Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Trip Log: Our Caribbean Sailing Adventure

After a lengthy flight from SF, we arrived in St. Martin.  We hit the docks and boarded Exodus, our charter boat for the next week.  She is a 2 year old Fountaine Pajot Ipanema 58 catamaran.  Our captain was there to greet us, as well as our chef for the week.  Peet and Kate are as amazing as our new home.  The sweetest part of the boat is the open fly bridge.  The helm is up here and seating for about 10.  It totally opens the boat up with its decadent sofas, fridge and wet bar.  We are in heaven!  We motor up to a nice cove and set the hook.  Dinner is served at 7pm and we are impressed!  After some nice conversation and a few bottles of wine, we settle in for some games and reading.  We are all a bit tired from the overnight flight, so we call it an early night.

The next morning after a delicious breakfast, we set sail for Anguilla.  Frank and I had been there in 2014 for a boys week and had a blast.  We anchored off the same beach and the memories of that week flooded back.  We had some boisterous winds for the sail over and covered the 5 nautical miles quickly.  I had time for some hammock (my hammock has traveled with me all over the world since I received one as a engagement gift way back in 1992) and a swim before dinner.  The meals have been fabulous and they keep getting better. 

The next morning was beautiful, and a swim was in order.  We headed back towards St. Martin with the winds in the mid 20's and anchored in a nice cove for lunch.  After, we tried to get into a cove but it was too busy so we ended up in the same cove as the first night, Grand Case.  We headed out for a snorkel and then some spirited bocce games on the beach.  What fun to play patonk on the French side of the island (the other side is Dutch).  We had a very nice steak dinner and I did some reading and then off to bed. 

Tuesday is a big day…we are heading for St. Barts.  Because I am a Latitude 38 reader, I have read about and seen many vids about St. Barts.  The editor of L38 spends winter and spring in St Barts and writes many a story on this gem of an island.  The wind is about 26 true when we depart and it is a beautiful sail of about 17 miles.  Along the way we have some fun and spot a few dolphins off the port side.  We arrive at lunch time and set the hook at the far side of the anchorage in Gustavia.  We have a fine lunch and then take the tender into town. 

Frank and I strolled thru Gustavia with its upscale shops and bars and then headed to the beach.  We find the beach bar Shellona and take a seat.  What a cool vibe.  Lots of boats anchored out, beautiful people sipping Rose an a lovely afternoon, and a nice beach.  We hung out for about an hour and a half.  Our ladies showed up for a glass of wine too.  We headed back to the boat for a glass of Champagne and a green flash to boot!  That might be my 10th green flash.  Then it was on to Maya’s for a nice fish dinner by the bay.
 Fly bridge!
We have been eating well as our chef Kate has prepared some fine meals.  This morning it’s Eggs Benedict.  We take off about 10am for a jaunt around the corner to a cove named Columbier.  About 10 boats are in the cove and we pick up a mooring ball near the beach.  We swim, hike and play bocce on the beach with a glass of wine in hand.  Good times indeed.  Plus, I had a glorious nap in the hammock in the bow.  With the gentle swaying from the breeze, it felt like I was in the womb once more.  However, this is a womb with a view!

We are celebrating a few birthdays so tonight we start with Champagne, fine wines from Napa and a scrumptious dinner from the galley.  We have a great night and the temp is a perfect 78!

Thursday, we take off for Nikki Beach.  We anchor off the beautiful Eden Rock Hotel and go for a swim.  Whenever I swim in an anchorage, I am very watchful for passing boats and especially jetskis.  I was nearly killed back in 88' when a passing jetskier decided to buzz our ski boat.  I was retrieving an overboard item and popped to the surface inches from the passing jetski.  That would have been a tragic ending.  Back to the islands!  At 1pm, we head in for lunch at the famous Nikki Beach Restaurant and Beach Chalet.  There is a large wedding party and the mood is festive.  Its very loud as the DJ is pumping up the jam!   As we wait for lunch to arrive, Bridget and I go for a walk on the beach as she is very sensitive to loud music.  After lunch, we move down to the beach and continue drinking from a very large bottle of Rose.  I go for a swim and enjoy watching the wedding guests frolick in the water.  After a short game of bocce on the beach, we return for a nap and another awesome dinner aboard. I could get used to this!

On our last full day aboard Exodus, we snorkel a bit and then head to a beautiful spot on St. Martin.  We anchor next to a nearly deserted anchorage and beach.  I see a small Hobie go by and head to the beach to see if I can rent one.  Soon it becomes apparent that the guy sailing the Hobie is out of his league.  He soon capsizes and needs to be rescued.  They send out a jetski and bring back the wayward sailor.  One of the employees is now attempting to sail the Hobie back but the winds are in the high teens and he is having trouble.  The manager asks if I could help.  She whisks me away on the jetski and I board the cat.  In no time, I am back up wind and enjoying some fine reaches out into the outer waters and much more wind.  These boats are fun to sail and a blast to sail fast.  I head back to the beach and get a hero's welcome from the staff.  Back to the boat for another fine meal and early to bed.  The group stayed up late playing Skipo, but I was out cold by 10pm. 

On Saturday we say our goodbyes to the crew.  What an amazing week it was.  I was very surprised how windy it was every single day.  In all our sails, the wind was over the mid 20's.  The weather was fantastic with a only a shower or two.  If you ever charter a large cat, make sure it has a fly bridge.  This is a must as it gives you a great view and another place to relax and hang out.  We loved the two beach bars on St. Barts as the vibe was as cool as the people.  Everything was top notch and we would not hesitate to book this cat and crew again.  Bon voyage indeed!

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