Final rum punch in Anguilla
Although it was a disappointment not to race in Antigua Sailing Week, it gave us a chance to get the boat ready for the trip north to Bermuda. Alan serviced the engine and all the winches and replaced a stainless steel high pressure pipe on the water maker which had developed a tiny leak. Mary gave the boat a long overdue spring clean and worked through the laundry back log.
To have a break from ‘boat jobs’ we hired a car for a day so we could explore Antigua beyond just English and Falmouth harbour. We drove around the whole island and it’s fair to say there isn’t a lot to see. Even one of the top billed attractions on the tourist map from the car rental company had become derelict!
We had suspected that our 12 volt batteries had come to the end of their life as they were not holding their charge. However whilst we were anchored in Falmouth harbour they seemed to come back to life. But when the wind died we realised that it was the wind generator keeping them topped up and they were pretty well dead. They had done sterling service, especially considering they were over 5 years old!
So it was off to St Maarten, the Island which has all the chandleries and trade shops that you could ever need. We stopped at Jolly Harbour in Antigua for a night to visit the large super market and to see Gerry and his crew on Bavarian Spirit who were departing for Bermuda the following day.
We left Jolly Harbour at 0530h and had a fantastic beam reach in 15kt of wind to St Barts – one of our favourite Islands. It was probably the best sail we’ve had since arriving in the Caribbean. We arrived in time for sunset, but didn’t go ashore as we were a little tired from our early start.
The plan the next day was to leave St Barts at 0930h so that we could make the 1230h bridge opening into Simpsons Lagoon on St Maarten. We could then get the new batteries in the afternoon. However neither of us had checked the bridge opening time and it open at 1130h and not 1230h, so we didn’t make it in time. But it wasn’t too much of a problem as we anchored outside the Lagoon and took the dinghy in to get the batteries.
Fortunately the new batteries fitted perfectly and the existing battery cables also fitted, so what Alan thought was going to be a difficult job turned out to be very easy.
We went through the bridge the following day and tied up in Simpson Marina so we could complete the final preparations for the trip to Bermuda. The wind was forecast to be very light, which is often a problem on the route north, so we decided to take extra fuel. We brought 8 x 20ltr plastic jerry cans and filled the boats tank. In total we took on 400ltr of diesel which means we should have enough to motor all the way to Bermuda – but hopefully we won’t have to.
Compared to our previous visit to Simpson Lagoon it was very quiet. All the super yachts had gone with the exception of Mirabella V, which was still looking massive. It really is the end of the season.
We didn’t think much of the Simpson Lagoon area on our first visit in March and this second visit didn’t change our opinion, despite being berthed in a nice marina. We thought we didn’t want this to be our last memory of the Caribbean so decided to spend our final night in Road Bay on Anguilla, which is a lovely anchorage off a beach, completed with nice beach bars and restaurants.
So we enjoyed our final rum punches in Elvis’s beach bar, which we think is the best true beach bar in the Caribbean and then had a lovely meal in the Barrel Stay restaurant.
And so our time in the Caribbean came to an end as the following day (Sunday 8th May) we lifted the anchor at 1345h and headed north to Bermuda. It was the final day of the Anguilla sailing regatta and the boats were just returning from their last race as we left which made a for nice sight.