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Exploring More of Antigua

Posted by on January 29, 2017

A lot has been going on since we last wrote. That’s why we haven’t posted in a while. For all of the right reasons though we been having too much fun. So I guess that we will get right to it and share our stories with you.

We got to see the Oyster boats in Nelson’s Dockyard. They are sailing around the world. The Oyster World Rally is organized exclusively for the owners of Oyster yachts, the countdown to the Oyster World Rally 2017-19 has begun.

Working sail loft in Nelson’s Dockyard.

First stop for us after re-provisioning in Jolly Harbour was Deep Bay. Deep Bay is a quiet little harbour on the west side of Antigua. It has a beautiful half moon white sand beach and a fort (Fort Barrington) that sits high above it. Here you are surrounded by high hills and the aqua blue sea. What a beautiful place to anchor and of course we climbed up to Fort Barrington to enjoy the views from above.

Deep Bay

FORT BARRINGTON, (1779- c. 1850).

During the day there are a few catamaran party boats that stop here but at night it is really quiet with not even a beach bar to belly up to. I know what you are thinking…but no worries for us, we had just provisioned and had our own happy hour and appetizers on board.

There is also a shipwreck that is just near the entrance of the harbor that has some interesting history:

The name of the ship was the barque “Andes”, a three masted steel merchant sailing ship, that sailed from Trinidad with a cargo of 1,330 barrels of pitch to be used for the paving of roads in Chile. As there had been no Panama canal yet built, the route around the tip of South America was to sail first north-east over the Atlantic, then across the South Atlantic with the trade winds to Cape Horn.

As the cargo had been stowed badly, it seems heat had developed through friction caused by rubbing, enough to cause smoldering. Capt. Rees Griffiths decided to put into Antigua, but the Harbour Master made the “Andes” anchor in Deep Bay, since she would have been a danger to shipping in St. John’s Harbour. When the hatches were opened to unload and inspect the cargo, the added air caused a conflagration. Her decks fell in and her rigging was consumed. The “Andes” sank bow first on June 9th 1905 and there she still lies. Today nearly 100 years later, the wreck of the “Andes” lies just off of Deep Bay.

Pretty cool history, huh? Unfortunately the water was murky while we were here so we did not snorkel the wreck but maybe next time we visit.

Frog Rock

We enjoyed our time in Deep Bay but were ready to explore somewhere new so we headed out next to North Sound. North Sound is a group of uninhabited islands, each differing in rock formation, plant and animal life. In other words an adventures dream.

We anchored near Great Bird Island. Named by sailors who were amazed at the number of birds that they found living and nesting there, Great Bird Island is a miniature paradise. We heard that it is the only place on Earth where you can see an Antiguan racer snake in the wild. The entire world population of this snake lives on the island. Fortunately or unfortunately we did not see any of these snakes but the island and the surrounding waters were amazing. The water was crystal clear and incredibly beautiful! The snorkeling was great because of the visibility but, we found that most of the surrounding coral was dead. We thought that it was probably due to the heavy seas that normally pass through the area.

Stingray City

We took the dingy out for exploring. This is when we came across Stingray City where you can take a tour and swim with the stingrays. It was neat to see. It was just a sand patch sitting behind a reef and was full of stingrays. Thinking of Steve Irwin we did not get in the water but enjoyed the show safely from the comfort of our dinghy.

We also visited Rabbit Island. Rabbit Island home to breeding colonies of Caribbean Brown Pelicans and we got to see baby pelicans in their nests…I thought that this was so cool! I have lived in Florida my whole life and I don’t think that I have ever seen a pelicans nest let alone a baby pelican. By the way, we think that they have a face that only a mother could love. We did not think that they were cute but we will let you decide that for yourself.

Hell’s Gate, North Sound

We also got to check out Hell’s Gate a limestone bridge formed through out the years by the elements and seas. They say that it is actually a ‘heavenly’ gate because you can see the wild and beautiful Atlantic seas through the arch. We would have to agree.

There was so much to do in North Sound that I think that it is my favorite place so far. The winds were really calm while we were there and so as we sat in the cockpit one night we thought that we would take advantage of the calm seas to make a trip to Barbuda, the sister island of Antigua which lies about 26 miles to the north.

The island of Montserrat in the distance…it was so clear on this day that you could see the volcano smoldering!

Five island Harbour

When things happen here they sometimes happen quickly. We made run down to Jolly Harbour once again to get some supplies and sailed to Barbuda the next day. Boy do we have some adventures from there to share with you but for now we are going to keep you on the edge of your seats…it’s that time again…happy hour and the sunset is calling my name.

Take care all,

Jennifer and Brian

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