Before leaving Barbados, I met Norman on the beach as I rowed in. A diplomat of sorts for Guyana and local journalist, he was intrigued about my trip, and did a small interview onboard for the Caribbean Compass newspaper - So, if you find a copy over the next few months, maybe I'll be in it! As scheduled, I left for St Lucia, with my Australian passport in the hands of the US embassy, to be posted on to the Castries DHL office. I think I mentioned the trip from Barbados was only 67nm, which was a mistake. I had punched in the northern most waypoint given by a 2006 St Lucia Imray chart, without first plotting it to get an idea of the distance, and it read 67nm... When I did do a proper sail plan, I plotted the waypoints and noticed the provided waypoint was a printing mistake, with the true distance being 104nm! I was a little disappointed at the mistake, having timed my journey based on the first figure. Nevertheless, I left anyway at 5pm, hoping I could arrive in under 24 hours, so I wouldn't be stuck anchoring in the dark, or without customs clearance.
Little happened on the trip across, except a strange vessel mid-way that was lit up like a Christmas tree. It was at anchor, but showed no signs of life other than the vast array of lights. Headed straight for it, Merv the Mer-Veille, (a new addition to Constellation) picked up the vessel several miles out. I failed to mention that just before I left Las Palmas, and one of the reasons I was a few days late in leaving, was because I received a generous present from my Uncle, which performed really well across the Atlantic. Merv picked up several vessels I'd missed doing visual checks, and picked up all the ships I'd seen myself along the way. It's not a fail-safe means to just going to sleep all night without looking around, but it does give an added sense of security. And if it's good enough for all the French singlehanders, it's good enough for me!
Constellation also seemed a little confused on the trip, thinking she was a catamaran, because we flew the entire way! Past Deep Water harbour in Barbados, a ferry was about to cross the Atlantic, with a few passengers waving to me in the distance, as I seemingly headed back into my old habits of sailing towards the setting sun. I was a little queasy with seasickness, but munched on a stick of ginger I had, and lay in my bunk as we averaged 5.5kts to Rodney Bay:
While the above anchorage is rather pretty, I decided to stay in the inner lagoon, as there was quite a wind blowing, and my anchor setup is less than perfect. Also not having an outboard makes it hard to row around in the bay itself, especially when the wind is up. I'm quite certain I could be the only person in the entire Caribbean still out here paddling about with oars... I try hard to pretend I'm an old tough fisherman from Maine with steely arms, as I slowly venture past the charter boats and other assorted expensive vessels in the lagoon, but I'm only kidding myself. The charter catamarans are the worst, with 20 beautiful people from Martinique, drinking rum punch with a pumping stereo, waving to the guy rowing into 25kts of wind.
Constantly nervous about the rusty 6mm chain on my anchor, I splurged on buying 35ft of new 8mm chain from the local chandlery. It was all I could afford, and less than adequate, but it's better than what I have, and the idea of dragging backwards into an expensive boat gives me nightmares. I'd have to sell up to pay for the damage.
Thanks to Matt & Karen aboard S/V Where II, I received some new photos of me departing Las Palmas to cross the Atlantic - Thanks guys!
A few more on the photos page.
Tomorrow I hope my Visa will have arrived from Barbados, and so I'll keep trucking north, possibly on Tuesday or Wednesday. Martinique is around 25miles (but don't quote me!) so I think I'll stop there for a day or two on route. I have some housing difficulties back in Berlin, with a suprise bill from the electricity company I'm trying to sort out, before it drains every last penny I have, and I have to start selling Guava from my dinghy...