A typical white sand beach on Antigua
There is a definite move towards sailing new cruising areas this season; and especially those that offer the more adventurous sailor the opportunity to charter and explore more of the islands; we are seeing an increase not just with the crewed charters but also the bareboat charterer, too. It could be something to do with the way of the world right now, but whatever it is, it’s very exciting to be able to share our sailing and cruising area with you.
I wanted to pick out my Top 3 favourite anchorages here on the twin island country of Antigua and Barbuda. Put Antigua on your bucket list; it’s a “must do” for those looking to release their inner adventurer!
Exploring the islands of the North Sound, Antigua
Sailing the North Sound is one of my Top 3 destinations on Antigua.
Chris Doyle describes this in his Guide as “a wild and uninhabited area with delightful anchorages full of seabirds”. Antigua is an island of contrasts and the North Sound provides a very different backdrop to any other place on Antigua. Sailing through the channel with Long Island on your left, you will start to see a myriad of offshore islands just waiting to be explored by dinghy. One of these is called Hell’s Gate and has a hole right the way through it. A good anchorage can be found at Great Bird Island; one of the largest islands. You feel a bit like Tom Hanks in Castaway when you sail here; you are likely to be one of very few yachts (charter yachts or private). Take time to hike up to the top of the island, follow the trail and remember your proper shoes as it is more difficult in flip-flops. Also take water as the temperature does not drop below 26 degrees. You’ll find beautiful breeze at the top.
Sailing to the island of Barbuda from Antigua comes in at Number 2 of my favourite sailing destinations.
Again, Chris Doyle’s Cruising Guide describes this island as “a special jewel, a country where horses, deer and donkeys run free and where the beaches are longer and more beautiful than anywhere else in the Caribbean”. Barbuda is not visible from Antigua; it is only 125 feet or so above sea level. For nature lovers, you have found your paradise. A “must do” is a visit to the Frigate Bird Sanctuary. You need to take a guide and George Jeffrey is excellent. When you are here, make sure you visit Two Foot Bay and the caves. The area is called the Highlands which is quite amusing given the height of them! The beaches are stunning and deserted; a perfect combination for a getaway sailing vacation.
Green Island ranks at Number 3 of my favourite sailing destinations on Antigua
Green Island is the furthest eastern point of Antigua; nothing between you and Africa! To sail into Nonsuch Bay, you would first come across uninhabited Green Island. You have a reef between you and the Atlantic affording you protected anchorages. You could spend a good few days here; swimming, snorkelling or perhaps learning to kite surf – go on, release your inner adventurer. In the season, enjoy a fine meal at Harmony Hall; perched on the hill overlooking the bay. They have their own dinghy dock. You just make your way up to hill and remember your camera to snap the view of your charter yacht anchored in the bay when you get there.
A stingray at sunset
There is a wonderful Guide called Chris Doyle’s Guide to cruising the Leeward Islands’ Chris sails the islands each year in order to update his book (what a job!). If you are in the US or Canada and would like to buy one, just email me and I’ll have it sent from the publishing house. It’s a wonderful, up to date Guide and is great for planning your trip or just dreaming about your next sailing holiday.
Explore more about sailing with Horizon Yacht Charters in Antigua