Two and a half years. That’s how long it took me to finally realize (and admit to) the fact that cruising totally depends on the weather. As a traveler, I always decided where I wanted to go and how long I stayed. On a sailboat, forget it! People have this “funny” perception that sailing on your own boat means freedom. Where did they get that fantasy? It is the wind that decides where you go (unless you don’t mind bashing into steep waves, barely moving and wasting loads of diesel) and it is the comfort of an anchorage that makes one stay or leave. No longer do you choose where to visit.
Most cruisers are smart and they take this very fact into consideration when they plot their trips and pick their anchorages. Most of the time, Mark and I calculate that fact in as well. Except when I really want to see something. In this case, I fancied a visit to the lesser known Caribbean islands of Statia, St. Kitts and Nevis and Montserrat. The fact that we never plan to be back in this area fueled our decision.
The day we left St. Martin, Irie pointed at Statia, under sail. Sure, the current would set us some, but we figured we could make it pretty close to where we needed to be. But, because the first bridge opening on the Dutch side didn’t take place until 9:30 am, we had a late start and wouldn’t make it before customs and immigration closed. The weekend with non-working officials followed, so what was the point of going if we weren’t able to check in? So, we changed direction and headed for St. Barth. We sure could use a few days of relaxation before being active explorers again.
After many hours of sailing on the opposite tack, we found ourselves not too far from our starting point in St. Maarten and ended up motoring to St. Barth. What a waste… Together with our friends from Alianna, Tatia and Imagine of Falmouth we did get some quiet time and fun evenings before the “final” departure. We called ourselves the “Grenada Armada” and all took a different path southwards.
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Liesbet Collaert, a former school teacher from Belgium, has been an avid traveler since she was a teenager. Growing older only …
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