22nd March - 4th April
Carlisle Bay - Falmouth Harbour - Green island
We lifted our anchor manually from Jolly Harbour and set our sail to sail off our anchor to the applause of our neighbours on the catamaran next to us! Maybe it was something to do with embracing the "old fashioned" way of setting sail but it clearly jinxed our electronic instruments as the wind instruments, log and boat speed all played up on this journey!!! We set our wind Pilot "Pete" up to steer and enjoyed some comfortable conditions and a 3 hour sail to Carlisle Bay where we anchored in a beautiful spot, again with a resort in the bay but from here we could walk into the small local village. We had read an article by veteran West Indies cricketer "Sir Vivian Richards" about this spot and how he loved the sweet "Antiguan Black Pinapples" which you could buy from "Clemies" Fruit & Veg stall in the village - so off we went to Clemies to get ourselves an Antiguan Black and Sir Viv was right; they are delicious!
The following day we sailed on to Falmouth Harbour tacking our way along the coast and dropped our anchor inside the harbour off Pigeon Beach.
We stayed in Falmouth for 5 days and it was lovely to explore this part of Antigua. Each day we would row through the anchorage and into the busy harbour where enormous superyachts - both sail and power - were moored up. Antigua Classic sailing Yacht regatta was due to start soon and both the harbour and the marina was absolutely packed with some of the most incredible vessels which we got to enjoy a close-up view of as we passed under their enormous bowsprits in our little rowing dinghy whilst they were berthed up - as well as a great view of them out practising from our spot on the outer edge of the anchorage.
Again we met some great people in Falmouth and made some lovely friends. After trying a few places our firm favourite bar became Bar B's which housed the Antiguan Yacht club and hosted parties for the sailing regattas on its front lawn. We soon had a favourite spot at the bar and didn't need to order our drinks - 2 large Rum and cokes would always find their way to us not long after we arrived.
Whilst in Falmouth we met up again with friends Greg & Jan on S/V Viridian who we had first met during the cricket and with whom it turned out we had multiple mutual friends and acquaintances in common - not only sailing connections but going right back to both mine and Greg's careers in media. We spent several evenings drinking together in town and enjoyed a wonderful evening aboard Viridian where we were treated to a fabulous BBQ. At that time Viridian was anchored in English Harbour - the next bay around from Falmouth and a couple of miles by sea but joined by only a short walk between the two by way of Nelsons Dockyard. We therefore took our first walk through the charming historical Dockyard early in the evening where Greg collected us on his dinghy to ferry us aboard. We went back several times over the following weeks and explored the Dockyard in more detail learning about what life would have been like at the time Nelson's fleet inhabited it. We learned a great deal about life for the British Naval personnel that were stationed there but also about the abhorrent slave trade that built so much of what we could see both here and across this part of the world. It is impossible to reconcile the beauty of what you see around you in this quaint little corner of British history with the ugly truth of how it came to be.
We returned to this area and anchored in English Harbour with Viridian towards the end of our time in Antigua during the Antiguan racing week and it is probably the most picturesque of the anchorages in Antigua with fantastic hiking and incredible views.
One of these hiking trails takes you between pigeon beach where we were anchored during this week, over the "goat path" and down into English Harbour and the Dockyard. It was whilst our neighbours Ingrid & Kris of S/V Puff (the magic dragon) were hiking this route that they looked down one day and saw a small sailing dinghy off the bow of their boat and the sailor of that dinghy hanging off their anchor chain whilst Jamie attempted to reunite them from our dinghy. By the time Ingrid and Kris reached the beach where they had left their own tender the dinghy sailor had been picked up by a RIB from the water sports centre and taken off with no harm done to property or life! This did however mark the beginning of another new friendship for us and over the following weeks we ended up neighbours to "Puff" in a number of anchorages across Antigua, Barbuda and beyond!
Falmouth remained surprisingly comfortable for the first few nights of our stay despite our exposed location so close to the harbour entrance. I enjoyed watching the boats coming and going through the channel and especially enjoyed the regular visits we had from turtles that showed up like clockwork every morning during breakfast and swam between Hamble Warrior and Puff. Infact if you stood on deck long enough at pretty much any time of day you were guaranteed to see a turtle pop it's head up and say hello. After a few days the wind turned southerly and the anchorage became uncomfortable. Puff set off around to the windward coast and we moved a little further in to the shelter of the harbour.
The next day we followed Puff to their anchorage off Green Island where we watched them and the other kite surfers whizzing around on the flat waters protected by a huge reef. It was a very slow trip of about 5 hours to make good about 8 miles round the coast but as usual we persevered with tacking our way and making good about one mile for every 5 miles we sailed. When we finally arrived Jamie was reluctant to spoil such a good effort by turning on the engine and so we dropped our anchor manually and set it under sail.
We stayed in this spot for a few nights and enjoyed the peace and tranquility of a quiet anchorage away from the hustle and bustle of the busy harbour before returning to Falmouth amidst the classic sailing yacht regatta which we enjoyed front row seats for as we arrived back and took up our spot again off Pigeon Beach amongst a crowded anchorage.
We enjoyed a further few nights in Falmouth before setting sail north again to renew our cruising permit in Jolly for a further 4 weeks. We took the chance to refill our water tanks, reprovision and then we sailed on to visit Barbuda.