21 April 2023
How long ago did I write that?
Whatever it is, that’s how long we waited on DHL not to deliver our battens. In the end, they were tracked down to the “final mile” shipper, ironically called Safe Cargo who hadn’t bothered themselves to complete the job, safely or otherwise, sitting on them for nearly two weeks. To add insult to injury, when we arrived at their depot, we were told to join the queue sitting outside in the sweltering heat while they “laboured” away at their desks in their comfy, air conditioned office suite. Now, in my day, and once I get my revolution going, the customers would have and post revolution, will have the A/C. €30 later, thirty euros for giving them the trouble of NOT delivering, we shouldered the heavy, four metre “spear” and trudged the mile back to the dinghy for another crossing of the St Martin lagoon.
The delay cost us not only a weather window to get to the Bahamas but a sore head after a bit of a night out at Lagoonies in Sint Maarten - a twenty minute dinghy ride across the lagoon in the dark. That helped clear my head.
Next morning we up’d and off’d for the BVI.
No we didn’t, I just lay in bed softly weeping, saying “never, never again”. I think it was something I ate. Anne says it was more likely the four pints of “Tropical”. And only four pints, and they weren’t even real pints but euro glasses. Now, when I were a lad…..)
One thing about St Martin compared to the rest of the Caribbean island chain is that, if you’re going north, it’s somewhat inconveniently placed. Unlike the rest of the islands it’s just outside day sailing range necessitating an overnight passage or a very early start. We opted for the latter. Stumbling about in the unaccustomed dark, we lifted the anchor at Oh Two Hundred (nautical speak for
an honourable time to leave a good party) and had a quite relaxing sail dead downwind all the way to the BVI. How you get south going upwind against big Atlantic seas from here is beyond me. I’d suggest a cruise ship is the best option and there’s no shortage of these.
In common with St Martin the BVI got hammered by category five hurricane Irma trashing the island, it’s homes and businesses. Again, adding insult to injury, while the local population was still in the early stages of recovery and rebuilding, Covid came along shutting down what had managed to open.
They must be resilient people here as it’s all coming back together. The government buildings, of course, are re-roofed or rebuilt, the local businesses are getting there and we can thoroughly recommend a long lunch at the Island Pot. Diet Coke only for me.