Lilli Mae - On the way home - Leg 5 - Caribbean Cruise
Wed 25 Dec 2019 16:56
Hi Everyone, Happy Christmas! Hope you are all having a great time wherever you are.
We left St Lucia on the 22nd December for the sail 240 miles north to St Kitts. The Caribbean Cruise (Leg 5) is not quite that in as much as we have "sprinted" past the islands of Martinique, Dominica, Guadeloupe and Montserrat before arriving in Port Zante, St Kitts after 40 hours sailing. We did have good wind for most of the trip but we got into the wind shadows of each of the islands and used the engine for about 7 hours to keep moving. We sailed mainly on a beam and close reach, starboard tack and when we had wind it was 18-20 knots from the east. Even with the wind the sun was so strong that we had to put the bimini up for respite from the heat. We realised that keeping look out whilst sailing up the coast was really important. This was in contrast to the 3 weeks of sailing the Atlantic when there were very few obstacles to run in to and little traffic to avoid.
We did get some cool pictures along the way. On Sunday (22nd) we were enjoying the sunset a huge pod of dolphins came chasing after us; it was amazing. Although we had seen dolphins visit us before the sheer number made this an incredible sight. We managed to get most of it on video and we have clipped a picture from it. Hopefully you will be able to get a feel for what it was like.
On Monday 23rd we had light winds and we managed to get the drone flying and took the ultimate selfie. It was a bit stressful getting it back on board but we managed to get some good footage of us sailing; mind you it could have been in any ocean! Anyway 2 successful flights and we still have the drone on board!
We arrived Port Zante at about 5 AM local time; it was still dark and we tried to find our way into the marina we had planned to stay at. Trying to get in was really difficult and quite scary; as we were approaching, the area was not well lit and we noticed some structures in the dark that we were not expecting to see. It gave us a bit of a fright and so we decided to circle around in the bay for an hour or so until it got light. As we approached in daylight we realised that what we had seen in the dark was a new cruise line docking pontoon that was not marked on our charts! That could have been a very easy mistake to make with potentially disastrous consequences. When we finally got into Port Zante marina at about 7 AM local time to find that it was not a very nice place and as a result we were not happy to leave to Lilli Mae there. We ended up motoring across the bay to a place we had spotted on our charts called Christophe Harbour in Salty Pond, St Kitts. This place is amazing and clearly not really catering for vessels like Lilli Mae sailors like us; the pontoons are all too big for Lilli Mae and most of the boats parked there are 30-40 metre super yachts. It is almost like Lilli Mae and we had turned up at the Burj al Arab in Dubai which is one of the most luxurious hotels in the world! We know that she will be safe there!
We cleared customs and immigration, bought 3 loud shirts for US$25 and headed to our hotel. Last night we had pina colada (multiple) and dinner on the beach at the Shiddiggy Shack and then we hit the sack. Last night was the first time we had slept in a bed on dry land for 6 weeks. Needless to say it was a very welcome Christmas break! This morning we opened some of the secret packages our wives had prepared before we left Las Palmas and went to breakfast donning Santa hats and wishing everyone a "Happy Christmas".
So what now? Well we plan to leave St Kitts at midday tomorrow (Thursday 26th December). We have to sail another 120 miles to BVI and we are expecting it will take us 24 hours. The weather forecast is for light winds from the south and so we expecting to motor for parts of the journey. We plan to arrive in Nanny Cay marina early morning on the 27th December which will give enough time for us to tidy up Lilli Mae and pack to our journey home.
We will send a another message before we sign off for 2020 and so we will have to opportunity to wish you all a Happy New Year. In the meantime we wish you a great Christmas and Boxing Day.
We will be in contact.
The Crew on Lilli Mae