John and Susie Blair.
Sun 16 Dec 2012 21:40
So here we are in sunny Barbados! The local people are so lovely, kind and mega friendly.
Martin, Louise and Ross stayed just a few days and elected to leave before flight prices hiked. What great crew they were, especially Ross who though a qualified skipper and Lifeboatman was completely new to sailing but soon picked it up and now has the practical knowledge to handle a keelboat and set sails in light winds right up to severe gales, he was a credit to himself and is now, i'm sure, a step closer to rising to the top of his chosen career. As ever, he never complained even though his bunk was located in the saloon where there was always someone coming and going, no door to give privacy etc.
Susie, the least experienced of our crew and certainly a complete newcomer to small boats let alone sailing offshore was just incredible!. She, like myself is somehow immune to 'Mal de Mer' (seasickness) and no matter how testing the conditions she remained upbeat and though not experienced enough to perform deckwork her role was to keep the Captain happy which she did very well, lol! I don't think many people can say that their introduction to sailing was a transatlantic crossing and now with few distractions we can get down to several months of 'one to one' tuition from which i'm sure she'll learn to be a valuable 'hands on' sailor on future adventures.
Few watches were missed despite the intense heat and lack of proper rest, tough going at times but that's the cruising life...sometimes not all plain sailing! no air conditioning and no calm sea making ones sleep easy, anyone seeking this should consider Royal Caribbean, Carnival or P&O perhaps.
I think the worst of it is when the rain is beating down and we have to close the hatches but then there's always the option to have a 'rain wash n' shower' as Martin did at one point. The rain was usually short lived though never the less when the heat was getting too much Ross, Susie and myself would go on deck and douse ourselves with a bucket of seawater, despite the sea being warm it was a great way to cool off.
Thankfully our freshwater just lasted out, on arrival in Bridgetown Commercial Dock the taps ran dry! This is my fourth Atlantic crossing in Chelone and the water's always lasted though with five crew this time instead of the usual four I was extra vigilant of our consumption, not always to everyone's liking and call me 'picky' but one cannot stress how important fresh water is onboard an ocean going yacht, life depends on it for sure.
So, as I write, Xmas Reggae is playing through the local radio station onboard Chelone as Susie marinates chicken pieces ready for the BBQ tonight.....Sunday dinner Barbados style! (Thanks Ross for leaving the Heinz Tomato Ketchup!). We don't have any set plans....I think we'll enjoy the Xmas atmosphere here in Barbados then maybe make the short crossing to Grenada to see in the new year, I've only heard good things about it and we can't wait to explore the island and it's neighbour, Cariacou.
Internet in the Caribbean is always sporadic and Barbados is no exception! We'll be updating the blog as much as possible so for those of you who are interested keep an eye out for us!
For now, fair winds and following seas!
John & Susie x