For whatever reason I didn’t sleep well, so since I was awake at 4 I thought I might as well leave. I had wanted an early start to make sure that I made the 40 + mile crossing and arrive by early afternoon, but didn’t mean this early, first light I thought. Anyway the moon was up and stars in the sky, so I stowed the dinghy, hoisted the main and left. There was a gentle breeze which gradually freshened as I made my way away from the coast. I wanted a bit of offing to avoid the headland to the north, the shallow patches and the offshore island of Kahouanne
Later I began to doubt my wisdom, the sky had clouded over and in the half light pre-dawn it looked rather ominous, thought I might get rain squalls but in the distance it looked clearer. In the end I missed all the rain, although I could see it falling on Guadeloupe behind me and gradually the clouds passed and it was another sunny day in paradise. I could get to like this trade wind sailing, a steady NE breeze between 12 & 15 knots so with the course desired the apparent wind was around 60 degrees, a close reach and with very little swell our speed was good.
Away on our port beam was Monserrat and with the aid of binoculars you could see the ash flows from the eruption of 20 years ago which had caused the evacuation of the island. Ahead were the hills of Antigua, at first looking like a group of separate islands but as we drew closer they merged into one coherent mass. Closer still and I could identify parts of the coast, that surely was Cape Shirley and to its left the Pillars of Hercules marking the entrance to English harbour. Off Snapper Point I handed the sails and motored in between Charlotte Point and Berkley Point to arrive at Freemans Bay, English Harbour. The anchorage was pretty crowded but I found a spot to drop the hook, made the obligatory cup of tea and then sat in the cockpit taking it all in. After all these months I had arrived at my destination, tired but very happy.