Finally, the end is in sight – literally! We’re currently moored at Anse de’Colombier in St. Barths and what a relief it is to finally have the end in sight. Don’t get me wrong, it has been great seeing the places we’ve been to and meeting the people we’ve met, but its getting to the stage where we need to kit our boat out to be able to properly call her home. The ability to have charged laptops so we can watch a movie on rainy days or to have our iPods charged so we can listen to music while we’re on watch will be a welcome improvement. Without a doubt, one of the main reasons we are doing this trip is to live a simpler life but a few mod cons wouldn’t go amiss.
So, since our last post, we haven’t done too much. We were in English Harbour, in Antigua, for two nights which was nice.
We met a lovely English family who were holidaying there and we all got on instantly. The kids had a ball (so much so that we stayed an extra day) and it was good for them to finally have some friends to play with. We had some drinks at their house on our last night which was brilliant and we managed to charge our laptops which was a bonus. We also spotted our first fellow Australian cruisers! We had a quick chat with them and it turns out they’re doing almost the exact same thing (cruising the Caribbean then crossing the Pacific to Australia, schooling their children on the boat and going south for hurricane season) which is nice. We’ll hopefully meet up with them in St. Maarten in a few days time!
Because we were all having such a great time and the kids had friends to play with, our plan to leave English Harbour at 4am – so we could sail for the whole day and arrive in St. Barths in the evening – went out the window. Our new plan meant we had to do our first night passage, which, we all had mixed feelings about. So, we left Antigua at 5pm and motor sailed for about two hours until we were out of the island’s wind shadow, at which point, we hoisted our sails and comfortably made way at a steady 5 knots. At about 10pm, our speed suddenly dropped to about 2 knots before we came to a complete halt. Jaye was asleep so Markus and I scrambled around and managed to drop the mainsail and furl the headsail before starting to ask each other what had happened. We were a good fifteen nautical miles out to sea and the charts said there was nothing we should be avoiding and that’s when it dawned on us. Fish traps! Every passage we had done, there had been dozens of buoys and bottles marking fish traps that local fishermen had set but these were always within a mile or two from land. I, of course, panicked and wanted to call for help, fire a flare off or even set the EPIRB off, which were completely ridiculous ideas. In the end, Markus swam under the boat with a snorkel on, tethered to the boat and cut the rope. After that, we were on our way again and made good time, arriving here in St. Barths at about 10am to the sight of a mass of superyachts belonging to all sorts of nationalities. Turns out there is a regatta (yacht race) on over the Easter weekend and apparently it is quite an amazing spectacle but unfortunately we’re running out of food and water so we will be heading to St. Maarten.
We’ll put another post up once we’re in St. Maarten.