We’re really on a roll with this video thing, aren’t we? I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling quite amazed we’ve managed to get three videos out. I am loving the process of filming and editing, even though it is waaaaay harder than it looks! But hopefully the videos are watchable? Right? Guys?
So. After a few gorgeous days in English Harbour we ran out of food and decided to head back up to Jolly Harbour to visit Epicurian, the supermarket (there is a new, quite posh, supermarket in Falmouth Harbour but since it only stocks, like, liquorice and cinnamon tea and, I don’t know, sea salt and fennel popcorn, but very little in the way of fruit and veg and NO fresh meat- unless you count the live lobster tank- we couldn’t really use it to provision). Eupraxia were there and since we were soon heading north and they were soon heading south, a farewell dinner was in order.
I think it was while we were anchored in Jolly Harbour that I put my foot down and absolutely insisted we get a new dinghy. Nick was already on the case; he’d emailed Budget Marine in St Martin to order one. But I’d always thought our dinghy did the job, albeit quite a bit slower than everyone else. However, the anchorage at Jolly is perhaps a kilometer away from the shops and services and consequently we ended up spending waaaay too much time sitting in our tender under the baking hot sun with our feet dangling over the side in the cool-ish water. I was hot and sweating by the time we made it in, and spent an inordinate amount of time in front of the freezers in Epicurian just to cool down. It was too much. Sorry dinghy, you’re outta here (more on that next week).
Anyway. Enough bitching about the dinghy. We planned dinner for that evening and we also invited our new friends Annie and Eric from El Gato, very nice Catana 472 which they charter every now and again, so if you’re interested, go ahead and click the link. They’re a really lovely, fun couple who we met through John and Sandra and since we’re hoping for an invite to go sailing with them and see what it’s like to sail a catamaran, Nick brought his A game as far as dinner went. There were porcini mushrooms. There was truffle oil. Pork escalopes, polenta and a luscious jus (it wasn’t a sauce. It sure as hell wasn’t gravy. It was jus, darling, jus.) We finished it off with strawberries and cream, washed down with amaretto and rum because why not. It was a great evening and we hope to catch up with both Eupraxia and El Gato again during the year.
We had planned to leave the following day, but with one thing and another we stayed in Jolly for a further 3 nights. The wind then started to blow in from the south-east and caused a pretty uncomfortable roll in the anchorage, which finally galvanised us into leaving Antigua. It had been a loooong time since we were last in a new Caribbean island, and we were pretty excited about being on the move again and beginning our adventures for the season.
That day we sailed to Nevis, which was a 45 mile run in about 15 knots. Happy, happy days. We put a fishing line out- again- but failed to catch a fish- again. However, the sun was shining, the boat was behaving, and we had a really wonderful sail. We still had to run the engine, which was a shame, because we needed to use the watermaker, but apart from that it was a perfect day. We arrived into Nevis as the sun was setting and picked up a mooring buoy with text-book precision. Too bad no-one was watching.
It was another rolly night however, and the next morning we were up early, feeling a little grumpy from being tossed around all night. To be honest, Nevis didn’t look overly exciting from where we were sitting- apart from the massive volcano, which was visually very impressive. But the weather was the real deciding factor. We had a day of light southerlies before the wind picked up to around 20 knots and swung to the north-east (St Barts is north-west of Nevis). We’d much prefer a day of motor-sailing in light winds than beating into 20 knots, so it was a no-brainer.
Even though the winds were very light, we still managed to get the Parasailor up for a few hours which always makes us happy. Watching the big red kite floating in front of the boat was very relaxing and we even got some laundry done. How productive of us.
Gustavia, St Barts was our destination and after a bit of faffing around trying to choose a spot to anchor amid all the mooring buoys, we got ourselves settled in. When Nick snorkelled on the anchor he even spotted two rays- and on another, very exciting occasion a couple of days later, we saw a small shark around 3 feet long mooching around underneath our boat and the dinghy. We quickly got changed into our swimwear and dug out our masks and snorkels, but it had swum away by the time Nick got in the water, alas.
Gustavia is, apparently, the St Tropez of the Caribbean. I’ve never been to St Tropez, but Gustavia was utterly charming. It is a very prosperous, upmarket town situated on three sides of a square harbour full of superyachts and surrounded by lush green hills dotted with posh villas. We loved it. It was such a change to most other Caribbean islands we had been to and I can certainly see why it’s so popular. We had hoped to stay longer, but after 4 nights the anchorage became very rolly and we joined almost every other monohull in the vicinity in a mass exodus to alternative anchorages. We decided to use the excuse to head to St Maarten and get started on our shopping list. More on that next week!