Island, further east and anchored up near a few other boats. Islands and reefs all around and the sun
was shining – Antigua was growing on me.
I lunched and rowed ashore to what appeared to be an almost deserted
island – until I rounded the last headland into the bay to find 3 or 4 large
Day-tripper catamarans and hordes of people – Piccadilly Circus. Oh well, it’s a small world and they’re
paying more than I have. I walked
around the island and snorkeled from two of the beaches – nice, even with the
tourists. I stayed the night at
The next day I sailed
back to another area close to the airport to check it again. I decided it would be better to return
to the shelter of Jolly Harbour and reach the airport from there by bus. The return trip was a pleasant day-sail
along the north and west coasts of Antigua, and on reaching the five Islands
area, on the west coast, I thought I would take a look at Hermitage Bay. Wow – a secluded resort, only 3 boats in
the Bay, good shelter and once I’d anchored I found there was a wifi connection
at the boat – great, and only a stone’s throw from JH. I went ashore, spoke to a few couples at
the resort and picked up a brochure – how does $1200 a night for two, grab you –
this was nutty honeymoon territory.
The only downside was that it rained 3x in the night/morning,
which woke me up somewhat earlier than usual, but I made the most of it by using
the internet from 03.30h – sad individual.
Another trip ashore in the morning, some arty photos – maybe, and then I
returned to the Jolly Harbour anchorage and settled in before the airport run
tomorrow to welcome Paula back to the Caribbean for another session.
It’s growing on me – at the right
pace, this could be enjoyable. The
slightly worrying thing is, I seem to be more relaxed and find the Sea Gypsy
life more enjoyable when I’m on my own!
Perhaps it’s the lack of responsibility – I don’t have to worry about
trying to make it pleasurable for other people. What do you think? Answers, rude or otherwise, by e-mail
Pics: Me with
time to read. My Island tour guides and the coral cliff (Maiden
Great Bird Island -
day trippers. Hermitage Bay & WM at anchor.