11 Apr 2011

[Cruise News] Nonsuch Bay, Antigua

We finally "escaped" the marina on Friday to sail around to Falmouth Harbour, home of lots of super-yachts, just for an overnight stay before heading further east to Nonsuch Bay, Antigua's most south-easterly anchorage.  As an island, Antigua is quite rare in having east-coast bays where it is possible to anchor despite being face into storms and squalls crossing the Atlantic from Africa.  Nonsuch Bay is one such place: A wide shallow bay surrounded by reefs with lots of little creeks that boats can find shelter in.  You have to navigate very carefully between the reefs to get into the bay, and avoid them within it, but the same reefs provide protection from the swell (if not the winds) making it a calm place to stay.

After one night at Nonsuch we set sail north for Barbuda, 30 miles north of Antigua.  It's not possible to see the island until you are within 4 to 5 miles of it as it's very low.  Along the way Paul clocked up his 3000th mile as a skipper (see photo on Views and Vistas page) and almost simultaneously two hump-back whales crested out of the water about 100 metres off our port side, almost in celebration!  They stayed nearby for several minutes, regularly surfacing and spouting water up into the air, and constituted our eighth sighting of these fabulous mammals in 22 weeks.  I've still to get a decent photo or video footage though.

When we got within sight of Barbuda we got out the binoculars to check on the recommended anchorages.  Now after this length of time out here, you might think that I would have put any security fears firmly behind me and be happy to anchor anywhere, irrespective of whether there are any other boats there or not.  Well sadly that's not the case and as Barbuda only revealed one boat in our chosen anchorage, which may well have left before the day was out, we performed a perfect U-turn and sailed back to Nonsuch Bay.  As ever Paul was very relaxed about my idiosyncrasies and enjoyed the longer sail the day unexpectedly became.  So it's probably fair to say that we've very nearly been to Barbuda but not quite ......