It strikes me, as I sit here with an infinite number of stars above my head, that I don’t tell my kids how proud I am of them. Well, I do sometimes, but this is usually followed by some sort of order.
‘Maybe you should comb your hair. Have you done your homework? When did you last brush your teeth?’ That sort of thing.
But I am proud of them. Even when Delph puke-sneezed all over the cockpit today. Ellie was sitting opposite her and got covered.
‘Delph,’ Lu said, having been spared by sitting on the stern seat, ‘how is it your puke is full of salad when you don’t even like eating salad?’
It was a decent question.
‘That’s why I don’t like it Lu!’ her sister screeched. ‘Ma, can you please get a cloth?!’
Perhaps I should have been more compassionate in that moment. After all, the passage to Barbados was never going to be an easy sail. This is because Barbados lies to the east of the rest of the Lesser Antilles chain. The trade winds blow across the Atlantic: great if you’re sailing from Africa. Not so good if you want to go back on yourself.
We had waited though – for a bit of north in the wind to give us the angle. Had it on Friday – but it was forecast to be less than a 24-hour window. We hustled onto the fuel dock at Le Marin and were out for after lunch. Because this was France and the fuel guys close for lunch. Respect.
We worked out it would take around 16 hours to Barbados – at around 6 knots per hour. Not an exaggerated speed for Quest beating into the trade winds – but hold on. We were also going south-east. Going south into the open Atlantic means fighting the huge northerly current from South America. Already our speed was down by 2 knots. 4 knots wasn’t going to get us to Barbados in this tight weather window.
Did we bail? No way. Barbados is bad-ass awesome. We were here two years ago. We did the same thing as we did last time, when we left from Trinidad. We turned Quest’s engine on and pushed the sails forward. Apologies to the sailing purists out there. Ha! Sorry not sorry.
I’m only sorry this movement into the waves (not too big ~1-1.5 metres it turned out) caused Delph’s sea sickness. And left Ellie with a ruined cup of tea and a splattered look. I couldn’t stop laughing though. We all laughed. Ellie, Jack, Lulu and I. It felt good after the build-up to our departure. Did Delph laugh? Maybe not so much. Definite smile somewhere under that salad.
Later, I lay down with Delph in her cabin as everyone else faced the pitch darkness outside. The sound of Quest’s propellor whizzed in our ears, along with the endless bubbles. Thousands of metres of water underneath us. Our little family. Proud.