It is really odd living in the Caribbean which for many people is a dream destination for very special occasions and holidays. Sara and John are here in Saint Lucia to celebrate their 25th Wedding Anniversary – but we are ‘just here’. We were talking today about the concept of going on holiday – where would you want to go on holiday when you are already spending months in the Caribbean. We constantly remind ourselves that we are very lucky and we are doing what we can while we are here to use local services and buy fruit and veg from the guys who sell stuff to the boats. Our new normal is weird – we buy fresh in season avocados from the boat boys and our fresh bread is delivered by a singing guy on a paddleboard wearing a Santa Hat. We are moored up beside Steve Job’s super yacht – Venus and we have just met Rob and Jules from Lagos who are here with our friend, Han’s Yacht – Thindra. Conversations that are common include enquiries as to where people have been or where they are going next – the most frequent is something like “oh well we are spending the whole season – down to Grenada via Tobago Quays and Bequai and then up again to Antigua stopping in Martinique and lots of other places” – and “…are you going to the Bequai music festival at the end of January?” We are becoming used to the soft warm winds and the views of mountains and palm trees. We love the Caribbean and feel very at home. In particular we love the people – they are welcoming and interesting and warm and fun – reflecting their place. We have been surprised by the lack of any threat – something we were told we would feel. We were told a lot about high levels of petty crime and how you should lock yourself into your boat at night. Perhaps we have been fortunate or perhaps it is our outlook and experience of global travel – but we have not felt any tension or threat here at all and we have certainly never locked ourselves in at night. Not that we could, as we have no air conditioning on Magic and it is around 35 Degrees aboard. The weather is interesting too – after Christmas it was really windy with gusts around 35 knots and very lumpy sea states – now it is beautiful with fluffy fair weather clouds, gentle sea state and winds of around 15knots – 20 knots – perfect to cruising about. I get a rush of adrenalin when we leave or arrive somewhere but not so much out of fear but out of the excitement of finding out about somewhere new. We have become accustomed to mooring magic in any manner of ways – bows too, stern too, on a buoy, on anchor, along side….. We can lasso any manner of things to keep us steady and we are getting more confident by the day. Our repairs and maintenance skills are improving too and we have a go at fixing most things now ourselves before we get professional help. We still have a technical problem with our auto pilot and despite replacing the fluxgate compass it still isn’t right and it may be the auto pilot computer – we will need professional advice for that and our main VHF radio which stopped working during the last days of the ARC was due to the transceiver failing so we have ordered a new one and will have that professionally fitted too. Our sails need some TLC and we are getting quotes to have new ones made. All these things become part of the every day – we tend to do jobs in the morning and then in the afternoon we play. Some friends of ours from the ARC – Les and Mike from Sea Symphony have big problems as their engine has ceased and has to be taken apart and rebuilt with some new parts. They had a great crossing in that they had a lot of fun and a very happy crew and they were delighted to win the prize for coming last – they knew what mattered most. But now they are stranded in the Rodney Bay Marina and we know how that feels – yes it is a lovely place but when you want to go and you can’t it is hard. So we took them out to Marigot Bay yesterday – we love it there. We ate at the rainforest café and it was wonderful. We were moored really close to the restaurant and we all got in the dingy and just paddled across to the entrance – great fun. Surrounded by the Mangroves and the sounds of the frogs. Each time we go we learn more how to get the most out of our stay. The first time we sailed in we were met by a boat boy who helped us take a buoy but then we realized that the outer buoys are the local ones and not the ones belonging to the hotel – so the next time we arrived we went right into the Bay and took an official buoy – fantastic value at only $30 a night and you get to use the hotel gym and pool which are lovely. It feels like a holiday inside a holiday going to Marigot Bay. We are excited too as when we talk with friends they tell us that there are so many more delightful surprises to come – swimming in crystal clear, warm water with turtles in Tobago Quays is one of the treats I am most looking forward to. And all the while we are also planning our return home. We will leave Magic in Antiqua until mid May and then she will be returned to the Med where we will keep here. We shall be home mid April and we will live in our converted Chapel in North Yorkshire until we find our new home which we hope will be in our beloved Nun Monkton. Its fun to be here in the Caribbean knowing that we have 3 months to play but it makes it even sweeter knowing that we are shaping a plan to move forward with our businesses and home. May is certainly looking forward to coming home and running in cool fields and we hope that we can find a way to be reunited with Bear our Bernese Mountain Dog who is living in Wales….we will see what happens next. But for now it is back to some Genoa repairs. Then later we are going to see Mrs. Job’s yacht Venus and take some photos – then perhaps a few rum and cokes and dinner with reggae on board.