Monthly Archives: June 2015

English Harbour, Antigua

After spending about a week in the less developed northern parts of Antigua where the kiteboarding was excellent and restaurants non-existent, we sailed to the southern part of Antigua and entered English Harbour. One cannot visit English Harbour without becoming cognizant of it’s importance in the history of Antigua and the surrounding area. The first thing you observe when arriving at the port is Fort Berkeley, which still stands on the western entrance to English Harbour. IMG_1272

Looking out toward the entrance to English Harbour.

The construction of Fort Berkeley began in 1704 and after several additions was completed in 1745. It was a pivotal sentry against attack since the British Navy housed it’s fleet at Nelson’s Dockyard which was landlocked within the harbor.  All told, Ft. Berkeley had 29 large cannons.  Antigua was considered such an important location that a total of 40 forts were built on it.

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A commanding view and position to protect the harbor.

We took time to walk to Ft. Berkeley and follow the trail to some additional, smaller outposts that led all the way to Falmouth Harbour. This sounds like a long walk, and it was hilly, arid and rocky, but the distance is actually not great. You can see in the picture below that there is only a small section of land that separates English and Falmouth Harbours.

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English Harbour to the right and Falmouth to the left.

While we enjoyed the views and exercise, Captain kept a close watch for her new nemesis, the goat!

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Goats are the only remaining sentries at the forts.

Captain has decided that it is very important to chase any and all goats far from us, so we have to keep her on leash if we know they are around. Unfortunately on this walk, she spotted a goat while off lead….the chase ensued and within seconds Captain and said goat were careening down the side of the hills.  We saw Captain still running full out about 200 yards below us and we were not sure what to do.  Fortunately her sense of direction is excellent and within a few minutes she came trotting right back to where she had left the trail.  Her tail was high and she wore a huge grin, absolutely confident that she had just saved us from a fearsome goat!

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You will note Captain is back on leash, but she is vigilantly watching those goats!

I wish it was possible to share the aura and history of Nelson’s Dockyard. The buildings have been beautifully restored and are now used to house restaurants, shops, hotels, art galleries and more. As we walked the cobblestone streets the sense of past spirits was present. Of course, I imagined dashing navel officers and ladies in heavy dresses while Frank’s imagination leaned more toward drunken brawls and pirates!

We would both like to return to English Harbour and learn more about the history as we only touched the surface!

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                Frank lighting the fuse…..                     Ummm, this looks like a cartoon about to go wrong!

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Knots are important in the life of a sailor.

The calm water and pleasant breeze over the hills made English Harbour the perfect place for us to reline the trampoline on Let It Be. Glad we did as the old line looked worse than expected when we replaced it.

Around the North and West Coast of Antigua

The week following our stay in Jolly Harbour was remote and beautiful.  Our sails took us past and to some interesting places that aren’t captured in pictures, but I tried.  This entry is simply a photo essay of views or activities… Hopefully my photography skills will improve.

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This rock looks like a giant alligator on shore.

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Relaxing off Jumby Bay, Antigua.

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Rocky spits near Long Island and Rabbit Island, Antigua.

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These small flat islands were fun to walk.

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We found many fossilized shells…. are these fossils? What is the correct term?

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Kiteboarding was high on our activity list!

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Kiteboarding friends, Mike and Olga from Toocanoo.

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The front deck is the perfect place for drying a kite.

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GIANT plants on Green Island.

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LIB at rest behind Green Island – a perfect kiteboard spot even for beginners like Mary Grace.

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A nice place for Captain to explore.

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Captain went with us when we snorkeled!

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Sunset while on Toocanoo.

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Not many neighbors here.

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There is a powerful beauty to the crash of these waves.

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Sunset near Bird Island shows the dust some say comes all the way from Africa.

Next stop is English Harbour on the southern side of Antigua.

Jolly Harbour, Antigua

We left St. Barts about 5 pm and motor sailed about 15 hours to Jolly Harbour, Antigua. The sail was a bit bumpy as we had to go more into the wind and waves than we would have liked. But the crossing was safely completed and entering Jolly Harbour was like arriving in a post card.

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Entry to Jolly Harbour, Antigua

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Frank prepares the lines and bumpers.

We were concerned about getting Captain registered into Antigua, but the veterinarian was very nice. Happily her paperwork was in order and Cap was quickly accepted.

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Captain loves the dinghy!

Jolly Harbour was beautiful and unique in that the harbor included a marina but also had a residential feel to it as houses with (large) boat docks lined much of the waterway.

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See the houses behind LIB?

We took advantage of some local services available in Jolly Harbour including a haircut for Frank.

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Shamone and Frank, post haircut.

Antigua is 11 miles wide and 14 miles long; much larger than any other islands we have visited so far.  Because of our limited time frame, we will only stay in Antigua about a week and we won’t have time to explore the interior. Instead we will stick to the bays and inlets along the shoreline.

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Jolly Harbour was a pleasant, calm anchorage which I welcomed after our bumpy crossing. 

French Fun and Games – A Tale of Swiped Sandals

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Setting: Anse de Colombier, beautiful clear bay, dotted with sailboats gently bobbing from moorings, surrounded by rugged, arid trails that lead to excellent views.

We returned to Colombier after a hot but satisfying 90 minute walk, climbed into the dinghy and slowly motored back to LIB.

Moored next to LIB was a day charter boat blaring current French songs with about 14 “twenty-somethings” hanging out and generally having a great time.

As we passed, a heavily accented male voice called out, “We have your shoes hostage!”

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Us: “Pardon me?”

Them: “We stole your shoes.  Off your boat.  You must come have drink with us if you want them back!”

Needless to say, we were a bit startled to know that someone had climbed aboard and taken a pair of shoes while we were away…(on the back deck, not inside).

BUT, we rescued our shoes, shared a drink with the neighboring boat and met some people who work on St. Bart.

According to JeanCharles and Arnaud, taking something small from another boat is a game they play at anchorages in an effort to meet other boaters. Initially we were a bit put off, but soon found these two young instigators interesting and fun.

Later in the afternoon, Arnaud and JeanCharles swam over to LIB and we shared an afternoon beverage and we learned a bit more about these young Frenchmen. Turns out Arnaud and JeanCharles work at an upscale hotel on St. Barts and for the last five years or so they have sought to see the world by working odd jobs in areas that interest them.

JeanCharles appears to be the more traveled of the two having worked in Spain, Australia, Asia, Brazil and St. Barts.

I’m not sure we will ever initiate this game of “stealing” from another boat, but we were actually glad that JeanCharles and Arnaud chose our boat for their fun and games…. it’s always interesting to meet others and learn how they choose to spend their lives.

And since they are close to the age of our own children, it was nice to have “youngster” aboard.

St. Barts – a Little Piece of France?

We left St. Martin and had a quick and easy motor sail to St. Barts.

IMG_1201St. Barts is in sight.

Our first stop was Anse de Colombier which is exactly the kind of anchorage we love…

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Clear blue Colombier

The water is beautifully clear – I counted 5 starfish on the sand 12 feet below our boat while at anchor!

The French are trying to restore the bay after damage from anchoring and have installed several free mooring balls which we were happy to use. And their efforts are working as much of the sand is gaining sea grass and we saw a lot of turtles and other marine life.

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This turtle posed for the photo!

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Rays and fish just below our boat.

While moored in Colombier we went scuba diving two times on the south side of Ile Petit Jean. The coral and fish were more plentiful than any other Caribbean diving we have done so far.  Our camera wasn’t graded for the depth of our dive, so I don’t have photos, but we saw many schools of fish in a variety of types and sizes.  Also the sponges were HUGE! They looked like giant planters that could be used in a garden.

We also spent a lot of time hiking from Colombier. Here are some of the beautiful scenes from our hikes:

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LIB nestled up close to the shore in Colombier.

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Just another beautiful bay, but too shallow for us to anchor here.

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Gustavia in the distance.

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Gotta have a selfie.

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We managed to exhaust Captain!

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The public pier of Gustavia is clean and landscaped.

The public dock in Gustavia was our next stop on St. Bart’s.  I have to say, this is a gorgeous town where you can buy all kinds of beautiful baubles, clothes, food and wine.

We spent three nights in Gustavia and sampled food from several delicious restaurants. And we managed to find chocolate croissants again! YUM.

After sampling Gustavia, shopping and not buying the rather expensive clothing, we decided Colombier was more our style.

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Kathe and Gary ready for our walk.

So back we went to Colombier to meet up with our friends Kathe and Gary on Tribasa Cross who braved a slog into the wind so they could meet us on St. Bart!

It was great sharing sunset drinks with Kathe and Gary, then hiking with them the following day.

I much preferred St. Bart to St. Martin, at least on this trip. St. Barts was easy to navigate and everyone was very friendly. I was able to practice some very rusty French and my efforts were kindly received. Gustavia feels like a quaint, clean, upscale European city and everything we needed was easy to reach on foot.

An added bonus is that the French are very nice to dogs. The restaurants welcomed Captain when we stopped to eat. In fact in every restaurant the staff immediately brought Captain a bowl of water.  She usually received her drink before we did!

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Sunset in Gustavia, St. Barts.

We really enjoyed the remote and the city life on this island.  St. Barts is definitely on our repeat list.

St Martin

St. Martin

Fair or not, St. Martin will not be remembered as my favorite place, at least from this trip. While the island is beautiful, I was sick the whole time we were on St. Martin, thus my impressions are negatively colored.

This trip we really only experienced the French side of St. Martin.  Still even when sick, this is a beautiful place and we did manage to see some rather lovely spots.  I am certainly interested in stopping here again later this year as I am certain St. Martin will be even more fun when I am feeling better.

For now, here are some photos to show you some of the beauty of the areas we visited this time.

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Leaving Virgin Gorda, BVI

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                     Arriving in St. Martin at dawn….. Captain is ready for land!

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      Exploring pretty little ocean side towns by foot.

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Stopping for lunch and watching the Ski School teach with LIB in the background.

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How about the Pink Iguana – with the Texas flag to represent?!

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A narrow and beautiful entry to Anse Marcel marina

There is so much more to share, but my internet is very limited and I had a hard time loading this much. With luck, we will have better internet and I can post more often.

Hope you enjoy the views!

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