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Jolly Harbour, Antigua – Take Two or is it Three?


Jolly Harbour feels like the treasure at the end of a rainbow.

Jolly Harbour has been a very welcome anchorage after both of our passages from St. Martin. This time I was ready to return to Jolly because the surge in Nelson’s Dockyard made our lines squeak at night which made sleep a little difficult. Even though I really like English Harbour, I am such a light sleeper that the squeak kept me awake so I was ready for the quiet of Jolly Harbour.

Last June we visited Jolly Harbour, so we knew what to expect this time and we were not disappointed. The folks in Jolly Harbour Marina are very nice and always have a smile. Jenn was in the marina office again this visit and her warm welcome was appreciated.

One really nice change in JH is the upgrade to their internet signal. Jenn told us that in the past the marina had complaints about the wifi, so they upgraded the system.  Since then she said they have not had any complaints. We were on a mooring ball and had excellent wifi on LIB. Thanks for the upgrade Jolly Harbour!!

As you can see from the picture above, there are a lot of private homes with boat docks along the edges of JH which offers a different view and feeling from many anchorages. These quiet fingers are perfect for paddle boarding.

Last year we wrote about our visit to Sha Sade where Frank had his hair cut. This year I visited Shamone who gave me a manicure/ pedicure and even dyed my eyebrows for me. It was like a regular spa day!


Shamone and Sadie’s store front.

The salon is in the building right next to the dinghy dock so the location is perfect for boaters. I will certainly go back the next time I’m in Jolly Harbour.

As most boaters know, Jolly has an excellent grocery and it is pretty easy to find familiar products. We were able to stock up on some essentials like M&Ms. 😉

Near the mooring balls their is a neighborhood with an open field and quiet streets which makes a perfect place for us to throw the frisbee for Captain.

She apparently thinks we should have gone there more often as she decided she would sleep in the dinghy between visits! She has only done this in Jolly Harbour, so I’m guessing this is one of her favorite anchorages.


Yes, that black ball of fluff is Cap waiting for another trip to shore!

This time we left Jolly Harbour to head to Shell Beach where we picked up our older son, Hunter. What a great reason to head out.

The focus of Hunter’s visit is kiteboarding. Frank has been anxiously waiting for this opportunity to kite with Hunter right off of LIB.

Let’s hope these crazy winds keep blowing…


It’s Not All Rainbows…Peal Back the Glasses.


Jolly Harbour with it’s flat water looked like heaven!

Admittedly, we are beyond blessed to have the opportunity to live on LIB and have these adventures. I know Facebook and blogs tend to make cruising look like an idyllic, lazy lifestyle.  And it certainly can be.

But let’s be realistic for just a minute; peal back the rose colored lens and share with you our trip from St. Martin to Antigua.

December is the time for “Christmas winds” in the Caribbean which means the wind is strong! Add to this the fact that Antigua is south east of St. Martin which meant going there would be sailing into the wind because the wind usually comes from the east. We were facing a pretty miserable trip.

So when we saw a slight north predicted in the wind on December 27th, we decided to grab it and hope we could sail fairly close to our rhumb line to Antigua.

The good news is that there actually was a bit of north in the wind. The bad news is that the winds, which were predicted to be around 20 knots, were consistently above 25 knots and usually were around 29 knots.  The highest wind speed we saw was 41 knots during one of the several squalls we faced.

Next, combine the delightful winds and squalls with waves that were 8-10 feet until we were an hour from Antigua.

As if this weren’t enough, the passage is about 88 miles which means we sailed overnight.

The final piece de resistance is seasickness. Yep, I prepared by taking Meclizine the night before but I didn’t take it during the trip because I wanted to be awake and able to help. Bad planning on my part. I would have been more help working sleepily than I was because I was too ill to do much more than a one or two hour shift.

So, that is the bad part. There were actually some good things too.

~The moon was beautiful and FULL! This meant visibility was excellent – so I could see those big waves heading toward us. 😉

~The wind had enough north in it that we were able to sail pretty directly to our destination without tacking.

~We were cautious with our sail area. We had double reefed the main and our jib was also shorted. So even though the motion was rough, between our reduced sail area and heading up into the wind to reduce forces, we were safe.

~We arrived pretty quickly – we were along the Antigua shore after about 17 hours.

~We love Jolly Harbour and it is a beautifully calm anchorage!

All in all, the trip to Antigua was not fun for me, though Frank fared much better!

Still, we will be around Antigua for about a month and our next several sails should be with the wind instead of against it.

So, next time you are looking at a blog or FB page and everyone else seems to be having these amazing, beautiful, idyllic, exciting lives…. remember, you are only seeing the rosy bits.

Anyone else care to share a less than perfect sail story?




Jolly Harbour, Antigua

We left St. Barts about 5 pm and motor sailed about 15 hours to Jolly Harbour, Antigua. The sail was a bit bumpy as we had to go more into the wind and waves than we would have liked. But the crossing was safely completed and entering Jolly Harbour was like arriving in a post card.


Entry to Jolly Harbour, Antigua


Frank prepares the lines and bumpers.

We were concerned about getting Captain registered into Antigua, but the veterinarian was very nice. Happily her paperwork was in order and Cap was quickly accepted.


Captain loves the dinghy!

Jolly Harbour was beautiful and unique in that the harbor included a marina but also had a residential feel to it as houses with (large) boat docks lined much of the waterway.


See the houses behind LIB?

We took advantage of some local services available in Jolly Harbour including a haircut for Frank.


Shamone and Frank, post haircut.

Antigua is 11 miles wide and 14 miles long; much larger than any other islands we have visited so far.  Because of our limited time frame, we will only stay in Antigua about a week and we won’t have time to explore the interior. Instead we will stick to the bays and inlets along the shoreline.


Jolly Harbour was a pleasant, calm anchorage which I welcomed after our bumpy crossing. 

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