Monday, February 15, 2016

More Please!

Last week we picked up anchor and started exploring the anchorages around Antigua.  We'd been told by others that you could change your anchorage every night and there would be plenty to keep you here for weeks.  Have we found that many to check out?  Well, we certainly haven't moved every night and of course we've been basing our movement on the weather, but there are certainly a huge variety of anchorages all the way around this island.

As I mentioned in our last post, Antigua is quite unique with a massive barrier reef structure to the north and east of the island which provides all sorts of sheltered anchorages.  Most other islands we visit are limited to the western or southern shores to stay out of the crashing waves of the Atlantic ocean.

In the company of Blue Moon we headed from our anchorage in Deep Bay, over the top into the Boon Channel behind the northern reef and made our way across the sound to Jumby Bay on Long Island.

First, over the top to Jumby Bay, and then later down to Nonsuch Bay.  All the while, carefully manoeuvring through the reefs with the sun overhead to show the colours and depths best.

We arrived in beautiful Jumby Bay where the amazing colour of the turquoise waters surrounded us and we were treated to views of million dollar homes and exclusive resorts, all fringed with pink and white sand beaches.  Unfortunately for us, the beach bars and restaurants are a bit above our "snack bracket" and the wake of the ferry to the main island and multiple water sports boats made the anchorage pretty uncomfortably rolly.

Blue Moon and Mowzer sitting happily in Jumby Bay.

Exquisitely trimmed and colourful Bougainvillia at the Rosewood Jumby Bay resort.

We were however very happy to have Dave & Janice on Livin' Life join us in the bay and our group that had so much fun in Grenada together was reunited!

Livin' Life next to us in the anchorage.
Dave proposed an expedition to Henry and Jason.  He had heard that there was a good chance to score fresh fish and lobster from the fishermen in Parham, so the three of them headed off across Parham Sound to the little town a couple of miles away.

Dave, Henry & Jason seemed pretty stoked to be heading out as our 'intrepid gatherers'.

No fun to be had on this excursion!

Heading out across the sound, they're just a little speck now.
 It didn't take them too long to return looking pretty happy with their 'catch'.

Four lobsters (still wriggling), a hind fish, a grouper and a snapper - all swimming just a few hours before.

Caribbean lobster - all tail (no claws).
We all convened on Livin' Life where the cleaning and prep began as the sun set behind us.

Henry cleans the grouper as Dave provides helpful tips and Jason supervises.

First lobster tails off the grill - perfectly cooked thanks to Dave!

This is an unusual sight for us - Being anchored on the east side of the island changes our sunset view to be over land.  
With the weather turning a little blustery we decided to head to Nonsuch Bay while we could still make an exit through the reef.  We had the sun pretty much overhead and it was still a little difficult to see the last few shallow shoals so we were happy that the waves were still not too big over the reef.  After a couple of hours of heading almost directly into the wind and waves we happily rounded the eastern corner of Green Island and wound our way up into Nonsuch Bay.  Blue Moon, Livin' Life, Mowzer and Slow Dancing (Dan & Melissa) all picked up mooring balls, which are free by the way and set about enjoying the view of the kite boarders flying back and forth in front of the reef.

This wonderfully large, turquoise bay is open to the east but completely protected by an extensive barrier reef.  As we look east into the trade winds, the next stop out there is Africa!

Mowzer and Blue Moon, with Livin' Life (left front) and Slow Dancing (right front).

Green Island has a lovely beach on West Bay that we have visited regularly for sundowners over the last few days.  The spit at the north-west end is also home to a busy kite-boarding sailing school.  We took a little hike round this end of the island to take in the views, but we are definitely back on dry scrubby islands here and the hiking is rather difficult due to the cactus, false pineapple, limestone rubble and complete lack of any trails.

Watching the kites zip up and down the reef with Bird Island in the background.

There's a young guy flying this small trainer kite on the beach with a  couple of the instructors.  The winds were so strong he was almost lifted off the ground with just this little kite.

It's a happening place by day, but completely quiet and dark by night.

Pretty seedpods hanging on this tree had opened up and were providing a feast for some birds.
We're thoroughly enjoying our zero-dollar days out here in the wilds of Antigua, surrounded by the reefs and waters and finding little places to explore.  However, as the contents of the refrigerator dwindle we'll be forced back to civilization eventually.  We'll hold fast here until we have to make a run into Falmouth.