Clifton, Union Island, Grenadines
Saturday, March 10, 2001
We finally made it out of Martinique unscathed. After sailing south to Marin, we finished our 2-part repair job on the wiring after the fire. It was more of a smolder than a full-blown fire. It was doused prior to any large flames could develop. Anyway, the generator harness was replaced in 2 days and for under $400 USD. Jean-Paul from Mecanique Plaisance did a fantastic job and it was probably quicker than having it done at home.
With that behind us, we set sail for St Lucia. We had heard some nasty things about Rodney Bay, so we entered into Marigot instead. It was a very small little cove, packed with about 20 boats, anchored one on top of the other. Minus the overwhelming number of boat vendors, it was pretty, especially the palm lined beach at the entrance. But the crowd and the boat boys really dampened our view of this place. Our hull was rapped on at least 6 times in a period of 2 hours with people trying to sell us bananas. Add a few other items on other boats, and it was a barrage. That spot ended up being just an overnight for Uliad, Enterprise and Amazing Grace. The next day, with the hopes of redeeming our view of St Lucia, we sailed just 10 miles to the South, to Soufriere. It didn't help. We had our stern tied to a tree trunk ashore and our bow attached to a mooring. The spot was certainly dramatic, but so were the dreaded boat boys. Only this time, they failed to sell anything and opted for outright begging, asking for anything remotely American (junk food, juice boxes, candy). There was little peace and quiet; so again, it turned out to be just another overnight stop for everyone.
The next day was a tremendous sail, past St Vincent, to Bequia. We used our Code-Zero sail and blasted down there. In between St Lucia and St Vincent, we were visited by a pod of dolphins. At first there were just a couple, but they quickly came back with their friends. They were jumping, flipping and readily playing in our bow wake. It was a blast. The kids were napping but were awoken for this sight. It only lasted about 5 minutes, and for the rest of the trip we kept our eyes peeled for any other dolphins. All we had after that were a couple of very friendly birds. We picked up a mooring, after some advice from Enterprise who arrived first and dragged his anchor a few times.
Bequia is certainly more rustic than expected, but after a few days, it felt extremely comfortable. Ashore, the kids befriended a group of Rastas selling every known vegetable to man. They were given some very small, sweet mangos as a token. They devoured them. At the Frangipani, Tom and I had our first dinner out with a group of friends. It was overpriced, mosquito infested and stray dog ridden. Disappointing. But we did find a very good pizza place named Mac's. It made up for the previous evening. We added Asylum to our group of cruisers, and all piled into an open bed, canopy covered, pick up truck for a tour of the island. It was nice to reach the high vistas and especially interesting to visit the local whaling museum. It was more of a home than a museum. The locals are allowed to capture 2 humpback whales a season. We heard rumors that more are caught illegally. To this day, they still use traditional sailing methods to capture and kill the whales. It's a big festivity when they reach their quota.
After the whaling stop, we went to a few mountain top views and then off to lunch at Spring's. Lunch was good, but black flies are in season and everything was infested. We woofed down our meals in record time and had to keep swatting away the little beasts. It was ultimately the flies that drove us away from Bequia. After lunch, we stopped at a local artist, transported from Kittery, Maine, pottery studio. Then we pushed onward, fighting naptime, to the Turtle Preservation Farm. This, of course, was the kids' favorite stop. They could touch the turtles and get right up close to them. The final spot was atop a perch overlooking Admiralty Bay. The ride to get there was nothing short of a Six Flags coaster. Cole slept through the whole thing.
After the black flies won the war, we departed bound for either Mustique or Canouan. The winds had us sail into Charlestown Bay, Canouan. It was the most unique, if not exciting, anchorage in Tom's life (and mine). We literally surfed into the bay, in between 8 foot breaking rollers. We had to coast alongside them and then point our nose down to make it in safely. Once inside, there was a wacky current and play with the winds. There were a couple of other boats already hooked with stern anchors out. We did the same and after eating dinner, we resigned ourselves to the fact that we'd be anchor watching that night. Thankfully it was a full moon and so visibility was perfect. The winds gusted up to about 25, the waves built, but the stern anchor prevented any side-to-side rolling. That night we fell in love with our Fortress. Tom took the first watch, catnapping on the pilothouse setee. I took over at 2:00a. We had our chart plotter/radar unit on and armed with anchor alarms. We fared perfectly. The next morning we were unable to retrieve the Fortress with our dinghy, so we had to get it with Uliad. That worked fine except that we inadvertently shot our stern vent off when the stern anchor line caught it by mistake. That was the only problem, and we had a spare.
We had a beautiful 2-leg, one-hour, 6.5-mile passage to Clifton, Union Island the next day. Upon arriving, we readily anchored behind a reef and little single-palmed island. Today we'll investigate town, maybe replenish our bread supply, and head over to the Tobago Cays to reunite with Enterprise. We hear the snorkeling is top notch and that the kids would really enjoy the beach. Maybe we'll stop at Palm Island before making our little jaunt. Decisions, decisions.
Prickly Bay, Grenada
We have visited more islands in the past week than you could imagine. The Grenadines' island chain is about 50 miles long. Trips from island to island are only an hour, for a small hop, or 5 hours for a big one. The highlights over the past week are:
-Meeting a young family, Lisa, David, Matthew (8) and Jo-jo (3), (and
Inca (2) their Jack Russell) who circumnavigated and have been sailing
Now we sit, awaiting our surprise guests, Darlene and Katherine Barkman,
into Grenada. We can't really think about anything else. They are
flying in around 11:00pm and getting a taxi to take us to the airport is
going to be a challenge. But, I am hoping that awaking Cammi at that
late hour won't backfire and all will turn out fine. It's those joyful
surprises that make life so much fun! I can certainly remember a few
times when seeing my cousins drive into the driveway and thinking it was
better than Christmas. We have some fantastic places to show Darlene.
Katherine and Cammi probably wouldn't care if we were sailing to Alaska
right now, as long as they were together. I'll bring the video camera.
I haven't even seen Darlene yet, and I am all veclemt (sp?) already.
Best (early) Mother's Day gift yet!