Sunday, May 15, 2011

On our own again

It rained and rained and then it rained some more; a light drizzle pitter-pattering our decks. We collected the rain into our water tanks and did all the laundry by hand. There is no wind and humidity is high, the days are overcast and hazy, everything is feeling hot and damp.

Sim and I are back on our own again, just the two of us. We have not spoken to anybody else in over a week except to the check-out girl at the supermarket. So far so good, we seem quite content. Every couple of days we move anchorage to have a new beach to walk on and a change of scene. From Five Islands harbour where there is nothing except mangroves and a couple of beaches to Deep Bay where in the middle the eerie wreak of the 3 masted bark, the Andes has laid for more than 100 years and Fort Barrington on the hill from Nelsons time over looks the Bay. Jolly Harbour is a huge waterfront housing development and marina. The sea has a milky hue to it and the colours are pretty amazing. On a clear day you can see all the way across to the smoldering Montserrat. The beach at Morris Bay is pretty spectacular with over a mile of golden sand and gently lapping seas. After stocking up at the supermarket in Jolly Harbour we made our way to Antigua’s north coast which is strewn with reefs. You need settled weather to navigate this coast with good light. As there had been no wind for days and settled weather forecsated we decided it was a good opportunity to go and explore a new place.

The first stop was Maiden Island. I was drawn by the allure of shells washed up on the beaches as described in the guide book. It sounded exotic and exciting to me. What we actually found was tiny little scrub island about half a mile long and spitting distance wide. We anchored ‘Alianna’ and took a tour in our dinghy ‘Li Lo Lil’. The water had a strange greenish brown tinge to it and the island was spookily derelict despite there being two houses hidden somewhere in the shrub. Having circumnavigated the island in ½ an hour, we decided we didn’t like the place. It had a remoteness about it that felt uncomfortable. So we picked up anchor and moved to the island to the north of us – Long Island. Long Island is a large exclusive resort, with well manicured beaches and perfectly aligned palm trees. We liked it here so dropped the anchor again being careful not hit one of the hundreds of starfish lying on the seabed and settled into a couple of days of just hanging out on the boat and swimming in the sea. By Thursday we were ready to do some more exploring and ventured further into the reef protected area to explore some of the barrier islands. Bird Island, aptly named with a chorus of sea birds squawking morning, noon and night is a marine park. The snorkeling here is supposed to be superb but sadly it actually looked like a war zone, with dead and broken coral lying everywhere. Later swimming around the boat we saw about 20 squid just doing their thang, squiding about the place. Sim and I approached from different directions and then Sim smacked the water and the squid all shot their inky load. Quite amusing! that was until I turned around and saw a 5 Baracuda lurking behind me. I have never made such a quick dash out of the water. I know they are not supposed to be threatening but a 5ft one with sharp teeth and a menacing face is enough to scare the jeepers out of me. Everyday a day charter arrives bringing a boatload of tourists to swim and have a BBQ on the beach. Sim and I decided to go and explore before they all arrived. We climbed the small hill for fabulous views and then walked over the small strip of land to the beach on the other side of the island. It was perfectly protected and gorgeous. Sim being the naturalist that he is immediately strips off and frolics in the sea. I am a bit little more coy but nobody is here so go for it as well – we walk up and down the beach working on our all over tans. What a sight! Just as we are leaving the island (clothed again) the day charter arrives with its boat load of people. Back on the boat we lift anchor and head back to Five Islands bay on the west coast and the promise of some much needed wind in the next few days.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Alianna. Always nice to hear what you are up to. Although you have now irreversibly implanted the thought of you two naturalists wandering hand-in-hand together down the beach into my mind.
    - Liz