What a wonderful feeling it is to come to Antigua. The sun is shining and the water is just as turquoise blue as we imagined it to be here in the Caribbean. Sally is sailing fast in 8 knots in crystal clear water over a light sandy bottom, the sonar shows 10 m, but it looks like it is only a few meters deep. It feels like coming to paradise after the gray and rainy days at Malendure and Deshais. We were very close to getting stuck in Guadeloupe because they closed the places where you could clear out of the country.
Just a few miles from Guadeloupe the clouds eased and we were sailing under a blue sky in a fair wind. Since the reefing system of the mainsail is broken, we must always sail with the whole sail up and when we sail against the wind, we can sail in a maximum of 15 knots wind. Today it was blowing about 20 knots and then we ease the main sheet a little and spills the wind. If that is not enough to reduce pressure on the sail, we fall off too.
As usual, the grandchildren get seasick, and today they did not fall asleep before the breakfast was returned. After that, they both fell asleep and slept peacefully all the way. Johan is fishing, but no catch this time either, just a little Sargasso seaweed.
To clear into Antigua, we have to sail up to St. John’s on the northwest side. There we will anchor the boat and everyone will go ashore to be examined by a doctor, fill in a health declaration and measure the body temperature. When this is done, the captain shall make the declaration himself. First I visit the customs who check that we have been declared healthy. After that, I go to the immigration department to get a VISA and stamps in the passports. Then back to the customs to make a customs declaration of the boat and its cargo. When it is done, I will go to the port department which issues sailing permits and charges me for permits, taxes, and other fees. Different countries have slightly different routines, but the result is always the same, I get a paper that we are allowed to stay by boat in the country for a certain period of time and the passports are stamped.
After clearing and getting SIM cards, we leave St. John to anchor in a better place than an industrial port. It is an hour to Deep Bay and there we anchor outside a sandy beach with white sand. We get a fantastic sunset where the sun goes down in the middle of the volcano crater on Nevis. It looks like the volcano is on fire.
We had planned to sail down to Jolly Harbor to shop the next day. To avoid snorkeling at the wreck in the middle of the bay, we choose to stay an extra day. Then Johan also has time to get her hair cut while Klara looks interested.
We go here to shop for food. We have not bought since Riviere Sens at Guadeloupe about 2 weeks ago and need to stock up. Antigua requires everyone to have respiratory protection and we have not been able to buy any. What to do? As a sailor, you often have to improvise and after a bit of brainstorming on board, we make respiratory protections from microfiltration vacuum cleaner bags, paper clips, and rubber bands.
We have read that the Government of Antigua will soon close Barbuda for visiting boats. Because of that, we only stay two nights in Jolly Harbor where we can buy most of what we need. On the way to the shopping, Carina and I visit Christian on Helga which has had problems with the sail drive. Since a few weeks back he waits for spare parts and he tell us that they should arrive next week. Then the boat will be hauled out for repair at the Jolly Harbour boatyard. When done, it will be transported to Europe by cargo boat here from Antigua. Several of our sailing friends have chosen to do the same.
The next time we meet, we are heading up to Barbuda, the island that was hit so hard by Hurricane Irma in 2017. We have heard that there will be very beautiful beaches, although much has been destroyed.