It was a very special feeling to be back in the Caribbean. Here we were again after three years…we made it, we circumnavigated the globe as a family…. what a great achievement. It makes you feel proud, thankful and also a bit melancholic. In your head you see again and again the pictures of all these beautiful places we have been able to visit in the past three years. This is something we will always keep in our hearts. It had never been my goal to circumnavigate and Andre would have never managed to convince me to commit for more than two maybe three years. I committed for two years thinking it might would end up in three years and then we would be back. But at some point, I think it was when we were in Australia, I started thinking it would be nice to bring the boat back to Europe. When we met these other kids boats in Port Moresby all heading to the Mediterranean through the Red Sea I was completely in. As you know our plans changed again afterwards… especially in sailing, plans are very often there to be changed… I am very happy that we did it that way.
Antigua is a beautiful island. Especially Pigeon Point Beach and English harbour are stunning. We wanted to stay one night at the dock at the Antigua Yacht Club to wash down all the salt from the passage but unfortunately there was no running water on the dock. The repairs did not progress as planned so we moved to the anchorage in front of Pigeon Point Beach. There were a lot of turtles and spotted rays around and the snorkelling was beautiful. On the beach there were some nice woodden huts where you could have a picnic. The girls were of course happy when they saw our South African friends of FREEDOM arrive. We had some beautiful days together. Did a wonderful hike up to the Shirley Heights Lookout together and Deirdre and me hiked from Pigeon Point Beach to Nelsons Dockyard one afternoon and afterwards we met Andre, Michael and the three girls for dinner at Flatties Flame Grill. There was still a curfew at 8 pm but for a early dinner it was just fine.
Karsten & family were in Antigua as well. After their sailing week in Thailand they had bought a Lagoon catamaran and named it ARIA. Karsten and Xiaolei were separated now but crossed the Atlantic with the ARC rally in November. Xiaolei was following them since on land. She invited us over for lunch in her Air B&B at Hodges Bay. There was a lot to catch up with and we spent a beautiful day together.
A few days later Karsten, Lucia and Lucia arrived on ARIA as well. It was great to see each other again after a bit more than a year. After Mallorca and Thailand it was the third time we met on our journey but now, for the first time, they were cruising on their own boat. They had made a beautiful Mirabella with crew chocolate cake creation for our circumnavigation and we celebrated on their beautiful spacious boat. With ARIA there was also another kids boat SELKIE. André had been in contact with Nick on social media before and it was great to finally meet them. The curfew was lifted and we had a nice sushi dinner at the Yacht Club with FREEDOM, ARIA, SELKIE and a few other boats from the ARC fleet.
We moved to Green island, a great anchorage on the eastern side of Antigua, very popular for kite surfing. There were not many boats there on our arrival and we managed to get a well protected spot close to the small beach. ARIA was there with us and more and more boats of the ARC fleet followed. It is a perfect spot for a beach fire and many of the cruisers joined. It was a beautiful evening with snake bread and a lot of grilled marshmellows.
André arranged a haul out at North Sound Marina to fix a leaking seacock and in addition we wanted to redo our antifouling. Unfortunately the product we had put on in Reunion was not that good. Already in South Africa where we had a diver cleaning the hull we had a lot more barnacles than you could expect after such a short period. So, we moved to North Sound Marina and hauled out. André was taking care of the leaking seacock, which turned out to be more complicated than we thought and therefore I was in charge of the antifouling. It was a lot of work but also fun. It is good to see the progress of your work and have a beautiful boat at the end. We had completely forgotten that Easter holiday was ahead of us, so we just did not make it on time to splash back into the water before. We did not want to rush and give it enough time to dry. André had rented a car so we could see a bit of the surroundings. We drove to St. Johns and also to Jolly Harbour.
We splashed back into the water after Easter and sailed down to Falmouth to meet FREEDOM again. They were almost done with their engine project. Rumours spread that you could get a COVID vaccine at one of the vaccination centers as the local people were not really keen of getting vaccinated. Jaël and Amina could stay with Michael, Deirdre and Meghan and André and me took the local bus to St. Johns. It all worked out perfectly. We did not have to wait very long and got our vaccination. We thought this would probably help on our further travels to Bermuda and New York.
Our time in Antigua was coming to an end. It was time to move on to Bermuda. We wanted to stop there to get the US Visa at the American embassy. André had filled out all the necessary forms but an interview at an embassy is mandatory. To get an appointment at the embassy we needed to be in Bermuda first. Despite all our efforts we could not persuade FREEDOM to sail up North with us. They decided to spend the hurricaine season in Grenada… another sad goodbye… We would have loved to cruise with them a little bit longer. Karsten from ARIA decided to come with us up to New York and Canada with us. How cool to travel up North together!