A Fantastic Sail… and a Fish!

 

Since deciding to head directly to Grenada, we also decided to get away from Martinique as early as possible. However since it was a spur of the moment thing, 9:30am was the earliest we could pop the anchor.

 

We motored out of Grande Anse bay (look for it on Google maps) and set the lay line for the middle of St. Lucia. My plan was to hug the islands to take advantage of the lee and have the flattest sail possible (remember, puking kids is no bueno). Not to mention we didn’t want to be blown off and end up in Venezuela. I understand things are seriously shitty there these days. After clearing Martinique, the winds were blowing 15 knots just aft of the beam (the beam is the center of our boat between the front and stern, just aft of the beam is on our side, but slightly to the rear). This is where Party of Five lights up and start tugging at the reins. Of course we pulled up a reefed main (remember the kids, lets not push it) and a full Genoa. We spun her back on the lay line (we need to turn into the wind to raise the main) and she shuddered while capturing the wind and then took off. Yee haw, 8.5 knots after we shut the motors down. Time to throw out the fishing lines.

 

Not 30 minutes after throwing out the lines we had a hit on the rod. Shit, we were flying at 8.5 knots and I didn’t want to bother slowing. I began reeling like a mad man and the fish quickly popped to the surface and began skipping. Hah, not much sport, but who cares I was looking for a meal, not a fight. We pulled the fish aboard and I was unsure what we actually caught. I had seen pictures of this exact fish, but I just couldn’t remember what it was. Oh well, the filleting knife came out and I decided to throw it in the freezer till we could identify it (spoiler.. It made the most amazing Sashimi that I have ever ate. Seriously).

 

After the fish we focused on sailing and adjusting course so we wouldn’t end up in previously mentioned shitty Venezuela. The day blew by and soon the sun was beginning to set. At this point we were around St. Vincent and could see the Grenadines ahead. We could see small squalls rolling over these island and made the decision to furl the jib, deep reef the main and run under motor sail. I can hear my traditionalist sailing friends groan, but with kids aboard and both Rhonda and me being nervous sailors it was what felt safest. After setting up the sails, we ate dinner and put the kids to bed. Then it was couple of games of crib before our watches began (I took the 8-10 watch). The night passed uneventfully as Rhonda and I rotated on watch every 2 hours.

 

The wind freshened with the sunrise but stayed constant at 19-22 knots (hello trade winds).  We adjusted course and the wind swung more aft. It was blowing 22 on our reefed main well aft of the beam and we were scooting at 8.5 knots (on just a fully reefed main). I couldn’t wait to furl the Genoa but Rhonda was sleeping and she has a “thing” for me messing with sails while she sleeps. I waited.. After she awoke we pulled the Genoa 1/3 out and I watched our speed climb into the 9s. At one point I watched a burst of 10.2 with a sustained speed of 9.7 for about 30 min. Personally I was impressed we could make that kind of speed loaded for cruising with a family of five. I so love downwind sailing in the lee of islands, fast and smooth.

 

Of course the flat seas never last when its blowing like that. As we dropped out of the Grenadines and got south of Carriacou the seas became very confused and rough. I was pretty sure it would smooth out once we got behind Ronde Island even though we had to sail fairly far offshore to avoid the active underwater volcano called Kick em Jenny. No really, sometimes I couldn’t even make this shit up. We actually sailed past an active underwater volcano named “Kick em Jenny” (coolest volcano name ever, say it in a Forrest Gump voice). We needed to stay away in case it releases gas it can reduce buoyancy and lead to a sinking. Ya, really!

 

Anyway.. I was right, and as we got in the lee of Ronde the seas flattened again and we were again scooting. Unfortunately, the scooting didn’t last long as once we passed into the lee of Grenada the wind faltered, then went completely flat. I did what I could to eek every knot out, but eventually gave up and fired a motor. Even then, I still had the sails up hoping it would fill in. Eventually I got tired of the flapping Genoa and pulled her in. We motor “sailed” the rest of the way down Grenada. When the moment finally came to begin turning east along the bottom of Grenada and head towards Prickly Bay, I knew we had finally made it.

 

Although I was inspired to write a post after arriving, it doesn’t really capture the moment. That moment when you achieve something much larger than you. A trip, an adventure, a dream that you know you may not be able to top…. EVER… You feel empty and full in the same moment…

 

 

 

This has become a crazy tradition on Party of Five, haircuts on passages. A little crazy as the boat bounces along and we try not to cut someone’s ear off!

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My ears are at risk too!

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Finally, I thought the eastern Caribbean didn’t have any fish. (later identified as an Almaco Jack). A note to other fisherman, I have given up on the Vodka on the gills trick. It works, but much easier to just smack em in the head with a crescent wrench (Ukrainian socket set). A well placed smack (on the top, right behind the eyes) results in a small flop and then never moving again!

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Well slap my ass, its Grenada… WAIT let me check the charts, it better not be Venezuela!

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I really wanted to pass them bare assed blaring Eye of the Tiger as Nate does (www.thenomadtrip.com) , but we stayed out front the whole time. We sure were glad to see Last Tango round the corner and enter the bay. It would have been inappropriate to do the bare assed eye of the tiger thing in a bay packed full of boats.

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Fish identified. Slight ciguatera risk, but listed as one of the best eating fish you can catch.  It was small so the risk was almost non-existent so we sashimi that bugger. Look at the bowl, first piece soaking in the wassabe-soy.

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It really was that good.. I think my face stayed like that for 5 min!

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