Saturday, February 22, 2014

English Harbour from the west side of the harbour
We are in Antigua at the moment, in English Harbour.  It is quite a famous naval spot, it is a very well protected harbour and during the Napoleonic Wars in the 1800's the British based their Caribbean fleet here and repaired their ships here.  They restored the buildings in the 1950's and Nelson's boatyard is full of beautiful old stone buildings.  Nelson was based here for 3 years when he was still a Captain, he was in charge of enforcing the trade laws.
We have been busy walking around the hills in the area.  There was a great display of bromeliads when we walked up one hill. 

There is a 600 mile sailing race starting on Monday, they have only 4 days to complete the race so there have been so very large racing yachts checking in to the harbour.  A few of them have been out practising so seeing their Kevlar sails flashing along the water has been entertaining.  
English Harbour, Antigua, in the foreground, from the east and Falmouth in the background, 
The winds and tides where we are anchored are quite lucky.  At times boats are facing all positions on the compass.  We had one come in and anchor to close to us.  I was too nice to tell them to move and they left their boat and went to have supper.  We started swinging around and actually touched them once, then Barry got in th dinghy and whenever we got close he would manoeuvre it between the two boats and stop them from touching.  It was getting pretty old by the time they showed up at 9:30, I hope they had a good dinner.  We are going to stay to watch the start of the race in Monday morning then we will move further up the island. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014


We did get our dive in at the Jacques Cousteau Reserve, it was very good, with lots of fish and a variety of coral, we also saw a turtle which was great.  There is an underwater statue of Jacques and we got to rub his head as we flippered by.  We left the next day and went to an anchorage 8 miles up the coast to enjoy the Carnival parade.  There were representatives from all the towns in this part of the island and we enjoyed the bright colourful costumes and the outlandish hats that the participants had.  Their wild gyrations were accompanied by bands with lots of drummers.  Some of the drums
 were the blue 50 gallon barrels that water is stored in. The drummers beat on these so hard it felt like
the sound was coming through your chest.  They must have practised a lot, otherwise I think their
arms and wrists would have given up long before they reached us.

We went for a long walk up a nearby beach and found a protected turtle hatching area. We took an hour and a half bus ride into the capital Pointe-a-Pitre with another Canadian couple from a boat called Peace and Plenty. Gaudeloupe seems to be the poorest French Caribbean island we have been on and the capital reflected that

 It was quite run down, with lots of delapitated buildings and there was garbage in evidence most places. We managed to safely negotiate our way into and out of a red light district on our way to the marina to check out the chandleries. 
We sailed the 8 miles back to Pigeon Island where the marine reserve was and had some geat snorkelling there. I would say one of the snorkels was in the top five.The other attraction was a very handy laundromat! We are backup at the north end of Guadeloupe and hiked up the hill to visit the botanical gardens. It was great and Barry took some super pictures, I hope these will help to brighten up your Canadian winter.  We are going to checkout today and head for Antigua on Monday. We were going to go to Monserrat first but looking at the routes decided that Antigua was the smarter sail.