Heading North

It seems we dropped out, even more than before; our apologies for the gap in communications of late. We were cruising along and then life took a turn. At times like this it seems to me, I have been living in a beautiful blue bubble out here on the ocean, quite apart from the realities of life at home. We will carry on and resume the blog, where we left off.

To pick up the thread from where I had left off, we had left beautiful Bequia and were heading north. St. Lucia, an island we had not visited on the sail down, was next on our list. Sailing conditions in the Caribbean are always decent but what nature presented for our northerly trek was near perfect. Easterly trade winds blow consistently this time of year, often briskly, combined with fair seas and 29 Celsius on the thermometer our northerly trek is ultimately pleasant and we make great time.

The sail from Bequia to St. Lucia begins with 20 knots from the east but an hour out the winds subside. We adjust our sails, shake out the reefs and as we clear the island of St. Vincent, conditions change significantly. The winds pick up and the seas too become rather confused making for a rougher ride than we like. We take a lot of water over the bow and consequently some gets into the boat as well. We haven’t sailed this tack much and discover a few leaks that we deal with along the way.

We sail up to the Pitons, two incredible peaks at the end of the island of St. Lucia. We grab a mooring ball but the conditions are rolly and a surly boat guy tries to charge us 3 times what the mooring ball costs so we decide to continue on to Marigot Bay.

Coming up to the Pitons, St. Lucia
Customs Dock, Marigot Bay, St. Lucia with ARC boats
On Anchor – Marigot Bay
A beautiful resort in Marigot Bay, St. Lucia
Weather system off Martinique

Marigot Bay is an excellent hurricane hole and also a rather nice place to pull into for a siesta after a long sail. We covered over 80 miles today and relish our anchor beer. Boat guys approach and ask if we need anything, they’re courteous and helpful pointing out the best anchor spot. After dinner in the cockpit with a lovely sunset we are quick to bed and sleep soundly.

The next day we venture into Marigot, clear customs, do some hiking and exploring. The harbour is full of the ARC – World Cruising Club boats who have just completes their trip, around the world. There’s large beautiful ocean going boats of all sizes and varieties lining the dock. These boats have been sailing together for over a year and have clearly developed strong ties within their group.

Back on Ingomar it’s quite entertaining to watch the world go by. Many large cats come through Marigot laden with tourists, on sightseeing trips. Music blares, people dance and Filbert is duly entertained.

We leave Marigot early next morning and sail to St. Annes, Martinique, about 30 miles north. Over the next week we sail north stopping in old haunts along the way. Le Marin, Martinique is a day visit for some good provisioning and boat supplies. We stop a couple of days in Portsmouth, Dominica to visit the market and say hi to the PAYS guys. An awesome sail takes us to Iles de Saintes where we venture ashore for a hike and a lovely dinner. And finally we sail to Deshaies, Guadaloupe where we pull in for the night.

Sitting on the Dock, St. Annes, Martinque
Perfect morning, St. Annes
So hard to choose one! Ice cream, Iles de Saintes
Sunset Deshaies, Guadeloupe

The sailing has been phenomenal and we’re enjoying it so much we continue to press on finding ourselves in Antigua. We spend a week hanging around getting boat work done for the long sail back to NL. A stay, which broke on the way up, has to be repaired. We get a replacement manufactured and install it ourselves with help from Michael (S/V Chasseur).

We meet Nancy, Lexi and Michael in Falmouth Harbour, they were a couple of days behind us and we get together for several happy hours and dinners. We chance upon the volunteer party for the opening of Classic Race Week in Antigua. Mike and Nancy run into old friends and we listen to their stories of life aboard mega-yachts, racing and exploring the world. It is fascinating. Lexi, joins them a couple of days later and we also have the pleasure of hanging out before we all head north.

Snoozing on the Sailbag
Antigua Beauts
Michael and Lexi lend a helping hand

Classic Race Week is occurring and the boats that are tied to the dock in English Harbour are phenomenal. Theres the old schooners, classic J’s, local handbuilt Carricau sloops. Eye candy

The boats are judged on how well they’ve been restored to their original condition and theres been a lot of shining, sanding and maintenance over the past few months, judging from these beauties. When you see them under full sail you are instantly transported to another time and place. The conditions for race week are ideal and the boats perform beautifully.

Classic Sail in the Distance

Before we leave Antigua, Nancy books a reservation for us at Catherines, a fabulous beach restaurant off Pigeon beach. We spend the day eating fine food, relaxing in beach chairs, listening to a cool band play the day away, and sip on cold wine. Its the perfect day to spend our last day down island.

We sail out at 4 the next morning headed for St. Martin, where we will get a haul out done in prep for our return to Newfoundland.

Lobster Salad – Catherines
Catherines Restaurant
The Gang at Catherines – Michael, Lexi, Nancy & Al