On to Antigua

17 December 2018 Ile Cabrit, Iles des Saintes
After two days of diving, we thought we’d do a bit of hiking, so we dinghied across to Terre d’en Haut and walked up the road to Fort Napoleon. It only takes 20 minutes to reach the old fort, which was built in 1867 and overlooks the town and harbour. The fort is very well restored and maintained and the €5 per person entry fee is a bargain.

After taking the obligatory photos of the magnificent views, we walked around the inside of the fort, which is a museum. They have an eclectic mixture of exhibits from Amerindians to nautical memorabilia and models of ships from the Battle of the Saintes. This naval battle took place between the English and the French in 1782.

Iles des Saintes

Traditionally, the opposing fleets would line up and sail past each other, blasting away with their cannons. The Battle of the Saintes took place in light winds and the English Admiral Rodney employed a new tactic, sending sections of his fleet sailing between the ships in the French line. This turned the traditional battle into a free-for-all and the French were soundly defeated.

Back in town, we bought some bread and scooted back to the boat. It was only 11:00, so we went ashore on Ile Cabrit and walked up to Fort Josephine, which is another fort, but this one is in ruins. There are some nice views down onto the anchorage, but not a lot else to look at, so we were back on the boat just after noon.

In the afternoon, we dinghied around to the east coast of Ile Cabrit and picked up a dive mooring to go snorkelling. The water was incredibly clear, but the reef wasn’t very spectacular. However, there was enough to keep us busy for an hour and I entertained myself trying to take photos of Yellowhead Jawfish.

These 3” long fish live in burrows in the sand and if you approach them they back into their holes. I spent 15 minutes diving down to 6 metres and trying to slowly approach the timid fish and eventually eased close enough to get a half decent photo. The Jawfish hatch their eggs by the male keeping them in his mouth. I spotted one fish doing this, but he was so timid that I couldn’t get close - I took one long range photo in which you can just see the eggs.

18 December 2018 Ile Cabrit to Deshaies, Guadaloupe
Our few days in the Iles des Saintes had been enjoyable, but it was time to move on. We dropped the mooring at 07:30 and had a pleasant 8 mile sail across to Guadeloupe. The weather started off with rain showers, but the skies cleared once we were in the lee of the island and we had a pleasant motor-sail heading north in calm seas.

Yellowhead Jawfish with eggs

We arrived in Deshaies at about 13:00 and anchored at 16°18.42N 061°47.87W in 10 metres good holding sand. With no need to go ashore, we had a quiet afternoon on board.

19 December 2018 Deshaies to Falmouth Harbour, Antigua
The alarm went off at 05:30 and we had enough light to leave just after six o’clock. The wind was slightly south of east at 15-20 knots, so we had a cracking sail north in glorious sunshine. We made really good time and did the 43 mile passage in 6 ½ hours, which is an average of 6.6 knots - pretty good for us. We anchored in Falmouth Harbour at 17°01.04N 061°46.42W in 6 metres depth. The chain rumbled, so I guess that the sea bed is sand and coral rubble, but we held firm with the engine in reverse at 2,000 RPM, so we should be okay.

We were settled by 13:00, so walked around to English Harbour and cleared in. They have a computer system, which is different to the one further south, but it was a relatively quick and painless procedure (apart from having to pay $51USD).

On the way back to the boat I called in at North sails and met Andrew Dove, who came out to the boat with me to look at the sail. He agreed that the sail was too full even when fully out, so we dropped it and I took him and the sail ashore. He says that he’ll start tomorrow and I arranged to go to the loft at 08:00 tomorrow morning to see it stretched out on the floor of his huge loft.

I went back to Alba and picked up Glenys and we went for a 10 minute walk to Genny’s store to buy a Digicel SIM card so that we’re back on line. We were both tired after a long day so we retired back to the boat for a beer and an early night.