Devil’s Bridge – The Video

Here’s a video of Devil’s Bridge in Antigua.

What you see is the hole between the shore on the left and the rock land bridge on the right. Always amazing to see the power of nature.

Antigua – More Coast and a Mongoose

Here are some more pictures of our Antigua car adventure…

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One of the many mongooses, mongeese, mongeeses, I’ll let you decide (yes, I do know what is “proper”. 🙂

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Shirley Heights – Antigua

Shirley Heights has the most amazing views. It looks over the famous Nelson Dockyards (or as the kids would say Nelson’s Backyard) as well as Falmouth Harbour and English Harbour. I could literally stay there for hours taking in the views.

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Flora… because it’s been far too long. 🙂

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Deciding When To Passage

Deciding when to passage is something I take pretty seriously from the standpoint of safety and also of comfort. We want to have a good weather window that will allow us to travel without incident. If things are uncomfortable, we’re more likely to get tired and thus more likely to make a mistake. So, we look at the wind, the waves and the weather.

We knew that once we were at Antigua, we would have to plan when and how we would head to St. Lucia. We could head off soon, wait a little bit. We could go directly to St. Lucia or we could do an island or two on the way. The upside of going to other islands is that it would break the voyage up. The downside is that it would involve several hours of checking in and then out of each we went to when we knew that we’d not be able to see anything.

So, after looking at the wind, weather and waves, we decided that we were going to go directly to St. Lucia. It like it wasn’t going to be changing much and that unfortunately for much of the time, we might have both the wind and waves on our nose, although they wouldn’t be too rough. So, we stayed one night at Jolly Harbor and then set of the next evening. And, oh what a glorious send off.

Here is what we saw as we left the harbor at about 6pm.

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A Dolphin Tale – Our Own Movie

Here’s the video that we got of the dolphin. Enjoy!

Entering the Jolliest of Harbors

Again, we find ourselves entering Jolly Harbor in Antigua. We’re here because we knew that it would be a good place to end up after a long passage. This passage was 31 hours and we were happy to be able to have a flat harbor to rest and rejuvenate. So, as usual, the first order of business was to check into the country. To do that we have to dock the boat next to their small pier or in this case, we just came to the pier next to them. The customs pier really isn’t meant for a 50 foot boat. Then, I do my dance going to Customs to fill out lots of paperwork, and then to Immigration, and then to Customs, and then to the Port Authority. It is tedious but the people are nice and pleasant.

Once we’re complete, we head to a mooring ball so that we can stop and completely unwind from the trip. Just as we get the ball and start to get settled, the action starts…

The harbor has a visitor. A bottle-nose dolphin. Why do I know it was a bottle-nose dolphin. It’s simple. My 6 year old Matthew declared that that was what it was. And, with marine life or flags, I defer to my kids… always.

Here are some pics. Stay tuned for the next post to get video!!

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I should also mentioned that during this time, I needed to go to the Marina office to pay for our mooring. Because our dinghy was up on the top of our boat and we were going to be heading off on another passage, we didn’t want to take it down. So, we opted for the easiest thing which was to have me kayak into the marina. This meant that I had the opportunity on the way back to get very close to the dolphin… about 2 metres away!

Unfortunately, at this point the dolphin is playing hide and seek and is no where to be found

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Passagemaking to Antigua – A Whale of a Time

The passage to Antigua was pretty great all things considered. Although we had to motor the whole way because we didn’t have any wind, it was nice and comfortable for the same reason. We all got a lot of rest which was really and generally had a great time.

The definite highlight was being able to see a pod of whales on our trip. This was such a treat as it is late in the season to be able to see them and I had given up hope on any possibility of a sighting on this adventure. But, our good fortune (as always) prevailed and we saw a few whales travelling together and not too far from the boat. The unfortunate thing is that we just weren’t able to catch a photo or video of them. Although we do have video of the sea with the kids and I in the background shouting and singing… We saw some whales! We saw some whales! Oh well, trust us. It was a very special experience.

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Baiting Flying Fish

Okay, this one is a little strange. Sometimes I think being couped up on a boat for too long can have serious side effects. Having said that, I’m willing to live with them.

In this case, my kids (Ethan I think mostly) wanted to experiment with trying to capture another flying fish. The belief is that a can of Coke Zero has some attraction force for these fish because when Caroline accidentally dropped a can while passagemaking a flying fish flew on to the boat before the next morning. Well, they taped a can out on this passage to Antigua and believe it or not, it happened again. Now, we’re not quite sure when the flying fish appeared because it was so small but a day later we did find one near the transom.

Anyway, I’m not sure that this qualifies as a science experiment. In fact, I hope it doesn’t. Oh, and by the way, don’t tell the kids but I plan on making with them a solar observation instrument…. okay, it’s a pin-hole camera. It will be very cool especially once the sun comes back but I don’t want to give too much of the next several days away.

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Flat Water Video

Sometimes, it helps to see things in motion. Here is some video of our flat water passage to Antigua.

Leaving Nanny Cay…. Yes, It Does Happen…

So believe it or not, we do actually end up leaving Nanny Cay. Finally, our generator is fixed. We’ve had time to get some schoolwork done. We’ve even fixed a few other problems as well. And, we’ve had lots of pool time, real indoor showers, and plenty of adventures.

So, we’ve set our sights on leaving as soon as we can so that we can make it down the island chain to meet up with Caroline’s brother and a friend of the family’s Bruce.

The only real weather window we have is zero. Zero wind and zero waves. The zero waves is great but the zero wind… not so much. It would be nice to not have to motor a lot but we’ll have to take what we can get. And, I expect it will bring a different passage for the kids and Caroline and me.

So, we get prepared and get all the last minute preparations ready so that we can leave early in the morning. Our hope is that we’ll be able to leave by 6am so that we can travel during the day, all night and then arrive in Antigua before the sun sets.

Here is what we were met with on the morning of our leaving… pure calm.

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We are actually underway here… leaving our home, Nanny Cay, through the channel. Everything is silent and calm, not many are up and the water is completely still.

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As we leave the channel, we head into the rising sun with no chance of putting a sail up. Diesel, it’s time to do your duty.

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Barbuda – The Swell

As I alluded to, there was a swell that we were trying to stay away from. It was an easterly swell and we were on the western side of the island. We were sheltered for a while but then it got big enough that it made its way around the island. What did that mean for us? Well, the boat got rolly at anchor, and the kids got excited about beach time and the waves.

Here are some shots of the boys at play.

Ethan – Water Boy

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Ethan – Boogie Boarding

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Matthew – Going for the Touchdown

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Noah – A Moment of Non Motion

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Another reward of Barbuda…spectacular sunsets.

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The other interesting thing that happened the night before we left was a wedding at the hotel where we were anchored near. It was a wedding where people were helicoptered into the hotel and they had a lot of stuff flown in for the wedding. But the bonus that we got to enjoy was the fireworks on the evening of the wedding. So, the kids stayed up got to see the fireworks and then slept in as we left at 6 am the next morning for our next port. St. Barts.

Barbuda – Beach and More

So, Barbuda will be a special spot for us, because of the beaches, the people, everything.

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Barbuda – The Tour – Part 2

For the second part of the tour, George handed us off to Devon for the land tour. Devon too was a local Barbudan who obviously cared about his visitors and also respected his home.

The land tour was going to consist of going to “The Caves” and then doing some running around the town of Codrington for supplies and lunch.

Here is a shot of the boys playing in a small cave on the north end of the island.

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Here is the view of the north coast…. different by still lots of beach.

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Here’s a great shot of what the bigger caves were like. This is where the Arawak Indians used when they lived on the island. This area was their kitchen area.

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And, this is a picture of us coming back into the bedroom areas.

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After Devon dropped us off with George, we then went back across the lagoon to get back to Legend. Here’s a shot of George on the lagoon side walking down the beach.

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Barbuda – The Tour – Part 1

We went on an amazing water and then land tour of Barbuda. This is the first part of the trip with our guide, George Jeffreys. It was truly amazing for a number of reasons… Let’s start the tour.

George took us to the following buoy. Big deal, you say. Well, it is for a couple of reasons. One, this buoy is an ocean buoy and it now located in the lagoon of Barbuda. The lagoon, by the way, is the largest of all the lagoon in the Caribbean including all of the big islands like Puerto Rico, etc. And, the second interesting point is that it doesn’t below in the Caribbean. It’s Canadian. It got detached in a storm and then travelled all the way over to Spain and then down the coast of Africa and then ended up at sea off the coast of Barbuda. Very cool.

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The lagoon is also known for being the largest sanctuary in the world for frigate birds. They come, mate and nest here. 20,000 of them. There are black males, white fronted females, and white or white and black juveniles. The males also may display a big red balloon to promote that they are interested in looking for a mate.

Realize that mating season is almost over. I’ll leave the rest to your imagination.

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Check out the cute baby frigate.

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And, the males… I can here the comments coming now.

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A little more about George. He was an amazingly generous and kind gentleman who shared his island with us in a most wonderful way. On this island of about 1500 people, everyone knows everyone and I am sure that everyone has a very high regard for George. He is part of the reason we’re travelling. To meet people who just make you feel good, who you can learn from and who honour their country and their place in it.

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And, here’s a shot of George making the kids day. Take a look at Matthew’s hair. Let’s just say that it takes a fair bit of force for it to be pushed back that much. George, the boys thank you for the quick ride back to the dock! 🙂

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Barbuda – A Beautiful Place

Barbuda really did not disappoint. It’s out of the way and not a lot of people get here. But, it’s worth the trip. The beaches are amazing. In fact, it’s mostly one big beach. One beach along the west coast is about 11 miles long. In fact, it’s the one that we’re anchored on. And, we’re very fortunate as the swell is from the east so that we can actually anchor. And, when we make it in the water is really flat… at least to start.

This is a shot of Matthew and Legend after we make it ashore. This to me is what it is all about. It’s certainly not always like this and in a day the anchorage is going to turn a bit rolly because of the huge swell on the East Coast. It actually is making it’s way around the island which is a pretty big island.

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And, this is what it’s all about for the boys. 🙂

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The beach looking north.

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Ahhhh….. serene.

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The beach actually has a pink hue. Here’s the reason…. pink shells that provide the sand.

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Again, did I mention what the boys like!

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To Barbuda, Same Country, Different Island

So, we head off early again in the morning to be able to make landfall early. We need to get there around noon so that we have the best chance of seeing coral heads in the water, shoals and reef.

And, yes, it is cool in the morning.

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Another rock, I’ll let you figure out what animal or creature it is. Votes?

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By the way, we knew that we were going to be going to a pretty island. And, we were not disappointed. Stay tuned.

Heading To Deep Bay – Preparing to Leave Antiqua

So, it was time to head from Antigua and so we headed to a more northerly port called Deep Bay.

Here’s a neat picture from the front of Legend. You can see the fender locker, the anchor locker as well as the furling jib. You can also see all of the boats that we need to navigate around to get out of the harbor.

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But, first before we leave… a view of the calvacade of lights that we got to see each evening. Big Boats….Big Lights…

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So, we’ve left Falmouth and now are heading up to Deep Bay. Here is a beautiful beach just south of Deep Bay that we didn’t have time to get to this time. Maybe next time.

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Here’s a rock that they call Turtle Rock, but from this angle, I think it looks like Kermit the Frog. Thoughts?

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A few rooms with a view!

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I love this picture. It shows a VERY beautiful side of sailing. Boats are just beautiful to look at in their different design and shapes. And, watching a boat under sail…. lovely.

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Just another shot… nature… magnificant.

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English Harbor

While we were at Falmouth Harbour, one of the places that we wanted to go and to get the kids to was the old fort in English Harbour.

We had a great visit with more amazing sights. Here is teh view of the headland between the two bays.

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This is the small peninsula on which sits part of the old fort. The part that protected the mouth of the bay. It’s a bit hard to tell but there is no way anyone was going to get into the harbor when protected by cannons right here.

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Noah going into stealth mode in the munitions building…. now without gunpowder fortunately.

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Matthew waiting for a blast off, showing just what marauders had coming to them if they got too close to English Harbour. Frazer boys ready to attack, or at least ready to tire them out. 🙂

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The boys in their official colours… red, blue and green.

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Caroline really felt that we should get a picture of the 3 boys with the 3 buoys. Need I say more.

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Falmouth Harbor

Does anyone else get concerns when you’re the skipper and your intended destination is a harbour that looks like this!

This is Falmouth Harbor and yes, it was BUSY. But, we found space, a fair bit of space in fact. Again, it was shallow, but we’re okay with that. It did, however, take us 3 times to get the anchor to set. It was just one of those anchorages where the anchor just did not want to set nicely. When it did set though, it was good. We tend to be pretty careful about really setting the anchor, more so than a lot of other boats that I watch. And, we also take our time. Another that I don’t always see happening. In fact, more than once, I’ve seen the helmsman of the boat come barrelling down on a mooring only to see the person at the front who is trying to grab the mooring ball with a boat hook, running along side their boat trying to catch up to the mooring ball.

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It’s hard to see, but the boat with the teal cover on it’s sails/boom has a message on the front of the hull… JUST MARRIED. Nice!

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And, the following one is in honour of one of Noah’s classmates…. the boat is BARAKA. She looks like a fine ship.

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And here are some of the other granddaddies of the harbour. Some huge boats.

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I think we’ve got a pretty big and comfortable boat… but alas, maybe not quite as bit as this! This is the back end of one of the motoryachts.

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Yes, we’ve actually seen bigger…. much bigger, but up close they are very impressive. How much is diesel now? 🙂