Antigua – Part 2

Itchy Feet

A condition common to your everyday adventurer, and we had it bad. Having been in English Harbour for several days, we set our sights on Jolly Harbour, 17 nautical miles northwest. Where English Harbour was the home to the British Navy, Jolly Harbour was a refuge of pirates. Not really but with a name like that my imagination took the better of me and made me think of Jolly Roger.

I am reading several books which feature pirates among the characters and it is that influence that led to this blog post.

Sailing on a beautiful day
Antigua Map

“Fifteen men on the dead man’s chest —
Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!
Drink and the devil had done for the rest —
Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!”

Tired of rolling scuppers under in the swell in Freeman’s Bay, the nearest handy cove was Jolly Harbour. Aside from it merits of refuge, Jolly Harbour had a market and would allow us to top up on provisions, and set up stores like any good pirate.

“Jolly Roger – the name given to various flags that were flown on a ship to identify the crew as pirates, and the most recognized version depicts a skull and cross bones. Its intent, to frighten victims into surrender without a fight, as pirates were not bound by the rules of usual engagement and would likely fight to the death.”

Approaching Jolly Harbour
The colours
Anchorage in Jolly Harbour
Dead Casino

The treasures that we found were not however from the marketplace but from the elements. The colours approaching Jolly Harbour were incredible, turquoise seas and cyan sky. My camera was smoking by the time we set the anchor. The water was shallow, around 8 feet and our anchor set quickly. I dove into the surreal waters for an anchor check and also to frolic in the beauty of it all only to discover that I could not see my hand in front of my face. It might look pretty but beneath the surface was another story. The turbidity stirred from the north-easterly made Jolly Harbour a veritable swamp.

We hung out in Jolly Harbour for a day and a bit. The town, a relatively new development, is popular with cruisers who leave their boat during summer and sail here in winter season. Its also host to many condos and a few restaurants but nothing special so after filling our larder we headed over to Hermitage Bay. Argh! We did pay though.

Hermitage Bay

Now this is more like it! We were the only boat in the entire bay, a lovely quiet and large bay. 2 miles across and 3 miles deep and Ingomar the only boat to been seen. We had found a hide away! And a quick dinghy ride to a nearby beach provided us access to free open wifi from a fancy resort. Sort of piratish, don’t yah think? It was a lovely quiet night and the stars were incredible. Filbert sensed our privilege and spent twilight running full speed around the boat, over the dodger and across the pocket boom. He was having a ball and the birds that were flying around peaked his interest. I think he found his pirate spirit too.

Can’t catch me!
Al and Filly Playtime
Free Wifi Beach
First Mate
New Perch #1
Arghh, Captain Al
Pinch of Sun

Next morning I was up with the sun and out in our dinghy. There was a tiny island in front of us with birds and even though I can pull a good oar, I couldn’t get close enough to identify them. I also took the time to get a few snaps of Ingomar. Everything was covered in dew, the first we’d seen in ages. I put on a shirt with sleeves and my hood. It felt odd. It was a little chilly the night before (we had to cover up while sleeping).

The hermit gig was enjoyable but we hauled our anchor and headed back to Falmouth Harbour to do laundry and pick up our replacement alternator that we’d been waiting on for months, with any luck.

Ingmar’s Anchorage – Hermitage Bay
Early Morning Photo shoot
All Alone in Hermitage Bay
Dinghy Photography

Falmouth Harbour – Shipshape

Falmouth was much emptier than we’d last seen as many boats had cleared out after the winds and swell died down. We were happy to see Serendipitous and Toodle-oo as we came into port and shared happy hour aboard Serendipitous later that evening.

Laundry, water top up and FedEx were the priorities next day and once we had completed our list we headed back to Ingomar, and cleaned her, inside and out. The next morning we cleared customs and headed for Green Island, 15 miles towards the eastern coast of Antigua. It was nice to leave with Ingomar in shipshape.

“Shipshape & Bristol Fashion – In the heyday of sail the English seaport of Bristol enjoyed worldwide renown. The port had an usually variable tide range, so ships moored there would be aground at low tide and often time to one side. For this reason the “Bristol fashion” was to be sure everything was in first-class order, securely tied and stowed away”.

Falmouth at Night
Four guys rowed this boat across the Atlantic!
New Perch #2
Falmouth Harbour morning
Early Morning Paddle Boarder
Little Birds in Falmouth

Green Island

We’d heard the waters were clear in Green Island and offered good snorkelling prospects, so I was super excited to head there. The waters outside the entrance were exceptionally clear however inside there was not a whole lot of coral or sea life. Disappointing but the anchorage was behind a shoal without obstruction and it felt as if you had the entire ocean open in front of you, as if you were anchored in the middle of the Atlantic. I swam out to the shoal and watched the tide roll over it making some excellent surfing waves.

“Here’s to ourselves and hold your luff,
plenty of prizes and plenty of duff.”

We decide to keep heading south and see the north west coast of Antigua on our return visit. Antigua had been generous and we left with great memories and a full heart.

Green Island Approach
Bowsprit Balancing
Snorkeling on the shoal

Author: tess

A full-time adventurer, I am sailing our 37-foot Tartan with my husband and kitty, to the Caribbean from Newfoundland while documenting it on our blog, greatbigsail.com

6 thoughts on “Antigua – Part 2”

  1. AFT,

    Shiver me timbers!!
    This talk of pirates makes me think of hidden treasure, gold coins, rum..
    from the sounds of it, you’ve found many hidden treasures, imagine being the only boat in Hermitage Bay, wha?
    That scallywag, Filbert will have to walk the plank. He’s having a blast.
    Ha, ha
    Did you know that Obama is in the BVI’s. Keep your spy glasses and camera handy just in case.
    Your posts are extremely enjoyable, the photos amazing, helps with capturing the early morning light.
    Stay safe and happy.

    1. Hey Ger! We love getting a bay to ourselves and it feels pretty special. I imagine Obama is getting a well-deserved break but we probably aren’t frequenting the same places 🙂 Hope you’re enjoying all that snow! Love ya.

  2. Keep on sailing to those beautiful spots – you are sure keeping us all aboard with great adventures! Stay safe and God Bless!

  3. These blogs/pictures & details keep getting better.

    What an awesome lifestyle. Keep enjoying,stay safe & keep the updates flowing.

    Awesome.

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