Posted from Mt. Hartman Bay, Grenada
I’m really going to make an effort to keep the blog up to date. No, I really am. Really! (sounds like another campaign promise, doesn’t it?)
(Dec. 31, 2016 I added a link farther down the page to a short youtube video of us sailing off Carriacou last spring)
We have been back on Compass Rose for about two weeks. Which is where we were the last time I posted. That post caught us up to our trip to Ecuador in July/August of 2015. Here is what has happened since then.
In August and September 2015 Jackie’s brother, Mike, and his wife, Pat joined us as we toured around Alaska in a 34 ft RV and took a cruise down the inside passage from Seward, AK to Vancouver, BC.
After that we spent some time in our house in NC, and then headed north to visit relatives and celebrate my mother’s 90th birthday.
We brought in the new year in Oriental, NC. Brother Dave, friend Joan, and Dave and Siobhan (who we’ve cruised with at the Dickerson Rendezvous the last couple years on their Dickerson 41 Down Home), made the trek to NC and joined us crewing with Don and D on their Dickerson 41, Southern Cross, in the Instead of Football Regatta held on New Year’s Day. It’s a fun Regatta with the winner decided by drawing names out of a hat. Southern Cross won which I attributed to great crew work and a set of new sails.
Then it was off to Grenada. Compass Rose was in pretty good shape, but we needed new bottom paint so we hauled out at the new incarnation of the Clarkes Court Marina and Boatyard. We had our rigging checked and ended up having a new split backstay installed and new forestay/bobstay chainplates fabricated and installed.
I once again got to race on Jaguar in the Grenada Sailing Week. We finished third in a tough class. We were pleasantly surprised to see that Jaguar was the poster boat for the regatta.
We then sailed to Carriacou, Union Island, the Tobago Cays, and Bequia. I had hoped to crew with Hal and Marsha on Eagles Wings in the Easter Regatta, but they were stuck in Grenada getting repairs done. Luckily I got on as Crew on Cricket and we finished second behind Rasmus in a tough class.
We have never stopped in St. Vincent because too many cruisers have been hassled and robbed in the anchorages. The island, itself, is pretty safe, so while in Bequia we celebrated our anniversary by taking a ferry to St. Vincent and staying a couple nights. We arranged for a birding guide to take us out for the day. We saw a lot of birds, but the best sighting was the parrots, because the are so hard to find and they fly so high they are hard to see.
In Bequia we met up with Laurie and Dawn on Cat Tales and did a loose buddy boat with them. We left Bequia and sailed to Mayreau, but decided to push on because the anchorage was rolly. We anchored in Chatham Bay, Union Island and Cat Tales caught up with us there the next day. From there we visited Frigate Bay for a couple days and then bounced our way to Petit St. Vincent.
The next day we dinghied to Petit Martinique with Cat Tales and hiked around the island. The anchorage was very windy and unsettled, so the next day we sailed to Sandy Island, Carriacou for a couple days of snorkeling.
Then Tyrrel Bay and finally back to Mt. Hartman Bay, Grenada, where we left Compass Rose for hurricane season.
This cruise was different from those of the last few years for a couple reasons. The first is that we visited four new anchorages (Clarkes Court and Prickley Bays, Grenada; Chatham Bay, Union Island; and Petit St. Vincent). The second is that we seldom have a buddy boat, so it was great fun to cruise and hang out with Dawn and Laurie on Cat Tales.
We flew back to the US in May and landed in Detroit to spend time with Jackie’s sister who was in the advanced stages of Multiple Sclerosis. We also had a chance to spend a weekend at her brother John and sister-in-law’s new cabin in the Upper Peninsula. John had to quit windsurfing so he gave me most of the gear he had left. We rented a pickup truck for the drive back to NC, so we were able to transport the equipment. We stopped in Ohio to visit my family and headed south to NC.
The reason we rented a pickup was that we were considering buying a pickup truck camper and this let Jackie see what it was like to drive one. We eventually decided against this option and ended up buying a dirt trawler – a 25 ft Winnebago. It may sound big, but it’s really pretty small as RVs go.
I got a small trailer to haul the windsurfing gear and put Irv to use towing it. It’s really decadent to have your own mobile changing room and shower on windsurfing trips.
We set off in our first journey in Irv to see Jackie’s niece’s family in St Louis. While there, Jackie’s sister Margie took a turn for the worse so we quickly headed back to Detroit. Margie passed away in the early morning hours of July 14th. She met her husband Steve during their first year of college in the Sioux, Michigan Margie worked as a nurse for many years before contracting MS. We miss her terribly.
After that we spent a little time at our house, just hanging out. One of the things we have done to pass the time is take up musical instruments. My brother Dave let me have his saxophone that has been sitting in his closet since we were kids. I used to play clarinet and oboe in eighth grade, so the switch to sax is fairly easy.
We also spent many Saturday mornings volunteering as Bird Stewards at Wrightsville Beach for the Audubon society. There is a large colony of shore birds that nest on the beach. The Audubon society ropes off the nesting area during breeding seasons. The stewards educate the public and monitor the site. Jackie got a chance to help band a few thousand Least terns.
Soon we were off on another trip – this time to Asheville, NC to cool off in the Smokey Mountains. We had a lot of fun, but it was still hot there. On the way we stopped at a campground to visit some old cruising friends, Janice and Steve. They sold their sailboat, Salacious and bought an RV and a trawler.
Finally we did a trip to the Outer Banks for windsurfing (Eric), paddleboarding (Jackie), and relaxation. From there we planned to go to Cape May, NJ, for some bird watching and finally swing through the DC area on our way back to NC. The windsurfing was good and Jackie bought a nice inflatable paddle board.
We finished our week on the Outer Banks just as the storm that was to become Hurricane Matthew was brewing in the Atlantic and aimed at Grenada. The forecasters didn’t expect it to become a hurricane until it passed the Windward Islands, so we just had our boat watcher put down an extra anchor. As it turned out, the storm went a bit north and Compass Rose did fine.
The problem was that now the projected tracks were aimed at Florida and the US east coast. We decided that the Outer Banks was probably not the best choice for riding out a hurricane so we pointed Irv west toward higher ground. We considered going back to our house, but there was little we could do there and we had appointments in the DC area soon after the storm would pass through. We were lucky all around. Although the storm came closer to our house than our boat we had no damage. And as a bonus, we tracked down Jack and Bobbie, who we met when they cruised their boat, Moonrise, in the Caribbean.
So it was back to the house for a couple weeks and then off to visit Compass Rose in Grenada. But just before we left Jackie decided to buy a ukulele.
I’m sure I’ve missed something of note, but that’s a summary of about the last eighteen months.