So we’ve been in Antigua for 7 weeks now. At the moment P is working at a local boatbuilding company topping up our much depleted bank account. The kids and I are doing boat school in the morning and generally either doing chores in the afternoon or hanging out with our friends on the beach. So life has taken on a different rhythm and I must say I am really enjoying reclaiming the weekend. We are feeling fairly settled, have made a few local friends and are getting to know Falmouth Bay very well. So not really anything super exciting to report as the weeks sort of merge into each other. But I must tell you about our first week here. The week of hitting the cruising sweet spot. The week where we visited the magical Barbuda and all was well in our world.
We arrived in Antigua on 18th February and anchored in the gorgeous and rather famous English Harbour just off Galleon Beach. We were surrounded by familiar sights (P and I spent a few months anchored in this bay in 2004) and even more excitedly familiar boats. We had a rather rum fuelled reunion with the lovely Emerald Bay gang, followed by a pancake breakfast for 9 kids on Blue Zulu the next day – amazing how kids can suss out a pancake from anywhere in the bay! We had a wonderful catch up with our lovely friends Morgan and Cheryl (who we met in Antigua 12 years ago!!) – they are finally abandoning the world of super-yachts to join the boat gypsies aboard their own boat – yay!!
After enjoying the rather stunning start to the Caribbean 600 sailing race off English Harbour, we sailed up to Non Such Bay on the east coast of Antigua in the wonderful company of the crews of Sta Vast, Itchy Foot, Emerald Bay, Sandy Cheeks, Bonaire and Dana De Mer. The kids filled their days swimming between the different boats, snorkelling, fishing, being pulled on the donut behind the dinghy, swinging off the spinnaker pole and just generally being little fish! The parents enjoyed a few social gatherings too – beach BBQs, sundowners, pot lucks. Everyone was very happy. And then we headed to Barbuda.
Barbuda is the little sister island to Antigua but to be honest it’s hard to see any family resemblance. Antigua is busy, rammed with super-yachts, cruise ships and holiday makers while Barbuda is an isolated sleepy little island where birds greatly outnumber people. It’s just one smooth, sandy low-rise amidst reef-filled waters with the clearest and bluest water we’ve encountered in the Caribbean and that’s saying something!
We had a few wonderfully lazy days in Barbuda – just swimming, walking, snorkelling, relaxing. There were eagle rays just under the boat, turtles all around the bay and dolphins just off the reef. From the impromptu party on Blue Zulu upon arrival to the amazing sunset lobster BBQ on the beach, everything about Barbuda was perfect. The company, the water, the island – wow! We just didn’t have enough time and hope we get to go back.
It was a magical week. A week where friendship, laughter, fun, adventure and sunshine all made amazing memories. A week where you just know you are doing the right thing by choosing this mad boat gypsy lifestyle. How lucky we are.