January 16-25th, 2014 (-4 on UTC)
Trinidad to Grenada and on to Bequia, The Grenadines…….
We departed Scotland Bay to the west of Chaguaramas at about 6 a.m. on the 16h. It was nice to have a short trip on the 15th from the dock to the anchorage. This gave us a chance to test out much of our gear. At least to the anchorage, everything seemed to work.
We went through the short wild ride pass, \”The Dragon\’s Mouth\”, that we\’d entered last August en route to Trinidad from Tobago. After that bit of bump, we settled in to an 85 mile sail and arrived at 4:30 p.m. At Prickly Bay, Grenada.
Along the way, the new steering seemed to work fine, but there yet may be a hydraulic leak? Hard to tell as our technician left me a bit more than a bit of hydraulic fluid to clean up. The compass was out of calibration and as such, the auto pilot was misbehaving a bit, so we used the Wind Mode and it settled down. A few more bugs will pop up I\’m sure as we shake the cobwebs off \”Miss Piggy\” for the upcoming season.
Prickly Bay was a nice, but crowded anchorage. We made friends with a neighbor boat and were invited for a Shindig aboard s/v Desiderata. Always remember to fold spindle and mutilate – place people on hold whenever possible….:-) (For those of you old enough to remember the spoof on the poem from the early 1970\’s).
We also had lunch on our first full day ashore with Dave & Kathy from s/v Sunflower who we met two seasons ago at Chagos in the middle of the Indian Ocean. We had a lovely lunch and planned for a nice dinner the next day at their hotel; “La Sagesse”. Dave & Kathy spent the Hurricane season here and had not quite re-launched while finishing up some boat projects. They were at a marina several miles to the east of us in St. David’s Bay.
On the cab ride, we met two young US Medical Students doing their first two years at St. George\’s Medical College at True Blue Bay. This was the site of the main invasion by US troops 30 years ago, to quell the coup that deposed Maurice Bishop, kick out the Cubans and \”rescued\” the medical students from potential use as hostages. Politics aside, the locals overwhelmingly were in favor of the invasion and Grenada today is one of the most corruption free and vibrant democracies in the Caribbean.
We were told by a Canadian sailing couple in Chaguaramas, Dave & Valerie, about the upcoming Bequia Music Fest for the weekend of my birthday, January 23-26. My birthday is the 25th…….no gifts please!….:-). And yes, it\’s the big 60.
We made the 35 mile sail with several other boats both heading north and south. We expect this will be a common sight this season as we head up and down the Windward and Leeward Islands of the Caribbean. We checked out of Grenada at Carriacou, stayed the night in Tyrrel Bay and departed for Bequia the next morning. Carriacou has a large anchorage, well protected and quite crowded. We were able to calibrate our compass and electronically align our wind instrument in the nice flat water just before we departed at 8 a.m. These two steps got our autopilot back to operating normally and gave us better wind insight for which sails to use for the varying wind angles and speeds. We hoisted the mainsail with a single reef and set the full genoa. We were blasting along and passing or catching everyone we could see. It was again, a bit of a freeway out here as we were always in sight of 20 or more boats; either visually or on our AIS. The AIS is like a transponder on an airplane and shows us lots of boats and importantly, BIG ships so we don\’t go bump on the night (or day….:-))
We had a brilliant sail and came into Admiralty Bay, Port Elizabeth – Beqia (pronounced beck-way) at just after noon. We went past the most interesting houses in an area called \”Moon Hole\” and we\’ll write more about that when we again go by on our way out. We were quickly met by the young and entrepreneurial Ashley in his skiff. Ashley runs a group of moorings here in Port Elizabeth and with all the boat arriving, asked if we\’d like a mooring? As this music fest could be a bit wild, we thought it a good idea as it would keep us away from most of the potentially inexperienced charter boaters. This would be a bigger concern at night with many folks unfamiliar with dinghy operations, so we opted for the mooring.
Our first mooring put us off Bequia Dive Center and the Gingerbread Hotel. All the wifi services in the bay are awful, but we\’ve been able to get and receive emails once in awhile from the hotels open network. As such, I cannot post photos here yet, but I will keep up this year…..it\’s my New Years resolution…..:-)
This mooring put us too close to the boat on our port side, so the next morning we were able to move one mooring ahead which has calmed my \”I don\’t want to bump into another boat\” nerves.
On our first night, we stayed in for video night where Nikki and I have been marathon-ing through \”Breaking Bad\”. No, I\’m not Walt White\’s brother…..:-) (For those of you who have seen the show, you\’ll know what I mean).
Last night was the warm up for the festival at the Frangipani Restaurant where we had dinner with seat mates of a local family with 4 very small children. Nikki was entranced with young Tristan. We watched the 13 piece, \”Elite Steel Band\”. The costumes were right out of the 1970\’s, sequins and all. They started with Kate Perry\’s \”Eye of the Tiger\” while channeling their inner Michael Jackson moves. It was quite a sight to see the \”Charter\” boat crowd on vacation. It\’s a bit different than the \”Cruiser\” crowd. The Charter folks drink a lot harder, are quite a bit less inhibited and definitely pray there is no video evidence forthcoming on You Tube anytime soon.
One of the most notable differences this season is indeed the huge amount of charter boats around which is of course, in the sailing community, well known in the Caribbean. It\’s close to the US, Canada and Europe. We\’ve noticed lots of people from France, Germany the odd Russian and LOTS of Scandinavians. Swedes and Finn\’s abound. Overall, the sailing skills have been good enough, but we did hear an Aussie on the radio doing his best imitation of sailing \”road rage\” at a French Catamaran on the way past Union Island en route to Bequia. The former repeatedly announced the lack of understanding on the part of the later as to his apparent non-understanding of the nautical rules of the road.
It was a bit comical actually listening to this theater on the public VHF radio airways. The Aussie chap kept putting out \”securite\” (French pronunciation and spelling), notices for all in ear shot to be wary of the alleged offending Frenchman\’s nautical shortcomings….:-). Ah boaters and crowds!
Speaking of comical, I got into the act as well. Last night, Nikki and I took the dinghy ashore and as we arrived at the dock, the battery died. (Hey, it hasn\’t been used much in several months). Add this to the engine safety switch that is dodgy and I about ran us over the dinghy dock at the Frangipani Restaurant. While holding the errant safety switch to allow the engine to start, I pulled the starter rope. The engine looked like it was in neutral, but was in forward gear. We quickly took off and ran into the dock, both of us bodies akimbo. As I fell back, I couldn\’t get the safety switch off at first. The engine quickly found another dinghies painter and locked it up around the prop. This of course stopped the engine whereupon the local dock attendant came and helped us undo the mess and got us on our way. He was there as the local restaurateur’s were worried about inexperienced dinghy drivers. I\’m sure this chap thought I was guilty, I assure you I was not! After a bit of embarrassment, we were back aboard \”Beach House\” tout suite. His parting words were to make sure we had a light as the local Coast Guard was watching for drunken yachties in their dinghies. Disaster averted….yet again. Just another “sea story” for the file.
Tonight begins the Bequia Music Festival in full force. We have no idea of how many of the 150+ boats here will show up?
Lastly for now. The new website system is causing a bit of consternation. I really like that it automatically sends all our posts out in real time, but all our “Position Reports” are not supposed to go out to everyone as I\’m sure it\’s a bit much. So I do want you all to know that were working on how to stop it so you\’ll all get just our blog and photo updates. Those who are interested in receiving the position reports, drop me an email and I\’ll put you on the list. If you\’re following us on Facebook, you\’ll get them no matter what, sorry about that in advance. As I remote post, I don\’t think we get a choice on this one. Our web guru Ken is investigating.
Drop us a note, we love to hear from you all!
Scott & Nikki