An early morning start and a walk to the supermarket, which is open from 7am
until 1pm on Sundays and holidays, to purchase some fresh fruit and a frozen
chicken for supper tomorrow.
WARC control advised us this morning that there are only three boats still
due to arrive.
Dick and Austin walked to the immigration office and checked Austin off the
boat and Bob and Pili arrived with their baggage from the hotel, where they
have been staying.
While Pili tried to find a home for their belongings, Bob went along to "3
Drifters", the boat that he skipped across the Atlantic, to collect the rest
of their stuff, including his scuba gear.
We were delighted to hear that Bob and Pili were married in Menorca, shortly
before they left to take the boat to the Canary Islands, ready for the start
of ARC 2009.
Sunday night was the marina manager's cocktail party for WARC participants,
where we met a lot of new people, along with a number of friends from the
ARC crossing, with whom we will be sharing the magical experiences of the
next 15 months.
Monday morning we caught a bus to Castries, so that we might visit the fresh
fruit and vegetable market. The produce costs more than in the supermarket
but it is not chilled and will therefore last longer while we are on
While in Castries we went to a local bank to change US dollars into smaller
denominations. Apparently, when we reach San Blas, the local people probably
won't be able to give change for a 10 dollar bill, so we stood in a queue
for twenty minutes, in order that we might be able to proffer smaller sums
of money. Initially the teller didn't want to change the notes but
eventually he did so, going from teller to teller, collected notes of small
We bought some exercise books, pencils with a rubber on one end, pencil
sharpeners and some ladies panties. All but the latter are for gifts. The
panties are apparently a good bartering medium.
Monday afternoon was the Rally briefing at 15.30 which lasted over three
hours and was attended by me and Bob. Dick had gone off in our rib, to
collect the workman who had to do some stainless steel work on our boat.
While we were at the briefing, Dick took delivery of our new parasailor and
stored it away before we even returned to the boat.
We now have three different times on display in the main salon. The
satellite clock is set to UT, the barometer clock is set to local time and
the microwave clock has just gone awol.
Being connected to 60Hz shore-power, rather than 50Hz ,has caused the
microwave clock to lose time to such a degree that it is no longer of any
use when we are in a marina. Perhaps it is just as well that we wont be
seeing very many marinas during the next few months.
Oisin, our new crewman arrived around 17.30 on Tuesday. He hardly had time
to sink a beer and have a shower before we had to leave to go to the
farewell part hosted by the Tourist board.
On our way to the venue, we met Dick and Bob who had both attended the
Skippers briefing. They then retraced their steps back to the hotel, for the
night's entertainment consisting of copious amounts to drink, a good
selection of food, a live band and limbo dancers.
Wednesday morning, Bob, Pili and Oisin went ashore to buy those last minute
items that they felt they couldn't live without and Dick checked us out of
We left the berth and put some fuel in the tanks before departing the
marina, having hovered around the fuel pontoon waiting our turn.
We crossed the start line a few minutes after the official start time of
noon, local time, under main and genoa. Within the hour we had replaced both
of those sails with the new parasailor and by 3pm had unexpectedly crept up
from near the rear, to within the first few of the 32 boats in the rally. No
doubt positions will change constantly during the passage to San Blas and
To make things as easy as possible and not knowing quite what to expect, we
had chicken mayonnaise sandwiches for lunch and of course, fresh tropical
fruit salad. Bob had cheese sandwiches because he has an aversion to
anything containing vinegar. This being the first night out, supper was
chilli con carne and rice. One made earlier and taken from the freezer.
We are on our way. Our new adventure has started. On this first leg, we have
to sail around 1100 nautical miles to the San Blas islands, which we
understand are very beautiful and populated by friendly, primitive people,
who live in huts made from bamboo and palm leaves.
During the night, although we could see several other boats on the radar, we
could only see the lights from one boat, which gradually got closer to us
and eventually overtook us. When I handed over the watch at 9am, the boat
was about 2miles to port of us, 2 miles ahead.
Today lunch is sardine salad and for supper, barbequed steak.
The net controller today is one of two people sailing a Super Maramu. This
is their second time around the world although on the last occasion in 2005,
they went with another rally. This time they will be able to visit a great
many different places.
Saturday morning just before 7am, dolphins played around the bows. A short
while later, it became necessary to change course quite a bit, in order to
avoid a tanker crossing our path at 2knots. We were doing around 9 or 10
knots and our boat was slewing from side to side by as much as 20 degrees.
Even though I had already changed course, the tanker flashed the collision
lights. This he did again later, not trusting that our course change had
Shortly after I came off watch, I heard a crash, like something falling and
it turned out to be the swivelling block at the top of the halyard, to which
the parasailor was connected. We took down the parasailor and it was
replaced by the genoa and main sail.
By coincidence, we had shortened the halyard only the previous day, noting
that there had been chaffe on the outer cover.
We proceed to our waypoint, some 45 nautical miles off the coast of
Columbia. From there we will turn left towards Panama and the San Blas