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  #1  
Old 03-14-2007
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Antigua - Recently?

Considering Antigua & Barbuda...............if you chartered or sailed that area recently, would appreciate insights, experiences + suggestions
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Old 03-14-2007
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Hi Chuteman

We spent some time there a couple of years ago, and our hosts took us around from English Harbour up the east coast to what they called "Green Island", just south of Nonesuch Bay. We anchored in Ricketts Bay, room for 3 or 4 boats comfortably.

Around the corner to the northeast again is a lovely, but shallow nook called "Ten Pound Bay" The beaches here are postcard perfect, and really only occupied for a couple of hours when the day charter catamarans show up.

The reef protecting Nonesuch bay proper stretches from Green Is to the Antigua shore and is a great snorkeling spot.

From there we had a great sail down past Falmouth, stopping in Carlyle bay for lunch, then a quick calm reach behind the reef ending up in Jolly Harbour. The next day we moved in to Nevis.

English harbour was neat due to the historical aspects and the newly restored Nelson's dockyard. Falmouth harbour was notable for the megayachts tied up at the otherwise low key Antigua YC. Jolly harbour was memorable for it's uptown waterfront condos and restaurants alongside a most delapitated customs facility.

But Ricketts at Green Island was wonderful, turtles, beaches and snorkelling without the crowds. About 30 boats were in Nonesuch Bay, 3 in Ricketts.

Our friends have been to Barbuda a few times, but say that if a swell is up it's a difficult passage through the reef. However when they did make it, they were usually the only ones there and there is no light pollution which makes it special again.
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Old 03-15-2007
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Very Helpful

Faster:
Thanks so much for info & details.............since I wrote the thread I've been able to read the cruising guide & so your feedback reinforces many of the points.
Want to sample Antigua history/beaches but the pearl to me is Barbuda....but need the conditions to be right for a couple of days stay.
Thanks again
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Old 03-15-2007
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Hi,
I have sailed Antigua and Barbuda last year in March and this year in January.
As I did most of my other sailing in Adriatic sea - Mediterranean, where conditions are much different - so my experience is somwhere limmited.
I did however see a lot of tropical world travelling and diving, so I can compare.
I chartered from English harbour both times. Nelsons dockyard is under reconstruction now - some historical buildings are not accessible or the roof is missing, but still very interesting)

Here are my conclusions:
- Do get a copy of Chris Doyle's cruising guide. One of the best guides I saw (far better than any English, Slovene, Croatian or German books about Adriatic - and I have seen a few). I think he might just have new edition out this year.

- If you do not like much crowd do sail to Barbuda.
The passage may be rocky (this year I had 3 of my 7 crew "donating to the sea"). But it is worth.
The Cocoa point provides better anchorage if there are swells, so go there first (pink beach close to a small airstrip). You will be rewarded with a beautiful beach and calm sea. You can consider it "crowded" if there are more than 3 boats on this 5 miles beach.
Move to Low Bay if swells allow it. This year it was fine for us, but last year we did had a bad northerly swell and it was quite uncomfortable on anchor during the night. Both times we did the trick with dragging the tender over a sand bank onto lagoon and we visited Codrington (both times it was a very wet ride in a choppy lagoon - small chops, but we were all wet in the dinghy. Codrington is a place where the time stopped.
We loved it. Did I mention we were the only turists in town both times?
And on a 12 mile beach there were 2 boats.

About Antigua:
- Nonsuch bay was interesting to see, but is usually crowded (too beautiful and too close). We anchored between Green Island and Bird Island. There is just an underwater reef between you and the ocean, so you get the feeling of being out on the open, but no swells. Very good snorkelling as well. But as said - can be crowded.
-Provisioning: We found that Jolly harbour has best store on the island: 1) large and relative good selection - but you are not "at home" 2) lower prices than small shops 3) good access with the boat - you can anchor out in Mosquito cove if you have a good dinghy and moor the dingy at a dock close to shop (you get with the shopping charts to your dinghy) or you may try with the boat - last year we did and the marina did not make any problems - but we just transferred goods from shop charts to the boat and left. We liked the restaurants in everything in Jolly harbour.
About sailing area: last year we went North (St Barth, St Martin, St. Eustahius, Nevis, ...) This year we went south (Guadeloupe and Dominica) - hard to say what is better - both is excellent. Every islad is different. Try not to make a same mistake we made last year as we wanted to see too much in 2 weeks.
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Old 03-15-2007
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Yeah, agree about the Doyle's books, excellent and they issue annual revisions so you can get up to date information. (Also a way for them to keep selling more)

If you like contrasts, try one day to fit in a trip to Saba. In a world of tropical shallow beaches and palms, this nugget juts out of the ocean with no real tenable anchorage, but starkly different landscape and picturesque villages. Mooring bouys are available on the Northwest side, but landing ashore is dependant on the amount of swell. NO SAND anywhere so the benefit here is incredibly clear water. It is a diving mecca.

Take the "1000 step" trail from Windwardside to the old volcanic peak for the view but expect to be in a cloud even on the finest day. Still, the near rainforest conditions up there are interesting to see.
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Old 03-15-2007
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Great Stuff

Tomaz: Great 1st hand report.....must be an interesting place since You did the area twice.
I'm trying to "fill in" my chart.....as I did Guadeloupe/Dominica 6/06 & SXM/Anguilla 7/05.
Doyle's Cruising Guides - I'm a big subscriber.........read thru A & B late last night so I'm now familiar with the anchorages you mentioned as well as the swells in Barbuda ..........but your description helped to know what area would be best @ certain times.
Yes, I definitely try to run from crowds.
Dinghy to Codrington..........can 2 people lift dinghy over bar?........do the water taxis keep you dry?.........did you take the Sanctuary tour?
Also great help on Jolly harbor info & east coast anchorages of Antigua.
Thanks so much for taking the time to give the kinda info I was looking for & will use.
The only Med destination I've done was Greece.......x 2 trips = 3 weeks. Greek Water Pilot is another excellent cruising guide.

BTW - what Charter Co?.........yacht? did you use in Antigua?
How did you like Dominica?
Fair Winds always...............
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Old 03-15-2007
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Yeah I'd like to try

Faster:
The "smaller" islands have always presented a dilemma.......especially since I have been chartering (with limited time) vs cruising (with time to spare). Also depends on "crew".....balancing interests & sea legs.

Also hear conflicting messages about anchorages - (rolly? - moorings - etc)
So the last few times in the area we have concentrated on the bigger islands.
One day..................will check them all off

Last year did get to do the Circle = Guadeloupe - Marie Galante - Dominica - The Saintes - Ile Gosier - Guadeloupe

Doyle's Guides - Yup agree......have used on all caribbean charters + charts + gps..............
Thanks again for all your help too.
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Old 03-16-2007
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Smile

Chuteman, to your questions:
Dinghy to Codrington..........can 2 people lift dinghy over bar? - It depends on the dinghy and the 2 people. The one we had was very heawy (dinghy= 120kg + 10HP motor + gass tank, ...). I could do it with one strong man, but not with my vife. It is a sand beach and the sand raises to about 2m (6feet). There is perhaps 25m of distance to the lagune. As we were 7 it was not an issue - and we all can fit into our big dinghy.
..do the water taxis keep you dry? If you take water taxi then you do not need to drag your boat across. And you will likely stay dry unless it rains (as it did both times we crossed the loagoon)
..did you take the Sanctuary tour? Yes ,this year we did. Amazing birds. I do reccomend if you like birds. You really get close. Prices in the guide were correct.

BTW - what Charter Co?.. Well I am one of those "buy a charter boat" people. Sunsail is where my boat is. And where I get lots of "free" sailing weeks anywhere in the world while my Mana is taking heavy beatings earning money for Sunsail. So far I think it was a good idea.
.yacht? The "423 in my name tells it: Beneteau 423. If you see "Mana" over there - that is my boat (technically she is it not all mine until she earns enough money to Sunsail). so last year I was on my boat, this year on a sister ship - also B. 423.
How did you like Dominica? - We only spent two half days (one night) in Portsmouth so I do not really know Dominica. We had to see Indian river (the Pirates..) as we had a 13 year old on board - and the botanical garden (the vifes). Typical turists.
I did like what I saw, but it does not compre to Barbuda at all. In Dominica I was in alert mode all the time with a feeling that everyone wants my money - the more the better.
P.S.
I tried to attach few pictures, but I it did not work even after heavy reduced size - I am not sure does one need some authorisation?
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Old 03-16-2007
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More Great Stuff

T423:
Thanks for the add'l info & responses.
Dinghy - sounds like I'll be taking water taxi or land vehicles, if they use them too.
Sunsail - know them well.... used on last 3 Caribbean charters...no worries
Dominica - I'm a Pirates fan too ...although I think #1 was better than #2
the Indian river tour was great & I'm not that much of a eco-tourist.
Alert Mode - know exactly what You mean.....although after 3+ days I knew some of the players.
Thanks so much for your help !!! I will use all the bits
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Old 03-17-2007
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Chuteman,
About alert mode in Dominica: It is hard to say why, but I felt uneasy. There were many factors contributing to it - from reading about poor country and higher crime rate than on some other islands, to a chart we had on the boat which had a red warning printed in Prince Rupert bay (Portsmouth) "Do not leave the vessel unattended at any time", and to the first boats selling Indian river several miles out on the open (the prices they quoted did not mach what Doyle had in his book), perhaps the skeletons of the shipwrecks, some dirt, murky water, pushy fruit sellers, ... Not one thing, but it accumulated.
Perhaps we should stay there longer - I am sure I would feel better, but we had to go back.
Ohh, and forget about my remark about botanical garden. It was late in the evening here when I wrote my note and I mixed it up with the botanical garden in Deshies (Guadeloupe).
You know, my wife is a big fan of orchids and we have to see all botanical gardens we can. As I am not such a fan I usually find some excuse not to go, so I skipped that one too.
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