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.
We arrived in Antigua at 0700 on January 30th after an easy close reaching night sail. Having been here before we were much more relaxed arriving at Jolly Harbor and clearing in. Dr Edwards remembered Charlie and was happy to welcome him back to the island. We spent only one night at Jolly Harbor before heading over to Pigeon Beach at Falmouth Harbour for a few days.
Anchored next to us at Pigeon Beach were fellow Salty Dawgs from last year, ‘Want To’(Peggy, John). We had them over to Blue Sky to watch the sunset one evening and heard all about their sailing back up island from Grenada where they left their boat during the last hurricane season. Nice couple who shared some travel information collected while in Guadaloupe after we mentioned this was our next stop.
Falmouth is a place where all the mega Sailing Yachts gather for various regattas including the Caribbean 600. We enjoy Pigeon Beach, but it can be crowded on weekends (P – and a bit rolly, especially for monohulls) and we tired of the noise quickly so we stayed only 2 nights and headed around Antigua to the east to Nonsuch Bay. There are free mooring balls at Nonsuch and lucky for us we got the one nearest the beach of Green Island. Charlie loves that beach and it made it easy to SUP or kayak him ashore a few times each day.
And a few more:
Beautiful classic lines
A more modern “classic”. The height of the mast is scary.
Cruise ship with classic lines
Looking out to the point in Falmouth with a typical morning rainbow
We spent a full 10 days in Nonsuch Bay simply enjoying the beauty of the place with its barrier reef (which we snorkeled – beautiful coral). You look east across the reef and realize there is only the Atlantic Ocean between you and Africa (P – Mauritania!), amazing. It’s a kite-surfers paradise as the bay is huge and well protected by the reef, but the wind with nothing to stop it, so it always seems to be perfect conditions for that sport. P – This year we tried a hike on Green Island. Ended up being very prickly and challenging so it was not a long hike.
Tough going hiking Green Island – too many prickly things
It is a bit easier bushwhacking when you are short – if it wasn’t for those darn burrs in the paws
Finally, back at the beach
Happiness is chasing a ball in the ocean after
Friends on Rum Runner, Kalunamoo, and Judith Arlene showed up a few days into our time here. We joined them and went to Harmony Hall and had drinks on a Sunday afternoon, while the duo Steel and Keys played steel drum music. Judy and Phil on Rum Runner had us all over for drinks and a game of Farkel, a dice game that is super simple yet highly competitive. Maureen won, but she was also the score keeper so we teased her that she cheated (she totally didn’t, her skill and experience won out).
The following evening we had a musical Jam session with Rum Runner (Judy, Phil), Kalunamoo (Maureen, Bill), Judith Arlene (Judy, Ed) on board Blue Sky. We managed to have 2 guitars, two harmonicas (P – Phil who did Dylan proud), and a roll up keyboard (P – which Bill made sound better than I’ve ever heard). The girls mainly sang or acted as groupies while the guys created the music. I must thank Judy on Judith Arlene for organizing everyone for such a fun and entertaining evening (P – and spouse Ed for bringing along excellent guitar accompaniment and tabs for some fun music. He has motivated P to get back to playing a bit).
Charlie had his first dog guest on board, Nigel of Judith Arlene braved it and came aboard a few times. Charlie was mostly calm about it and Nigel is so laid back he didn’t seem bothered at all by Charlie’s few snarls. We’re working on him when we can to be around other dogs to not be so afraid of them. He’s such a people dog. We broke them in by taking them ashore in the same dinghy (Nigel’s).
The only thing we hadn’t done was have a game of Mexican Train (dominoes), so we arranged to do so again on Blue Sky since we have the largest table. We had 10 on board that night as we were joined by Folie a Deux (Ann, John). Another fun evening.
We spent a few evenings with Ann and John after the other Dawgs left (P – and enjoyed a snorkel on Bird Island reef with them – good coral, okay fish). This is how 10 days can pass in one place and you feel like you’ve been so busy. I had to get creative with my appetizers as I was running low of fresh produce. It’s standard to take an appetizer and your own drinks along to these events. We really didn’t need dinner most nights with the variety of appetizers that were available each night.
So we are now in Jolly Harbor again after a lovely sail from Nonsuch Bay on February 14th. When we arrived our aft stanchion broke at the base where the bolt had rusted and snapped. After taking it apart we discovered we need to go to the welding shop to get the old bolt remains removed and a new bolt welded on (thanks to Dr. Carl in Jolly Harbor). Meanwhile, we are busy re-provisioning and planning for our next destination, Guadeloupe (P – not to mention trying to brush up on a little French).
The wind is usually on the nose when going from BVI to St Maarten, so while we were waiting for a wind free night we sailed over to North Sound on Virgin Gorda and anchored off the beach of Prickly Pear island. Charlie enjoyed his usual romps on the beach and we enjoyed swimming off the boat. We joined friends Dan and Jackie onboard ‘Chill’ one evening to watch the movie 27 Dresses and made our usual visit to Saba Rock for happy hour. The perfect weather window was only a few days away.
We scheduled Charlie in to the vet for his export papers on January 19th. I took him in the taxi while Paul got the propane tank filled and picked up a few provisions. We all went over to clear customs and then we went for lunch at a restaurant to celebrate my birthday, since we’d be sailing overnight.
We headed out about 1430h to begin our motor to the Dutch side of the island of St Maarten. The seas were perfectly calm as we watched the islands of BVI slowly disappear behind us as night fell. It was a simple motor and no fussing with sails. What I found most fascinating about the trip was the traffic. Yes, traffic – boats going in both directions. We must have seen at least 30 other boats pass us through the night, not to mention the ones that filed in behind us upon arrival. We anchored on the Dutch side of the island by 0700h. Paul went ashore to clear us in. He mentioned the customs and immigration officers on this island to be the nicest he’s met so far.
Rugged Round Rock
A reminder that the sea is unforgiving as we head out Round Rock passage
Unbelievably flat and magical ocean as we head to St Maarten
Sunrise as we arrive in St Maarten
Once we were cleared in we enjoyed mimosas to celebrate our arrival to a new island and my birthday. P gave me a nice surprise gift of the first 4 seasons of Downton Abbey (at the time of this writing we are starting Season 3).
In St Maarten we ran into fellow Salty Dawg boats: Kalani, Kalunamoo , Judith Arlene and Chasseur. After our first explore of the island and a walk for Charlie, we joined everyone at Lagoonies in the lagoon for happy hour. It was fun to reminisce and hear everyone’s adventures so far.
Salty Dawgs enjoying happy hour at Lagoonies in the St Maarten lagoon
Charlie keeping an eye on the snorkelers at the reef at Simpson Bay
Sunset from Simpson Bay, St Maarten
We recovered our sleep over the next few days, discovered a few good pastry places, and spent lots of money at the Budget Marine (the biggest in the Caribbean). Since we were anchored in Simpson bay, we had a good snorkel over to the reef (swimming distance) discovering only so-so coral and fish – but surprise, an old auto graveyard with pieces scattered about. Curious about what boat sunk there and when.
We also had a few more events at Lagoonies with our friends while we waited for a Fed Ex package to arrive. Oddly enough the package ended up being sent via UPS so the Fed Ex office wouldn’t accept it. Lucky for us we happened to be having a pastry at the café next to the Fed Ex office when the UPS guy called. So P went out to the street and was able to get the package directly from the UPS driver.
We were happy to finally get the package so we could plan to continue down island on the BVI export permit for Charlie before it expired. We left Sint Maarten on January 29th and sailed directly to Antigua.