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Old 14-12-2008, 21:45   #1
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Antigua to Barbuda over Christmas ?

Hi forum - We will be chartering an FP Bahia in Antigua over Christmas week, and want to sail out to spend a night on the hook in Barbuda, conditions permitting. Pink sand, frigate birds, and peace and quiet, from what I read. Any thoughts, recommendations or advice?

Thanks, and happy holidays to everyone!
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Old 16-12-2008, 04:58   #2
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That's a great idea! Barbuda is like no other island that we've visited in the eastern Caribbean (well, maybe a little like Anegada, but less crowded). We sailed up from Great Bird Island on Antigua, sneaking out through a narrow pass in the reefs. We couldn't even see Barbuda until we were six miles from it, it's so low lying.

We followed Chris Doyle's advice in his Leeward Islands cruising guide for negotiating the Pilaster Reef into the calm anchorage at Spanish Point. We were the only boat there, and enjoyed seeing dolphins and sea turtles in the shallow waters with our morning coffee in the cockpit.

Here's what Doyle says, "For the dedicated into-the-heart-of-nature diehard, Barbuda is heaven on earth. It is a low island whose highest point is only 125 feet above the sea. It is large, over half the size of Antigua with a mere 1600 inhabitants, who live around the village of Codrington. Barbuda has so many miles of brilliant turquoise shoal water that as you sail toward it, you can sometimes see a blue-green reflection in the clouds long before you see the land itself." Link: Barbuda

After a night and a day relaxing and snorkeling at Spanish Point, we worked our way through the coral heads and around Palmetto Point to the totally deserted nine mile long white sand beach on the western side. The water there is the most amazing turquoise color that you'll ever see. Well worth the easy day-sail to get to Barbuda from Antigua.

photo: Barbuda Turquoise
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Old 17-12-2008, 22:30   #3
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Thanks! We have Chris Doyle's book and the right charts...will check with charter base before we go, but it sure looks like heaven on earth to me. Thanks for the photo, what incredible color! Ho Ho Ho!
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Old 22-12-2008, 19:26   #4
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Hi Hud,

I will sail for two weeks from Guadelupe (and back) at the end of January 2009 on the 38 feet chartered Lagoon, just with my wife. Any tips? Is it too ambitious to go to British Virgin Islands and back? What do you think?

Best regards, Andy
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Old 23-12-2008, 13:15   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy007 View Post
Hi Hud,

I will sail for two weeks from Guadelupe (and back) at the end of January 2009 on the 38 feet chartered Lagoon, just with my wife. Any tips? Is it too ambitious to go to British Virgin Islands and back? What do you think?

Best regards, Andy
Hi, Andy.

Let's parse it out...

Guadeloupe to Antigua or Nevis is a day's passage, downwind.
Antigua or Nevis to St. Martin, is another day.
St. Martin (Marigot Bay) to Virgin Gorda is a long day, still downwind.

So there you have three full days of sailing. You'd add at least a day on Antigua (or Nevis) and St. Martin to clear in and out and relax a bit ashore.

Going back to Guadeloupe (I assume it would be Pointe-a-Pitre) you will have to pay the piper for all that easy downwind sailing. Clear out of the BVI in Spanish Town and head up to North Sound. Leave at 4 pm or so for an overnight crossing of the Anegada Passage to Marigot, St. Martin, or Simpson Bay, St. Maarten. If the wind's up, that can be a really nasty and slow passage, with the current against you most of the way. Anything over 18 kts or so will be an uncomfortable bash, and the trades can blow pretty strongly that time of year. You could be forced to wait in Virgin Gorda for the winds to abate. There are worse places to wait! You might be able to actually sail on a close reach from VG to Saba, but the anchorage there is very rolly if there are any swells.

From St. Maarten, you could head over to Nevis (much easier to clear in and out in Charlestown than in Basseterre, St. Kitts). Then from Nevis to Deshaies, Guadeloupe (72 nm motor-sailing close to the wind). From Deshaies to Pointe-a-Pitre is another day, and the part from the southern tip of Terre Haute to P-a-P can be another beat.

So, getting from Guadeloupe to the BVI is the easy part. Getting back on a schedule could work fine, if the weather cooperates. If not, it's a long, hard, wet bash. You may want to consider sticking closer to Guadeloupe. Antigua, Nevis, and Dominica are great places to visit, and only a day away. And don't miss Les Iles des Saintes in Guadeloupe--very picturesque.

I can give you some specific recommendations if you like.

p.s. Welcome to the Forum!
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Old 23-12-2008, 13:35   #6
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Dear Hud!

Great thanks for all your tips. Looks that I will have to sit with the map for 2 day and think about it

But it looks that I should enjoy the Guadelupe and the close islands and leave th rest for the future voyage

Great thanks!

Andy
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Old 23-12-2008, 13:44   #7
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Great info Hud
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Old 23-12-2008, 15:41   #8
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You'll want to stop in Deshais which is the NE corner of Guadaloupe and enjoy a meal at the restaurant right on the beach north of the dock. Very lovely anchorage.

Sail a reach in the lee (you'll need to move offshore a bit to get a consistant breeze and then you can also anchor or pull into the marina just south of Basse Terre. And drop in at the market in Basse Terre. It's a bustling town.

You can do an excursion up into the rain forest on Basse Terre which is stunning and well worth the trip. You won't be disappointed.

Leaving The lighthouse to port head down the Ile di Saints which is truly one of the jewels of the Caribe and you can get fresh baked coissants and baguettes and great french food at another restaurant on the quais.

The anchorage is deep and busy. Take a hike or a motor bike up to the fort for spectacular views. There are several beaches too.

Point a Pitre stinks. Don't bother. The marina at Bas du Fort is huge (if you like marinas). There is a hyper market a few miles to the east on the highway. Grande Terre is not as appealing as Basse Terre but there are some cool (hot) beaches on the coast as you drive or sail east past Gosier and St Anne , but it's upwind!

Never been to Marie Gallant, but why don't you drop and report to us?

Quadaloupe is famous for it's zouk music, and exotic mix of Caribbean and French food and women.
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Old 23-12-2008, 15:49   #9
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Great! Thanks a lot. It looks tha I will stay closer to the Gwadelupe that I thought before. But as we will be sailing just with my Wife Magdalena it is about enjoying life!

I will definitely see ale the places yu suggested, thx!

Andy
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