We ended up spending a whole week anchored in the lagoon on the Dutch side of the of the island. This was partly because we arrived on 2 days public holiday, you pay harbour dues for a week anyway. The place was pretty empty, it would normally be home to rows of superyachts but has not recovered from the hurricanes of 2 years ago. Many docks are still in a state of disrepair and there are many sunken boats visible, or others you can see have been on the bottom by the coating of mud. Every time we dropped the anchor we brought up some debris – a huge canvas cover, various ropes. The fancy yacht in the picture was built for Steve Jobs, but he did not live to see it finished.
We were very pleased to meet-up with some of our World ARC rally mates here – Jill and Dave in AirPower and Tanja and Thomas on Adrienne. We also spent time and money in the huge chandleries. We finally got our new mainsail fitted (in a rare calm moment) – the one we should have had in Cape Town in January. Rob and Karl at Ullman Sails St Maarten were very helpful. And the sail seems to be OK.
Still can’t believe the World ARC Rally is over, the saving grace is that there is always something else to look forward to. Gradually our rally mates departed from Rodney Bay, a couple heading back south to lay up in Grenada, most north, some heading back home to the US, some home back across to Europe or U.K. Many sad goodbyes but hopefully many of us will meet again. We had to wait a couple of days for our mainsail to be repaired – the clew ring blew out during the parade of sail – so we were among the last to leave. First stop, Le Marin, Martinique, lots of shopping for the boat and of course French bread, wine and cheese etc. And several rally boats there too. We celebrated Howard from Misto’s birthday with Howard and Ros, also crews of Adrienne and PretAixte. It was also Easter and each boat got a wonderful Easter gift from Adrienne, decorated egg, choc eggs and bunny, madelines, all in a lovely nautical box with guardian chicks. Next stop was Grand Anse d’ Arlet where we spent Christmas 2015 (memorable party arranged for ARC+friends by Liam and Liz of Odyssey, and also Christmas 2016 with Steve’s sister Margaret. There are still turtles swimming all around the boats, and Misto and Adrienne also there.
We moved on to Dominica, Mero and then Portsmouth, then Guadeloupe, Deshaies (where they filmed Death In Paradise). So we are alternating currencies – Euros and ECD, also language French English, and flags. It’s strange doing short hops, we keep trying to buy too much food expecting to be at sea for a few weeks or so. So far we have had the usual Caribbean blast between the island with some calms in the lee but mainly sailing despite a forecast of little wind.
Next we will make the 130 mile passage to Dutch St Maarten to collect our new mainsail.
Some statistics for our round the world journey in Timshel with World ARC 2017-2018 and World ARC 2018-2019. Time: 2 years, 3 months, 6 days. About 30,000 miles (precision not possible as the log broke several times). Countries visited: 19, islands visited 98. Friendships – many.
Our round the world adventure with World ARC finished with the parade of sail from Marigot Bay up to Rodney Bay St Lucia. As the smallest Yacht Timshel lead the fleet with Galen (our fantastic yellow shirt from World Cruising Club) on board. With the wind gusting up to 25 knots it was difficult keeping the boats in line and flags and sails flying, but all arrived safely to berth at Rodney Bay marina where it all started so many miles ago. The fantastic day finished with dinner and presentations at the Royal St Lucia hotel. Steve and I have been privileged to be part of two World ARC families. We first started with the 2017 rally, spent a year in Australia, then joined the 2018 rally as it left Darwin for the Indian Ocean. It was a great wrench to part from our first rally friends, but we received a great welcome and were soon part of the new group. It’s the camaraderie, friendship and help you receive from the whole group that really matters.
After anchoring for breakfast and a snorkel in Anse Cochon we made our way to Marigot Bay to join the rest of the fleet. This is a rather nice marina with a lovely and quite large pool and all the facilities of the hotel available. They managed to find spaces formal of us stern to the dock. Anita got to climb Gros Piton with friends from Cayeuse, Mad Monkey and Lydia. We had a prize giving and dinner ar Chateau Mygo, also a Reunion dinner on Misto with our friends from the 2017 rally, Howard and Ros (Misto), Pia and Terje (Aurora Polaris), Helen and Martin (Laura Dawn, Owl, Misto, Aurora Polaris). We all got a fantastic welcome from the 2018 rally, but the friends from 2017 when we started the journey all new together will always be remembered.
A short cruise in company taking in Cariacou, Union Island, Mayreau, Tobago Cays, Bequia and finally back to St Lucia where we started World ARC 2 1/4 years ago in January 2017. Great beach BBQ on Sandy Island Cariacou with other World ARC yachts, swimming with turtles in beautiful Tobago Cays, revisiting old haunts in the Caribbean, Back in St Lucia climbing Gris Piton. Just the parade of sail from Marigot bay up to Rodney Bay to go.
We have been to this lovely island before – Timshel was laid up ashore in a yard in the South for the 2016 hurricane season. But of course most of the time we were there we were working hard either laying up the boat or getting it ready to sail again. This time we were in the rather nice marina at St George’s for a week. We had a really good island tour with a very informative guide, learning all about local politics, conservation, agriculture and why this is called the Spice Island – nutmeg and other spice trees in integrated forests with fruit trees such as Mango, coffee and cacao. Also visited a spectacular waterfall and had a swim in the pool, some also jumped in from a height but nothing like the local guy who somersaulted in from much higher rocks (for tips). The egg shells on the cactus plants outside a home are apparently meant to ward off zombies. Then there was the Rum tour, and later the Prizegiving dinner. Timshel was awarded a share of one of the fun prizes (guessing number of characters in names of first 10 boats to finish).
The last big passage of the World ARC. We started quite late, already dark due to delays waiting for Customs clearance and for the marina to help everyone out of the berths. The passage was mainly characterised by the stonking favourable current of at least 2 knots most of the time. Started off downwind but then on a reach getting great speeds over the ground, fairly hard work and rather bouncy though and some squalls giving rain sluicing down and increased wind., then one day with no wind at all. We crossed the equator back into the northern hemisphere in the middle of the night, I managed to miss the exact moment to take the screen shot but you can see we are crossing from the South Atlantic to the North Atlantic. Celebrated with chocolate, tossing a square over to appease Neptune as well.
We stopped briefly at Devils Island (of Papillon fame), which gave us a chance for some extra sleep and to deal with some of the accumulated job list, but unfortunately the 24 hours allowed did not give us enough time to be worth inflating the dinghy to go ashore then immediately deflating it to put it away again. In the end we left early in order to depart the islands in daylight.
The last few nights of the passage were under a brilliant full moon, it makes such a difference. We arrived off St George’s, Grenada, after nearly 14 days early in the morning, the wind died and it took an hour just about to cross the finish line under sail. At least it was light by the time we had done that and we were able to motor into the harbour and round to the marina to berth with the other WARC boats – the European ones anyway as most of the US boats have been put elsewhere as they need 110V electricity.
Our last port in Brazil is Cabadelo, just a bit north of Recife. We set off on the Friday morning, followed by Airpower and Misto, next morning we were joined in the SSB schedule by Aranui and PretAixte who left Salvador next morning, then Blue Pearl and Callisto joined in (they had been exploring further south) so we had quite an ARCarmada going on. A bit of a slow trip, little wind and coming increasingly from ahead, also the need to keep well offshore to avoid getting entangled in small fishing boats and fishing gear meant we made some very slow tacks out. But on Tuesday we were motoring in no wind then as the wind got up motorsailing quite fast, we realised if we kept this up we could make Port on Wednesday rather than waiting until Thursday. As Cabadelo is in a river you have to come in on the rising tide and berthing on the pontoon is only possible at slack water. So first thing Wednesday the boats wended there way up river one by one to get berthed in the marina. Marina Jacare is run by 2 Frenchmen and there are many French boats here, but at least it’s easier to speak French than Portuguese. Jacare means alligator in Portuguese but we haven’t seen any live ones yet. Very pleasant and friendly here, very much a holiday place with bars and little shops as well as local fisherman going about. There is a guy who plays Ravels Bolero at sunset every night on the saxophone from a small rowing boat, and has been doing so for the last 25 years! And of course it is Mardi Gras, carnival time! Wednesday evening went to the opening of the carnival at Jao Pessoa the biggest local city. Yesterday (Saturday) we went to the Carnival at the old town of Olinda near Recife during the day. This was very much a local thing, there were stages for big bands being set up – guess they were for the evening. What we saw was local folk all in fancy dress, families, friends, groups all matching or coordinating, small bands marching with lots of drums and brass. Quite a spectacle. And very noisy and busy. We felt simultaneously over and under dressed – too many clothes on in shirts and shorts but not enough glitter and fishnets. In general folk in Brazil are out in the streets in less clothes, no need for cultural modesty and covering up with sarongs here. We are here until Thursday when we set off for Grenada and the Caribbean – the last Ocean passage of the World ARC rally. There is the possibly to stop for 24 hrs en route at Devils Island off French Guyana- of Papillon fame.