Dinghy drama reaps rich rewards on Great Bird Island

The wind is howling this morning. We are going to have a swift sail South to Jolly Harbor. We are anchored at Great Bird Island, an isolated spot in northern Antigua.

We visited the island yesterday by dinghy. It was not without drama. We were using oars, no motor. Why? It’s part of the RYA Competent Canoe curriculum.

As we paddled towards the Atlantic the current was strong. As we neared the shallows, one of our crew (Julia) jumped in the water to guide us away from the rocks. Somehow when she re-entered the dinghy the dinghy drain was kicked and we started to let on water. A lot of water.

Walking the dinghy towards the Atlantic Ocean
Walking the dinghy to beat the current of  the Atlantic Ocean

Fighting with the drain and another hole somewhere we started to bail out the dinghy.  We used shoes, a snorkel mask and two water bottles. My water bottle was a lame bailer because it had a narrow mouth opening.

Our skipper, Ian, draining the dinghy on the beach
Our skipper, Ian, draining the dinghy on the beach

Quickly, we made it ashore to the most wonderful, Robinson Crusoe-style beach you could imagine.

Great Bird Island, Antigua
Great Bird Island, Antigua
Beach shack on Great Bird Island, Antigua
Beach shack on Great Bird Island, Antigua

Great Bird Island is a protected area. It is 20 acres. We hiked to the highest point of the island and were amongst sea birds, geckos and interesting flowers. There was a cave which led down to the ocean. When the waves are rough the water spills through the cave opening and up to the top of Great Bird Island.

A view to the Atlantic Ocean through a cave in Great Bird Island
A view to the Atlantic Ocean through a cave in Great Bird Island

We paddled back to SV Miramar – a Bermudian sloop – as the sun was setting.

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