Friday 21 February 2020

Jolly Harbour

On the hillside, not far from the waters edge, a dilapidated building of unpainted concrete blocks clings onto the rocks, covered with a rusty brown corrugated iron roof. From the single small window hangs a broken black shutter, a plastic rubbish bin lies on its side outside the wooden door. Around the smallholding runs a sagging wire fence, a man in ripped shorts and a dirty white t-shirt sits on the ground, engrossed in his handiwork, while a goat chews at the scrub growing on the stony surface.  Just a few metres away, the rock turns to creamy white sand, palm trees lean towards the soft surf that caresses the beach. The buildings are of bleached oak, chiffon curtains billow in the light morning breeze, white sunbeds, arranged with military precision under white parasols, await the guests who are breakfasting under ceiling fans in the nearby dining room. The contrast is stark. We are anchored in Carlisle Bay, home to the eponymous resort, one of Antigua’s most luxurious hotels where rooms cost seven hundred dollars for a single night, excluding breakfast.

Sunday 9 February 2020


In the distance, Atlantic rollers rise up from the deep and thunder against the barrier reef, where their energy is snuffed out against the delicate coral. Inside the reef the turquoise water laps gently against the hull with hardly a ripple on the surface. Turtles graze on the sea grass, holding their breath for several hours before coming to the surface for a gulp of air.  It feels as if we are on the edge of the world, with nothing but the reef between us and the open ocean. In fact we are in Nonsuch Bay, on the East coast of Antigua, a huge shallow coastal lagoon, two miles wide and perfect for kite surfing.

Sunday 2 February 2020

Les Saintes

We sail through the pass between Grand Ilet and Le Cloche and lower the mainsail in the still water between the islands where two superyachts are anchored. All around are green hills dotted with red rooftops and at the top of the bay is the adorable town of Bourg des Saintes.  As we motor up towards the village a small motor launch approaches us and the driver, smartly dressed in white, helps us to tie up to one of the mooring buoys.  He explains in French where the customs office is, where we should pay our mooring fees and wishes us Bonne Journee. We are in Les Iles des Saintes, a group of eight small islands off the south coast of Guadeloupe and it is one of our favourite destinations in the Caribbean.