Thursday, August 4, 2011


Tuesday 19 July – Thursday 4 August

We check out of Union Island at the airport since the town office was closed for painting. Just a short walk, with a stop at the veggie market on the way back. Short sail to Carriacou, an island that is part of the Grenada Nation, where we first anchor off the main town of Hillsborough to check into Grenada. Find a small dock on the side of the big ferry dock where we can tie the dinghy off and go check in. They have a great little tourist info office right across the street where I pick up guide books and maps. Don't spend a lot of time in town as we think we will be coming back over from Tyrrel Bay. As we are going past Sandy Island we see Promise, and go along side to say Hi then decide to pick up a mooring and spend the night there. Beautiful speck of an Island, just sand around a reef where the locals from Carriacou have replanted some trees after the island was almost washed away during a hurricane. Dave & Colleen come over for HH cocktails and we catch up on what we have all been doing since Bequia when we saw them last. Wednesday we make the short trip around the headland and enter Tyrrel Bay feeling good about being so close to Grenada and in a “safer” hurricane zone. We still plan to spend August in Grenada & September in Trinidad but for this time of the season we feel we are in a good spot. Once settled in we take the dinghy around the bay looking for Dreamcatcher with Judy & Gordon Evans -- former next door neighbors of Steve's from Kemah who have been living on their boat down here for 10 years. We finally find them after asking another boat as there is no name on their boat. We make plans to meet at 5 for cocktails on Ocean Star. They are a wealth of information about this Island as well as Grenada and the islands up the chain. We talk about the mangrove lagoon, located next to the bay, that they have ridden out a couple of hurricanes in and feel even better about just hanging out for a while. Knowing of a “safe” place to go just in case the weather should turn bad. We go in for pizza and a few bottles of wine at the Lazy Turtle, meeting the owner Jean Baptiste. Tyrrel Bay is a nice big bay / great anchorage but the surrounding community(s) are small as Judy & Gordon have told us. Thursday a late start to the day and finally get going to make it into the Slipway restaurant right before 2 when they close between lunch & dinner. Wonderful grilled hamburgers on freshly made buns. Walk down the beach toward the village to see what is there then back along the road to the shipyard & dock where we left the dinghy. As Judy & Gordon told us there is not a lot to this little area, a few restaurants, few grocery shops, laundromat, dive shops. But they also said that is the charm of the place, the friendly people with no tourist traps. As we walk around we can definitely get into the relaxed pace of the area. We had thought about going over to Petite Martinique (PM) since we had time before the regatta events started the following week. But the idea of just hanging out in this beautiful quiet bay was beginning to sound really good.   Friday we join Gordon & Judy for dinner at Lambi Queen meeting their good friend & owner Simon and a few other locals and cruisers. Steve & Gordon talk more about doing the 2 crew around the island regatta race on Ocean Star the following Friday. Saturday we break the kayaks out and go check out the lagoon , the outer lagoon being bigger and deeper can hold about 60 boats with deeper drafts and the inner lagoon can hold even more with boats under 5' draft, so definitely a good hurricane hole. Stop by to talk to Dave & Colleen on Promise making plans for dinner on Sunday night, Steve's Birthday. They along with Judy & Gordon join us at the Lazy Turtle to help cerebrate. The weather remains sunny & warm with scattered isolated showers. Great for reading & relaxing and swimming and opening & closing hatches & portholes, as well as running the generator when it gets too stuffy down below. Monday night the generator stalls out again and Steve sees there is water leaking under the generator. Gets it cleaned up but can not see where it is leaking from, starts it back up and she runs fine but still leaking, have A/C for the night and a project for Tuesday. Tuesday morning Steve runs me into shore & helps carry the laundry up to the laundromat before returning to the boat to tackle the generator problem. Only 3 washers & driers at the laundromat, I am able to start one load then get the other 2 in shortly after, still an all morning affair. Judy comes in with her loads as I am finishing up, wanting to get it out of the way before it gets busier with boats coming in for the regatta. As I am talking with Judy & Gordon waiting for Steve to come back in to pick me up, Gordon tells me about a race rule he forgot to tell us. Boats are not allowed to have anchors on the bow !!!!!  Well I don't know much about putting anchors on & off the boat, but it sounds like a major hassle to me. Steve takes the news much better, thinking it is the dumbest rule he has heard but also thinking it is not that hard of a job to “remove” the anchors. Right now he is more concerned with getting the generator fixed, and Gordon & Judy give us a name and # of a mechanic to call that can help Steve figure out what the problem is. Getting a hold of him and making an appointment for 4 that afternoon for him to come look at it. Drop off laundry on the boat and off to Slipway for lunch as Steve has tools all over the saloon. Uve the mechanic comes out to the boat and sees it is a leak in the exhaust pipe and advises us not to use it until it gets fixed to be sure we do not breathe in fumes. Tuesday night Steve turns the boat engine on to charge the batteries, and notices they are NOT charging. Quick deduction – something is wrong with the alternator !! Now we have no way to charge the batteries and if they run down we'll lose everything in the freezer and refrigerator !! I am thinking boat repair in exotic places is becoming our theme !! Wednesday morning Steve gets the generator part out and over to Dominique the local welder that Gordon had already put Steve in touch with to talk about the boat arch we want to do. He is pretty sure he will be able to make a new piece. Steve talks to Uve to ask about the alternator, but he does not work on them, and doesn't know anyone on the island that does. Stops by Promise and Dave has a spare one that is the same size and looks like it might fit. That afternoon the weather cleared for the cruisers pot luck dinner at the yacht club, where everyone brought a dish to share, & their own meat to grill. A great way to meet some of the other boaters in the bay, and exchange boat problem stories. There is a small entrance fee that is a donation to the Carriacou Children's Education Fund (CCEF), which is a big cause that the cruisers put on several events to raise money for. For over 10 years they have been raising money through various events and donations to help kids further their education. We had signed up to go on a group (14) island bus/taxi 3 hour tour Thursday morning. Since Steve wanted to work on the generator and alternator Colleen came with me. Lenox the guide did a great job telling us about his Island and all the little villages, all of which have fabulous views of the sea and surrounding islands. Steve gets the new exhaust piece from Dominique and installs it, then gets the generator running so we can charge the batteries. YEAH ! Then he runs various tests on the alternator & regulator and decides it's the alternator that has some shorted diodes. Tries Promise's spare, but it doesn't fit. Thursday night is the skippers meeting at Lambi Queen where Steve decides in spite of boat problems and removal of anchors he and Gordon will do the race. Friday morning we are up early, me to “pack” a little day bag Steve to work on anchors. Judy drops Gordon off as we are still sorting the anchors out. The spare we wind up putting down in the anchor well, by this time Dave from Promise is over to help and we decide the easiest way is to leave our dinghy attached to the anchor chain with the snubber and all the rode in the dinghy and I will go with Dave & Colleen in their dinghy to watch the start of the race. Cutting it close to the 8:35 start time, I get off the boat and Steve & Gordon join the other boats already circling getting sails out for the start of the race, luckily we were anchored just 100 yards from the start line. We are getting some great pictures of the boats from the dinghy and are close to the big tug boat they are using as the committee boat. They say we can come on board to take pictures, so we tie off to the wooden skiff next to the tug. Climb into that to get to the rope & wood ladder to climb up onto the tug. As I am stepping up & over the rail I step down into a puddle of water and my foot slides out from me as I fall landing on my side and on my camera. Broken camera and big black & blue mark on my thigh. But Dave & Colleen have their camera and we get some really great shots of the start of the race from on on top of the tug. Carefully climb back down off the tug to the dinghy and back to Promise. Dave works on downloading the pictures for awhile, then we go into shore for a few things. On our way back close to 11:30, we see the 1st boat already heading back in. Back to Promise to put ice away and get Dave's camera to go out to get more pictures of boats coming back in. Don't have to wait too long before we spot Ocean Star heading in, and she crosses the finish line shortly before noon. We meet them back where we left the dinghy and anchor and nimble Colleen climbs into our dinghy and hands Steve the snubber line and Ocean Star is re-anchored. All back in the cockpit we have a well deserved beer and a toast to the racers and picture takers. Get the spare anchor back in place and the extra anchor rode coiled up down in the anchor locker and drop Gordon back at his boat, meet Dave & Colleen at Lazy Turtle for a lunch before it is time to walk down to the yacht club for the auction. This is the big money raiser for the Children's scholarship fund. Afterward it is back down to Lazy Turtle for HH celebration and awaiting announcement of race results. They had 3 classes, NCR rated = racing boats – only 4, Fun – almost everyone else, and Catamaran of which there were 2. We were a new unknown boat so got the highest handicap, meaning we had to give time to ALL the other boats in our class. So even though Ocean Star was 6th or 7th to cross the finish line (all boats), she did not fare well in the ratings coming in 9th out of 14 (in class). According to Judy & Gordon there were 3-4 other boats that should have owed us time, but it was a FUN event. Steve & Gordon had a good time racing Ocean Star a cruising boat & a home that does not point up into the wind well, but is a dream to sail and live on. Between the hot sun and celebration we were off to a late start on Saturday. Convinced Colleen & Dave to walk over to Paradise Beach with us to have lunch. A beautiful beach in L'Esterre Bay overlooking Sandy Island. We have lunch at Off the Hook, where we meet and talk with Curtis the owner. Stopping at the different fruit stands along the way back to Tyrrel Bay where Colleen gets to practice her jogging as she runs in flip flops back ½ mile to one of the stands where Dave THOUGHT he left his wallet. Back to the boats for a late afternoon swim to cool down. Sunday the action is over in Hillsborough, for the open work boat races. All wooden sloops of varying sizes that are lined up on the beach waiting to launch when their class is called. What a sight this was, boats & crew and onlookers everywhere. Vendors set up, music playing, Festival time in Carriacou !! A GREAT fun day !! Parties are going on into the night but we catch a “bus” back over to Tyrrel Bay while they are still running just before dark. We are in Promise's dinghy and head over to Slipway restaurant to end a perfect day with a perfect meal and a couple of bottles of wine. Monday is a rainy day perfect for sleeping in and working on the blog. Monday night final awards presentation at Slipway restaurant for the cruising boats. OMG what great prizes they give out !!! All the sponsors, Doyle Canvas, Mt. Gay Rum, Budget Marine, Island Water World , local businesses all contribute to some really great prizes. We even won a canvas tote, with a 5th of Mt. Gay Rum, T-shirt & few other little items. The boats that raced all 3 days and came in 1-3 really raked in the goodies. Tuesday along with Colleen & Dave get a bus over to Hillsborough to go get sim cards for our phones, now we have working phone #'s again. Nice lunch in town and I even find some DIET Coke which made my day as I had my last one and thought I was going to have to buy Coke Light NOT as good. Get the bus back to Tyrrel Bay. FYI when I say bus I mean 14-16 passenger vans that they use as buses and also taxis big difference being the price you pay and where you get on & off, just wanted to clarify that this is the standard down in the islands we are NOT getting on a Metro Bus when I say we take the bus. Back in Tyrrel can't go by the fruit stand w/o stopping & picking up something good. In for a swim around the boats and Steve works at cleaning the bottom of the boat again, it is amazing in this beautiful clear water how quickly stuff starts to grow on the bottom of the boat. Wednesday night Gordon & Judy join Dave & Colleen on Ocean Star for cocktails as they give us tips on Grenada. Thursday Steve rents a tank to finish cleaning the bottom of the boat. We have enjoyed our stay of over 2 weeks, one of our longest where we stayed because we wanted to not because we were waiting on weather or mail. Friday we will be heading down to Grenada to Port Louis Marina in St. George's for CARNIVAL and then my sisters visit.

link to pictures ;

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