Back in Antigua - First sail of the year!

View over English Harbor, Antigua.

Happy Valentines Day to you all! Must say it is very refreshing to ‘celebrate’ down here, don’t think I have seen a single heart posted anywhere, except that the restaurant we went to yesterday had a ‘Valentines special’ for todays dinner.

We have now been in the Caribbean for two weeks, Sweden feels vey far away and it is hard to imagine that only two weeks ago we were over there, in temperatures around 0°C surrounded by my family and friends. I always have had a bit of a hard time to change places, but I’m starting to learn that its not worth stressing about changing environments but stay in the moment and enjoy it and then just switch and enjoy the next place and situation..

Nanny Cay to Trellis Bay, BVI on Isbjorn

Andy and I arrived back to Isbjorn and the BVI on Feb. 1st, a long day of travel from Sweden, via London and Puerto Rico. It was a long day, but probably one of the smoothest travel days I can remember and we arrived to Nanny Cay where we had the boat around 8pm. Andy cooked up a simple dinner of rice and beans and I crashed straight after. We spent a full day there, provisioning the boat and getting her ready for sailing. Our friend Paul lives on the island and invited us over for dinner, it truly felt like ‘coming home’, being surrounded by old friends and living on the boat, I am starting to realise that I have many different homes now with all the traveling and sailing we do! 

The crew for our first leg was coming in on the 4th and we have planned to meet up in Trellis Bay, a 3 hr sail and a very nice shakedown for Andy and I before heading of. The beauty of having the boat in Trellis Bay is that the airport is literally two minutes walk away. We met up with the crew on the beach, had a drink and grabbed the last fast wifi for a while. 

The first destination was Ile Fourche, a small island just north of St. Barth’s. We left the BVI in the evening and sailed out through Round Rock Passage just as the sun was going down. The sail was an upwind beat for 24 hr, some of the crew was a bit quiz but had a blast. Sailing overnight was new to them all and I am pretty sure that after the upwind beat  in 18-22 kt of wind they all felt much more confident in their own sailing skills and the boat. 

Ile Fourche is one of our favourite anchorage. It is nice and quite, about 5-10 boats at the most and nothing ashore, only rocks and some spiky bushes. The island used to have goats on it, as they say, but they ate all the vegetation and then disappeared. The plan was to wake up before the sun for a sunrise hike to the peak but we all were exhausted from the sail and decided a ‘morning hike’ was more appropriate. It was windy at the top but the view as advertised, just spectacular! Instad of rushing of to St. Barth’s straight away, we opted out ads stayed another night on anchor in Ile Fourche, spending the day swimming and snorkelling off the boat. Andy put on an introduction to Celestial Navigation and I got my Sailrite out to replace a broken clip on one of the Bimini straps. 

It was a quick sail over to St. Barth’s the next day and we dropped anchor and went ashore. St. Barth’s is the place in the Caribbean for the rich and famous. It once belonged to Sweden, ironically, but we gave it away to France. The Swedish flag is proudly flying ashore and the streets both have Swedish and French names! Pretty cool as a Swede!

The next ‘long’ passage was from St. Barth’s to Falmouth, Antigua. We left mid-afternoon and had a spectacular night. The wind out of the East, a little bit less that the first sail. The moon almost full, stars shining bright and the lights from the nearby islands of Statia, St. Kitts and Nevis. At the end of my watch of 22-01 we were down by Rondonda and ready to tack. The crew did not want the sail to end and we arrived to Falmouth Harbor by 10 am on Friday morning. 

It’s great to be back in Antigua again, Andy and I spent about three weeks here last year when we had the rudder repaired. Both of us fell in love with the mellowness of the island and the beautiful scenery. We cleared custom and had dinner with the crew at ‘Trappas’. As usual we opted for the Grilled Snapper with sides! The next day our crew Tom and Kevin took of back to their families in the USA and back to a real winter. Irene and Vlado are staying a few more days,enjoy the island before heading back to Canada. We took them up on the hills between English Harbor and Falmouth, a spectacular hike of about a mile overlooking the ocean and the harbours with goats running around.

We now have a few more days in Antigua before the next crew arrive. The next trip is the RORC Caribbean 600, it will be a completely different trip than the last, now with a total of 10 people onboard and maximising the speed. Not sure if I will like racing, but we’ll find out! :)

Check out more photos from the first Leg here!