We are back to Harmonie in the City Marina in Charleston. We had a great time on the delivery, and the following days in Antigua. It is always fun introducing a new owner to the world of Amel.
Antiqua had a health protocol that was easy to comply with and seemed also to be both protective and rational. We needed a negative COVID test before we left, and needed to show a log of crew temperatures while in transit. If a local quarantine was required, they added the time at sea to your quarantine time. Other than some minor miscues on the logistics of the process, everything went very smoothly for us. They were satisfied we were low risk, and we were admitted without issue and no additional testing was required.
We did find a couple of things different from their published guidelines. On the websites they indicated that check-in could be accomplished by any member of the crew designated by the Captain. Not true. The presence of the Captain is required. It is true that having your information pre-entered into the eSeaClear online system reduces the time needed, but all they do is printout multiple copies of it in several different formats, all requiring the Captain’s signature.
According to one local source, yachting in one form or another account for about 25% of the islands GDP. We found the local chandlery to be one of the best stocked we have seen anywhere, with prices that were quite reasonable, considering the remoteness of the location. Marina berths were actually among the cheapest we have seen, significantly less then $1/ft/day. Food and miscellaneous supplies can have a limited selection, and expensive compared to stateside prices, but not insanely so.
The marina we were in was normally a hub of charter sailboat activity, but that was minimal with the travel restrictions. The slips were mostly full by the time we left with boats predominantly from Europe. Because of its location, Antigua is frequently a “first stop” on the west side of the Atlantic for boats making a west bound passage headed for either the US east coast, or the Panama Canal.
Antiqua is in a unique geographic location among the Caribbean islands. Being the furthest most NorthEast of the chain, all the other destinations are (more or less) all downwind. This makes a trip either south toward Grenada, or east toward Puerto Rico or Florida easy.
All in all, a delightful place, and one we might be headed back to on our own boat.