Well today! Today was like being on an emotional rollercoaster, we were woken at 5.45 by Mark ringing “morning, get up”, a minute later we had two wake up calls from reception and at the same time both my alarms went off, we were up. We showered, grabbed our bags, said goodbye to the bed and went to meet Mark. Now we had wanted to get him something to say thank you, the children had chosen a teddy bear as kids do, personally I think they wanted to keep it but it was a great gift as it was soft and cuddly and this is what he’d said to us when I first spoke to him and yes I do realise it’s a much smaller gift than his gift to us. Well we covered it in tissue paper and put it in a gift bag along with a card and a bottle of red. We walked the 100 meters to the lobby, my daughter carrying the bag as she wanted to give Mark the present, fine just be careful. Well within seconds there was an almighty crash behind, I turned to see her lying face down on the floor the bag had flown through the air and hit the concrete, there was wine and glass everywhere , shit. She was fine, though got upset as I pulled out a red, dripping teddy bear, the card was in a similar state, we had minutes to meet Mark and grab our cab to the airport, so we quickly gathered up all the glass and stuffed the gift bag, broken bottle and mess into a bin and continued up the path. Poor Mark we reached him and handed him a wine soaked cuddly toy and dripping card, “thank you for having us”!
We jumped in the cab and got to the airport only to find the longest queue, the computers were down so everyone was having to be checked in by hand, brilliant, we stood in that queue until we finally got our boarding passes and went straight onto the plane, we flew to Antigua where we said an emotional goodbye to Mark, we were going to miss this man. We then re boarded and continued on to St Martin. On the flight I got to speak to the pilot and air hostesses, I gave them a brief description of Dove II and my number, they promised to share this with the other pilots, so we now had eyes in the sky all day everyday, it was another chance of finding her. We landed and headed to baggage reclaim, now you might wonder why, I mean we only have a rucksack each why not just carry on? Well one of my last possessions that I took from the boat is a bottle of perfume and it’s too big to be allowed through customs, so I checked my bag. Slowly everyone left and bags from different flights started doing the circuit, damn it. I found a man and had a slight meltdown , these were my last few items, how could you do this to me? Well bless him he did look a little apologetic and said he would do everything he could to trace it and deliver it to me. There is hardly anything in that bag but what is in there is very precious to me and when you have very little everything, even just a clean pair of knickers are important. We were now over two hours late in meeting James and I suddenly thought what if he’s gone thinking we weren’t on the flight, I have no idea where we’re going. We raced outside and fortunately were engulfed in a huge hug from a very skinny, grubby man who had the biggest smile on his face. Now I’d love to say that it was all gorgeous and lovely and it was for James and the kids but I, well I was just pissed off and was basically having a very childish sulk, I was down to my wallet, passport, phone and the clothes I was wearing. I needed a moment to just be on my own and have a little cry, so I did.
At five we met with Steve and Tanya in a bar on the water, this gorgeous couple had offered us a week on their boat, having only met James the day before. They had gone through a similar disaster at sea, had received the same generosity of strangers and were now in a position where they could offer this to us. Thank you.
At 6 o’clock I rang the airport, they had promised to ring if there was any news, so I was doubtful but it was only bloody there, not only that, it had been there the whole time just on the wrong side of the wall. YES! I raced back to the table to find that in those few minutes I’d been on the phone, the waitresses at the bar had had a whip round and I was presented with a huge box of clothes all for me. Well that did it, as the tears fell I hugged this new stranger and thanked her, in five minutes I had gone from having nothing to having a whole new wardrobe and my bag! Tanya and I dived in the dinghy and raced to the airport to pick it up, I apologised to the guy for my little meltdown and he smiled and said “I kind of realised it was important to find it.”
Now we may not have been seeing the Caribbean the way we had planned but we were on our third island and wow on another incredible yacht. Our first catamaran, she is a Leopard 46 called La Vie and is very beautiful and oh so spacious, we have the whole port hull consisting of two double bedrooms and two bathrooms. Again with how wonderful people are, we had never met them and yet here we were, welcomed into their home and given a beautiful place to stay. I put the kids to bed, very excited with their new room and then over a few beers got to hear Tanya and Steves story…… it deserves its own page.