Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Back to the Island, yet again!

Equinox in her slip at Jolly Harbour Marina

Well, we’re back aboard once more! Our trip to visit with family and friends went well, and we have a few days to ourselves before more friends come to join us. After we arrived, we unpacked our various supplies, greeted cruiser friends and made sure to renew our cruising permit with the port authority here at Jolly Harbour. We made a provisioning run to the nearby Epicurean for fresh veggies and the like; pickings were slim with it being Sunday, but we managed, like always. We later treated ourselves to a break from all the necessary chores, and went to the Crow’s Nest to watch the NFC Championship football game. Unfortunately, we wound up being heartbroken when the Ravens lost in the final seconds to the Patriots. (Nooo! That was not the plan!)

Monday morning bright and early we moved from the marina, to get out on our own and run Equinox a bit. We’re hoping to do some harbor-hopping around the island, and are now on anchor in Five Islands Harbour, in Hermitage Bay, north of Jolly Harbour. This is a gorgeous anchorage: shimmering, milky blue water surrounded by steep mountainsides of green, with harsh-looking rocky shorelines interspersed with smooth, sandy beaches. There is an upscale resort – The Hermitage -- just to the east of us, with private bungalows dotting the mountainside and beach chaise lounges and umbrellas lining the shore. Not a bad view at all, although I admit to plain happiness to be right where I am: sitting on the back cockpit looking out over the water at the rugged beauty around us!
Looking west 
Looking east
Speaking of the water, it’s definitely colder now…brr!! Winter has arrived! It’s interesting how the rhythms of the seasons are defined by different things in different regions. No snow here, obviously, but you can tell that it’s winter just the same. Contrary to popular belief, there isn’t constant warm humid sunshine all the time in the Caribbean….but close! There are basically two seasons: wet (July - January) and dry (February - June) with definite seasonal differences. Once you are here awhile, you get a feel for how the seasons show themselves. While temps consistently range from 78º to 85º year round, in the rainy season there are more frequent showers and sometimes full rainy days with no sun. Currently, it’s cooler, with lower humidity (58% today, according to the Antigua and Barbuda Meteorological Service), and the winds are ENE at 15-18 knots. Some days the trade winds are a bit more brisk (25-30 knots) as frontal troughs and tight isobars generate unsettled windy weather -- called the Christmas winds for a reason! Sometimes when storms or cold fronts roll in from the north, they produce ocean swells that can make many northern or west-facing anchorages very uncomfortable to downright untenable.
Happily though, we are almost done with the rainy season, and the forecast for the next few days is for a dry, high-pressure system to settle in over the Leewards, so the chances of rain are dimished. Which is welcome news for our harbor-hopping expedition! Away we go!

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