As an alternative to Christmas, as an Officer Cadet from London UOTC I flew off to the Caribbean to take part in Exercise Caribbean Wings, spending two weeks sailing around the Windward and Leeward Islands on board a JSASTC CH67 Yacht. The crew of 14 was made up from various parts of the three services. Flying into St Lucia, after catching up on sleep, it was then shopping for two weeks of food and safety briefs.
The next day we set sail, practicing man over board drills and how to handle the sails on this large yacht. We spent the night at anchor in a beautiful bay.
After a short sail the next day we were able to go swimming with turtles before setting off on a 36hr sail all the way down to English Bay, Antigua, where we were to spend Christmas. As the crew were split into watch teams of three, the skipper came up with the ‘Olympic challenge’ to work off the excesses of Christmas day. We then had our first day off with the chance to explore Antigua whilst some of the crew went scuba diving for the day.
The remainder of the exped was spent on a series of day sails, making our way back to St Lucia via Guadeloupe, Dominica and Martinique. The highlights of this week (in addition to the sailing) being a jungle trek to a secluded waterfall and visit to a fruit farm to see how all this is grown. All too soon we were back in St Lucia to prepare the boat for the next crew and to have a day sightseeing before the long flight back.