We had a very leisurely start to our big adventure. After a good farewell breakfast at Chestertons, we slipped our moorings at about 9.30 a.m. and did a short 3 hour ‘familiarisation’ passage to Tintamarre Island which lies just off the North East Coast of St Martin. We all had a swim in the marvellously warm Caribbean waters and had a civilised lunch with plates and cutlery with the boat firmly at rest.
At 3.00 p.m. we set off in earnest in a gentle breeze, which obligingly filled in to a respectable force 4 on the beam – we were off to a good start.
A couple of miles out, John set the fishing rods. Almost immediately there was a barely perceptible tweak on one of them, and on winding the line in were confronted with the grisly view of about a quarter of a large Spanish mackerel. Obviously the rest of it had been chomped by an even larger fish, which accounted for the low key action on the reel. Waste not want not, we hauled the remains aboard, and with the flesh that was left, prepared a tasty ceviche.
Fernande and Chris were really spoiled on their first day, because shortly after this, two dolphins were spotted approaching the boat. They stayed with us for a bit, but soon drifted off.
The evening brought with it dark clouds, lightning and thunder, and associated high winds, just as dinner was being prepared and served – not ideal.
The night watches passed uneventfully – the wind moderated, allowing those below to sleep comfortably. One ship was seen, but nothing of note apart from that.
Bird life is sparse, but we have seen a skua and smaller petrels, mostly interested in our bait.
This morning, the wind has been fairly gentle and from an angle that has allowed us to fly the cruising chute. This hasn’t been seen since we left the med almost three years ago and it was a delight to see it emerge as if from a chrysalis, in all its colourful glory and to our joy, not covered in mould. We immediately increased our speed back up to 7 plus knots.
Progress so far is good – according to plan and still giving us leeway for the slow patches that we know are coming.
Pictures are proving beyond me at the moment to post, but I will continue trying – in the meantime text will have to be sufficient to fire your imaginations.