Date: Sunday 20 March 2022
Position: 18° 4.447’ N 63° 5.210’ W
Location: Marigot Bay, St Martin (French side)
Distance Sailed during the week: 101 nm
Distance Sailed total: 7002 nm
Weather: , 26°
Most popular on the menu: Lunch at the only restaurant that was open on a Sunday in Gustavia, St Barth
Animals spotted: Turtles, donkeys, horses
Comment of the week: “Forward! More throttle!”
Monday morning and we decided to go back to Barbuda. Yes, it was windy and rather big waves, but we really wanted to go back to Barbuda one more time. After a rather rough bit of sailing we arrived at Coca Point and the reef outside. It was actually relief to take the sails down for anchoring. As we turned the engine on and headed up wind we put the gear in forward, but nothing happened. We tried again, but nothing happened. The throttle cable was broken! Quickly Jonas instructed us what to do: Sanna was controlling the throttle directly on the engine, Atle and Alma were helming and Axel helped Jonas with the sails and the anchor. Everything went well and we are glad that we are such a good team after months practicing on the boat!
Ok, but a broken control cable on Barbuda, a really rural island with 1500 people, wild chicken, goats, horses and some donkeys running wild in the small village of Codrington?!?! We text our taxi driver and see if he knows any welder that can weld stainless steel. Of course he knew a guy (everyone knows everyone on the island)! After a few minutes he texted us back, letting us know that he could take us to his “guy” early next morning… Jonas uninstalled the broken cable in the evening and was picked up at 8:30 next morning. Not only could the “guy” repair the cable (his name is actually Jaron), he even had a spare cable for one of the trucks of the sand mining company that he would sell us. Before lunch Jonas was back in the boat and the new cable was installed. Nicely done, in these rural areas there is always a “guy” or “lady” that can fix whatever is needed to get things going!
After that we just enjoyed our days on Barbuda! We will say it again, such a lovely place. Swimming, bodyboarding in the waves, kneeboarding with an American boat, wing foiling, BBQ and bonfire on the beach, and long walks. The days just flew by!
The Caribbean is full of contrast, something really noticeable going from Barbuda to St Barth. The nature is different but the most visible difference is in the people. In Barbuda everything (except Nobo, Robert De Niro’s restaurant) is genuine, rastafari is common, people help each other and if you are walking on the road, it’ll only take some minutes before someone stops asking if everything is alright and if you want a lift. St Barth on the other hand is famous for the expensive shops, fancy restaurants and private jets landing every few minutes. We got a view of the jet-set lifestyle in St Barth when we approached the island and passed all the superyachts sailing the St. Barths Bucket Regatta.
We wanted to stop in St Barth to show the kids the former Swedish colony in the Caribbean. St Barth or Saint Barthélemy was a Swedish colony between 1784 to 1878, and during that period the free port Gustavia was founded. Something that still remains from that period is some street signs showing the old street name in Swedish. What is fascinating is that the island under the Swedish flag was a neutral haven where ships from all countries were welcomed, even though their countries were at war with each other. Due to that the island grew, and was during this time the 5th biggest city in Sweden. But the visit to St Bart was short, the anchoring in Gustavia was terrible, rolly, crowded with boats going fast through the anchorage. Not only dinghies but also +50 foot tenders to the superyachts. So after exploring Gustavia, we decided to set sail to St Martin.
Next week – a lot of things to do and fix in Sint Maarten (Dutch side) before we set sail to the BVI, British Virgin Islands. But hopefully, weather permitting, we will sail to BVI in the middle of next week. And that will be the last place in the Caribbean that the kids boats can hang around together.
After BVI everyone will go in different directions: Some will take the southern or northern route to Panama. While others will prepare to go back to Europe. But even if the boats are going back to Europe there are different options. While we will sail from Saint Martin directly to the Azores, others will ship their boat back with a freight ship, take the northern route up to Greenland or just continue to the Bahamas before they sail to Bermuda on their way to the Azores.
Written by Susanna Edholm, edited by Hanna Ericksson