Monday, 27 April 2015

Turtle Rescue!

I have been an Open Water Diver for nearly a year now but I have to admit I have not been diving since being certified. John is always trying to persuade me to go diving but there really were no opportunities in South America and I really didn't fancy it in Trinidad but John being John he mentioned it to Ted. Ted is Texan we have become friendly with here in Prickly Bay, he lives on his boat Aurora and loves to dive. Saturday evening he called us on the VHF to ask me if I wanted to go diving the next morning over to the  Underwater Sculpture Park and then onto Flamingo Bay. It was an  opportunity I would have been foolish to miss. Up bright and early on Sunday John dropped me off at ScubaTech and it was with some trepidation, I have to admit ,that I kitted out ready to go diving again. Ted and I were joined by James, currently living in Canada and anxious to dive the Sculpture Park, Eveline, the owner of ScubaTech and Akki (Sorry if I've spelt that wrong) , who is a dive instructor but also drives the Dive Boat. 
As the Boat made its way to the Sculpture Park I noticed something in the water. We weren't sure at first what it was could it be a Turtle or perhaps a small whale? As we got closer we realised that it was a Leatherback Turtle that had got herself completely tied up in a fishermans net and she was desperately struggling to swim and breathe. She must have been over 2 metres and Akki's suggestion that we bring her onto the boat to cut off the net was well intentioned as she weighed probably half a ton or more it was not going to happen! So Eveline and Ted quickly got into their wet suits put on their snorkels and armed with diving knives went into the water to rescue her. James not having a knife went in as well to take some photos. 

                                  No easy task cutting away fishing nets off a Leatherback!

I stayed with Akki on board as I really did not think I was a strong enough swimmer and the guys did not want me getting into difficulty along with the turtle! 
It was a struggle for Eveline and Ted, the nets were made of nylon which proved to be a mother to cut and the net was well and truly wrapped around the poor turtle who was flailing around in the water desperate for air. However the guys were not going to be beaten and despite the Turtle packing a punch with her flailing flippers and at one time going down with her as she submerged the water, they managed to free off all the net from fear flippers and head. As soon as she realised she was free she was off!  She did have some of the net still attached to her but she was swimming freely and I truly hope she makes it. It was exhausting watching the guys at work and they were working on the Turtle for a good 40 minutes or so and I am glad all their efforts were rewarded. 

                                           The net had well and truly caught up the Turtle

With everyone back on the Dive Boat we went off to the Underwater Sculpture Park. The water was crystal clear and I had a great dive ....despite my misgivings I really enjoyed it 
What a morning it had turned out to be! 

Monday, 20 April 2015

Rum, Tours and another dinghy donut ride!

Our friends Sue and Gig arrived from Port Sunlight for two weeks holiday and we were determined to give them a good time....well they have just left and now we need a holiday!!
Joking aside we started with an Island tour with Cutty...a full day tour when taking in the nutmeg factory, the chocolate factory, with as much sampling as you liked though they were all out of the nutmeg chocolate and the Rivers rum factory. The Rum factory employs around 90 workers and the Rum is not exported but all of it goes for local consumption. It is 85% proof and definitely not for the faint hearted the only way to drink it is ' straight down the hatch' it NOT a sipping rum....well not if you value your throat and the ability to be able to speak! The factory is a Health and Safety Officers idea of a nightmare with boiling sugar cane, open fires and cracked chimneys but a fascinating place and I would say a must visit for any visitors.

The guide was excellent, clear, informative and with a sense of humour. All along the island tour Cutty stopped and took samples from trees and bushes.....cashew nuts, cocoa pods,star fruit and lemongrass to name but a few.

We stopped at Gouyave for a trip around the nutmeg factory which again was very good and we returned to Gouyave one Friday night for Fish Fryday. Before we went through the narrow streets to sample the local fish and veg we stopped at the Rum Shop, john and I have done this trip before and the same guys were sat in the corner slapping down their draughts and enjoying their Friday night out. The owner of the shop is a friendly chap who said he remembered us from John's trademark hat so with a bottle of Clarks Courts finest and assorted mixers inside us we left to join the music and get some food down us. The pan band was good and there was much dancing in the street!
Having won the Trivia again we were able to offer Sue and Gig the experience of a dinghy donut ride. This was very different from our last one....well for one thing it didn't run out of fuel and we didn't have to attach ourselves to other boats but it was so much more fun!! Our trivia team this time consisted of the remaining Brits and a contingent of North Americans who were able to tell us who the US bought the USVIs from whilst we knew Elton John's original name ....what a team!

This time on our Donut ride we took a handheld and stopped off at the fuel Quay to make sure we had enough fuel. Ted off of the yacht Auroura took the helm and what a fine helmsman he was.....pointing out the positions of all the wrecks in the Bay, executing 360 degree spins with expert precision and his 'piece de resistance' surfing down the waves in front of the reef!! Some of us on the wrong side (?? If there is such a thing in a round dinghy!) of the dinghy got a little damp but everyone had a great time even Gig who cannot swim!!
It has been an eventful fortnight and I think the guys enjoyed John and I must get Orion ready to leave and the journey West many of our new found friends are already through the Canal and we shall make our way slowly that way over the coming months but we shall be sorry to leave the Eastern Carribean we have enjoyed our time here made lots of friends and had a blast is a great place to sail!

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Dinghy Donut Disaster!

Big Bingo

There are several social events that we have enjoyed in Grenada... We have enjoyed the Trivia nights and had varying degrees of success. A couple of weeks back we won a ticket to Big Bingo and never having been but having heard a lot about it we decided to use the ticket and go with our friends Ian and Trish off of Sanctuary. We had a good time and Bingo at Prickly Bay is a little different to that back in the UK. The prizes can vary from a goat, a cow or a pig to a raffle prize where if you are really unlucky you can win a toilet seat, a pregnancy test and a pack of condoms!! The place is packed with a combination of locals, University students and yachties...They also have a dance off if two people should happen to call a line at the same time. This is good fun and it is suprising how even the most shy of characters will shake their booty when faced with the possibility of winning big money. When we went there were no livestock prizes but the jackpot was not to be sneezed at at...800ec and guess what ??.... Trish won!! Not only the jackpot but two diagonal lines ( a cross ) which was worth six beers and a pizza! Wouldn't like to do it every week but it was good fun. I should also add that should a yachtie win a cow or any other livestock on offer they have the option of trading it in for the commensurate amount of folding stuff, which many have in fact done in the past.
                             Grenada the Isle of many can you name?

The Dinghy Donut Ride
It just so happens that this week we won the Trivia and our prize was a two hour ride on the dinghy donut ride with a case of beer and three pizzas. There were seven in our team and we met on the dock ready to throw the beer over the ice in the central bucket and cast of for a leisurely trip around the Bay. The outboard engine started and we set off cracking the beer open and sharing the Pizza out we went chugging around the Bay. I have to say the engine sounded a little tired and there was quite a stiff breeze blowing us out the Bay but .. no problem everything was under control.we had been in the dinghy for around 30 minutes when the engine died and despite John and Terry's best efforts it became obvious that there was a problem. On further investigation we found the answer to the problem was simple....No fuel!! As we glided past Orion1 on our way to Colombia we shouted to our neighbours, a very pleasant French guy called Jacques with very little English,however, he understood that we needed a bit of help and with the assistance of another dinghy he managed to get us a line and attach us to his boat! He then gave John a lift to Orion to get the handheld (advice for anyone else winning this ride....along with a bottle opener for the beers take a handheld VHF... just as useful!!). We contacted the Marina who sent out a rib with more fuel and at one point whilst we filled the tank Jacques had two dinghies hanging off his stern. The Marina operative did tell us that he had forgotten to fill the the tank further advice for future winners....check the fuel as well! Well we were beginning to lose our confidence in the Donuts ability to get us back to the dock so we asked the Marina dinghy to follow us which was fortunate as the engine, an Enduro outboard, had endured enough it seemed and would only run if under full throttle anything less it sputtered and died. Were we down hearted of course not we still had 10 beers and a Pizza to finish so we drove at full speed back to the dock and finished the rest off there tied to the Dock! 
Kieran the Marina Supervisor was very apologetic and relieved that we were all still smiling and laughing. I asked him if he was trying to turn the prize into some sort of extreme sport! We enjoyed ourselves though I think if we win the Trivia again I might donate the prize back
I should also mention Johns 'Delboy' moment trying to look cool sitting down on a seat that wasn't there and that was before any alcohol had been taken!! Laughs all around with that one!

Cruisers for Cancer

Hope on Starshine organised a fundraising dominoes session which was a big success raising over 2000ec that went directly towards Cancer Care on the Island. There was a raffle with great prizes....I won a haircut at a local hairdressers which is great because it's just what I need!