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Old 26-05-2014, 22:58   #1
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Northwest or northeast from Antigua?

My wife and I and another couple (aged 56 to 61 and all kiwis) are chartering a yacht for a one way charter from English Harbour on Antigua to Saint-Martin in the north.

We have given ourselves 3 weeks.

It seems that if we try to cover every island in between we are going to either run out of time or at least have to end up rushing. We dont do rushing!.
So we are then left with either going Antigua to St Kitts and Nevis, to Saint Eustatius, to Saba, to St Barts and up OR going Antigua, to Barbuda, to St Barts and up. We want to swim, snorkel, go for good treks, try a few bars and beaches.

It seems unrealistic that we could do the whole lot of these islands in that time.

Could someone please give us some ideas for the ideal itinerary for this one way charter??.

Many thanks

Kitrob
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Old 27-05-2014, 05:14   #2
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Re: Northwest or northeast from Antigua?

Hello Kitrob,

your itinerary depends a bit on what sort of cruising you enjoy doing. First of all, don't forget the anchorages and beaches of Antigua since there are some true gems there.

Barbuda, if not red-lined by the charter company, is a wonderful out of the way destination with somewhat difficult shallow approaches and not much in the way of nightlife - but lots of birds.

St. Kitts and Nevis are interesting but somehow I've never found them to be charming as I do other islands. Taking a day to visit Brimstone Fort on St. Kitts is a must, I like to rent a car for the day and drive all the way around the island on my own time rather than as part of a tour.

I really like Statia. I rented a moped with some other cruisers and we explored the island and taking a day to hike around (and up) the volcano is wonderful.

Saba is a destination that should be visited in calmer seas, as the anchorage is exposed and can be rolly and uncomfortable.

St. Barths is one of my favorites, but not the town and anchorage at Gustavia - I like Anse Colombier and Ile Fourchue, both with no facilities on shore.

Don't forget that only a short sail south of Antigua brings you to France, the little port of Deshaies on Guadeloupe makes a nice anchorage and starting point to look at Guadeloupe.

Three weeks is quite a long time for that trip. My personal preference would be to go (depending on your draft and winds)
Antigua : English, Falmouth, Green Island, Deep Bay, Five Island, Willoughby and perhaps Barbuda
Downwind to Montserrat - clear in and anchor, take a tour of the island and of the exclusion zone around the ash-covered city of Plymouth.
Beam reach to Nevis, anchor and clear in at Charlestown / Pinney's beach. Lots of mandatory mooring balls and the anchorage is protected despite looking open to the sea. Perhaps a day tour of the island and the cloudforest.
Across the Narrows to St. Kitts. I always anchor at White House Bay, but there's nothing ashore there. Basseterre has an anchorage, but it is always rolly and I only stay there for clearing in/out at the cruise ship terminal and while I explore the island by car. I'd do a day tour while the boat rolls around there and then return to White House Bay for a calm anchorage.
Reach to Sint Eustatius - clear in and anchor off Oranjestad and don't let all those tankers in the distance put you off. The city of Oranjestad is full of signs and plaques and other informational material about the history of the island, and the fort is worth a visit.
Next would be Saba, if the conditions are right, or St. Barths if the waves are too high for comfortable anchoring.
St. Barths - clear in at Gustavia and don't miss the short walk to the top of the hill overlooking the airport and see some impressive final approaches and remember to duck as the twin Otters fly by overhead! Anchor in Colombier and take the walk along the shoreline. After clearing out, spend a night or three at Ile Fourchue (uninhabited island, but beautiful) before continuing to St. Martin where such anchorages as Grand Case and Ile Tintamarre await you.

I've got some pictures and stories of those places on my blog, if you are interested.
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Old 27-05-2014, 06:33   #3
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Re: Northwest or northeast from Antigua?

Good notes by Zanshin. A few more:
1. In Nevis setup with a local taxi to do an island tour. Its $20/head for all day. Well worth it for the history and views.
2. St Kitts has some good taxi/tour guys. With your crowd size, it will be reasonable per person and you'll get local history and gossip. You can anchor off Basterre to clear out. Take the dink into the marina and walk over to the cruise ship building. Clearing into Nevis is more cost;ly than clearing into Kitts, for some odd reason.
3. We have a lot of friends who really like Barbuda. It didn't do much for us. Rolly and the reefs where we anchored were not good.
4. At St Barths, you can pick up a mooring or anchor in Anse Colombier and then dinghy into Gustavia for clearing and visits.
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Old 27-05-2014, 20:41   #4
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Re: Northwest or northeast from Antigua?

Thankyou so much for your detailed itinerary. We are completely without guidance on this so given your extensive cruising and thus knowledge of these islands I think we will begin by saying that we are going to simply follow your suggestions.

One extra if you have the time. Do you have any favourite bays and anchorages on the islands of Antigua and Sint Martin. It seems a shame to just jump aboard and leave Antigua without seeing more of it.

Also, if you think of any favourite spots please remember to let us know.

Kitrob
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Old 27-05-2014, 21:02   #5
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Re: Northwest or northeast from Antigua?

Zanshin,

My apologies. I see your itinerary included stops on Antigua. Cheers
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Old 28-05-2014, 04:21   #6
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Re: Northwest or northeast from Antigua?

My favorite anchorage on Antigua is Green Island and it shouldn't be missed.

St. Martin has fewer anchorages, but more stores and restaurants, then many islands. I draw over 8 1/2 feet so my list of anchorages there is a bit limited, but I have spent the day and night off Tintamarre many times and usually stay in Grand Case for weeks at a time when on island.
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Old 29-05-2014, 05:43   #7
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Re: Northwest or northeast from Antigua?

Thos is great info as im doing similarly the same trip in july
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