Archive for May, 2011

On The Move

May 31, 2011

(posted from Basseterre, St. Kitts)

WHATEVER WAY THE WIND BLOWS

We were sitting in Bequia thinking about our next move.  We have some friends who have gone south to Tobago and enjoyed it so we discussed heading there.  It finally came down to the weather.  The wind direction was not favorable to go south, so we headed north to St. Lucia.

We had a great sail up and checked in in Marigot Bay.  The next day we headed up to Rodney Bay.  We hung out there for a while and visited with old friends who we hadn’t seen in months.  A few days later we went back down to Marigot Bay.  We considered dropping down to the south end of the island to visit the Pitons, to very tall, pointy mountains.

PLANS DRAWN IN SAND

While in St. Lucia we decided to stop renting our house and sell it.  We had good renters, but decided we should stop being landlords while things were going well.

We plan to buy a less expensive home in a less expensive area.  We have focused on New Bern and Oriental, NC.  We thought it would be
good to spend some extensive time there before we make a purchase decision, but that’s not compatible with getting a lot of boat work
done this summer and fall.  The obvious solution is to move the boat to North Carolina.

We have blasted up the islands and are in St Kitts.  We head for St John tomorrow.  We are waiting for a final confirmation, but we expect
my brother to fly down to St Thomas around June 10.  Jackie will fly to the states and my brother and I will sail Compass Rose to North Carolina.

We will try to do an update before we leave the Virgin Islands

We will return to the Caribbean this fall.

Advertisements

Bequia Beckons

May 14, 2011

(posted from Rodney Bay, St. Lucia)

April 25, we depart Canuoun for Bequia, a small island just south of St. Vincent.  The seas were easy and the wind good as we turned north out of Admiralty Bay.  Much of the trip was with islands helping to keep the sea pretty flat, but not so close as to disrupt the wind.  We were able to sail almost directly to Bequia, just a couple tacks at the end of the trip.  Our friends Jon and Carol on Aldebaran had been visiting Mustique and were also departing for Bequia.  As it turned out, they were just ahead of us going into the harbor.

We see these island workboats all the time, but this is the first we have seen under sail

Relaxing while the autopilot steers

We anchored off Princess Margaret beach (13 00.05N 061 14.54W) in almost exactly the same spot as when we stopped here on the way south.  We liked the location because it was out of the crowded part of the anchorage and we could swim to the beach and to some rocks with good coral and fish for snorkleing.  This is the location where we found squid on our deck a few times, but none this year, although Aldebaran got one.    Aldebaran was anchored close enough that it was just as easy to swim over to talk to them as it was to take the dinghy.

Compass Rose anchored off Princess Margaret Beach

Jackie swims over to visit Jon and Carol

We hiked around the island frequently and snorkled around the rocks just about every day.  We hiked with Jon and Carol to the Firefly Plantation, a restaurant and small hotel in a working plantation.  We took a tour of the plantation and saw a lot of interesting plants and fruits.  Our guide gave us samples of guavas, mangoes, lemon grass and other herbs.  It was a beautiful place and well worth the hike.

Our guide explains how bananas grow

 

Jon, Carol, Jackie, and Eric at the Firefly Plantation

 

We also hiked up to Hamilton Fort on the northwest corner of the bay.  It was a steep hike, but the view was great.

Jackie rests after hiking to the fort. The hike started near the upper right corner of the picture.

A view of Admiralty Bay from Hamilton Fort

Another pastime is hunting for sea glass – bits of glass tumbled smooth in the sand and washed up on the beach.  There was one beach in particular where the glass gathered.  We also snorkled for sea glass in the surf along one of the beaches.   We must have looked pretty funny to the locals as we washed back and forth in the surf trying to keep our feet toward shore to prevent a breaking wave from making us do a face plant on the beach.

One of different things we saw in the harbor was a barge floating upside down.  Later it was lashed to the side of a tug.  We learned that the barge was being loaded in St. Vincent.  They loaded one side and tried to turn it around so the could load the other, but when the untied the barge if flipped over dumping the load of concrete into the harbor and damaging the tug.

The overturned barge being tended to by some work boat.

 

Much of the port (left) side of the tug was damaged when the barge flipped.

The weather here is usually warm and humid, with an occassional sprinkle of rain – usually.  Towards the end of our stay in Bequia we had three days of rain, with it raining almost non-stop one day.  I started to put the dinghy in the davits one night, but it had a lot of water in it and it was late enough that I didn’t want to bail it out, so I just chained it to the boat.  The next morning it was completely full of water.

The dink filled with rain water. Luckily the sandals didn't float out.

Misc Pix

JetSkis are illegal in the civilized islands, but this one seems to get by.

 

This rum shop tells you where the mens room isn't

Jackie the dauntless dink driver

Next: Whichever Way the Wind Blows 

Wandering About the Grenadines

May 9, 2011
(posted from Bequia, St. Vincent and Grenadines)

Old Business
My brother took some video of our trip from the Bahamas to Puerto Rico last year. He just uploaded the first segment to YouTube. If you look on the right side of the website and you will see a link for the Videos page.

We’re Off!

Finally the prop was fixed and it was time to leave Tyrrel Bay. We decided to go around the bottom of Carriacou and stop a Sandy Island. As we gently sailed out of the bay we heard our friends on Aldebaran calling our friends on Sailacious. Sailacious didn’t answer so we did. It turns out both boats were at the Tobago Cays, a fairly short sail away. It had been over a month since we last saw Aldebaran and it was at least 3 or 4 months since we had seen Sailacious, so we decided to skip Sandy Island and head for Tobago Cays.

But first we had to make a couple stops. We were still in Carriacou, which is part of Grenada, so we had to stop in Hillsborough, Carriacou, to clear out with Customs and Immigration. Then we had to go to Clifton, Union Island and check into St. Vincent and the Grenadines (it’s confusing, but the Grenadine Islands are part of St. Vincent, not Grenada). The check out/check in process went pretty smoothly, but it was late enough in the day that we decided to stay in Clifton for the night and head for Tobago Cays the next morning.

Clifton, Union Island
(April 18. N 12 35.80, W 061 24.70)

Clifton is an interesting anchorage because it is only protected by a reef. We are used to seeing land to windward, but there all you see is waves breaking. The main anchorage in Tobago Cays is the same and it is close enough to see from Clifton. You look over and it appears that the boats are all anchored in the middle of the ocean.

Happy Island, the little bar on the reef outside Clifton Harbor

 

You can see the Tobago Cays anchorage from Clifton Harbor

 

Tobago Cays
(April 19. N 12 37.80, W 061 21.46)

The next morning we sailed the few miles over to Tobago Cays and anchored right behind our friends. It was nice to catch up with them and hear about their travels.

Janice (Sailacious) and Carol (Aldebaran) kayak over to welcome us to the Cays

The Tobago Cays comprise a few litte islands and some reefs. The bottom is mostly sand which is nice because your anchor sets well and it gives the clear water a beautiful blue color. The reefs are in relatively shallow water, so snorkling is easy. The is an area bouyed off on the side of one island where you can swim with the turtles while they dine on sea grass.

Tobago Cays anchorage

 

There are turtles on land as well as in the water

 

The Tobago Cays are full of iguanas

 

And of course there are birds

The islands have sandy beaches, nice trails, and intersting wildlife, not to mention great views of the anchorage and surrounding islands.  Unlike most anchorages, the islands are to the west so you have an unobstructed view to the east.

At Tobago Cays you can feel like you are anchored in the middle of the ocean

 

This is one of the few places in the Caribbean where you can watch the sunrise over the water

Saltwhistle Bay, Mayreau
(N 12 38.82, W 061 23.48)

Just east of Tobago Cays is Mayreau. It is a very small island with a couple anchorages. We had a nice little sail (about five miles) to Saltwhistle Bay. This was the first new anchorage we have visited since we left Grenada. The anchorage is a deep U-shaped area that is bordered by a beach most of the way around. One side of the anchorage has a couple little local beach bar/restaurants. The other side has a small resort-like place with cottages and a litte bar/restaurant. There is a little town at the top of the hill in the middle of the island. It’s not terribly far to walk, but most of the distance is up. We did the walk in the early afternoon heat and had to stop for refreshment at Robert Righteous & De Youths Seafood Restaurant & Bar.

Saltwhistle Bay is actually much smaller than it looks in this

 

A view of the anchorage from the road up to the town

 

Like the rest of the Caribbean, goats and sheep wander loose on Mayreau

Charlestown Bay, Canouan
(N 12 42.43, W 061 19.69)

We had an easy sail from Mayreau to Canouan. It was an easy beat and tack in. We picked up a mooring but dropped it and anchored when we found the charge was $50 EC/day. We noticed that one of the charter boats was La Vida, the boat I sailed on in tne Grenada Sailing Festival.

Jackie at the helm

Charlestown Bay, Canouan

 

With the exception of the hotel and Moorings Charter base, Charlestown is a typical small Caribbean town. A road parallels the waterfront and more roads climb the hill behind the town. There is a small “improved” area around the commercial dock, but most of the rest of the shoreline is beach.

I keep the dink from floating away while Jackie checks out a beachside restaurant

We had talked about taking an island tour, so when we were approached by a guy (Ricky) while grocery shopping we inquired about a price. $60 EC sounded OK to us, so he went and got his cousin (Dylan), the tour guide. His cousin arrived shortly in a golfcart-like vehicle and told us the price was $80. We did’t like having the price raised, but said OK. First they took us to a “bus terminal” towards the northwest part of the island. It’s a turnaround and parking spaces.  There we had a great view of the huge development going on.

Jackie and the tour guides enjoy the view from the bus terminal

The north half of the island is now a gated community with a hotel and a Trump casino. All very exclusive and unapproachable. I suspect the bus terminal (turnaround and parking spaces) is more for the locals to travel there to work in the development than for the folks behind the gates to go into town. We then went to the east side of the island where we could see more of the development including the beautiful beach along Carenage Bay. It is so fancy that they have huts with glass floors on stilts over the water where you can get a massage.

Development covering the north half of the island makes you feel like you are back in the US

Finally they took us to the southwest part of the island to see the airport. It is small, but very nice. They are in the process of making a large paved area for parking private jets. The tour was a lot of fun. The noisy, bumpy ride and the transmission jumping out of gear on the steep hills was more fun than some sterile, air conditioned van.

The tour pauses while we buy fresh batteries for the camera

Modern Canouan airport expands to accomodate more private jets

 

Next: Bequia