Back on the horse


We spent Wednesday madly cleaning Free Spirit, stripping beds, laundry runs, packing bags, since we’ve been in St Martin we have definitely accumulated more stuff. James spent the morning doing shuttle runs in the dinghy back and forth across the lagoon to Royce’s boat whilst I scrubbed floors. It didn’t help that it was boiling hot with not a breath of wind and as we worked in our swimmers it looked like we were in the shower, with sweat running off us. By lunchtime Free Spirit was ready to leave and we now had the supermarket run to do, we needed two weeks of food as apparently it can be tricky to shop in the BVI’s and you can’t fish without a permit.

We walked to the supermarket and an hour later we were back in the dinghy with more stuff to squeeze onto Royce’s boat. James dropped me off and I once again set about unpacking our lives into tiny spaces whilst he went to see Paul to say another huge thank you. The children went with Royce on official duty and checked us out of St Martin, we were ready for another leg of the journey. We motored through the two bridges and out into Marigot Bay where we anchored until our departure time 10pm….. I know, our first passage was going to be an overnight one! Tanya and Steve came over and we had some enormous hugs and said goodbye, they have been so wonderful, have made our time in St Martin incredibly special. The children have adored them and we will all miss them, but we’ll remember this part of the journey as being truly fabulous and great fun and if they can get back on the horse after it all went wrong, well then so can we.

We had some dinner and the kids went to bed at 8 o’clock (with the promise to wake them when we left) and we set about waiting. I hadn’t felt like I could say to Royce “can we not sail at night” , it was his boat, his plan, we were just hitchhikers. 10 o’clock came quickly, there was very little wind so we motored away from St Martin. James went to bed and slept whilst Royce and I sat up, it was a night with no moon but a million stars and the boat stirred up phosphorescence in the wake behind it. The children wouldn’t wake up and slept peacefully through the whole night, so I guess both James and the children are fine with being back at sea. I thought a lot about how I was feeling on this passage, I was excited to be on the move again, I was nervous about sailing at night but I wasn’t scared and at no point did I think ‘I want to get off’. In fact I think I was quite calm, I’m not saying I’m ready to cross oceans and to be honest I don’t think I ever want to do that again but sailing, being on a boat I still love it and love the journey.

It was however freezing and I mean winter coat, woolly hat, ugg boot freezing if I’d had them I would of put them all on, as it was I didn’t so with teeth chattering I admitted defeat and moved inside to the sofa leaving poor Royce at the helm wrapped in blankets. At around six the sky lit up and there was a beautiful tiny sliver of moon on the horizon before the sun appeared. The children came up, stroppy that they hadn’t been woken for the night sail and James finally appeared, I said goodnight and went to bed. Ooooh, Royce has proper mattresses on his boat and the hatches have covers so it’s pitch black, I barely made it all the way up the mattress before I was snoring my heart out. At nine (I know, barely two hours sleep) Jim woke me, we were arriving, I stumbled out of the darkness into glaring, bright sunshine it was very, very beautiful we were cruising up between Necker island and Mosquito island in Virgin Gorda. Apparently I’d missed the only drama of the trip and James had had to step up when both children who’d lost their sea legs, puked. Isla very ladylike and daintily in the head (bathroom) and Heath projectiled throughout the cockpit. I’m not sorry I missed this, but it’s interesting as Royce’s boat is a Catamaran, a St Francis 43, it doesn’t heel or roll, it basically slams its way through the waves but somehow though the motion got them.


 We anchored in a tiny bay and Royce put on his smartest shoes and trousers and headed to customs. We fortunately stayed in our swimmers and cannonballed off the boat and into water the prettiest blue we’d seen so far. Royce returned with forms which we all completed and then he got to do the trip twice more until they were happy and we were legal. We up anchored and pootled across the bay to Sabre Rock where we picked up a mooring ball and set about exploring the rock. We had just arrived when we were approached by a lovely lady. “Are you Fran? ” I replied that yes I was and she went on to say how she reads our blog and is there anything she could do to help? Wow, I love that there are people all around the world reading this and enjoying it, I mean it’s strange and I’m sorry I’ve made so many people cry but our journey has turned into one of meeting incredible people and having adventures which we wouldn’t have been part of if we’d been in our own boat bubble. Merrie reappeared a little later with Sabre rock t-shirts for the children and a doll for Isla and a reef fish guide for Heath. Once again we are overwhelmed by how kind people are and if you’re reading this and are being bombarded with news that the world is a terrible place, full of awful things, know this, everyone we have met has helped us in some way, has given us something, be it their time, a motivating comment to keep us going, a place to stay, gifts or even donated money to our help us out link, people are awesome and it’s a shame how little of this we get to hear about. If all my children learn from this journey is how kind and wonderful people are then I’ll be happy. 


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