Join Date: Feb 2006
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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.
- 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.