Arrival day! The last day of our voyage was met with a lot of excitement from the crew. Juan had the final watch but I was nearby to adjust our course. We encountered more ships (cargo, fishing, yachts, etc) as we edged closer to our destination. With just a few hours remaining to landfall we could already see the streetlights glowing from over the horizon. With just 30 miles to go we made our final course change and pointed Optimus Southwest so our path would be south of “The Shallows” a region of underwater currents and seamounts that has strong tides and occasional overfalls. Our original path would have us sail just off the coast passing South Point. All our charts and pilot guides said this area was to be avoided.
Once we passed the shallows we turned heading to the northwest and we really let it all hang out. Now that the wind was on our beam we took full advantage of the tradewinds and took out all the reefs, unfurled the genoa and were propelled to 8.5 knots. Occasionally, 11 knots when pushed by a wave. We were contacted by rally control and the Bridgetown signal station to welcome us.
We arrived in the shallow draught harbour and were greeted by the Jimmy Cornell, Peter from the Ministry of Tourism, and our friends on Sarayu. We were given a gift bag of books, hats, and guides from the ministry and a big jug of Bajan rum punch from the Barbados Yacht Club. After we cleared in we left the harbour and motored into Bridgetown. We squeezed through the bridge that the town is named for and into the inner basin. Once tied up the crew and I had celebratory drinks. We finished off the big jug of punch, a few cocktails we made aboard, and even a case of beer. Our arrival was on Juan’s birthday so we had multiple reasons to celebrate and gave a toast, many, to him.
Later that evening we took a beachside walk down to yacht club to have a small reception and meeting with the Cornell Sailing team and met a few more representatives of Barbados. It was a memorable experience had by us all.