Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Deshaies, Guadaloupe

While we have only been here for a few days, we wanted to share a few pictures.   Since Guataloupe is French, we have been enjoying great bakery goods.  The baguettes are beyond fabulous and the desserts great.  We found a fascinating cemetery as you can see.  Lots more to come in the next posting.  Hope you enjoy the pictures.

Keep following....

Richard and Kay
Deshaies Cemetery

At the Elementary School

Atalanta at anchor
(center top near point)

Streets of Deshaies

Lunch on the Water

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Murray at Fort Berkeley
English Harbor
Hello from Antigua.  Antigua is an island in the Lesser Antilles in the Leeward Islands (pronunced lou-ard).  We are anchored in English Harbour, originally established to give the British Royal Navy a dockyard.  This yard exists today as the Nelson’s Dockyard and is being considered as a World Heritage Site.  Freeman’s Bay, the entrance to English Harbour, was protected by Fort Berkeley, completed in 1744. Admiral Horatio Nelson roamed these waters from 1784-87 and each morning while on Antigua he had six buckets of sea water poured over his head and drank one quart of goat’s milk.

Atalanta at Anchor in English Harbor
We are fortunate to have our stay coincide with the 27th Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta.  We have seen some of the most stunning classic yachts ever built.  You don’t have to be into sailing to appreciate the magnificence of many of these boats, some of which were built in the early 1900’s.  The overall winner of this year’s regatta is Whitehawk from Newport, RI.  While she was built in 1974, her style and grace is classic.  We have long admired this boat and were pleased to see her recognized.  Another great thrill was to see Dorade.  This magnificent yawl was designed by Sparkman and Stevens in the 40’s and continues to be one of the most graceful of sailboats ever built. 

Next week is Antigua Race Week, famous for it’s competitions and the parties that follow.
We plan on making Antigua our home for the next few weeks since there are many anchorages and onshore places to explore. We enjoy being tucked into a protected harbor since the winds and seas have been high and are not expected to settle down for a number of days. 

We look forward to the arrival of our next visitor, Paul from Vermont, who will join us for our sail from Dominica to the Grenadines.  Granada will be our base for most of the summer and will put us below the hurricane zone until hurricane season ends in November.  While we are looking forward to our time below the 10th parallel, we are in no rush to get there since there are so many more places to explore in  the Leeward and Grenadines  Our plans are always tentative but our next stop will probably be Guadeloupe. 

While in English Harbor, we had a front row seat for the Classic Boat Parade.  Hope you enjoy a few of the shots we took trying to capture the magnificence of these great boats.
One of the Great Boats
of the 20th Centry
Whitehawk from Newport, RI
Overall first Place

Stay tuned and thanks for following.

Richard & Kay

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Leeward Islands: Moving South

Having just left St. Martin for St. Barts after a three week period, it seems appropriate to take a moment to reflect on the experience.  When you settle in for a period of time, you have the opportunity to delve into the surrounds a bit and become connected to others.  St. martin is an island with a larger population and economy than most in this area and as such has developed security issues not evident in many of the small island nations of the Leeward Islands.  St. Martin is really two countries, one French and one Dutch.  We spent most of our time anchored on the French side and did much of our commerce on the Dutch.  We were told that historically, the French side was safer and more interesting, having developed with a reasonably strict set of zoning guidelines and a regulating government.  While the majority of security issues were on the Dutch side in the past, they have realized its impact on the tourism trade and cracked down.  As a result, many of those issues have migrated to the French side.  Regardless, we found the island to be beautiful.  Our time there took us to a number of different areas including Anse Marcelle, Grand Case and Oriental Bay.  It is an island rich with artists and music, food and services.  St. Martin is one of the principle islands for boat/yacht repair.  From now on, help with issues related to the operation of the boat will be more challenging.  Beyond touring the island, we had the pleasure of making new friends and acquaintances.  Some of these we will reconnect with further on down the line or when we return.

North end of St. Barts
Gustavia, St. Barts
East coast of St. Barts
St. Barts anchorage
From St. Martin, we sailed to St. Barts also know as St. Barths or St. Barthelamy.  Interestingly, this is an island that did not ever have an economy dependent on slavery.  While the population is primary French speaking, the people here consider themselves as an independent island nation.  Our motor scooter tour of the island enabled us to see a very rugged landscape with homes and businesses scattered among beautiful volcanic hills and bays.  The capital of Gustavia is a lovely and protected harbor that has developed into a very upscale shopping center for the rich and famous.  This influence on the island dominates the reputation of St. Barts and has contributed to it being seen as a playground for celebs and wanabees.  Nevertheless we found local artists and business owners that were lovely, interesting, and completely in love with their island paradise.  

After two days anchoring in a fairly rolling bay, we decided to move south-east to St. Kitts and Nevis where we are now.  We will be spending a week or so here, exploring, relaxing and getting to know yet another interesting island culture. 

Thanks for following and more to come.

Richard and Kay

Statia Island on our way to St. Kitts

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

BVI's to the Leeward Islands

We left the British Virgin Islands after visiting both Virgin Gorda and Anegada Sound. Virgin Gorda is home to a Yacht Club owned by the Aga Kahn where a superyacht regatta was just beginning. It featured a number of sail and motor yachts in the "off the charts" category but our invitation must have been misplaced. In the harbor, was one of our favorite yachts, "Intuition.   The Maltese Falcon was scheduled to arrive, but no sign of her while we were there.  The Bitter End Yacht Club is a bit of paradise and the key lime pie there is not to be missed.

We spent only one day on Anegada, an island some 15 miles north of Virgin Gorda.  We had a delicious candlelit meal on the beach at the Anegada Hotel and enjoyed chatting with the owner, VIvian. The setting was simple and beautiful.  Unfortunately, Kay became ill (it was more than a hangover) so we skipped the tour of the island via scooter.

Noon on March 15th, we set sail, passing Necker Island, home of Richard Branson, on an easterly course headed to the Leeward Islands and Anguilla.  After sailing through the night, we arrived at Road Bay, Anguilla at 10 AM.  Anguilla is a French Island known for its beautiful coral, beaches, and friendly residents. We had another fabulous beach front meal this time at the Barrel Stay  -  where the only way Richards tuna could have been fresher was if a shark caught it. Weve been visiting art galleries, meeting some interesting artists and collecting some wonderful pieces to remind us of our adventures in the Caribbean once we are landlubbers again.

Our New Ride

After arriving in St. Martin, we encountered boat friends that we 
met in Vermont last year, Hilda and Mike on More Mischief.  What fun to trade tales and learn of their adventures. We anchored in Marigot Bay on the French side of the island.  Here we found Shrimpy's Laundry Service and Outboard Motor Repair and more good food. The French bakeries will certainly cause us to gain a few pounds.

Many have told us that in the Caribbean your dingy is your car.  Ours was not up to the task and decided it was time to replace the inflatable with a RIB (rigid inflatable boat) and a more suitable outboard. Richard zips around now so quickly that Murray wants to wear his lifejacket.

Shrimpies Laundry and Outboard
Engine Repair
St. Martin
Guest of the Aga Khan
With Dennis and Sue McKay on board, we explored other parts of St. Martin and beyond.  Our first stop was Orient Bay.  Much to our surprise it was a nudist resort.  What a scene.  We decided not to join in and headed the next day to Anse Marcel.  This lovely bay was complete with beautiful beaches, resort bars on the water and lots of places to explore.  All quite lovely.  From Anse Marcel we headed to Grand Case for the night and their Tuesday night art, food and music street festival.  So much great energy, color, and activity to enjoy.

Richard with Artist Clarke Constant
With Dennis and Sue now back in New England, we are spending a few more days back in Marigot Bay. We love this island and have met many interesting folks.  Once we provision and repair a few minor things on board, we will be ready to head to the southern Leeward Islands later in the week. 
Dennis and Richard

Stay tuned and thanks for following our journey.

Richard and Kay