Heaven in the Air, but Hell on Earth

The Two Skippers of Mina2 would like to wish all our Blogfollowers fair winds and tight lines for 2014. Party animals that we are, on the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve the DS had her head under a towel breathing in an infusion to try and clear a sinus infection that has followed from a rather persistent cold. I was fast asleep in bed.

We were both shattered after my first Christmas in the UK for about five years. Catering for Christmas dinner with all the trimmings for 19 people was logistically every bit as demanding as organising my trip down to Antarctica. And then we had to prepare for our five month cruise in (yes, I’m ashamed to say it) the Caribbean.

There are few strict rules on Mina2, and one of them is that the “H” word is never used. Sorry, we don’t do Holidays, we do Expeditions. Most people might kill for the opportunity of cruising round the Caribbean in a luxury yacht for months on end but for me the very idea is anathema. Call me a curmudgeonly old fart (the DS does frequently) but there are two things I can’t stand: one is extreme heat and the other is beaches, and the Caribbean has both in abundance. Give me tumultuous seas and ice any day. But if the DS is happy, so am I (sort of).

We had laid Mina2 up in Grenada at the beginning of March for a much needed rest after her exertions of the last couple of years, and for her to go through quite a major refit, with the yard being left a long list of tasks to complete in plenty of time for our return.

The taxi came to collect us at 0700 on New Year’s Day to take us to Gatwick airport. To cut a long story short, having booked our British Airways flights at the back with the goats and the chickens, for some reason we found ourselves upgraded by several notches – the DS flying in lie-flat luxury in Club Class and with me reluctantly being allocated a seat in a different cabin – First Class, right up in the front. By the time we reached Grenada ten hours later they had to get a fork lift truck to get me out of the plane, bloated as I was from copious supplies of Michelin-starred food washed down by the finest champagnes, Sancerres and Margots. Quite a good way to start 2014.

I had planned our arrival for a launch of Mina2 back into the water on 3 January, only to be told by the yard after I had booked the flights that they were closed from 24 December and only reopened on 6 January so we are compelled to spend the first six days of the year in La Sagesse (www.lasagesse.com) , a hotel in the next bay round from the boatyard in a room on the beach of a palm-fringed bay, and quoted as being “One of the most romantic sites in the whole Caribbean”. So what’s that got to do with anything? Champing at the bit to sort the boat out, I can’t tell you how frustrating this all is.


Tim Barker is a sailor and occasional adventurer. Since 2004, Mina2, his Oyster 485 yacht, and he (with the Downstairs Skipper and a wonderful bunch of friends) have sailed from the Arctic to the Antarctic and many places in between. Come join their adventures and read Tim's award winning blogs and journals from the comfort of your own computer screen.

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