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Great Escape of Southampton - 14 11 850n 60 33 670w

Log day 21 - could this be our last day at sea?!
Hi all,
I may be writing our blog for the last time and again I ask you to indulge me while I dedicate this to my other adorable nephew Oliver who is six today. Happy Birthday Oliver!!
So even the chorizo is no longer and as we have been speeding along pretty fast, the fishermen amongst us have shied away from reeling out after ‘Sailfish-gate’. Luckily it seems our provisioning worked out just about right and having enjoyed the Atlantic treats of Mahi-Mahi & Bonito earlier in the voyage we have a couple of spare supper options left which will see us well fed and hopefully safely into port tonight.
Funnily enough we had pictured our arrival into St Lucia cruising in glorious sunny skies, steel band playing, hula skirts & the works but it seems the weather has one more trick up its sleeve for us. So far today we have come through 3 squalls & the scene ahead looks more reminiscent of Ostend in March than the Caribbean – luckily the temperature doesn’t match! The constant conversation in the cock-pit is now ‘who will win the sweep-stake on our arrival time’. Fabio has been convinced for the last 24 hours that he has won – with claims that he predicted 10pm across the finish line tonight. Curiously his ballot paper doesn’t seem to match this and there is much heated debate (and laughter) going on as I write as to how this could be?! With David’s prediction of 8pm and my prediction for 2am Sunday it’s all to play for and Fabio is getting more and more concerned!
So Oliver, you asked me on the day we left how many knots I would be tying. We have kept a running total & it is 236. Most of these have been stopper knots (like Figure of 8 or navy stopper knots), bowline’s, half hitches & clove hitches). However we have discovered how important a rolling hitch is – none of us except Skipper Matt are very good at this so perhaps you & Samuel can practice & teach me properly when I get home.
So think of us tonight, arriving weary but exhilarated, probably slightly soggy, definitely slightly smelly (our tank water has run out!), thrilled to have achieved our goal but slightly sad it’s all over. We will be raising our glasses to Matt & Mike who have steered us safely though the temperamental weather, fixed endless pumps, gauges & other boat widgets whilst keeping us amused with tales of the deep. I knew I had a lot to learn when I started on this epic trip but realise now I was in a state of uninformed optimism – I’d say I’ve now reached the heady heights of slightly informed pessimism!!! It seems incredible how much more there is to learn but I know everyone on this boat is up for it thanks to the patience & good humour we’ve enjoyed with Matt & Mike - thanks so much guys. And a final thank you to all the crew – we haven’t stopped laughing all the way across – looking forward to celebrating with you guys.
Lots of love to everyone back home – can’t wait to catch up soon & boring you endlessly with our salty sea tales!
Niki xx

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