We are taking off from Antigua and are tightly belted into our twin-engine, seven-seater Britten-Norman Islander – operated by Fly Monserrat and captained by John, formerly pilot to the Toronto Blue Jays. Minutes later, we catch site of our tiny destination...
Glancing down into the water as I prepared to furl in the genoa for the approach to the Tobago Cays, a group of five uninhabited Caribbean islands in the Grenadines, I was struck by the incredible colour of the water – a sparkling sapphire blue that slid into astonishing hues of turquoise and aquamarine as the water grew more shallow near the entrance to the Cays. We could have been floating on a swimming pool.
The pristine water over the white sand bottom reflects the sky here and the clarity is so amazing that nearby reefs pop out visibly in hues of greens, reds, oranges and gold. With the sun high over your shoulder, the reefs are easy to spot and steer clear of. Fish fly in diamond-like showers and turtles raise their heads in a relaxed fashion as you cruise by. No worries. Be happy.
We’ve bridled our bowline to a mooring ball in Trellis Bay just off Tortola in the British Virgin Islands.
My friend, Dave Anschuetz, fires up the Force 10 on the pushpit of our chartered Moorings boat, a Beneteau 43.3 named “Teranga.” Down below, my wife tosses a salad while Dave’s wife, Barb, marinates chicken.
Topside, I survey our surroundings while I concoct my own take on the iconic (and insidious) Painkillers we were drinking like water two nights ago on Jost Van Dyke.
We’ve dropped the anchor in the northwest corner of Pillsbury Sound, hard by a channel bisecting two lush islands. Waters rush through the passage, lured by the beauty of St. John, an island that reclines in the afternoon sun like a Renaissance courtesan.
Our skipper today, Captain Wilson, knows these islands like the back of his hand. He should – he’s boated here almost daily since 2008. “I will take you where you want to go,” he promises. “I will show you what you want to see.”
I’ve cruised the British Virgin Islands numerous times but I’m just getting my feet wet here. Today’s the perfect introduction.
I was ruined...completely and utterly ruined. At the young age of 22, my very first trip to the Caribbean was to Eleuthera, which is, in my opinion, the most beautiful place on earth. It will now be an uphill battle for me to surpass my visit there.
An opportunity to go to the Bahamas presented itself to me because I spoke French and I was available. I will be forever grateful to my parents for enrolling me in a French Immersion program.
The trip was arranged by Michel Sacco of L’Escale Nautique – Canada’s French-language yachting magazine); the charter was booked through a Quebec-based company, Navtours, so French was a necessity. Needless to say, my French sailing vocabulary was limited so I came prepared with notepad in hand, ready to learn how to sail in French.
Dominica has been on “the” list for quite some time now and when I actually get to do something on “the” list, my heart skips a beat!
Although Dominica still remains somewhat off-the-beaten track for boaters, it is located right in the middle of the chain of Caribbean islands and can be easily accessed from Antigua and Guadeloupe to the north or Martinique and St. Lucia to the south. Chartering boats from any of these islands is easy.
It’s just so easy to get to Antigua with direct flights offered by Air Canada and West Jet several days a week in season, Antigua also offers one of the best kick-off points for exploring so many other Caribbean islands…if you have the time and the winds are prevailing in the right direction.
However, don’t get me wrong. There’s lots to do in Antigua and since it’s pretty much a year-round destination, you could customize your charter vacation by planning it around Antigua Sailing Week in late April or the annual carnival in late July.
It’s an awkward fact of life for us at Canadian Yachting magazine that while we know the majority of our readers are power boaters, the majority of people who want to write about their cruising experiences are sailors! In addition to that, the greatest attraction seems to be far-off and exotic locations that can be both expensive and challenging to anyone’s skills as a skipper. So, we wanted to offer the power boater’s perspective too and to remind our readers that some of the most memorable and spectacular scenery is really closer than you’d think.
Cruising on Canada’s East Coast, at least for those who have never been there, can conjure up images of fierce tides and dense fog. While these conditions do exist at times, they can be managed with prudence and planning. However, there are two large cruising areas that are as inviting as any protected inland lake or river. These are the Bras d’Or Lakes region of Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia and the Saint John River in New Brunswick. Although the Saint John River runs for over 400 miles from its headwaters in the mountains of northern Maine, it is the approximately 75 miles between the river’s mouth at the port city of Saint John on the Bay of Fundy and the head of navigation at Fredericton, that attract the boater’s attention. ...
Dufour in partnership with Felci Yacht Design wants nothing less than to optimize the sailing experience through design, performance and comfort. The Dufour 500 Grand Large provides space and amenities with style, efficiency and performance. This yacht is an embodiment of that objective.
Contemporary, sleek design is combined with innovative features using modern construction techniques, materials and components. The 500GL has a low profile and wide side decks. The plumb bow and full beam, carried well aft with a visible hard chine, are design features found on current racing profiles. The expansive drop transom is a feature shared with many modern cruisers along with twin wheels and a foldout sunbed in the cockpit. It’s the design innovations in the interior that sets the Dufour 500 Grand Large apart.
A social club based on sailing
The Halifax Harbour is well known not only to mariners and historians, but also to most Canadians for the 1917 Halifax explosion and the many fortifications left by the British. It has a rich and fascinating maritime history. The Bedford Basin, named after the 4th Duke of Bedford, is the remains of a large pre-historic fjord found in the northwestern end of Halifax Harbour measuring 8 kilometers in length and 5 km wide. A well- protected, deep harbour makes it ideal for anchoring. Due to these qualities, Halifax Harbour became the primary logistic port for resupplying Western Europe during both World Wars. With its protected waters, Bedford Basin allowed the English and Canadian Navies to securely assemble merchant convoys. With torpedo nets set in Halifax Harbour, German submarines were kept at bay.
DIY & How to