Monday, April 4, 2011

Northbound from Trinidad.

Grenada,Guadeloupe,& Antigua

26th March -1st April 2011

Sporting nice clean hulls and a new bottom paint job after our recent haul out we were all set to head out again. It would be more like a sprint than our usual slower pace as we wanted to get up north quick

new paint job and ready to go

.Our overnight sail from Trinidad to Grenada was ‘ a piece of cake ‘ compared with the reverse route  6 weeks earlier. Again, there were a few rain squalls, the odd trawler to dodge and a little motor sailing due to lack of wind, but the big plus had to be the lack of large swells that had knocked us around during our passage down. Arriving into Prickly Bay Grenada around 10am, we actually felt quite fresh and got on with tidying up the boat as well as ourselves. As we had planned on staying just one night here, the obvious choice for dinner was to visit our favorite Chinese restaurant, the Choo Light. Once again Mrs Choo and her husband did not disappoint our taste buds and we were well topped up on our favorite foods by the time we left. Luckily it was a good 15 min walk back to our dinghy, just enough time to let our dinner settle before climbing into bed that night.
Making a concentrated effort to get as many miles under our keels in a short space of time we opted for another overnight sail. When you are on a roll you might as well keep going so when 0800 came around  the next morning  and we hot-footed it out of bed and pointed GWTW  towards Deshai on the island of Guadeloupe, some 250 miles north. The first 24 hrs saw us sailing fast in flat seas as we  passed the islands of St Vincent, St Lucia and Martinique.

The Caribbean sailing season was quickly coming to a close and most of the charter boats had finished plying these warm southern  waters. Pretty much  it was only cruising boats who were still on the move now, and they too would be heading to a safe haven or, like us,  leaving the Caribbean for the approaching  hurricane season starting in June.  This was  plainly evident having seen only one other boat  sailing  between Grenada and Guadeloupe. As the last rays of sunlight faded that evening  we reflected on the days events, two lures lost and not a fish  in sight.. Liam reckons he  spotted the  elusive Green Flash, though that  remains in dispute as there was no photographic evidence of the event. Shortly after nightfall  the seas began to build and  the wind increased. Things looked to be  shaping up for an uncomfortable night’s sail.

Luckily the previous night’s  weather was not as bad as we’d thought it would be and by 9 am the next day things had calmed down again. We only had 50 miles left  to run and by 1600 were snug on the anchor in Deshai. Having  anchored in this bay  on two previous occasions we  had the check-in formalities down pat.
Not quite the customs office we are normally used to! but then it is French
 A quick trip into Le Pelican hand over our 3 euro clearance fee and it was all done in a few minutes. Whilst  in the small shop come-customs office, we bumped into another Aussie couple. Ray and Lea.Hearing Aussie accents always makes our ears prick up. They too    were  anchored out in  the bay,and told us that they  had just purchased their Leopard 38 cat “Equinox 2”  a few months earlier and were also heading north.This was their first sail boat and they were eager to have a chat about the cruising  life so we  found a small side walk bar to shoot the breeze, and get to know them. About an hour later as the necessity for sleep began to take over, we headed back to GWTW for an early dinner and  a soft pillow under our heads.

A gusty 15-20 knot easterly wind greeted us the next morning as we rounded the headland and pushed north toward Antigua. Our GPS told us that the 52 mile sail, in rather lively conditions, would take us just on 6hrs. Along the way we caught up with “Equinox 2”  and took a few pictures of her as she romped along in the big swells. They were headed into English Harbour where as  our course would take us along the eastern shore of the island to some quiet bays which would be new territory for us.As we bid them fair winds and safe sailing over the radio we watched them disappear behind us and  it wasn’t long until they were just a speck on the ocean.IMG_3933
A few hours later we arrived at our destination. Negotiating the outer reefs surrounding Nonsuch Bay was fairly straight forward, however the sad sight of  a yacht lying high and dry on the reef was a stark reminder that one can never be too careful when there are reefs around.

After a small dog leg into the bay, the beautiful calm anchorage sprawled ahead of us. Once again  aqua blue water was lapping on our bows.Lovely new and apparently free  mooring balls were dotted around  the bay. The signage on each buoy specified that they were for use by vessels 60ft and under. We presumed that these had been installed by the  Antigua National Park Trust. With only three other boats for company we spent a relaxing night listening to the waves crash on the distant reefs.
Before leaving Antigua we made two more stops ,Jumby bay and Bird Island in North Sound. The later having more free mooring balls and some ok snorkeling. From here we had a 30 mile sail north  to  Antigua’s sister island, the reef strewn  Barbuda .




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