As Rory, Chris, and José returned below deck to finish their packing, Jimmy motioned to me to start the diesel as he wandered to the foredeck and began raising the anchor. After it was up and secured he simply said “Take her out” and went below deck. I feel like he and I had developed a strange and almost cryptic form of communication this week, and though I didn’t always understand him the first time he said something, I had a quiet appreciation for our lack of long conversations. I followed the Captain’s orders and brought Mango out through the harbor moorings and past the old working ships, steering her into the wind and raising the mainsail for us to begin our trip back to the Blue Lagoon harbor that Barefoot and our boat call home. I aimed us out and around the cardinal markers that delegate the harbor channel, and kept a keen eye out for scuba divers in the area as we kept the diesel on in tandem with the sail for power. As we rounded the horn of the harbor the mountainous cliffs of Bequia towered over us on the starboard side, looking beautiful and simultaneously killing all hope we had of direct wind to the sail. By the time we were around the horn our entire group was above deck, Rory and Chris relaxed on the benches while José used his compact GoPro camera to film our surroundings. Jimmy sat quietly at the stern of the boat and listening to conversations, occasionally pointing his finger to a new heading for me to aim our bow towards.
We fought with the wind for the majority of our 100-minute ride across the channel, ultimately leaving the engine running at low RPMs to create some sense of wind for the sail to catch. During my time at the helm I watched our weathervane stumble like a drunken sailor, spinning haphazardly in circles, as unsure as any of us as to the direction the wind was actually coming in. The “gusts” of wind measured in at a whopping 5 knots, and I was seeing steady readings of 2kts for the majority of our trip. Eventually I wanted to hand off responsibility of the wheel so I could take some final pictures, and Rory took over for almost all of the remaining time aboard. We pulled back into Blue Lagoon’s channel shortly after 1130 and were almost immediately greeted by a dinghy of Barefoot staff members who made quick work of taking over the helm and engine controls, tying off fenders on the port side of the boat, and swinging us in a circle before backing the 43-foot yacht into the dock alongside a catamaran and second monohull that were both being prepared for charters. Chris later related the handover of control to that of pirates taking our ship hostage. Once we were tied off to the dock we began unloading our personal gear, lifejackets, snorkeling equipment, and remaining food before gathering on the stern’s transom (rear most deck by sea-level) for our last group photograph.
After settling up on our payments to Barefoot and receiving our signed American Sailing Association log book, certifying that we had completed the 101, 103, and 104 Bareboat chartering requirements, we gathered at the Driftwood bar for a few beers before going off in different directions. We were joined at the bar by a great guy named Seth, the manager of Barefoot, and had the pleasure of listening to many of his stories of working in Her Majesty’s Royal British Navy fighting aboard the famous Conqueror submarine. Seth, then in his early 20s, sailed around the Mediterranean with the hopes of a circumnavigation the world but ended up in the Caribbean and has never looked back. After an hour or two of cold beers with Rory, Chris, Jimmy, and Seth, José and I decided it was time for lunch and walked down to Blue Lagoon to have a quick bite to eat before he left for the airport. Finishing delicious cheeseburgers, we walked back to Barefoot where Chris had arranged a cab to take us to their hotel and airport respectively.
I had attempted to find an earlier flight home but all seemed to be sold out, so I joined Chris and Rory at the Beachwood Hotel about a mile away from the airport on St. Vincent. For the price of $104 a night I got a sizable hotel room at a quiet resort right on the Caribbean waters. A small pool and deck were accessible through their covered bar/restaurant area where Chris, Rory, and I sat for a late dinner as a local musician serenaded the small group of patrons. We talked for an hour or two about our home lives, spending very little time discussing the boat that we had spent the past week on. It was nice to color outside the lines of conversation topics and before I knew it the clock showed half past 10. I said my final goodbyes to the couple, hugging each of them before returning to my room and packing up for an early flight tomorrow morning.
With absolutely no way of setting an alarm, I’m sincerely hoping I manage to wake up on time tomorrow , as I wouldn’t want to miss my flight. I've had such a great time this week but there's no doubt in my mind, I’m ready to go home.