Five More Boats

Really, it couldn’t have been better timing. I saw the sails of five sailboats billowing in the distance, and thought regatta. The posh people of Barbados were doing one of their round-the-island races – so common before the lockdown.

It was blowing too. All the boats were leaning over, some with toe rails touching the water. They were coming our way, northwards. I shook my head. Crazy posh people.

I gave it no more thought. Bigger things on the go at 11am – Delph’s maths homework. This is problem-solving week which means get a knife and stick it… it’s ok. I’m kidding. Well, sort of.

Even now, I have to work out these kinds of questions before going over them with Delphine. They are hard!

I still don’t think I could do them without the experience of learning with my kids. Yep, learning – not teaching them. Most of the time, this is what school feels like. The great head scratch. The old ‘don’t give up’ syndrome. It contains the most currency. Definitely in my case not how smart you are. Just not giving up.

Sometimes this means my children give before me. Usually it goes like this: they come back in the saloon.

‘What are you doing?’

‘I’m still working on your question.’

‘Seriously?’ They breeze past for a cookie, glass of water. I’ve got three pieces of scribbled-on paper and even frizzier hair.

That’s a bit how it was this morning too when the boats approached. In the middle of the fourth question, with Delph still with me (just), my phone beeped. It was Shona from White Arrow.

‘We’re being invaded???’

Huh. Delph and I went outside to see. A large blue monohull was parking just behind us. We heard the trip-trap of its anchor chain feed out onto the sea bed. The couple onboard looked up and waved cheerily.

Delph and I stared back at them in shock. Where on Earth did they come from? It’s been such a long time since we saw actual new boats.

Four others, some larger, some smaller, were doing the same thing. Suddenly our little anchorage wasn’t so little anymore. It felt like the surreal realisation of one of Delph’s problem solving questions. What if you do if you had 4 boats, added by 5, then placed them x feet apart in the anchorage…

I got back on the blower to Shona. ‘None of them are flying Q flags,’ I wrote, ‘so maybe they’ve come from Carlisle Bay.’

Jack and Lu, who’d been on the dock, arrived in time to whizz over to the blue boat. The couple, Pascal and Veronique confirmed it. They’d all been waiting for permission from the Barbados Coast Guard to travel up to our anchorage. Since facilities like water are definitely easier to obtain in Port St Charles than down in Carlisle Bay.

They were happy to finally arrive. And seeing their faces and their boats, knowing that the cruisers in Barbados are all together now, so are we. It makes me grin. Power in numbers.

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