I also suggested that we take the main down and only run on the head sail since we were making great time and it would be easier to just have to deal with the genoa. Graham agreed and we took down the main. Not 10 minutes later we were hit with our worst squall yet. 40+ winds and steep seas and crashing waves. It was truly insane. Only Graham and I were in the cockpit. Thank god. We quickly reefed the head sail down to only a skiff and we were still flying. I opened the front zipper window on the dodger as it was vibrating like crazy. Graham and I both put a second tether on. At one point I was at the helm and Graham was facing me and he was looking directly behind me and up and he yells, "HOLD ON THIS ONE IS CRASHING." I braced my feet and held on with all my might. One hand on the steering wheel and the other on the side rail. Shockingly this huge rogue wave didn't overtake me. Just got my back wet. My guardian angel at work. I figured it was time for Graham to take the helm and I assumed my position on the floor of the cockpit just in time for big knock down. We heard a couple floor boards pop out below. I yelled at the kids to stay in their beds.....and then before you knew it...it was over. Just like a ride at the amusement park.
The sun came out and shone on Antigua's shores. The cockpit began to dry and the kids appeared. Jimmy Buffet play loudly on the speakers and our Canadian flag flapped wildly in the wind. We laughed, danced and of course I cried. We remembered and reminisced about sailing away together for the first time from Antigua in 2008. How inexperienced we all were. How Graham had said, "What we don't know we will learn. Each day we will know more than the day before." How much we had seen and done in these past 5 years. How challenging those first few years were. How much we had to overcome. How lucky we were to be able to experience this life on both an old and new boat.
We brought Salty Ginger into anchor and the kids and I did our celebratory jump into the ocean. Our play time was short lived though since we were told we needed to bring Salty Ginger into the customs dock for check in. Up came the anchor and away we went. Funny as we pulled up to the dock, a small part of me was expecting fanfare and ticker tape....signs and horns....lol...but there was nothing. Just another sunny day.
So now here on the blog I will yell it loud and proud and picture you all throwing ticker tape...."We made it. We did it. We dreamed it, planned it, decided it and made it happen. We crossed the friggin Atlantic ocean!" What a rush.
You may be wondering what we did on arrival....we headed to the grocery store and bought fruit, orange juice and fried chicken! Picture the four of us exiting the grocery store and me reaching into the fried chicken bag and handing out a huge piece to each. It was funny and once we had devoured our chicken we all passed around the tropicana and threw it back straight from the bottle. lol...
Tomorrow is clean up day....you would not believe the mess. I am anxious to get our life back in order but need to take this one task at a time or else I will overwhelm myself. Laundry is at the top of the list. One more night with a yucky stinky pillow case. At least I smell clean now.
oh and detox is finally over....we had our cold beers in the cockpit and red wine tonight. Let the happy hours begin!
Before I sign off I have a few thank yous to make...
- Thanks Dad for your daily weather emails and checkins as we crossed. Made me feel good to know you were looking out for us.
- Thanks Jeremy for flying down to France with Graham and helping to get Salty Ginger opened up and ready for voyage and being so excited for us.
- Thanks Calum for all your help in Les Sables D'Olone. You have no idea how much your friendship and help meant to Graham. He was so happy to have someone to bounce ideas off of.
- Thanks Ann Marie for checking emails, doing our banking and pretty much anything else I asked of you. You are the best and if you don't visit us on this boat I am really going to be mad!!
- Thanks to all of you for following us across the ocean. You have no idea how much your emails and blog comments and positive words of encouragement and support meant to all of us. The sum of all of your positive energy was truly electric.