Well we made it to the West Indies in one piece, but the crossing kicked the living daylights out of us! We left Virgin Gorda, BVI at 3am on Thursday March 9th and arrived in Anguilla sometime after 8:30pm. We battled 30 knot winds, 12 foot seas and scattered squalls for 80 miles and about 18 hours. To add to the fun, about 20 miles out, the autopilot decided enough is enough and died. Needless to say, we were quite happy when we finally dropped the anchor and could let go of the wheel safe and sound in Road Bay.
Rising early on Friday March 10th, we ventured into town to find someone to fix our autopilot, and purchase various other boat pieces that had broken during the voyage (bolts to secure the anchor that had been washed away by a rogue wave and an alternator that had kicked the bucket). No luck with the autopilot but we fixed all else which provided our silver lining for the day! We stopped at Roy’s restaurant on the beach to have some celebratory lobster bisque and hang with our new friend (pictured below). Roy, the restaurant owner, mentioned a friend of a friend on Sint Maarten who might be able to help with our autopilot woes. Never sure how these leads will pan out, but not wanting to miss out on the opportunity, we hurried back to the boat and picked up the anchor in search of the elusive autopilot mechanic.
He was real! But our autopilot motor was frozen and irreparable and it was now Friday night and our hopes for getting it fixed before the weekend had faded. Francis, the mechanic, knew a guy who knew a guy who MIGHT have a motor, but he was in Simpson Bay Lagoon and was leaving at noon on Saturday. Saturday morning, we picked up the anchor again and motored up to Simpson Bay in time for the 9:30am bridge opening so we could get into the Lagoon. After finding a good spot to anchor for a few days, we hopped in our trusty dinghy in search of our second elusive contact.
Welp, the doors were locked and there was no one around but he’d left his cell phone number posted on the door. After a very confusing phone call, we figured out he was not in fact that same person Francis had directed us to (however they knew each other), but he may have a motor that would work (YAY!) and to come back Monday morning.
So that’s where we are, waiting until Monday for our autopilot motor. Truthfully, there are worse places to be stuck than on Sint Maarten surrounded by beach bars and beautiful boats and rumor has it some of the best bread and croissants just across the border on the French side of the island. Fingers crossed the autopilot motor pans out and we can continue our sail south early next week. Until then we will be eating and drinking our way around the island!