Full Circle - We made it!

Wednesday 11th January
Sailing past the beautiful Pitons just after sunrise on St.Lucia's south west point
This was the point at which we crossed over our old track and officially completed our seven year double handed circumnavigation. Over 30,000 miles (we have yet to calculate our exact distance) and 40+ countries - We've shed blood, sweat and tears and at times questioned if we'd ever make it!

We want  to thank everyone for your support and especially our families who without their love and understanding (and a lot of patience) it would have never been possible. Of course thanks to Blue Moon who's been an absolute trooper and held up in conditions we couldn't have dreamed off...we're very proud of her.

So what's in store for us now?...The trip hasn't finished yet and we plan to sail Blue Moon slowly back up through the islands to Florida by June. She'll continue being our home until we figure out what to do with the rest of our lives!! 


Tuesday 10th January

These Pictures pretty much sum up our stay in Barbados...Vibrant Colours, Stunning beaches, Friendly people and lots of Rum! We spent two weeks exploring the island using the public buses which cost just $2 Barbadian for a ride no matter how far or short a trip you take. It's been great to be back in a country where English is the first language as it makes asking for directions a lot easier and we're able to chat to people on the bus to gain some local knowledge.

The Barbadians are extremely friendly, tourism (other than rum), is the biggest industry on the island and it feels like the locals appreciate this and go out of their way to make us feel welcome. We've been constantly stopped in the street and asked if we needed help to find anything -  no strings attached, they're not trying to divert us into their shop or sell anything - just trying to help...so refreshing!

Blue Moon has needed some TLC and we haven't been neglecting our duties to her, we've found a happy balance of work in the morning and having the afternoon to explore. After 16 days at sea it's been wonderful to get out and do some hiking to stretch our legs and have a slightly more intimate way learning the lay of the land.

Every day more yachts that we know arrive from their crossing so our social calender has been getting more crammed. With sunset drinks on the beach and on various yachts it's great to see every ones excitement to have made it across the Atlantic in one piece and to finally be in the Caribbean. Our next stop will be in St. Lucia where we'll complete our circumnavigation...we just have to drag ourselves away from Barbados first!

Atlantic Crossing

Tuesday 27th December
Okay, so we try not to complain about passages too much as we know we're lucky to we have this opportunity to sail around the world but some voyages are just plain uncomfortable! Luckily we had enough wind to sail the whole way across and avoided any really bad squalls, but with a swell out of the north and another one out of the south colliding with us in the middle, Blue Moon quickly became a cork in a washing machine. Endless meals found their way onto the galley floor followed by screams of frustration and ultimately resulting in bumps and bruises for whoever had to clean it up.

We stuck to a pretty strict watch pattern of 3 hours on and off at night and whatever we needed during the day - usually half a day each. The sails were set down wind wing on wing with the head sail poled out and a reefed main on the opposite side. Other than switching them over if the wind changed and reefing for squalls we pretty much left them alone most of the trip. Luckily 'Heidi' our wind steering vane worked almost perfectly although we do have to sit and watch that she doesn't decide to make a detour off course with a gentle pull on the helm now and then to bring her back on track.  

About 10 days into the trip our limited supply of fresh food from the Cape Verdes was exhausted so we had to get creative with cans of ham, corned beef, tuna and vegetables...luckily it makes for quick and easy cooking with no chopping and dicing required! We did catch a beautiful Mahi Mahi towards the beginning of the trip which supplied us with fillets for five days but after that our luck ran dry.

A welcome relief to the passage was our daily check in every morning and evening to the Magellan Net on our SSB radio. We have role call in the morning with over 20 other yachts making the crossing to find out every ones position and weather conditions. In the evening Captain Fatty off Wild Card would host a more informal  net that would lighten the mood with stories of fish caught and funny things that happen on board that only cruisers would appreciate.

Unfortunately we lost the ability to transmit on our SSB radio half way across and even though we could still hear other yachts we began to feel very isolated. We also lost our email connection so couldn't keep contact with family and friends back home or receive weather updates - until then I don't think we realised how much of a life line the radio is. Jimmy spent days trying to locate the problem going over all the connections and even raising a new antenna but of no avail so he had to mutter the fate full words 'we'll have to get a professional to look at it'!!
Christmas Lunch - A real treat instead of Pasta
Our first Christmas at sea was probably the best day of the trip...miraculously the weather and seas calmed off just for one day and we treated our selves to a movie on the lap top and dinner of ham, mash potatoes and green bean casserole. By night fall the weather picked back up and it was a return  to discomfort.

After 16 days we finally got a welcome change in scenery as the low island of Barbados began to take shape on the horizon. With it's turquoise blue waters and white, palm tree lined beaches we are very happy to have made it across the Atlantic to make land fall in paradise!! 

Cape Verde Islands

Saturday 10th December
After a pretty rough seven day sail down from Las Palmas in the Canaries- with winds consistently staying above 30 knots- it's been a joy to take a break and relax in the Cape Verdes. Located off the coast of Senegal in North West Africa see map.The Verdes were a Portuguese colony until 1975, now the majority of the population is Creole a mix of Black African and Portuguese descent.

We anchored in Mindelo Harbour on Sao Vincent Island nestled amongst over forty other yachts and fishing boats of varying shapes and sizes.  Check in was a breeze with a small fee of 5 euros and no worries that we didn't have our paper work from the Canaries. We'd been warned of possible dinghy thefts but as long as it was locked up we never felt there would be a problem.

The town of Mindelo reminds us a lot of the Caribbean islands (or how they would have been without the onslaught of tourism) with lots of small shops and street vendors selling fresh fruit and vegetables with all of the colours of Africa. We found Mindelo Marina and Club Nautico great places to hang out in the evening for sunset drinks and lots of little old Portuguese cafes on the main street to people watch during the day.

We joined a group of cruisers for a day trip over to the neighbouring  island of Santo Antao, just one hour by ferry, and hired a minibus with a local driver to take us for a tour. The scenery is breathtaking and we were blown away by the high volcanic mountains and lush greenery of the valleys and river gorges. We would definitely recommend the island as a great place for backpackers, hikers and cyclists and hope to return soon ourselves to explore more of these beautiful  islands.  
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