Today is ‘Day 0’ of our final Caribbean passage for almost two years, until our return in 2019. Isbjorn is bound for the Grenadines for the second time in 2017, a change in our original schedule, which had us going back to St. Barth’s and on to Dominica. Why the change? Because the sailing passages will be longer, and having been once in the Grenadines already this year, we felt compelled to return. They are a neat place.
I’m writing from the sofa at Jeremy’s Kitchen, a new cafe on the beach in Trellis Bay. Isbjorn is anchored off in our normal spot, just inside the north cardinal mark at the outer edge of the Bay, the only place without mooring balls and enough room to anchor. Mia & I did a short swimrun this morning to the beach and back, our second (we each went alone yesterday). We’re (sort of) training for the OtillO Final 15 in Sweden in September, where we’ll represent Team Isbjornsailing in our second big swimrun event in Sweden. But that’s another story.
While I’m excited to get back to the Grenadines, I’m also ready to leave the Caribbean. We’ve spent only two months here in 2017, but in reality, have been back and forth to the Caribbean yearly since 2008, when I first explored the Leewards with Broadreach. We’ve come to know and love (and loathe) a big part of the Caribbean. It’s a love-hate relationship - the sailing is great, the islands are amazing, but it’s so damn HOT it’s hard to work on the boat! Mia has me totally converted to the cooler weather of Scandinavia. We made it as far south as 11º north this year when we sailed down to Prickly Bay in Grenada, and it’s amazing to think that in a few short months we’ll be north of 60º when we visit Finland and the Nautor yard in the Baltic in August. That’s a lot of latitude! My blood has thickened since we met ten years ago and I find myself more and more drawn to the north.
But, in another hour or so, my focus will return to the Caribbean and our final trip down south for some time. Rob & Harold have arrived and just bumped into us. They're at an adjacent table having a cold drink. They took the ferry over from St. Thomas this morning and are excited to join the boat. Rob won the contest that Annie Dike & I put together, while Harold is a friend of our longtime crew member Dan L., who’s sailed with us I think five or six times already, and is indeed signed up to sail with us again in early 2019 on the ‘setup’ passage to Las Palmas ahead of our Atlantic crossing then. The last two crew members for this trip are en route as I write, a young, adventurous couple, Nick & Sara, from Maryland.
We’ll spend the afternoon going over the standard orientation, learning the boat and learning about each other. Then first-thing tomorrow, we’ll sail over to Virgin Gorda to clear customs and will be on our way south and east by late afternoon. We’ve got a few minor boat projects to complete - re-hoist the small genoa, pack away the dinghy, etc. - but we’ll soon be back offshore!