29 Mar 2011

[Cruise News] St Barts again, via St Martin

We ended up spending the weekend in St Barts, moving around to a more sheltered bay on Saturday as all the comings and goings of crews out to the super-yachts in Gustavia churned up the water to a permanent choppy state and we were rocking and rolling all over the place .... or was that the effect of the rum?!  Either way, sleeping was not easy.

And then it was time for the "biggie" ... the overnight passage from St Martin to the BVI .... around 90 miles for which we needed to allow 18 hours or so.  We'd been debating whether or not to go for a few days - you need to pick your weather window to have winds from the right direction to make it tenable, particularly for coming back.  And I was also feeling a bit apprehensive about the trip - it would have been my first passage where we would be out of radio contact for an extended time and unlike a lot of long-term cruisers we don't have a satellite phone or radio.  

As things had worked out, our Danish friends were also planning on making the trip and had suggested we all set out together and so that was the plan: Rendevous in Marigot Bay, St Martin on Monday for a midnight departure so we could arrive at the other end in the daylight.  We'd planned to maintain hourly contact throughout the night and then would probably have pulled away from them as Pandora, being 10 feet longer than their boat, would make better speed.  But we'd promised to have dinner waiting for them when they arrived!

So that was the plan .... until we arrived in St Martin and I got cold feet.  Not about the trip to the BVI but about the return passage.  So it's official ... I'm part-chicken and it already feels like a missed opportunity to some extent, but it's too late now and regrets aren't allowed!

On a more positive note it is nice to have built up some good friendships on the trip and we hope a number of them will extend beyond the Caribbean.  Adventures ashore and dinners and drinks with like minded people have really added to our time out here and it's been incredible how many times we've crossed paths with people we know as we sail around.  We've already said goodbyes to most of them by now, friends based in Grenada and Bequia, too far south for us to be returning that way, and to some now heading back south to Curacao for the hurricane season.  And because of the aborted BVI trip we've also said goodbye to our Danish friends who will cross to the BVI and continue north to Florida and beyond.  So it's all been very transitory, but great fun while it lasted!