ARC2012 Diary: Day 25

We spent nearly a day looking at the coastline of St Lucia, even though we can see land, it still takes a while to get anywhere near land. Remember we’re travelling at about 5 mph and we’re 50 miles away.

Finally we start to round St Lucia. If only we had the sound track to Jurassic park, there’s definitely an air about rounding a island with a volcanic terrain. We see amazing houses perched on the rock face, probably Will Smiths pad.

We make contact with the ARC officials. They’re going to come out and meet us on a RIB and guide us in. The finishing line is closed but they want to do the utmost to celebrate our arrival. Oliver is hell bent on firing off a flare to celebrate our arrival. As we round the final corner, he sets off a small pen flare, a very undramatic bang, and then a little flash of light signifies our arrival. The RIB comes out to meet us and Emma, parents and Carlotta are on the boat. Dads holding a flag and Emma is in her dress I bought her for her birthday, sweet. It’s a pretty historic moment, and I’m more pleased for my parents as I know its a big deal to be whizzed around on a RIB and they’ll be talking about it for months to come. We signaled for beer immediately. It was a pretty emotional scene, but I managed to keep my man chin up lol
We slowly followed the RIB into the marina, passing rundown shacks, and local gnarly looking rasta’s who gave us a wave as the ARC guys continually blew through a fog horn trumpet, which sounded like a dying dog.
Some guys took our lines as we drifted up to a pontoon, a small gathering had appeared. As we stepped off we were greeted with a rum cocktail. With so many people on the pontoon, I nearly stepped back and fell in  a few times. After 25 days at sea, the sensory overload was pretty immense. One guy came up to me, patted me on the back and said “congratulations, you’ve just sailed across the Atlantic”, a moment that will stay for me forever. I was totally dazed as everyone around us were cheering and celebrating and hugging.
We had 1 hour before the prize giving started. So my priority was to get a shower ASAP, I had everything ready. I found the shower block, walked in and took a shower. There were a small group of black kids messing around next to me, shreeking and shouting, even more so when they peaked through to see my pale arse, little shites lol Not the shower I had envisaged, but it was a shower nonetheless.
We were then whisked off to the prize giving. On the way Emma and the parents gave me a intense overview of everything that had been going on, ARC related and travel issues. I was so relieved to see them here, mostly because mum and dad are not very accustomed to air travel, so that was a big relief.
As we watched the prize giving, we got called up on stage. We had won, well perhaps out of sympathy, we had been awarded a basket of rum. So from being at sea, to seeing Emma and parents for the first time in what seemed like a lifetime, we were now up on stage infront of 300 ARC participants receiving a prize. The whole situation was so so surreal. Oliver gave a speech which no one who received prizes did, and we got a big round of applause.

It’s a very strange thing to suddenly have the ability to do all those things you normally take for granted. A cold drink, a wee standing up, clean clothes. I can’t really convey enough how strange it feels to suddenly have all those things that you were deprived of while at sea. Poor Terry Adams that’s all I can say, I feel we’ll be kindred spirits from this day forth haha

After that, myself, Emma and the parents opened up Ben’s bottle of homemade wine, and I discussed the trip in length with just the three of us. I wished Ben could have been there to share a glass (but there may be another opportunity one day). I suggested we head off to get a meal and that glass of red wine, and leave Oliver and Carlotta and Will to it.
We headed to the Spinnaker bar, after I remembered meeting the owner at the Yacht Club in Las Palmas on the final night. We had a fantastic night, if a little subdued but then that’s exactly what I wanted, a nice quiet night with those closest to me. Though Emma got steaming drunk in a very colonial style and ruined any prospect of that..joke! It wasn’t’ ruined, but she was definitely flying the flag of our forefathers with the way she ordered her cocktails of many different colours! I’m sure she expected to be carried home in a little bamboo carriage by the locals.
Anyhow, that glass of red wine never tasted so good.
The End

 

Author: Tim Butler

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