Friday, 20 June 2014

The Grenadines

We decided to leave Soufriere at around midnight and sail directly to Bequia sailing past St.Vincent ...it's difficult St.Vincent has a pretty poor press regarding security and also the anchorages that you have to go in to check in are not that good so with that in mind we sailed straight to Bequia in the Grenadines.We arrived on Sunday and decided not to check in until Monday trying to avoid the overtime charges but that kind of back fired on us as the Monday was a public holiday! Bequia has lots of street traders where you can get local fruit and veg and a couple of supermarkets. The people are very friendly and helpful. Now it is out of season it is quiet.
The wind did blow all the time we were there making the anchorage a bit rolly. We have an anchor watch app that we use when at anchor in these conditions that tells us if we are dragging anchor with some nice loud music so that John can hear it as well as me! We met Jo and Stewart on Seabreeze who told us of their experience in Mindelo, the Cape Verdes, where the local ferry reversed into them and dis masted them they were there for 11 months getting it fixed. Made our difficulties with the mast step seem like small fry! Jo has a lovely house in Bequia and invited us for lunch... The view was great and we had a good time. We hope to bump into Jo and Stewart further down the line as they are doing the same as us but have now been delayed by the London Passport Office who have taken over three months renewing Stewarts passport and still no sign! An even longer wait than us for our cards.
We left Bequia after a few days and anchored in Saline Bay having tried to anchor in Salt Whistle Bay but deciding against it as the wind was blowing agin making it rolly and when you are surrounded by reefs it can be a little disconcerting even though you're sure the anchor is well in. But we did buy two super fresh red snapper from a local fisherman who scaled and gutted them as well all for a fiver ... That was dinner sorted!



It had been our intention to move on from Saline Bay to Tobago Cays but the wind was blowing hard on the nose and we decided that we would leave that until next year and move onto Union Island where we could check out of St Vincent. The anchorage in Union Island is stunning but a bit scary with a horseshoe reef in the middle and reefs either side. Our forward seeking depth sounder is coming into its own here and I would not be without it!

 Union Island seemed a good place we had lunch at a place called Big Citi two jerk chicken and mango salads plus four beers for £16 you can't complain about that and the food was delicious! The only down side was when we arrived there was a German talking very loudly into his phone and when we left over an hour later he was still bellowing into it! John being John could not resist and went over to him as we left and asked him to talk a little louder as people below the restaurant could not hear him..... The girls serving sniggered trying hard not to laugh they knew exactly what John meant! Some people just have no idea how inconsiderate they are!

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

St.Lucia

We had a good sail to Saint Lucia. In fact we sailed all the way in to Rodney Bay Harbour a very wide anchorage which was surprisingly free of boats. Put the yellow flag up and decided we would wait till morning to check it. John went into customs the next morning,it was blowing quite hard again and by the time he got onto dry land in the marina he was soaked. Our small dinghy has no keel and in any sort of wind it is a bugger to steer....John had a few attempts to get anywhere close to the dinghy dock and those having a morning coffee in one of the caf├ęs were treated to some early morning entertainment! At customs John was behind a local who was having a conversation with the customs officer about the mango season. ' it's not like the old times' he said 'when your mum would purge you before the season with senna and then again at the end of season as well!' The customs guy smiled at John and said ...' We don't do that now' Phew that's a relief!!
Back at the boat we met Gregory the local fruit and veg man who visits the boats in his boat which is like nothing you've ever seen before! It is stuffed full of fruit and veg and the roof has branches of trees that promise protection from the sun. It is so low in the water I thought he was bound to sink! I gave Gregory a list of what I wanted the following day and he was there efficient and effective!
We stayed at Rodney Bay for a few days it is a big wide anchorage but the place itself is all centred around the marina and a few all inclusive hotels ...lacking in a bit of character. When we were coming into the Bay we heard a conversation between a boat .. Nightwatch .. and what sounded like the coastguard. They had lost power as the alternator had broken and could not sail as they had managed to pick up a net around the prop. We were three hours out at the time and too far away to offer assistance but we told those on board that we would monitor them and if they needed help when we got there we would offer it. We were the only ones that did and whilst Ralph and Mary on board Nightwatch managed to cut free the net and sail in it was disappointing that no one else offered them help.
We caught up with them  the next day and took them for a beer. They managed to sort out their problems and were very grateful for our offer of help. I would like to think that if we needed help other yachties would help .
 

                                            Gregory the fruit and veg man

We sailed onto the Pitons after four days in Rodney Bay. These are very impressive rocks that tower over the anchorage in Soufriere. It is a marine park and so you have to pick up a mooring buoy. Inevitably a boat boy came out to meet us and assist and he originally took us over to the side of the Bay where the bat caves are. It is quite secluded and you are very close to the shore we asked him to take us over the other side of the Bay closer to the Pitons. Both John and I were a little apprehensive about security in Soufriere the moorings are monitored by the SMMA and if you have any problems you are meant to  call them up on Channel 16 but I have my doubts.
We asked Claude the boat boy to take us ashore the next to save us taking the dinghy and we had a good meal at the Hummingbird Restaurant on the beach. The people in the village seemed friendly enough and slowly I began to feel more at ease but we decided to sail overnight to Bequia and let slip our lines at midnight that evening.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Dominica

We arrived in Prince Rupert Bay in the north of Dominica. It's a big Bay that is littered by buoys that are monitored by PAYS (Portsmouth Association of Yacht Security) they look after the buoys and your dinghy as you go ashore. Very helpful guys. We were met by Albert who told us about the trips that were available up the Indian River this is something that we will definitely do next year when we return. We dropped anchor outside The Purple Turtle a bar run by a delightful lady ...Patrica. She introduced us to Kubuli the local beer which she told us was brewed with spring water. Not sure if she was swinging us a yarn or not but it tasted ok!
As we dropped anchor an American popped up from his cockpit and with a face that resembled a bulldog who had swallowed a wasp told me  ( I was on anchor drop) we swing 360 degrees here you know keep away ..... We were miles away but moved away even further ... Some people just don't know how to enjoy themselves!
We walked to the other side of town to check in ...no problems there and you are able to clear out at the same time if staying for less than a fortnight.
We moved on Roseau in the South the next day where we were met by Pancho. He helped us with our mooring and also gave us a lift ashore in the evening. We went for a meal in a little restaurant on the sea front where the owner Decima gave a varied menu of chicken,chicken or chicken .... We opted for chicken. While we were there John happened to notice that there were a group of guys at the bar drinking Guiness...He was asking them about it and they were from the Kubuli brewery where they also brewed Guiness under license. They were really friendly guys who bought us a drink to show us just how good it is. John did reciprocate and got chatting to them about proper Guiness .... Our friend Sean from Ireland would have loved it


We loved the little bit of Dominica we did see it is a very green island with 365 rivers one for every day of the year apparently.the tropical rainforest looked like something from Jurrasic Park. We will be back.