The Arrival

The arrival was something special, after a heavy night of rowing the G P S said 20 miles to go to St Martin. As the daylight stretched across the sky an island appeared. My course took me to the center after 2 hours, I lost the option to go to the left of the island. Looking through my binoculars all I could see was white water and rocks, no sandy beach. I began rowing to clear the right of the rocky coastline with horrible ideas of being driven against the unforgiving coastline with poor old Puffin breaking up, but as the hours passed I just cleared and rounded the coast to appear in a blue lagoon. Taking a relaxing swim I climbed back on board and put the kettle on, wearing a broad grin across my face, this was it after 100 days at sea.

There were times when I thought I might not make it, namely on the two occasions when 30ft rolling waves forced the Puffin under water with me trapped against the spare oars that form a handrail under a large amount of boiling water.

Ten minutes passed when a local fishing boat appeared, you ok? were his first words, handing me an anchor to fix Puffin to the bottom. After he left a larger game fishing boat appeared with some clients aboard, you can't stay there were his words this is a reserve. I had to point out that I had just rowed the across the Atlantic and after 100 days I felt like a rest.

Once he heard my story he said don't worry I will come back and give you a tow to Gustavia to clear customs and then shot of before I could tell him I had to row to a beach and land the boat. Five minutes later a speed boat arrived with a guy jumping up and down on the foredeck shouting Gra you've done it. To my surprise it was some one I had met in La Gomera before setting of with a local friend from the marina, immediately giving me directions to St Joan's bay beach. One and a half hours of hard rowing Puffin came to a stand still on a long white beach, climbing out I immediately collapsed onto the sand much to the delight of a large crowd.

There to greet me was the Mayor who corrected me when I told him how happy I was to be in St Martin, explaining that it would be most unusual as he was the Mayor of St Barts. It took me a while to explain that St Barts was not on my my Atlantic chart.

The next three days shot by as I relaxed on a large traditional schooner called Fiddlers Green, skipper 'd by Doug then on to St Martin to meet all the friends who had come to meet me, William Garnier who knew I was arriving after sailing his 22 ft boat across the Atlantic. So thanks to Bruce Garry and Tom.

Next day Tony his wife Lyn and a close friend Sue arrived. They had hired a boat to tow the Puffin back to Antiqua where they were staying. So next a bouncy 90 mile trip through the night for a second welcome in English harbour aboard MV Sea Terror skipper 'd by Kriss Harris.

The customs clearance was the highlight of the day. A very helpful officer who had not seen me arrive began with the question how big is your boat sir ? 15ft I replied. That's small was his answer, you must only have one mast? no mast I replied. No mast what about sails? no sails. How big is your engine? no engine. That last reply seemed to surprise him, how on earth did you propel your boat? by rowing.

A week passed in comfort staying with Tony, Lyn and Sue as I gradually emptied The Puffin out in preparation for shipping her back to UK.

A special Thank You to all the 100's of people who helped me with this project.

The next job to write book.