The last couple of weeks have certainly been hectic and we're extremely pleased with the distance we've covered in the short time period. We do, though, apologise for the shocking lack of contact and updares we have been able to post - a lot has happened in the meantime! This post was written to be published a week ago... wifi signal has not been kind and alas here we are. A post covering the more recent events will follow!
We left Saint Lucia in the early hours of the 8th, a 35 nautical mile crossing that led us to Martinique and our fantastic host Karl Gruand and his family. Martinique being our first French speaking island we were fully aware of the language barrier we were about to encounter. Our GCSE French skills having now stooped to an embarrassing 'Bonjour', 'Je voudrais followed by a hand gesture' and 'Merci'.
So after an uneventful crossing we pulled into the beach at Anse Mitan. Our worst fears were confirmed. No one spoke a single word of English. We needed a safe home for our beloved kayak and luckily stumbled across a water sports shop. After frantic hand gestures to and from the boat, a lot of oooooo la la's and a fair bit of 'Crazy Crazy' we thought our boat had a home for the night.
10 minutes later another French man appeared with far more frantic aggressive hand gesturing. The type of man that doesn't care if you say you're English and don't speak French. He jabbered at us and ended with 'Kayak, here, NO!' With the sun setting our host, Karl, luckily came to the rescue and found a great home for our boat at the very accommodating Cayanou hotel around the corner!
From Martinique we continued to make good progress, shooting up to the north side of the island and tackling another hard crossing to Dominica. It was looking like it might become our first calm crossing as we came around the North point and set off into the channel. What a great day we thought to ourselves!
Never ever again will I think that to myself. We're still unsure if it was an extended squall or if our multiple sources of weather reports were entirely wrong but a couple of hours into the crossing and we were being blasted by at least 10 ft waves (That's like my height, 6ft, plus Amber Haas for those that know her). The horizon was visible one second and gone the next as we were plunged from the peaks to the troughs of these waves. They were also coming from behind us which meant the boat would swerve frustratingly and dangerously to the right each time the wave passed over us. Incredibly hard for Will to keep the boat on our bearing to Dominica. Being drowned by waves and having to stay so mentally alert for the next 5/6 hours was knackering and we were extremely pleased when the wind and waves began to die down. Onwards through Dominica was much calmer and we quickly crossed to Guadeloupe.
Here we had planned to camp on the mariner dock and set off for north Guadeloupe early in the mañana. Unexpectedly a great French ex news cameraman welcomed us onto his yacht for the night. Arriving dehydrated and tired after a long crossing this was ideal. Unfortunately he was so welcoming that many beers were suddenly brought to the deck. Having not drunk alcohol for quite a few months you can imagine our head space an hour later. I wouldn't be surprised if we asked to take his yacht to Miami and drag the kayak behind it! Anyway the next thing we knew it was 5am, our alarms were ringing and it was time to get back out to sea. Urgh. Sore bodies, sore heads and a day that turned out to have 0 breeze.
If anyone fancies giving it a go (we take no responsibility if anyone actually decides to try this) but maybe enjoy a night out on the town, try getting into a Sauna in the morning, drag a rowing machine into the Sauna, set the temp to 32 degrees and row for 12 hours. That was our day. We ended up making it 25 miles to north Guadeloupe after a real struggle of a day. Fortunately the unbearable heat allowed us both to forget about the engineless lifeboat we passed that morning when leaving the mariner.
Onwards to Montserrat, yes the home of everyone's geography GCSE volcano. A marathon 40 nautical mile crossing nailed and a huge thank you to Ceinwen and Jacquie for hosting us at the beautiful Sea Song Villa They also provided a great dinner for us at Watermelon Cottage, thank you so much to Jacquie, Trevor and Joe for all your support. More info on how they helped us here - more photos going up soon! The Montserrat crossing itself was a strong day of paddling, our arrival at the beach on Monsterrat is an event that we plan to keep undisclosed until our film/documentary is released. All we can share with you now is that the rudder was bent 90 degrees and we count ourselves incredibly lucky.
A good crossing to Nevis and here we are. From here we plan to head to Saint Kitts, Saint Barts, Saint Martin and then our longest crossing yet to the BVI (60 miles +). Thank you so much to everyone for your messages of support and your donations. We both think we've nearly thought through our whole lives whilst out paddling so keep the messages of support and donations coming please!