Bermuda to St Maarten

Andrew arrived back to a warm Bermudian day with brilliant sunshine after much of the work had been completed; hey he is the owner so he has to be excused!! The hatches were all re-sealed; the rigger had sorted out the masts and rigging; a bowzer topped up the water tanks; a tanker arrived and added several tons of fuel to the boat; everybody caught up with e mails and we were all chilled out and ready to go.  Unfortunately Trevor did not have sufficient time left to make the final leg to St Maarten, work got in the way so he had to fly back to the UK. What a shame Trevor it was a far more comfortable sail!

We cleared customs and immigration then left St Georges mid-day with a comfortable weather forecast of 20/25 knots and easterlies which should be just what the doctor ordered, this would give us the opportunity to test the rigging and get all the sails up, the only fly in the ointment was that the forecast predicted winds would turn into southerlies, which meant we would be back to Motoring.  However, if we made good progress we may arrive before the winds came from the south.  At least the southerlies will bring up warm air, even if it does slow us down.

The trip south was un-eventful compared to the first part of the journey, we had some inclement weather for the first two days but nothing serious and the hatches didn’t leak.  By now we were dressed accordingly, shorts and flip flops during the day and only an anorak on at night.

By the third day the sun was shining, it was hot and not getting burnt was the order of the day.  We had all the sails up, engine switched off at last, making 9 to 11 knots was the norm, she sailed beautifully and the steering became more manageable.   These 3 days is what sailing is all about, the bad journey from Port Hawkesbury to Bermuda was all forgotten and all talk was about arriving at St Maarten in the Caribbean where further work was scheduled to be carried out.  The boat was then heading to Antigua for the Charter Boat Show which was due to start around the 28th November.

St Maarten is a split Island, 2/3rd Dutch and 1/3rd French and in the centre is a very large Lagoon, Simpson Bay, which has both a French and Dutch Side.  To enter you have to wait for a bridge to open to let you in and this happens only twice a day, morning and afternoon.  We arrived outside the entrance in the wee hours of the morning so dropped the anchor and waited ‘till 0930 am.

We were ready and in the queue for 0930 hrs and motored through the channel, under the bridge and into Simpson Bay where we dropped our anchor.     After securing the boat we all jumped into the Dingy and off to breakfast, this also gave us the opportunity to catch up with e mails.  After Breakfast Skipper went to Immigration, Andrew, Adam and Jamie went off to the beach and I re-arranged my flights.  At this point I must thank Laura, Trevor’s secretary, who spent a lot of time acting on my behalf and liaising with internet travel agency. Again thank you Laura and apart from a minor hick-up in New York due to their security process being so slow, everything went well.

The famous hostelry here and where many sailors hang out is the “Soggy Dollar”, it also where the dingy dock is and it was nice to re-acquaint myself with a few “Rum & Tings”, a popular drink here in the Caribbean.  I also introduced Adam and Jamie to them so we all partied well into the night!!!!!!!

Andrew spent time negotiating with the various Marinas to get a “deal” so that we could come alongside on the cheap.  Well he certainly achieved that, it did help that there were few big boats around at this time and any business is better than no business.

With our tenants still sitting in our home and not leaving it was time for me to return back so having brought my flights forward I left Carinae IX moored alongside the “Soggy Dollar” where the various works will be carried out and headed out to the airport.  My flight back to Spain was via New York, Heathrow, Gatwick and home, tortuous but the most economical.

Christine and I are hoping return to Carinae IX middle to late January 2013; can’t wait!

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