After a few days back the floor of the house has stopped heaving up and down and the bed no longer feels rock still. Sleep, however, is still erratic. I was allowed to sleep a lot on Ocean Rainbow, with relatively few caustic comments from my hosts. It didn’t feel like sea-sickness – although when it was very hot and the boat rolling that was a very good excuse to get out of the washing-up and go and sit in the fresh air. Not without first teaching Claire my ‘African’ system of washing-up, however, which uses very little water.
So, what did I do in St. Lucia?
1. Snorkelled for the first time in nearly thirty years.
2. Drove the dinghy, with only a couple of minor incidents like – as Claire put it – trying to park on a wreck when I forgot which way the acceleration worked (very nice local man came to our rescue, twice).
3. Helmed the yacht. Minor panic at about half a mile from shore when I couldn’t see what we were aiming for (Marigot Bay) and thought we would go straight into the headland via the fisherman between us and it.
4. Tried to help with scrubbing the boat’s bottom and turned blue with my own coat of anti-fouling paint.
5. Diced with death in the local buses. Once again rescued by charming locals when it all went wrong.
6. Feasted on mangoes, passion fruit, pawpaw and Claire’s brownies and flapjacks and discovered a liking for rum with soursop drink (oh, and soursop icecream). Drank Piton beer at lunchtime – wonderful!
7. Nearly got swept away by an unexpectedly strong current when the tide turned, with James totally oblivious to our cries. Fortunately Claire and I could manage enough turbo-crawl to make it back to the boat and hang on for dear life.
8. Blagged visits to Fond d’Oux and Balenbouche estates and a drink at Dasheene, with its view of the Pitons. Balenbouche is magic and anyone who wants a beautiful get-away should look at renting one of their cottages.
We saw how cocoa, nutmeg, cinnamon, turmeric and cloves grow; looked at a permaculture system where vegetables are grown under the fruit trees, to mutual advantage; marvelled at heliconias, gingers, ixoras, bamboo and breadfruit trees. Enchanted by hummingbirds, bananaquits and bullfinches and fascinated by the soaring frigate birds. And Bat Cave really does have bats.
9. Discovered that Caribbean sea water is very good for the skin and that baths are quite unnecessary.
10. Cocktails on a catamaran with electric heads which microwave the waste!, American ‘nibbles’ to take me down memory-lane on Honey Ryder and a long discussion about fine art with a lecturer in Art History now looking to make enough money to keep sailing by cleaning bottoms (boats’).
Thank you, Claire and James …