I thought that it was important to write something about our passage-making these days. Moving up the islands in the East Caribbean has been quite a varied experience. First of all because each island itself is a distinct, individual country of it’s own (referring to “going to the Caribbean” is the same as an American talking about visiting Europe) and second of all that it’s easy to forget that there still is a big old amount of Atlantic ocean that separates one from another!


Unlike our country to country voyages prior to the Atlantic crossing, all these hops are relatively short: St Lucia to Martinique was only 25 miles, Martinique to Dominica was 38. On a clear day you can see the next island you’re heading to before you start which helps with judging your heading, leeway and weather conditions. We also have to always leave from and enter into a ‘Port of Entry’, as we need to clear customs in all these different countries.


You may have noticed that we’ve been progressing always northwards and always kept to the western side of each island. This is because it’s the leeward side, the side protected from those same strong, regular trade winds that helped blow us across the ocean. This means that in our travels up and down the west coast of each island we are relatively sheltered but can encounter fairly strong winds, swell and current when travelling from one to another. It’s quite easy to forget sometimes that your homely, comfortable boat which nestles nicely at anchor in a pretty bay will once again lurch around violently on Atlantic rollers as you get out into the open water once more.


The crossings from one to another are generally a lovely sail, you feel as though you’re blowing off the cobwebs and getting back out to sea. Having said that, although we all enjoyed the St Lucia to Martinique passage, both Lis and I had an awful time on the Martinique to Dominica crossing with the motion and strong winds that day making us feel really ropey and leaving all the sailing work to the lads, who actually had a lovely day of it. But, Dominica to the Saintes was a glorious trip.


Now, the thing about those trade winds is that it’s hard to make progress on any passage going east as that is where the wind is coming from. The one time that we needed to do this was when James and I sailed from the Saintes to Pointe à Pitre, Guadeloupe. So, to tackle this, we chose a perfect day for it, made the best course to windward that we could (which means sailing as close to the wind as possible) and, when this no longer got us far enough away from the lee shore of Basse Terre, we motored into wind for about an hour so that we could sail again. This is the first time we’ve needed to motor for propulsion since leaving Europe (can you sense the pride with which I typed that?).


But, by far our highlight island-to-island jump so far has been Port Louis, Guadeloupe to English Harbour, Antigua. It was a perfect 7 hour sail, beam reaching, 6 to 6 and a half knots all the way with one reef in and a full genoa. Just the two of us again, clear skies and plain sailing.