Since our two sets of visitors we’ve leisurely toured a bit more of Antigua, notably the west coast. A few nights in Jolly Harbour to take care of chores and then we were off to Deep Bay for a couple peaceful nights and sort of within reach of St. John’s Harbour by dinghy.
The look of relief to be on firm ground!
Having briefly seen Jolly Harbour when we cleared into Antigua, our return was primarily to deal with boat chores. This is the best grocery store we’ve found here, and it is also the closest to any dinghy dock so we took the chance to replenish our supplies. They also have laundry facilities so that was checked off the list. And we were able to fill up with diesel and water. I also picked up another tin of varnish as the UV has already done a number Altera’s toe rails that were refinished in September, so I will be applying a few more coats in the very near future. A week prior I had 3 locals drop off their cards offering to do this for me while we docked at Nelson’s Boatyard. Now I’m wondering if I should have sprung for it.
Presumably somewhere up north was getting some winter weather as we had a notable north swell for a few days, so we stayed in Jolly Harbour a couple extra days as it was wrapping into the anchorage and hitting us on the stern so it wasn’t causing an unpleasant roll that we anticipated further north in Deep Bay.
Deep bay is a beautiful spot immediately south of St John’s Harbour and about a 3 mile dinghy ride from the capital city. We elected to just take a 40 minute dinghy from the nice anchorage rather than move Altera. We got a bit wet as is expected with our small dinghy, but that was nothing compared to the rain squall that greeted us a few hundred yards from town as we approached the cruise ships. The rain finally cleared after drenching us, but the cloud cover remained. Had we not been soaked it would have been a perfect day for seeing the town, but we didn’t let that stop us.
Racing the rain to the finish line. Too bad we didn’t have an extra horsepower or two…
Drenched but still smiling!
A local fellow who had greeted us at the dock gave a recommendation for lunch so after a partial tour of town we took a break to enjoy lunch under an umbrella while more rain fell around us. We enjoyed south African style spring rolls as an appetizer which were by far the best I’ve ever had, and reasonably priced too!
Thin head of hair dries much quicker than a cotton T-shirt.
Following lunch the rain held off and we wandered around more of the town, seeing their food markets, the fishing dock and fish market and the bus stop. As the school kids finished their day the streets became a little busier and we gradually made our way back to the water front.
We made the mistake of stopping for a drink and wifi in the small cruise ship mall and suffered from sticker shock when the bill came. We should have known better!
Overall St John’s is an interesting Caribbean town. I didn’t have high expectations based on reviews I’d read of it being a dirty town to visit, but I certainly didn’t find that to be the case. It was refreshing to see a port town that is still dominated with local businesses and services for the residents rather than a pretty façade of shops and restaurants that becomes a ghost town late in the afternoon when the ships depart.