Gary and I return to the boats to tell the crews all about our exploration; as we guessed, no one was overly interested in hiking up into the hills to watch the boats. We decided to take a sailing break heading off to the eastern end of the island for a visit to Nonsuch Bay, a large, protected, National Park that is nothing short of paradise found.
Sailing east to the bay entailed a12 mile beat straight into the 25 knot tradewinds with seas running to 9 feet or more. As is our usual practice, we raised a reefed mainsail prior to leaving Falmouth Harbor while our buddies, Native Dancer and Island Time, preceded us under motor alone. Soon we were all bashing straight into the large seas with our two buddies’ full-keeled boats burying their bows under the waves. We weren’t burying the bow, but we were slamming down pretty hard on our flat fore foot section. I decided to bear off the wind and waves a bit to short tack off to the east; in just a few minutes we passed both our buddies as we sliced through the short steep waves at a little over 6 knots, barely heeled, but steaming along nicely. We reached the bay’s entrance about 45 minutes before our friends giving us plenty of time to round up, lower our sail, and carefully work our way through the reef bounded entrance.
Nonsuch Bay is part of the Antigua National Parks system, and as such the waters, reefs, and sealife are all protected. Free mooring buoys are scattered around the most popular spots, but their use is not required. We chose to anchor for our first few days in the bay because we assumed the moorings would cost $35.00 a night or more as they did in Falmouth, also part of the Parks system. We spent a day snorkeling out on the reefs, and a few days just kicking back, watching the kite surfing school, and watching the mega yachts play with their multiple toys (no jet skies allowed thankfully).