Wednesday, August 15, 2007

50 miles back to Antigua from North Beach

This blog sponsored by On our last morning in Barbuda was started properly with French toast and bacon on “Blue Rapid” with my dad and Sarah and their crew Kenny Kentish. After b’fast we got Xtreme ready for the trip back to Antigua. My uncle Jim and his crew who had been staying in the North Beach apartments with the mosquitoes and sand flies were getting packed up to leave as well. Altogether on the beach is was he and Alan Hart and his two kids as well as Steve Mearns. My good buddy, Roddy from, was staying on the beach as well with Stevie and my cousin Annabel who were in tents.
At first I was asked if I could take Steve Mearns back as he wasn’t feeling too well. This translated into “he didn’t feel like getting pounded for miles and miles in uncle Jim’s smaller boat”. That was fine though as it was just Mykl and I on Xtreme. Then Dad decided that he was staying another night for sure and asked if I could take Kenny. Again no problem at all as long as he didn’t mind getting a good wetting. These hot shot lawyers are not used to being as wet as us sea dogs, but I am sure the after a weekend camping in Barbuda Kenny was up for anything. Steve Mendes then decided to stay another night with his wife Robin and asked if I could take his other crew, Stevie, Bell and Roddy. Like I said, Xtreme could handle it no prob so I went around collecting everyone and all their camping stuff and by 11 am we were all ready to go….all seven of us. My plan was to hug the shore all the way towards Palmetto Point where the Beach House resort is and then head straight across, but the winds were way up there and I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea. Let’s get there first I told myself. On the way to Palmetto, we counted 54 fresh turtle nests on the 14 miles of beach we just covered which was very cool indeed. We are in the peak of nesting season for the Hawksbill turtles. The waves looked awful out past palmetto and I made the decision to go up the coast a bit towards the Coco Point Lodge as this would give us a better angle in the sea back to Antigua’s Diamond Channel.
Also, most of my newly acquired passengers would much prefer a little more adventure before the crappy trip back home.
Coco Point hotel in Barbuda is closed during the summer months and we were able to sneak right up to their most beautiful point and relax for a bit while having some lunch.
Uncle Jim came up shortly afterwards and so did the other two boats that were staying the extra night at Spanish point further up the coast.
The waters were just too beautiful to leave like that so Roddy, Mykl, Stevie and Bell went for a quick snorkel just before we set off.
I took photos and within 30 minutes we were going out the reef into the Atlantic Channel. It was extremely rough but the better angle allowed us to maintain 25 knots the whole way home. Stevie sat up front by himself where is was a bit more bumpy and ended up falling asleep. Every other person on the boat was soaked with all the spray the high winds were jacking up. We were home in no time. As I pulled up to the dock in Jolly Harbour the GPS said we had done 118 miles that weekend and they were all worth the effort and drama. As usual it was a good carnival camping session but now it was time to get back to work.