March 1-8, 2011...Antigua to Barbuda

We waited for the 'Christmas Winds' to die down so that the trip out of Falmouth would be easier. Tuesday morning we headed out around the SE coast of Antigua making for Nonsuch Bay. Only one tack to make it to Green Island in Nonsuch -- great technical sail -- but the winds and seas were (again) higher than advertised. We were only too glad to stop and take a breather for a couple of nights.

Thursday morning we made the 30-mile trip up to Barbuda anchoring off the beach at Coco Point. Dolphins welcomed us to the island. And it was great to be where there was nothing between us and the sunset.

By Friday the north swell was churning up the anchorage so we moved around to the south side to Gravenor Bay, behind the Palaster Reef near Spanish Point. What a fabulous place! Beautiful water in an empty quiet anchorage. For the first time in a long time we could see the anchor from the boat -- but the water was so clear we could even read the label below! We swam off the boat to snorkel every day finding healthy coral and lots of fish.

The days clicked by and we never even went ashore. But the winds were turning to the north and a weather window was emerging that would favor a trip to the Virgin Islands. So, we readied ourselves for the passage, fighting the urge to just stay put for another week...or a continue to drink in this gorgeous place.

To clear out of the country we had to get to the village of Codrington -- 10 miles away. That project took all afternoon, and we couldn't have done it without the help of Ivy and Gene, a couple who live part time in the fishing camp nearby. They got a taxi to come pick us up and drive us along the torturous dirt roads to town, depositing us at the port authority, then customs, then immigration and back to Gravenor Bay -- round trip -- 3 hours! Everybody we met that day, from the taxi drivers to the officials to Ivy and Gene, seemed to have been trained as a tour guide. We were 'guests' of the island and were given all sorts of information about the history, geography, and economy of Barbuda. They wanted us to feel welcomed and hoped we would return. We will!

Nonsuch Bay, Antigua: 17d04.581'N 61d40.294'W
Coco Point, Barbuda: 17d33.195'N 61d46.223'W
Gravenor Bay, Barbuda: 17d33.015'N 61d44.941'W

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