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Cruising with Vida Dulce
Shirley Heights Concert & BBQ
Susan / mostly sunny, 83 degrees F
01/23/2011, Falmouth Harbour, Antigua

One of the special things to do on Sunday is attend the early evening concert and informal BBQ at Shirley Heights. Shirley Heights the highest point in the area with a spectacular view of both harbours. You can take a taxi but there's a couple of ways to walk or hike up. We choose to hike up via the path that begins at the end of the beach on Freeman Bay. The path looked steep in the guide, and it is. Pretty much straight up the last half of the way. And although close to 4pm, it's very hot when out of the shade or away from the wind. Here's a view of the shoreline from the path just as it starts to get really steep. Look closely at the middle point of the shore line to see one of the Pillars Of Hercules.

Shirley Heights path

The view from the top at the location of the old Fort.

Shirley Heights wide view

Shirley Heights close view of inner harbours

A fantastic local steel band is playing when we arrive, AMP Halcyon Steel Orchestra. The taxi driver that takes us back to the dock after dark said they've won several championships.

Antiguan Saturday
Susan / partly cloudy, 81 degrees F
01/22/2011, Falmouth Harbour, Antigua

Eighteen Antiguan and visiting sailboats participate today's Around Antigua race, which starts and ends just outside Falmouth Harbour. We watch them jockey for starting position from Vida Dulce's cockpit. Others, mostly kids and their families, enter a yellow rubber duck in the Duck Race held in English Harbour. Duck #1140 won.

Duck Race Start

Jerry & I take a couple of hikes. One to Fort Berkley Point where Englishmen of old fired cannons to protect the harbour. The stone structures and walls are fairly well preserved. It's in the far background of the photo below.

Fort Berkley Point

We also hike a trail that runs along the Middle Ground ridgeline past lots of old stone barrier walls and other Fort lookout points. Along the way we see goats grazing, lots of birds, a few small lizards. The trail is at times rocky and steep so it's a good workout in a pair of flip flops.

Vida Dulce's Cruising Systems & Equipment

As we were preparing to go cruising, we looked at nearly every kind of marine equipment and new / upgraded systems for Vida Dulce. We didn't purchase most of them (not in our budget and/or not the right time). Below is the list of items we did add as we took her out of charter service. I'm sure Jerry will do a blog series with his research yet feel free to ask questions.

Electronics & Safety
Raymarine E-120 Chart Plotter w/ Navaionics Marine Charts (Platinum+)
Raymarine RD418HD Digital Radar
Raymarine Automatic Identification System AIS500 Transceiver
ICOM M802 SSB Radio w/ Pactor modem
ICOM IC-92AD HF Handhelds (2)
Iridium Satellite Phone
BadBoy Xtreme WiFi Booster
ACR Global Fix EPIRB

Ground Tackle
Rocna 25 (25 kilos) with 210' 1/2" chain 50' 3 strand nylon rode
Delta 55lb with 35' 1/2" chain & 250' 3 strand nylon rode
Fortress 23lb with 30' 3/8" chain & 180' 3 strand nylon rode

Power Generation
Lifeline AGM 210 ampere-hour Batteries (5)
Kryocera 135 solar panels (4)
Blue Sky Energy Charge Controller
Xantrex Freedom SW 3000 Inverter / Charger

Fuel Polisher
Filter Boss (2)

Doyle Spinnaker

Celestial Navigation
Astra IIIB Sextent

Spectra Catalina 300 Watermaker
NewAir AI-100 Portable Ice Maker
Splendide WD2100XCd Washer / Dryer
GalleyMate 1100 BBQ (propane)

Sailrite LSZ-1 Sewing Machine

Systems & Equipment
Catch Up, Clean Up Day
Susan / partly cloudy, showers, 83 degrees F
01/20/2011, Falmouth Harbour, Antigua

Much to my relief one of the neighboring catamarans departed this morning allowing us to reposition Vida Dulce after taking Kurt & Barb to the taxi stand for their ride to the airport.

It was a very nice break from our list-of-things-needing-attention with Kurt & Barb here on Vida Dulce. A few adventures as well. Back to our routine while in a town with facilities, we run errands: purchase filters for the watermaker, trips to a couple of chandleries, re-provision, fill propane tank, and so on.

Vida Dulce's custom cockpit sunshades will be installed on Monday so we have a few days to catch up on our projects, do a couple of the recommended hikes in the area and see the remaining sites that really should be seen before we depart Antigua.

Falmouth Harbour & English Harbour w/ Kurt & Barb
Susan / mostly cloudy 81 degrees F
01/19/2011, Falmouth Harbour, Antigua

Lots of boats in Falmouth Harbour when we arrive in the early afternoon, leaving no clearly open places in the area we want to anchor for a fast and dry trip into the taxi stand for Kurt & Barb's departure early tomorrow morning. We anchor and re-anchor several times until we are not too close to other boats, and not too close to the shore rocks or shoals. We take Kurt & Barb on a brief walking tour of Falmouth and English Harbours to visit the must-see places. Later, they treat us to a delicious farewell dinner at Trappas.

Kurt & Barb @ English Harbour

Barbuda To Antigua
Susan / mostly cloudy becoming partly cloudy, windy, 80 degrees F
01/18/2011, Carlisle Bay, Antigua

We left the west coast of Barbuda this morning intending to sail to the east coast of Antigua for an overnight stop in Nonsuch Bay / Green Island. Both wind and seas were up and from the east. We slogged through it for a couple of hours until we need to turn further south to avoid squalls. After they pass, we try to regain a reasonable course to our planned destination but made little progress against the current and seas. Rather than spend the entire day fighting them, we turn south to sail the lee side of Antigua. Six hours into the trip we decide on Carlisle Bay for our destination. It's a small, quiet bay with shelter from the full force of the east weather and only hour away. Another advantage of Carlisle Bay is that it is close to Falmouth & English Harbours, our final stop with our friends, Kurt & Barb.

We fish along the way. Only 2 Great Barracuda take the bait. Kurt lands them with ease and they are quickly thrown back. Here's Jerry with one of them.

Jerry with Great Barracuda

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