Friday, August 24, 2012

Grenadines To Grenada

Grenadines to Grenada

Tuesday 10 July – Friday 24 August

We leave the south end of St. Lucia and since the weather is predicted to be calm we opt to go down the windward east shore of St Vincent to get to Bequia. From where we are, not much different mileage wise, and traveling the west coast of St Vincent the mountains block the wind and we wind up having to motor sail. So we decide to see the east coast for a change. We are able to sail almost the whole way to Bequia but the seas do get a little confused making it not as calm of a journey as we had hoped for but still not too bad. We are glad to be anchored off Princess Margaret Beach in Admiralty Bay in lovely Bequia where it is nice and calm. The following morning we say HI again to Promise who are anchored near by with their new boat addition of a lime green 2 seat kayak that they bought from another boat up in St Lucia. Seeing their kayak gets us motivated to get ours out and blow them up. We had heard on the cruisers net that morning that a music jam was taking place at the Fig Tree later that night so we go in with Colleen & Dave and here a really great local singer “Socony”. We spend the next several days just enjoying the beautiful surroundings, swimming, hiking, kayaking and of course a few boat projects thrown in. After a week we decide to head to the Tobago Cays for a few days. I can not say enough about this magical place, part of the marine park, 5 small uninhabited islands surrounded by beautiful turquoise water and a huge reef. Unfortunately the reef is still recovering from damage from storms but the snorkeling is still decent and the swimming off the boat is just heavenly. A few boat vendors come over from Union island seeing if you want to buy a T-shirt, fresh bread or fish but if you say no they just leave you alone, NO high pressure sales pitches from these guys. We kept our kayaks inflated up on deck so we use them to go to the 3 close islands, and one calm day we take our dinghy and along with Dave & Colleen go over to Petit Tabac, the 5th and more remote of the group, where the snorkeling is much better. It was also the island used for the marooned scene in Pirates of the Caribbean. There's a picture of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow stapled to a tree where the rum was buried. And as another surprise, pieces of a Russian rocket booster. After 3 days of bliss we sadly leave but we are heading to Chatham Bay on Union Island, another great anchorage. Dave & Colleen had not been to Chatham and after hearing us rave about it are looking forward to checking it out with us also. Chatham Bay is on the west side of the island and is almost totally undeveloped. One fancy bar/restaurant/ hotel on the south side of the bay, that is closed for the season, and 6-7 shacks/ bar/ restaurant on the north side of the bay. The locals that run these beach bars are a little more eager for our business so as soon as your anchor is down they come out to tell you about their dinner specials. It is hard to pick one over the other, so we try to go with who gets out first, and then try to visit one or 2 of the others during our stay. We ate out twice this time first at Jerry's then a return to sun, beach & eat and the food was delicious at both places. The water is deeper here so a dark blue color not turquoise but just as clean with as many fish and turtles as the cays. We anchored near a sailboat named Magus that we had anchored near on several of the other islands, so we go over and introduce ourselves. We chat a bit, then go in for dinner, and they join us a little later. A short walk on Saturday up to the northwest ridge that offers great views of our bay and the other side. We meet a local man called “bushman” who takes care of some property up there where they have chickens and ducks and rabbits and goats and cows. Just a small work house on the property now with a lot of animals. Sunday Dave & Colleen join us for a walk this time walking over to Ashton. Once we climb the dirt track/road up from Chatham Bay it is all paved road up & over a few hills. Very little traffic to worry about and beautiful views along the way. Pork is offered everywhere in the islands but you very seldom see any pigs. On our way to Ashton we see & hear one, in someones yard. He is just as happy to see us as we are him as he squeals his excitement at seeing us. Next as we are walking into town in someones front yard is a goat giving birth to 2 babies. We stand and watch as she cleans them off and the try to stand. Explore the town a little, stop for a bite to eat and a drink before heading back. As we pass momma goat and the new babies an hour later they are already walking (a little shaky) and nursing and are so cute. We go back by the property we saw the day before to show Colleen and Dave the views and the animals. Glad we got out as Monday it rains all day, Tuesday rain continues all morning but then it clears and we make the short trip over to Clifton and are re-anchored by 2. It is Steve's Birthday so we make plans to go to dinner in Clifton with Dave & Colleen. Wednesday after hitting the veggie market we all check out, Steve & I head over to Hillsborough on Carriacou to check into Grenada while Promise heads over to see Petit St. Vincent. Once cleared in, we back track north a little to go anchor at Anse La Roche. A very small secluded bay with beautiful clean water and good snorkeling and a great beach. A little rolly but not too bad and well worth it to have this spot to ourselves. Thursday afternoon we head down to Sandy Island, just a little spit of land ½ surrounded by reef just south of Hillsborough and pick up a mooring. There are about a dozen mooring balls here, part of the marine park, but there is just one other boat here at the time we arrive and we are able to get the “first”, closest to island & furthest north AKA the best, mooring. More snorkeling and walking the beach and now have the place to ourselves as the other boat has left. Friday enjoy the day watching more boats come in and just before sunset Promise arrives and picks up a mooring close by. Saturday enjoy the swimming and coming and going of different boats. Sunday along with Dave & Colleen we take our dinghy over to “the main land” Carriacou and walk Paradise Beach at L'Esterre stopping for lunch at Off the Hook. Back to the big boats and Steve and I head over to Tyrrel Bay and anchor next to friends Gordon & Judy on Dream Catcher. We flag them down as they are heading back to their boat and have cocktails on Ocean Star getting caught up on the last 8 months, after drinks we all go in to Lazy Turtle for dinner. So much fun seeing old friends and getting caught up again. Our plan was to be here for the next week for the Carriacou Regatta and maybe get our generator fixed AGAIN. Monday we learn a weather disturbance might interfere with those plans. By Tuesday the weather situation is even more threatening, and even though Carriacou has a good “hurricane hole” in the mangroves without a generator we are thinking heading to Grenada and the Port Louis marina will be a better option for us. Wednesday we hate to leave Carriacou so soon but we say goodbye to Gordon & Judy and get underway. I had called the marina on Monday to make a reservation just in case and am now glad I did as several other boats are all on their way also. We are tied up to the dock by 4 getting one of the last slips available. With the storm threatening the marina is not putting boats on the mega dock so some of those bigger boats are down on the regular docks taking up several spaces. Thursday we go to the store to provision, and later have a happy hour reunion at the pool with Bill & JoAnne on Ultra and a few other boats we knew from last year and a few new boats. Friday we get some rain in the afternoon but it now looks like we will not be in any danger, but the marina is getting prepared. Better safe then sorry we are glad we made the decision to “run” from the storm. And it feels like we are home back here in Grenada, with music jams, museum concerts, hikes, hashes, visiting the familiar local shops and restaurants seeing many friends and meeting new ones. We had just booked a weeks stay at the marina for the storm, but the following week is Grenada's Carnival so we check with the marina and they have room for us to stay. They have also put us in touch with someone to work on our generator problem, this time we are trying to have a pulley made to by pass the alternator bearings seizing up problem. So we are glad to be staying at the marina where we can run the A/C especially since this is being a much wetter season then last year as disturbance after disturbance keeps rolling this way. Nothing has been a direct threat to us but still a lot more rain this year. We are now going on our 3rd week at the marina !!!! Longest we have stayed at a marina EVER.  STILL waiting on the generator repair and looking into a few other boat jobs/projects to be done. It is nice to be able to walk on & off when ever we want and to take long hot showers (even if they are a 5 min. walk away), BUT we sure miss just jumping off the boat and swimming and it is a lot more expensive staying at a marina then being on the hook. Life is good here in Grenada , so far the storms keep passing us by so we are hoping that trend continues thru September and October as we hang out in Grenada.

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