Winds were light on the way from St. Lucia to Antigua - a nearly 200 mile passage which took us nearly 27 hours. We were able to sail some between the islands, but in the lee of the islands the wind was pretty much not there. So, we did lots of motoring going past Martinique, Dominica and Guadaloupe. At least the seas were pretty much flat, and we spent some time cleaning up the boat in preparation for Nana's visit. So, it was a pretty smooth trip. Early in the morning (we left at 5:00 AM) Frank spotted a Portuguese Man of War. They actually have a protruberance above the water which they use to "sail" along in the direction they want to go. They are essentially a very large jelly fish. This one probably had tentacles about 10 - 15 feet long. They can be deadly if you are stung by one.
An hour later, Frank saw a sperm whale breach (jump up and smash into the water). He was headed in the opposite direction to us and was probably looking to see who we were. He passed us about 100 yards off our port beam. He was about 40 feet long. Quite a sight! Too bad everyone else was asleep.
A few hours later as we were passing Martinique, Frank headed towards a large flock of birds hoping they were swarming over a school of fish. Well, they probably were, but the real reason they were there was that there was a LARGE pod of dolphin. We think about 100 dolphin were there. We went through the area, and they danced all around us for a while. We even followed them around a bit. But, we never caught any fish. But, the dolphin were fun.
Here's a picture of the dolphins on our bow:
We went by Guadaloupe at night, and finally arrived in Jolly Harbour around 7:30 AM. We ended up getting a slip in the marina because we needed to clean up the boat. Frank's Mom - the girls' Nana - was scheduled to arrive on Saturday. Between naps, we worked on the boat. We were very tired, but we got everything ready by Saturday morning. Before he left, Frank checked E-mail. Sure enough, Nana was delayed a day, so we had another day to recuperate.
On Sunday, May 25, Frank picked Nana up at the airport. After the taxi ride home, we took her out to the boat and made banana/strawberri/kiwi smoothies. Then, we sailed up the coast to Deep Bay to anchor for the night. Nana loved the ride, and the Bay. We had dinner and enjoyed the sunset. Nana was obviously tired for the trip, so it was an early night to bed.
Here's a picture of Nana at Deep Bay:
On Monday we decided to go for Barbuda. We were a bit worried how Nana would handle bumpy seas. Since the winds were up around 20 knots, we expected 5-7 foot waves - which is what we got. But, Nana must be a born sailor. She loved it! We caught one Atlantic Mackerel - about 15 inches, but let it go. We then sailed up the 11 mile beach and anchored. We took the dinghy ashore and showed Nana the pink sand beach and looked for shells.
Here's a picture of the pink sand beach on Barbuda:
The next day, we took Nana snorkeling! This was her first time to snorkel. She was a bit nervous about it, but did it anyway. Frank stayed close by and she got to see lots of fish and coral.
Here's a picture of Nana snorkeling and a sample of what she saw:
We pulled up anchor and sailed back towards Antigua. We went to the North side for the first time and pulled up to Maiden Island which was reported to have lots of beaches with shells. We noticed there was construction on the island, and on the east side they had torn up the beach and replaced it with fresh white sand. Progress! Well, we still found a shell beach and all went looking for shells. Nana found all the conch shells she could want in a big pile on the beach.
Here's the beach on Maiden Island. Notice the antenna pointing up into the sky in the background. Nana thought that was neat. Also, a picture of the conch shells Nana found and a starfish.
We then motored over to Great Bird Island. We had the place to ourselves for the night. There were beautiful islands and reefs all around. And, of course, lots of birds on the island. The sea gulls were nesting at this time of year. We relaxed and had a nice dinner prepared by Karen and watched the sunset.
On Wednesday we took the dinghy to the beach on Great Bird and climbed the hills. We found a huge blow hole which fortunately only blows during big waves. We also had a great view of the area. We saw lizards, and beaches, and lots of century plants.
We next took the dinghy over to Hell's Gate. A very rocky island which is famous for a big hole in it through which you can look out at the Atlantic Ocean. We dodged lots of coral heads along the way. Karen spotted a little beach, so we pulled the anchor up onto Hell's Gate island. Karen and Frank climbed to the top and Karen stood on top of the gate.
Here are some pictures of Great Bird, and Hell's Gate.
We went back to the boat, but before we left Frank went and did some snorkeling. He saw a sting ray, a lobster, lots of beautiful coral and the usual variety of reef fish.
We pulled up anchor in the late morning and motored out through the reef channel. We ended up motoring all the way to Green Island because the wind was pretty much on the nose, and the waves were pretty rough. Once again, Nana enjoyed it. We pulled into a nice little bay up close to the beach. Karen cooked up some ribs for dinner and we all enjoyed a nice dinner while watching a sunset and the beautiful islands.
On Thursday morning we went ashore and did some beachcombing and exploring on Green Island. It's a beautiful place, but the beach on the Atlantic side was covered with debris from the ocean. The curse of litter these days is water bottles. There was probably about 200 water bottles on this little stretch of 300 yards of beach. The scenerey was still beautiful though.
Here are some pictures of Green Island and our walk:
We reluctantly left around 11:00 and sailed around to English Harbour. Here we went ashore and took Nana to Nelson's Dockyard. She went to the museum and did some souvenier shopping. We wanted some ice cream, so we decided to motor around to Falmouth Harbour and go ashore. We couldn't believe how few boats there were at Falmouth. A month ago the place was jammed with over 100 sailboats. Now, it was practically empty! Not only that, but the ice cream place was closed. So, we did some grocery shopping, and decided to go ahead and sail to Jolly Harbour.
Here's a picture of the girls as Nelson and a british guard in the museum:
We had a nice sail, and along the way, Frank caught three Atlantic Mackerel in a row. We sailed up the coast and into Jolly Harbour and got onto a mooring. As expected, we saw Hotel California had arrived and were at the boat yard getting some minor work taken care of. Frank and the girls went over to find out their plans. We agreed to get together on Friday.
Here's a picture of the fishing:
We're going to St. John's to see the town and do more shopping. Frank will update the web site and that's when this page will go up. Afterwards, we plan to visit with Hotel California, and let Mom relax on Saturday morning before we take her to the airport.
On Sunday, PatiCat plans to leave to sail downwind to St. Martin.