We’ve been sailing quite a bit this week – on the move six days out of seven, to be exact. This week we’ve been in seven different anchorages in five different countries (St. Lucia -> Martinique -> Dominica -> Guadeloupe -> Antigua), and woah momma are we ever POOPED.
So what’s the rush? Well, it turns out that Christmas has come early here in the Caribbean, in the form of the infamous Christmas winds – a yearly phenomenon bringing sailors high winds and rough seas – happy holidays to us! The Christmas winds have a reputation for stopping even the saltiest sailors in their tracks. Since we didn’t want to get stuck wherever we happen to be once they arrive, it was time to get strategic.
We had one week to get someplace where we wanted to hunker down for a stretch. We picked Antigua for two reasons: it’s an island we’d skipped on our way down with lots to see and do, and there’s a rigger on the island who can look at our forestay (an important cable that holds up the main mast) and show us how to service the motor for our roller-furling mainsail. After an action packed week, we were super happy to to drop the hook in Antigua and stay for a while.
And, what an awesome week it was. Tons of sailing, most of it downwind, made for a really nice time on the water. Some days had their challenges (7 foot seas, 25 knot gusts), others were blissfully calm and easy. All of them were waayyy better than our sixth and final sail from Guadeloupe to Antigua, which required us to turn east (as upwind as we could get) for a full day of wave-bashing and motor sailing. It was a not-so-gentle reminder of how lucky we’d been sailing downwind for the first five days of the week.
And, for a week on the move, we managed to squeeze in a lot of fun between sails. We threw ourselves a cheese orgy and spent a night anchored completely alone off a deserted beach in Martinique, caught up with our friends on s/v Sea Squirrel over sundowners ashore and had nightcap G&Ts aboard s/v Symbiosis in Dominica, spent one day of rest in Illes de Saintes where we had long lunch with the crew of s/v Corpse Pounder, followed by a little paddle boarding and a steak frites dinner with s/vs Sea Squirrel and Neko. We even arrived in Guadeloupe with enough daylight left to snorkel with the turtles before we called it a night (a few photos from that soon).
Overall, a pretty fantastic week of cruising! Now, a beer, some supper, and bedtime.