Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Final Chapter!

We had our tour of St Helena as planned. The visit to Napoleons residence was fairly disappointing as nothing had any labels so you had no idea what anything was!  The local distillery was interesting and we purchase a very nice coffee liqueur. If only we had purchased more than one bottle!

The tour included showing us the new airport which has cost a fortune but cannot be used as due to the wind sheer, big planes cannot land! We had an interesting guide who apparently is 84. Next day we went swimming with Whale sharks. There was quite a big swell which made getting on and off the boat interesting but it was amazing to see such a huge creature so close. A few days later one actually surfaced at thee back of the boat. It disappeared by the time I could tell Mike about it!

After stocking up with food (not that much was available) we set sail on 21 March for our longest sail ever. It took us 28 days to sail the 3988 miles to Ile De Sainte in the Caribbean.  Fortunately it was a fairly easy sail. We only had one squall where we were hit by 40+ knots of wind while we had full mainsail and goose winged genoa. Things got quite exciting until we could get the genoa put away. Otherwise we had light winds and even flew the spinnaker for 3 days without taking it down at night. It was frustrating crossing the ITCZ as it kept following us north. Then instead of the NE trade winds that we were expecting we had East winds which meant we were on a run for the final leg of our passage to the Caribbean.  This is a slow point of sail for us so it  made the passage longer.

We read lots of books, caught no fish and had lots of sargassum weed. It did seem like a very long passage and it has taken us quite a while to recover from it.

We had a few days rest in the Saintes. We were shocked at the quantity of boats and the prices of everything. 

Mike celebrated his birthday while we were in the Saintes. We tried to go out for a meal at the resort where we were anchored on the day but it was closed. Instead we met up with friends Ken and Iloo from Antares a few days later and celebrated. We had a nice lunch in town and then did a pub crawl on the 2km walk back to the boat!

The following day we left for our sail to St Maarten. We had stops overnight at Guadeloupe, Antigua and St Barts and arrived at St Maarten at lunch time on 26 April. This is the end of our circumnavigation. We purchased the boat in St Maarten in March 2008, started sailing in November 2008 and arrived back April 2017. In our 8 ½ years we have sailed 47,200 miles, sailed to 56 countries and visited another 11 by air.

No we need to give the boat a bit of TLC. She has sailed 11,900 miles in the last year and crossed 2 oceans. St Maarten is good for getting parts and getting repairs done.

We are in St Maarten for a few weeks and then we will head to Curacao and Bonaire for the hurricane season. Start of the next sailing season we will be selling the boat and have already started looking for our next one!

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