Monday, 17 November 2014

St Vincent and the Grenadines then St Lucia

On the 3rd of November we cleared Immigration and customs in Tyrell Bay, Carriacou and set sail for the islands of St Vincent and the Grenadines. ( Union, Mayreau, Tobago cays, Canouan, Mustique and Bequia)
Union island was our first stop where we “checked in” at Clifton. The harbour is on the windward side and has a large reef through the middle called Roundabout reef. We anchored easily behind the outer reef in sand. The town of Clifton is very quaint and had a great supply of fruit and veges. There is a very popular bar built on the reef

After restocking the galley we headed for Tobago Cays where we anchored for the night. Visibility through the reefs and islands was good. There are many mooring bouys and with all the boats there, mostly charter catamarans, we chose to anchor on the windward side of Baradal island. It was a bit rolly but we shared it with only 2 other yachts. The next morning we snorkelled on the reef. Being a marine reserve there are a lot of fish and turtles but the coral was sparse. There is a fee to stay at this marine park but the boat that collects the fees didn't come to us!

 We anchored to the left of the western island

We walked over the island for a view and saw several very large Iguanas. Unfortunately I never took my camera ashore.

Late that morning we departed for Mayreau just a short sail to the west. The very pretty Salt whistle bay was crammed full so we carried on further to Trois Anse Bay which we had to ourselves.
In the morning a very nice private charter ship came in and anchored. The Bleu de Nimes. She carries a crew of 21 and takes 12 guests! They deployed an inflatable rib and took a guest to the reef near where we were anchored to dive. Probably someone of notoriety whom we didn't recognise. We felt like the paparazzi!

Eric cooked a very nice breakfast of fish which he had caught and we felt most privileged to be enjoying the same bay on our own boat

We headed out to Canouan island into strong headwinds and took some protection behind the long Grand Cois reef in a shallow turquoise pool off very posh resorts. Being that our draught is only 1.3m with our centreboard up we anchored comfortably in 2m of water. We shared this again with only 2 Catamarans. The entrance can be tenuous in rough weather so it keeps the timid away.

It was a thrilling exit between the reefs with the bowsprit burying itself into the waves as we powered through with full throttle. The wind was blowing 20knots and big swells were breaking but we were soon out of it and on our way to Bequia island.

We spent 3 days here at Port Elizabeth waiting for a tropical wave to pass over. These fronts roll across the Atlantic Ocean after forming in West Africa. They can form into Hurricaines and tropical storms on the way hitting the American coast and Caribbean islands. These usually don't occur after the beginning of November but we still watch the weather before departing anywhere.

Bequia is an interesting place and we explored the shoreline of “Moon hole” by dinghy. We took the kayak in tow hoping to get ashore to see the buildings amongst the cliffs and in caves. These were built in the 60's as an alternate life commune..Unfortunately there was a no entry sign on the foreshore.

We had a lot of rain with the tropical wave passing through while we were here so we filled our water tanks and did lots of washing. We collect water off the whole boat so after a few minutes the salt spray has washed off and we open the inlet to the tanks on deck and quickly fill 600L.
We stocked up with fresh produce from one of the “Boat boys”. We tried breadfruit for the first time. Everywhere we had been in the pacific when we had wanted to try it, it was unripe. It was great cut up and fried as chips in butter! We have been told that in the Lesser Antilles all the breadfruit originated from Captain Blighs cargo onboard the ship Providence after the mutiny on the Bounty.

We cleared customs/Immigration and sailed to St Vincent. These are called the “windward islands” and it makes sailing tough beating into the wind and fast flowing currents pushing you west between the island chain. We had squalls to 30knots so had to change our sail configuration often. We arrived at Cumberland Bay but were hassled by an aggressive “boat boy” as we tried to find a place to anchor. They pressure you to take a mooring so we carried on to Chateaubelair where we anchored. (We don't mind paying if we have to but when someone is in your face and evasive about charges we prefer to not stay.)
We befriended a lovely lad who is studying at school and hoping to get into the sailing/tourist industry. He was most concerned that we were safe in the anchorage overnight and insisted he patrolled the 3 boats at anchor in his kayak overnight. We gave him an old smart phone ( your old HTC Jonathan) and he was thrilled. He greeted us the next morning with coconuts and sour sop fruit.

St Vincent and St Lucia have had numerous robberies and aggressive boardings on yachts. We had a security grill made in Trinidad for our companionway and purchased a motion detector which alarms if anyone were to unzip the enclosed cockpit so we feel safe at anchorage now. Eric has an electric fence unit which he plans to install as well. Wet feet/hands and holding a livened railing will soon give someone the message!

St Lucia

On the evening of Monday 10th July we arrived in St Lucia and chose to take a mooring at Soufriere under the spectacular “Pitons”.
The blue in the flag symbolises the sea and the peaks are the Pitons, the twin volcanic peaks

This area is a marine park with no anchoring allowed and bouys are equivalent to $20USD/day. Boat boys again greet you well out to sea and charge 20ECD to tie you off to a mooring. They were not aggressive or persistent here so we accepted. You can do it yourself but we felt we should support their business.

The next day we motored north to Marigot bay. A beautiful sheltered tiny harbour where we anchored in sand off the resorts and clubs. The boat boys here were friendly and colourful.

Views from our anchorage.
 Marigot Bay is a popular place for the rich and famous. Numerous movie stars have been here and some own properties. It holds claim to scenes of Dr Dolittle having been filmed here
We got a lift into the capital, Castries and had a look around the markets and foreshore then caught a local bus across the island to the fishing village of Dennery

We saw somebody filming and recording activity on a small island. We asked him what was going on and he said he was part of a wildlife conservation programme to reintroduce endangered species to the island. The St Lucia whiptail lizard and the racer snake. There are estimated to be only 18-100 racer snakes left in the world due to the mongoose being introduced to St Lucia.
A team of guys were building a platform to make access to the island as it was very difficult for landing

We went over to watch fish being offloaded and noticed the police arriving. The fisherman  found what they thought to be a body and took the police back out in their boat to investigate. They donned wet weather gear and life jackets and didn't look too happy about the rough seas they were to encounter. the locals looked on with concern

We spent another couple of days exploring in the kayak up a nearby river and estuary and snorkelling.

Tomorrow we clear customs and Immigration and sail north to Martinique

Monday, 3 November 2014

Grenada (Grenada is made up of 3 islands. Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique)

In the late afternoon of the 15th October we left the Chaguaramas harbour in Trinidad very excited to be leaving for the clean, clear waters of the Caribbean. Our duty free refreshments were a disappointment. There was no beer and our favourite rums were out of stock!
We got away later than planned due to slow clearance at Immigration and Customs and by the time we had cleared the Boca's into true wind where we were able to put up our sails it was dark. It wasn't exactly a well executed manoeuvre after being landlubbers for 15mths!
It was a slow trip with light winds “on the nose” to cover 70nm.

We got to Prickly Bay, Grenada too late for Immigration/customs clearance so did the formalities the next day. All very quick with online data and very friendly and efficient officers.
We spent 2 weeks seeing Grenada, known as the Isle of spice, by local minibus and our yacht.

The minibus broke down and we had to wait for another to arrive

Hairdos of Grenada

This is the Prickly bay hardstand and dinghy dock with Budget marine chandlery. There are lots of marinas around the SE coast and harbours and bays to explore

It is a lush hilly island with tropical gardens and rich agricultural land growing predominantly nutmeg, cocoa, ginger, cinnamon, and vanilla and has it's own chocolate factory.
Port Egmont is a very protected harbour where we spent a couple of days

The island has the remains of many forts where political and historic events took place. Settled by the French, taken by the British, slave uprisings and then independence.

St George is the capital of Grenada and has a very pretty waterfront

The Sendall tunnel joins the 2 sides of St George......... Cathy about to walk through the tunnel

Eric trying to blend in

Critters we saw on our tour

It was a great time to catch up with other “cruisers” whom we had met previously and the morning radio net kept us informed of events, weather and services available etc

Eric tried out his twin outboard modification and was happy with the results.

On the 30th of October we set sail for Carricou passing the underwater “Kick em Jenny” volcano and stopping for the night at Ronde island where Eric enjoyed using his Hookah dive compressor and I pumped up my inflatable kayak. We enjoyed a wonderful day in the water and explored the shoreline.

A boisterous sail the next morning accompanied by flocks of booby birds saw us anchored for lunch at Tyrell Bay, Carricou. We didn't go ashore preferring to continue to Sandy Island on the western side where we enjoyed snorkelling off the beach. This is a marine protected area and a very popular place.

Cathy in her kayak

Later in the day we sailed back to Tyrell Bay to get internet reception and be ready to clear Immigration/Customs on Monday for St Vincent and the Grenadines

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Our final day in Trinidad

We've been in the water for 5 weeks now after a total exterior repaint and are heading to Grenada tomorrow.

We had the good fortune to be introduced to a lovely NZ family who had bought a yacht in Trinidad.
Over the weeks preceding their arrival we communicated by email giving them some info about Trinidad, the boating scene in Chaguaramas and a first hand overview of their boat.( Fondly known as “The purple pirate ship” Now registered as “Ula”) We were able to get things prepared onboard to make their arrival from a cold NZ winter to a hot, steamy and humid Trinidad wet season more comfortable.

Since they arrived we have thoroughly enjoyed helping out with their boat work and have had a lot of fun sharing outings together.
Scotland Bay is a lovely area to “chill out” known as “liming” in The West Indies. We enjoyed sharing 2 of the 3 boys birthdays there all aboard “Erica”

Birthday celebrations
Baiting the hooks

Out of the sea, into the pan and on the plate....Yummmmmmm

Enjoying Scotland Bay
On the way home

Eric and I spent a weekend there also to get away from a particularly rolly period in the harbour.
We saw monkeys and Turkey buzzards from the upper deck as we ate breakfast and could hear the haunting sounds of the howler monkeys at daybreak.

Turkey buzzards rule the air during the day making use of the thermals, then roost here for the night

During the day many “party boats” came for several hrs. The Trinidad and Tobago music is very appealing but awfully loud! These also come through the Chaguaramas anchorage over the weekends and holidays at 2-3 in the morning!

It has been interesting watching the ships coming in to the port. There are oil rigs close by and the survey and service boats are many.

This ship is Triangular shaped..A very wide stern for laying out cables

Eric, the keen fisherman has had some interesting catches. He has caught lots of eels and stingray which he has had to cut off and loose his line The picture on the lower left is a wolf herring. Good eating but lots of very fine bones. The one on the right is a long tom 

 wolf herring                                                                                   Long Tom
He has put some delicious catches on the plate as well

During our time on the hardstand we enjoyed a day out on the water to watch some power boat racing on a friends launch, seeing also the islands close by

Another break from the painting was a hike to Macquaripe, where we enjoyed the coolness of the bamboo forest and views from the top of the ridge.

Bamboo cathedral

During our stay here we have done a lot of maintenance and improvements aboard. Our cockpit now sports a new set of side curtains and sail cover thanks to the exceptional work of “Alpha canvas and Upholstery”

Eric transporting the men ashore

Today we went ashore to watch our friends yacht “Ula” being moved in the IMS yard. An exciting time for the family as they get nearer to launching her.

We have been waiting for a dive compressor from Australia which arrived this afternoon so we can clear Immigration and Customs tomorrow. We are excited to be moving on to new sights and to catch up with friends ahead of us.
In the cruising world we don't say goodbye just see you again somewhere.

SV Erica

SV Erica

About Me

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We met in 1971 and it was Eric's dream to build his own yacht and sail the world. This became a joint dream but it was not until 1994 that we were able to start building. "Erica" was launched in 2001 after 7yrs building her. It then took us 5 yrs to prepare her and ourselves before leaving NZ to see the world