December 16th 2010: Hello St. Lucia!

Enigma's Transatlantic Voyage
Manuel Ribeiro
Fri 17 Dec 2010 22:40

14:04.00N 60:57.00W




We have made it! 45 days have passed since we left Lisbon and set sail with St. Lucia on our minds. After 6 stopovers, over 4,000 nautical miles and lots and lots of fun, the paradise island has become a reality.


It started the night before when we settled in to our final night shifts. St. Lucia was about 60 miles away and we had our eyes peeled for the first signs of land. By about 2 in the morning, when Ze was out on watch and Boyan was checking out the stars for the last time, two separate, large glows faintly appeared on the horizon; these were the night lights exuding from the islands of St. Lucia and Martinique – and the glow slowly became larger and larger. By the time Pena came up on board to take over the night-watch, Ze and Boyan were so excited that they stayed up past 3 in the morning. Much to our content, Pena assured us all that he would wake us up at sunrise – when the mountainous landscape of St. Lucia became visible.


Sure enough, at the crack of dawn, it had appeared -- like a mirage in the distance. The clustered landmass of jagged hills, with the impressive Mount Piton peaking at the centre, was only 20 miles away. We had made it!


Though we were well aware of how beautiful the island was, no scenic videos, touristy posters or Johnny Depp Disney movies could ever emulate its true splendour. With tropical greenery sweeping over the entire island -- protruding from the clear blue colour of the sea -- it was nothing short of magical. The closer we got to St. Lucia, the more breathtaking it became. It was not only the view, the time and effort put into this voyage made the sight a gratifying symbol of accomplishment. If this wasn’t enough, dolphins came lazily swimming by our starboard side to welcome us back to land.


We approached the northern end of the island, towards Rodney Bay marina, eagerly anticipating our first time on land in 17 days. The welcomed sight of other boats started appearing as we got closer and closer. When we looped around the island’s northern end, the finish line – marked by a small sailing boat bearing dozens of colourful flags – was a few hundred metres away. A man in a dinghy approached us with a large camera to document our finish: lights, camera, action! Sailing upwind, we approached the finish line, made our final tack and next thing you know…


At 9:32 AM local time, 15th December 2010, we made it!


It felt surreal; the crew received the ARC’s personal welcome on the radio as we congratulated one another in excitement. We couldn’t wait to eat fresh food, see the friends we made back in Las Palmas and just step foot on land! While approaching the marina, we passed by colonial style houses perched just off of the water, receiving welcomes from other crews as well as the locals.


When we made it to our docking spot, we were greeted by 2 people from the ARC organisation, 2 St. Lucians with punch, beer and a gift basket waiting and, last but not least, a Rasta playing a steel drum. We were approaching a spot next to a Portuguese crew we had known before as well as a boat with a Danish friend that the boys made. We truly felt welcomed.


Shortly after securing the boat, we all jumped on land. Though we all were off-balance by our sea legs, it was a great feeling to have our feet back on the ground. We had a good chat with everyone that had welcomed us and drinks went all around.


When the initial excitement subsided, something else crept up in our minds: food. We quickly made our way to the closest restaurant and enjoyed a delicious Chicken Roti (Chicken and potatoes wrapped with a baked dough crust). It was very, very good. What made it even better was that the service was very warm and friendly – and none of us had to do the dishes! We also caught glimpses of CNN – slowly reconnecting ourselves back to the world.


Afterwards, Pena went off to book tickets for his plane back home, and managed to get a flight out for that night. Despite our protests that he should stay with us and enjoy the Caribbean, he assured us that he was in it for the sailing experience and was fully content. So we sat down for champagne, taking time to look back on everyone’s favourite memories (see previous blog). Time had passed, and just like that, we exchanged farewells and wished Pena a safe flight back.


So this is to you Pena; the eager teacher, the boat’s philosopher and the mealtime joker. It was an absolute pleasure to have had you on board – from the day we left Portugal to the end at St. Lucia. We all hope to see you soon, whether it be in Portugal, Switzerland or anywhere else!


So with Pena’s departure, we all settled down for dinner -- eating a meal for the first time without one of the Enigma Crew members. Though the luxury of eating at another restaurant was certainly to our liking, it was bittersweet.


Finally, this led to us making our way towards the bustling party occurring within the marina. Manuel and Ze walked through to check out the atmosphere, but they soon had enough of celebrating for the day and called it a night. The boys, on the other hand, had different plans altogether. They met up with friends and looked to make it a night for the ages. And with all the new faces, reggae and rum they could ask for, it was exactly that!


And with that comes the end of our much awaited day of celebration. It is difficult to wrap up such an extraordinary day, but a few words can help give it justice: thrilling, sea legs, breathtaking, Roti, rum, relief, accomplishment, reggae, gratitude, fun, paradise, magical, welcomed, relaxing and, of course, ENIGMA HAS MADE IT TO ST. LUCIA!!!!!


Over the next month, Enigma will continue sailing around the East Caribbean islands and we will post some updates every few days on (at least once a week until mid January). Thanks to all of you for following us during this incredible adventure,


The Enigma Crew


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