11 May – 10 June 2017
St Martin – Antigua – St Lucia
(Sorry folks it a long one, but I’d say worth a read!)
As per we are behind the curve with the blog, so much has gone on so I’m disappointed to say that I can’t indulge in my current poetic style of writing (Sad Face emoji) but keep reading the best bit is towards the end!. We left St Martin on 11th May and got caught in an un-forecast Thunderstorm, had a very brief stop for some R&R at Statia and St Kitts & Nevis due to a sea sick baby, followed by a glorious sail (well motor) back to Antigua. Simon was very pleased as we caught ourselves a Dorado (Mahi Mahi) for dinner which Scrumpy and Daisy also enjoyed.
After spending another month…ish in and around Jolly Harbour enjoying the beaches, seeing our good friends Helen & Rick on Symmetry and Simon doing a few days of work, delivering some yachts from the Marina to a Cargo ship setting sail for Southampton. (Yes folks some people have enough money to pay for their boats to be returned to the UK on a big ship rather than sail them across the Atlantic themselves.) It was time to move on again.
With a deadline to reach St Lucia where Simon’s mum and step Dad Barry were coming to visit for 10 days we made the decision that Daisy and I would fly and Simon and Scrumpy would sail. I wasn’t much bothered to visit Guadeloupe, Dominica & Martinique again and it would relive the stress of taking Daisy to sea. We didn’t really have the time to wait for good weather windows, so I spent 3 nights in the luxury of an AirB&B with aircon & a swimming pool on the North of the island and poor Simon had to sail 205 miles on his own!
Simon had a rough time of it with propulsion issues an hour into leaving, migraines, long days and having to man the helm between islands as the autopilot wasn’t up it. He sailed 18 hours the first day with a 4 hour sleep, then 13 hours with a 12 hour break…. When I say break he still had to walk 40 mins up hill in the blistering heat to take the dog to vet for a health certificate in Martinique. Then another 7 hour sail to St Lucia, he was knackered when he finally arrived at Rodney Bay anchorage ready to meet me the following morning.
All while I frolicked around in the swimming pool with Daisy, pottered around the accommodation watching Magic Mike XXL and eating popcorn from the microwave! I did have a bit of a rough time though as the air con was really noisy!!!!
(Here comes the poetic bit, I couldn’t resist!)
Staying alone in a strangers apartment on a foreign island, pretty much in the middle of nowhere, with hardly any money, and no access to public transport is a little daunting. I don’t have a local sim card in fact I haven’t got a phone at all as my temporary one had finally given up the goose. On top of this I’m responsible for an 8 month old baby and getting us both to the airport for a flight at 6am, anyone who knows me will know that just the thought of these things alone will be stressing me out. The main worry being that we miss our flight and are stranded in Antigua with no way of contacting anyone.
Daisy decides the night before the flight that she doesn’t want to sleep even though she is exhausted. Why can’t kids just fall asleep when they are tired, aren’t they dependant on us parents enough without us having to aid them to sleep too. Slowly she works herself and me into a frenzy of frustration. After two torturous hours of feeding, bouncing, rocking, cuddling, cradling she finally nods off but by this point I’m emotionally drained and I’ve still got to cook dinner, eat, shower, pack and clean up. If I wasn’t already stressed I definitely am now.
Most of the night is spent panicking that the alarm won’t go off but at 4.15am the radar vibrates on the iPad and everything runs like clockwork, baby bean gets up in an extremely good mood with perfect timing to feed, dress her and pack away her pop up cot and we’re out the door bang on 4:45 where our lovely Air B&B host is up at a frigate birds fart to very kindly drop us at the airport.
Straight up to the only check in deck open, suitcase is carried off on the belt, breeze through customs and immigration, hand luggage scanned and into the terminal where our gate has just opened for boarding. Easy Peasy. Honestly what on earth was I worrying about!!!!!!!
An internal Caribbean flight is an interesting experience nothing like a jumbo jet from London Heathrow. The plane was tiny, with only 17 rows of seats. I know because I counted the windows while we and the other handful of passengers stood on the taxiway waiting to climb the tiny set of steps leading up to the cabin. This flight to me was just a quick and easy means of getting Daisy-Pottermous 200 miles closer to Grenada without having endure another uncomfortable, traumatic, seasick filled sail. It was an obligation, a mandatory requirement, a means to an end or at least that’s what I thought. Last season we’d explored these Windward Islands, sailing up and down between Antigua and St Lucia 3 times. I really wasn’t fused to visit any of it again.
Heading for the runway in what felt like a toy model of an aircraft, the sun was beginning to rise. As the wheels left the ground and we sored up into the sky daylight creep over the land, reflecting gold on the widows of miniature houses and hotels below me. It was a clear, fresh morning and with a portside window seat I had a perfect birds eye view of Jolly Harbour, Five Islands and the capital, St Johns. The winding coastline was met by clear blue water that sparkled like silver glitter had been sprinkled on it. With no need to return here again it actually felt quite emotional saying goodbye to Antigua. So much has happened here; my pregnancy scans, seeing our tiny baby for the first time, telling mine and Simon’s parents I was expecting our first child, the many friends we’ve meet that have shown us such kindness and generosity, BBQ’s & camp fires on Jolly beach. Memories that will stay with us forever.
Being such a short flight the pilot kept below any cloud cover and the flight path followed the leeward side of each island. They were easy to identify from their distinctive shapes having studied them so many times on the GPS, but seeing it all from the sky was just as breath taking as sailing. It was surprising how the shoreline varied so much, Guadeloupe, smooth and straight Dominica, Martinique. I marvelling all the anchorages that Tudor Rose has sought refugee in, pondering the hours and days spent at sea navigating from one to another and yet a mere 50 minutes to soar over it on Lait Airlines. It’s taken poor Simon 3 days in the boat. As we covered the Southern part of Martinique I recognised the huge rock sticking up as you round the corner to Saint Anne’s. Remembering it well from the awful day we sailed from Anse trying to tack against the wind and swell making virtually no progress, 7 hours to travel. It seemed appropriate to give it a two-finger salute as we jetted past.
Daisy slept for most of the flight but by the time we’d touched down in Castries she was getting rather ratty and there was still a trudge up to the main road in the hope of catching a cheap bus rather than an extortionate taxi ride. Luckily my ‘mother in distress, carrying crying baby and huge suitcase’ appearance worked in my favour and I managed to hitch a ride from a nice doctor and his wife all the way to Rodney Bay where a very tired but excited Daddy Bear was waiting for us with open arms……..