A little time in heaven

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???


9 responses to “A little time in heaven

  1. You have so much support. Many of us know your story and are following it. Here’s what my husband said, “I really hope they find and repair their boat and stay in love with cruising as a family. I wish we had done that with our boys at their kid’s ages.”

    You are an inspiration to many and have all of our good energy and good wishes for the next part of your journey. Jeanie Baker, S/V Kallisto, 1984 DuFour 3800 (31 Frers), Glen Cove Marina, California.


  2. just a few word for a french man who plan to do the same trip with his familly next year : you did great things during the crossing to save the boat, it didn’t work but I really do not see any other thing to try nor option. From my point of view, all your choices were the right ones (especially avoiding to try to go in the 2 tankers) and I hope that you’ll find the boat now ! Bravo

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi Fran, we are keeping an eye for Dove II as we make our way to St. Martin. Hope you find her soon. If we can help you in any way count us in, we mean it. You have a beautiful family and we are so glad you found so many helping hands.


  4. Hello Fran, James, Heath and Isla,
    First of all, thank goodness you’re all okay.
    We are glued to your blog, waiting for updates. As I type this, it is Tuesday, 10th January at 0750 in Mallorca. By now you might have found your vessel, or someone might at least have reported a sighting. I have all fingers and toes crossed that she turns up soon.
    What an extraordinary adventure you’re all having.
    Hopefully, one day, Boat Radio will be able to talk to you about this experience. In the meantime, enjoy St Martin. I’ve spent time on the island and it is a lovely place. Happy Bay is a terrific spot for a quiet swim.
    I don’t know if there’s anything Boat Radio can do to help you. If you think of something, please drop me a line: mike@boatradio.net
    Sending you all very best wishes,


  5. Wow. What an awesome family! I’m so pleased you are all safe and I wish you every luck in finding your boat and carrying on with your epic adventure. Your story had me on the edge of my seat and in tears.

    You are living our dream. Well, you were till ‘Day 16’ – not so much after that. We hope to do this with our two kids in the next few years.

    Good luck and big love from rainy, damp England.


    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Fran, been following your escapades on here, we are all rooting for you back home, I wish you luck with finding your boat, one day you will write a book about this!!. Please pass on my best wishes to James.


  7. I am glad you are all safe and well but having read your story in the Times last Wednesday on the way to the boat show why didn’t you sail in the ARC race ? We did it in a 42 footer 18 days surrounded by 300 boats a lot safer way to do it arriving in Rodney bay on 9th Dec Palpatine our boat good luck


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