Hello everyone and apologies for our email silence since arriving. It wasn’t simply that we have been on the beer since landing – just a combination of being busy and lazy.
Internet access, along with a lot of the island infrastructure, is also pretty hit and miss. However it is Stephen’s day now and I am getting a pain in my ear from everyone complaining about the absence of blog activity – so I thought I’d try and catch
We arrived in at 1.35’57’’ AM on Sat 15th after almost 3 weeks at sea. It was a pity we arrived in at night – it was also chucking down rain, and then the marina was full so we were berthed on the fuel dock along side.
I was something of an anticlimax after 3 weeks at sea. We had hoped for something of a party atmosphere and Caribbean sunshine, instead we had rain and diesel fumes, The nice Arc people did arrive with our fruit basket, and rum punch, and we really appreciated
that. We had a couple of beers, soggy peanuts and then blissful sleep – the first time in three weeks with no one on watch and amazingly a bunk that did not move!
I awoke around 7.00 AM to hear Kevin chatting to someone in the cockpit and came up to find the yacht Graptolite rafted alongside. She is another Bavaria 44 and arrived in a few hours after us – Teutonic efficiency?
Joanne from the catamaran, Blue Dolphin, in front of us arrived over with fresh pancakes for the newly arrived yachts which was a really nice touch. She did the A|RC 2007 and has been sailing around a lot since. Blue Dolphin is owned by Steve Turnbull
– another new friend – who spends a lot of time out here – see www.steveturnbull.co.uk.
Later on in the morning we headed around on foot to the marina, dumped the laundry and went a café for breakfast. First time I had Heineken for breakfast. We spent a few hours making phone calls and texting folk back home letting them know of our safe
arrival. It was a lot of fun. Then we had a phone call from Kevin Heery – skipper of Sabrina – an ARC boat from Galway – there was a free berth beside them. We caught a taxi around to the fuel dock, slipped our mooring and went over to Sabrina. At last we got
a real welcome – we even had another fruit basket and rum punch welcome from the St Lucian tourist board. It was so great to see Kevin and the crew from Sabrina, Mike, Nicky, Rod, Aoife & Liam - all of them (apart from Aoife!) sporting genuine maritime beards.
We enjoyed a few more beers on the dock and swapped stories before heading out to dinner.
The next few days:
The next day or two was spent on housework. We gout our laundry back (learning to calibrate ourselves to Island time) cleaned the boat – it wasn’t to bad – but we had a good greasy galley area and lots of just build up of detritus form 3 weeks at sea.
We sorted out all of the food, junked the best before expired stuff. Since Martin & Lori from Graptolite were doing the world Arc we gave them most of our dry stocks: The Caribbean supermarkets are a not as well stocked as El Cort Ingles and Fizz ( the foodies’
yacht) was way over stocked.
Chris managed to locate a kite surfing instructor, a personal taxi driver (Anto), a hair braiding specialist and a steel drum maker with 24 hours. Chris gets the high energy award – is anyone who knows Chris surprised?? We went to a welcome party on Pigeon
Island on Sunday night, replete with steel drum band, fire eaters and limbo dancers, Strangely they ran out of rum & beer at the pay bar – so much for entrepreneurial spirit. It was here that Chris got his first taste of, and lesson in, the steel drums. Chris
& I indulged ourselves in our first sea swim, during which someone with a sense of humour hid our clothes.
Later in the week we were invited to dinner by Mark & SJ, friends of Ciaran’s on “Persuader Too” a fancy Beneteau 57 - There we met John & Irene from Australia (Southern Princess – another Beneteau 57). John & Irene were also doing the world Arc as far
as Australia – so we gave them the remainder of our frozen meat and bread flour. Nice to see it all go to a good home.
We found some great places for eating and some to be avoided. A fairly common theme in all commercial transactions is the lack of urgency with which they are carried out. If you watch the Malibu adds on TV you may think this makes everyone very laid back
– in fact it makes them all stressed out – because everything is back logged. One day Ciaran and myself went to Scuttlebutts on the marina for lunch. A beer and a glass of wine to start? Well no, the had run out of wine. Two burgers? Nah, they had run out of
burgers. Prawn salad and garlic bread? Four prawns arrived and 40 minutes later (and many apologies) the garlic bread.
One night I was chatting to my friend Paul Collister on IM. Paul did the ARC last year (blog.mailasail.com/lady-stardust) and recommended a restaurant called Buzz We went along and of course bumped into the Sabrina crew there so all 13 of us sat down
to one of the finest meals we had.
Michelle & Ger from Simanderel recommended a place called “The Edge” to us and Ciaran brought us there the night before he & Chris flew home. Wow! On the way in we saw the cook weighing some Mahi-Mahi at the kitchen door – about 25lbs each. We had a
really great meal there, including some sashimi. It was so good I made a booking for the gamily on Christmas day.
On Christmas eve, while waiting for my son Neil to arrive at Castries airport, we had grilled chicken salad and beer from a van at the side of the street outside the airport. It was amazingly good and cheap - a bit disconcerting though when we saw rats
The boat Christiana, of Gibraltar, was the last official ARC yacht to arrive after almost 4 weeks. She had a broken forestay and had to do a lot of motoring. She won a prize of a weeks car rental – sponsored by the local oil company – for having the most
engine hours logged ;)
The yacht Jigsaw got in a couple of days after Christmas. The skipper had an accident leaving Las Palmas resulting in a very bad had cut. He had to return for stitches and was not allowed to sail until they were removed – week later. He got in around 11.00PM
and we had a good crowd on the dock with various bottles of cheer to welcome him & his young family. His first question when got tied up? “has anyone got a cigarette?”
Well thanks to everyone who has been following us especially if you stuck it out this far.
I’ll try put some photos together for whenever I can find a high bandwidth link.