Lured by rumors of an epic BBQ, we left Pigeon Island bright and early Saturday morning to sail to English Harbor, Antigua. 40 miles and 6 hours later, we anchored in front of Galleon Beach and dinghied to Nelson’s Dockyard in time to clear customs and explore English Harbor. We lounged at Incanto bar on the water and watched some super yachts prepare for the upcoming Antigua to Bermuda Race.
Sunday we chilled on the boat, swam, and wandered around town until it was time to hit the BBQ. To get to the Lookout at Shirley Heights, where the BBQ was hosted, you had to hike up a ½ mile trail with some pretty serious verticals, but man was the view worth it!
We popped out of the woods, pretty sweaty and were shocked to find a hugely packed BBQ! We got some cold drinks, filled our plates with jerk chicken and BBQ ribs and listened to the steel drum band play. They were unreal!
At about 7pm, the steel band packed up and another band came on. People started tearing it up on what was a lawn but had quickly turned into the dance floor.
We bumped into a couple who were anchored next to us on Guadeloupe a few weeks ago and ended up sharing a cab back to Galleon Beach, where they happened to be our neighbors again! We were thankful for the cab because the hike back down seemed a bit treacherous after 4 rum punches in the dark with no flashlight.
Monday morning, we woke up and cruised around the corner to Falmouth. There was a dinghy repair guy there who could fix our patch! While our late night patch job got the dinghy reinflated after it popped, it unfortunately leaked a bit and had to be pumped up a few times a day. We were escorted into Falmouth by a dolphin! He swam around playing in the wake of the bow for awhile.
Boat anchored and dinghy on the trailer, we rode in the back of this guys pick up truck to the shop where he stuck a bigger patch on to stop the leaking.
After our repairs were done, we sailed to the north side of Antigua to a bay called Jolly Harbor. We caught 2 fish on the way, but one was a giant barracuda and the other was probably a jack of some sort. Neither of which we thought were worth eating so we tossed them back.
Jolly Harbor was very cool. We anchored outside and took the dinghy into this winding harbor that housed a little town connected by roads, but instead of pavement it was water.
We hung out at a bar on the dock and watched the sunset before heading back to the boat for dinner.
The next morning, we took off for Barbuda and some BLUEST water I have ever seen! The beaches, which looked white from the boat, were actually light pink when we were on shore! It’s one of the prettiest places we have been to yet! We spent one day anchored off of Coco Point and watched a pretty unbelievable sunset.
The following day, we navigated the reefs on the south side of Cocoa Point to snorkel in Gravenor Bay. I found a ginormous conch and had to swim back to the boat with it to take a photo, which was not as easy as I thought it would be, the thing must have weighed about 15 pounds. Post photo op, I returned him to his home near the reef.
After our morning of swimming and walking on the beach (still kicking myself for forgetting the camera, the sand here was so pink!!), we sailed north to Codrington, Barbuda in order to check out of the country. Customs was an experience…after getting fined $20 USD for taking our dinghy through a bay we supposedly weren’t supposed to (no signs, and our guidebook told us to go this way), we had to go to 3 different offices (port authority, customs, and then immigration) that were all about a 15-minute walk apart, and of course by the time we arrived at our final stop, immigration, there wasn’t anyone around. Some kids hanging in a yard nearby let us use their phone so we could call the number posted on the house that said “immigration”. About 20 minutes later, and $5 poorer from paying the kids, a lady showed up and we filled out more of the exact same paperwork we had just filled out at the previous two locations. The best part of the whole experience was the wild horses. Houses (and customs offices) were fenced and the horses and donkeys roamed free!
We stopped for some beers at a local bar to celebrate our success navigating the craziness that was Barbuda customs and ran into the customs officer who was at the office actually called customs. We obviously bought him a beer and chatted for awhile, before ordering our to-go beers and walking back to the dinghy.
We made it back to the dock and got bombarded by 4 kids who wanted to drive the dinghy. My dad got them all to pile in, and after a quick tutorial about our outboard, left Jon and I on the dock and they tore around the bay for awhile taking turns driving.
We crashed hard that night, only to be woken up at 2am by a squall ripping through the bay. We jumped up ready to reset the dragging anchor but it didn’t budge! We only got mildly soaked in all the hubbub and crawled back into bed for 3 hours before we woke up to go sailing at 5:30am.
We caught 2 fish but unfortunately it was mackerel and more mackerel, so we threw them back. But it was good to practice our “Getting the Fish on the Boat Maneuver” since we lost a huge Mahi a few days ago and were pretty depressed about it…anyway, we’ve figured out a method: I reel in the fish, my dad pulls in the genoa (the front sail) to slow us down and once the fish is close to the boat and I can pull it along side, Jon hangs over and grabs the fish to bring it on board and take the hook out. We’re ready for you, Wahooooo!
Also during the sail, we saw MORE WHALES!! So many whales…there were about 5 right next to the boat, so we slowed down and followed them for 20 minutes or so. We could see them breaching on the horizon as we sailed back on course. It was so amazing! I’ll need to learn how to get video up on this thing… but for now here’s a below average picture of an above average experience.
That’s all for now! We’re back on St. Barth’s for another regatta and enjoying more French wine and baguettes…we can’t help it…