The Queen Beatrix II, the new support and patrol vessel for the Saba Bank Management Unit, arrived saftely on Saba after a harrowing three week journey from Curaçao via Bonaire, Grenada, Bequia (Grenadines) and St. Lucia.
Crewed by Captain Pouchie, Parks Manager, Kai Wulf and Marine Park Ranger ‘Koki’ Delgado, the journey from Curaçao back to Saba, already a marathon sea voyage in a small motor boat, took considerably longer than originally planned due to a series of necessary repairs to the engines, auto pilot and bilge pump and unfavourable weather which kept the boat and crew in penned up repeatedly for weeks at a time.
On Saturday 10th February the weather was still not improving, but desperate to get home they left Bonaire for the first and longest sea crossing, from Bonaire to Grenada. The trip was uneventful but took over 46 hours of continuous motoring through moderate to rough seas accompanied by short watches, long stints at the wheel and lack of sleep. Seas were rough enough that crew members in their bunk were banging their heads on the deck above them when they tried to sleep.
From Grenada they made it to St Lucia where bad weather again kept them in port.
After several days delay they were finally able to leave Soufriere on the 13th February for an arduous channel crossing which took them past Saint Pierre and Dominica weathering 4 m waves hitting them broadside. This was followed by another rough crossing to Guadeloupe, past St Kitts and into smoother waters, where they finally made it back to Saba on Thursday 15th February docking at 10.30am.
Parks Manager, Kai Wulf announced their arrival, Saban fashion, as “The Shearwater has landed”. Their welcome home party included a champagne reception at the dockside courtesy of Juliana’s hotel and Captain Pouchie provided the entertainment with a ‘boat dance’ in the harbour.
Queen Beatrix I and Queen Beatrix II both safely moored up on Saba.