Friday, July 31, 2015

Antigua ~ Part 1

Antigua is not an island we have ever discussed visiting.  We tend to go to islands that most people haven't heard of and where there is lots of shallow water fishing.  After the Europe trip didn't happen, we talked about trying to get away when Blittle felt better but traveling in the summer is tricky due to hurricane season.

A guy Blittle knows through the fishing and boat community mentioned that we visit him and his wife in Antigua.  They live on their sailboat and have many of the same interests as us.  Blittle told him we might take him up on his offer since we didn't make Europe, I am learning to sail, and we are always open to new adventures in the Caribbean.

The name on Brian's Coke on the plane was perfect.

Fast forward a few weeks...Blittle's foot was completely healed and feeling much better.  We contacted his friend again to ask how serious he was about us staying with them.  After a few days of trying to schedule things we booked our plane tickets and were headed to Antigua the next week.  The plan:  Stay on the sailboat Sunday to Friday and see as much of the island as we can then stay in a resort for a few nights to rest and relax.

Today I am going to tell you about our days on the sailboat.

Blittle's friend and the owner of the boat is, Chris Morejohn.  Click here to see his blog and read about his adventures.  Chris used to design and build boats for one of the popular skiff companies out of Florida and he built the sailboat we stayed on, Hogfish Maximus.  Him and his wife, Rachel, have been living on the boat for a long time, traveling all over and working through out the Caribbean.  He has endless knowledge about boat building and sailing.  It was a great opportunity to spend time with them to see how they live and ask tons of questions about sailing.  Plus there was plenty of BBT to be done (one of Rachel's friends started that term, Boring Boat Talk).

Take a tour of Hogfish Maximus here.

There was no set agenda.  Just to sail around and see as much of the island as possible.  Below is a rough map of where we ended up sailing.

They were anchored in Jolly Harbor so we spent our first night there and sailed over to Falmouth the next day.

On the way to Falmouth, we stopped at a reef to do a little snorkeling but didn't see much.

The island was beautiful from the water.

We got caught in a storm.  EEK.

Falmouth was a calm area to anchor and had plenty to explore.  We went hiking and toured Nelson's dockyard.

View of Falmouth.

There were tarpon in Falmouth.  I have never seen one in the wild.  Just at the aquarium in New Orleans and of course, we have Mr. Tarpon on the wall in our living room but this was the first time I had seen them wild.  They really are pretty fish.

I have titled this photo "The Great Tarpon Hunters"

This is what they were looking at.

Swimming with tarpon.

The buildings at Nelson's dockyard reminded me of Charleston architecture.

View of English Harbor and Nelson's Dock yard.

There is an old fort, Fort Berkeley, on the peninsula of English Harbor so we hiked up to it and the views were spectacular.

Wednesday, we moved east again to a small inlet called Indian Creek.  Eric Clapton's mansion (This place was ridiculous. HUGE)  is on the cliff at the entrance and there were huge, lush mangroves once in the protected area.

Cool mangrove caves.

This tree caught our attention.  Look at those roots.

Eric Clapton's House.  It is on top of that cliff.  There were lots of clouds that day so I had a hard time getting a good picture.  In total, at least 5 different structures.  Crazy.

There was absolutely no wind which means bugs so we moved to the next bay, Mamora Bay.  The St. James Club resort is in this bay so we took advantage of their beach chairs, restaurant and free wifi.  It was a great afternoon to rest and relax after several days of sailing and hiking.

Thursday, was our last full day on the boat.  We were hoping to sail all the way around to our resort but the weather did not cooperate.  Once we got to Deep Bay, it was clear that going farther north would be unpleasant.  Deep Bay is a beautiful little bay with a white sand beach and Fort Barrington National Park.  The park is just an old fort you can hike to (very steep and a little scary) and get an amazing 360 degree view.

 Galley Bay Resort.

Deep Bay.

View of Deep Bay from fort.

View of entrance to St. John from the fort.

Jolly Harbor is where we anchored for the night.  Since it was our last night, we cleaned up and got dressed to go into the marina for dinner.  Westpoint Marina Bar is a cute gazebo bar with table seating or you can sit around the bar.  Thursday nights are kareoke night so we had some fun entertainment.

This is typical....Brian took a nap while the rest of us sailed the boat.  :)

Brian and their dog, Bequia, liked to lay on the deck while underway.

Thank you, Chris and Rachel, for opening your home and taking such good care of us.  We really appreciate and can't wait to see y'all again.

Part 2 is about the resort we stayed at our last few nights.   I'll tell you all about it on Monday.

Also, I am hoping to make a video over the next few weeks but since I have no idea what I am doing, it may take longer.  :)

I hope everyone has a great weekend and stays cool.  We have had some super hot and dry days here in Texas.

Check back Monday to see more pictures from the trip!

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