In March 2004 Liz and Jamie returned to Antigua for a little spring break. It was a chance to catch up with some old friends (Dobby was still house elf-ing in the area), spin a few tunes at the local club and start on the long quest to find a boat. Three of the 10 days of the holiday were spent patrolling the boat yards, reading the local press and getting friendly with the yacht brokers.
It was whilst they were there that Dobby introduced Liz and Jamie to Geoff and Nicki. Geoff, like Dobby, was a shipwright and had sailed his S&S over to Antigua the year previous, and Nicki, also on a break, was over visiting Geoff. Both were from the Isle of Wight and both were competent sailors. On more than one occasion Geoff had single-handedly crossed the Atlantic!
One drunken night Geoff decided to organise a little trip from English Harbour on the south coast of Antigua round to Green Island. Although it was only 9nm away it proved to be a fantastic little two-day trip. We stocked up on provisions, ensuring we had plenty of ice in the ice-box, and set sail on the Saturday morning. On our way round the south east corner we passed two huge turtles cruising with the tide and then we tacked and aimed towards the island. The day was crystal clear, very hot and enough wind to be cruising at a comfortable speed of around 6 knots.
When we turned the corner we anchored up on the north side of the island and within half an hour we were joined by two other boats, including a South African couple who’s boat was covered completely in black and white zebra stripes! Definitely ocean hippies. After a swim and a snorkel we hit the beach, lit a fire, cooked a veg stew in the pressure cooker and cracked open some ice-cold beers. I don’t need to tell you that THIS was the ultimate in bliss.
The next morning Dobby, Geoff and Jamie busted their lungs by scraping the underside of the boat, just to give it a quick clean. Meanwhile Nicki cooked a fantastic bread loaf in the pressure cooker. Note to buy one of those for our boat!
After another swim and a quick hack on land to the top of the island we hoisted anchor and headed back towards English Harbour, making use of the trade winds and the tide to run goose wing at a fair whack. It may only have been a 24 hour excursion but this must have been the closest we have come to the ideal cruise. Our thanks go out to Geoff and Nicki for making it such an enjoyable trip and one that we’ll never (want to) forget.