PINBALL WIZARD - DAY 25 - 18 Feb 2012
Saturday, 18 February 2012
POSITION: 13:15.58N 59:38.73W PORT ST CHARLES
Sailed into St Charles Port, Barbados at 1320 under genoa and mizzen with the main tucked away which kept it simple, and called up the marina here on VHF. No, we couldn’t have a berth - they were full. So change of plan, unlash the anchor and drop the hook in idyllic surrounds with palm trees lining the beach, and Hobby Cats whizzing around in the offshore breeze. Alfie pumped up Perky the dinghy, we hoisted it over the lifelines on the mast winch and I shot off ashore to get clearance through Customs and Immigration. The three offices were all next to each other in the Marina - Customs, Health and Immigration, and I started the inevitable form filling whilst the lady sang along to Tom Jones playing at max volume in her office. It wasn’t long before I was singing along too thinking this is alright. But it did extend proceedings considerably as I had to get her to repeat everything several times with the noise levels being as they were. Then it was Health, next door. Not quite so affable, and the same information filling in more forms. Then it was wait for the lady from Immigration to come back from wherever, during which time I met Mike and Kelly, a young couple ‘clearing in’ like me. ‘How long did it take you then?’ I asked with that jaunty familiarity found amongst fellow travellers. Sixty one days said Mike, sounding tired. Expressing surprise, I found out two things - one he’d left from Morocco, and two he’d rowed it.
Later I was looking down at his boat - shared with a friend - a purpose built Ocean crossing rowboat with solar panels, autopilot, watermaker, compass and gps, marvelling at his fortitude and pure guts. Having weathered 3, 4 and occasionally 5metre seas I would not have liked to have been looking up at them from a rowboat. Respect. Our own achievement sort of paled a bit after that!
Clearance completed, with at least a dozen forms filled in all with the same information, it was back to PW, and a swim in that lovely warm sea. I passed a turtle lolloping along on the way back too, then we photographed the sunset. We did it.
Yes we did Nige, a couple of grandads in a boat across the Atlantic. Makes you think a bit when you hear about those that rowed it, and some of those with lost limbs!
Great to be back here (4th time) and looking forward to getting out there. Have a major bag of dhobying and one clean pair of nicks left, phew made it just in time. Amazing journey with Nige and PW, along with Archie, Wendy and the 3rd person, thanks. At 5 am this morning when I took the watch Nige asked me to call him at 5 miles from the last waypoint or at 8am whatever came first. Guess what chums…at 8 am we were exactly 5 miles from the last waypoint, proper prior planning etc. Perfect end to an altogether exhilarating month, to the day. Goodnight chums.