MAY 2013

“You can go to heaven if you want. I'd rather stay in Bermuda,” Mark Twain

We spent some time in the sparkling, crystal blue waters of Antigua, before sailing to St. Maarten, where we waited inside the lagoon for a sailing window towards Bermuda. At this time of the year these two islands are full of many beautiful classic yachts (wow! wow! the shine and the sparkle!) getting ready for Antigua Sailing Week, the #1 regatta in the Caribbean and one of the top ten in the world. St. Maarten, the Dutch side, is often referred to as little Las Vegas, with more casinos than gas stations and 400+ restaurants! Finally on May 8 we crossed the lagoon and departed from St. Martin, the French side of this tiny island and arrived to Bermuda some 800 miles and eight days later. This passage took much longer than anticipated, we had to heave to (stop and drift) for approximately 40 hours on two occasions to let nasty weather and confused sea pass by. We detoured about 120 miles to avoid the worst of a depression passing by Bermuda. Now we are back in North Atlantic, the temperatures dropped down, gone is the humidity! This island deserves kudos for being exceptionally clean, garbage cans every few steps, and everything is extremely well organized, you feel the British discipline imposed since the beginning of this outpost. This is one of the most expensive islands we have been to so far, for example, two small beers, one soup, one burger in an ordinary restaurant at lunch time = $54, not exactly a bargain. The median income here is about one and a half amount of USA but the rental cost is about $2,000 a month per room! So even with a better salary closing the budget in the positive is a challenge, to purchase a house here is a seven figures affair. At the moment the criminality rate on the island is twice that of England and much higher than USA. Everything is imported and the cost of food is very high, and yet, just traveling around, the poverty is very well hidden, all the houses look beautiful, painted in pastel colors, the lawns cut to perfection everywhere, parks and streets spotless, the locals very friendly and still adhering to some old-world customs not seen in many places. We love the business men in their national uniform – a salmon pink Bermuda shorts (no shorter than six inches above the knee), a pair of dark long socks, smart shoes, a tie and a dark jacket – looks very chick!. Our next stop will be Chesapeake Bay where we will spend the hurricane season and finish upgrading Vanille in preparation for the next season. Have great summer and see you soon!