Finally the winds died down enough for us to get around to Jolly Harbour yesterday, with a nice downwind sail at over 5 knots. The seas were rolly until we got behind the Cades reef and then it was lovely all the way into Jolly.
They have moved the big restaurant ship, so the anchoring area is much bigger and quieter! We decided to take a mooring though, for a change but were disgruntled to see the nightly charge has been increased by 25% since April and now costs 25 US$ a night. I pointed out to the marina staff that this could be the reason half the moorings were empty!
On our way in we saw Jeff and Di just upping anchor on ‘Horizons’ and as we have been storing their washing machine and duvet, called them up so they could re-anchor and give us time to dinghy out to return them. We doubt we’ll see them until April as we go in different directions but other friends we caught up with here may be in the ‘might never see again’ category, which is always very sad. ‘Secret Smile’, ‘Pelerin’, ‘Agua Therapy’ and ‘Blue Moon’, we wish you fair winds, have enjoyed your company and hope we will see you somewhere in the future.
We were delighted to get an email from Ron and Karen on ‘Magpie II’ as we haven’t seen them in a year. They were in the marina here and asking if we were still in Antigua. They had us over for a great evening and delicious dinner last night. Their boat is a 54-foot deck saloon and the cockpit was huge, the biggest we have been in with 2 areas to sit in, with 1 raised and under the sprayhood, a brilliant place to keep dry on passage. The interior was capacious and light with lovely sitting areas. We also went on a 36-foot centre cockpit last week and it was interesting to compare the layouts. We decided years ago that a centre cockpit wouldn’t work for us, as the 2 areas we wanted space in, the cockpit and saloon, were always small in the centre cockpit boats, especially any under 42 foot. With any stern to mooring we also thought the distance between the helm and dock would be difficult to work when Rob would be on the bow dealing with the anchor and I would be alone helming and trying to pass lines to shore, or jumping off the stern myself. I never leave the helm until the boat is completely tied up and safe, just in case.
We stocked up at the modern supermarket yesterday, spending nearly 200 GBP on items to see us through a few weeks in the quieter islands where some foods will be hard to come by. They have a lot of Waitrose goods here, such as their jars and dried food as well as frozen meals.
The bar area of the marina has a pretty little van serving excellent coffees from a shiny new machine. Good coffee can be hard to come by in the islands and this new venture should do well, especially as they process the Brazilian coffee beans here.
Next we will clear out with Customs, then get our water and outboard tanks filled up at the easy to access dock by the marina. After that, a few hours at anchor and swimming, preparing a couple of meals for the passage and we intend leaving just before dusk to get offshore before dark. There are light winds forecast but the seas are down. We might get to use our cruising chute for the first time in over 3 years and will just see which island we can make in daylight. It could be St Croix, St John’s or Culebra but we’ll see what speeds we can achieve and plan it from there.