Now when we’re back in Antigua and Barbuda, we want to relive last season’s highlight, Barbuda, and prepare for a multi-week stay there. In the meantime, we also take the opportunity to check out the surroundings of English Harbor and are reminded that death is also present in paradise.
English Harbor is the name of the bay where Nelson’s Dockyard is located and in the mouth of the bay is Freemans Bay which is used as an anchorage by us sailors. It is a narrow anchorage with a poor anchor bottom with ancient anchors and chains on the bottom that you risk getting caught in with the anchor.
When we were there, a squall came and got several boats in operation. It was enough to hang out fenders on some boats and luckily no boat drifted ashore.
Since Freemans Bay is used by boats to check in to Antigua and is quarantined there, we could not stay and therefore moved to Falmouth Bay on the other side of Nelson’s Dockyard.
When we were about to leave Freemans Bay, Flying Penguin could not get the anchor up. The anchor chain had been twisted around a 2 m large prehistoric ship anchor. They were lucky, the boat neighbor Spring from Sydney, had diving equipment and helped them untangle the anchor chain.
Nelson’s Dockyard is an old British naval base and is now on the World Heritage List. As it is a sheltered harbor where large boats can fit, there are many superyachts moored there. As some of the crew members on Sally and Flying Penguin had shopping abstinence, we took the opportunity to visit the small shopping center that is there and the undersigned fell for a short-sleeved super nice shirt 🙂
Before we leave for Barbuda, I need to service the engine and power generator, it’s time for filters and oil changes. In the meantime, there is chaos in the boat, but in the end, the job is done and I have lost at least 2 kg in weight of all the sweat I have produced when I crawl around in the well-heated engine room.
After work, a reward awaits in the form of homemade ”semla” (a cardimon bun filled with a kind of marzipan and whipped cream) and coffee. Håkan and Mirja, who have smelled the semel buns, took the dinghy to find out where the good smell comes from and was rewarded with a semla.
Middle Ground Trail
We also took the opportunity to hike the Middle Ground Trail to get our legs moving a bit. This time I remembered to bring the drone and take some videos. The hike is just under 3 km in fairly hilly terrain. Since Carina only uses flip-flops, the requirement is that all our hikes can be done with flip-flops on your feet 🙂
Death in Falmouth Bay
After a few days of anchoring in Falmouth Bay, we see another boat being visited by a doctor and medical personnel. Later in the evening we see a boat neighbor drinking really drunk and shouting his despair that his friend has become ill without telling him and finally died in solitude on board his boat.
When it gets dark, the coast guard and police board the boat in full clothing. We see cameras flashing and headlights shining around inside the boat. We understand that they are investigating what happened and that they are taking the dead man from the boat. It feels very uncomfortable to be reminded of death, especially when you are in a paradise.
Since we left Falmouth Bay to sail to Barbuda pretty soon after this incident, we do not know how it went with the boat or the desperate boat neighbor.
Jolly Harbour and Bird Island
As there is a more well-stocked grocery store in Jolly Harbor, we stopped there on the way to Barbuda. There we are joined by Dreamboat, 90 m long, one of the larger luxury boats we met in the Caribbean. We get to see another amazing sunset in the sea.
After grocery shopping, we continue to Great Bird Island in northeastern Antigua to catch up with Flying Penguin which has sailed before us and is already there. We have heard that it should be nice there but were a little disappointed, maybe that we are spoiled or compare it to Cocoa Point and Tobago Cays. Had we not been in such a hurry to get to Barbuda, we would probably have changed anchorage and looked for a place to avoid the view of the large boatyard and power plant located at North Sound on one side of the lagoon. On the north side of the lagoon is Long Island which is a single large resort.
When we are going to sail up to Barbuda, the wind comes from the northeast 15-20 knots, and to be able to sail all the way without tacking, we take the channel through the reef just northwest of Green Island. We use both mainsail and genoa which have started to delaminate in several places. During the sailing up to Barbuda, the delaminations increase. Nevertheless, it is possible to use the sails all the way. It seems that the delamination mostly takes place where the sail is furled. It should be really nice with new sails. I have written more about delamination and the job of getting new sails in a separate blog.
Finally, we are back to Cocoa Point, a little paradise in the Caribbean archipelago. We have been planning to stay in Barbuda for several weeks.