Except the engine wouldn't start, leaving us feeling vulnerable in the fairly exposed anchorage. Normally switched separately to guard against exactly this eventuality, except when I forgot, our batteries had both been drained by our heavy laptop use courtesy of Dickenson Bay resort's wifi. Not a good moment. But for the first - and almost certainly last - time, we were grateful for jetskis: they use starter batteries. Lugging a heavy battery ashore in the dinghy, we asked nicely and it was soon hooked up to a charger for a few hours' boost. We had a drink in the bar and wandered along the shore for a swim. We couldn't help noticing the deadly bored demeanour of the holidaymakers there. Perhaps they were disgruntled to find themselves on this rather scrubby outpost of a beach rather than among the gleaming white sands and reef-blue waters the Sandals brochure, no doubt, had promised...
We waited a decent amount of time, headed back, re-installed the battery, and were on our way. Anchored again in Jolly Harbour, we told Bella of our plans and dinghied into the supermarket. Hailed by a late middle-aged couple from their Legend on the way back, we went over for drinks and a chat. A happier evening than the one before.
|Rain off Antigua|
We couldn't have asked for an easier trip north (or, from a sailing point of view, a less satisfactory one). We left Antigua the next day with a nice breeze, and soon some heavy rain. I waited outside the customs hut for more than an hour to clear out - the customs lady, totally unapologetic, explained she'd been doing her shopping.
The plan was to head to Nevis, but it was straight to windward and we altered course for a more comfortable sail to St Martin. But the often-boisterous Caribbean soon slept, and before long we were motoring over a sea calmer than we had seen for weeks. Natalie, as Chief Dolphin Spotter, duly saw just those on her early evening watch. The islands of Kitts and Nevis stood hazy-blue on the horizon to the west towards dusk, and we carried on through the night. Shooting stars and lightning flickering silently on the horizon. It was a while since we'd done night watches.
Not long after dawn, we approached St Martin and dropped anchor in the large harbour. I had a swim. We slept. Later in the day we found the uncomfortably high-walled fuel berth where a friendly Rastafarian refilled our tanks, ready for the second half of the trip. We got away without signing in.
|At anchor off Saint Martin|
It was comforting to have islands in sight all the way on these two passages: Nevis, Kitts, Saba, St Barts... For some time it was just us, the wind and the sound of the waves. Sadly, inevitably, the wind died and it was back to the drone of the engine. We raised the BVIs early the next morning.
|BVIs from the south|
|Final morning approach to Spanish Town, and the end of our 300-mile dash north.|