|Return of the cats
"So after a transatlantic flight, an hour and a half in a car to the marina, a dinghy ride to the boat, the cats were released..."
The cats are back! We are so happy to have Suki and Chocolate back on board Matusadona - it has felt like a very long time that we have been without them. This week has involved a lot of sailing. We sailed from Antigua all the way south to St Lucia to collect the cats. We were really happy to be back in St Lucia. The anchorage in Rodney Bay in the north of the island is well-protected and the island is even more beautiful than we remembered.
The next day we had to take two buses to travel to the airport. The first bus took us to Castries, St Lucia’s capital. It was February 22nd, the date which St Lucia became independent in 1979 and it was a huge spectacle. Everyone was wearing blue, a shade brighter than the sky, the predominant colour of the St Lucia flag, which represents the sea and sky. Little hints of yellow, white and black were also in evidence, such as ribbons in girls’ hair. The yellow, black and white form triangles, which represent the two pitons, the iconic volcanic cones in Soufriere. Yellow represents sunshine and prosperity, while the black and white represent racial harmony. It was designed by St Lucian artist Dunstan St Omer. The flag is a huge part of how independence day is celebrated and the flag and balloons in the flag’s colours are in every single building you enter from banks to supermarkets.
Last year we missed independence day when we visited St Lucia, but we had been told by Bertha, a trail guide at Tet Paul, who we interviewed for our podcast that she loves to see the motorbikes on independence day. As we walked from one bus station to another in Castries among the huge crowds of people, a load of motorcyclists paraded down the road, revving their engines with glee. We were later told that motorcyclists from St Vincent and Dominica also come to participate. Another favoured activity on independence day is drag racing. The bars were also packed, people sitting out on the streets soaking in the atmosphere and the sounds of revving engines. As we travelled through the countryside all the way south to the airport, we saw people gathering everywhere for barbeques, in bars and to stand on the hillsides to watch the drag racing.
At the airport we had an anxious wait, but the customs officer, vet and cargo people were lovely. Finally we got to see the precious ones and it was amazing to see them looking well. The customs officer drove us back to the marina and witnessed us departing in the dinghy with the cats - we had to leave that evening for them to be counted as being in transit and thus avoid customs charges and they had to witness us taking them to the boat. So after a transatlantic flight, an hour and a half in a car to the marina, a dinghy ride to the boat, the cats were released. They straight away recognised the boat and went to their favourite place - the little window at the back. Chocolate also came out to the cockpit and enjoyed sniffing the sea air. Unfortunately for them they then had a fourteen hour sailing trip ahead of them. We left at 8.00pm and they did sleep - they must have been knackered after their long journey.
At midday the next day we had arrived in Roseau, Dominica. We anchored and went onshore to clear in and then all four of us had a very good night’s sleep. It has been lovely to have them back - they make Matusadona feel like home. They’ve been very well looked after in England by my younger brothers. We’re now awaiting Luciano’s sister who has a long journey from the south of Brazil via Panama and Barbados. We can’t wait to share the boat life with her and are excited about the promise of Dominica - self-christened ‘nature’s island’ with natural wonders, such as hot waterfalls.
This week's Vlog.
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Useless inventions by Luigiano da Vinci