Saturday, 5 May 2012

English Harbour view from Shirley Heights
AHOY ...WYUNA & crew go farther north, via ST Maarteen to white sand cays to Anguilla and volcanic islands of St the winds turn so have we, 500 miles on the log, we return to Antigua.

At  Shirley Heights we revisited with Kathy&Brian our favourite rendezvous, an old fort ruin with stunning views, to watch the Antigua night fall, eat BBQ creole ribs, dancing with the stars to The Survivors. Gazing over cliffs & stonewalls out to sea and harbours, we see our sail routes from far islands while watching the sun go down with a glass of rum punch.

"All who wander are not lost".
Barbuda LongBay  Beach
Sail mates rave about .............discovering pink sand at Barbuda... so we sailed from Antigua &took a water taxi to town, how could we say no to a whole BBQ lobster in the local cafe! 
"Barbuda, Barbuda, Barbuda" is a yachties peaceful paradise, an endless pink tinged & white sand beach, large fish come out at night, you can swim ashore in turquoise shoal water to walk on 1000's of minutte shells. Magnificent. We crossed the beach & took a water taxi on the lagoon to town. 


Codrington town was the family name of early settlers who leased the island from England for one fat sheep, bought slaves from Africa, had livestock and used it to hunt. After emancipation the barbudans stayed, cooperatively working and 2000 now hold their land communally, independence has led to to them resisting development and creating a marine reserve. No jet skis here!!! 
Francene's 05th
St Maarten or St-Martin.....? the Dutch & French draw the line across one island.  At Francene's memorable 05 birthday we wore ponchos for a dingy ride to dinner and sipped champers to celebrate -"wet spray comes with the stay".

St Barths Harbour
Yes we came back. If you imagine a beautiful stone harbour with boardwalks lined with French couture shops, open air nautical restaurants (Jimmy Buffet's hang out below), mega yachts anchored to stern, an ancient church and 2 overlooking forts....and no sign of creole garb, only beige French linens, it's St Barth's.

A black sleepy shark stared us in the yes while checking the anchor. We swam like scared water rats to the boat.

So why have the French and Dutch split STM's island of 76000 people in half including the lagoon we anchored in, have separate towns,
3 currencies, police, food and names of course?
We anchored for a week on the French(no mooring fees)side of the STM's lagoon, and took the dingy to each side. A case of mutual co-habitation or absurd nationalism... still they get along and locals accept different politics & leaders.No chance of amalgamations here when tourists from the US & both countries can fly into their Antilles daily.

Corny as! A Lonely Planet must see, so we too hit the Sunset Bar with bathers, swimming with hands over ears, under jets landing...Lucky we didn't stay in the water for the takeoff and get sandblasted bods - so much worse than sunburn-oo ah!

Scaping throught the french Bridge Sint Maarten
On anchor in STM's lagoon far too long to do boat jobs and buy duty free parts-WYUNA followed Toucantoo yacht with fellow aussies, Greg and David (turns out he sailed at Sandringham on my brothers boat Latitude), through the French bridge, 1hr to Grand Case beach, and anchored next to them in sand, again under a flight path ... this time small Carib planes woke us in the morning.

Grand Case St Marten
Over Easter weekend we swapped stories, ate chocolate pastries (no easter eggs in France) and wet our mouths with $1Carib beers at the beach bar, hearing their travel adventures sailing the east cost crewing in the USA.  So much to learn from sailors (in their 20,s) doing it hands on, skippering charters, diving and crewing betweeen Newport & East Caribbean.

Most days are 8am rises & breakfast on the back deck, listening to weather checks & radio schedules, before deciding to lower the dingy. YES we bought a WINCH BUDDY, right angled drill with a winch bit to raise the dingy, and haven't grinded since STM's. Our fitness is fading fast. When sailing it's a 7am rise to get going before the wind comes up and make anchor by 4pm.
Road Bay Anguilla
Sail motoring to Anguilla (the most Nth Is) was gentle and breezy, a favorite destination to relax. Road Bay has clear water.WYUNA's ideal resting place.
Shoal Bay Anguilla
A heritage old salt lagoon & Pumphouse come bar got us friday dancing.

 Then car motoring to Shoal Bay on the Nth tip, we took a stroll to get our landlegs back. Sail fast and live slow
Francene & Bruce Capacula Resort
We found it dry country,scrubby with many big holiday houses & resorts but no developed infrastructure like footpaths. Odd & sad really to see the extremes, how little goes into schools, hospitals and community facilities- unless its a cricket staduim! At the 5 star Capacula resort lounge for a 1 drink stop, maybe this is why Anguilla is a No 1 US destination, at least for a sundowner.

WYUNA is now heading Sth, after Laurie & Anne joined us captain Bruce helmed the passage to the 'brush with the clouds" islands, 20+Nms & active volcanoes, peaks hidden under clouds. We feel tiny, sailing along the coasts of massive limestone cliffs, dramatic stuff & just too steep for walking.
Weather isn't always favorable, it was no fun crossing to St Kitts from St Barth's 20 kns plus pointing 30 deg for 8 hrs and rain in patches, and no way to change course.

In Carib there is always a fort nearby.....
Brimstone Hill Fortress
St Kitts is renowned for its British history & volcanoes, grand early plantation houses (today galleries and restaurants), and best of all Brimstone Hill Fortress, a UNESCO site, a massive imposing structure. The Gibralter of the Caribbean stands on a 800ft volcanic cone, where the British military lost in 1782 to 8000 Frenchmen and 30 ships & regained it a year later under the Treay of Paris, then abandoned it by 1850.

We climbed the barrack steps built by slaves who were sold to the French & British, who then colluded to kill all the local caribs and fought on land/sea gruesome battles for no long term benifits. All to protect the sugarcane lands for their homelands.
Really a shocking history of colonization, slavery and emancipation.

For the first time we missed out destination. WYUNA resisted going to Antigua and pushed us east to Montserrat an active volcanoe with exclusion zones, to get in by nightfall. Winds were SE at 18-23knts, a tiring day, no seasickness on board but we had no time to go ashore and clear customs, so sailed the next morning to Antigua, again bashing into it all day long. Wish we'd never started our southern route.
The wind gods roar near volcanoes!

We've arrived back into a safe anchorage at Falmouth Harbour, returning to the hub of sailing, for Antigua Race Week and our first morning we watched the racers head out to compete, all sizes and classes.
We'll see how the caribs tack & jibe & party....., then go sth to Martinique to see some new places on the return legs, dive new walls too!

Soon time to celebrate the Taurean bdays on board. So hope to go to Calypso nights and walk the Dominica trails if time and winds permit.

We DO enjoy reading the email catch ups and knowing how our friends and family are going. Our IT access and Skype has been poor but we get emails so DO keep in touch.

Bruce & Gina