And at the Other End of the Spectrum…

…was our wonderful motorsail from Antigua to St. Maarten. What was so surprising is that given my condition for the trip — slightly hungover following a wee bit of indulgence at the post-race party for the Caribbean 600 — I should have been miserable and hanging over the rail. Instead, the trip was so glorious that I was once again ready to chuck everything and sail for the horizon once and for all.

We left Falmouth Bay around 11:45am Saturday morning. Montserrat lay to the southwest, its volcano shrouded in a cap cloud. We changed course at the southwest corner of Antigua and made for the northwest. The sun set around 6:15pm (Marlies and Boogie claimed to see the green flash; I missed it) and I stayed on deck for a couple-of-hour watch.

And what a watch it was. Jupiter appeared atop our mast moments after the sun sank below the horizon. And as the sky darkened, more and more stars appeared in the clear sky from horizon to horizon, 360 degrees around the boat: Orion, Aldebaran, Polaris, the Big Dipper. Scorpio dangled above the southeast horizon, looking more like its namesake than any other constellation in the sky. And over time, the Milky Way glowed brighter, like a joyful flag dancing in a light breeze. The almost-full moon glowed in the sky and on the water off our starboard quarter, climbing slowly over our stern as we made our way north.

Below the heavens, the lights of St. Kitts, Statia and Saba crawled past on the western edge, while the lights of St. Barth climbed higher on our starboard bow. And by the time I woke Boogie at 9pm for the final hour-plus run into St. Maarten, we were in the calm waters of the lee of St. Barth, cruising along past dark hills serrating the glowing sky.

We dropped the hook in Simpson Bay and I turned in for the night. A slightly rolly evening gave way to another tropical morning and we entered Simpson Bay Lagoon with the 9:30am bridge opening on Sunday morning. Now we’re in the Simpson Bay Marina, which is fast filling up with race boats — many of whom we saw in Antigua — arriving for this weekend’s Heineken Regatta. I raced in last year’s event on the boat Boogie and Marlies were operating then; this year’s boat is here for some work and does not race. I’m hoping to get on with another boat for the races and then it’s back to the States come Sunday. The strangely up-and-down time away, currently up, continues.

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