Sadly, it is time to move on. We have had such a wonderful month in Antigua and the only bay we didn’t get to was ‘Nonsuch’ on the eastern coast.
We motored into Parham and North Sounds last week and although the reefs cut some of the choppy waves down, the 20 knot wind did build it up a bit and we were motoring into the wind and waves. There is plenty of space in the sound, in fact it was quite empty but there are many shallows. The dredged channel marked on the charts no longer has all the port and starboard makers and just a couple remain in different sections. From a distance they both look white (perhaps bird droppings?) and the tiny bit of red or green paint remaining is very hard to see until you are up close. We relied heavily on our instruments!
Parham has a prosperous looking fishing dock but a dinghy trip into the mangrove creek found it very shallow. Doubt any boats could get in there in a hurricane, as the guide suggested. There was plenty of space to anchor but a noisy generator spoils the peace, as it does in most of the sound. The surrounding old ships and industry weren’t very appealing and the water wasn’t clear. The airport is quite conspicuous although we didn’t try to get ashore near it.
After lunch in Parham we decided to move to a more picturesque anchorage for the night and found 3 metres of water just out of the channel off Maiden Island. We were the only anchored yacht and Beyzano looked very happy in the calm water.
The small island is private but all beaches on Antigua are public, so we took the dinghy ashore and snorkelled to the man-made reef, which is marked at both ends by sticks and buoys. There were lots of starfish and a couple of lovely beaches lapped by turquoise water. It was so clear that Kym decided she would try diving under the boat, just to get a feel for it in case she wants to learn later. It was only 11 feet deep so she could have easily surfaced at any time and Rob never left her side, just in case. All went well though!
We then headed back to Jolly Harbour and visited the new floating bar and restaurant, anchored near to the entrance. It has been furnished nicely and has a long inflatable slide, a floating pool and a trampoline on the water! The food and service was good and someone came out to help us with our lines at the dock. A shuttle water-taxi runs from the marina out to ‘D-Boat’ frequently. One drawback was our proximity to it that night when the loud music went on until about 0400!
Kym’s flight to the UK left on Friday and we saw it arrive to take her home. Always seems strange to see a British Airways plane here and think it will be back in Gatwick in the morning!
Rob and I filled up with water, diesel and outboard petrol on the Jolly Harbour dock before spending 2 nights in lovely Deep Bay, one of our favourite stops. We have deflated the kayak in readiness for our night sail to St Barts but before leaving tonight we have to clear out in Jolly Harbour and meet Mandy and Tim (Kym’s aunt and uncle) who are spending the day in Antigua during their holiday on P&O’s Azura. They just missed Kym though! Our trip will be about 75 miles and we want to arrive in good light, hence leaving here at around midnight. Jolly Harbour is easy enough to navigate at night as some of the buoys have lights. I am looking forward to seeing another island I haven’t visited yet but still deciding whether or not to go to St Martin, as numerous thefts of dinghies and boat boardings have been reported on ‘Noonsite’ lately and we don’t need to take that risk as Anguilla is only 8 miles further north.