The sail from Deshaies to Antigua was nice and fast. We might have been a little hung over from the sundowners the night before, but luckily the Caribbean Sea finally lived up to its reputation of being an easy cruising ground. Where we had strong 25+ knot winds through the whole of February, March started out with a fresh breeze of 15 knots. Perfect for an upwind daysail.
We had some trouble finding a spot to anchor, as English Harbour was absolutely packed with boats. The best spots were all taken and even though we thought we could still squeeze in, we were bullied away by assertive boaters. So, we moved to the next bay around the corner. We were full of anticipation what Antigua would be like, as we had heard so much about it and expected nothing less than a Caribbean heaven. The inevitable disappointment set in as we walked through town: what was the attraction of English Harbour? Why were all these super yachts here? Whats the magic of Antigua everyone has been talking about? We walked all the way to Nelsons Dockyard without finding “it” (we didn’t know what we were looking for anyway).
Nelsons Dockyard is a unesco heritage site, a little piece of colonial history used as the main tourist attraction of the island. We learned from the reception lady that the customs and immigration office, which we still had to visit, was located there as well but that it was already closed for the day. We went back to the boat not angry, but certainly a little bit disappointed..
The next morning, bright and early, we were at Nelsons Dockyard again. This time we were allowed to enter and there it was, a super picturesque little town which must be “it”! We checked in without any problems (“el capitane..” – STAMP “and the boat boy” – STAMP) and hung around in this awesome little piece of history a bit longer. We met some friends who happened to stay in the harbour, possibly got our first architecture project, made some new friends and we finally understood why everyone loves Antigua.
We also payed a visit to Green Island, a bay on the east coast of Antigua, almost completely closed off by a reef. There are two narrow passes into the bay, but were warned only to use the one to the south. The polyester worker in Guadeloupe told us the northerly pass is good for a couple of boat repairs every year (and we didn’t want him working on our boat again!).
We got through without a problem and tied up to a free mooring behind the reef. It was a magical spot, great for kiting. But still, Thomas’ kites weren’t fixed. It is turning into a bit of a frustrating topic.. Thomas keeps ordering spare valves, which take at least a month to get here, and then there is always something wrong with them. It is so difficult to order something when you live on a boat, and even more if your boat is in the Caribbean.. So instead of kitesurfing we paddled around Green Island and went on some dinghy excursions.
The sailors we spoke to that week were all anticipating some heavy weather. The stories kept getting wilder, people were talking about 5 meter swell for several days. We waited out the weather on our mooring. Luckily there was no such thing as a monster swell, and we had a few relaxed days on Antigua before our next stop: Barbuda!