The Island with 365 Beaches
We woke up before the 2AM alarm went off and prepared to set sail. Wind was scheduled to be out of the east but you know how accurate forecasts are! We had a south east wind and, you got it, our heading was directly into the wind. Several tacks and just under 30 hours later we had made the 80 mile trek to Antigua from St Barths. That is 80 miles if we could have sail straight there but we are a sailboat after all. With the current against us we made miserable time no matter how I try to rationalize it but it was a pleasant crossing. We had 'Under the Dome' by Stephen King on audio book and that kept us entertained. After arriving in Falmouth Harbor we took a quick shower then cleared in at Nelson's Dockyard, the historic headquarters for Admiral Nelson from days of old. After lunch we slept for hours. We followed that by going to bed early and sleeping for 10 more hours. Yes, we did take naps while sailing but it is still exhausting.
Last night we met some friends for 'Tot', a British tradition that basically involved drinking rum while toasting the Queen. Antigua while still very British, was given their independence years ago, but an excuse to drink rum is still an excuse to drink rum!
As we sat in the cockpit listening to the end of our audio book this evening, we saw whales breaching and splashing fins on the surface of the water outside the harbor. Seeing a whale, huge and heavy, shoot completely out of the water and causing a splash several stories high is a sight to behold. We have been so very lucky to see such amazing sights.
P.S. The pic is me, 'Up The Mast', changing the spreader lights.
St Martin and St Barts
Gread wine, cheese and bread!
3-20 After three months in the Virgin Islands it was time to move on. Swimming with the Manta Rays was the highlight of the season and snorkeling in the Virgins is about as good as it gets! We also saw Octopus, Squid, and all species of tropical fish. The weather this winter has been perfect! Sunny hot days with nights cool enough to cover with up a sheet. It has been great buddy boating with the Cruzateers but we needed to move on and will regroup in Antigua.
We spent a week in the Lagoon in St Martin to pick up a few supplies. This large cruising community confuses us. It is often windy with too poor holding (many boats drag regularly), many water taxis and you certainly would not swim in this water, but many stay for months or even years. We couldn't wait to move out and are now at Grand Case. On the north-west side of St Martin, this community is the gastronomic center for the island. Tuesday nights they close off the streets, have artists, music and street food as people walk along enjoying the sights. We enjoyed smoked ribs at a table along the street with some of the best people watching I ever experienced! A small 'Carnival' type parade passes through with colorful dancers and music. Several little girls in fabulous costumes stole the show with their brilliant smiles and sparkling eyes. My pictures do not even begin to do justice.
Today we leave for Ile Fourchue, a small uninhabited island just off St Barts. After one night there we will move to Anse de Colombier on St Barts West side. This is a perfect place to position to watch 'The Bucket' race this weekend. Many of the big boats participate and the on to Antigua's famous Classic Regatta and Race Week, the biggest sailing event of the year.
3-23 Modest boats like ours are often anchored next to Mega Yachts 250+ feet in length to watch boats from far and wide sail in races around the various island courses. Today we have our beach chairs set up on the back deck and sip Margaritas while snapping pictures as impressive racing boats round the mark nearest to us. I doubt those folks on the mega yachts are enjoying this day any more than we are, although I would bet they have real glass glasses and aren't getting their own refills. Two days and nights here and we will be off again!