Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Up Island

Tuesday 3 January – Friday 13 January

Our early morning departure from Grenada is delayed slightly by the morning rain, but by 8 the clouds have moved past and we once again leave Prickly Bay.  Motor sailing into the winds and waves which as we travel up the west coast of Grenada are not too bad. As we near the north end of the Island the waves increase, giving us warning it will be a bouncy ride. As we clear the lee of Grenada and get the full force of the waves, they slow the boat to a crawl, just 3 knots. At that speed we're looking at 6 hours to get to Union Island, so we unfurl the jib and alter course to fill it. Now we're doing 7 knots under sail and motor, and not bashing so much into the waves, but its still a rough ride up to Union island, and we'll have to tack our way up. It doesn't look like we'll make it to Clifton where we have to clear customs, so we change plans and go to Chatham Bay to rest in a nice quiet peaceful anchorage overnight before going to clear in. Wednesday we take our time in the morning going over to check out a ship wreck on the rocks that was not here 2 months ago when we were here. It is always very unnerving to see something like this. We did not go ashore to ask about what happened but one of the mooring balls top ring was broken so it is very likely that the boat broke off the mooring and crashed onto the rocks on shore. We leave Chatham Bay and go around the south end of the island to Clifton Harbour and go into town to clear into the Grenadines. Walk around a little, pick up a few vegetables and have lunch on shore before leaving and head over to the Tobago Cays. The anchorages in the Tobago cays are a lot more crowded than during the summer when we were heading south but it is still a beautiful anchorage. The 5 little uninhabited islands are part of a protected marine park and the water is just beautiful. We enjoy 3 days here just hanging out looking out over turquoise water surrounding us and swimming with the turtles again. Very calming and peaceful watching boats come and go. By Saturday late morning when we left the place was almost empty as all the charter boats were gone, back to turn in their boats and the next weeks visitors had not arrived yet. A short sail over to Canouan, lunch on board then a walk around part of the Island, still not much here but we are in season now so more boats every where. On our way south we would be lucky to see another boat out sailing but now we see boats of all shapes & sizes going in every direction. The anchorage in Canouan becomes rolly with the north winds & waves, so our 1st afternoon & night there is not very comfortable. It is one thing to have to hold on to hand holds under way but when we are at anchor we prefer not to have to hold on while walking around the boat. The next morning we find another spot to anchor tucked up in the north corner of the bay in front of the mooring field close to shore where we are blocked from most of the swells. Tuesday we sail over to the island of Mustique, where moorings when available are required so we pick one up. This island is privately owned and they maintain their moorings very well, we still dive to check it and just to swim in the beautiful water. We had heard that this anchorage can get rolly, and we can attest to that fact as it was by far the most rolly anchorage we have ever been in. We are here for 3 days, they set it up so you pay for one expensive nights mooring then get 2 nights “free”. The island has about 90 holiday homes for the rich & famous that can also be rented out for between $20,000.00 and $100,000.00 a WEEK , but that price includes a car and of course a full staff which for some of the homes is more than how many guests it can accommodate. There are also 2 hotels on the island that have slightly better rates, and the small village for the 250 locals plus between 800 – 1000 workers from St Vincent or one of the other Grenadine islands. Beautiful beaches and landscaping make it a unique experience. They have some nice walking trails and all the poisonous Manchineel trees are painted with a red warning stripe- a sure sign you are on an island that caters to the rich. We go into Basil's Bar for the popular Wednesday night BBQ buffet with live music. Over priced but a fun evening of dining and dancing. After 3 days of rocking on the mooring we are glad to be leaving and heading over to Bequia. We are under way by 10 just before the rain moves over the island. We have a great sail over to Bequia with the wind and waves just aft of the beam for most of the trip, a reef in both sails doing 9 – 10 knots. Turning east for the last leg of the trip into the bay the island acts as a shelter so the waves we head into are small. We are anchored by noon in the calm waters of Admiralty Bay in Bequia. We will hang out here in Bequia until the end of the month to attend the Mount Gay Music Fest.

link to pictures: https://picasaweb.google.com/103931849054358791487/UpIsland?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCLPX4avclandlgE&feat=directlink

Monday, January 2, 2012

Grenada Once Again

Tuesday 13 December – Tuesday 3 January 2012

Once back in the cleaner water of Grenada, Steve went in to check on the bottom paint job. He really wanted to do it in Trinidad before we left BUT the water in that area was just too dirty to think about going in. The paint on the keel was already peeling off !!!! NOT GOOD. Steve sent an email to Peaks, the yard where we had the work done, and told them of the problem and that we were already up in Grenada. He suggested that we have Spice Island Marina take care of the repair here in Grenada and received an immediate response saying YES to talk to the owner of Spice Island and they (Peaks) would cover the cost. So where we were not thrilled about having to be hauled out again, we were very happy that Peaks owned up to being responsible for the cost. Steve thinks that since the keel had to be sanded down and primed, that either the primer paint was bad OR the timing of applying the primer and the anti fouling paint was wrong. In the end the yard here in Grenada did an excellent job of re-sanding the keel and re-painting. They also found a problem with the rudder that was missed down in Trinidad and could have been cause for a major problem if it was not addressed. So we were very grateful of having that problem fixed as well.

We have spent the most time in Grenada than any other place since leaving Texas almost two years ago, so it is with mixed feelings that we prepare to leave (again). After 4 months, Grenada feels like home BUT it is time to move on again. We enjoyed coming back seeing old friends and meeting new, spending the Christmas & New Years Holiday with people we knew while missing family back home. The weather this time of year has been great. Grenada is at the end of its wet season, still get daily showers but they are not as long or intense as during the summer, and the humidity has been much lower. The trade winds are back so it actually feels cool at night out in the anchorage. Walks around the Island are so pleasant with flowers in bloom and only having to carry one small bottle of water without fear of dehydration. Swimming in the bay still comfortable and refreshing. The new year 2012 will be a time for more exploring, of some familiar Islands where we stopped briefly on the way down and some new ones we missed. The adventure continues :) starting with the Grenadines as we leave Grenada on Tuesday January 3.