We just bumped into a guest departing from Galley Bay resort who enjoyed her stay but said that she couldn’t swim this week because it was too choppy. She thought that Galley Bay was rough year round. This was ironic because last week I posted this about Galley Bay on a tripadvisor forum thread about “rough sea”:
Galley Bay is one of the calmest beaches on the island from the end of May until the end of October. The water is clear and there is almost never any surf unless there is a named hurricane nearby which is a rare occurrence. People who have never been to Antigua in the summer months cant imagine how beautiful the west coast can be. If you thought the sea was nice in the winter….. you should see it in the summer. Same goes for all the beaches from Johnson’s Point to Blue Waters hotel. It’s cold fronts and winter low pressure systems that give these lee beaches “swell” in the winter. If you see a big cold front leaving the USA just before your trip to Galley Bay, expect waves while you are there. It’s that simple.
You see, these normally protected leeward (West coast) Antigua beaches are protected from the prevailing trade winds but not from swell (waves) coming in from those winter storms off Bermuda. Waves generated up to two thousand miles away pulse all the way down to the Caribbean and even to the North coast of South America. Surfers love these “ground swell” conditions and carefully watch wave or swell maps online all year long. A great place to check is MagicSeaweed’s surf map. Click Here for that. The most important thing to notice is the direction of the waves and the little arrows show where the swell is coming from and going to. You can also see the size based on the colour. If you see waves coming in from the north you can expect the waves to be getting onto our leeward beaches which face North and West without any barrier islands or reefs off shore. In the summer months you will notice that the waves rarely come in from the north and mostly are coming in from the east. Most of the hotels on Antigua and Barbuda are built to have protection from swells coming in from the east so this isn’t a problem. Another great place to go if you want to know how the waves will be at your hotel while you are on holiday is windguru. This site also gives a very good general forecast for winds, clouds and rain too. However, many people have a hard time understanding windguru so you may want to check out a blog i did which explains how to use windguru. Click here for that. I find it’s pretty good for predicting rainfall and together with satellite and radar maps our company gets a very clear understanding of what we can expect for the weeks boat trips. Hope this has been helpful. If it’s still confusing you can always go to our facebook page and ask us!