7th-9th March 2019 - Deshaies - Antigua

s/v Safena's blog
Simon Ashley
Wed 13 Mar 2019 01:41
We departed from The Saintes at 0800 and set off up the west coast of Guadeloupe. Initially downwind under Genoa only then main and Genoa as we rounded the SW point. The wind was up and down and quite flukey along the west coast of Guadeloupe and then dropped so we ended up motoring the last few miles.  There were loads of fishing pots as we approached Deshaies. The trouble is you don’t really see them until you are more or less on top of them and in view of recent past experience this was stressful!

It was grey and drizzly as we entered Deshaies and there seemed to be one squall after another.  The harbour was quite crowded and eventually we found a reasonable spot to anchor in the centre of the harbour.  It rained most of the time and it was very windy so we didn’t go ashore.  A French yacht attempted to anchor over our chain but I managed to get him to move!
Deshaies seems to funnel the wind and it blew hard in the harbour all night. 

In the morning several yachts seemed to be leaving to sail north.  When we set sail for Antigua, there were several yachts ahead of us on the same heading, some of which were way in the distance.  The wind was gusty which made getting the right amount of sail difficult.  Eventually we settled for reefed main and one reef in the Genoa.  It was a fetch/reach in about 18-23 kts wind and if anything we were a bit over-powered but kept going.  The sea state was reasonably good.  Safena was flying once again, 9-10kts most of the way.  We overtook every yacht ahead of us!  It was amazing fun!   The 40 mile passage took less than 5 hours.

Initially we entered English Harbour but this was crowded with no room to anchor.  We moved round to Falmouth Harbour and anchored in a nice spot near the entrance, although this proved to be rolly.  I took the RIB into the marina and walked to English Harbour to do the clearance.  This was the usual palava, registering with another e-clear system, going through customs, immigration and port authority.  Then various charges including garbage disposal!  It can be quite a slow, painful and repetitive process but it is part of cruising life.

That night we went ashore for a lovely Italian meal right next to Falmouth Harbour Marina.  The marina is full of super sail yachts and clearly the whole set up there caters for them.
In the morning we moved further inside the harbour to reduce the amount of roll and ended up picking up a mooring ball.  We walked into English harbour and had lunch.  What a beautiful setting and again a massive concentration of super yachts, mainly sail.  We bought more provisions at the supermarket.

In the afternoon we were amazed to see Simon and Hilda again in Brisa.  We joined them for afternoon tea and they were a mine of useful information regarding cruising around Antigua which was incredibly helpful.  Sadly, they have just sold Brisa and will be leaving the Caribbean having enjoyed many years sailing here.

The next morning we did some cleaning and fixing.  Then we explored the Cat Club marina, had a long Sunday Rosé lunch and relaxed in the afternoon!  We had a great dinner out in one of the yacht club bars.

Cannot really believe we've made it to Antigua! Next stop Jolly Harbour.