22 March 2017
Photo: Steel Band, Shirley Heights
Antigua, unlike the Windward Islands and southern Leewards, is a coral created island not a volcanic island and therefore does not get the same rainfall or katabatic winds. We anchored in Falmouth Harbour inside Bishop Shoal, a coral reef which when we were there was easily identified by the red and green buoys. We had to remember that the American buoy system is used here, therefore we left the red buoys to starboard not port.
We took the dinghy ashore and walked around to English Harbour and Nelsons Dockyard to find Customs and cleared in, which included our National Park fees. Then it was a walk to Marine Power Services to see if we could get someone to look at our generator. The staff were very friendly and helpful and we arranged to meet Steve the owner the following morning and by 10:00 we had someone on the boat looking at the generator. It turned out to be a very minor fault, a crimp on an electrical connection had come loose inside the main power control box, it was replaced and all was working again.
English Harbour and Falmouth Harbour are close to each other, an easy 5 -10 minute walk. The marina at both harbours has some impressive super yachts, the most we have seen in one area for a while.
As we had paid our National Park fees when we cleared in, there was no additional charge to walk around the old buildings and visit the museum. We also took the opportunity to walk along the cliff top to the gun emplacements. Some of the views across English and Falmouth Harbours were worth the walk. Antigua was a known hurricane refuge in the 18th century and became the main British Naval Base for the Eastern Caribbean. Nelsons Dockyard was developed in between 1785 – 1792. It has been restored and now the old buildings are cafes, bars, restaurants and shops.
On Thursday Paul and Gloria “Scallywag” and Dick and Lynn “Wind Pony” arrived early evening. It was good to catch up for drinks and tales of everyone’s adventures since we crossed the Atlantic together at the end of last year. Friday we all went to Cloggy’s for drinks and then we stayed for a very nice dinner at Cloggy’s with Paul and Gloria. It was Molly’s last night on board Wind Pony, so they all had a farewell dinner together.
Sunday 19th March we went ashore for lunch and to watch the Liverpool vs Man City game, and as we were leaving the barman suggested we went to the Steel Band BBQ at Shirley Heights, this was something that had also been recommended to us by Wayne and Ally “Blue Heeler”. So it was a quick trip back to the boats for shower and change then back ashore and a taxi up to Shirley Heights. It turned out to be a great evening. The views across the bays were amazing and the set up was nice and relaxed with picnic tables and plenty of grassed areas for those with blankets to sit on. The Steel Band played until 19:00 and then a reggae band and singer played till 22:00. They knew how to sing and party. What a nice way to spend the last evening the 6 of us would be together for a while as Scallywag are heading for the Panama, Wind Pony for Trinidad and the Dol for the Virgin Islands.
Monday morning we walked across to English Harbour, Nelsons Dockyard and cleared out of Antigua, the place was very busy and it took us over an hour to clear. Back to the dinghy and a quick stop at Wind Pony and Scallywag to say goodbye then back to the Dol, anchor up and off around the corner. We dropped the anchor in Five Island Harbour, a lovely quiet bay and easy for an early departure tomorrow for either St Martins or St Barts. Time for a swim.
22 March 2017
Photo: Turtle, Pidgeon Island.
Monday morning, March 6th March, at 9:00, Brian took the dinghy into the town to clear into Guadeloupe before we headed to Pidgeon Island. It was a very pleasant broad reach sail in 15 – 25 NE breezes, we even had a pod of dolphins join us for part of the way. We arrived and had the anchor down at 14:00. As we were anchoring there were two turtles swimming around the boat, looking forward to a snorkel in the bay and out in Cousteau marine reserve. As soon as the boat was settled, we had our snorkelling gear on and over the side to swim and watch the turtles. There seem to be plenty of them here, we had three swimming under the boat, they are not bothered by the boats or snorkelers. We also took the dinghy out to Pigeon Island, which is the Cousteau marine reserve. We did not go around the island as the wind and swell were too strong, but enjoyed the snorkelling we did, lots of fish, coral and plants life.
Later we took the dinghy into the wharf, but again the swell coming in was took big, so Brian dropped Gail off to get emails and weather and went back to the boat, coming back 45mins later. To put your dinghy on this wharf, you definitely need a stern anchor. The other option for groceries is the fishing harbour further south. This is well protected and very close to the Carrefour supermarket.
We anchored in front of a boat, Onapua, flying the silver fern and the following day Peter came over for a chat and we arranged drinks for the next day. It turned out Peter knew many of the same places as Brian in the Marlborough Sounds and Wellington. We spent a wonderful couple of hours comparing cruising notes and sharing stories. When Peter left just on dark, we pulled our dinghy up only to have the lifting strop fail, doesn’t that always happen in the dark and with 25 plus knots of wind and rain. We got it sorted for the night, only to have a boat which had dragged, try to re-anchor very close to us. The skipper took some convincing but did eventually move. Just got that sorted and we noticed another boat had dragged but they had not realised, they were on their way out to sea. Brian and another yacht, both shone their powerful spotlights on them to try and get their attention. It took some time but eventually someone came on deck and realised what had happened. They and the other boat that dragged eventually left the bay and headed elsewhere. That night was really windy with a top wind speed of 48 knots. The wind continued for another couple of days, with boats dragging each night, however we did manage to get a photo of the green flash, well not so much a flash as a green tinge for a second to the sun as it went down.
The wind finally died and we left Pigeon Island on Saturday 11th March and motored to Deshaies, anchoring alongside Wayne and Ally “Blue Heeler”, we haven’t seen them since Thailand in 2013. We stayed 2 nights in Deshaies and enjoyed sundowners with Wayne and Ally each night, catching up with each other’s adventures since we last met. Unfortunately the generator decided to stop functioning on the power generation side. Initially we thought it may just have been a circuit breaker, but Brian and Wayne had a look and could not find a problem. Luckily, there is a Northern Lights agent in Antigua, not far away.
Monday morning at 06:30 we left Deshaies and had a good 42nm sail to Antigua, dropping the anchor in Falmouth Harbour.
St Lucia, Martinique, Dominica.
22 March 2017
Photo: Vege boat, Rodney Bay
We arrived back in Rodney Bay Marina, St Lucia 17:00 Friday 17th February after a very busy 3 weeks at home with family and grandchildren. On the way home we stopped in Houston for 4 days and had a wonderful time with Frank and Barb “Destiny” visiting the Johnson Space Centre, Galveston and historical Houston including the battleship Texas and off course tasting the wonderful food Texas has to offer. Frank and Barb met us again for dinner on our return stopover, this time we went Cajun, yummy.
Once back at the boat, Brian installed the new LED spreader and back deck flood lights, it is now daylight when we turn them on at night, and completed several other minor jobs with bits we bought back from home. We cleared out and left the marina on Tuesday 21st February, how wrong could we get it, there was no breeze in the marina but outside in the anchorage we had one 30 knot squall and winds in the mid 20 knot range. OK when the wind blew but as the wind died it became a very rolly night which saw Gail attempting to sleep in the cockpit.
The following morning we left St Lucia and motor sailed to Martinique, anchoring in the St Anne cul de sac, Marin, in the inner bay as we wanted a non rolly night. The following day we took the dinghy into the Marina and cleared in at the self-service computers in the marina office, very quick and simple. It was then time to explore the chandleries, supermarkets, cafes and shops. The dinghy ride into the marina is about half a mile, making sure to avoid the shallow coral areas if you do not go down the main channel. Finding room on the dingy dock can be interesting as this is a very popular anchorage area plus the marina. We checked emails and internet at one of the cafes, we are still deciding how best to manage the internet as with each island or island group being a different country, we will probably not be in them long enough to warrant buying sim cards each time, we may have to rely on internet cafes in most places.
After checking the weather, it looked like there was going to be strong easterlies for most of the week, so we decided to stay where we were and not move. As we now had some unexpected time, Brian got into Project mode, installing new lights in the galley and reorganising the plumbing. He also dived and cleaned the barnacles off the bottom of the boat and propeller, Dol is in need of an anti- foul, it is three years since her last one and is planned before she goes back into the water in November. Brian eventually ran out of projects and became restless, luckily Gail finished reading Path between the seas, the story of the Panama Canal construction, so Brian had some reading to do. The weather finally started to show signs of coming right and gave us a window to start heading further north. We went into check out at the marina on Friday morning, 3rd March, did some last minute grocery shopping at the Leader Price, you would think they were giving the food away the place was so crowded. Back to the Dol, groceries put away, lunch made, lifted the anchor and sailed out of the Cul de sac under headsail. As we went past the outside anchorage of St Anne’s Bay there must have been a couple of hundred boats anchored.
We sailed, then motor sailed to St Pierre at the northern end of Martinique, dodging the plastic bottle buoys of the fishing pots and anchored for the night. On the way we checked out another anchorage for the return trip in a couple of months when we make our way back down to Trinidad. We had a quiet night in St Pierre, some wind from the hills and rain, good for washing the salt water off and a slight roll, this place may roll more if the swell is more northerly. We left at 06:30 the following morning, 4th March, and sailed to the end of Martinique, the last of the Windward Islands, with two reefs in the main and Yankee. Going up the island the wind gusts from the hills were up to 30 knots at the peak and less than 5 in the lulls. Going across the gap in the islands between Martinique and Dominica the breeze was a constant 25 – 28 knots with a moderate swell until we got in the lee of Dominica and then it was the lull and gust game again. We anchored for the night in Portsmouth, Dominica our first stop in the Leeward Islands. As we arrived early afternoon we had time for a lovely refreshing swim and relaxing afternoon. Portsmouth looked to be a nice anchorage with cafes and bars on the shore. There is a group of local men, known as PAYS who provide security and assist the yachting community. For us this was an overnight stop, but who knows on our return. We have also noticed the days drawing out, so our evening light lasts a little longer with dark now arriving just before 7pm. The following morning in misty rain we headed off and had a pleasant sail in 15-20 knots of breeze and picked up a mooring buoy in Paina Sucre, Terre De Haut, and the largest of the islands in Iles Des Saintes, a lovely little group of islands 5 miles south of Guadeloupe. The mooring buoys are there to protect the coral and the Multi Yacht Services guy comes by in the evening to collect the mooring fee, for us it was 13 euro for a night, discounts if you stay more than one night. We took the dinghy into Bourg de Saintes, a small and rustic little town and enjoyed a walk around and lunch. There are quite a few dark brown Pelicans around, sitting on dinghies and diving for fish. We could not clear in as the clearance place is closed on Sundays so we went back to the boat for a swim. There are many hikes, snorkelling areas and dive sites to try, maybe if we stop here again, but for now we want to get north.
Bequia, St Vincent, St Lucia
18 January 2017
Photo: Soufriere rainbow
As we were leaving Carlisle Bay, Bridgetown, we passed a young lady on a jet ski that would not start, she informed us her friend had gone for assistance, but we radioed the Coastguard and saw them approaching. Happy she was being attended to, we carried on our way. We had two reefs in the main and Yankee as we sailed in lumpy seas across to Bequia arriving at Admiralty Bay at 08:00 the following morning. Brian went ashore and cleared us in after breakfast.
The constant wind of 18 – 25 plus knots is something we have not been used to for a while, the Mediterranean, also known as the Motoranean, has a lack of wind. We have noticed in the Caribbean most boats sail around with one if not two reefs in their sails.
Admiralty Bay was a very busy anchorage, with local, cruising and charter boats of all shapes and sizes. We woke up on the second morning to find a catamaran had sank, one hull underwater, at anchor close in to shore. When we left several days later, they were still trying to refloat it.
Bequia was a nice stop, given the rolly anchorage we had in Barbados, we were thankful for the lack of roll in Admiralty Bay. Ashore there were walks around the waterfront and across to Friendship Bay, the waterfront had a selection of cafes and bars, along with tourist shops, small supermarkets and takeaways. If you wanted to, you can get most things done without leaving your boat. Local vendors cruise around the bay offering fruit, veges, bread, fuel, water, ice and laundry services. We enjoyed the walk over to Friendship, chatted to a Canadian guy who lives there for 4 mths of the year, and had dinner ashore.
We left Admiralty Bay on 30th January, with two reefs in the main, we motor sailed across the first 5nm of the passage to St Vincent. This can be a notorious piece of water with winds in excess of 30 to 40 knots, so we went with some caution, however the wind gods were kind to us and we sailed in relatively pleasant 15 – 20 knots. We watched as the seabirds, swooped down to catch the flying fish we were disturbing as we sailed along, you could almost hear them say “You disturb them, we will eat them”. At 12:30 we were stern lined to a tree in Walilbou Bay, St Vincent. On our way into the bay we were approached by two separate dinghies with locals wanting to show us to a mooring, we had read in the cruising guide to only use locals with the appropriate credentials, we very nearly left the bay as both were very insistent. However we decided to stay and were happy we did. Walilbou Bay as it turned out was Port Royal in Pirates of the Caribbean and the locals were very proud of having had Johnny Depp in the bay. Ashore there is still some of the old set, along with some props, scene schedules and other memorabilia. We had dinner ashore and chatted to a few of the guys watching English soccer in the bar and then retired back to the boat.
The following morning we left and headed to Soufriere, St Lucia. The town is in the shadow of the Grand Piton, 786m high and Petit Piton, 739m high, two towering monoliths of forested lava, very impressive. We picked up a mooring, 54 ECD (east Caribbean dollars) a night, the bay is a marine reserve and anchoring is prohibited. Again we had guys chasing us in dinghies wanting to assist, for a fee of course, and young boys wanting to take garbage or just asking for soft drinks. This was all reminiscent of Indonesia, but when told politely “no” the young boys left.
The check in process was easy with the Customs and Immigration offices on the waterfront, by the dinghy dock. As it was New Years Eve, the town was getting ready for the celebrations with stalls being set up along the waterfront. We stayed and had a drink, then went back to the Dol, watching the firework displays from the boat. The following day we walked to the Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens, about 20 minutes out of town. It rained, sometimes quite heavily on and off during the morning, it was tropical rain forest territory, but it was warm. There is a small entry fee for the gardens, extra if you want to sit in the mineral pools, however the gardens are pleasant to stroll around. After lunch we took the dinghy around to Piton Bay and snorkelled in the marine reserve. The corals in the reserve were mainly soft corals and there were plenty of fish, but not the vibrant colours of coral and fish we had seen in the Pacific, still it was worth a look, dive tours are available to other sites. You can also hike up the Pitons with a local guide, but with constant rain squalls, which made for impressive rainbows, we decided it was not for us.
We left Soufriere on 2nd January and motored up to Rodney Bay, this is where Garry is leaving us to head back to New Zealand. Rodney Bay is a large open bay, with a lagoon that includes Rodney Bay marina and surrounding complex. Whilst ashore walking around and having coffee, we met up again with Kerry and John “Lurata” who had been here for a week. They gave us information on what to see and do. The night before Garry left, we took the dinghy across to the Pidgeon Island reserve and had dinner at a little café, Jambe de Bois, limited menu but a quaint, artsy place. We hired a car on 4th and headed to the south of the island where the international airport is. We stopped for lunch at Sandy Beach, Vieux Fort, a mecca for kite surfers and watched a couple of people out kite surfing in the bay. After dropping Garry at the airport we headed back up the east coast to Rodney Bay, along winding, pot holed roads with great views.
On one of our trips into the marina, we met Klaus and Margaret, Starship, and caught up with their news and travels since leaving Barbados. On Tuesday 10th January, after the rain had cleared, we took the dinghy ashore to Pidgeon Island reserve and walked around the remnants of Fort Rodney, an 18th century English fort, used in battles between the French and English. From the lookout you can see Martinique 25 miles north, the 360 degree views from the top are stunning. The entry fee for the park is 18 ECD each, open till 17:00, after then you can have dinner at Jambe de Bois, open till 22:00, without paying the entry fee. We are getting used to again having 12 hours of daylight, with darkness descending at 18:00 each evening. At the moment it makes the nights seem very long and the days short, but that is just where we are. It is also nice to have turtles swimming around the boat regularly.
On Thursday 12th January the wind and swell changed making the anchorage rolly and uncomfortable. As we were booked into Rodney Bay marina on Monday 16th, we decided to go in a couple of days early.
The marina has a selection of cafes, restaurants and a bar, along with a bank, mini mart, good chandlery and tourist shops. Inside the lagoon and a short dinghy ride to another dinghy dock there is a shopping mall with a large, fairly well stocked supermarket, although the local guys in the small boats still come around selling there fruit and veges and Suds laundry pick up and return, garbage is collected from the boat daily. There is also a ferry across to Martinique from the marina. Whilst we were in the marina, the alternator and smart regulator were finally fixed, having failed as we left Tenerife, mainsail off to the sailmaker to have the batten pockets stitched, zips have been replaced on shade covers and clears, stainless steel has been polished, Dol has had a good wash down, although with all the rain in the nights she was pretty good, and other jobs on the To Do List have been completed.
After 10 mths away and several thousand miles, we are heading back to New Zealand for a couple of weeks to spend time with family, friends and grandchildren, stopping for 4 days in Houston with Barb and Frank “Destiny” on the way.
11 January 2017
Photo: Brian and Garry at Mount Gay.
After an early night and catch up on some much needed sleep, it was time to explore Barbados. Brian and Garry went ashore to sort out internet and get some basic supplies while Gail did a tidy up on the Dol. After lunch it was all ashore to watch Liverpool play Everton at the Bridge house bar. We took the dinghy up the river or Careenge as it is known and tied up just past the first bridge. There were still yachts from the Jimmy Cornell Barbados rally stern lined to the wharf and we caught up with Klaus and Margaret from Starship. Along the water front where Christmas trees decorated by local school children, each one dedicated to a different country of the world. We found the New Zealand tree and later Paul and Gloria met one of the children who had decorated it.
The Bridge House Bar is on the waterfront, with very friendly and helpful staff who were very welcoming. We watched the game, Liverpool won 1-0, then went for a walk to find somewhere to eat. After walking through the local area with no success, we went back to the Bridge house and had a very nice dinner.
Barbados is the most eastern of the Caribbean islands and unless visited on the way in, is difficult to get to as you would have to go against the trade winds from any other of the Caribbean islands. The island is 21 miles long and 14 miles wide, so not huge. Our first impressions of Bridgetown and Barbados have been positive. The people are very friendly, although the accent is difficult to understand, they speak very fast in a mix of English and Bejan. The island was under British rule for 300 years, they have just celebrated their 50th year of independence which was gained in in 1966. Carlisle Bay where we are anchored has been a bit rolly and windy, maybe due to the current weather pattern. The bay is also very noisy during the evening and small hours of the morning as the Jolly Roger disco cruise passes by with all speakers on full volume competing with the Pirate Bar ashore for who can make the most noise the longest. During the day there are numerous sailing catamarans and jet skis going through the anchorage.
Wednesday we headed off to find the Mount Gay Visitors Centre and Bottling plant, the oldest rum in the world, first brewed in 1703. This was top of the Barbados to-do list for Brian and Garry. Along with Paul, Gloria and Phil from Scallywag we spent several hours at Mount Gay, with a tour of the plant and history of the oldest rum in the world. The tour included sampling the different blends of Mount Gay rum which saw the team get a taxi back to town, drinks and nibbles at the Bridge House before staggering back to the boat for an early night. We planned to go for a walk along the beach the following day towards the Garrison district, a UNESCO heritage site with old garrison buildings and George Washington House but the weather had other ideas as it rained heavily all day. Oh well cannot control the weather. We did manage the walk on Friday, but as it was the last working day before Christmas, all the historic sites closed at midday, so we walked around the outside of the buildings and had a nice lunch before heading back into Bridgetown centre. We called into the supermarket in town for supplies, it was chaotic, extremely busy but everyone was very polite and jovial. Across the road from the supermarket there are lots of small fruit and vegetable stalls along the road, and the small “rum shacks” or tiny bars, it makes for a lively, wonderful atmosphere.
Lurata, John and Kerry, another Kiwi boat arrived in the anchorage. We had met them with friends Erin and John back in New Zealand. It was quickly arranged that they would join ourselves and Scallywag for Christmas lunch.
Christmas Eve we picked up the hire car and headed off for the day with Paul, Gloria and Phil, Scallywag. First stop was Harrisons Cave, a cave complex where you can do a one hour tram tour. The cave is young in ecological terms and although it does not have some of the impressive caverns we have seen in other limestone caves, it was none the less interesting. We then drove across the island to the east coast for lunch, along narrow roads and small villages. The east or Atlantic coast was a lot more rugged than the west coast and we could clearly see what was causing the swell that was rolling around the island causing the roll we were getting in the anchorage. We stopped for lunch then continued to drive north, past the Mount Gay Distillery, and back to the east coast, past Port St Charles where there is some new development around a canal type environment. The centre and north of the island is where all the sugar cane plantations are located which goes into making the rum. It was clear most of the 300,000 population live on the west and south coast of Barbados. We then headed to South Point where we left Phil so he could spend some time surfing and the rest of us headed back into Oistins for drinks at one of the many rum shacks. Back to pick Phil up and then home, via the once again packed supermarket. We did not see all the listed tourist attractions during our one day tour, we reckon we had seen enough churches in Europe to give them a miss, other attractions were walks through Welchman Hall Gully and the Wildlife reserve which we did not have time for, there is also a Concorde museum which houses a real Concorde. Oh well cannot do everything.
Christmas Day we had lunch at the Bridge House Bar with Paul, Gloria and Phil from Scallywag and John, Kerry, Mike and Davin from Lurata, all kiwis. After lunch the oldies went back to Scallywag for drinks while the youngsters headed back ashore not to be seen again till daybreak.
We cleared out of Barbados on Boxing Day, leaving the anchorage at 16:30 for the 95nm overnight sail to Bequia (pronounced Beck way) in St Vincent and the Grenadines. We were all pleased that we had visited Barbados as our first Caribbean island.
21 December 2016
Photo: Skipper and first mate
And we’re off on the Atlantic crossing adventure. It was Tuesday morning 6th December. The skippers from Scallywag, Wind Pony and Dol ’Selene all went to clear out of the Cape Verde Islands, whilst the girls went to the fruit and vege market for fresh provisions. At 11:30 am local time we picked the anchor off the bottom and headed out of the harbour, next stop the Caribbean island of Barbados for Scally and the Dol and Antigua for Wind Pony. Going down the channel between Sao Vincente and Santo Antao the breeze got to high 20 knots but eased as we cleared the islands. Just past the island we saw our first pod of Pilot Whales cruising along.
We settled into our 3 hour rotating watch system which would be in place until we reached the Caribbean. We anticipated the crossing would take us 12 -14 days looking at the route planner and weather on Predict Wind Offshore. We use the application via our Iridium Go satellite device to assist us in determining the most advantageous route to sail, we would head north or south depending on the wind strength and angles. The system worked very well and we were pleased with the accuracy when deciding when to gybe to avoid no wind areas. With 2000nm to sail we could not afford to use the motor too much especially early on as we would not have enough diesel to complete the crossing. As it turned out, we need not have worried as we only motored for 3 hours the entire trip and the only diesel usage was the generator for making water, running the freezer and charging the batteries. When we arrived we could not put all the diesel we had in jerry cans on the deck into the tanks, not enough room.
We also used the Iridium Go for emails and texting. Each morning we would send a position SMS to Scallywag and Wind Pony and in the evening talk to them on the SSB radio at 19:00 UTC. Brian also spent time on his night watches emailing Sakari and Starship, 2 boats ahead of us whom we had met in Santa Cruz, the guys enjoyed keeping in touch and sharing information.
Each morning once it was daylight, we would clear the decks of Flying fish that had landed during the night. There were at least 5 or 6 every morning, some on the back deck and many on the side decks, one evening whilst on watch, one just missed hitting Garry in the cockpit. This was passive fishing, and as the crew was less enthusiastic on this leg for putting the fishing lines out each day, with many days with no lines out, it was the most fish we caught, although we did get one very nice Mahi Mahi on the hand lines as well. We did not see much other marine life except a few dolphins and one more pod of Pilot Whales, there were very few sea birds and nothing else.
The days merged into one as we ticked each one off, and every 500nm we celebrated with a mini magnum ice cream, just to keep the motivation going. It was nice to have a full moon waning on this leg, having the light from the moon made the night watches seem less foreboding, although the moon light did take out many of the magnificent stars. One thing we did have to be very wary of were the Atlantic squalls, they come out of nowhere and can pack a lot of wind and rain. Luckily the radar was very good at indicating then, which gave us time to reef the sails. We got pretty good at predicting which would be the gnarly ones and which would not be too bad. One night was particularly bad and became known as Squall night. At one point as Brian and Garry were taking one of the reefs out, they turned around and saw another squall approach and quickly put the second reef back in, they can literally form that quick.
Cooking was interesting. Mostly it involved reheating pre-cooked passage meals, which went well, but even that saw you chasing the food around the counter top in an effort to get it onto the plates. We all looked forward to getting into port and being able to relax making a meal.
On our last night before making landfall, Gail was trying to sleep in the aft cabin and kept hearing a loud metallic thunk coming from under the bed. Unable to determine what it was, and with a vivid imagination as to what it could be doing, she relieved Brian on watch and he went downstairs and dismantled the bed to discover the spare hydraulic steering ram lashing was just loose enough in the roll of the swell to hit the emergency tiller extension, also stored under the bed. He re-lashed the offending ram and all was peaceful again.
We arrived in Barbados at midday local time on Sunday 18th December after a 12 day passage. Local time is 4 hours before UTC and 3 hours behind Cape Verde Islands. We had planned on checking into Barbados at Port St Charles on the north western coast. We received an email from Scallywag to say they could not raise anyone at Port St Charles and were heading down to Bridgetown to clear in. We stopped at Port St Charles, but like Scallywag had no luck raising the Port Authorities, so decided to keep going and headed for Bridgetown, 9nm south along the coast. On arrival the Station master asked us to anchor in Carlisle Bay and for Brian to take the ships papers and crew passports into the Customs area to clear in. With 3 cruise ships in port, he said it would be difficult for us to get the Dol onto the customs wharf. While Brian went to clear in, Gail and Garry tidied the boat up and when Brian came back it was drinks on Scallywag to celebrate our achievement.
Now for the boring stats:
Trip time was 12 days
Miles over water: 1933nm
Miles over land: 2088nm
Current assistance: average 0.5 knots
Average boat speed: 7.2 knots
Top speed down a wave: 18.2 knots
Motored for 3 hours out of 291 hours allowing for time changes.
It is still hard to comprehend that we have just crossed one of the world’s great oceans, from Africa to the Caribbean, in our own yacht. It was an amazing trip and we now look forward to enjoying the delights of a new cruising ground.