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Mush, Mush – thank god it’s not that cold here.

I want to say things like ‘On the road again’, we’re ‘Rocking and Rolling’ because we’re back at it sailing on those BIG open seas 24/7. This time we’re crossing the Caribbean from Grenada to Bonaire about 400 miles. Later today we might just slip into the Los Roques archipelago of Venezuela just for a peek and drop our hook for the night – we’ll see. Had big hopes of visiting the islands of Venezuela but so many folks just had the same response as soon as I brought up the subject – don’t go there right now. My gut feeling is a few bad events have mushroomed into a blanket hysteria of fear. Maybe if I had an old boat, maybe if I was carrying a machine gun and a bazooka, maybe if I followed my intuition, I’d go see for myself. Maybe I should. So maybe I’ll just take a peek.

But I’m really looking forward to a little Dutch/Caribe mix on Bonaire and Curacao. What’s way cool is we’ll be in Curacao for Carnival and I don’t mean the cruise line.

So I’m just posting to check-in and let every one know that Andrew and I are in good health and good spirits and happy to be plying the open waters again. Big news for us is we actually put up our spinnaker and sailed all day yesterday averaging 6.5 knots with 10 knots of wind, not too bad when you’re pushing a 40 ton floating B&B through the ocean with only 10 knots or so of wind. So know we have a new sail to utilize when we’re DDW. Big Blue (our genakker) is up right now as we’re on a reach and moving at a bit better than half wind speed.

So stay tuned for exciting updates as the INNcredible Journey gets into the Dutch ABCs, Colombia and the San Blas Islands over the next three weeks.

 

Brian

Captain of the Inncredible Sea Lodge

 
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Where few go, I seek.

Leaving from Canouan’s Tyrrel Bay, a sailors’ favorite, we sailed the crossing over to  Grenada skirting just outside the volcano zone (Kick ‘Em Jenny that blew here top in 1989 is just 500 feet below the ocean waves and the authorities have created an exclusion zone so no passerby get blown to kingdom come someday). But instead of sailing the leeward side of Grenada I wanted a least a taste of the seldom sailed windward side. Sailing into Grenada Bay on the northeast corner we found lush jungle shrouded mountains reaching down to the sea with a number of islands offshore. We nestled up in the lee of this paradise covered island complete with living reefs protecting a palm shaded sandy beach with a totally vegetated interior and dropped our anchor carefully. Carefully I say because you do not want to drop your hook onto coral or any seabed except clear sand so as to minimize one’s footprint and do no harm. All around us was a wonderful exciting reef perfect for snorkeling where we saw a young Hawksbill turtle right next to a Moray eel, next to two Porcupine fish huddled under the rim of an overhang. A ray scampered out in the flats and the reef was full of corals, tubes, fans of many colors even the brainy type. And after the moon set in the middle of the night, the stars were magnificent. Realize the nearest human being to us was at least 3 miles across the bay on the mainland and there were few of them too.

Next day we continued across the northern coast over to the west coast and down. But we stopped where no cruiser stops, at the fishing village called Goyave. Ashore there are no feature designed for the tourist. This is just everyday Grenada and what a charm and eyeopener a walk through this bustling seaport it is. One highlight was a tour of the nutmeg cooperative where one third of the world’s nutmeg is processed in much the same way as it has been for a hundred years. We bought some fresh okra, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, etc from local growers and along with the fish we had caught that morning on the way we chowdered up that night.

After a long noisy Friday night offshore of Goyave’s endless partying, we found peace at 3am and collapsed.

Next morning’s first stop was Dragon Bay, a small easy to miss indentation in the coastline that I read hosted some good snorkeling reefs. I snorkeled and filmed so the others could see what it was like. On a little further to a major stop at the city of St George where we lay all tied in at Port Luis marina and thus the connection to the rest of the world. A $1 bus ride brought us into downtown and its bustling street market where we loaded up on Papayas, starfruits (carambolas), oranges and veggies plus spices especially nutmeg and cinnamon – wonderful Grenada folks as polite as the best people anywhere in the world. Grenadans have class.

 
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With the whole family

With the whole family on board every day has been full of good times, so much so that I have no time to write. We have traveled the islands of St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Bequia and now bobbing up and down in Canouan.

St. Lucia’s snorkeling is fantastic, closet to a scuba dive through coral gardens. Anchored in the middle of Anse la Raye we took the dinghy (all 8 of us) around the point to an isolated beach and came in with a crash through the surf onto the steep sand. After we all swam off the beach, 5 of us snorkeled a half mile back to the INNcredible Sea Lodge.

Off to Soufriere we grabbed a mooring right along the cliffs in the north bay where the snorkeling is fantastic, the best so far, and right off the boat. The next morning a few of us jumped in for a long snorkel up to the bat cave and back. Returning to the boat I discovered that one of the mooring lines had broken. I retied and soon thereafter it broke, not our lines but the mooring itself. Thinking the other line was secure I moved in for a closer inspection only to see that the only line left was somehow still holding on, not within a loop but around a knot at the end of a line. I swam as fast as I could to get up onto the boat before it broke way. Our boat was so close to the cliff that if we broke loose within a few minutes we would be on the rocks. We released our lines and abandoned this mooring, thankful we made it through the night here, and motored to the southside of the bay at the base of Petit Piton and with a local’s advice chose a newer mooring and tied to it. While here we spent the day at near perfect beach with a handful of locals showing up to swim on this Sunday afternoon. Andrew and David explored a little and returned after Andrew climbed a Papaya tree (technically a plant) with those wonderful fruits. A local brought us mangoes and prickly fruit too.

Next morning Molly and Scuba dived with local Divemaster Chester in his bright pink long pants and ball cap which he wears above and below the water (you can’t miss him wherever he is). We dove the Coral Gardens at the base of Gros Peton.

Then we were in for a long run down the island all the way to its southern tip at Veiux Fort where we anchored for the night. The winds are fierce at this anchorage because there is little buffering from the low lying hills to windward but the anchor holds just fine. From here the next morning was our big open ocean crossing of about 26 miles to the tip of St. Vincent. My family was in for there first offshore sailing experience complete with 20-35 knot winds and 2+ meter seas wacking us sideways as we sailed with the main on its third reef and the jib reefed too. Nonetheless we were sailing 7-9 knots moving this 45 ton catamaran off to a new country – St. Vincent and the Grenadines. As we sailed to the lee of St Vincent we got relief from the swells and variable winds with downpours from passing squalls. The tall mountains that come right to the sea are lush with vegetation in many shades of green including steep fields of the Rastafarian herb for which this rugged part of the island is well known and off limits to the curious. We tucked into the small Troumaka Bay where the water is so deep that we had to get up so close to the beach to drop our anchor and stern tied to a coconut tree on shore that the stern of the INNcredible was in 5 feet of water about 15 feet from shore. We were the only boat here except for a large vintage steamer built in 1930s called the Nahlin that was anchored way out in the deep water. This private ship was built for a wealthy woman back then who took the ship around the world in 1936. The ship has been restored and is now on a reenactment of that round the world voyage 77 years later. We met one of its crew who was snorkeling and discovered the ship has 24 crew and only two guests, the names of which he wouldn’t release.

So we had Troumaka Bay all to ourselves and a few locals, one of whom paddled around the little bay line-fishing and pulled up to the boat with an amazing catch and sold us the big one… to be continued.

Brian

Captain of the Inncredible Sea Lodge

 
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Happy New Year St Lucian Style

An actual rare but classic sunset, clear to the horizon, let the sun dip into the warm Caribbean Sea saying goodbye to 2012. The sun made no promises or resolutions as it disappeared but I’m hoping it will be back in 2013.

Mile-wide crescent shaped Rodney Bay had more than a hundred sailboats at anchor, INNcredible Sea Lodge dropped its hook up front about a futbol field off the sandy beach. We were positioned to take in the purported fireworks. As dusk gave way to night the only evidence that alluded one to believe a festive night was likely was the throbbing sounds from the world’s most annoying speakers connected to not one but two live and obnoxious DJs. As a matter of fact, I’m writing this 7 hours after they started making their noise and there’s no sign of them quitting. This is a job for some Navy seals to swim in undetected and find the source and pull the plug. I don’t have those qualifications but I may volunteer for Mission Possible. The scene started with four or five musical disturbances distributed up and down the beach but this one dominated.

More boats kept showing up into the Bay, all sizes from the dinkyest dinghy to an overcrowded flashing catamaran day cruiser, filling in among the anchored sailboats taking position for the anticipated light show. On the shore people gathered and soon it looked likes Roman Legions lined up ready for battle. There was more than a thousand sandaled revelers waiting patiently for the first signs of action. Occasionally a red flare would streak the sky followed by nothing. The moon rose. That was exciting but that was 9 o’clock or so. On the water and the land, every one was moving into position.

The last minutes of 2012 faded away. Baboom! The battle began complete with cries from those Roman Legions ashore. The sky lit up with fired works coming from 4,5 maybe 6 positions, from behind the hills and right on the beaches. The colors burst, streaked and spun and lit up the starry sky in live 3D. The sound effects raised the level of excitement to a finale but the moment seemed to sustain itself beyond her expectations. Bringing on the new year was hard at work and wasn’t ready to shoot its last load just yet.

From the deck of the INNcredible my vantage to take in this spectacle was superb. Unlike Napolean’s very organized approach to the fired works of battle, St Lucian style fireworks are pure anarchy with no coordination, no orchestration just plain chaos, spectacular chaos.

Happy New Year every one,

from the Captain and first Mate (Andrew is fast asleep already) of the INNcredible Sea Lodge

 
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An INNcredible crew member speaks out after crossing the Atlantic

INNcredible Sea Lodge in the Caribbean

INNcredible Sea Lodge in the Caribbean

I just crossed the Atlantic with Brian Fitzpatrick on his 45 foot Catamaran the INNcredible Sea Lodge, There were 6 of us on board. I am back on land and at work and all the normal things are back. What is normal though? I do not have anything to compare it with regarding sailing as I have never been in a sailboat before, but I have to say, I had a great time. We were out 17 days at sea and actually on the boat for 5 weeks, time went by fast. Once under way we were on watch shifts of 6 hours and off for 9 so we rotated through the days no-one with the same shift each time and an opportunity to fish and sleep and watch movies (really) as we wanted to.

The fact that it was a Catarmaran meant that it did not lean over the whole time like a conventional single hulled yacht, so we had a relatively level platform and a lot of room. The boat has four bedrooms and four bathrooms with showers. Once I got used to walking around with the 2 to 3 meter heaving motion of the boat it was all fine. I never got seasick, not at all, and stopped taking seasickness pills after day 3.
That was my main concern. I had every kind of seasickness remedy with me and weaned myself off them and survived. I was even gutting and filleting Dorado (mahi mahi) and easting fresh sushi at sea. We caught 3 Dorado and a Barracuda, all of which we ate. The Dorado were sushi eaten raw with wasabi that Gaynor had the forsight to send along with me, and soy sauce on little onion scallops. The Barracuda was made into INNcredible Sea Nuggets in breadcrumbs and garlic and we ate it all except the teeth. A big fish did pull an entire rod and reel overboard though, and on the other rod, the whole 500 yards of 100 Lb line was taken, probably by a monster tuna or marlin I think. The ones that got away. With the loss of tackle, those fish cost about $280 each. Who said sushi was cheap?

The main halyard at the top of the mast for the Jennaker foresail and Spinnaker was a cheap arrangement and four

The main halyard at the top of the mast for the Jennaker foresail and Spinnaker was a cheap arrangement and four Lagoon 450 boats had the same problem that we did.

Lagoon 450 boats had the same problem that we did. It did not rotate well under load and chafed the line in about 5 hours, (a bit quick on a 17 day sail, so we could not use that sail. Most of the sailing was on a reach or broad reach, but as the wind came around from the east as we entered the Trades, we went on wing on wing with the mainsail. The main cannot swing out too far on a Cat’ because of the shrouds on each side and so with the main at 45 degrees to Starboard and the jib out to port we got up to 9 knots and made up a lot of the time we lost not being able to use the Jennaker.
The autopilot needed a break too as the reach was working the rudder a lot in those swells and that is a big electrical draw. We sailed for 4 or 5 days with this set-up and the boat charged through the nights and days like a truck all trimmed up and nice with everything coming at us from behind, waves, wind and weather. Days came and went and the sun and moon rose and fell, squalls overtook us with wind and warm rain, days came and went and we really did not know what day it was without working it out. Also because we were on “boat time” which was GMT, by the end of it were were having breakfast at noon and dinner at midnight. We saw the cycle of a moon and went from full to no moon. No moon at night 1500 miles offshore is pretty dark.

There was no rationing because we were loaded with food and wine.

There was no rationing because we were loaded with food and wine. The boat has a gross weight of 50 tons. We did try to use little fresh water just in case the de-salinator broke down. We had movies in the Salon in the evenings after dinner with the sound upstairs for the person on watch to listen to. All the while the boat heaved, but you get used to it. We saw hundreds of pilot whales that passed the boat for two days and they loved Alison Krause and Joey and Rory. Not so keen on Bob Marley though. They heard it through the hull because as a sailboat we were not running any engines. They came alongside, some 30 feet long and rolled on their sides and we could see the eye checking us out before they effortlessly accelerated ahead. The nights when the sky was clear were amazing with so many layers of stars that we do not see from land and there were meteorites that fell every minute or so all night long.
Some just a quick line in the sky and others a long bright streak and a bright flash that lit up the boat and made you look around. Up there at the helm there was always a flask of tea ready which was very civilized.

View out the back of the INNcredible Sea Lodge

We had warm nights and we had squalls with blustery winds and warm rain.

We had warm nights and we had squalls with blustery winds and warm rain.
The sea was 85 degrees F. I did not wear shoes for 17 days and we did not shave much either. I slept like a log in the 2 meter seas. I was in the aft port cabin, double bed and my own bathroom. Luxury. When in there night or day depending on watch shifts, I slept like a log. I had the generator droning sometimes, the autopilot servo buzzing, the water rushing past, waves would slap the inside hulls and sometimes it sounded like the boat was coming apart with all the flexing and pounding. The bed was heaving up and down, but I slept so well. I missed one complete night of rough weather in 8 hours of sleep. There had been waves, sail changes, engines, squalls, rain, running about and shouting etc and I missed it all and got up for breakfast oblivious to everyone’s amazement. I always have been able to sleep in trains, planes and boats for some reason. About two days out from St Lucia in 15,000 feet of water we pulled down all the sails and stopped, or “heaved to” and had a swim. If you were cunning, which I was, You shampooed you hair before jumping in for two reasons, one was to get a free hair-wash and the other was to make yourself taste bad to the sea monsters that obviously do live in those depths and were looking up at us.

St Lucia

Once we pulled in to St Lucia at 4am to a welcome rum punch and a tentative walk on “land”and got settled, I went 65 feet up the mast and re-invented the jennaker halyard block attach point. I thought I was going home after we arrived but Gaynor changed the tickets and came out and we stayed another week with us. We sailed to Martinique and back for some diving and snorkling and exploring and during the inter-island run, we ran up the Jennaker and it all seemed to work. I joked that I had hoped to no longer be on the boat when that pulley was tested.
All INN all a great trip. I’ve sailed once and it was the Atlantic. I’d do it again. Now I have to sell a few planes.

 

 

 

Mark Pilkington
INNcredible Sea Lodge Crew

 
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Where most cruisers don’t go

Certainly I’m not the first to stop here but we are the only one visiting now when all the other more sanitized touristy anchorages are packed with cruisers. The entrance to Laborie in the swell that we have looks impossible from outside passing by with waves breaking all over way offshore on the shoals all the way right into the entrance to this little fishing harbor. Harbor is a big word for this little place which is just a beachside with a small pier of 150 feet or less in very shallow water. We dropped our hook in just 15 feet onto the sandy bottom and on both sides of us within 150 feet are breaking waves. I love breaking waves, just watching them but off our stern the waves breaking on the reef are surfable. Three young locals paddled out to ride them. The allure was too great for me not to join them but not on a surfboard (I don’t have one here) but with my fins. A good hearty swim out from the boat to where the waves are peaking, I get to watch and feel the action up close. Waiting for that big set, I position myself or so I think until I’m caught inside some breakers. That’s always true no matter how big the swells are there will be that occasional BIG set that is twice the average or more. Patiently I wait my wave and drop in a good six footer for a great bodysurfing peel to the right.

On shore the town is authentic St Lucian fishing village. Ponga-style fishing boats pulled up on the sandy beach in front of little huts where each fisherman keeps his gear. In the evening when the fishermen return we walked along the beach looking for fish to buy for dinner. All the fishermen were complaining about the school of dolphins messing up their catch today so fish was slim pickins. We bought two small tuna for dinner.

The rest of the village is fun to walk through with a bakery, a market and almost every other door a miniature beer joint and one sizeable joint called the Bamboo Cafe owned by local Captain Kent who seems to command what is successful in town. Kent has a catamaran too and takes tourists bused in from resorts out for day cruises.

Overall a great spot except not for the weak in the knees because the rolling waves keep our cat a rockin’ all day and night. Not a problem for us, Andrew and I. Yes, it’s back to just Andrew and I exploring the warm waters meandering our way back home to California. We’ll keep in touch with highlights (I just wish I could share more phots with you and I will but only when we join the sanitized cruising community in their marinas with all the amenities – except for WiFi that bores me to death).

Brian
Captain of the INNcredible Sea Lodge

 
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Santa Does Christmas in Anse La Raye

Marigot Bay

Marigot Bay

Sailing back from Martinique on Christmas eve day made me think of where I need to be for Christmas. Marigot Bay is touted as the best there is in St. Lucia in the sailing guide books. So we headed into this well protected rainforested harbor. Gorgeous and crowded with sailboats and yachts from 30 feet to over a hundred. Clean, tidy, all the amenities including three restaurants Marigot Bay is everything they say it is but it’s not for me. I just don’t feel right in most marinas. They’re too sanitized and more importantly totally removed from the local communities. I don’t travel to faraway places and then go to a resort or marina that insulates me from the local communities. I want interface. I want  experience. I want to see how others live. And being Christmas time with my white beard and all I wanted to bring a little joy to as many children as possible.

So on Christmas eve in Marigot Bay, Andrew drove me around in our dinghy from boat to boat wherever children were to give them little treats ( lollipops, candy canes, gummy bears). These sailing children were enthusiastic, well-mannered and very appreciative that Santa (Papa Noel) stopped by with a treat, more forthe santa experience than the modest piece of candy – maybe it was the candy). That being done, I wanted to do way more. During the day I asked about a boys home and contacted the Sisters at Holy Family Home for Boys to offer our help, a visit from Santa with some treats for every one. But the Sister said that all the boys were gone for the holiday. They find them homes that will temporarily take them in for a couple nights over Christmas to be part of their family. What a great idea.

We left Marigot Bay mid-day Christmas in search of another place. We sailed into a nearby fishing village where not a single other sailboat was to be found in a small bay whose village has almost nothing to offer tourists. Anse La Raye is a village of local St Lucians living crowded right next to each other in small sea shanties, some without all their walls.Some decent well-kept tiny houses but most were leaning every which way and nearly falling over. yet the palette of colors brightened up the neighborhoods with a lot of character. But therein live lots of kids. And that’s where Santa needs to go. So Santa packed his pouch with lots of treats, put on his Irish (green with a shamrock embroidered) Santa Hat and wire-rimmed glasses and headed in from INNcredible Sea Lodge, just anchored and swinging in the middle of their bay, to meet all the children. Some playing on the beach saw Santa coming and started yelling. A middle-aged man at the pier met us and immediately offered to help bring us around the village knowing exactly what I wanted to do. What a godsend to enter their ghetto where no white man lives and have an escort to show us the village and meet every child in it. We walked every street, every alley, every muddy path and trail stopping at every house where children live. And we did this barefoot just like our local guide over sand, pavement rocks and mud for 2-3 miles throughout  this fishing village. I met so many children I had to dinghy back out to the INNcredible to refill my pouch with more treats.

We made each others Christmas day. The children were excited, the adults loved seeing Santa too. The children ran down the streets, came out the doors of their shacks, giggled and look bewildered that an old white man with a big white beard was here giving them a treat. Everybody knows the stories of Santa Claus but this little fishing village is a long way from the North Pole. Hopefully this wasn’t the first time Santa actually came to Anse La Raye, but if it was the memory will last quite a while. I know I will remember the warm welcomes, the happy faces, the giggles and laughs but I’m sorry to say that one little girl didn’t no what to make of me and ran away screaming  around down the next street as the adults were all laughing and every one was having a wonderful Christmas day.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Brian

Captain of the INNcredible Sea Lodge

 
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Martinique

before the colonizing of the Caribbean this island, Madinina as known by the Caribes, was called the island of flowers. Napolean’s sweetheart Josephine came from here.

The French influence is all around including those wonderful crusty baguettes.

The French influence is all around including those wonderful crusty baguettes. Saturday’s farmers market in St Pierre yielded some excellent veggies, fruits and spices which we’ll continue to enjoy for some time. Real cinnamon bark is nothing like what we know as cinnamon. Rhum (aka Rum) is plentiful and with at least twenty different local bottlings. French flags fly as does Martinique’s. The Euro, like the homeland is their money yet all their neighboring islands use the EC, the Eastern Caribbean dollar – a real pain in the ass.

From St. Pierre, after diving numerous wrecks from that 1902 volcanic explosion, we sailed to Case Pilote which turned out to be a fantastic all-to-ourselves anchorage with great snorkeling right off the boat. Up early today we set sail for our next stop – Grande Anse. Sailing into a perfect crescent shape bay lined with lush rain forests cascading down the mountains right to the water’s edge.

INNcredible Sea Lodge

At the head of the bay was a sandy beach lined with little houses and places to eat and a couple shops. The snorkeling is good here too but especially for Turtles who munch on the sea grass. Large turtles, sea snakes, star fish, conch and much more. We’re on a mooring ball among about 60 other sailboats from all over.

Listening to Van Morrison’s greatest Hits, its time to prepare some fresh Conch collected from snorkeling.

 

Mark

Mark Pilkington

With first light tomorrow we sail for St Lucia to get Mark and Gaynor so they can catch their Christmas eve flight home. No ferries were running and all flights from Martinique were full so by sail was there only way home. Soon the INNcredible Sea Lodge will be quiet with just Captain and first mate.

 

 

 

Brian

Captain of the INNcredible Seal Lodge

 
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The Adventure continues…

After fixing the faulty block for the gennaker halyard with a better design and better quality block, one important addition to the INNcredible Sea Lodge remained to accomplish – the dive compressor. Shipped all the way from California to St. Lucia, this compressor which can operate electrically with the INNcredibles generator is finally on board and wired for operation. its mission is to refill scuba tanks with high quality compressed air. That way we can dive anywhere any time. Tomorrow we’re going to dive some wrecks that were sunk during the eruption of Mt. Pele in 1902 here in St. Pierre, Martinique.

Sailing here today was on close-haul and sometimes a broad reach 44 nm from Rodney Bay to St. Pierre, home of Mt. Pele, a verdent green magnificent  towering volcano who blew its top in 1902 destroying much of the town and killing 30,000. Martinique is French speaking and in culture Creole.

Its great to be back roaming the open seas.

Brian

Captain of the INNcredible Sea Lodge

 

 
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Land Ho!

Land Ho! that cry at first site of land came in the dark of the night where actually the glow of distant lights extends the viewing by many miles. This is not good if you have any children on board because it creates a perception that we’ll be there in a short while when the opposite is the only truth. So with the kid in some of my crew the ever annoying, “Our we there yet” or “How much longer” is enough to make a Captain think of shortening his crew list. But I persevered and sailed on. Actually motored on ironically after 16 blustery days at sea because the last day becalmed. After an entire day of sailing patiently at 4-6 knots with the sails flopping on every large wave passing sideways, for the sake of the boat, its sails and our sanity, down came the sails and on revved one of our 54 HP diesels to propel us at a happy 6.5 knots.

There was beauty and fun in that last gorgeous day on the big Atlantic. When we decided to drop the sails we turned into the wind (as required in such a task) and when complete with sail flaked and tucked in its lazy bag, we all took a swim. Now this conclusion was a no brainer for me, the walrus that I am, and I was the first overboard. Mark followed as did First Mate Andrew with a bit of reluctance. The conversation that ensued previous to our stopping centered around the sea monsters, serpents and unknown creatures that must lie beneath in such deep waters way out in the Atlantic ocean just waiting for some poor thoughtless soul to dive overboard to take an innocent dip. So the others had not only hesitation but resolve to stay on the boat. Of course that wasn’t the case for our young crazy sailor from Maine, Bret. And by then I had been floating in the water holding onto the floating safety line we threw out with a buoy on its end being dragged along at 3 knots having the time of my life in 86 degree water. The others had done their swim in lightning speed in less than 2 minutes and were back onboard wandering if I was to shortly become bait for that unknown beneath the sea. As time went by and  I still existed out there in the ocean the boys jumped in again and out. Now it was time for them to jeer and poke at the only two holdouts to not make the plunged. Finally our ‘I don’t like water’ crew member from Adventure Connections jumped overboard, not because he couldn’t take the jeering but because he knew he would regret missing that opportunity of a lifetime. Congratulations Nate. Not to be the only pulled our swimming star into the water without any further hesitation, Emily and everyone enjoyed their swim (or plunged in and out) in the deepest water they’d ever swam in with a sense of accomplishment. I was still hanging on being pulled along with my face in the water (small mask on) looking in hopes to see one of those deep Atlantic sea monsters. The crew had to coax me back in the boat and reluctantly I did. A highlight of the crossing was marked off by all.

So we did reach land in the middle of the darkest night and crossed the finish line at 0430 to the fan fare of a couple of night duty ARC workers who actually made us feel special. After we blindly meandered our way past the finish line through a maze of anchored boats, many without any anchor lights on, we found the narrow entrance to the marina and tucked the big wide INNcredible Sea Lodge into its berth stern in (backwards). Tided up, engines off, the little welcoming committee was there dockside in the wee hours to greet us, welcome us, congratulate us and pass to each of us a rum punch and gift basket of St. Lucian fruits and their Chairman’s reserve bottle of rum. Group pictures onboard followed by that first step on land. Actually the dock, as most floating ones do, moved a lot like the boat so the sensation of solid mother earth was waiting for us at the end of the dock. The sudden lack of motion was dizzying and although it was good to stretch the legs in long steps no sudden calm became us and we retreated back to our cozy rock-a-by life on the boat for a few winks before the sun rose.

How we fared in the big scheme of competition was yet to be determined as more than 60 boats remain crossing the Atlantic , some 600 miles out still. But we have no hidden ridiculous thoughts that we need be at the awards ceremony to stage ourselves to collect any award other than we did it with the absolute lowest number of sailing experience years combined of a crew. For example, our mentors (who we never saw once while crossing) had the combined crew experience of five lifetimes plus their sixth crew with probably more years than any of us for an estimated total of over 250 years of combined sailing experience onboard. Our combined years of sailing experience for all six crew members totals less than 30. So I proposed that the sailing judges divide all scores by the number of years of sailing experience on each boat for the real results of achievement. Maybe we should stay for those awards ceremony. That’s okay we’ll miss it any way and be back out there exploring the hidden gems of the Caribbean.

All crew have touched land, tyed one on yesterday, and we’re accounted for when we arrived, but are all passed out on the boat now safely at dock. Happy, yes. Healthy? we’ll see how they feel when they wake.

 
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