Guadeloupe to Antigua

Sun 31 Mar 2013 21:57
17:00.313 061:45.663
Our next stop was Deshaies, a bay on the north west coast of Guadeloupe.  So after another good 30 mile sail we dropped anchor at five o'clock off the small town in a very attractive bay. The next day was Sunday and we decided to go ashore for dinner expecting it to be very quiet - how wrong can you be!  There were five or six restaurants in the town all of which were very busy, several turned us away although eventually someone took pity on us and after a considerable wait we did get a very good meal.
                            Deshaies waterfront                                                         Sunset from the cockpit at Deshaies
After another day at anchor the weather forecast looked good with easterly winds anticipated so we decided to head on north to Antigua.  Antigua has been a British colony since the 16th century and is now a member of the Commonwealth hence it is very British influenced. 
                            On passage to Antigua                                               At anchor in Freeman's Bay, English Harbour
One of it's main tourist attractions is English Harbour which we had been looking forward to sailing into on our own boat ever since we were there 16 years ago.  It is a wonderful place to visit as not only is it a very protected hurricane 'hole' but historically it was a important naval dockyard and Nelson based his Caribbean fleet there which gave the Brits naval supremacy throughout the West Indies. It was abandoned in 1889 and left undisturbed until the 1950's when a gradual restoration started. It is now almost a working museum as it has become an important yachting centre as well as being a Heritage Area. The old buildings have been sympathetically restored and many are in use. The whole area has great atmosphere and sense of history.  
                               Nelson's Dockyard                                                                    Sail Loft ruins
               One of the restored buildings, now a museum                     On our way to Customs & Immigration, on the left
We spent several days at anchor In Freeman's Bay, and discovered another British characteristic in that over Bank Holiday weekends (in this case Easter) it rains!!  The locals were delighted as it was the first rain they had had since before Christmas but we were not so impressed as it rained torrentially over night (Good Friday) and for much of the next day, with grey skies but fortunately not too much wind.  Even walking round Nelson's Dockyard is not much fun in the rain and we eventually took refuge back on Petronella!  One good thing was that Petronella got a thorough washing which removed most of the salt from her decks.
                       Copper & Lumber Store Hotel                                                 Quayside at Nelson's Dockyard
                                                                  What a difference a day makes!!
On Easter Sunday we decided to leave the anchorage and move round to Jolly Harbour on the west coast looking in at Falmouth Harbour en route.   
                          Montserrat from Freeman's Bay                             A modest unpretentious yacht in Falmouth Harbour!