Our weather mentor, Chris Parker, keeps saying that the trade winds are moderating. However, in the current context, this means moderating to 20-25 knots, with gusts to 28 knots (from 30). With our anchor well dug in to the white sand of Mosquito Cove, all is well, but it's not a great time to implement our plan to explore the northeastern anchorages of Antigua. Accessing these requires tacking 7-8 miles directly into trade wind and wave, between two somewhat visible reefs, then threading more reefs and islands (always with the trades on the nose) to lovely and (especially now) less-visited spots. So, we have moderated our plans, and have decided to explore the anchorages closer to Jolly Harbour and do a day of land touring.
Of course, this also includes tasting the delights of Jolly Harbour, including a new Italian cafe, Buongiorno Italia, run by a young Italian couple. This is really the land of good cappuccino, and they make a darn good croissant, too.
Fellow cruiser Mitch of Private Dancer joined us for our land tour. Since we had all been to Falmouth and English Harbours, we focused on other areas, including a partially restored sugar plantation called Betty's Hope and a natural formation on the East coast called Devil's Bridge.
And we also found our fourth Geocache at a charming "secret beach" on the West Coast.
Betty's Hope is well done, given its partially restored status, with lots of information and old photos and prints to provide a sense of what the place was like in the 18th century. The most interesting exhibit was the restored wind mill. Apparently, it was operated for a while when it was first restored, but immobilized for safety reasons and to protect the fragile structure.
|cane grinding mechanism inside mill|
|one of two mills at Betty's Hope|
Devil's Bridge is a formation of the Atlantic rollers that crash continually against the island. It also allowed us a remote glimpse of the northeastern coast.
|definitely a bridge the Devil might use|
|JP and Susan photo-bombing (accidentally) and enjoying the Atlantic spray|
|back at Jolly Harbour marina|
On March 5 (after 8 days!), we finally wrenched the anchor out of the sand in Mosquito Cove and headed 2 miles south to Ffrye Bay. The wind was gusting about 23 knots in the anchorage when we raised, pulling so hard it broke the snubber line we use to protect the windlass during anchoring operations. Ffrye Bay is a lovely, serene public beach with a good restaurant. We were the only boat anchored there, and the only other diners during the beach wedding reception that Dennis was handling. Superb conch and goat curries, and bread pudding that received the JP seal of approval.
|they quickly moved the small and charming wedding reception up from the beach due to high winds|
|Raconteur alone at sunset in Ffrye Bay|
Overnight, Ffrye Bay became a little more rolly than we like, so the next morning we decided to head 5 miles north to Hermitage Bay, off Five Island Bay just beyond Jolly Harbour. The wind is still gusting over 30 knots at times, but our anchor seems to grip this Antigua sand pretty well. Only five days until we go into the marina, where we will get Raconteur settled and and then leave for the airport!