Green Island

Green Island and the No See Ums (you can’t see them in the photo either)

Green Island gets a good press. The Cruising Guide calls it “charming” and goes on about the abundant birdlife and the snorkelling on the reefs. The Caribbean Compass calls it a “must-do” and puts it in the top-five Antigua destinations.

So, I was rather excited to get away from the ministrations of Jesse the mechanic at English Harbour and the Nanni diesel agent (who wasn’t) in Falmouth.

This was going to be wild cruising.

I anchored in Ricketts Bay. I blew up the dinghy. I went ashore to inspect the wildlife.

Have you met the No See Um? I thought they only had them in the Pacific – a sand fly that is so small as to be practically invisible (hence the name) but packs a bite which on a pain-to- weight ratio leaves the Scottish midge at the starting gate.

To begin with, I thought the wind had got up and was blowing the sand along the beach – remember how it used to sting at the seaside when the British bank holiday weather turned on the Monday afternoon?

But there was no great gale of wind – just the stinging sensation. Eventually I spotted the tiny black specs on my arm. Honestly, they’re smaller than grains of sand.

But ouch! This was agony.

I ran back to the dinghy. I rowed towards the boat.

But of course, the No See Ums went with me – still crawling, still biting.

I did think of diving over the side, but my little dinghy is so small and light that getting back into it from the water is virtually impossible. It turns over before you get halfway. In fact, I’ve only managed it once and that was at the Yacht Club dock in Sint Maarten when I was drunk (I’m not sure how much help that was because it follows that if I hadn’t been drunk, I wouldn’t have fallen in in the first place…)

Instead, I grabbed a T-shirt, dunked it in the water and sluiced myself down. When I reached the boat, the first thing I did was to dive over the side.

Never mind, I had a better idea: Opposite Green Island is Nonsuch Bay which the Guide calls a “gunkholer’s paradise”. In particular, there is Hughes Bay where the Harmony Hall resort welcomes yachties on the same terms as its regular guests – who have an inclusive deal. This means there is a set price for the buffet – effectively an “eat as much as you like” deal.

This would not normally seem so exciting since vegetarianism has yet to make much impression on the Caribbean. But breakfast: Now, that might be an option…

I went looking for Harmony Hall.

First, I found a private dock with two prominent notices to that effect.

Then, what appeared to be a hotel on the point with steps leading up from a little stone dock decorated with conch shells.

I walked up the steps. I walked all round the place – I couldn’t work it out: It seemed deserted but the swimming pool was still full (although somewhat neglected). There was a car in the garage, doors open and rubbish scattered about. It wasn’t until I got down to the end of the drive and the locked gates that it appeared this was not Harmony Hall but Cinnamon Point.

Across to the other side of the bay, then – there was another dock over there.

And a private beach. With rows of sun loungers on the sand which someone had carefully raked to remove any trace of guests.

There weren’t any – at least, not until I heard the sound of voices and followed them past the beach bar (closed), past rows of self-catering cabins (all shut up) until I came to the infinity pool and a solitary American family splashing about. Apparently, the resort has been sold and the new owners yet to take over. Anyway, no as-many-as-you-like pancakes…

Tomorrow I shall sail to Barbuda. Barbuda is open, I believe.

2 Responses to Green Island

  • It’s always a pleasure to read your stories from the field. Please, keep up the good work.

    • Hello John,

      always a treat to read your missives – and a reason I think I’m happy to sail between the UK & south UK coast…

      I first heard of the ‘ no see ums ‘ in the book ‘ Narrow Dog to Indian River ‘ by Terry Darlingnton, the sequel to his excellent ‘ Narrow Dog to Charcassone ‘ – then on the profits of the first book they had their British narrow boat transported to the US Intracoastal Waterway; all my late Dad and I picked up from the book was ‘ everything there is out to kill you ! ‘ from alligators, no-see-ums ( being the major snag, like a souped up version of the Midges in Scotland ) to pissed up locals with big guns.

      Thanks for your messages, I and others enjoy them hugely – I’m computer daft but if I can contribute a bit vicariously please let me know.

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