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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Rodney Bay to Bequia

The morning started out with introductions to the last two of our outstanding crew, Ron and Sue, both experienced sailors from Michigan. They were neighbors, and Ron owned a Catamaran over at St. Vincent as part of the Moorings charter for many years, while Sue had raced sailboats. They were both retired, and Ron in particular had spent quite a bit of time researching cheap ways to sail and dive. Ron was formerly worked as a fund raiser, retired from that and ended up being a real-estate developer, and finally retired from that just as the market peaked.
From St. Vincent and the Grenadines
From St. Vincent and the Grenadines

The furler had been fixed the day before, but there was a bit of last minute shopping to do, and Norman had to register the crew before leaving St. Lucia, so everyone went ashore for long enough to do some shopping. We were planning a long sail today, so the awning came down, and Norman directed everyone on how to take down the awning.

We once again set sail with the motor on, but this time went past Marigot bay and kept going towards the Southern end of St. Lucia, with the beautiful Pitons in the background. The wind was light, since we were well in St. Lucia's wind-shadow, so we had to keep the engine going. However, that also meant that the boat wasn't heeled over, so it made a stable platform for photographs, and for everyone to get to know each other.
From St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Once out of St. Lucia's wind shadow, Norman had us raise the stay sail, and with the persistent winds, we got enough speed that the engine could be turned off for some true sailing. The boat heeled over nicely enough, but it was a long crossing to St. Vincent. Our destination was to be Bequia, which was the island past St. Vincent, with its tall volcano which would generate its own weather system and shield us from the wind.

In the midst of the crossing, the sun set behind some pink and red clouds, giving us a glorious view, and of course, forecasting good weather for the next day. "Red sky at night, sailor's delight." When night fell, we saw the stars in their full glory, since it was a new moon night. In addition to unfamiliar constellations (I had forgotten to install a star map application onto Lisa's android phone), we also saw the huge band of the milky way, all lit up to make the dark end of St. Vincent ahead of us more prominent.
From St. Vincent and the Grenadines

As we approached St. Vincent, I became very happy that I was not the skipper on this boat: being unfamiliar with the waters, it was very difficult to see what signs Norman was looking for before he started to steer us around the leeward side of St. Vincent. Finally, at 8pm we entered St. Vincent's wind-shadow, and the boat stopped heeling. In the quiet zone, Allison could finally prepare dinner, and we ate a late dinner at 9pm. Norman started up the engine again, and then told everyone who wanted to sleep to go to bed.

I didn't think I could sleep with the engine running, but between ear plugs, my cold, and general weariness, I fell into a deep sleep and did not wake until the next day.

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