Buoyancy dive
While in Curaçao we did one of the dives (Buoyancy) required to qualify for the Advanced Open Water certificate. The key objectives were to improve our buoyancy control, through breath control, and thereby reduce the amount of lead weights we carry - we both dropped four pounds with hopefully more to come. One of the things we had to do was swim through the hoop which was held a few feet from the bottom. With a tank on your back it's a tight fit and a really good test of buoyancy control. On my left is Mark, our instructor for the dive.

Most people don't realise how tough life can be on a cruising boat. Laundry is one consideration, I can't just shove it a machine and go and do something else, I have to find out where I can do it and hang around in the heat. Seru Boca marina in Curaçao was undergoing major development and these were the temporary laundry facilities with not even a table to fold things.

Sunset in Tortuga
Beautiful sunset in Tortuga, Venezuelan out-islands. It's all about to change, the big black cloud brought rain and typified our stay in Tortuga.

Brown Noddy
A Brown Noddy, one of which spent the night on the boat with us.

St Lucia
After four days at sea we spotted land - St Lucia, about thirty five miles off. It was a beautiful day and the wind and seas had gone down. If you find it difficult to see land in the picture that's just the problem we had, it was a smudge on the horizon. The giveaway is the clouds, even on clear day there are usually clouds over land.

Pirate ship
It's unusual to see a properly rigged square rigger and even rarer to see one setting sails while leaving the dock. This beauty was parked no more than a hundred yards from us in Rodney Bay, St Lucia. She was used in the Pirates of the Caribbean films and the only thing missing from her are her topsails. But she does fire her cannons every day! She often creeps in at night with some white lights in the rigging and she looks so eerie you can almost hear the cutlesses being drawn (if it wasn't for the pan band on board).

Frog fish
On our second dive in St Lucia we spotted a Yellow Longlure Frogfish. Allegedly Frogfish are fairly common, the problem is actually seeing them because of their camouflage, they normally sit on lookalike sponges. Frogfish don't swim they 'walk' and they are voracious eaters of fish and molluscs - you can see one of its 'feet' bottom right of the picture. Size is three to five inches long with a maximum of eight inches. Their colour variations include deep red, pink, orange, yellow, green and tan and they can change colour to match the background. Needless to say we were very lucky to see one.

ARC finish line
Kelly's Eye on the ARC finish line, Rodney Bay St Lucia, at dusk.

Our thanks to Tim Wright, one of the world's leading yacht photographers, for this picture.