Finding caves in Antigua

After almost two weeks at Barbuda we left and headed back to Antigua. Our plan at that time was to spend a couple of more days in Antigua and then sail to Guadelope. But France closed their borders, which meant so did Guadelope (which is a part of France). We still planned to stay a few more days in Antigua but now we had to find another island to sail to before we should start our crossing back to Europe. But more on that later.

When arriving to Antigua once more we sailed back to Jolly Harbor and stayed in the marina over the Easter holidays. For Easter Antigua had banned visits to beaches and sailing due to the coronavirus. So we stayed in the marina until Easter holidays were over.

We celebrated Swedish Easter in Jolly Harbor.

We also worked a bit on the boat while we were in the Marina, and took our time to do a proper cleaning with the vacuum cleaner and so on. But after a couple days in the marina we wanted out on anchor again and we sailed to Great Bird Island on the northeast coast of Antigua. It was a really pretty place, we explored the island, hung out with our sailor friends and snorkeled.

Taking a hike (more of a walk really) on Gr. Bird Island.
Cliffs on Great Bird Island
Dramatic sunset view.

One day we went out to Hells Gate, an very cool arch. It is just a short dinghy ride from the anchorage and well worth the visit. Next to the arch was also some cool cave structures (see link to video below).

Hells gate close to Great Bird Island.
Posing time.

We also found another very cool cave that also can be seen in the video, it is a pretty deep cave with water in it. It is only reachable with dinghy and is located close to the north beach on Great Bird Island. If you drive with dinghy from the north beach along the “peninsula” on the eastern side of the island you will find the cave entrance.

Link to a short cave video on Google Drive.

We also had some nice evenings with our sailor friends. Here on the picture Emma & Roger from Sanuti and Bert & Stephanie from Temanua.
Snorkeling time!

After a few days on Great Bird Island we left to St Johns (the capital of Antigua & Barbuda) to check out. Since we couldn’t sail to Guadelope anymore we had decided to head for SInt Maarten with a short stop at St. Eaustatius (Statia) on the way. We were not allowed to go ashore in Statia, but we were allowed to dive there. We had contacted a diving centre and would do three dives there before we sailed on to Sint Maarten.

But first we had to check out from Antigua, which was not very easy. First we arrived to customs office in St Johns 2 minutes before closing, and they had already gone home so we couldn’t check out there. They said that we could try to go to Falmouth and do the checkout there instead. So we stressed to get to Falmouth before they closed. When getting to the customs office the first response we got when saying we wanted to do the checkout was: “You want to do the checkout now? (Big Sigh)”. It was maybe 30 minutes until they closed. Then they asked where we had the boat and unfortunately we said St Johns and then it was impossible to do the checkout there. Of course it is understandable that they have to follow the rules, but from the moment we got into the office it felt like they were looking for a reason not to do avoid the work of doing the checkout. It also felt kind of wrong since the officials in St Johns also said that we could go to Falmouth instead.

So we had no choice but to head back and spend a night in St Johns, call the diving centre in Statia to ask if we could postpone our dives one day. They were really helpful and we rescheduled our dives.

The water near St Johns, not very nice swimming water.

In the morning when we got to the Customs in St Johns we were able to do the Customs. We were then 4 boats that would do the checkout and this time it was also a response with a sigh. “How many boats want to do the checkout? Four? (Big Sigh)”. The whole process took some time but finally we were able to leave Antigua.

 

Hurricane damage hotel, Frigate Birds and sink hole

After a quite long time at the southern part of Barbuda we sailed up to Low bay, a bit up along the west coast. The beach on the west coast was once the 17 mile beach but after the hurricane Irma the part of the beach disappeared and opened up an entrance into the Codrington lagoon. At the bach there used the be a hotel that was now very much destroyed after the hurricane.

The beach at Low Bay.
Very pink colors in the sand.
The hurricane damaged hotel

One day we took a guided tour to the Frigate Bird Sanctuary, which was really cool. Being at the sanctuary felt like being in a Planet Earth episode. The birds are very big and not afraid of us. We could watch chicks being feed, male frigates showing off and birds flying around at very close distance.

A guided trip to the Frigate Bird Sanctuary.
Birds everywhere!
Male Frigate blowing up his red balloon under the beak to impress the females.
A lot of birds in the sky.
A walk through the town on Barbuda, Codrington.

The following day we took another trip to Darbys Sink Hole, which was a very cool place. Barbuda in general is very dry but in the sink hole there was a small rainforest.

On the way to the sink hole.

Walking down into the sink hole.
The rainforest in the sink hole.

After the sink hole we went to a cave, which was not very cool but nice visit anyway.

We ate lunch at a casino at Barbuda, the food was actually really good!
Road block in Codrington.
Buying some groceries at Barbuda. No big stores here but we found a lot of the stuff we were looking for.
Rainbow at Low Bay.

After two weeks at the beautiful island Barbuda it was time for us to leave and sail back to Antigua again.

 

We are a little behind on the blog posts and are currently in Sint Maarten preparing for the Atlantic crossing back to Europe which we will start tomorrow. So there will be no updates on the blog while we are out on sea. You can follow our position under Current Position here on the blog.

Off to the island with the most spectacular beaches!

After one night in the marina we set sail up towards Barbuda, which we heard so much good about. It was quite a close-hauled sail up but otherwise a fine sail. We arrived to Cocoa point at Barbuda one hour before sunset and got our first view of the magical beach at Cocoa point, on top of the beautiful beach we also saw a couple of horses walking in the water at sunset. At Barbuda both horses and donkeys roam freely and during our stay at Barbuda we saw several of them.

The beautiful beach at Cocoa Point.
After the hikes at Dominica (which ofc was amazing) it was nice to have some chill beach time.
Horses visiting the beach.
And donkeys too!

After a few days at Cocoa Point we continued to a new anchorage at Barbuda, this time White Bay by Spanish Point. The entrance to White Bay was a bit tricky with a lot of reefs but we managed to get into the anchorage safely. The water in White Bay was very clear and it was like snorkeling in an aquarium. At White Bay we stay for another couple of days, we snorkeled a lot and took a walk and explored the more rugged east coast of Barbuda.

Taking a walk to the east coast of Barbuda.

After White Bay we sailed back to Cocoa Point and stayed there for some more days, we had more beach time and had a lobster bbq.

Towards a new country – Antigua and Barbuda

After a month in Dominica it was time to sail to the next country, which for us would be Antigua and Barbuda. Before leaving Dominica we took an exit test which was necessary to enter Antigua and Barbuda.

The sail from Dominica to Antigua was very calm, it was not much wind during the sail and behind Guadelope the wind died out completely so we out on the engine for a while.

We arrived to Antigua just before lunch and went to do the check-in procedure. It was no quarantine needed for us and once we had all the paperwork done we took a walk around English harbour. In English harbour Nelsons Dockyard is located, an UNESCO World Heritage site. The area is full of buildings from the colonial era and is very pretty.

English harbour in Antigua.
Very pretty buildings

When we arrived to Antigua there was a curfew in the night and restaurants were only allowed to serve take-away. So we didn’t get to see this area in its full potential I guess, not a massive amount of happy hours as the cruising guides says it usually is.

Not only pretty houses, a lot of fancy boats here. Most in Falmouth harbour but a lot in English ahrbour as well.
And also some boats that have seen better days…
First night in Antigua we had a very spectacular sunset!
One evening we took a walk to the fort by the entrance of English harbour and also continued further up the hill.
Stairs into the water…
Goats jumping on the cliffs up at the hill.

Once we got to Antigua we wanted to sail to Barbuda as fast as possible. As it is quite uncertain time we didn’t want to miss it in case there would be a lockdown or something like that. But the winds were not very favorable so we decided to do a stopover in Deep Bay on the north west coast of Antigua. We have heard and read that there is a cool wreck in the bay that we wanted to snorkel on. But when we arrived to Deep Bay the water was very murky, couldn’t see anything in the water, unfortunately. It was also quite rolly and during the night our hook to the anchor snubber line broke…

Another walk to a fort, this time at Deep Bay.

The fort by Deep Bay.

As Deep Bay wasn’t as nice as we hoped (we were probably there at a bad time, other days it might be better) and winds to sail up to Barbuda were not so favorable as we would like we decided to go into the marina in Jolly Harbor for one night. In the marina we were able to charge up our batteries and we also took our first proper shower since Cape Verde!!

A night in the marina before continuing to Barbuda.