Sunday, 27 March 2016

Towards St Lucia February 2016

Towards St Lucia February 2016

We leave Tyrrel bay Carriacou for a quick hop to Chatham bay on Union Island for an overnight stop, then on to Bequia.  We spend a few days in Bequia waiting a good weather window. (Why is the wind always in the NE when you want to head north?)

While we are in Bequia we catch up again with ‘Crazy Diamond’ who had spent a few days in the Tobago Cays. We are planning to go there on our way back south after St Lucia. 

Tranquil Bequia -  A contrast from last time!

In Bequia we met another OCC boat (Whisper HR), Australians Kevin and Mei. We are all discussing going to stop in St Vincent on our way to St Lucia. 

Bequia shoreline

There have been no reports of crime on the west coast for the season so we think we will stop in Cumberland Bay on the way. The scenery always looks stunning, so we will give it a go. 

We enjoyed looking at the squid behaviour while snorkelling between Princess Margaret beach and lower bay. Not sure what they were up to but probably something to do with mating. We also saw a frog fish!

Not always easy to spot as frog fish just look like a piece of sponge!

Bequia sees another first - Richard takes a turn as the net controller for the Bequia cruisers net. I don’t think anyone can fill the shoes of Cheryl with her ‘morning show’ but it is a workmanlike performance! It also feels good to help by giving Cheryl a few days break.

The 'mini pan band' at the Fig Tree

Leaving Bequia with a fair forecast we stop at Cumberland Bay in company with Whisper HR. The bay is really small, extremely pretty and the water very deep.

It is amazing just how fast we can go with the elements in  our favour!

We are met by Kenny in a rib who will tie us to a post ashore. This way we will not swing as much at anchor. In this bay, frequent wind changes are common due to the geography and boats swing in all directions.

Our misty arrival in Cumberland  bay

They can also fit in more boats this way as the bay is not very big.

Kenny taking our line ashore

We drop anchor and go slowly backwards. Our line is not long enough to reach shore but he ties us to a ruined jetty. A first time experience for us, so we were a bit worried but Kenny made it easy. It will be easier to leave in the morning. Kenny assures us he will be there at first light to cast us off, somehow I doubt it. (We were right!)

No sooner are we tied up when we are visited by Wesley selling fruit and veg. We bought some and then along comes Charlie with more fruit and veg. Charlie also has some craft jewellery and a slightly different selection of veg so we buy a bit from both to keep everyone happy. Charlie asks us if we ‘smoke’ as he has ‘cigarettes’ -  we politely decline his offer. 

After lunch we are visited by Maurice wearing a ‘pork pie’ hat and rowing a tiny plastic dinghy, he is touting for the Mojito Bar and has a laminated menu. He tells us he trained at the Raffles resort on Canouan. We ask him if he is the chef, he replies “No, I just do the sales and marketing”. It is difficult to keep a straight face.
The weather has turned out wet and we don’t fancy a walk in the rain. Whisper comes over for a drink and to get some info on heading north.

Our impressions are very favourable -  friendly professional people doing what they do, the Mojito Bar is fairly quiet with just a few locals. Their menu looked interesting so next time we will stop here and eat ashore. It is a shame that the crime reports have kept so many people away.

The Mojito bar in Cumberland bay

Footnote – While we were in St Lucia we heard reports of a German yacht boarded in Walliabou Bay, just south of Cumberland . One man was shot dead and others injured.  We can only assume robbery was the motive. Suffice to say this will regretfully be our first and last visit until this sort of thing is completely resolved.

An early start (zero dark thirty!) we are off to St Lucia. Richard had to pull himself ashore in the dinghy to undo the shoreline, but not much of a hardship. We have to motor to the north of the island where the wind really pipes up as does the sea. Our forecast 15-20 kts is exceeded as we have up to 27kts at times. 

Fortunately the tide is with the wind so the seas are no bigger than 3m! They were predicted to be under 2m. The skipper described the passage between St Vincent and St Lucia as ‘exuberant’!  The crew described it as ‘extreme’!

We arrive a bit west of our track at the bottom of St Lucia only to be headed by the wind. Our options are motor to Soufriere, or motor to Rodney Bay. If we are motoring we might as well motor towards our final destination. 

At anchor in Rodney Bay

We arrive in Rodney Bay to a terrific rain squall and decide to wait until it passes before finding a spot to anchor. We are just in front of ‘The Landings’, next to our friends on ‘Badgers Sett’. Dropping anchor at 1615 we have sailed 64 miles in 10 hours. A good average for us.

Friday, 11 March 2016

Carriacou January 2016!


Back again but still no progress on the engine front, frustration deluxe!

After a flurry of e-mails it seems that we cannot solve the problem, Volvo and Golden Marine keep coming up with the wrong part despite having originally supplied two of the correct parts. We are now looking to source the part from elsewhere. The problem still exists of how we get it out here.

We finally manage to find the correct part from Diesel Technique in the UK. They will post it to Ruth who will bring it out to St Lucia with her. A big thank you must go to Mark Smith and Andy Hewing for their prompt response.

 While all this is going on we might as well enjoy the Carriacou cruising life. 

We woke one morning to the sight of an old ferry sinking on it's mooring! - It was pumped out and the hole 'fixed' with underwater epoxy. Aparently it is a fairly frequent occurence!

We attended Youthlin’s Cultural Evening before Xmas, an evening of local drumming, dancing, and music with very African rhythms. 

The dancers are in traditional costume, men and women though the drummers are traditionally only men. 

This was followed by the ‘Shakespeare Mass’ where the performers attempt to outdo each other by quoting from Shakespeare texts in really outlandish costumes.The audience are really involved and clap when they do well and boo if they get it wrong. Amazing! The evening culminated in more contemporary Penang and Calypso style music. A very interesting glimpse into Carriacou traditions. 


Woe betide you if you forget your lines!

The Shakespeare dates from slave days. The slave owners would teach the slaves the Shakespeare and would have competitions between plantations. Even though harsh punishments were apparently meted out if they got it wrong, they have maintained the tradition. It is only here on Carricaou.

Local food was also available, cooked traditionally outside on open fires and BBQ of course.
Youthlin, who was also one of the dancers spoke to us afterwards. They are really pleased when non locals come. We asked her if this was a regular event and she said “Yes, every year, the last weekend in November.” Deadpan. So, definitely a note for your diary if you are here in November.

Sabrena - The next Beverly Knight?

The big event was to be a concert by Sabrena, a local Grenadian artiste at the ‘Off the Hook Bar’ on Paradise Beach. Sabrena was promoting her soon to be released 1st album of songs. Some were cover versions of popular blues/rock numbers and some material written by herself and her sister.These topical ballads described island life from a young woman’s view. The concert at the beach was enjoyed by locals and cruisers alike and we are really glad we were there. 

Kareoke in Levi's Bar, note the real musicians - You just have to join in!

Aside from the more formal events, we had the usual rounds of sundowners and visits to local bars and restaurants with other cruisers. We calculated there are about 22 establishments in Tyrell bay, but we have only managed to visit 14 of them so far! So you can see there is always something to do. As cruisers we are always meeting new and catching up with old friends.  ‘Euan Mara’ who had just crossed the Atlantic, their landfall was Carriacou, well done, and a nicer landfall you couldn’t get. ‘Infini’ who have almost completed their circumnavigation, ‘Crazy Diamond’ who probably have circumnavigated, having been to Australia by both the Pacific and Indian Oceans! We also caught up with ‘Mistress’ who we first met and last saw 2 years ago.

Just to dispel any thoughts that all we do is eat and drink, we also managed a few different excursions. We had a walk to another secluded bay for some good snorkelling. 

On 'Safari'!

The scenery looked very African – long straight grass, fences made from rough branches and barbed wire, goats wandering around and even a muddy waterhole. 

An Ideal spot for lunch in Hillsborough - after a hard mornings shopping!

Another day we walked all the way to Hillsborough along the sea shore. For quite a bit we had to scramble through thick mangroves and coming back to sea one time we saw a small lemon shark swimming in the shallows! 

Hiking through the mangroves

We scheduled a couple of dives

Bluebell tunicates - they really are this blue

A shy Trunkfish

 including a Lion fish hunt (where Richard bagged two), 

Got it!

had a weekend at Sandy island where the snorkelling was excellent

A French grunt in the shallows off Sandy island

 and visited the neighbouring islands of Petit Martinique and Petit St Vincent.

Anchored off Petit St Vincent

The latter is just an exclusive resort, yachties are welcome to use the beach bar but the island is private. At their prices they won’t be getting much of our business!

This Ferry picked up a mooring off Petit Martinique - no help just 2 on board!

Petit Martinique is quaint 

and very rural. 

If you think Carriacou is laid back, 

Not seeen much action lately!

Petit Martinique is horizontal!

The Anchorage in Petit Martinique

Finally with our injector delivery arranged we manage to head north. Richard’s daughter and her husband are coming to St Lucia in February for the school half term so we need to be there to meet them.