Great Bird Island

Great Bird Island is located 3 kilometers off the north eastern shores of Antigua. Two years ago we almost made it to this island with our friends Laurie and Joe. Back then we were still so new to sailing in these waters and the guidebook talked so much about watching for coral heads that we changed our minds at the last minute and put it out of our minds.

This year we had some beautiful clear skies and much more confidence in our ability to read the water and we decided to go check it out.

There are about 5 mooring balls near the island as you approach. They are marked NEEMA. We didn’t know what NEEMA (North East Marine Management Area)was at the time and all the other boats were anchored so we figured they were private moorings and found a patch of sand to anchor in. You need good light to see the sand as there are reefs and coral heads to watch out for. We later found out the moorings are there for cruisers to visit the island and to protect the bottom. I believe they are free as we did not see anyone coming around to collect fees for them.

Getting ashore can be a bit of a challenge as you have to navigate around the reefs and the water shallows quite a distance from shore. Once we landed the dinghy we discovered nice short walking paths and signs asking us to stay on the paths to protect the wildlife (birds, rare lizards and snakes). We spotted the birds and lizards, but thankfully no snakes.

Rare Lizard
Rare Lizard

Apparently a few years back there was an infestation of rats on the island so there are signs asking that you leave no garbage behind and take only memories. The rats have since died off and the birds are nesting on the island once again. One path takes you up a bit of a hill where there is a one hundred foot drop through a huge blow hole to the water. I kept a good hold of Charlie on his leash and stayed well away from the edge. The views from here are worth the short uphill hike.

Great Bird Island palm tree
Great Bird Island palm tree

There are several other small islands around Great Bird Island which Paul explored via water on his kayak.

Let's explore Charlie
Let’s explore Charlie

We also took the time to snorkel on the west side of the island. The coral is some of the healthiest we’ve seen and the fish are abundant.

What I liked most about this island was the peacefulness of it. It’s far enough from the airport and the main island of Antigua that you feel you have entered another world. The only noise you hear are the various birds calling out to each other. There are small tour boats that visit during the day, but the evenings are just you and a handful of other cruisers enjoying the sights and the sounds.

Fun with Salty Dawgs in Antigua

On Feb 25th we sailed from Green Island to Falmouth Harbour. Here we helped Rum Runner get their dinghy from their boat after they returned from brief trip back home to the US. That evening we got together for some Farkel with Judie and Phil and their good friend Annabelle from New Zealand (currently travelling as crew on Cracker Jack).

While in Falmouth, we walked over to English Harbour to extend our cruising permit (only valid for 30 days). We then followed Rum Runner around to Carlisle Bay. Here there is a nice beach with a very chic resort (imagine a menu where salad costs $38 US as the least expensive item on their menu). Needless to say we didn’t spend any time on shore except to walk the dog.

From there we headed back to Jolly Harbour and then on to Deep Bay. Each night we hung out with Rum Runner and their guests, and were eventually joined by Kalunamoo and Destiny to our near nightly games of Farkel. Paul, Bill (Kalunamoo) and Phil (Rum Runner) also had a jam session on Blue Sky one afternoon in Deep Bay. I can’t believe I didn’t snap a few pics. All in all it was a busy time. By the 2nd of March we all went our separate ways.

We originally had a third guest planning to visit us in early March, but a business trip to Paris cut into those plans. As a fashion designer, when Paris calls, you go. We hope you get to rebook that ticket soon CH.

The only picture I took during all the fun was of Jolly Harbour in the rain.

Rain in Jolly Harbour
Rain in Jolly Harbour


I love currants and I love scones, especially with a nice cup of tea. Most scones are made with real butter and buttermilk. These scones are made vegan style.
I classify this recipe as super easy.

Tea and Scones
Tea and Scones

1/2 cup non-dairy milk (I use Almond Milk)
1/2 TBSP apple cider vinegar
2 cups Spelt flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 TBSP unrefined coconut oil, solid (chill it in the fridge if in a hot climate)
2 TBSP unsweetened applesauce
1 cup currents, soaked in hot water for 5 minutes, then drained and rinsed
Freshly grated orange zest (from 1 orange)

1 – Preheat oven to 375, line baking sheet with parchment paper (or use a silicone baking mat), dust with flour and set aside.
2 – Whisk together non-dairy milk and apple cider vinegar (this makes vegan buttermilk). Allow to sit 5 minutes.
3 – In a medium bowl mist together Spelt Flour, Baking Powder, Baking Soda and Sea Salt. Add the coconut oil. Using your hands pinch the coconut oil into the flour until you get pea size pieces (don’t over work it). Stir in the vegan buttermilk and applesauce until you get a sticky dough. Then fold in the currents and orange zest and form a ball.
4 – Transfer the dough to a prepared baking sheet, dust with a little more flour and flatten to form an 8″ round. Cut into 8 or more equal parts (like a pizza).
5 – Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden. Test with a toothpick (should come out clean).

Scone just out of the oven
Scone just out of the oven

Green Island

Before and after having guests in Antigua, we spent a good few weeks at Ricketts Harbour on Green Island. Green Island is located on the south eastern side of Antigua. It’s a regular stop for tour boats which bring their passengers for swim/snorkels/beach time and feed them lunch before completing their circumnavigation back to St John’s.

Here’s a shot of Alberio (fellow Salty Dawg boat) on the other mooring at Ricketts Harbour.

Alberio on the other mooring ball
Alberio on the other mooring ball

One day the guide that was taking people out for a snorkel came near by our boat and grabbed hold of one of the turtles. Let me tell you that turtle was not happy and I don’t blame him. I felt for him as all the snorkelers attempted to pet him.

Start of RANT: Turtles are not pets. If you ever have the opportunity to be close enough to touch one, let him be. We don’t want to give them any diseases as they are on the endangered species list. Please enjoy them from a distance and respect their environment. End of RANT.

While we enjoy having fun on the island we also take the time to work on some boat projects. This season my boat project consists of recovering the cockpit cushions. We bought the fabric through Sailrite last fall and the time on Green Island seemed like the time to get it going.

The first cushion took me two full days to do. It would have been quicker if I knew what I was doing. I had to do some rework here and there. I proudly got the first 4 finished and have 3 to go. After having the sewing machine on the table in the salon for nearly 2 weeks straight I wanted to see a tidy space and put it away. So the job will be finished when I feel ready to tackle the last 3 cushions at some point in the future.

Paul always has several boat projects on the go. He is constantly keeping our finances in order and updating our computers. His major project while here was the tightening down of the dinghy davits which had all come loose on the recent passages. On these davits are two solar panels. If those bolts had come any more loose, we might have lost those panels into the ocean. I’m always appreciative of his diligence in checking for loose nuts and bolts (ocean motion really takes its toll). He also polished some of the stainless steel in places that I can’t reach and worked on a broken shower pump and the dinghy gas motor which continued to give us problems.

Between the projects we relaxed, snorkeled, took Charlie for walks on the beach. We also entertained ourselves with guests on board and by watching the action around us.

We also watched the start of the Caribbean 600 race from the boat. They were off in the distance, but we could see well enough. This is a race that takes boats around many islands in the Caribbean totalling 600 nautical miles from beginning to end. They start and end just outside of English Harbour with the first leg going past the south eastern end of Antigua and heading north toward Barbuda. We’ve seen bits of this race each year we’ve been down here and enjoy following the boats online as well.

Phaedo 3 and Concise neck and neck from beginning to end
Phaedo 3 and Concise neck and neck from beginning to end

Before leaving Green Island I wanted to give a little something back to the environment and to follow my mum’s words of wisdom, “leave things better than you found them”. So I took a garbage bag to the beach and filled it to the brim and brought it to Falmouth Harbor for disposal on Feb 25th. Our time on Green Island was over for the season.

Here are a few pictures of the local Green Island Turtles
One of several turtles at Green Island
One of several turtles at Green Island

A turtle coming up for air
A turtle coming up for air


Do you find yourself craving an old childhood favorite breakfast of French Toast, but the vegan in you won’t allow you to make it because of the eggs. Well now you can still have it without the eggs. This French toast recipe is super easy and very yummy. I know it will become a regular breakfast treat in your house, just like it now is in mine. Enjoy.


1 banana, mashed
1 cup almond milk
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp vanilla extract
6 slices of bread (or 12 slices of a baguette to make mini toasts)
Coconut oil

1 – Mash banana in a shallow bowl. Add milk, cinnamon and vanilla. Mix well. (I used my immulsifier and a deeper bowl to get it really well mixed.)
2 – Dip bread into mixture for 5-10 seconds per side.
3 – Place oil in pan, heat (medium), add dipped bread. Cook 3-4 minutes per side until browned and crispy.
4 – Serve with maple syrup or fruit

So yummy I almost forgot to take the picture.
So yummy I almost forgot to take the picture.

Please feel free to respond to this post with advice on how to take better pictures of food. I need all the help I can get.