Catamaran Capers

We were up bright and early again this morning; from our balcony we could see that the Adonia was just about to drop anchor off a series of small hilly islands; this was Mayreau, St. Vincent & Grenadines, another new port of call for us.

From our vantage point the sea looked very choppy, in fact below us we could see the pontoon from which the liberty boats would be launched; the boat was bouncing around, creaking and groaning, and it looked as if the passengers would have to be pretty sure footed to board!

After our breakfast we went along to the Curzon lounge to await the call to embark the tender which would take us to the pier. Today we were booked to take an idyllic ride on a catamaran to the Tobago Cays, where we could swim, sunbathe or snorkel (or all three). What a lovely way to spend a day โ€“ bliss. ๐Ÿ™‚

We waited in the lounge where there was a safety film running on a loop, on the correct way to board a tender boat. As if we haven’t done it before, loads of times. It got annoying after a while, hearing the same spiel over and over again. We were pleased when our group, Gold 1, was called to disembark.

The queue for the liberty boat was long, and stretched back and up the stairs. A crew member apologetically explained that it was taking longer than usual to get everyone on board, due to the two-metre swell which was causing the boat to rise and fall steeply. They called us forward in groups of five, and slowly the queue reduced until it was our turn.

What an experience! We could hear the grinding, screeching, creaking noises that the liberty boat made as it bashed against the rubber buffers of the pontoon, and was tossed around like a cork. We had to stand at the edge of the pontoon, one at a time, with a crew member holding on to us either side, and another couple of guys in the boat. When the threshold of the boat was momentarily level with the pontoon, the crew member would shout โ€œNow!โ€ and you had to step across immediately. Once we were inside the boat, we were bounced around in our seats as we watched other people trying to board; it was quite entertaining but the crew guys were spot on with getting us all safely onto the boat.

The ropes were then loosened, the engines revved up, and we were away! It only took about 10 minutes and I thought we’d have to go through the same charade at the other end, but disembarking was relatively easy after that.

We then had a short walk along to the pier, where a large white catamaran, the Sun Spirit awaited us. I was so looking forward to this; this is what holidaying in the Caribbean is all about. ๐Ÿ™‚

We all got aboard the catamaran, and she set off through the azure waters. Trevor and I were seated near the front, facing the direction of travel, and it was just so relaxing and blissful sailing along, with the wind in our hair and the warm sun shining down, sparkling and glittering on the sea.

In front of us, cargo nets were stretched across between the catamaran’s twin hulls; the captain, Bruno, said we could sit or lie on the nets as long as we took our shoes off before doing so.

We sat for a while and watched them hoisting the sail; then the captain switched off the engine and let the Sun Spirit sail along under wind power alone. It was gorgeous โ€“ this is certainly the life! I decided to see what it was like on the netting, and crawling over the mesh, I lay face down, looking into the sea. It was quite hypnotic watching the water flashing past beneath me, as the catamaran skimmed over the waves.

After about 45 minutes, we reached a lovely sandy beach, and the Sun Spirit dropped anchor while another guy lowered a ladder into about three feet of water. We climbed down into the warm sea and onto the beach, then took off our clothes as we were wearing our cossies underneath.

Then it was down to the sea and the lovely warm Caribbean water. We wanted to go swimming, but the seabed was pretty stony here, and you really needed water shoes, which we didn’t have. So it was quite uncomfortable wading out until it was deep enough to swim, and there was quite a lot of seaweed getting tangled around our legs.

After a short swim (the current was quite strong, and swept me along diagonally) I waded back to shore and, placing my towel on the sand, happily sat down. ๐Ÿ™‚

We watched the other small boats and catamarans gliding in and out of the bay, as well as some of our fellow passengers who had come better equipped than we had, with water shoes and their own snorkelling masks and tubes. We couldn’t help but compare this with what we would normally have been doing on a Monday morning โ€“ being at work, the weather cold and damp outside. Instead, here we were on a tropical island without a care in the world. ๐Ÿ™‚

After about an hour, we all went back to the Sun Spirit and, once everyone was aboard, the ladder and anchor were raised, the sails hoisted, and we were off again. Bruno then asked โ€œwho wants some rum punch?โ€ and everyone replied โ€œME!โ€ He said the ‘bar’ was open and it was happy hour. I was the first in the queue! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I got Trevor and myself a plastic beaker of iced rum punch, and we sat and enjoyed it as the Sun Spirit glided along in the turquoise depths. Bruno put on some reggae music (Bob Marley) and the scene was set.

It was perfect just sailing along merrily as the catamaran tacked her way across the bay. We enjoyed several more beakers of rum punch (seven each!!) as we headed back towards the Adonia, anchored in the near distance.

As the Sun Spiritย leisurely skimmed the sea, a sudden very large wave took us all by surprise. It rose up out of nowhere and crashed over the deck, cascading over those people reclining on the cargo nets and completely soaking them. A couple of inches of water sloshed around on the deck while everybody rushed to rescue their rucksacks, shoes and other belongings, everyone laughing uproariously. ๐Ÿ™‚

All too soon we arrived back at the pier and disembarked, making our way back to where the liberty boat would come in. We’d just missed one, but we didn’t have too long to wait until the next. By now, the sea had calmed down somewhat, so embarking the boat was not the challenge it had been at the start.

Back on board the Adonia, we went up to the pool deck for some lunch. Very few other people were about, so we got served very quickly and enjoyed some scampi and chips, washed down with a cold pint of John Smith’s each.
Afterwards it was back to cabin A006 for a rum punch-induced afternoon nap. ๐Ÿ™‚

When we awoke we didn’t really do much; just pottered around a bit, sat out on the balcony, then got washed and ready for dinner. We decided not to go to the Pacific restaurant tonight as they were holding an Asian buffet in the Conservatory, so we went to that instead, enjoying some tasty Thai and Indian dishes.

We then enjoyed a drink in Anderson’s bar before making our way to the Curzon theatre to see tonight’s show by the Adonia Singers and Dancers, called From West End to West Side.

The show was OK I suppose, although the well-worn musical theatre medleys didn’t really do much for me; I think Guys and Dolls and West Side Story have been done to death on these cruises, and it gets a bit boring. It passed a pleasant 45 minutes though.

Then we went up to the Crow’s Nest to listen to the band, โ€œQuintessenceโ€ until it was time to go along to the syndicate quiz. John and Linda were both there this time, so we were able to share our winnings and put in a concerted effort to the quiz. We didn’t come last tonight, but we didn’t win either. Nevertheless it was good fun.

Afterwards we returned to the Crow’s Nest, because tonight was karaoke night! I put my name down and did a few numbers, including Sinead O’Connor’s Nothing Compares 2 U and Dido’s White Flag. One or two other passengers got up, as well as some of the entertainment team. As midnight came and went, people left one by one to go to bed, until Trevor and I were the only passengers left in the Crow’s Nest apart from the entertainers and bar staff. Ruth, one of the entertainment team, kept asking me to get up and sing.

It was after 01:00am before we returned to our cabin, but we had a sea day to look forward to tomorrow, so a nice lie-in in the morning then. ๐Ÿ™‚

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