Monday, May 9, 2011

Time to say goodbye...

And so it was time for us to think about leaving St Martin. The winds were light but looking favourable to go on Thursday to Antigua, where we have plans to meet Sims mum towards the end of May. Monday was a bank holiday so we had two days of running around doing last minute shopping, filling up with water, refilling cooking gas bottles and clearing out with customs and immigration. The boat having been at anchor for 6 weeks was not in a state to go to sea, as we were in ‘house’ mode. Now everything needed to be stowed away and made shipshape. Wednesday evening arrived and we were almost ready. Our Gas bottle hadn’t been returned and as with everything else on the island, it was on Caribbean time. The guy promised he would deliver it to us himself as soon as it was back from the depot on Thursday morning. Our plan was to leave around lunch time. So fingers crossed. All we had to do now was say goodbye to our friends – the hardest part of all. We weren’t the only people leaving. Axel and Liz on Gudrun, were leaving to go to Puerto Rico and Matt and Denise and their crew on Mojomo were leaving to head back to the Azores. We all arranged to meet at Barnacles with Irie, Imagine and Stingo. Happy Hour as usual, with $1 beers ensured we were suitably merry to move on to Lals, the curry house next door with their famous curry in half a loaf of bread! There were 17 of us in all, all tightly crowded around a group tables. Matt from Mojomo, generously paid for the whole meal and Axel from Gudrun bought a round of Tequila. I took a sip and then quietly poured mine into the plant beside me. (sorry Axel :-))

All was well the next day, we planned to leave the lagoon through the 9.30 bridge and anchor out in the bay and wait for the guy to deliver our gas bottle. The dinghy was on deck and we were all ready to go. But at 9.30 the bridge didn’t open. We called the bridge control only to find out we had missed the opening as they hadn’t started their new opening times that they had printed in the papers. We anchored near the bridge for the next opening at 11am. The guy with the gas bottle called to say the bottle still wasn’t back. Nothing was going to plan this morning, but again this is the Caribbean so what did we expect. We got through the 11am bridge and anchored outside to wait for the gas bottle. Axel and Liz popped over to say goodbye and so did John from Stingo. Finally the gas bottle arrived, we lifted anchor and got underway.

This is the first over night sail we have had in two years. There are always mixed feelings of excitement and anxiety over the following night to come. Thank goodness this turned out to be one of those wonderful sails; A clear starry night with a gentle breeze from the right direction and calm seas. Just after sunset when the sky was turning dusky pink and orange a whale surfaced on the water not 80 meters from the boat. It scared the %@!! out of me. I got one more glimpse of the whale before he disappeared for the night. As darkness drew in there was a small slither of moon lighting the sky with its Cheshire cat grin and the phosphorescence sparkled in our wake. All around you could see the ambient glow from the islands of St Barts, Saba, Kitts and Nevis and finally Antigua. We made great time arriving just after 7am in the morning. Sometimes I can honestly say that I love sailing

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