Union Island, Grenadines, Tobago Cays

Feb 15-16

Cap’t Col took care of our check out procedures in Tyrell Bay at the crack of 8am when the Immigration office opened. I guess he forgot to change the hours on the sign, as Mr Customs didn’t show up until 9am. Caribbean time. We got our Zarpe for the Tobago Cays, and he let us know where to go to check into the next Island.
Northward we go!
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So after a fast, albeit brief sail northward, with a reef in the main, travelling at an average of 7.5 knots, we arrived at Union Island.
The island itself stands out from afar with its dramatically mountainous outline, and is protected by reefs that show its brilliant, almost kaleidoscopic green-turquoise waters.
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Needing to check into the country, we all went ashore, (yes we know we were suppose to stay on the boat) and checked out the town of Clifton with its funky artistry, charming colorful, albeit EXPENSIVE shops.
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We will not be doing extensive provisioning here. We did spend $70 EC ( $35 Canadian/ Aussie Dollars) in the vibrant vegetable market, with its excellent selection of produce and eggs. After all this is the center of bareboat chartering in the southern Grenadines.
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Getting back to the boat after shopping, we enjoyed the sights of the many kite surfers here taking advantage of the excellent wind conditions, shallow warm protected water. Darren’s feeling a new hobby coming on.
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We left Union Island for a short sail up to the Tobago Cays, and landed in a beautiful turquoise shallow patch near the beach at a little anchorage right behind Horseshoe reef and the tiny island of Baradal. We got the snorkel gear and the spears ready and set off to find our dinner. The water was clear and warm.
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We successfully snorkeled around the reef in a few different spots, but came up empty handed. Chicken it would be again for diner.
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Leaving the reef, we chose an anchorage not far away, only a short 1 mile motor thru the channels and reefs to the Island of Mayreau and its sheltered anchorage named Salt Whistle Bay. This small island is rimmed with spectacular beaches, and the beach within Salt Whistle Bay is a stunning white sand half moon shaped piece of paradise.
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Waiting for you at the entrance of the bay are the locals with the fish, lobsters and offers to assist the charter boats with the mooring balls.

We entertained ourselves with one particular charter skipper using his two engines on his rented CAT as if they were airplane jets. First forward, then full reverse, then full forward.. I’m not sure he knows there is a slow forward gear. He drove thru the anchorage at a full 3-4 knots of boat speed while everyone on their own boats wondered if they would become the causality of this terrible display of seamanship. We sat in horror at thinking what he was doing to the engines.

Curry Chicken was delicious for supper, even though it was not fish. Maybe tomorrow.

Wednesday Morning we set sail for Bequia.

Feb 14- Valentines day in Carriacou

Carriacou has been described in the books as the island with over a hundred rum shops and only one gasoline station
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We dinghied to shore, walked a few minutes and took the $3.50 EC bus which actually cost us each $4EC because it was Sunday, into the town of Hillsborough. EC is double that of the Canadian dollar, so $4EC is equal to $2 CDN or $AUD

Wandering around town, was nice, we found all the café’s and bars we were looking for, however only one was open. And when I say one, I mean one café,… and that’s all. Not a store, shop, tienda, nothing. Empty. Town was as quiet as a convent on a party night. Although, we did find a shop place that we thought one of our friends, Wayne, would appreciate.
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We did manage to convince one of the shop keepers to sell us a beer so we could use his very strong Wi-Fi signal however. Lucky for Darren as it was Valentines day and he was able to take me out for a romantic stroll on the beach and a beer, at least. ☺
Actually we had two beers as we had a lot of “internetting” to do.
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The ride into town we realized was a good deal, as when we finally found the same bus driver to take us back to Tyrell Bay from Hillsborough, he ended up charging us $20 EC for the three of us. After all it WAS Sunday, and it WAS his naptime.
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Apparently Valentines Day is a big thing in Carriacou, as the music from the two beach bars in Tyrell Bay played Caribbean music until the wee hours of the morning.
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It was a nice stop, as the island is full of lovely anchorages, pleasant hiking, yacht haul out facilities, several yacht services, dive shops and apparently entertaining bars restaurants and cafes. We will have to check those out on our next visit.

Oh, did I mention the electrical wiring in Carriacou? Most excellent, and demonstrated by the image below.
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Next stop, Union Island and the Tobago Cays.

Halifax Harbor and North to Carriacou

Today we moved northward to Halifax harbor, where we snorkeled the underwater statue garden, http://grenadaunderwatersculpture.com, and enjoy the rural areas a bit more before setting off for Carriacou in the morning.
We left St Georges on a Sunny Friday morning, after our regular listen to the Cruisers Net on the VHF radio at 7:30. Its like a morning talk show with information, notices, news, updates, and weather. A great wealth of Information. The Underwater Water Sculpture park was a pleasant stop and Darren was surprised that there is sufficient salt in the water to allow him to float!!!
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We motored up the coastline to Halifax Harbor and dropped the hook in 20 feet of water. Pretty deep for us.
When Colin was here previously, he had loaned a fellow who was working on this little bar, some tools to fix his outboard engine. So we walked up to see how the progress on this little bar was going, 7 months later. Obviously the progress is in Caribbean time, as its STILL not complete, but it will be a great little stop once it is.

Saturday morning we departed for our trip 27 miles northward to Carriacau ( pronounced Kare-ee-a-koo).

For days the wind has been from the East, and a bit South of East. Today, when, of course, we want to head North, where is the wind coming from? …But from the North of course. For those of you that don’t know, boats don’t sail into the wind. And this one sailed 60 degrees off it, so we had to motor for a time. Eventually we put a reef in the main, set the jib and sailed off in a general direction we wanted to go.

She sails nicely to windward, flat on the water with no heel. It makes it easy to pass up a coffee to those on watch. The guys set the fishing lures out, and we made our first attempt at fishing under sail. We ate sausages for dinner for your information. No luck today. But we had a great sail for almost 4 hours of our 5 ½ hour estimation.

Land HO! In the distance we spotted our destination, the northernmost point belonging to Grenada. We took our spot in 12 feet of water and got working on our projects. Darren and I worked on photos and blogging, and Colin commenced ripping his cabin floor apart to try and find a water leak. Yes he found it. Yes all is well.

Sailing FMD

On a sunny windy Thursday we pulled up the anchor and left Prickly Bay. We were not going far, only around the south corner to St Georges Anchorage, but we finally were able to raise the sails!

a smiling first mate
a smiling first mate

Oh how exciting for all of us. A bit rusty I may add, and it had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the half bottle of rum the night before. We turned into the wind and raised the main. And what a main she is, clean, crisp and BIG. We had 18-22 knots of wind and were to be running straight downwind, so we bore off to a Starboard tack and sailed away! With only our mainsail up, we were doing 6 knots.

Because of the angle of the wind, almost direct downwind (DDW) we didn’t unfurl the jib until we rounded the corner past all the beautiful homes, cliffs and the grand St Georges University Medical School. At rounding Pt Salines, where the airport sits, we were on almost a close reach, and we unfurled the foresail. I wish I could say that it increased boat speed, but it really didn’t. but we looked good!!! We sailed straight into St Georges, Grenada, with or sights on the two cruise ships in the dock. We knew town would be busy then. Cruise ship dock

We took anchor closest to the harbor entrance than all the other boats, in 5 meters of clear blue water, had some lunch and then ventured into town. Duty Free shops awaited.
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On the peak of St Georges is the old Fort, with its commanding view of the town, where before the invasion of Grenada, Maurice Bishop held his government.
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It was in this old Fort that they were lined up along the wall and assinated during the upheaval. Fort George was built from 1706 – 1710, on an early battery erected by the French in the 1600s, and originally named Fort Royal, it was renamed Fort George in 1763, in honor of King George III when the British took possession of the island. In 2004 a hurricane came thru Grenada, and cause much devastation. According to the story, the clock stopped at the time the hurricane hit.

Ten to four in the afternoon
Ten to four in the afternoon

Grenada is not a cheap place to live or cruise. Some things are good deals, but you really have to look when you do your shopping; watch what you buy, and shop like a local. Plantains are a plenty, and Colin has never had them before. Glad I was able to get ONE recipe from MAMA. A boat that Colin sailed with before came into the anchorage the day before we left prickly bay and offered us a tuna,… we enjoyed that dinner immensely. And at duty free shops, we got two 1L bottles of rum ( one coconut, one dark) for US$26! Some luxuries are just not going to happen here, like chips… a bag of Lays or Ruffles is about $8 CDN. Who needs chips anyways? ( read- Wayne-O)

The wait at Prickly Bay

Monday, after boat chores,… get used to this… its an everyday occurrence,… we discovered the other south shores bays. Clarks Court Bay is big and open, with the Biggest Travllift you will ever see. Its massive and green and they call it Schreck. Rightly so. We motored thru the bay, taking pictures of the massive extate on the privately owned Calivigny Island. If its not a hotel, it should be. And the boat at the dock, being washed polished and scrubbed by well uniformed staff was gorgeous. That’s how the other half of them live. OK…OK.. maybe a tiny bit of the richest of the population of the world.

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We tootled thru to Mt Hartman bay looking at Secret harbor Marina, a nice little spot, the took our spot in Prickly Bay, right close to the Prickly Bay marina, as we were still rowing, with no engine for the dinghy. Darren and Colin were taking turn, contemplating each time who was the better rower. Im taking the Fifth. No where in any comment will I win in one way or another.

This is a beautiful place to wait for parts. FREE WIFI at the marina restaurant… it only cost a few beers,… and its FAST… like we are at home again!!! Well… ok… its warm,… sunny,.. not raining,… we can jump off the boat to cool off,… and we are cruising.. finally. So, no, not like home .
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Tuesday brought us to town for provisioning. We lucked out and got on Georges shopping bus. $15 EC each, and he took us to Budget Marine, the bank, Ace hardware, ( all the cruising friendly/necessary places) the IGA, the market and the buk store where beer, wine and all sorts are sold by the case, like Costco but only about 4000 sq feet. We shopped, hit all the necessary places, and were back at the boat by 2:30. Provisions away and at the cafe- and by café- I mean bar, by 4! We are efficient!

Wednesday morning took Colin into town to pick up the much-awaited impeller for the Honda outboard along with an oil filter for the generator.
He returned with quite a story to tell… we had to sit for that one…. the $20 impeller part ended up costing him over $160, with a lot of trekking to get a little tiny piece of paper signed by a customs officer. Do you know how LITTLE of a part an impeller is…??? Well in the end he ended up with three of them. Buy sell and trade here he comes!
[caption id="attachment_283" align="alignnone" width="225"]Parts for dingy engine finally arrived. Parts for dingy engine finally arrived.

Lessons learned: keep more spares than you EVER think you will need, smile when you are going to rip someone’s head off, and make sure you take your morning tablets!

But at last, we have a working dinghy! With the oil in Generator changed, most of the chores done, we are off to St Georges in the morning to start our NautiKel Adventure northward.
Right now… off the the café- ok ok.. the bar… but its clearly for the wifi!!!!

Next post- the first sail!

SuperBowl Sunday

We read, and when I say we, I really mean ME, in the cruising guide that there was a regular Sunday BBQ at Rogers bar on Hog Island, I thought that sounded like a good place to go, meet some people and watch SuperBowl.
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Did I mention that Darren is a BIG football fan??? And by BIG I mean massive??? Well guess what..?? NO TV AT ROGERS BAR. Guess who didn’t live that one down?
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At least the SeaHawks were not in it. I may was well have just walked the plank if that were the case. This one we got over though. … it was close. Colin asked if SuperBowl was like the Final of Football or something. I did say he was Austrailian, right? So Sundays anchorage was a flop in SuperBowl terms, not just because we missed superBowl, ( as if that wasn’t enough) but because the BBQ was waaaay to expensive, and the people were not friendly. We had dinner at the boat and commenced drinking our own rum. But It really was a nice anchorage & lovely sunset though.
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Next Post: the wait for parts at Prickly Bay

Gunk holing Grenada

Gunkholing Grenada

Saturday early afternoon we waited for the sun to get high enough in the sky so we could visibly see the reefs surrounding the entrance to St Davids Harbour. We wanted to head somewhere else where we could get a few more chores done.
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Being that Colin and FMD were on one engine when he entered the boatyard in July, Colin didn’t get to visit any of the other bays on the South shore of Grenada, so we wanted to check a few of them out. Saturday took us to Calivigny Harbour, just a few bays over to the west. It was a quiet anchorage, only big enough for the 5 boats that were there. We did find a nice spot in a few meters of water and set to doing more chores.
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We did not have a dingy engine working as we were waiting on an impeller to arrive, so not going to shore didn’t really affect us at all. It was a nice change from the noise and hussle and bustle of the boatyard. And we were floating.

Next Post- SuperBowl Sunday

Getting Finally My Darling Ready for Launch

Grenada Marine, and Grenada

We arrived on Sunday and Colin met us at the airport in a sunny
humid St Georges, Grenada.
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Colin got a deal on a car… and good thing it was a deal… it was a heap, but it got our errands done. Over the first few days we got to know Colin and the boat. We seem to get along well and Colin turned out to be as much fun in person as he is on Skype and FB. Always good for a laugh or a story or two. With Colin being from Australia, NOW I have TWO accents to contend with… and don’t even get them started on Monty Python skits.
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We commenced provisioning, boat parts shopping, WiFi configuring, etc,… all the “normal” boat things.
Finally My Darling is a Lagoon 440, owners version. Its rigged for cruising- watermaker, dive compressor, washing machine, generator, solar panels, all the “necessities”. Oh yes, the sails and rigging are in fabulous shape with a newer cruising main, all the electronics you would need, safety equipment, the list goes on.

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Monday we started getting to work in between our errands on getting FMD ready to launch. We had hoped for a Wednesday launch, but as things go, we would be delayed until Friday. We commenced cleaning, organizing, polishing, fixing, washing, hanking, and getting to know our new mode of transportation. A few exhausted days, early nights, bottles of wine, some rum, sunburns and sweaty clothes, and we are ready to drop FMD into the water!! We can’t wait to be floating again.
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Finally!!! Friday morning came and we were ready! Just in time for Grenada Liberation weekend celebrations.
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The launch went almost flawlessly, the ground was a bit soft in front of the Travellift, and the wheels slopped into the ginormous pothole. When the boom smacked into the rear of the Lift, our heart had a jump in beats. It could have caused some serious damage, but as luck would have it, none was done,… that we know of yet. Although we have not quite lifted the sails.
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WE worked the remainder of the day getting the mainsail rigged… and as boat things” go,.. into the next day as well. It’s a HUGE main and we had to get the three reef points back how they were supposed to be, inside the stack pack, and on the correct sides of the sail. It took a couple of efforts, some picture reviewing, and a bit of ‘siphering. Having not seen how it was rigged before, Darren and I could only guess. We did eventually get it all correct.
Friday night, lucky for us was a big celebration at Grenada marine, to help celebrate the Liberation, and we lucked out and managed to get there in time for FREE Lobster dinner!
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Next Post- Gunk holing/ parts waiting

And the Adventure Begins- Canada to Grenada

Jan 30/31

I always said Id go back to cruising.

Sitting on the plane headed to JFK from Seattle, having left the “family” we love for new adventures, it allows you time to reflect on so many things.
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We are off to join a friend on his boat in Grenada. Time for a change in the pace of life. Opportunities opened and we grasped them. Scary. Enticing. Exciting.
We packed up the house in the last few weeks, everything we own shoved into a 12×12 tool room off our garage packed to the brim. We had some people who are in between houses who wanted to rent our house while were away , organized, DE cluttered, sold or loaned out extra things that we didn’t really need anyways, and packed a few bags to bring with us. We enjoyed the love of our family and friends, we shed some tears, hugged our people and… here we are, on the eve of something new.
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Not completely new for me. But for Darren it is. He’s never had an extended time off work. Never not-worked. He’s holding up well, considering these things.
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I’ve cruised before. I loved the life it gave me and my kids, and I always said id go back, given a few different circumstances. This time is different. Darren and I get along very well, we have a loving respectful relationship and we love finding and sharing adventure in what we do. Not on our own boat… not on our own- just the two of us, but we will be cruising with someone we hardly know, although it seems like we’ve known him for ages. It’s been just a few short months since we’ve met. Well sort of met… we’ve only talked on phone, Facebook and Skype, never ACTUALLY met in person. Ya, sure.. we will jump on your boat with your for a while sure.. why not?

Some may call us crazy, most are in full support of our choice. You only live once, and with all that we have endured in the last few years… its time for a change.
Lets see where this NautiKel Adventure brings us.
Bring it on!
Arriving in Grenada

Next post, arrival in Grenada and getting FMD ready for launch.