Wednesday night, St George
Well, it looks as though we're finally going to get sailing again - thank goodness. The weather this morning had calmed off a lot from last evening and there was even a bit of sun for a while. Kali and I had a chat about what needed doing before we leave - not that there was very much.
We got all the charts out, the ones of Bermuda so we could check our departure, the ones of the Atlantic so we could see the whole journey South and then the detailed ones of St Martin. We double checked where we could clear into the French side of the island and then I wrote a letter for Andrea to bring with her when she flies in. Customs can get a bit funny if you don't have a ticket back out so we need to give her some evidence that she's leaving on a yacht. I had a good chat to Clive and Enid, then one to Paul who was sitting at work, then it was time for lunch.
Kali, Big Bill and I had some soup and bread in the cockpit. Our Bill was off in Hamilton purchasing a replacement jacket for the one he lost the other day. After lunch, I carried on fettling Saxon Blue. I fastened the tender on ready for going to sea and then went round checking the bolts beneath the toe-rail which hold the mooring cleats on. I'd noticed that one of them was loose - not surprising as they're mounted through the teak which, as we've discovered, compresses over time. I got a half-turn on most of them and a bit more on some. Unfortunately, some of the bolts aren't reachable or, even if they are, my sockets are too thick to get over them. Still, most of them are now checked and secure.
Kali spent a while preparing food for the passage so we'll have pasta ready to microwave for lunch or whatever. At the start of the voyage, I'm going to do my two 4-hour watches back to back during the daylight. We're hoping this will give me a bit of time to adjust to the motion and the other two can get a proper rest knowing that I'm OK. It's worth a try, anyway, although the forecast is for much better conditions than we came here in and I'm feeling confident that I'll be OK on this trip.
Bill came back with his new Helly jacket and then received an email from his friend that she'd found his old one in her car! Oh well, he's got a spare one now and they're pretty light so won't last for ever. She came up and delivered it for him later in the afternoon. I spent a while chatting to Gary about his ongoing journey. He's going the same way as us but more slowly but we'll hopefully hook up again somewhere in the Caribbean.
We carried on just tidying up the boat - it's amazing how much stuff manages to escape from the lockers and lie around when we're in port for a few days. Then it was time for a final Skype to Andrea before we depart. She's going to go down to Winchelsea to spend New Year with Cind so I'm glad she's making good use of her extra few days in the UK. It was very odd saying goodbye to her knowing that we'll meet again in St Martin in about a week. I can't wait to see her.
Then we went to the Tavern for a meal with Big Bill, Mike and other Mike from the Swan. It's like there's a name shortage or something going on in the USA as everyone seems to be sharing them. The new Mike is from Kentucky and he's done loads of sailing but never to the Arctic so he was interested to hear what we'd found up there. As ever, we had a good chat with our new friends - we'll miss them when we all depart although we're going to keep in radio contact as we leave them behind, bobbing in our wake. It's been great having such lovely people to spend Christmas with.
We're back onboard now getting our minds sorted out for tomorrow. We don't have to rush about in the morning but there will be a fair bit to do, what with clearing the decks, stowing all the lines and stuff. Then it's off into the lovely clean ocean. We can wash all the sand and leaves off the deck, put up the sails and just settle into the trip. Wonderful.
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