Friday, March 31, 2017

Antigua Again 22nd to 31st March 2017

We upped anchor in Barbuda early on 22nd and had a fantastic sail on the wind back to Antigua - it was officially a 'romp' in open ocean with fairly big seas but Askari loved it at 7.5 to 8 knots all the way and by 11am we were nicely in the lee of Antigua. The wind was blowing 20+ knots so we decided to defer our planned visit to the north coast and pulled into Deep Bay for a night. Deep Bay is on the west coast and is famous for a ship wreck in the centre of the bay - we thought it might be good for a dive.
Serenity leaving Deep Bay
As we arrived in the bay and anchored we spotted John & Ellie on Serenity - drinkies were of course planned on Askari and we learned it was John's birthday. Not enough time to make cake, so chips and cheese spelled out his age after an unimpressive snorkel on the wreck of the Andes. The next morning Serenity headed to Barbuda and we carried on to the North of Antigua - destination Jumby Bay where we had spent a few pleasant days with ReVisionII.

Jumbo Bay Pano
To access 'North Sound' the north of Antigua protected by reefs you travel along Boon Channel and if you are brave with good light the charted information said we could sneak through a shallow area inside Prickly Pear Island. We had been this way with our old boat which only required 1.8m - Askari needs 2.2m so this was going to be a bit more challenging. It wasn't the perfect day but with help from the sonar charts on the IPAD and good polarised sunglasses we could see the reef - although it was quite an anxious few minutes until we were back in deep water. We pulled into the anchorage at Jumby Bay - what a perfect spot and just as we remembered it. Unfortunately the resort doesn't really like the yachts and loves to drive the resort launches and donut boats right close by; they tolerate you going ashore to the beautiful beach but to be quite honest it all looked a bit boring. We spent the night did some paddle boarding and then decided to explore further into the north sound.

Hells Gate

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 The next day had great light so we were able to navigate closely into a great anchorage between Rabbit, Redhead and Lobster Islands. We had one other yacht the first night and a super yacht behind Redhead island then two days just on our own. Then we heard our friends Maggie and Al on Sweetdreams on the VHF so they came and joined us for 3 nights. It was so relaxing and perfect conditions - we explored Bird Island did some amazing snorkeling, flew (and crashed the drone - whoops), went paddle boarding everyday and spied on the making of a new Disney Peter Pan movie out near Hells Gate rocks. This was just what we needed - fantastic.

All ours - drone shot!

Our new playground

Snorkeling fun


Bird Island

Bird Island - all ours

Our new home

Chilling in North Sound
Paddle Boarding 
As much as we could have stayed in this spot for many more days, the provisions were running low - we shared out the last of our fresh provisions with Maggie and Al and they did the same even though they had steak from the US and sushi grade tuna and we only had snags n chicken...... We surely must owe them dinner when we get to meet up again in their home port in Maine.

Sunset calm 
View from Bird Island

View from Bird Island

Bird Island Queen

Bird Island

Then we had to head back to civilisation so on 30th March we upped anchor and pootled back to Jolly Harbour. We only spent one night, did a big stock up, caught up with the gorgeous Paul and Babs on Lyra Magna then cleared out and headed towards St Barths.......

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