Now heading back to Antigua on our last day watch, so time to reflect on a fantastic voyage over the last two weeks. After leaving Antigua we have travelled South to the Grenadines visiting St Vincent and Union Island before heading North again visiting Bequia and finally Dominica (home of Cobra!).
How to pick out highlights as just about everything has been unique and brilliant. Getting to know the new crew and making new friends that will last for more than the two weeks of the voyage.
St Vincent was certainly different. The tour arranged by Captain Darren will be remembered by the group who travelled in the flat-bed truck for many years to come! The positives were 360deg visibility, excellent air con and the unbelievable scenery at every corner. Downside was lack of any form of suspension. Union Island was relaxing but at the small restaurant on the beach panic set in at the large order from this group of hungry and thirsty sailors. Most got something although probably not what they ordered. The fish and coffee never arrived even though it was “coming” over the hill for the six hours we were on the beach. In the evening the engineers provided an excellent barbeque on board followed by music and dancing. Many crew members wanted to go to Bequia and it did not disappoint. Arriving in the afternoon, we were able to go ashore for a couple of hours. Unfortunately, the ship dragged an anchor so while the ship took a trip around the bay to reset, those ashore were very happy to gain an extra hour on the beach. This was not a problem as time was spent celebrating Liston’s 82nd birthday at the Green Boleh with a number of rum punches!
The following day was spent ashore enjoying the market, restaurants and beaches. Everybody was a little sad when Captain Darren advised we had to turn North and head back to Antigua but perked up when we learned that we had time to call into Dominica, which proved to be the “icing on the cake”. Arriving early afternoon, we managed to get a berth alongside so most of the crew were able to go ashore to enjoy the local Shirley Fort and all its history or go into town for dinner. Next day a tour had been arranged and all the voyage crew and some of the permanent crew enjoyed a full day visiting a wonderful waterfall, lunch at a beach restaurant, Chocolate Factory and finishing with a barbeque and unlimited rum punches on the beach. Needless to say we all enjoyed the excellent hospitality and returned to the ship at midnight tired and very happy after much dancing.
In between visiting four lovely islands we have also enjoyed some brilliant sailing with all available sails set. How to describe the experience of being under sail with blue sea, 26 degrees day & night temperatures and bright sunny blue sky? Watching sunsets and sun rises, looking over the sea without another ship in sight creates the feeling of not having a care in the world. We have climbed the mast, with some touching the top, and also completed assisted climbs. It still brings a lump to the throat to see a wheelie hauling herself up the mast with the assistance of the crew.
Finally, we cannot finish this blog without a mention of the wonderful permanent crew, who have made the voyage so memorable. Their patience, cheerful manner and commitment to ensuring everybody enjoys the voyage and is included in all the activities has been the making of this great voyage. From Captain Darren to Fliss, Charlotte, Tom, Fi, Marco, Chipps, Alan, Deirdre, Shell, Rocky, and Harry with a particular mention of Chef Ian and Cook’s Assistant Sue.
All good things must come to an end but we will all go away with our memories of a truly brilliant voyage, new friends and an experience second to none.
Annie, Phil, Jot, Ron, Chris, Mike and Sue in Forward Port.