21 January, 2018: A good three or four hour sail from where we were, Chatham Bay is tucked away behind the peaks of Union Island, making it both shelter, but on occasion also a wind funnel. There we joined KAPALEI, and INDIAN SUMMER, who was celebrating Hilmer’s actual birthday (see earlier post - click here) that day.
Xavier observed there is not much to Chatham Bay. However the moment we arrived I was transported by the prehistoric air of hills, the same way Buster Hill back in Hampshire always takes me to the Bronze Age. I felt very much at home there at once, and a deep sense of calm. Our options for a birthday meal out were simplified to a selection of two beach huts, and the choice made by the arrival of a very laid-back Summer, going round in his boat from family to family touting for business at “the pink shack” belonging to his sister Vanessa. Vanessa hadn’t been responding to VHF calls to reserve a table at her grill, so the next time Summer circled the area we waved him over and Sissi, Tina and I hopped in and when ashore. When we heard the volume of the music playing we understood why Vanessa hadn’t heard the VHF!
We liked the place immediately, and Vanessa as much as her brother. Welcome hung from the ceiling, decorated with hundreds of flags from all over the world, including Swedish, Swiss and British for us, and a World ARC flag for good measure.
We returned that evening, Summer doing several trips in his boat to pick us all up, preferable to us negotiating the treacherous shallows in the dark. The grill of meats was delicious, the rum punch and beers flowed and the kids delighted in the company of the birthday boy, soaring on the swing hanging from a tree outside, and when it got too dark, making up all sorts of stories together.
We had one more night in Chatham Bay, an impromptu evening on our boat, the kids sitting round the cockpit table creating all sorts of designs and battlements out of the flat lego “plus plus”, while the adults chilled on the sofa and the wine flowed, in my case over the glass and onto my white jeans while posing for a photo! It was our farewell night together too with INDIAN SUMMER and KAPALEI, and the next day we said goodbye to the families before we split up in different directions for good. As we pulled up the anchor, we were missing them already. We had shared so much over the past few months, and now, setting sail north to Martinique to provision up and then head on towards Panama, it was the last time we would see each other in the Caribbean, or so we thought...