Over the next week we gave James the space and the freedom to hunt for the boat, I don’t know his story of this time I only know ours and I’m not going to describe our day to day activities because that would be showing off. What I will say is that we arrived shell shocked and a bit broken and would be leaving recharged and with huge smiles. We have been cocooned in a bubble of friendship, generosity and kindness, I am so grateful for it and think that without this time to just stop, breathe, process all we’d been through, I would have definitely flown home with the children and the journey would have been over. Instead we have been given the opportunity to relax, to explore St Lucia, to eat until we could pop, to have met wonderful people and the children well they have been allowed a lot of fun. I must say a huge thank you to Mark who has been wonderful and gone above and beyond to look after us. For wasting his time off traipsing around St Lucia with us searching for girls knickers (which my daughter cannot live without, but only knickers of a very specific type and shape!) For taking us out for ice creams and local chicken on beautiful beaches, for buying the children body boards so they could play in the surf on the beach, for never once making us feel that we were taking advantage or not wanted and trust me as the days passed and we still had no news on the boat I was getting more and more concerned at overstaying our welcome. How long do you wait? I had begun to daydream all these fantastical ways our boat was going to be found, how someone would just turn up with it whilst I was sat there on a beach, how it would just drift in straight towards me, how James would go out looking in a plane, spot it and literally jump out and bring it back and trust me these were the sane ones, but they are just that, dreams. We were constantly watching the sea looking for it and it was heartbreaking seeing all the other yachts with families on just cruising around. We went to the marina in Rodney Bay and looked for her, put signs up about it in the offices, asked strangers if they’d seen it on their travels, but nothing. There were dark moments when we’d speak to James and he would be frustrated and angry and I felt ashamed that we were having such a lovely time while he was working hard trying to find our home, or whilst walking around the marina seeing all the boats that had completed the crossing, some big, some tiny, how had they all managed to do it whilst we had failed so badly. During these days I spoke a lot to my family and friends back home and was overwhelmed by all their love and support, as news spread around our home town, more and more people sent messages offering to help in anyway they could, it is incredibly heartwarming receiving all this love and it definitely helped fix me. Slowly as the days passed I stopped automatically bursting into tears at the sight of happy families on yachts and instead appreciated what was around me. I was ready, we were ready, I needed a new plan, as fabulous as our time here had been we couldn’t stay forever, the kids wanted to see their dad and so did I. I spoke to him about what we were going to do next, he was now in St Martin and he had met some lovely people who had offered us their boat to stay on for a short while, we didn’t have a long term plan but we were ready to risk it and see what would happen next. We booked some flights to St Martin, the closest ones being in three days and set about enjoying our last few days of luxury. That evening I received an email from Andrew and Arwyn on Tilly Mint they had dropped off their charter in St Lucia, were the children and I around to meet up? Hell yes, we made plans to meet the following day.
At midday they picked us up from the hotel in a hire car, it was so lovely to see them both again, we had a little hurtle round the island before spending the afternoon on Tilly Mint in Marigot Bay. It was incredibly beautiful there and we got to do all the things we had imagined we would do when we arrived in the Caribbean, jumping and diving off the boat, swimming, barbecuing off the back. We drank wine into the night and talked about our last couple of weeks, we were all a little gutted that James wasn’t there for this reunion but I have a feeling we’ll bump into them again. In the end we got to spend another night on Tilly Mint, the children loved this and turned their bunks into dens (carnage), when I went to bed I checked in on them and found them in one of these dens playing cards! We had breakfast on the boat and then headed back to the hotel for our last day in St Lucia, we filled it with good food, sunshine and lots of swimming in the pool, we are all going to miss this place but are looking forward to seeing James in the morning. For the final time we get into the comfiest, biggest, whitest bed ever, this is what I’m going to miss the most.. I wonder if it’s too much to ask Mark if he’d let me take it with me???