It’s been a long time since a blog but the blogger has had blogger’s blog block.
Last we left off we’d arrived in Rodney Bay, St.Lucia, having just crossed the Atlantic and having received a much appreciated welcome.
After that it was a whirlwind of activity. Rodney Bay was a joy to be in with people on real highs having crossed an ocean. We joined in, caught up with friends and then moved on to slowly doing repairs on Adina, and restoring her to our home from the battle horse we had turned her into for the sail across the Atlantic.
Neil moved off to become re-acquainted with his wife Hallie and baby Amelia while Lindsay joined her parents Wendy and Ces (Cecil) who had flown out to meet her. I have to give these two fine folk a special mention. They arrived on the boat armed with a Christmas cake (with special Adina icing), mince pies, brandy butter and cigars! The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach and Tom’s stomach is very fond of Christmas cake. Touching and just atypical Cunningham behaviour! As for Ces, we had an inkling he’d be interesting given his blog comments, and the boys just fell for him – he kept us entertained for days. I shan’t ever forget standing in the car park waiting for a bus to the ARC prize giving and there is Ces wearing an Adina shirt and Union Jack waistcoat singing with some Austrians he’d just met. Fabulous fun.
News came of the arrival of our good friends on Millport II. Asking the ARC folk where she was going to be put, they suggested she could go alongside us if we wanted, we didn’t hesitate and gladly accepted. They came in and we gave them the biggest cheer we could. We have got to know them since Gibraltar and it was a joy to see Donal, Sarah and their boys Ted and Robert again. The skippers of Millport II and Adina gave each other manly hugs and while no-one saw it, let it be known skippers do get watery eyes.
Gareth, having extended his flight, stayed with us and kindly helped fix odds and pieces on Adina. After a few days he left and it was very sad to see him go. Gareth has been involved with Adina since before we left the UK and his continued help has been deeply appreciated. As he said, he can claim to be the person who has spent more time on her than anyone except the owners. One day we hope he comes back. There’s always things to be fixed after all!
The days slipped by, we met up with friends, we welcomed other boats in, went to the prize giving (see blog below), said farewell to friends flying home and soon it was time for us to move on.
Neil and his wife Hallie and baby Amelia rejoined us for a week of sailing in the Caribbean. Given Millport II was remaining in the Caribbean whilst we would head on, we agreed to spend a week sailing in each other’s company one last time. We’ve always known Neil and Hallie to be a happy and easy going couple and just enjoy their company. Amelia is the epitome of her parents. Always smiling, always happy. Poor thing, she would get sea sick as we crossed between Islands in rougher seas. Still she’d keep on smiling. So we explored St.Lucia, Wallibou Bay, Bequia, St.Vincent and Carriacou before finally arriving in Grenada.
In the Caribbean things are more relaxed and it’s not uncommon to hear kids using the radio. One night we had Robert from Millport II playing as a pirate on the radio call us announcing “Be prepared to be boarded – if you surrender only some of you will die!” This left us worried as to who would be the unlucky ones.
Christmas was enjoyed in Bequia, a sailors favourite – and it certainly wasn’t shy of yachts in town. Ted and Robert had made Christmas decorations for Adina on their Atlantic crossing – now it really felt like Christmas! On Christmas Eve, Neil and Tom bought lobsters and grilled them with clarified butter and served with steak, it was heaven!
Unbeknown to us a tropical storm was blowing through and night the boat was hit by big gust after big gust. Christmas morning we saw one boat drag its anchor and then another arrive and gobsmackingly the crew left and hey-ho it started to drag. Then we started to notice we were on the slow move. Things speeded up, Tom shouted “we’re on the move!” Full credit to everyone as we quickly recovered, hauled the anchor up and set it again with the wind gusting merrily on. Neil spotted the anchor had pierced a hidden coke bottle which may have explained us not holding.
Christmas Day we cooked food and then headed over to Millport II which was fully decked out for Christmas, lots of food, wine, merriment. And then a dash back to Adina as the wind had got back up. That night we did an anchor watch and we certainly weren’t alone in the bay. We learnt the next day that St.Lucia and St.Vincent had been hit by a tropical storm and people had lost homes and indeed some lives were sadly lost.
We bid our farewell to Millport II and finally ended up in Grenada where we met up with Susie’s brother, Stephen. Stephen is another of our big supporters and helpers and it was great to see him. We enjoyed a delicious meal of lobsters together on our first night, catching up. Then the next day we hired a taxi and went sightseeing.
In no time at all Neil, Hallie and little Amelia were off. Neil – thank you for taking all that time off to spend with us and being such a great help and important part of our little adventure. Hallie, it’s always a pleasure and you’re one great Mum! And Amelia – it was an honour for Adina to be the first boat you sailed on. We suspect you have a lot more to come! And don’t forget to pay attention to Dad when he keeps reminding you “who’s the world’s best Dad?”
We moved over to Le Phare Bleu, a lovely out of the way marina, on the south side of Grenada to meet up with Tim, Clare, Ian and Tammie on Ghost. We met Tim and Clare in Las Palmas – they like good food and wine, and are just brilliant fun! Having lived in Grenada they provided lots of useful tips and off we went with Stephen doing a full day tour of the Spice Island. Many yachties get here and never move on. You can see why – lush, green, good food and too many spices! New Year was spent in the marina’s restaurant – a good night, Tom spilt red wine on Tim’s shirt and we ended up drinking Whisky.
And before we could say boo, Stephen’s week was up! It had blown by too fast for us, but he did mention he fancies the Pacific – good idea! Stephen – thank you for coming to visit us so far from home and thanks for your continued support as UK mission control – we couldn’t be doing this without you.
Tim and Clare left for St.Lucia to get ready for the World ARC. We wish them well and will be following them closely. A challenge has already been laid down – they reckon they can get 10 lobsters for one of their personalised Ghost yacht pens in the San Blas Islands. We have one of their pens and are pushing for 15 lobsters.
And then there were just two – us! Our attention turned to getting Adina ready for her crossing to Aruba. We had the talented mechanic Mike at Palm Tree Marine enhance our autopilot for the less than useful B&G pin which had sheered. It amazes us yachties how some of these companies get away with it – our boat is only 5 years old and B&G say the part is now obsolete. Simrad and B&G are easily winning our worst provider awards. Adina had a full polish by a delightful local called Kenwin and we paid for a hull clean too. One sunset we sat with Kenwin on the end of the pontoon fishing by hand which resulted in Susie landing her first fish – a yellow tail snapper.
Finally we left Grenada’s green, green shores, destination Aruba. Four days of good trade wind sailing. We got the spinnaker pole out and goose-winged. Indeed, we got there earlier than scheduled.
So being in Aruba and nearer to Panama and the Pacific, we realise it’s the closure of our Atlantic adventure that started back in England with all the preparation. It was an adventure out of the top drawer – we met so many fabulous people, had so many great experiences, and yes, pinch me, we crossed an ocean! Thank you yet again to the many, many that helped and made it happen. To our Atlantic crew, Gareth, Neil and Lindsay, a special thank you, we hope it lives long in your memory just as it will in ours.
As for Adina’s next steps – well, we are carrying on! We are in Aruba for three weeks and have good friends Simone Casaglia and Isla Robinson flying out from Milan to join us. Can’t wait, got to be a delight! Then a four day passage to the San Blas Islands, before heading to Panama to transit the Panama Canal. Galapagos, and yes, the Pacific Ocean then awaits, God willing.
Got some Bull Shark steaks given to us by a local fishermen, better get those on the BBQ.