After a night of celebrations on board the boat, the officials came out in the morning to do our paperwork. And they came in force. We had an agent, interpreter, the Port Captain, harbour master, quarantine, customs, parks and wildlife rep and a diver to check that the bottom of the boat was clean from “alien species”. After an hour of questioning and inspections we got the all clear… probably because they didn’t find the rum stash.
No sooner had we arrived in Panama, the boat was pulled from the water so we could knock off some things on the “To Do” List. As we were waiting for crew to arrive in a couple weeks, we decided to do all the work ourselves to save a few bucks.
We left Bonaire one morning, bound for the San Blas Islands in Panama. This group of Islands lay some 650nm away, having us follow the coasts of Venezuela and Colombia. An area famed for its gale forced winds and the odd rogue pirate. We backed on it taking 4 days, it took longer.
So we found ourselves in the British Virgin Islands, or better known as the BVI’S. This territory of Britain could better be described as a US state. As soon as we cleared in, it was off to the airport to pick up Bren 98, who had just flown in from Brisbane to join us for a few weeks of cruising.
We had been on the move quite a lot of late. Partly due to the fact Australia Day was approaching, and we didn’t want to be stuck in some French territory where they don’t know shit from shoe polish.
With crew changeovers to be done, we caught a ride across the island to the airport in the south of Saint Lucia. Once Webbo and Moni had checked in, almost to the minute, Buckos friend Mikki, had landed from Australia.
So after our time in Sandy Island, we checked out of Grenada and sailed the short distance to a new country, St Vincent and the Grenadines. At the southern end of the Grenadines is Union Island. A beautiful spot, which is one of the best kiting locations in all of the Caribbean.
Up until this point it has all been work work work. Now, its time to put down the tools, sit back and admire everything that has been achieved. Three friends flew in on the same day. Scotty Webster, long time friend and fellow sailor, and his girlfriend Ramona from Austria. Both of which have lived in Munich for years. Other mate Ollie Taylor, who I met at McGregor College back during the Uni days brings our numbers up to 5.
With a few weeks until first friends arrived, we spent a lot of time exploring nearby anchorages which provided some sort of escape from the day in day out grind of getting this boat ready for a trip to Australia. But just as it seemed like we were getting on top of things, new problems would arise, adding to the work list.
So, once again, we quit our respective jobs in search of a new adventure. Bucko spent the last few months working as a receptionist for an architect in the city, while I was off building a new power station in the middle of nowhere. Good to be home. But better to be leaving.