Antigua Based Trips

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One of the most interesting places to sail in the Eastern Caribbean is around Antigua.  We’ve been on many Antigua based trips but two of our favorites are a week of exploring Antigua and Barbuda and a week long trip from Antigua to Montserrat to St. Kitts and Nevis.  A third trip we enjoy immensely is a 10 to 14 day trip from Guadeloupe to The Saints to Dominica to Martinique (and you can start in Antigua if you wish).

 

 

 

Antigua and Barbuda

 

One of the wonderful things about Antigua is that you can sail around it for weeks and never anchor in the same place twice.  The variety of anchorages is quite amazing and you can tailor much of the sailing to suit the weather conditions.  We’ve been to all the anchorages and know which ones have the activities and action as well as the ones where you can get away from it all for a while.  We normally start in the English Harbour/Falmouth Harbour anchorages on the south side of the island.  There you can stroll through Nelson’s Dockyard where Sir Nelson docked his Caribbean fleet.  The dockyard is a uniquely restored area combining historical buildings and infrastructure with modern working businesses.  See www.antigua-barbuda.org for further information.

 

From there, we sail west through Goat Head Channel to one of the anchorages on the west side of the island in preparation for sailing to Barbuda, an island unlike any other in the Caribbean.  With miles of shoal water dotted with coral reefs, the marine life is vast providing exceptional snorkeling.  The endless beaches are almost always deserted and there is a frigate bird rookery on the island as large as those in the Galapagos Islands.  It is a truly incredible experience to visit Barbuda (a caution here, we’ve had guests stay their entire time here once they arrived)!

 

Sailing back to Antigua, we sail into the Boon Channel and head for the northeast side of Antigua.  It’s interesting short tacking up the channel and gunk holing for a night or two away from it all.  The snorkeling is good, the scenery is beautiful and the peacefulness makes this area very special.  We finish the trip at either Jolly Harbour or St. John’s depending on your travel arrangements.

 

 

Antigua to Montserrat to St. Kitts and Nevis

 

A word of caution about this trip, it is totally dependent on the level of volcanic activity and the safety level currently issued by the Montserrat Volcano Observatory.  If volcanic activity is too high, we will not be able to visit Montserrat.  But that’s the beauty of it, if we can’t go to Montserrat we just might have to go to Barbuda!

 

We can start most anywhere in Antigua for this trip but this is about Montserrat and it’s active volcano more than anything else.  We’ve visited Montserrat five times since Soufriere Hills volcano first erupted.  Each visit was unique in it’s own way and as rewarding as the others.  The people are absolutely wonderful, welcoming and full of life.  And Montserrat’s island tours are like no others, simply incredible.  Witnessing such a powerful natural event and it’s associated destruction is both awe inspiring and humbling.  How far south you’ll be able to go on an island tour will depend on the exclusion zone in effect when you visit, but from most any distance you will witness incredible sites and come away with the same feelings of awe and humbleness.  See www.visitmontserrat.com for more information.

 

After leaving Montserrat, we sail past the Kingdom of Redonda (there’s a story there we’ll tell you when you’re on board) and head for St. Kitts and Nevis.  Depending on how much time we have left, both Nevis and St. Kitts are interesting islands to visit.  See www.stkittstourism.kn for more information.

 

 

Guadeloupe to The Saints to Dominica to Martinique

 

There is so much to see in these islands that a week would just not be enough time to do this trip properly and also note that the distances between the islands are greater so we’ll need more sailing time.  But we can break this up into two trips if your schedule doesn’t allow that much time.

 

We’ve spent nearly a week with guests just in Guadeloupe.  Point a Pitre is the capital of Guadeloupe and a fascinating city to explore, combining a French city with a Caribbean influence.  The markets are very unique and there’s plenty of history to explore.  From Point a Pitre we go through the river Sallee which cuts the island in half and is a mangrove passage.  Once through, you emerge into Grand Cul De Sac Marin, a vast area of reef systems where the snorkeling is great.  On around the northwest side, we end up in Deshaies which is one of the quiantest villages we’ve ever visited.  The restaurants are nothing short of fantastic.  The next stop is Pigeon Island which is home to Cousteau Underwater Park for some great snorkeling before heading to The Saints.  See www.go2guadeloupe.com for more information.

 

The Saints (Iles des Saintes) are a group of small islands a few miles south of Guadeloupe.  Much of the area is now a marine park and there are plenty of beaches to enjoy.  The only town, Bourg des Saintes, is a very quaint town with many wonderful restaurants and bars to enjoy.  And the shopping is what you would expect from an up-scale French area.

 

From The Saints, we head to Dominica, probably the most natural and unspoiled island in the Caribbean.  We anchor in the north of the island and the following day, you will take a journey through the rain forest which will be something you’ll never forget for the rest of your life.  We’ve had guests who don’t like shore activities take this tour and come back saying they’ve never seen anything so beautiful and majestic as Dominica’s rain forest, that’s how incredible this tour is.  We’ll move the yacht to Roseau, the capital, on the south end of the island to pick you up so you won’t have a long return trip.  For some dramatic diving and snorkeling, you can visit Scott’s Head Marine Park from Roseau for a day of water activity.  See  www.dominica.dm for more information.

 

Martinique, like Antigua, is an island you can cruise for weeks without staying in the same anchorage twice.  Starting with St. Pierre (the former capital which was covered by the eruption of the Mt. Pelee volcano in 1902) to Fort de France, the current capital, to Marin which is a major sailing area, to the southeast side of the island where you’ll find interesting reef systems to snorkel and dive, Martinique offers a full range of activities, dining and tours to please everyone’s taste.  See www.martinique.org for more information.