Life & Travels Afloat in our Moody
After the mad dash back to the UK a few weeks ago, life became a bit surreal. Aside from addressing the immediate crisis, it all felt a bit alien. To be sure, it was great to meet up with family and friends, (even if that now means being sentenced to a forced diet again), but it just seems that everything was exactly as it was when we left. Somehow with all that we have experienced over the last 6 months, you expect everything else to have similarly changed.
Mind you, whilst cramming all the boat bits and pieces into the travel bags, it was raining hard and we just couldn’t wait to get back on Freebooter! So after a quick Sunday lunch, it was time to brave the M1 and M25, a gruesome experience at the best of times, but at least it was the weekend. This time we booked into a hotel very near the airport for the night before an early flight. Surprisingly you can then leave your car at the hotel at minimal cost whilst you are away, like half the cost of a one-way car hire!
With all the flying done over the last 18 months, Virgin kindly upgraded my Flying Club status to gold. So what, that is not a seat upgrade I hear you say, but to a sailor it can make a BIG difference! I can take 56kg of luggage now, (plus 33kg for Annemarie!). That would have really saved the anguish of trying to get the weight down on the UK flight when we had a mere 66kg in the bags between us ….. Amazing how heavy all the bits and pieces are, especially when you are carrying a cruising chute and a gearbox!
No matter, the good service on the flight comes to an abrupt halt once one enters the St Lucia terminal building, (for once ‘terminal’ conveys the right impression). With sanity in doubt, it is then time for a tussle with the long arms of the airport porters. Their wish to assist customers is exemplary, but the mask slips once you explain you do not need help for the 5 metres between the customs exit and the kerb!
There is no bus service from the terminal to the capital, surprisingly. However if you walk about 300m to the main road, you can jump on one of the public minibuses to Castries, walk a short distance, and then catch a second one up to Rodney Bay. This usually costs not a lot, but extravagant A wanted a taxi, so after a protracted haggle, we were on our way. Back at the boat, the first job was to administer a damn good thrashing to the lock that had jammed as we left the boat. I had included penetrating oil, pliers and a hacksaw blade in our luggage, and fortunately we gained entry without damage after 15 mins of trying.
So now we are chilling with a bottle of Piton or 3! Annemarie (I am sure she will welcome your advice here 🙂 ) started with a G&T on the plane at 10.00 am! However it is now 18.00 here, and we are weary given that it is 2300 back in the UK.