Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Monday 4 July – Monday 18 July

By 6:30 before the winds go over 20 knots we are off the mooring and under way leaving St. Lucia. Making a note that when we come back this way NOT to use the 1st mooring and get one on the other side of the bay where hopefully the wind gusts won't be so violent. We have a reef in each sail and only 1-2 ft. seas as we leave the bay with protection from the island. Once we clear land the wind and waves pick up, a few rain clouds & showers around but no rain on us, thankful for the clouds but glad no rain since we have no shade or rain protection with the bimini down. Passing the northwest end of St. Vincent seeing nothing but green, green and more green in the short steep hills. This end of the island is very unpopulated. In the lee of the island all wind is lost so we roll up the sails and motor on by. The Southwest end of the island is very populated with the capital and big city of Kingston, whose customs & immigration offices are not really set up to deal with private boats (another reason not to stop). We had heard of some boats being boarded with armed robberies, so we are not stopping at St. Vincent. As we pass the island we get the wind back, but for a short time it is against the tide and so creates some rough seas, so we leave 2 reefs in the genoa and 1 in the main. As we get further from land the seas calm down becoming 5-7 foot swells on the aft beam, and we shake out the reefs making for a nice sail into Bequia. By 2 we are entering Admiralty Bay, another huge bay with several anchorages, we head over to the one on the north side close to the canvas shops. As we are walking off the dinghy dock carrying the bimini, a guy walking by asks us if we are going to the canvas shop, and informs us they are closed. He tells us everything is closed as it is Carnival celebration and everyone is off island over on St. Vincent in Kingston. Our guide book says this holiday is the 2nd Monday & Tuesday in July, but we learn it is the 1st. For some reason Customs & immigration are open so we get checked in and he tells us that some places might open back up on Tuesday. We just take a quick walk around since we are carrying the bimini, and the place looks pretty deserted and closed up. Back to the boat for the afternoon. Tuesday we take the bimini back in to see if by chance the canvas shops have opened, but no such luck. We find that out before we even get there as all the locals are very happy to tell us that everything is closed. Back to the boat again, and since it is not a holiday back in the states Steve is able to call the Spectra water maker company and talk to a guy about what our problem with the water maker could be. Of course working on the water maker means taking a lot of stuff out of the forpeak storage area (AKA the garage). Steve does a couple of tests like the spectra rep told him to do, and finds it was a 30 amp fuse that burned out, taking the fuse holder with it. Not sure why it burned out as water maker only uses 20 amps so fuse is adequate, but by luck we have a spare fuse holder and fuse that we purchased in St. Martin to fix the burned out one on the generator, so Steve splices the new fuse is in and the water maker is working again. Since everything is out of the forpeak, Steve wants to fix a small leak in the water maker high pressure pump discharge. This is when the job gets into trouble, as it turns into an all day affair, making the leak worse before finally getting it fixed. We are living the cliche of cruising is boat repair in exotic places, Steve in no mood to cook, so we go over to L'Auberge Restaurant for a wonderful dinner. Wednesday morning YEAH things are open BOO it's raining. Break in the rain, into the canvas shop just getting a little wet on the walk from the dinghy dock. Little down pour while we are there then another break so chance to walk into town. What a difference with shops open and people in the streets everybody going about daily routines. Stop by gift shop for post cards, while Steve goes across the street to the the Rasta Fruit & Veg Market and winds up with a few items. Next stop tourist office to get info on Bequia and the rest of the Grenadine Islands, as we are crossing the street to the post office we run into Dave from Promise. He is coming in to clear in since they just arrived late Tuesday. Visit for a few minutes and will meet up later or the next day to catch up again. Rain is still threatening and Steve is carrying 2 papayas, a pineapple, several avocados and a full backpack of other assorted items so we decide to go back to the boat to unload just in time for the next shower. Weather prediction says it is supposed to clear in the afternoon, but we spend the rest of the day opening and closing the hatches between showers. Get the freezer defrosted and read up on the places we want go to in the Grenadines. Thursday is a beautiful morning with blue skies so we decide to take advantage of the good weather. Go in and 1st walk up to an old fort, not really a fort anymore but a great overlook of the bay. Back into town as we have really not had a good chance to see it. Again the streets a busy with activity, people coming and going. Walking down the south side of the harbor seeing some different shops and restaurants on the walkway along the shoreline. At the end a 1950's plantation resort recently closed & abandoned, what a shame it is really prime real estate. We find our way to the road through the property and thinking it is a short walk to the beach, around the corner if by water, head out walking. Well we have to go up hill quite a bit before we come to a “road” leading down to the beach. Overall, probably a mile uphill/downhill walk to go a quarter mile along the beach. It is a beautiful beach and Jacks Bar & Restaurant is just opening so we have a cool beverage and relax before lunch, glad to be undercover for the 1st afternoon thunderstorm. Not feeling like repeating the walk, we call for a water taxi to bring us back to town :). Stop by the Frangipani restaurant to make reservations for dinner, then the grocery store then back to the boat for a few more afternoon showers. Rain stops before we go in for dinner but just as we reach the dinghy dock in front of the restaurant another downpour, I was glad I had on an old rain coat but Steve got soaked. We were meeting Dave & Colleen from Promise who also thought to wear rain gear. Have a fair BBQ & buffet dinner and a good time visiting with Colleen & Dave again. Friday morning the weather stays clear for our morning dive, seeing lots of fish and coral along the wall just outside the harbour. Able to have lunch in the cockpit and read before the afternoon thunderstorm comes rolling in. When it's not raining we have a great breeze to keep the boat cool, if we have to close up for long it gets humid & stuffy but most of the time just as we get the windows closed the rain stops and we can open back up again. Getting real tired of doing that though, hope the weather prediction for a week of drier weather holds true. Saturday starts cloudy and rainy but clears up and turns out to be a beautiful afternoon. We go into town to pick up a few things and just get caught in one shower. They are having a Fisherman's Festival, so have lots of people hanging out in the park by the docks with music and plenty of fish to buy for anyone who wants some. Stop by Promise to talk with Colleen & Dave for a while and meet later at Mac's Pizzeria for dinner along with Jimmy from ¾ Time who ran into some bad weather coming down from St. Lucia and LOST (bottom of the ocean) his mast !! What a story that is, just very grateful it is his story and not ours ! Steve had checked with the Bequia marina about coming in to get fuel the next morning so we surprised to find it closed when we got there Sunday morning at 9. We finally found someone who called someone who told the guy to go wake the guys up on the boat in the marina, which Steve had tried to do. Didn't need much, just wanted to top off from using the generator so much this last week with all the rain. He was quite pleasant as he woke up climbing off the boat to open the fuel station. Another guy and the girl who had told Steve they would be open also get off the boat to help. We joked about having her days mixed up since they are usually closed on Sundays, we can relate to that. Topped off with fuel, and they had both quoted Steve a price but seems the owner just called to inform that the price had gone up from $12.75 EC to $15 EC, we wound up paying $14 EC and were heading out of the bay by 10. A wonderful sail all the way to Canouan, 1-2 ft seas 15 knot winds and clear sunny skies, a beautiful day to be on the water. We are one of 5 boats anchored in Charlestown Bay on the island of Canouan. A Moorings charter marina is here but this one is closed for the season and the place is empty. Seems most boats are passing this island up, as we walk around part of the island, between being Sunday & off season things are real quiet. It is a lovely little island with a beautiful anchorage, empty with no charter boats here, but a little rolly. Take the dinghy over to a near by reef to snorkel, then relax & read in the cockpit as the sun sets. Monday underway by 10 heading to the Tobago Cays, 5 little uninhabited islands partially surrounded by Horseshoe Reef, and part of the national park. We have a nice sail the short distance and are anchored by 11:30 in one of the most magnificent spots we have seen. After lunch we go to snorkel with the turtles off Baradel Cay, and are surprised at how many there are to see & swim with. Back at the boat Steve gets surrounded by fish coming to see what he is scraping off the bottom as he cleans the off the marine growth on the hull. Another beautiful sunset in another beautiful place. Tuesday we are awoken by rain, thought the rain was past us for a few days, but we have a few showers in the area and the day remains cloudy. We go over to a couple of the islands and walk the beaches and trails, even though it is still overcast we get some great views overlooking the Cays and other islands. Tuesday night we go to run the generator to charge the batteries and it stalls out and then won't start. Steve thinks right away that it sounds like no fuel OR BAD fuel = water in the fuel. Right away he is thinking of the fuel we got in Bequia, after a lot of rain and getting the guy out of bed they did not check or filter off any water they took into their tanks. Luckily we kept the two fuel tanks separated so only the generator supply needed to be bled and cleaned out. Two hours later job done, Steve not very happy about getting bad fuel from the place that was supposed to have the best. Another lesson learned, when getting fuel after rain check it first !! Wednesday we snorkel along the reef and see all kinds of marine life. Thursday Steve goes snorkeling again but I decide to stay dry for a day. This is just one of those places you can just hang out at and enjoy all the beauty around you. Friday, a leisurely morning before heading over to Mayreau. With just the genoa sail out we still make the trip in 30 minutes. First stopping in Salt Whistle bay, go ashore to walk the beach and see the resort is closed for the season. Walk to the top of hill to see an old quaint catholic church with a great view of the Tobago Cays, and another bay that we decide looks less rolly. Back down the hill & to the boat have lunch on board before pulling up anchor and heading over to Saline Bay. This bay is a little closer to the village up on the hill so we thought we might go walk around. But just after we anchor we keep hearing the fresh water pump going and neither of us is using any water. We can hear water trickling, and we find it coming from the engine compartment, which should have nothing to do with the fresh water pump. We can see that the engine coolant is leaking / overflowing ???? So we shut the fresh water off and it stops ?? Steve has to think about this for a minute, and comes to the conclusion that the heat exchange coil in the hot water tank has a leak and it is back flowing into the engine causing the coolant to overflow. NOT good news !! After a little more thinking, Steve says he can cut the fresh water lines to & from the water heater to the engine & plug them. The engine does not need them to run, the line is just to make hot water when the engine is running and we can run the generator to make hot water. So he cuts them and shoves in some wooden through hull plugs we have for emergency repairs, and finds the water/coolant leaking right through the plugs! They're so dry, the water is just pouring through them like a sponge. Steve hopes the wood will eventually swell and seal off, but necessity being the mother of invention, he gets some plastic wrap from the kitchen, pulls out the plugs, wraps that around them and shoves them back. So we have a temporary fix, most likely we will have to get a new water heater down in Grenada. Did I already mention the saying cruising = boat repair in exotic places :). Saturday Union Island and Internet connection, this is one of the longest stretches we have gone w/o internet. YES we are spoiled, and consider ourselves very lucky to be able to keep in touch with family & friends, and have this ability to connect and catch up on news, pay bills, etc. etc. So our first few hours in this new tropical paradise is spent on our computers. Later we go into town and walk around seeing what is where, they have a great local outdoor fruit & veg market and a couple of grocery stores but not much in them. Things are hard to find here in the Grenadines, not that we need much, it is just part of our routine to check out what is available where. They have several restaurants so we walk around to check them out making the wrong choice with The Clifton Beach restaurant and have a mediocre meal. Tuesday we wake to rain and a cloudy overcast day. Lazy morning but Steve soon finds a project of taking the genoa winch apart to clean. This is a big winch and has several 100 pieces, Steve has done this maintenance chore before so knows how to take it apart & put it back but it takes all afternoon, one down 3 more to go 2 smaller & easier. Monday is a beautiful day just a little morning sun shower, Steve finishes the cleaning of the winches. Lunch on board then into town to pick up fresh fruits & veggies and diet cokes. Back to the boat to swim and snorkel by the reef we are anchored near. Tuesday checking out of the Grenadines to head over to Carriacou an Island that is part of Grenada.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

St. Lucia

Sunday 26 June - Sunday 3 July

We leave Martinique 9 am on Sunday to go to St. Lucia, and before we are even out of the bay we get caught in a thunderstorm, not a good beginning. We are sailing, double reefs in both sails. As we get across the bay there are several smaller bays, and as the skies temporally clear they sure look like a good option to me to duck into and wait another day for better weather. Once committed to going it is hard to turn back so looks like we are in for another wet & bouncy ride. By 11 we are approaching diamond rock and the southwest end of the island and can see black skies ahead. Just as we get the sails in we get hit with the next storm. Visibility is extremely poor as we try to keep a lookout for any other boats in the area, keeping the boat on course as the wind and rain howl down on us. Luckily with these storms they are over in 15 to 20 minutes, just leaving us wet for the remainder of the trip, which other then being wet and a little bouncy is not all that bad. Putting double reefed sails back out, making good time sailing along with just a few small waves breaking on us. A few wind gusts heeling us over putting the rail in the water makes us put the 3rd reef in. By 2:30 we are entering the protected waters of Rodney Bay in St. Lucia. We have dried out and down below stayed dry so all in all not a bad trip, not a relaxing day sail but we are now in St. Lucia able to relax in Beautiful Rodney Bay.
Dave & Colleen come in about an hour later and anchor near by inviting us over for a grilled chicken dinner on board their boat that evening.
Monday Steve goes to clear us in, then comes back to get me to go check out the marina complex and town. First over to the marina which has several great choices of restaurants, & an Island Water World marine store. Across the street they have a huge hardware store with a marine section also. This is all part of the routine of coming into a new place, seeing what is there and what they have available. Even if we do not “need” anything it is always good to know what is available, especially since we will be coming back this way. Lunch at a restaurant serving Thai food, then take the dinghy over to the Rodney Bay Village area. Here they have several more great choices of restaurants plus if we were having a fast food craving a KFC, Burger King, McDonald’s, Subway, & Pizza Hut were all in the area. They have two huge supermarkets, that between the two you can get just about anything you could back home. Also a large drug store, this is one of the best places we have seen to re-provision in a long time. Back to the boat, & after walking around the hot, dusty streets in the sun it is so nice to go back and jump off the back of the boat for a nice cool swim in the beautiful blue water.
Tuesday morning along with Colleen & Dave we go to explore Pigeon Island. A history with pirates as well as the French & English navy's and even the US used it as a naval air station during WW II. They are doing a great job with restoration, the beach offers good snorkeling and the views from the hikes up the two peaks is just breathtaking. Stopping for a beer and to rest at the restaurant by the dinghy dock, before making a tough decision to go over to another restaurant by the marina for lunch. After lunch it's back to the boats for a swim, relaxing & reading in the cockpit. Later that evening we go into the village to go to the restaurant Spice of India for a fabulous meal.
Wednesday morning Steve goes into the grocery stores while I stay on board to clean the refrigerator and get ready to go to a luncheon. They have a cruisers net here & the morning announcement mentioned a ladies luncheon at one of the hotels on the beach that I was going to go to while Steve changed the oil on the generator. The Bay Shore resort has a great pool, bar and restaurant right on the beach and they had postcards in their gift shop and the front desk was able to sell me stamps and mail the cards. I was one very happy camper, all my favorites in one spot. Nice lunch and swim in the pool even if it took 4 hours as we had a good time talking and exchanging stories and info on things down island. Back on board Steve had talked to John & Linda on Kool Kat, who we had stopped by to say hi to the night before on our way to dinner after seeing they were from Houston Texas, and they will be coming over at 5:30 for drinks. John had grown up in the Webster / Clear Lake area and we remembered his old boat Sails Call, they have been cruising between the BVI'S and Grenada for the last 3 years so had some good information to share. Colleen & Dave pass by on the way back from their grocery store outing and join us also.
Thursday 9 AM into the fuel dock getting tied up just as it starts to pour, so just hang out waiting for it to stop. An hour later Steve is able to go over to customs thinking he can check out several days in advance but they tell him no it has to be within 24 hours. Get fueled up and are underway under sunny skies by 11, heading for Marigot Bay. Have a nice breeze behind us so are running with just the genoa with following seas making 6-7 knots. Just as I am thinking and saying what a nice gentle sail this is, we see the skies behind us turning dark. Books and cushions down below, reef in and the storm hits us, getting real tired of being wet underway. Storms come and go fast around here, just in time as we are approaching the entrance to Marigot Bay the rain stops and the sun comes out. They have a little problem with boat boys coming out to “help” you get a mooring, telling them you do not want their help is not easy and at the same time other guys are coming out to sell you fruit. All this why you are trying to navigate is a pain. Pick up a mooring and buy a few bananas and send them on their way. Get ready to go into the village and another rain storm comes up, so lunch on board. Later we get another short break so go in to walk around and see what is here, I find a place for a pedicure and treat myself while Steve goes back to the boat between showers. Dinner on board as the rain starts and stops all night long and into Friday morning. Finally around noon the rain stops and the sun comes out so we go in for lunch and then do a hike up to a lookout point. Beautiful views with the sun shinning but on the way down the rain comes again, takes a while to get through the trees to reach us but it's a wet walk down. This is the rainy season, but a lot of these showers are from a front that has hopefully passed us now.
Saturday Steve goes in to check out with customs at 8:30 to find out they open at 9, he is 1st in line and has the paperwork all filled out and ready for them. We are underway by 9:30, with light winds and flat calm seas. Finally a nice calm relaxing trip, we do get one little sprinkle but after what we have been getting it does not even faze us. We do have to motor sail as the winds are that light but enjoy the beautiful coast line as we make our way south. The Pitons are a sight to be seen and make quite an appearance as they come into view. We had been approached by a boat boy awhile back, asking us where we were going, and just when we think we lost him, he comes back up to the boat as we are entering the bay. Really not a bad thing, as some of the moorings like this one, are tricky with the wind and tide. This is how a lot of them make their living and so you let them help for a few dollars / EC. This guy captain Bob, also offers tours and tells us what is available. We agree to a price on a short tour after we settle in and have lunch. Captain Bob comes back to pick us up, bringing us over to the town of Soufriere where he puts us in contact with a taxi driver. A ride up to the Sulphur Springs Volcano crater, when the volcano blew it left an opening so now you can drive up to and thru the volcano. Won't be taking any hot spring baths here as the water is 200+ degrees and the steam 300+ degrees. They do have hot springs you can go into at other locations around the island. Next we stop at the BEAUTIFUL !!! Ladera resort. It is located up on a ridge overlooking the bay we are anchored in between the pitons and want to get a picture. What a place, being the “off” season if we wanted to spend $680 (lowest rate ) we could spend ONE (1) night there. Instead we buy a drink at the bar and I get my pictures, even if it is hard to make out our boat in the bay. Next we stop by Diamond Botanical Gardens Waterfall & Mineral Baths. Not allowed to go into this waterfall, they have small pools for the mineral bath, NOT the same as going into a real waterfall so we do not pay extra to get wet. Enjoy walking around the gardens seeing all the different flowers, trees and plants. Drive back into town where captain Bob is waiting to take us back to our boat. Not one of the best tours but a nice short glimpse of the area, and enjoy a sunny afternnon. Back at the boat and it is time to try to tackle the water maker problem. On the way down when we tried to make water we could not, as it would not build up the needed pressure, kept cutting off then try to build up pressure, fail and cut off again. Steve tries a few things trying to trouble shoot it but with no luck. We have a good supply of water on hand and our next destination of Bequia has someone that might be able to help. On Monday we can also try to calling the manufacture Spectra. By the time we are done messing with the water maker it is getting late, so start getting the boat ready for an early departure crossing down to Bequia. With the winds pouring down into the bay between the Pitons, it is one of the coolest anchorages we have been in, so windy that we don't even need all the windows open which turns out to be a good thing when it starts pouring rain at midnight. The rain and WIND continue all night long, the wind just howling at a steady 30 knots with gusts up to 46 and one at 52 knots !!!! Thankful we are on a good secure mooring ball and have double lines on it. We were supposed to leave at sunrise but needless to say that did NOT happen, no one was going anywhere in this weather. At 9:30 the rain stops (just a drizzle), wind still howling, so Steve goes up to check on the mooring lines. All is well, an hour later I look out the companion way and see our bimini flapping in the breeze !! Sometime during that hour a zipper broke and the bimini came loose and with 30 to 40 ++ knot winds started flapping and tearing. We get the connecting piece down and tie up the back part so it wont rip any more. Now when we go to Bequia we will be looking for a person to help repair the water maker and someone to sew the bimini back together !!!! Yes life in paradise does have its challenges.

link to pictures;  https://picasaweb.google.com/103931849054358791487/StLucia?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCJf14Zfc7IHMSw&feat=directlink