Day 17 – 11th December – 191 miles sailed in the last 24 hours – wow, a record day & just what we need at this point! 2 more days to go! 48 hours is still the longest passage prior to the Atlantic that I have ever done, but it seems small fry now and is all that lies between us and land!
Jago and Liberty were keen to do the sunrise shift this morning, so Jay woke them at 6am and they enjoyed the sunrise with him – snuggled up with hot chocolates! We had a peaceful day with great wind and we are galloping along still. We all have various aches and pains because our bodies need to move more than they have been able to! I have my trainers with me and am dreaming of arriving in St Lucia and running to launch my body into action again!
There is a huge and increasing amount of peculiar seaweed in the water, it looks gelatinous, almost like frog spawn. It is playing havoc with our fishing lines so we have given up for now.
The ARC sent out a message today saying that an ARC boat has lost it’s mast and only has enough fuel to cover 100 of the remaining 400 miles. They appealed to any boats close by to help by giving them any spare fuel. We aren’t anywhere near them to help but are wishing them well!
Day 18 – 12th December – The wind has died down so the motors are on for us to get to St Lucia as planned. It is doable, we are keeping the faith. We begin to plan what needs to be done on arrival and make a list- the first for nearly 3 weeks, prior to that we had prep lists coming out of our ears!!
It has felt properly hot for the first time today. The Gennaker was set to the starboard side for most of the day and we realise what a sun shade that has been for the boat! We have our last salt water shower which is pleasantly warm at 32 degrees – an increase in 7 degrees since we left Las Palmas. Sitting together, we enjoy our Penultimate Sunset at sea. The last before we see land. It strikes a chord in us all.
Our food rations have served us well. I make a French Onion soup for lunch with the last of the onions and Beef Pie for tonight. Homemade flapjack for pudding, yum! We have lots of tins left in our stock but the fresh food is practically gone. If we needed to survive on tinned food for the next few days then we could, but we are very glad that we don’t!
The last of our night watches tonight and I have my favourite – the sunrise shift. These watches have by and large been magic. Keeping watch whilst listening to music under a blanket of magnificent stars is a great way to while away the night hours. Catching up on sleep during the day has made it possible. There were a few livelier nights where the flybridge was an action station for sail changes etc but in the main, the nights have passed peacefully.
Day 19 – December 13th – We launch into action – today is the day, we will have landed before the day is out! Much cleaning and boat prep to do, sorting washing (loads!) ready for the laundrette, tidying away the things that we needed for the crossing and getting out the things that we need for cruising eg: paddleboard! There is much excitement on the boat. We all work hard and treat ourselves to the first fresh water shower – a warm one too – divine!! We are a clean, mean floating machine!!
We see land! Liberty is the first to spot it, she squeals and shouts “Land Ahoy!” as loud as she can! We all leap up on deck and join in with the squeals and shouts – then we stare in wonder – land, beautiful land. We are so relieved, feel incredibly grateful and very happy indeed.
We are bedazzled by the lights as we near shore. We radio in our arrival and are met by the ARC team who welcome us with a basket of fruit, a bottle of rum and a rum punch for all! We jump off onto the pontoon and kiss it with delight!!
I ask each of our wonderful crew to sum up in a few words their experience of the last 3 weeks. Here goes:
Jason – Un unforgettable slice of wild and free family time!
Alex – Invaluable lessons learned, sea legs definitely earned. The journey of a lifetime, always follow the sunshine!
Dad – Land at Last!!
Rex – An adventure I will never ever forget!
Ruby – An exciting adventure that few get to experience. I am so glad that I am one of them!
Jago – One of the best experiences of my life!
Liberty – A fun and exciting adventure!
Dulcie – Wow, what a challenge with many beautiful moments amidst the very best of crew. We surrendered to the flow, and are feeling humbled by the whole affair and utterly euphoric at the sight of land!
Day 20 – December 14th – The balloons are out & the birthday boy is delighted to have his birthday on arrival! The day begins with pressies and cards, followed by a delicious breakfast ashore. We clear customs and check in with the ARC office and then enjoy a pizza and ice cream lunch – heaven! Then we are free to set sail again – just out into the bay where there is an awesome Wibits water park. The kids have dreamed of swimming and we all indulge merrily! We return to the boat, hungry and happily tired and enjoy every mouthful of Rex’s birthday cake! The day is topped off with a meal ashore with Dad and Linda. What a day, everything feels novel and extra glorious after life at sea. Rex declares it to be the best birthday he has ever had!