Passage: Antigua to Les Saintes (Guadeloupe)

Our friends waving us off as we leave Antigua for Guadeloupe

We were rolling far too much at the Jolly Harbour anchorage in Antigua and after yet another bad night’s sleep, Tom and I were ready to get going.  Anywhere but there! I had no idea that Jolly was likely to be rolly in a northerly swell, and I wouldn’t have guessed it from the charts.  That’s where reading up on a place can be handy…

So, on Friday 10th May we headed in by dinghy to say some goodbyes (I still find them so very difficult), get final provisions at Epicurean, check out and sort out our “warrant” which cost USD65 (yup!) to enable us to buy duty-free fuel from the dock at Jolly Harbour Marina.  We headed back in with Alchemy after getting ourselves sorted out with some lunch, lines, fenders, the dinghy up and securing a fitting on the boat deck.  We hadn’t realised how late it had become and arrived just before they were due to shut!  I’d thought we had more time than that but luckily I think the quantity of fuel we were due to take on motivated the attendant to stay and help us.  Then, the boring part set in.  Getting fuelled up can take a while…

Luckily, some friends of ours whom we had missed saying goodbye to screeched to a halt in their car next to the fuel dock and kept us entertained.  These are friends we made in Antigua (also cruisers) whom we met back in 2016.  More about them in “Antigua” but it was lovely to have them over and for the kids to play.  It was an emotional farewell as we waved goodbye heading out as it may be some time before we see them again.

The log says we left the dock at 18:10.  We had light for long enough to get into deeper water and head down the west coast of Antigua while the sun set and we settled into our usual night passage routine.  I prepared James’ dinner and he would have gone to bed in his usual cabin but he was feeling a little queasy.  It was a bit bumpy out there and as there would be only one of us asleep in our cabin at any time during the night I let him sleep there instead.  It’s more central within the boat and so when we are headed into the wind it is more comfortable.  I think he sees it as a treat to be able to sleep in our bed so it’s possible he wasn’t as queasy as he said…!

I went to bed before too long too and left Tom on watch.  He left me as long as he felt comfortable doing so, then woke me at 1am to take over.  We always do the shifts this way around and it suits us well.  Besides keeping wary of FADs (Fish Aggregation Devices) which, luckily, are well charted in French waters and avoiding what the chart said was a firing range (yikes! though not likely to be in use in the middle of the night!) all I needed to do was keep a good lookout with my beady eyes, ably assisted by our excellent radar and AIS targets on the chart.  I also do periodic engine room checks for any problems and to ensure the day tank has sufficient fuel.  More on all this in a different post at some point.

Arriving in Les Saintes

As I rounded the South West point of Guadeloupe and headed across to Les Saintes, the wind picked up as it often does around the edges of the main island, and it was bumpy again for a while but our destination was so close it didn’t seem to matter so much.  I actually slowed down to allow Tom to get some extra sleep as single overnight passages can be rather brutal exhaustion-wise.  By around 7.30am we were anchored in a wonderful spot in the bay between Pointe Boisjoli and Pain de Sucre.  For more, see the next post: “Les Saintes”.

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