Barbados used to be notoriously hard to get to. This was due to its easterly position, and being hard to spot from sea, because of its lack of tall topography. Sailors in the vicinity would often throw a pig in the water and watch which way it swam. Apparently the poor pig’s keen smell for land would lead the way. Swim little piggy!
It isn’t hard to find now though – not at night anyhow. Barbados has glowed behind on the horizon for a solid fifty nautical miles. Now, just as its lights have finally disappeared at the midway mark of our 100 mile passage, St Lucia is starting to glow in front of us instead. Martinique, being slightly further away, isn’t far behind.
This is such a different sail then the one to Barbados. Mid-January, we were beating into those Christmas winds, even with the slight lull at the time. We were remembering how Delph, in the punching waves, managed to projectile vomit over Ellie. Ellie was sitting on the other side of the cockpit. Good times – as Ellie would say.
Now, I don’t know if it’s a pandemic thing or having been in Barbados for so long, but sailing feels different. Or perhaps this is the result of thinking backwards to BC: Before Coronavirus. I learned this dateline from listening to Fi and Jane.
I said so to Jack and he snorted. ‘It’s because we’re not beating into the wind like we usually do.’
Yeah, ok smartie pants. He’s right. But it’s true too that when we started out again last September, each sail felt like a battle. Of course we had challenging conditions, but I equally didn’t feel so comfortable on Quest. It definitely has helped living on her during our time in Barbados, to feeling completely familiar with her again. Even if we haven’t sailed much in the last six months, we feel her every shift.
And there’s the pandemic. I’m hoping that it’s helped to put some things into perspective. To arrange life situations in order to what is scary scary and what isn’t quite real scary.
For me, I spent a lot of time hand steering when we took off from Barbados. To be honest, I wasnt that comfortable doing it before. Disrupting the boat, affecting our course, etc. This time, it felt like small potatoes. Compared to potentially deadly viruses, it was positively fun. Does this make sense?
The misty rain has gone and the stars are out again midway through our passage. Like every single star. The Milky Way is showing off, all spider webby in the middle of the sky, running like a giant arch. There are so many stars, you get the sense of depth of them. It’s the same when I look at my phone too much and the letters start to go 3D. Meanwhile the horizon is glowing. Calling us.