Posted by: August Sandberg | 01/01/2013

Caribbean Cruise

6

After having celebrated our Atlantic crossing in the company of the rest of the ARC fleet in Saint Lucia, Værbitt set sail to cruise the azure waters of the magic Caribbean; something we’ve dreamed of and longed for since we started planning our circumnavigation. Along with the regulars, two additional souls joined the ship’s company in Rodney Bay; Morgane from France, and Anna from England. Competent sailors, great company, and more importantly, excellent stewards.

3Another beautiful sunset

Out first port of call was the island of Bequia, a Grenadines Island 60 miles south of Saint Lucia. After 5 comfortable hours at sea, we anchored in Admiralty Bay, a beautiful, protected anchorage surrounded by forests and white beaches. As soon as the anchor had set, Vegard dove into the blue, warm water to give it an inspection, and then swam on to visit some of our neighbours. There is a long tradition of a Norwegian Christmas celebration on this island, and Værbitt shared the Bay with half a dozen other Norwegian yachts.  The ships officers dug deep into their closets for festive clothing, and, after a quick de-molding, suited up.  Christmas eve was celebrated on an excellent beach restaurant, where the local chefs were persuaded to prepare a Norwegian “Ribbe”.

11Værbitt’s Captains,  all dressed up for Christmas

10A hearty meal, in the company of the younger crew of “Rafiki”

We spent a few memorable days in Bequia, and then set sail once again. This time, our goal was the uninhabited Tobago Cays; a gorgeous pacific-like atoll further south in the Grenadines. The Cays are a marine national park, and were used extensively in the filming of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” – series. We dove with sea turtles, swam to the nearby beaches, and had an amazing time.

1Tobago Cays swimming buddy

Our next destination was the island of Trinidad, famous for carnivals and a shocking crime rate. As we sailed into the bay of Chaguaramas, radioing the harbour master, a familiar voice answered our call; Our dear friend Simon stood waiting on the pier, and gave us a hearty welcome. Midshipman Økland will be sailing with us for three weeks, hopefully passing on some of his vast knowledge from a long life at sea.

Since we first came to the west indies, we’ve been on the lookout for a dinghy. We’ve been offered a wide range of expensive wrecks, and started to fear for our budget, until we found the perfect launch. Literally found, floating depressed under a hidden, overgrown jetty. Apparently, it was left behind by a French sailor 3 months ago, and Værbitts crew quickly took her a prize. It was dirty, depressed and discolored, but in a surprisingly good overall condition. We gave her a good cleaning, pumped it up, and christened it “Værbitt Interceptor” in bottle of champagne sailed all the way from Spain.

8Midshipman Økland is being promoted with his first command

7A short, but most successful commision

Later that day, we suited up for New Years Eve. What started out as a classy barbeque soon escalated to a crazy party at, and in, the Marinas swimming pool. Though we lacked music, fireworks and a great crowd, we had the time of our lives. All you need is good company and  good rum. And we had plenty of both.

12Værbitt’s crew, looking better than ever

14A happy start of 2013

13A celebratory tot of rum

15Honoring a life long tradition of a New Year’s swim

As soon as the crew have recovered from last night, Værbitt will sail back north to enjoy life among the Lesser Antilles. Marinas are well enough, and having access to showers, gym and a pool is something we have been longing for for a long time. But we already miss the blue water, and the  freedom of anchoring in hidden, lonely bays.

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