Perhaps we should attempt to explain events of the last few hours. Most importantly we picked up the Reggae radio stations about 45 miles out. We sighted land about 30 miles out as the sun started to close the horizon and our key concerns were firstly not to hit it and second not to get blown past it. We had been working all day to avoid arriving in darkness as we wanted to take in the sights but it just wasn’t possible. As we reached the northern point of St Lucia, about a mile off, there were 3 yachts all closing the point. Although the stand on vessel Ocean Breeze cut under our bow about 200 yards ahead – can the competition for something like 220th place so intense? Coming round the top into the lee of the island where the wind went from 30kn to, you guessed it, 30kn, we passed the dark shadows of Pigeon Island. The final turn is then into Rodney Bay for the finish line. Rather than see an open bay you see an optical illusion as shaeds of light and dark look like islands right ahead, and no bay.
Everyone arriving at night has said they questioned their plotters, charts and sanity. The finish line was tricky to find but we crossed at 20.40 on 19/12/13 local time. A photographer whizzed out in his rib and took the arrival photos. In our case we had rolled away all sail so they hardly look like the arrival on the wind of ocean sailors… Seriously loud, keel bolt shaking Reggae pounded across the bay. The next challenge is to pick your way through many, many anchored yachts, lit and unlit. Slowly we crept into the marina and were waved into a berth by a yellow shirt using one of those aircraft parking torches, very cool.
Gradually in the shadows we made out more and more of our welcoming committee from Silver Slipper, Duplicat, several yellow shirts, the rum punch guy. We were thrilled to see our friends had turned out. The pink rum punch was great. The yellow shirt guys gave us such a good welcome. Jerry suggested that perhaps we can now rest to which we said no we will buy you a beer….20 minutes later….with more and more friends we were buying the beers by the iced bucket load. Eventually we managed 2 hours sleep but then had to get up to welcome in Charlotta under tow. Berthing next door along came the rum punch guy who kindly said ‘you want some?’ and breakfast was served. 36 hours later and we have started to drift back down off the high of arrival. Thank you to everyone reading our blogs and for contacting us with your kind support and encouragement. It was a tough one.
Next day, as the sun rose, we could look around and find out what was around us. At 10.00am Charlotta arrived and were presented with their rum punch. The guy from the tourist board was well stocked and feeling generous so it was a case of more rum all round.
The last photo shows our track in yellow relative to the rest of the fleet.