I will tell you about these last days from Antigua up to now, the last days with Rocio and me together before we take a little break and went discovering Carribbean on our own before meeting up again. We just both felt like having some time on our own after spending five months together non stop. So Rocio is now waiting for delivering boats from St Martin towards Tortola! I am visiting Ma´tinik awaiting to get more information about the boat we will deliver back to France, an RM10.50.
Let us start with the story then; we left Berenice on the 18th of February after two months of work. We will remember our Captain Fonzie and his moment of swearing as well as his Pina Colada moments and his passion for fishing that filled our belly more than once. After all it was a real good experience for us; you get to see the inside of running luxury yachts, discover what makes a difference between a good from a bad boat (“the devil is in the details”… so they say), meet more people and discover how different can people live their lifes but still being happy. We will keep with us the images of millions of dollars floating palaces sitting next to each other, waiting for the rich man to come onboard.
On the 18th we moved onto Luskentyre, an Oyster 72 (21.5 m long saling yacht) which is run by Arvid and Georgia, a couple to who we were introduced by Fonzie (Canadian and Kiwi). They needed delivery crew to bring Luskentyre to Bahamas and proposed to pay us as well as a friend of ours to come and do it with them, including a flight back to anywhere we wanted in the Carribbean. The flight back for us was the start point of deciding to take some time each one aside and so both of us went looking into his opportunities. The delivery was 1000 NM sailing North West, thus in theory 5 to 6 days of downwind sail with the sun… who would say no?!
We left on the 20th from Antigua after struggling to get a piece of the steering system back in place. This delayed us of one day on the schedule and meant we would have to sail fast, and if sailing was not fast enough… engine on!… The weather was very pleasant to us, maybe even a bit to much: we sailed downwind for the first couple of days but ended up having to motor because the wind dropped or shifted round to blow straight on our stern. In those conditions and on those type of boats, going by sail is very uncomfortable: the composite “park avenue” boom weighing more than 200 kgs bangs from one side to the other, risking to damage sail and blocks.
We had to stop in St Martin to fix the generator. We stayed at anchor for one night and the following morning. That gave time to some of us (mainly me) to rush onshore and buy a couple of duty free articles. I came back to the boat very happy: new toys! a phone and a camera!
For the rest of the crossing all the crew struggled to keep busy; five of us onboard and sailing under engine on a straight course did not provide many excitement in itself. The first thing was to learn backgamon! Once Geaorgia explained it to Rocio and me we would keep battling one another for a whole afternoon, me defending that the game is all about tactics and Rocio stating that luck rules backgamon… Once I started loosing the opinions diverged…
Fishing was another way of killing the time while roasting under a cloudless and hot sunny day. We caught two little tunas, a wahoo and a mahi mahi. All of them finished in our little hungry tommies in various way: carpaccio, curry, steaks… miam miam… Georgia unveiled her secret tricks and cooking became another pleasant way to spend our time. We were not competing but evryone was happy to show the best he could do: fresh tagliatelle, salads of all sorts, empanadas, curry… And when we were not eating, reading, fishing, watching a DVD, sleeping and/or steering (the autopilot would not want to take our relay…) we were left with reading. I would strongly recommend this short book I ate in a day, a Voyage for Madmen (in French I think it is Goldenglobe). It treats about the first single handed round the world race and describes the nine characters who took part to it.
And last but not least, the most marking point of this crossing was how much sea life we saw. We spotted several days some whales jumping out the water at 200 m from the boat, and landing back in the water with a massive splash! We all tried to snap a picture of them but obviously the whales were shy and would only jump when the camera was not aimed at them… Untill two of them passed at two meters from the boat, Rocio on the helm had to give a hard turn to port to avoid a collision.
Georgia and Rocio spotting the whales, Francesco spotting… the whales?
But where are they?
Arvid filleting a mahi mahi… miam
Night watch time… foot on the steering wheel, engine at 1700 RPM…
All quiet on board. The sunset reflects in our massively heavy boom…
Finally on the 26th at 7 o´clock local time we entered Lyford Cay on the North-Western part of New Providence. This marina is nicknamed “Lifeless Cay” by the sailors and locals because it is situated in the middle of one of the most exclusive and expensive residential neighbourhood of the world. And indeed nothing happens there… Some people pay a lot of money to keep quiet with their millions and that is how it is.
After spending the day working to make the boat as shiny as possible for the boss, we wanted to go out for a drink somewhere and asked a taxi to drive us “somewhere nice for a drink”…. On the way we felt totally in a sort of American resort islands; perfectly maintained bushes, supermarket, Mac Donalds, Sheratons… we finally ended up in a terrible restaurant area and come out from there feeling quite disgusted. After all Lifeless Cay is maybe the best the island had to offer… A bit sad for a place with such an adventurous past: capital of the pirates.
Team Fender (Francesco and Gaspar) washing the hull from the dinghy and the dinghy from the hull
Hopefully we did not despair and spent our free day exploring a bit more… Having picked up a guide of the Bahamas dating of 2001 we left in three of us, Rocio, Francesco and me, in a taxi… we ended up for a couple of hours in a little village, Adelaide, in the South West of the island further away from the touristy bling bling. The village has an interesting history; it was founded by the freed slaves that the british navy were unloading on New Providence. They settled here because the gigantic lagoon (more than 30 NM wide) provided them with fishes and conchs (as long as a shark did not take a bite at them before) enough for surviving. A local ex policeman drove us around from Adelaide to Nassau the capital and there and recommended what to see, indeed most of the places recommended in our guide had been either destroyed by a hurrycane or simply abandonned… everywhere the same tourist attractions; passenger ferry vomiting thousands in the streets of Nassau, filled of shops you can find home, Resort centers, casinos, hotels… Overall it is pretty sad that a plca with such an extraordinary topology and history has became a profit making American massive resort island, working on the ideal dream holliday concept sold by TV programs… But well this is obviously only my modest opinion…
Francesco and me enjoying a beer in Adelaide with our guide of the Bahamas dating from 2001…
Paradise Island… Beurk!
And that is enough for keeping you up to date. I will try to post you some news on Ma´tinik and I wait with impatience, as well as you, the news from Roro! So let us finish in beauty after this ugly picture of “Paradise Island”…