According to our cruising guide, we were supposed to be on the lookout for yellow mooring balls, a few of which have a blue stripe around them. There were supposed to be about 12 moorings close to the beach, and three moorings that are designed for larger boats further out. Sounded easy enough, but as you know, nothing is as easy as it seems. We got to the mooring field around 5 pm, about 2 hours before sunset. We scanned around, and saw a bunch of floating plastic jugs which typically mark the locals moorings but didn’t really see what we would expect to from the description in the guide book. Out came the binoculars and a double check of our position on the GPS – we were in the right place and there were a FEW moorings so this must be the mooring field, and yes, there was a yellow mooring with a blue ring around it – it was pretty far out from the beach, but it must be one of large boat moorings. So, we motor over to it, grabbed the line with our gaff and noticed that it had “Marine Reserve Park” written on it. Well, the Statia marine reserve did put these mooring down, so we must be in the right place. But man, we are really far away from shore. Well, we tied up, cleaned the boat, hung out for a while, started cooking dinner and poured ourselves a rum punch as we are about to relax and watch the sun go down.
|Shirley Heights – The Hamptons of Antigua
“Large black ketch on the mooring ball, this is the marine reserve, please come back” blares the VHF. They must be calling us – we are after all, the only large black ketch on a mooring ball.” We answer their call, assuming they want their $10. Instead, this is how the conversation went:
“Joana, you are anchored in a non-authorized anchoring zone.”
“Marine Park, we are on a mooring ball”
“Joana there is no mooring ball out there”
“Well, we are on a yellow mooring ball with a blue stripe that says Marine Reserve”
“Joana, that is only a marker designating the marine park outer boundary. You can not tie up to it.”
|Kristen’s new hat
Opps. My only non-spoken question – why do they always wait to tell you that as the sun is going down and not the 2 hours before when you can see all the other boats? I know that they saw us come in and tie up there. Ummm. I guess a good lesson learned – don’t believe everything you read in your cruising guide and if something seems hookey, it probably is!