February 2009

February 1, 2009 -- English Harbour, Antigua to Green Island, Antigua 12.42 nm

We sailed to Green Island at Antigua's easternmost tip where we anchored in a gorgeous spot where only a reef lied between us and the Atlantic Ocean, rolling unbroken from Africa. The anchorage was only big enough for 3 or 4 boats, there was only one other boat in the anchorage when near sundown another cat came in, turned out to be a Dutch boat called Genesis with 4 kids on board! I felt sorry for the lone adult boat! The kids were very excited to see other children and we went over and introduced ourselves. The next day after school, we all went around to Non Such Bay and found a secluded beach and did some amazing snorkelling. We caught a couple of conch. The children on the Dutch boat did not speak English but they still did their best to play games and have fun together.

sailing makes me sleepy

local tour boat

local tour boat leaving Green Island

beautiful clear water

Beach on Green Island

sv Genesis coming into the beach


February 3, 2009 -- Green Island, Antigua to Spanish Point, Barbuda 31.67 nm

We sailed on to Barbuda, 25 miles north of Antigua, we caught some fish along the way, the first was a Barracuda, which we threw back,and the second we don't know what it was. It was a delicious fish and no one got sick so it must have been okay to eat! Barbuda was a glorious place to hang for a while, it was uncrowded and the beaches ran on for miles and miles. I wouldn't suggest going there how we did it though, as we came up the east side where you have to navigate through a small cut in the long reef, we ended up surfing down a huge wave at a tremendous speed through the opening then Andrea and I had to climb up into the spreaders to watch for coral heads and rocks. It is not well charted so you cannot rely on your chart plotter. We were rewarded with an amazing view and a quiet, peaceful anchorage for the night. We did some snorkelling and walking along the beach.


Cari's favourite dish - sashimi


Ryan is the dingy captain

on the beach on Barbuda


February 4, 2009 -- Spanish Point to Cocoa Point, Barbuda 3.48 nm

The next day we again crept through coral heads and reefs to Cocoa Point where we went to shore and took a cab ride to Codrington Lagoon to catch a tour of the Frigate Bird colony. It was amazing to see the males puff their neck into a large red balloon to entice a mate. There were thousands of these birds and cute white fluffy babies in the mangrove trees. The kids especially enjoyed the 4 mile high speed boat ride, both ways!

East Coast of Barbuda

East Coast of Barbuda

Stray Kitty anchored at Spanish Point

Look both way for aircraft! yikes!

Exciting high speed boat ride out to the frigate sanctuary

baby frigate bird

males puff their neck into a large red balloon to entice a mate

February 6, 2009 -- Cocoa Point, Barbuda to Jolly Harbour, Antigua via Deep Bay, Antigua 34.81 nm

We took the "easy" way back along the west coast of Antigua. The winds were behind us but it did gust up to 31 knots, we put 2 reefs in the main and had an enjoyable sail. We stopped in Deep Bay, Antigua to snorkel the wreck of the Andes. A few mast stumps stick out about 2 feet above the water. The Andes was a three-masted iron barque and was sailing from Trinidad with a load of pitch in 1905. When it got to Antigua, the crew noticed smoke rising from one of the hollow masts and suspected the motion of the boat had caused enough friction in the cargo to start a fire. When they opened the cargo hatches, the infusion of fresh air caused the pitch to burst into flames and the vessel sank. The water was very cloudy and we couldn't see very much, so we hopped back aboard and pulled up anchor and motored to Jolly Harbour.

Jolly Harbour is like a made up condo community, there really wasn't anything there for us except a big overpriced grocery store.

Good spot to look for wildlife and reefs

Sail from Cocoa Point to Antigua

Jolly Harbour

Jolly Harbour

Febuary 8, 2009 -- Jolly Harbour, Antigua to Little Bay, Montserrat 25.91 nm

The Jimmy Buffett song about where to go when da volcano blows, is about the Soufriere Hills Volcano in Montserrat that blew up in 1995 causing extensive damage to the Southern end of Montserrat and burying the capital of Plymouth in ash and dust. After it blew, the population of Montserrat went from 11,000 people to less than 4,000 as people moved to London and elsewhere. The volcano is still active and is constantly smoking; domes and spikes grow and collapse. Warnings are given weekly on Montserrat radio. They are rebuilding the whole town of Plymouth in Little Bay, where the only anchorage is. Little Bay used to be just a lonely beach but by 2020 it should be completely built into a new town. They are building it now and already there is a few restaurants, a dive shop and a community centre. We took a tour here and were able to see the before pictures from photos and after pictures with our own eyes. The destruction is absolute in the Southern end of town, miracously there are still people living in homes that could one day be covered in ash and mud. We met up with yet another Caribbean 1500 boat Leipshin and had a great time catching up with them.

Cari rolling out the jib

Little Bay, Montserrat

Soufrière Volcano

House before volcano erupted

House now, covered from a mud slide

Old Cannon

Golf course

February 10, 2009 - Little Bay, Monteserrat to Deschaies, Guadeloupe

We arrived in the quaint little seaside town of Deschaies (Day-Hay), the population of Guadeloupe is about 420,000 with more than half the population aged under twenty. Deschais: a gorgeous harborside village surrounded by green hills and dotted with waterside restaurants, Deschaies could probably be dubbed the gourmet capital of Basse-Terre.

We were hoping to rent a car to go to some of the waterfalls inland, however these services were on strike, no buses, no fuel, no car rentals. It was hard to figure out who was on strike and when things were open. The first few days everything was closed, even the grocery stores but the last few days all the grocery stores were open and they were pretty well stocked. There definitely was a fuel shortage as one day there was a mile long lineup at the gas station.

We took a walk to Plage de Grande Anse, Chris had hurt his foot by jumping down onto a conch shell that was sitting in our cockpit so he was out of commission. I went into the huge waves with the kids. I saw Ryan out in the huge surf and I thought he was having problems getting back to shore so I went swimming as fast as I could out to him, when what was really happening was that the current was stealing his swim shorts and he was trying to keep them on. On my way back in I got hit by a massive wave and got knocked down and hurt my back. Chris was on shore just laughing at us. Ryan spent the rest of the afternoon wearing only his sunshirt, but it is a French island so nobody seemed to notice!!

Sailing to Deschaies

Canal, Deschaies

Bird, Deschaies

Church, Deschaies

Before Ryan lost his pants to the surf at Plage de Grande Anse

Huge waves at Plage de Grande Anse


Fun homeschooling project

We did a hike called the River Hike, it was great fun however we didn't realize what it entailed before we left and by the time we got going it was 3:00 p.m. It was a hike up the Deschaies River, scrambling over rocks and straight up the river. We had a great time, but it was a little stressful because we didn't know where it ended. At around 5:15 p.m. we found the Y in the river and went up the bank and found the road to head back. We got back to the boat around 6:00 p.m Just in time before the sunset. We saw sv Cat Away (another Caribbean 1500 boat) anchored beside us so had them over for drinks. Earlier in the day, Chris had met a boat called sv Belair that have gone around the world, on their first circumnavigation, they went with Liza Copeland and her husband Andy and their three children aboard sv Bagheera, Liza has written many cruising books, which I have read every one. So it was very interesting talking to them. They came over as well.

passing of the bulls

River walk

Epic river hike

Epic river hike

February 14, 2009 - Deschaies, Guadeloupe to Pigeon Island, Guadeloupe - 13.3 nm

Happy Valentine's Day!

Because of the special occassion the kids got to have 2 treats each at the boulangerie this morning.

We left Deschaies and went to Pigeon Island where the snorkelling was excellent. The water was very clear and we saw many fish. We tied to a mooring ball at the island.

Pigeon Island Anchorage: main attraction here is the Cousteau Underwater Park which includes the islands and the coast northwards for about a mile. You will find rocks, cliffs, corals of all types, octopus, and brightly colored fish. The water is generally clear and there are lots of fish and octopuses.

We wanted to try anchoring out by some hot springs that our guide book said were good. However our main anchor was stuck under the bow crossbeam and no matter what we tried it was not going anywhere, least of all down into the water where we wanted it to go. So we went to the Pigeon Island anchorage and used our spare little anchor. Chris worked on the main anchor from the dingy. We thought it would be okay to leave the small anchor down as we were planning to leave in the morning. Luckily the big breezes came in the morning and not in the middle of the night because once the wind increased that little anchor was dragging across the harbour pretty quickly!!!!! Time to buy a bigger spare anchor.

My 3 Valentines

Happy Valentines Day!

Valentines Day at the Boulangerie

Snorkelling at Pigeon Island

Snorkelling at Pigeon Island

Snorkelling area-Pigeon Island

Pigeon Island

February 16, 2009 - Pigeon Island to Bourg des Saintes , Terre D’en Haut, Les Saintes, Guadeloupe

Bourg des Saintes – Home to most of the islands residents, is a picturesque village with a decidedly Norman accent. Its narrow streets are lined with whitewashed, red-roofed houses with shuttered windows and yard so of flowering hibiscus. There is a strong link to the North of France, especially Brittany.

We sailed down to Iles des Saintes which are two small islands and part of Guadeloupe. The strike was still on and groceries were getting harder to find. We hiked up to Fort Napoleon which had a fantastic museum of naval history and home to some sizable iguanas that were unfazed by humans.

Fort Napoleon – Fans of Patrick O’Brian’s novels should head straight here, built in the mid – 19th century but never used in battle, and now dedicated to a museum of naval history. There’s a fine hilltop view of Bourg des Saintes and you can look across the channel to Fort Josephine, a small fortification on Ilet a Cabrit. The grounds surrounding the fort are planted in cactus gardens, home to some sizable iguanas that are unfazed by humans. The fort’s barracks contain a museum focusing on maritime history, including local fishing methods and the historic naval battles between the French and British.

Sailing to Les Saintes

Notre Dame de l'Assomption, Les Saintes, Guadeloupe

Cafe de la Marine, Les Saintes, Guadeloupe

Dinner on Stray Kitty with sv Pickles

View of the anchorage from Fort Napoleon

Lots of lizards

Fort Napoleon

Fort Napoleon

We met up with Mary Lu and Bob on their boat sv Liebchen who we met during the Caribbean 1500. Lots of people rent mopeds which the kids were dying to get their hands on but we declined and opted for the human propulsion type of bike. We biked around the island one day however it was the morning after a previous evening of rum tasting so we didn’t push it too hard. Plus it was extremely hilly which did not help.

Great view!

Taking a bike break with Bob from sv Liebchen

Long sandy Grande Anse, immediately east of the airport runway

February 22, 2009 - Les Saintes, Guadeloupe to Anse Fielding, Terre d’en Bas, Guadeloupe - 2.74 nm

Had to anchor 5 times the anchor would not set. Couldn’t land at dingy dock starting pouring rain, went back to boat. Decided to stay but had a very uncomfortable rolly night.

February 23, 2009 Guadeloupe to Portsmouth, Dominica 20.44 nm

We sailed on to Portsmouth, Dominica. Unfortunately, we lost the port engine just as we were coming in. Chris thinks he may have ran over something in the anchorage and something is stuck under the boat so anchored very quickly. Changed impellor on port engine. Dived in to check starboard engine. Nothing under it. Moved locations, anchored 2 more times. This looks like a very protected anchorage, hopefully will sleep better tonight! Bob and MaryLu anchored right next to us which was great.

Greenery erupts from every square inch, the whole island is covered in a verdant tangle of trees, vines, shrubs and ferns. Dominica has 70,000 inhabitants. Dominica has eight potentially active volcanoes. Prince Rupert Bay is over 2 miles long and a mile wide.

This was the first island that we encountered boat boys. They motor over to you while you’re motoring into the anchorage to see if they can help you tie to a mooring ball if there are any or they paddle up to your boat on a surf board or kayak to try to sell you some fruit or t-shirts. We weren’t there 5 minutes and we bought a Dominica courtesy flag from one of them, which we in fact did need. In Dominica the boat boys now are part of an Indian River Guides Association, they wear official t-shirts and are suppose to have badges, they have fundraisers to help pay for security in the harbour.

We had an amazing time in Dominica. We arrived just in time for Carnival and were able to join in the festivities. After being in Guadeloupe and The Saintes for a while, getting to Dominica was a real treat because they were not on strike and every corner we walked around we could buy local food, like rotis, fried chicken, bbq'd plaintain, we had a feast.


Steel band at Carnival

Yum roti!

Boats on the side of the road

Bob with the kids at Carnival


Cute local kid enjoying Carnival

Stray Kitty at anchor in Portsmouth, Dominica

We hiked through the Cabrits National Park to Fort Shirley, an old British fort dating from the 18th century has been partially restored and there is a small museum. . The Cabrits National Park has well-marked trails.

Fort Shirley

Fort Shirley

Fort Shirley

Fort Shirley

Fort Shirley

Fort Shirley, overlooking the anchorage

Fort Shirley

Home made cinnamon buns in paradise

Portsmouth, Dominica

Big Papas-Portsmouth, Dominica - great happy hour spot

Interesting houses-Portsmouth, Dominica

Interesting houses-Portsmouth, Dominica

We rented a van and drove to the requisite rum distillery which was interesting as it is run by a water wheel, then to the North Wilderness Reserve to try to see some indigenous parrots which we did end up seeing along the road outside of the reserve. The Syndicate Rainforest (part of the National park) The Syndicate trail is an easy walk, just under a mile long. This trail traverses the best example of tropical rain forest in the leewards. There are many huge and magnificent trees, including one with butrress roots about 35 feet across. The roads in Dominica are lined with grapefruit trees, orange trees, bananas, sugarcane, it is so lush and green.

rum distillery

rum distillery

rum distillery -wouldn't be complete without a tasting

Our rental van which we dubbed "The Green Machine"

Fruit trees line the road

Beautiful lush surroundings

The next day we picked up our friend Miles, he was waiting at the Big Papa's dock. Kudos to him for actually finding the place and being there on time!!

The following day was Andrea’s 9th birthday, we went on the Indian River tour. No motors allowed, you get into a boat and the guide paddles along – the scenery is amazing. Overhead, the trees form a complete canopy so it is dark and cathedral like. Their massive roots spread out above the soil and down into the water, twisting and tangling into interesting wavy designs. This , along with the occasional sounds of insects and birds, gives it a magical quality. Ryan thought it was a little on the slow side as he has a bad case of motor infatuation!. Some parts of the movie Pirates of the Caribbean were filmed on the Indian River.

We were fortunate enough to be in the same anchorage as the kid boat Pickles so Andrea had a great birthday party that evening with some of her little cruising friends, and of course Bob and MaryLu!

Indian River tour

Indian River tour

Indian River tour

Indian River tour

Indian River tour

Miles brought a suitcase full to the brim with gifts from Grandma!

Miles trying to get a moment to himself

Happy 9th Birthday Andrea - We Love You!!

We rented a car again and went to some more sites. We went to the Chaudiere Pool – a great hike into a waterfall where you can swim at the bottom, we were the only ones there. Miles was the only one adventurous enough to jump into the pools from the cliff. The pool is fed by a small waterfall and surrounded by rocks. The water bubbles from the falls, reminding one of a cauldron. The pool is about 15 feet deep.

We drove through the Carib Territory and purchased some baskets that they weave themselves and sell on the side of the road. The Caribs were fierce warriors who predated the Europeans and for a couple of hundred years and kept them at bay. They called the island Waitikubuili meaning Tall is her Body. Pure Caribs are native Americans, rather bronze in colour, with Orietnaly features.

We stopped at the Emerald Pools on the way back to the boat and swam under the big waterfall.

We had to say good-bye to Bob and MaryLu at this point as they were heading back North to the US and we were heading South. We will really miss them, we had so much fun together.

Chaudiere Pool

Chaudiere Pool- Bob & Mary-Lou

Chaudiere Pool

Chaudiere Pool - Miles

the Green Machine!

Shopping for baskets Carib Territory

Shopping for baskets Carib Territory

Shopping for baskets Carib Territory


Emerald Pools waterfalls

Happy Birthday Mary-Lou

Bye Bob & Mary-Lou

We will miss you!