Caribbean Cruising

N 13° 39' W 60° 59'

Catching up

July 22, 2012

Quick apology to all our avid readers ( if you are reading this then that’s you!).  We have not had great Internet and I have neglected following our trail along the way.  Well I now have a data sim card so should be able to post more often and will endeavour to do so.

We have travelled to Bequia where we spent some pleasant days including a great jam session with the famous ( locally) Socony guitarist and personality.  We then high tailed it down to union Island and stayed in a couple of different bays.  The swell helped us to decide to move over to Petite St Vincent and Petite Martinique.  

We went to book out at Clifton back in Union Island which is only 5 miles away.  However a tropical squal blew through and we had our first big blow at 45 mph of wind pushing us at 6.8 knots after we had dropped all the sails.  We stayed in the channel until it blew through before going to anchor in the bay.

After union island we went to Carriacou where we made various boat improvements including a Bimini extension and moving the wind generator on to the sugar scoop to make it stronger ( improve the angle of bracing).

I also learned to sail the Fram.  It is a local design that looks like a coffin with a sail added and a rope to steer the rudder.  Very unstable but good fun non the less.  I also helped run a sailing session for the kids of Carriacou.  We had a great musical night on lard the yacht Boldly Go before leaving for our final leg back to Grenada.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mmmmmm

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N 13° 39' W 60° 59'

Vieux-fort

June 14, 2012

We decided to sail to the south of St Lucia to make the journey to Bequia do able in a day.  ( we had decided to boycott St Vincent again due to the hassle you get from the boat boys.). Veux – Fort is a delightful town with none of the hassle we associated with Soufriese.  We found it cheap and very friendly and will definitely stop here again to provision on the way back up.  The only down side was that on the 2nd night the anchorage was rolly and we ended up getting up at 5 am to leave for Bequia.  Not a bad thing as we arrived by 3 pm.

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N 13° 59' W 61° 00'

Marigot Bay - St Lucia

June 13, 2012

We moved from Rodney Bay to Marigot Bay and anchored exactly where we had stayed on our way up.  Our first night we met up with Geoff Banham who I met on mu very first trip out here with JSASTC training vessel in 2010.  We had a few beers and put the world to rights.  Steve from Christina Pearl had not been to Rodney Bay before as was keen to explore.  That meant walking up the hill to the viewing point at the top ( this is a kin to going up to the base camp of mount Everest).  Having let him snap is hearts content with pictures we decided to descend an alternative route that lead back down to a restaurant that is not connected to the rest of the marina complex.  So for the lack of 30 meters of walk way we had to hitch a ride with a boat to take us back to the dinghy dock.  Pizza for lunch and then after a happy hour at the Doo Littles hotel resort ( made famous in the Rex Harrison film Doctor Doo Little).  A great visit.

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N 13° 59' W 61° 00'

Still at Rodney Bay

June 12, 2012

Rodney Bay too
The weather has been really lovely since we arrived in St Lucia.  So far we have gone a shore and used the shower facilities ( we had been showering off the back of the boat for the last couple of months so this was heaven). We also went and visited our friends on " Toots" and while we were there this big ray was swimming right near their boat. It kept breaking the surface with its wing tips and was obviously hunting for fish. 
The next day we were on the boat just preparing a meal when we heard a thud and thought something had fell off the boat on to the coach roof.  I went to investigate only to see a pirate ship that had entered the bay was announcing itself with cannon fire. Today was a public holiday so we have been chilling as most places are closed.  But we did visit a local bar for some more Internet and a nice cold coke. 
Before leaving I snapped up a bargain from Steve from " Our Destiny" who was selling a complete dive rig.  It needs some hoses replacing in the near future and the tank needs testing but all do able.
Next stop Marigot Bay.  But first an addition to our boats capability (one that brings a smile of joy whenever I mention the word to our lovely Mandies face – yes you have guessed: Washing machine)

 

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N 14° 02' W 61° 00'

Rodney Bay - St Lucia

May 27, 2012

We packed up and had up anchored by 0730 hrs from Fort de France. The wind was great both coming from the east and at the promised 15 knots. We soon were clicking off the miles at a boat spread of 6 – 7 knots. We deployed “Clive” – he has taken over from our lost at sea “Marvin” but as yet it would seem he has yet to learn to catch any fish.  I also deployed the fishing rod with a fish like jelly on the end of the hook hoping to coax some action. 
I had kept high on the wind which is now paying dividends as we are falling back towards the track and have increased our spread. Despite a knot of tide against us we are still up in the 6 knot zone.
Lowe anchored not far away from Toots and then after lunch we went ashore to book in with customs. The thing we have been looking forward to the most was the marina showers as they are magnificent here. Although we did have to wait for a quarter of an hour for some one to come and open the door as we could not remember the code from last time. We have it written down now.  We are now sitting on the veranda sipping coke and watching the sun shimmer on the marina water whilst catching up with the Internet.

 

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N 17° 04' W 61° 53'

Fort de France - Martinique

May 23, 2012


We sailed over night from Guadalope on what might be called rather a blustery day.  We by past the Saints and the wind got up to around 20 knots. We put 3 reefs in the main ( come on now – I have explained this before.  We make a big sail into a smaller sail) and we wound the foresail in to 2 reefs and we were set.  Now we had Bob ( Hydrovane self steer) taking us to our destination which was pretty close hauled.  However, we were up wind from our track so I was pretty happy.
As night fell we could see the sun go down and we both concentrated hard waiting for the elusive green flash.  However, there was not even a fizzle ( is this a myth I am beginning to wonder to keep cruisers occupied at sundown?)
We were taking it in turns on watch after spicy sausage and pasta evening meal.  Rain seemed to creep up on us when we least expected it and at one point I am sure Mandy crept out the forward hatch and threw a bucket of salt water over me, then quickly getting back in to bed and acting all innocent.  Either that or a rogue wave ( that only seems to happen on my watch)
The wind increased and our speed was a good 6 and a half knots.  At this rate we would reach Martinique in the dark.  I replotted our journey to head further south to Fort de France.  I was beginning to think that we were going to reach that in the dark and I did not fancy trying to weave in and out of unlit boats that are often in anchorages to find a spot.
I need not have worried as behind the lee of the land the wind lessened and then died completely.  We had to finish the trip under engine for the last couple of hours and arrived at 0530 hrs ten minutes after full day light.  The rain was but a drizzle as we found a spot and anchored first time.
We have been here a couple of days now and the rain comes down pretty hard at times, I recon we must have put at least 50 litres of water back into our tanks.  Our last trip a shore we bumped in to the couple on " Marianne II" who we last saw in Prickly bay Grenada.

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N 17° 04' W 61° 53'

Antigua - Classic and Race week

April 07, 2012

Can not believe we have been here a month, time has just flown by.  We will depart tomorrow for St Martins (about 90 miles to the North west.  We have met so many lovely folk here – but now that Race Week is finished everyone is bugging out.

Classic week was all about partying and watching some great looking boats (some old and some replicas of old, some big and some not so big).  We went out on a RIB to see the finish on a couple of days with Steve from “Christina Pearl” then on the last day we went out on the start line – he said get me close and I had him right in the middle of the start dodging the boats as they charged across the line – then we chased them and actually got airbourne at one stage – but got some great close ups.  3 other boats went out with us for my birthday meal, which was free for me as the resturant (The Mad Mongoose) doesnt charge on your birthday.

Race Week we were helping on Committee boat A.  Mandy was the recorder and I did the start flags and blew the horn as they finished the race.  We saw lots of exciting action (again close up)

We went to see Bob Marleys son (Ky-Mani Marley) and also we had VIP tickets to the final award ceremony.  During the week we managed to get 5 free t-shirts and 3 free hats each.

After the races the weather was pretty grim.  No wind and it drizzled the first day.  Spent the day scrubbing the boat and minor jobs ready for the off.  The next day the heavens opened up – we filled our trug buckets up twice and filtered them in to the water tank (I recon about 100 litres worth) the dinghy got pretty full as well so I had to bail it then lift it and pull the bung to stop it sinking.

The rain fall coming off the hills made a brown slick in the anchorage and as it approached us we saw 2 great big fish (about the size of me – OK maybe half the size of me, but they were whompers) No more swimming to clean the boat for a while!!!

We decided to book out from Jolly Harbour as you do not pay the National park fees from there and we are heading North West anyway towards St Martin.  We are all booked out and provisioned and ready for the off but will leave between 11 and 12:00hrs to ensure getting there in daylight after an overnight sail.

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N 17° 04' W 61° 53'

Falmouth Harbour - Antigua

April 06, 2012

When we got back from our trip back to the UK we needed to move out of the marina and go and anchor.  We were visited by Steve (Christina Pearl) and Sam and Adrian (Blue Moon) and decided the anchorage was just too roly.  A 2-3 hour sail would put us in Falmouth harbour which was better sheltered.
Falmouth is very nice and we have met a whole bunch of people here.  Our direct neighbours are John and Joanne from South Africa (Out of Africa).

We have taken the bus in to St Johns to see where we need to be for when Janet and Mick arrive on their cruise ship.  We have decided that St Johns is just too built up and commercial for showing them around, so I will collect them on the bus and bring them back to Falmouth Harbour which is far nicer.

Wednesday night was a jammin’ session in English harbour where I played my soprano saxophone with a variety of people playing different instruments.  During the night Mandy and Steve managed to agree to hike up to Shirley heights to see the views.  To say it was a steep climb best left to Billy goats would not be far wrong.  However, the views at the top were just amazing and a must see (If only once in your life).

“Out of Africa”, “Christina Pearl” and “Secret Smile” hired a car and went out and about exploring all over Antigua.  We also filled up gas bottles (as John kept saying – it pays for the car the price you save) and did a monthly shop at a hypermarket.  We saw devils bridge and the blow whole and a whole heap of stuff.

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N 17° 04' W 61° 53'

A quick break to the UK

April 04, 2012

Well now we are back in the sunny Caribbean it seems like we visited another world far away – a land of hussle and bussle!  We did – we travelled back to the UK for the wedding of Richard and Ann-marie and to cram 6 months of visiting, shopping and catching up (in just 2 weeks).

We had a superb time catching up with folks bouncing from family to friends and back to family like a shiny ball in a pinball machine (I can here pinball wizard in my minds eye – or should I say ear)

Thank you everyone who hosted us – and put up with stories of our adventures and faking impressedness of our tans (Rapidly vanishing in the UK weather – but now back on the mend)

The wedding was superb and the weather was sunny (If not quite as warm as we have been use to) and an opportunity to meet up with family and friends who we have not seen for years in some cases.

As if on cue as we were due to leave the weather turned to snow blizzards in Scotland and a cold snap down south – helping us once again head for sunnier climes.

 

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N 17° 04' W 61° 53'

Antigua - Jolly Harbour

March 17, 2012

We decided to set off bright and early from Guadeloupe and was under sail by 0630hrs.  We decided that “Bob” our Hydrovane could earn his keep and steer us to Antigua.  Once we had settled in to the course he kept us going in a straight line between 6 and a half and 7 knots.  We settled down to do the normal cruisers thing – read books!  Just before I settled down in to it I decided to deploy “Marvin” – our pink squid lure – Marvin because if it was left to him we would be hank marvin.
I take it all back, half way across Mandy noticed we had caught a fish.  I pulled him in and got her to get the gaff (we have only ever used it for mooring.  It was not clear what we had caught but as it got nearer it looked bigger than our usual tiddlers.)  I reached out with the gaff and caught him nearly first time.  Pulled him on board and the lure fell out of his mouth.  They say kill your fish by putting alcohol in to his gills.  Well he deserves my finest rum as he is my finest fish.  He seems to like rum as he wiggles about with pleasure.  We identify him as a Wahoo – which is a coincidence because we were both shouting wahoo when we landed him.  We were very brave and gutted and chopped him immediately so he would fit in the fridge.  10 buckets of sea water and a scrubbing brush later and you would never have known our cock pit had turned in to a fish abattoir.  
Jolly harbour is turquoise blue, very shallow and beautiful.  Once booked in and anchored we went a shore to see the facilities and the supermarket is brill, and the showers and toilets seem to be open to one and all.

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