Monday, February 28, 2011


The Spice Islands Grenada & The Grenadines

18th – 28th February 2011

After leaving the lovely anchorage of Petit St Vincent we headed south towards Grenada. Our first stop was, yes you guessed it, to complete the paperwork necessary to enter yet another country.

  Except for a few of the dependencies nearly all the islands of the Caribbean are stand alone countries. It becomes a tad tedious after a while, checking in and out of each one when you only intend to stay  a couple of days at each, and the dollars do start to add up for the entry fees as well.

Grenada and the Grenadines are made up of three main islands, Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique, as well as a few smaller ones scattered around the chain. We made a brief stop at .in the town of Hillsborough on Carriacou to take care of the formalities and pick up  a few tasty morsels from Patty’s Deli, just along from immigration, and  then it was time to head out for the 20 mile sail to Prickly Bay on Grenada.
On the way down we passed tiny Sandy Island which apparently has quite good snorkeling. Weather permitting we may stop here once we start heading north again.

                                                         Sandy Island, pretty as a picture

We arrived at Prickly Bay just on dusk and were greeted by the familiar voice of Bridget from White Rose on the radio welcoming us to Grenada. No sooner than we’d finished anchoring than they appeared in their dinghy at the back of GWTW. With smiling faces and hugs and kisses all round we opened a bottle of bubbly to celebrate finally catching our friends. Incidentally, we’d told them when we left Barbados to head up to Antigua that we’d be back down to them in about a week. Well that week blew out a little and 35 days later here we were together again.  
The following morning Peter and Bridget kindly gave us the cook’s tour of St John’s, the capital, which being a Saturday was not as lively as other days and, of course, showed us the whereabouts of the supermarkets and chandleries.
We met up with fellow cruisers Phillip and Sandra from the Swiss yacht Ulani, and also caught up over a “pot luck” dinner on the beach with Lynn and Glenn from Steel Sapphire, who we knew from our Atlantic crossing. They were here still waiting for parts for their autopilot which failed during their crossing.

The weather during our stay in Grenada has been a mixed bag of rain, rain and the occasional spot of sunshine, so land tours were definitely off the agenda. Just venturing out to De Big Fish restaurant only 300 yards away from GWTW was an exercise in precision timing between rain squalls. However, all this rain is not such a bad thing, as necessity, or is that boredom is the mother of invention. With hundreds of gallons of  free water falling from the heavens our water tanks were constantly full thanks to  Liam’s expertise in the GWTW’s tool shed come  plumbing factory up in the bow. In fact he spurred both White Rose and Bondi Tram when they arrived a few days ago, to organize rain catches for their boats. Everyone agrees that the pitter patter on the decks and the tinkle of water in the filling pipes is much better than listening to the throb of the watermaker which can take hours to fill the tanks.


                    The rain just kept falling !

Friday night rolled around  and the bar across from Prickly Bay Marina was having a couple of local bands playing so, together with Bondi Tram, we headed over to check out the music. As we arrived the steel drums we being offloaded from the truck and within 15 mins the band were in full swing. The music that these drums make really does sound like all the instruments that you would hear in an orchestra, it just has to be heard to be believed. The setting at the marina was lovely and sitting in the garden under the trees made it a great venue. After staying a while we then strolled down the road to the local Chinese restaurant for an excellent dinner.
There have been plenty of other chances to listen to live music as De Big Fish has entertainment at least three times a week.

Previously White Rose had suggested that we should attend a local Sunday Church service and as the Grand Anse Baptist Church was just a few minutes walk from our anchorage, we decided that on Sunday the 27th we would dress up in our Sunday best and head on down to church for the 10am service.

Our day at church turned out to be very appropriate as on that morning’s radio net we heard the very sad news that our Kiwi friend Maurice, from Baracca, had passed away suddenly during the previous night. At the end of the net Liam played the Rod Stewart song Sailing over the radio in memory of Maurice. Our thoughts along with all our cruising friends are with Heather his wife, and his family back in New Zealand.

Arriving at the church we were welcomed by one of the church officials who invited us to have a seat or to join one of the women’s or men’s discussion groups. We opted just to take a seat and wait for the service. The interior of the small church was nothing like what we were used to back home. There was a band area at the front and also a big screen up on the wall. The parishioners were dressed in their finest, some of the the women wearing hats and all the men in long trousers, even the children were done up to the nines.

                                                       The little church was full of life

    This lady looked beautiful in her outfit

The service began to the sounds of electric guitars, drums and tambourines. The crowd swayed to the beat of the music, some more enthusiastically than others. The Reverend led the  way with the  same very upbeat hymn singing, said a few prayers and asked for any visitors to stand and say hello, so we  did.  Later, at the equivalent of the catholic “peace be with you”  hand shaking , the whole congregation was up and  greeting not just those sitting near, but moving around the church hugging and hand shaking everyone. It was something that was quite overwhelming for us as these ever so happy people took us in their arms to welcome us into their church. This went on for about 15 mins. About half way through the service the Reverend began the sermon, the subject being “Time to Repent”. He was extremely vocal and loud at getting his message across and if he didn’t have high blood pressure at the start we all reckon that he had it by the end of his lecture, I mean sermon!  
The service lasted around two hours, with a Baptism to follow, however we decided not to stay for that. On our walk back to the marina the gentleman sitting in front of us with his family stopped and asked if we would like a lift to the Baptism which was to be held at the beach, we declined his offer and with that he asked if we would like a lift back to the marina. We said that we were happy to walk .
The Grenadian people are certainly friendly and we think the best so far.

                                   We needed a to stop for a drink after all that singing

Later that evening White Rose, GWTW and Bondi Tram gathered together on the beach for a pot luck dinner / wake in honour of Maurice, we figured he would have liked that. As we toasted to his adventurous life the sky turned a beautiful shade of pink.

                                            Toasting to a fellow cruiser and to life itself

Today, Monday the 28th we are about to leave for our overnight passage to Trinidad. White Rose has been waiting on a new propeller to arrive from the UK for about a week and finally it is here. Earlier this afternoon GWTW towed the “Roses” three miles north to a shallow beach just off the main town of St Georges where Liam and Peter have donned their scuba gear and are fitting the prop as I type.


Towing White Rose to shallower water
                                                                                                Bridger looks like a single hander!

In around an hour or so, if all things are hunky dory, the two boats will be heading off for the 80 mile run to Trinidad.       

Saturday, February 26, 2011


A little slice of heaven

17th February 2011

According to the Lonely Planet this island is rated as one of the best private islands in the world, and motoring into the bay it was pretty easy to see why.
The long pure white beach backed by swaying palms and manicured lawns had the most aqua blue water either of us have ever seen anywhere.

PSV, as its called by those in the know, has only one very up market resort where a cottage will set  you  back around $ US 800 – 1000 per night. Each cottage has two staff members in attendance 24/7, and all you have to do is raise the red flag at your front door and they will be on the doorstep instantly to tend to your needs.

Feeling that we were truly in a place that dreams are made of, our plans of just making a quick stop here quickly faded away and we decided that it was just too beautiful to leave, so we stayed the night, on GWTW that is.

Well if you can’t afford to stay ashore and we certainly couldn’t, then we figured the next best thing was to sip a few glasses of bubbly on the sand and watch the sunset, so that’s exactly what we did.  On the way into the dock a staff member who was visiting all the yachts in the anchorage handed us an envelope inviting us to dine ashore in their restaurant, but after reading the prices, dinner on board was a far better option and a far better price. 

 Once ashore one of the grounds men pointed out a nice park bench under a shady tree a little further down the beach. This suited our needs perfectly and we settled in with a chilled glass of champers and some nibbilies to watch the sun go down.
As the saying goes “When in Rome, or in this case, when in PSV…”

It was a shame to have to leave the next morning, but we were on a mission to catch up with White Rose, and now they were only a stones throw away.

          A sand cay just off the end of the island

Once you have checked out of Union Island you have 24hrs to leave the country therefore allowing time to stop at PSV.

General comment: You would be crazy not to stop at this beautiful island

16th February 2011

Well we are certainly having our fair share of reefs lately and the anchorage of Clifton was yet another one. We spent one night here and our main reason for stopping was to obtain our outward clearance from customs.

Our friends Bridget and Peter from White Rose had spent some time here a few weeks before and had told us of a nice beach restaurant over on the north side of the island. As we’d arrived at Clifton late morning we decided to stretch the legs and walk over to the restaurant for a spot of lunch.
The walk which took a little over 30 mins was an easy stroll. We  passed fields with goats, sheep, cows and the odd chicken, something we haven’t seen for a while.

Arriving at the beach where Gordon’s restaurant was located was as delightful as Peter and Bridget had described, a beautiful bay with a white sand beach.  Rather than the usual type of table arrangement, this little restaurant had a couple of raised side - less  huts that would seat  maybe  four or six  people around  one  table.So it was essentially, intimate outdoor dining, right on the sand.

We spent a couple of hours here enjoying the scenery and  watching the sea birds plumet like rockets into the water trying to catch their lunch.A`while later we toddled back to the small town to have a quick look around.

        The  views from Gordon's restaurant

Clifton was one of those blink and you’ll miss it type towns. From what we saw it was fairly sleepy with a couple veggie stalls and a few small shops and boutiques. The anchorage yacht club looked quite inviting and had a very nice looking dining and bar area and a fairly user friendly dinghy dock. We didn’t stay long in town and headed back out to GWTW after we’d finished our paperwork with customs.

The following morning we departed with the intention of making a brief stop at Petite St Vincent and then heading down to Grenada.

Formalities: Customs / Immigration are available at the airport, roughly 3 mins walk from the yacht club dinghy dock or you can also visit their offices in town near the waterfront. 


The Jewel of the Caribbean

14th – 16th February 2011

Everyone keeps telling us that the weather this year is “unseasonal”. This is the dry season and so far nearly every day it has rained. The day that we left Bequia for the 30 mile sail south to Tobago Cays was no exception. Rain squalls came blasting through fairly regularly and, along with the strong wind, we had our doubts about going out to the cays.
Still, we decided to go take a look anyway and we are glad that we did.
The cays are made up of five small islands surrounded by an extensive mass of coral named Horseshoe Reef.  There are many other reefs close by including Egg Reef and World’s End Reef.  The last time that we had navigated in reefs was coming up the Red Sea back in 2008, so we had to have our wits about us. As we approached the reefs the depths started to drop quickly from 83ft to 30 and continued to drop to around 10 ft. It didn’t take long before the water colour changed from deep blue to beautiful hues of aqua and the sandy bottom below became clearly visible.
After following a compass course to miss a couple of isolated reef patches on the way in as per our pilot book, we motored through the pass between two of the islands where a lot of boats were sheltering from the wind, and continued further on ‘till we found a nice spot just to the south of Baradal Island. This part of the cays is a little more open but a lot closer to the reef where the best snorkeling is to be found.
We anchored in 11 feet of beautiful aqua water over sand and the anchor took first time, it’s always so nice to anchor in sand. The cays are absolutely beautiful, not a building within cooee and they are only accessible by boat, no resorts, no jet skis, just peace and quiet.

Our Kiwi friends Maurice and Heather from Baracca were also in the anchorage along with Aussies Steve and Gail (Gone Troppo), and Ross and Susie from Impulsive (B 1) whom we last saw in an anchorage in Sudan back in 2008. “Impulsive” is an Australian designed Buizen and as she was traveling at that time in company with another Buizen so we nick named them B 1 and B 2. We always find it novel when people turn up in the same anchorage as us after so many years and so many miles.

Impulsive with Ross and Susie

There certainly was plenty of wild life around the cays, and while snorkeling not far from GWTW we saw some really big turtles and stingrays as well as lots of fish. Being a marine park and wanting to protect the coral there are many mooring balls for the yachts to pick up, as well as smaller ones to tie your dinghy to whilst snorkeling or diving on the reef.

A small fee is charged per day to stay in the park but strangely, the ranger only seemed to target the charter boats and neglected us. We figured they make a lot more revenue from the charterers than from cruising boats that normally only have two persons aboard.
As` it was such a lovely place we stayed for an extra day swimming, snorkeling and relaxing. The second day was clear and sunny and the sunset that evening was gorgeous, turning everything including the water a soft shade of dusky pink.

The majority of people rave about Tobago Cays as a must see destination and it will most definitely be a return stop as we travel north from Trinidad in mid March.


Park Fees: A fee of $10EC per person per day is payable either to the ranger in the park or the at customs office in Bequia.

Supplies:   Boat boys can supply bread, fish and souvenir tee-shirts. 

Friday, February 25, 2011


Anyone for Lobster?

10th – 14th February 2011

Sailing south from St Lucia across the passage to St Vincent was yet another hard slog. The wind was on the beam and the large swells banging into the hulls made for an uncomfortable and very wet ride. Whenever one of these big swells slammed into the side of the boat the wave would roll up and over our cockpit roof cascading off the back like a huge waterfall, turning our cockpit floor into a giant saltwater swimming pool.Our boat speeds were very good and  for a while we sat on  speeds  between14 to 18 knots so although the conditions were not great  we were certainly  chewed up the miles fast.

 By the time we got into the lee of St Vincent Liam looked like a salt encrusted drowned rat.

Our GPS showing our speed of 18.27 kts !

The island of St Vincent, from what we could see of it through the rain squalls, looked very mountainous and lush.

 We had already decided not to stop here but to push on to Bequia and complete our entrance formalities there. It was a bit of a race against the clock as we didn’t want to get stung with overtime charges that kick in at 4 o’clock.
Arriving just after 3pm we anchored and then had to re - anchor as the first time did not hold. We had already been warned of the poor holding in Port Elizabeth, Adrimilty Bay so we were very pleased with our second attempt when the anchor dug in well.
A quick dinghy ride into town saw all our paper work completed in about 15 mins thus allowing us the freedom to cruise the area known as St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG’s).
As we came into the bay the boat boys had been out offering any new arrivals the usual services and when we returned from town one of them came over to GWTW selling fresh lobsters.  We’d already heard the cruising legend of the availability and low cost of these sumptuous crustaceans so how could we refuse such an offer? After negotiating a good deal with Simeon the boat boy, he dispatched the creature to King Neptune and then explained the best way to cook it. Liam was so impressed with his service that we ended up buying two.

Later that night the BBQ was fired up and the master chef did a fantastic job of cooking them.
As darkness fell the wind picked up and it continued to howl all night. GWTW pulled back hard on her anchor many times that night and at 0430 a huge tug jolted Annie awake. A quick scramble out to the cockpit revealed the worst, the anchor had let go and we were starting to slide backwards. Luckily the mooring ball a few meters behind us was still not occupied and earlier during dinner we’d joked that if the anchor was to let go we could always pick the ball up as we slid by. The moral there is one should NEVER joke about such things. The other good thing was that during our anchor swim the previous afternoon we’d checked out the ground tackle of the aforementioned ball and deemed that it would be strong enough to hold us.
With the strong gusts pushing us we quickly lowed the dinghy and Liam set out, ropes in hand, to find the ball which was no longer behind us. After a fair bit of to-ing and fro-ing with the engines we attached ourselves with a makeshift bridle to the ball which was now about a boat length in front of us. After a nice cup of tea we retired back to bed knowing that we were now safe from the nasty wind that was still howling outside. Quite a few boats around us also dragged and we considered ourselves very lucky to not have had to re - anchor in the dark on such a windy night.
The weather was quite unkind during our stay in Bequia, with strong winds and heavy rain squalls making our time here not at all condusive for island sightseeing. We did however catch up with friends Val and Gerry (West by North ) and Sue and John (Salt Scar 3).
Being boat bound for a few days we must have looked a bit like a captive audience, as our lobster seller returned and we bought a couple more which we froze to have as a special treat another day
The town of Port Elizabeth is rather small, more like a village really. Belmont walkway follows the shoreline around a large part of the bay and this is where most of the bars and restaurants are located. Max’s pizza bar is a popular venue with one of their culinary delights being lobster pizza. We couldn’t resist giving it a try, after all we’d never seen that on a menu before. The size of the pizza was huge with plenty to take home and it was very tasty.  The Gingerbread house and the Whalebone bar, yes the furniture is made from whalebone, are just a couple of other bars along this shady pathway that eventually leads back to town.


Gingerbread House & the Whalebone Bar on the edge of the clear waters of Admiralty Bay 

A short dinghy ride over to the western shore of the bay brings you to the trendy “Jack’s Bar” fronting the long stretch of sand on Princess Margaret Beach. We spent a relaxing couple of hours here enjoying the surrounds and listening to some laid back music while catching up with friends, Sue and John.

   "Jack's Bar " on Princess Margaret Beach

As with all of our short stays on the islands, next time we visit we’ll explore it much more thoroughly. 

The fruit market (R)
and an interesting sign on the wall below.


Formalities. Check-in at the Revenue building across the road from the main ferry wharf. Dinghy dock to the right of ferry wharf.
Cost was $ 70EC total.
Hours: M-F 0830 - 1600 ( O/T 1600 - 1800, $35 EC), Sat 0830 - 1200 (O/T 1500 -1800, $35 EC)
                                                                        Sun 0900 -1200 (O/T 1500-1800, $50EC)
General Info : "Holiday Bequia" available from tourist office near customs.
Supermarkets: A few with Daisy's selling New Zealand lamb.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Baguettes, Pates & Cheeses

5th -8th February 2011

Our mileage log read 55miles when we anchored at Saint Pierre on the north west side of Martinique.  It had been a long sail from Dominica and we were very glad to have arrived before nightfall as the bay is littered with over a dozen submerged wrecks some of which lay only a few metres below the surface.

       Monte  Pelee covered with cloud                                                 A postcard sunset

These wrecks  are the result of the 1902 eruption of Mont Pelee which stands 7 kilometers inland. The violent eruption destroyed the town in only 10minuites leaving only a couple of survivors one of whom was in a jail cell.
We will return here later in the year to explore the area and visit the Musee Volcanologique which is said to be excellent.
Reading the trusty Lonely Planet it says that the sunsets off Sainte Pierre are postcard perfect and on que our sunset was exactly that, perfect.
After a good nights sleep  we awoke on Sunday morning to the sound of church bells and the beautiful voices of a choir  emanating  from the town’s cathedral what a lovely peaceful way to start the day..

The day looked overcast with a few squalls around but we decided to head down the coast to the anchorage of Sainte Anne anyway. When we were about halfway across the huge bay of Forte de France we were hit by a monster squall packing winds of 36 knots in complete whiteout conditions.  We had quite a job furling our jib, everything on the rig was shaking violently and we had visions of something letting go, thankfully nothing did. The poor jib looked like a dog’s breakfast by the time we got it away but at least it was still in one piece. The squalls came and went in almost endless succession over the next couple of hours so by 3pm we were relieved to be anchored in the shallow waters of St Anne.
We spent the next couple of days here while the wind blew and the rain poured on and of each day. The town of Sainte Anne is small and nothing to write home about but the bay is very large with a beautiful with sand beach housing the premises of Club Med at one end.

Club med at Sainte Anne

Check in at customs, Douane as it is called in French was once again very easy.
The following day we took GWTW further round the bay to Cul - De - Sac Du Marin for a spot of supermarket shopping so that we could stock up on a few legs of New Zealand Lamb as well as all those wonderful French delicacies that unfortunately do not reflect well when we jump on the scales these days!! It was way easier to take the boat around rather than find a taxi.
Adding Sainte Anne to our growing list of anchorages, we will stop here again when we return from Trinidad.

Supermarkets, Marin: Leader Price has its own dinghy dock and is located in the top left hand corner of the bay; Carrefour is one block further to the north in Commercial centre Annette. ED is located across the road from the Porte du Marin Marina office at the opposite end of the bay and you can tie the dinghy to the marina dinghy dock near the marina office
Formalities: Customs is located on the northern shore of the bay near the chandleries. They have a large dinghy dock at the front. Hours are 7 days     0730 – 1300. No cost and done via computer. They did stamp our passports. Very helpful customs officer, and will give directions to supermarkets. Town maps available from the marina office.

Eating: Deli France and a few good establishments on the waterfront near customs. Sainte Anne, café Coco Peliee near dinghy dock had free wi-fi and good meals.


9th February 2011

The following morning it was time to move on. We made a fleeting visit to St Lucia where we picked up a mooring ball at the end Soufriere bay near Malgretoute under the towering peaks of the Pitons. As the anchorage here is very deep and swinging room limited even when you pick up a ball you still need to stern tie to a coconut palm. Memories of Turkey came flooding back where that was the normal way of life when anchoring in a lot of the bays, mind you in Turkey we tied to pine trees or big rocks not palm trees.

                 Tied to a palm tree with The Pitons behind             

                                                          Fruit seller at The Pitons
The boat boys  who helped us tie up were very helpful and organized, we paid them $ EC 25 for their help, and the Park ranger who arrived just on dusk , memories of Croatia this time ,was also very polite. He wanted $EC 56 for two nights but as we only wanted to stay one night and were leaving at 0730 we negotiated a deal of $EC 20 plus 2 cans of beer and he went away a happy chappie.    



Formalities:  Australians need to purchase a visa on arrival & the cost is  $50 US pp. This is on top of the regular check in fee.