April 17th to April 20th

April 17th it was hard to tear ourselves away from the bait ball, but we had to get into the marina and get the boat cleaned inside and out, ready for our friends from England arriving tomorrow.

As we left the birds had a feast as the bait ball no longer had the protection of Southern Star. It was truly one of those experiences that photos will never do justice to. We believe that it was the Aqualuma underwater lights that initially drew the fish to the boat. Robbie thought about it and thinks that the fish would have come to the lights in the night and of course the birds didn’t see them until daylight.

We left around 9.30am and arrived into the Village Cay Marina around 10.45am, it was only 6 nautical miles away. Lo and behold we were placed next to L’Adagio. We knew Laust and Monika had returned home to Denmark but Rick was aboard, and as usual was working very hard. We have never seen anyone work so hard, but we have never seen such a beautiful boat that is absolutely spotless, every piece of stainless steel gleams, it is incredible.

We got straight into cleaning the outside of Southern Star, with the 3 of us it only took us about 4 hours and then we went to the Marina café for lunch. Jess had a quick swim in the pool.

Jess and I decided to go shopping and Robbie wanted a Nana Nap, so we walked into town but being a Sunday, everything was shut. Australia, you don’t know how lucky you are with 7 day shopping! We went back to the boat and I started cleaning the inside.

We didn’t eat dinner as we had such a late lunch, we had a cheese platter and watched a movie and had an early night.

April 18th I got up at 5am and cleaned out the fridge, apparently I was banging and clashing things which woke Robbie up, so he got up and cleaned the engine room, bilges and other “boy” jobs. Jess and I prepared the guest stateroom for Tony and Janet.

Soon it was time to go and pick up the hire car and head to the airport. It was a bit disconcerting as there was no arrivals/departure board like we are used to and there was no sign of Tony and Janet, after 40 minutes I went to enquire. I didn’t know the airline they were using and the attendant was not overly helpful. There’s obviously not too many flights from St Martin due in at 12.25 in such a small airport but they didn’t know so I tried another counter. She was able to tell me that yes the flight was delayed but she couldn’t tell me by how much. All she could say was that they had actually boarded the plane but she didn’t know if it had taken off!

After about another 20 minutes a plane landed and thank goodness they were on it! They spotted us in the arrivals lounge and waved madly. Tony and Robbie went to school together in Liverpool and have been great mates since then. The last time we saw them was last May when we went to stay with them in England while Southern Star was being shipped to Turkey.

We headed back to the boat to drop off their bags, and then went to the marina café for lunch, a catch up and a cold drink. We headed back to the boat and just chatted, I cooked a simple dinner of Pork chops, baked potatoes and salad and we had a reasonably early night as we have to take Jess to the airport at 4.30am for her flight. While we were waiting for Tony and Janet Jess enquired what time she should check in for her 7am flight. The attendant told her to be there 2 hours before!

April 19th Jess woke us at 4.10m with a cup of tea. It’s a sad morning, we hate to see her go. It’s been so lovely having her on-board. I always cry when they arrive and leave but I said I wouldn’t cry this morning, and I didn’t, I was able to hold back the tears. I know that I will be home for Christmas this year, regardless of whether Southern Star sells or not, we will go back to Australia for Christmas.

We made it to the airport in good time with no traffic at that hour of the morning. There were a lot of people running or walking on the roads, which have no kerbs or footpaths, but they were all wearing high Vis vests, which we thought was very good, as it was so dark and not many street lights. No one showed up at the check in counter until around 5.20am, huh so much for being there 2 hours before!

We did a few jobs and Tony and Janet woke up, we had breakfast and went for a tour of the island in our hire car.

We had a lot of fun and drove around most of the island except for the airport side which we had all already seen. We drove up a very narrow windy steep road and got some fantastic views over Sopers Hole, such a beautiful bay and views.

We continued our drive and went up into the Sage National Park. We got lost a few times and had to back track and try a few different roads but we eventually found our way over to Cappoons Bay where there was a beautiful white sandy beach with waves rolling in. we all took our shoes off and went for a walk on the beach.

We came across a very weird looking shack, built right on the beach, which turned out to be the Bomb shack, famous for its full moon parties. It is one of the weirdest bars we have ever seen. The pictures tell the story. (There are more photos in the photo gallery page) If you want to get naked they give you a free T-shirt!

We had a beer each, a lot of laughs and back on the road, back to Road Town. We stopped off in the Brit shop, and stocked up on some British goodies, including black pudding ( YUK!!!), meat pies, Pork pies, liquorice (for me), baked beans, bounty bar (me again), and most important Tetley tea bags!

We came back to the boat and Tony, Janet and Robbie went to see Rick and had a tour of L’Dagio – comments were “it was absolutely Palatial”, and “it was perfect like brand new”!

I cooked Mahi Mahi and made a Caesar salad for dinner which went down well.

April 20th Bit of a busy morning as we are leaving the marina to go to Norman Island for a “47 Summit” with Iriana and Moonrise. Jan and I wanted to get a pedicure the most important order of the day! I got to the beauty spa in the marina complex at 9am while Jan was still getting ready, and was able to get one but unfortunately they were booked up after that, so Jan missed out.

Robbie went with Tony to take the hire car back and get some provisions. He did really well finding Marlborough Sav Blanc for $10 a bottle and some very nice vegetables and salad ingredients.

We settled up the marina, $304 for 3 nights which was metered power and water at 20c per gallon. We use a lot to clean the boat so we thought that was not too bad.

We headed back to Norman Island and anchored in almost exactly the same spot where we had the bait ball experience.

Moonrise were already here on a mooring in the main bay of the Bight, and while we were having lunch Iriana arrived. Robbie and Tony went over to Moonrise and changed their autopilot system to try and improve the steering. Robbie managed to get one autopilot connected to the two hydraulic pumps that drive the steering cylinder. This should assist them in following seas as they had had problems with this. Hopefully it helps them.

We then went and said hello to meet Tim and Valerie on Iriana. They invited us aboard for a drink. Wow what a beautiful boat, she has the black granite kitchen that I would love and the lovely dark blue ultra-leather in the salon. Very nice! We had a great time for an hour or so and then decided to do a dinghy raft up the Martin had suggested.

We all headed into the beach, which looks lovely and apparently there is a very nice
restaurant there which we will have lunch tomorrow with everyone. We rafted up and had a few drinks and lots of chat.

Then a dinghy with 2 young couples came over and asked if they could join the party! Of course we said so we gave them a beer each and they were interested to hear our story. They are chartering a yacht for a week. They left to go into the beach bar for drinks. The two lads rejoined us later and they were totally bladdered, having a great time in the dinghy.

After the sun went down we stayed for a short time and then headed back to the boat for a Pork sausage on the Bar B Q.



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