North America · 13 Days · 22 Moments · December 2016

Bev & Jon go sailing

28 December 2016

Jon had a quick deck shower but noticed 'floating poo' in the water so didn't jump in! I decided to use the shower in the aft heads for the first time which was very satisfactory. We had scrambled eggs and while Jon was fiddling about, not doing much at all I knocked up a bolognese for later, either whilst at sail or when we landed in George Bay SW Grenada our final destination and where we hand back Cinammon. The sail was excellent, perfect weather, seas and direction. We spent 4 hours sailing the length of Grenada so the scenery was interesting too. We got caught out a couple of times being hit side on by a freak wave, although not dangerous, those waves just freak me out. We reached our destination in good time by approximately 15.00. The fuel dick was shut so we docked on a pontoon and head to customs
Unable to check in through customs on Carriacou until 8am the following morning we decided that we would stay close to the boat, we took the dinghy along the beach and found a supermarket to buy provisions. The shop was closed but the owner was outside drinking beer and said he'd open up for us. We bought a bottle of rum, some coke and some snacks to take back to the boat. However once outside the restaurantaur next door invited us to partake in some rum punch and we couldn't resist. Being his only customers that night we decided to have dinner too. Jon had 'lambie' which is a kind of conch stew and I had swordfish. Then we headed back to Cinammon for the night. We woke early next morning and decided we wouldn't check in at Carriacou but head off before 8am and check in at Grenada instead particularly as we already had a 6-7 hour sail ahead of us.
Unable to take photos whilst coping with stressful situations sorry. Having left the hell hole of Clifton Bay we set off SW between Union and Carriacou aiming for Tyrrel Bay on the SW corner. Approximately a 2 hour sail. After about half an hour the winds picked up to between 25-30 knots (force 6/7, near GALE ) and the seas increased from 1-2 m swells to 3-4m swells and the heavens opened! It was very uncomfortable, wet, cold and scary. The only comfort being we knew we weren't far from land and we could see the end of the bad weather coming from the NE. Squalls passed and we eventually got to Tyrrel Bay by 16.00. We took the advice of my windy islands book and chose a red mooring ball, maintained and owned by 'Paul'. Coco escorted us to our buoy and assisted in tying us on. We rigged up the dinghy and head ashore hurriedly to catch customs to check into Grenada. However the office shut at 14.00 bank holidays, so we got a well earnt beer instead!
Having enjoyed a fab burger and feeling rather pleased with ourselves we headed back to Cinammon to set sail for Carriacou. On approaching Cinammon we realised a) she wasn't where we left her and b) there were 2 men jumping around all over her. We approached cautiously but they were panicked saying "you've dragged anchor, you're heading for the reef" and "you hit a boat!" Sensing the urgency we tied the dinghy and jumped on board ASAP. I went to the anchor, while Jon paid the men $200 for their help. When I started to raise the anchor I noticed a rope wrapped around the anchor which I couldn't shift. Poor Jon had to dive the anchor! It was 3-4 metres down and wouldn't come up any more. Jon saw a rope and a chain (old mooring buoy debris) laying across the anchor. He managed to remove the rope but the chain was too heavy for him, we were stuck!!! After a 2 hours struggle & useful tips to release ourselves by John from Sail Grenadines we got ourselves free. Many lessons learnt today!
PSV despite appearances was not as tranquil as hoped. The sea was roly and the general hum from the island's generator was loud, so a peaceful night's sleep was not to be had. We awoke early and decided it could potentially be a long day with two customs and immigrations stops on Boxing Day so we decided to set off early. 09.30 we sailed NE for an hour back to Clifton Bay, Union Island where we had to check out of St Vincent's islands before touching Grenada soil. The sail was good but we had some reefs to negotiate on entry to Clifton Bay, not to mention the mooring buoy minefield! We had assistance finding a suitable place to anchor and hurriedly got our dinghy ready to go ashore. Customs was at the tiny airport just a short walk from the dinghy jetty and despite it being quite busy with other sailors checking in/out the process was slick and we were done in an hour. We headed back to our dinghy made visual contact of Cinammon in the bay and ordered brunch at the yacht club.

25 December 2016

Our spot last night was very busy and quite roly so one night was sufficient and we would head off to Petit St Vincent (PSV) after lunch. Jon delivered Xmas cake parcels to our neighbouring boats Dan a Czech/American who anchored close to us last night, and another chunk went to a German couple and their 2 crew, they had offered us their bosuns chair on Mayreau during "tangled Halyardgate" and were now anchored next to Dan. We wrapped the cake in foil and put it in little black plastic bags and Jon snorkelled to their boats holding the "dog poo cake parcels" above water!! Quite a feat in the strong current. I was feeling ill today so we asked Kojak to deliver our lobster banquet to the boat. 2 lobster with stuffed baked potatoes, plantain, rice and banana cake for pud We set off south at 14.30 through some challenging reefs towards PSV arriving an hour later to the most beautiful and tranquil beach. Went for a snorkel to the beach before dinner then gazed the stars. Perfect Xmas!

24 December 2016

A disturbed night was had, with turbulent winds, a ferry arriving and Christmas festivities held high on the hillside i.e. very loud Rasta music all night long! So when we got up we were quite keen to get going to Tobago Cays. The sun was shining and blue skies everywhere, yay! We motored northwards on the east coast of Mayreau around the top of the island and around the inside of the outer reef of Tobago Cays. The winds were very strong gusting up to 27 knots making the sea bumpy. The Cay was already full of boats. We anchored initially close to Baradal, where there is a turtle sanctuary but the anchorage was exposed and uncomfortable so we headed clockwise around Petit Bateaux and into the channel between Petit Rameau and Bateaux and anchored in the lee of Petit Rameau amongst 30 other boats. We took the dinghy to the turtle sanctuary to snorkel but visibility was poor and no turtles to be seen. Reserved our table for lobster Xmas lunch on the beach with 'Kojak' and his wife.

23 December 2016

We arrived at Saline Bay, Mayreau, (named this because there is a salt pond immediately east of the bay) at around 13.00. We were seen in by a local in his dinghy who wanted to invite us to the beach BBQ run by his family, he asked if we needed a mooring but we preferred to anchor. You can anchor most places except Mustique, mooring bouys cost around $70 EC per night although it was $200 for 2 nights at Mustique. After we anchored I realised that our main halyard had wrapped itself around the deck light midway up the mast. This must have happened after we aborted hoisting the Mainsail. In Jon's hurry to get off the deck he hadn't shackled the halyard to the mast and so it had become slack and flopped about in the wind unnoticed. It took us the best part of 2 hours to unravel the halyard by tying string to a shoe throwing it over the spreaders up the mast attaching the halyard and pulling back down into place! The midday sun caught Jon out and he's burnt his back, a hard lesson learnt
Breakfast consisted of the totally yummy pastries we bought last night. A quick deck shower (jump in the sea, soap off on the boat, then another quick dip in the sea followed by a hose off with warm fresh water on the swim platform, water is expensive, the boat holds 360 litres so we try to conserve as much as we can to last the trip), load the outboard back onto the boat, tidied up and slipped our mooring lines to head for Mayreau. We decided we'd rather have a couple of days in Tobago Cays over Christmas and skip Canouan instead. We had a 20 mile journey south westerly, a 15 knot wind on our port quarter and 1.5 metre tides. We quickly set off with our Genoa and were making averagely 5 knts speed. The weather was mostly cloudy but we could see the heavy rain clouds coming from NE and got caught in a few. We tried to put our Mainsail up as we approached the Northern tip of Canouan but a heavy shower caught up with us making it very dangerous, so we dumped it just as quick!

22 December 2016

Thursday, our first day of complete relaxation, we had decided to take the day to enjoy Mustique however, the weather dictated elsewise! Failing to beat the rain we decided to jump in the sea and snorkel south along the beach. We saw a turtle fairly quickly followed by a couple of Rays. Closer to the shore there was some plain looking coral which, on closer inspection was alive with some beautiful fish. Visibility wasn't brilliant with the surf stirring up the sand, so no pictures. Later in the evening we went ashore for our lobster dinner at the View on the hillside. We bought pastries for tomorrow's breakfast from the Patisserie between the"Pink House" and the "Purple House" both boutiques. The baker, a French man named Ali, moved to Mustique to escape French politics a couple of years ago. Dinner was a little disappointing, and Jon was very upset that there was only one choice of dessert -dry sponge cake with nothing else. We headed back to the boat by 9pm for a rum and music
After the sun went down we reserved our table to join the Wednesday night "Jump Up" which consists of tourists and locals enjoying curried fish and chicken buffet followed by live music. Then we took a walk up the hillside to another restaurant called The View to reserve lobster for tomorrow night. On the way we watched fireflies darting around the trees, which felt very magical like little fairies. On our walk back to Basil's we stopped at the fishermans huts where we had a beer at Gibb's house with the local security (all British). Gibbs's house consisted of 2/3 rooms the main room having two sets of bunk beds and a large sign "The Pub". We enjoyed an hour or so with the security and learnt that a large boat we've been following island to island contains Robert DeNiro! Mustique is a privately owned by 100 people and other than a few "staff" nobody lives here full time. It's very beautiful but we haven't seen it at its best due to the electric storms and cloud with frequent showers

21 December 2016

Basil's Jump Up was fun although it didn't get going until 9pm and we were already flagging. The curried buffet was amazing we had fish, lentils, potatoes, chickpeas, mince and egg, bhaji's and chapati, it was full of flavour and not hot, all cooked by an Indian top chef. By 9 pm the band started and the place started filling with all the rich kids holidaying on the island. We had been watching a lightening storm lighting up the skies to the west and soon an almighty downpour came. We remembered having left our hatches open, in particular the one above our bed and decided we ought to head back in between showers. During the night the wind must have dropped because the boat had moved toward the mooring bouy which was banging against the hull waking us up so we went on deck and lengthened the mooring lines which seemed to help. And the rest of the night was peaceful.
Quick toilet and outboard tweaking then left Bequia 09.30 & head across the harbour to a quiet area to practice our anchoring before setting off to Mustique. With 2 metre swells and north easterly wind we headed north west out of the harbour practicing our tacking using the genoa only. We saw our first turtle and ship wreck! Tried to sail around the headland towards petit Nevis but beating into the wind proved too much for Cinammon so we made no headway and decided to motor 2 miles to our anchorage. We stopped in the lee of petit Nevis at 12.30 had some lunch and a quick dip to cool down then set off towards Mustique. En route we caught a lobster pot oops! But no harm done. Arrived Mustique 4pm picked up our first mooring ball with assistance from Berris (harbourmaster) in a dinghy. After a quick deck shower and change we head to Basil's for cocktails whilst watching the sunset.

20 December 2016

Needless to say our luggage was not on the later flight however, arrived on today's (Tuesday) morning flight and was ferried over to us by 3pm. We had a great night's sleep albeit on empty stomachs. Arriving so late in the day yesterday meant we had no time for provisioning and although we practiced docking ashore with our little dinghy we didn't fancy finding our boat amongst all the others in the dark so chose not to hang about for dinner out. So headed back for an early night. Today we went ashore, bought enough food to last 5/6 days. Unfortunately Jon felt quite poorly, dizzy and faint. After an emergency bottle of water and pot of tea we decided it wasn't due to dehydration or heat so with the help of Angelica a supermarket worker, we managed to get a private appointment with one of the 3 Drs over the Grenadines within 15 minutes! For £35 Dr Dany diagnosed ear infection and high blood pressure, so provided drops, tablets and something for the dizziness, very impressed

19 December 2016

Well the 10am flight was delayed by 1.5 hours, still no luggage! We now have the hotel, and sailing company and their driver liaising with Liat who promise it'll be on the 18.30 flight. We decided to get the 13.00 ferry across to Bequia to meet 'Cinammon' and the driver would send our luggage over on the later ferry when it arrived. We had 10 minutes to do a 15 minute journey through town to the make the ferry. The traffic was heavy but the driver put her foot down and knew all the shortcuts, she also said that most often it was late leaving so we might still be lucky. We boarded the ferry and settled for the hours journey to Bequia (pronounced Beck way for those that are struggling) the sea was lumpy and the wind strong making a bumpy ride. Locals used to this journey got comfy and slept. On arrival we were met by Collette who took us to sail Grenadines office where we met Katie and completed all necessary paperwork. After a late lunch we were given a guided tour of Cinammon
After a good nights sleep, awoke to some very heavy squalling showers. Had a good breakfast then checked in with reception and sail grenadines to work out a plan for the day. Flight with baggage should land 10.00am so reception will ring Liat airlines around 10.30. If the luggage has arrived we will take taxi via airport to the ferry to Bequia for 13.00 where we will meet John and 'Cinammon' to begin our sailing

18 December 2016

Ok so I said Jon wanted to save money on breakfast, his idea was to buy bananas, Frosties and yoghurt from the local garage all for $11! Good idea and great saving, however, we don't have bowls or spoons in our room so we had to improvise. But we didn't mind sharing with our feathered friend. Spent morning on beach before checking out. Our flight was due 18.25 but we were keen to get on our way, don't do sitting around well. Arrived at the airport 15.30 to be told they were experiencing some delays due to high winds in the islands. After a 3 hour delay, arriving at St. Vincent's at 22.30 we found our main luggage along with many others wasn't on the plane! Liat airlines are renowned for this poor service in this area. The receptionist at our hotel has been very helpful liaising with airline and sailing company to organise our reunion with our belongings. However, not helpful enough to arrange food and beverages before bed. Luggage hopefully will be on next flight Monday 10.00am.
"A tradition has recently developed for tourists in Oistins to join in with locals at the Friday night (and slightly quieter Saturday night) Fish Fry and "lime" (social gathering), which sees many stalls selling fried fish meals and local craft, all to the accompaniment of loud music, while older inhabitants practice more traditional 'old time' dancing" We wandered through the stalls, not many 'goods' for sale but plenty of places to eat. Gained our bearings we chose a popular place to eat, it's always best to eat where the locals eat, and if they're happy to accept you then you'll have a great time. We ordered BBQ'd mahi mahi, a tender, tasty fish which came with rice and peas, macaroni, potato and salad! 3 starch! It was delicious. We made friends with a young couple who were entertaining their mother and 3 year old nephew, Logan. Whilst waiting for our minibus, our newly acquired friends pulled up and gave us a lift home. Queuing locals must have been aghast!
Barbados, we have found, is incredibly expensive for tourists. Taxis, food and drinks all cost top dollar so Jon being Jon decided we weren't going to pay through the nose and took the advise of (surprisingly) a taxi driver. We discovered that locals use the minibuses that have been 'tooting' us as we walk along the roads. You can hop into any minibus with a ZR number plate and travel extremely cheaply. The only thing is you have to be prepared to get cosy. They sure do pack them in! But for the price of $2 you can travel to Oistin's, a 20 minute journey and make a saving of $48, the cost of the same journey by taxi! We hailed our chariot at the end of the road and squeezed into the already full minibus. I counted 19, including 3 children sat on laps, in our 12 seater bus. I was sitting on one cheek wedged between two others. They seemed to magic seats out of thin air!

17 December 2016

Another lazy day today getting acclimatised to time travel and heat. Spent the day on the beach after breakfast. Breakfast consisted of a buffet where we helped ourselves to bacon, eggs and pancakes with syrup and a pot of tea. Jon was horrified at the $96 bill (£50) for the privilege and has come up with a cunning plan for tomorrow's breakfast. As it's Saturday the beach was a bit busier with local families and children today, made for some interesting entertainment watching the kids wake boarding, paddle boarding and playing. Two large catamarans anchored at the end of our pier over lunch, the contents spilled out into the sea for a swim, quaffed their drinks, ate their lunch then tootled off into the horizon again. After a full day in the sun we prepared to visit a local beach town, Oistins, on the south coast for their weekly "jump up" style evening. Vendors selling BBQ and grilled fish with local beer or rum punch and plenty of musical entertainment

16 December 2016

The view from our room as you can see is of the ocean albeit side on. We woke up at 5am local time after 7 hours restless sleep. We could already see many people walking the beach so decided to join them as there was no more sleep to be had. The see is a beautiful turquoise colour and crystal clear, you can see the white sandy floor of the ocean bed and lots of silver flashes darting about. We walked along the tide line with our feet in the warm water. Everyone is so friendly and it's expected that you greet everyone with a good morning, feels very strange that everyone is so polite. We spent the morning on sun beds on our beach, interspersed with the occasional dip in the sea. We decided not to have lunch at the hotel but to walk around the corner to a small mall where we'd seen a man with two large BBQ drums earlier this morning. We had jerk chicken, rice and peas and coleslaw washed down with a suspicious looking ginger lemonade. Yummy!
Arrived in Bridgetown, Barbados Thursday evening 6.30 pm local time (-4 hours GMT) after a relatively smooth flight, check in and baggage claim acquired a taxi for the 20 minute drive to the Radisson hotel costing $42 Barbados dollars. First confusion encountered! Barbados has its own currency which is different to the Caribbean dollar (which we have plenty of) and they also accept US$ (which we have none of) so we had to exchange some of our Caribbean dollars on arrival at the hotel in order to pay the taxi driver. Our room is basic and not of the standard we have come to expect of a hotel of Radisson chain, however we have realised on our journey that Barbados is almost third world. People live in single room shacks and there are many derelict buildings along the roads, the roads and pavements are in very poor condition and generally everywhere feels tired and in need of an upgrade. Nevertheless we have everything we need for 3 nights in paradise.