Saint Lucia is a fantastic place and a real Caribbean island. Palm trees, reggae music and warm and friendly people. Waking up here, even if you’re at the quarantine dock is a great feeling. The first morning, we started to tidy up a bit while waiting for the corona testing to start. During the night two more boats from the normal ARC had arrived, both of them 55+ feet long so we felt quite small in between them. We ordered breakfast from one of the café’s in the marina and they brought us full English breakfast, yoghurt and fruits, what a treat!
The testing was organized quite well with a tent at the end of the pontoon. They called the boat name on the VHF and we all walked there, got our nostrils cleared and went back. Very efficient, despite the fact that we had been 2 weeks at sea and there was zero chance of us having any infections. Well, the good thing was that after the test, we could get out and anchor in the bay while waiting for the test results. They cam btw on mail during the night and, big surprise were all negative. Once again we have proven that the virus cant travel in the sea!
Being at anchor, bathing, using the SUP board, enjoying the odd cold beer was just magnificent. We all knew that the days with both the Braekkens and Tinius were coming to an end shortly and avoided thinking about this fact as the sun settled. The next morning one other ARC+ boat had arrived, the Norwegian boat Bohemen, and two more were coming, Cloudy Bay, another Norwegian boat and Ibex, an Austrian boat. Jill and I loaded the dinghy with three ice-cold beers and greeted them and took pictures as they crossed the finish line. It was highly appreciated.
Then the time to face the reality started. We docked in the marina, still the first ARC+ boat in the marina and started to investigate how to get the crew back home. Kjetil had gotten tickets from Saint Lucia. Ingeborg, Marie and Tinius had tickets from Martinique and to get there and back again proved to be impossible, so in the end, Ingeborg and Marie got a ferry organized by the French authorities to bring French and European citizens to Martinique, and a bit later we sailed there, but more on this a bit later.
Kjetil’s last evening we had a farewell dinner at Bosun’s, a restaurant that opened just for us this evening. Food was great and so was the company, but the feeling that something was coming to an end was there, at least for the captain. The next day, Kjetil left after breakfast and we were sorry to see him go but ever so thankful that he came and sailed with us. The next day Ingeborg and Marie left to enjoy some quality time in Martinique. Thanks, Braekkens for an experience of a lifetime!
The boat had gotten some wear and tear during the crossing but mainly had no damage. Man worry was the spinnaker pole rail and wagon. I took the wagon to the local sailmaker and he got the ball bearing totally reset for a small amount. It was mounted on the piece of the rail that was torn off for transportation purposes. The challenge was how to proceed. The angle grinder came into use and I cut off the twisted parts on the remaining rail. Then filed down all the sharp and bent edges. However main concern was to get more screws to fix the rail properly. Finally, some luck as I had the right taper tap to make holes for two new screws! I felt like a real handyman, looking at the final result, and the neighbouring boats were quite happy to see me put away the angle grinder…
The provisioning for the crossing was all done by Jill and Ingeborg and the food had been fantastic. Worth mentioning is also that the amount was very good calculated as we had only a few meat packs left and some canned food. Well and a kg extra Nutella of course😊. To provision for such a crossing is a big job and not an easy one. However, it was perfectly done and the learning for the next crossing is if course very valuable. The only thing we didn’t do well was that we didn’t turn the eggs in time, resulting in a lot of them going bad. The quality of the eggs was also very poor. Worth mentioning is the quality and service of the local butcher in Las Palmas. It was magnificent quality and it was delivered vacuum packed and frozen or chilled. The vegetable and fruit provider almost the same quality, if it wasn’t for some avocado’s that didn’t go through Ingeborg’s quality check! The vegetable’s lasted until the last day of the crossing!
The rest of the ARC+ boats started to come in and it was great to see them again and hear their stories. All boats came in safely and with only minor incidents, however, the field was quite widespread. All were eager to get some good stories and enjoy each other companies. Tinius was quite happy when the American boat Selkie came in and he could say hello to his buddy Tristan, even though shortly before we had to leave.
The last whole day we went on an expedition to Pidgeon island, a natural park just by Rodney bay with the crew of Piano and Lily from Selkie. A great day, experiencing some more authentic local environment and ending it with a long bath at the foot of the island. Finally, we saw something more than the marina!
To get Tinius in due time for his flight back we had to leave Saint Lucia before the price giving ceremony. Emelin, our buddy boat since Norway, got out of quarantine just in time for to give them a hug (yes w e did, remember we were just at sea) before we set sail to Martinique. We left Saint Lucia, once again without really trying all its features. We hope to return later, but now we sailed to Martinique, quite anxious to see what met us there..