When I last wrote, we were picking coconuts on the island paradise of Petit Saint Vincent. A ton has happened since then and we have found another paradise.
The night before our planned departure, Grateful caught up with us and we had an impromtu mini-party on their boat. Even though we were tired the next morning, we departed Petit Saint Vincent bound for Hillsborrow so we could officially “Check-Out” of Grenada and head of to Union Island (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines). We put up our sails, but motored most of the way since the wind was too light for even Avanti to sail. We arrived at Hillsborrow only to find out it was Grenada Thanksgiving, damn. However we crossed our fingers and headed over to immigration hoping they would be open. We were elated to find out that they indeed were open. It took about 45 min between immigration and customs to process our “Check-Out” and then Bobby and I were off in search of the girls (we foolishly let them go shopping un-chaperoned). We found them as they were moving between the only 2 markets open in Hillsborrow. We coaxed them along as we had miles to make. However on the way back to the dinghy they somehow managed to disappear in search of new flip-flops for Jonah (he had a blow out). We sat in the dinghy roasting while we waited for them.
Eventually we got back to the boat and made ready to leave. The wind had decided to show up so I raised 1/2 the main sail on anchor. We made a terrible showing of trying to sail off anchor(the main got hooked up on the topping lift). Eventually we got our shit sorted and set a line to Clifton Union Island. I tossed out the fishing rod and settled in for an uneventful 2 hour sail over.
Avanti arrived 10 min before us and were already in the dinghy when we arrived. We quickly surveyed the anchorage looking for something less than 50ft to drop the hook (I don’t like anchoring deep). After motoring around I found a spot between a 62ft Lagoon and a mooring ball in about 30ft of water. Rhonda dropped the hook and played out 120ft of chain while I slowly backed down. Once we were hooked, I heard someone calling our name. I looked over and we were about 50ft from SeaSchelle (friends from Prickly Bay). Sage (their youngest daughter) was on the bow yelling for Daphnie and before I knew it, she dove in and swum over to our boat (gotta love cruising kids). Daph and Jonah were overboard the moment they seen Sage in the water. We just shook our heads and began prepping to head ashore and “Check-In” while the kids swam and dove off the boat. Once we got everything in order we threw 3 wet kids and one dry into the dinghy and motored over to SeaSchelle, where we dropped off Sage. Matt let me know that they planned to head to the same spot as us so we would see them later.
We motored over to town and tied up next to Avanti’s dinghy. We found the Avanti crew and Bobby informed me we would need to walk up to the airport to “Check-In” as immigration had gone there, damn a long hot walk. Since Immigration was on the way, we stopped by in hopes the immigration person had returned. Good news and bad news. The immigration person was indeed there, but they were right pissed that Bobby didn’t follow directions and walk up to the airport. After a little chastising, he agreed to process our papers. SVG is just converting to a digital process, but it wasn’t ready yet. Even though we had to do the manual process, the whole “Check-In” only took about 45 min for both boats. It was quite painless except for the $71EC ($35cdn) I was required to pay for a 1 month cruising permit.
With the painful part over, we quickly regrouped and planned out next step. The plan was to head up to Salt Whistle Bay on the Island of Mayreau (about an hour and a half away). At this point the wind had gone quite light but Grateful opted to pull their Spinnaker. Bobby and I opted to motor with our Genoa’s flying. Again, I threw the fishing line out and settled in for an uneventful motor sail. Upon arrival, we rounded the corner at the top of Mayreau and came into a picture perfect bay (albeit very crowded). The bay was stunning and is exactly what you would picture for a “Caribbean Paradise”. The boat boys quickly swarmed our boat asking if we needed everything from fish to a mooring ball. Once they realized we were not buying anything, they directed us to a good spot to anchor (they would rather point out a good spot then have you foul their mooring balls). We dropped anchor and prepared to enjoy paradise.
We spent the next 2 days, eating, drinking, snorkling, swimming and playing dominoes (alright I did some boat work and applied muriatic acid to our cockpit, yay white gelcoat again). Although the bay was busy with charter boats, it had a very cool charm that we loved and could have stayed forever. However, Grateful had a guest aboard and was on a little bit of a schedule so we planned to pull anchor and head to Tabago Cays on the third morning. After Tabago Cays, Gateful would head off to Tabago and Trinidad (about 90miles south) and Avanti and Party of Five would continue exploring the Grenadines. Unfortunately that plan would not come to pass!
The next morning when we tried to start our Starboard motor, we were greeted with silence. My repair on the starter motor had failed, crap, crap, triple crap! Rhonda informed the armada while I set about taking the starter off the motor once again. Grateful and Avanti continued to the Tobago Cays with promises of meeting up in the future. I will spare all the technical details except to say that my original repair was good except I overlooked one thing. You see the wire that Bobby bent back on the commutator had again lifted and smashed the new brushes, I should have epoxied it back down. So I assessed the damage and determined I could fix it again if I could find some brushes. This post is long enough, so I will keep it short and say I did indeed find some brushes out of an old tractor starter that I cobbleMcJammed into our starter. Unfortunately the repair delayed us 2 days as I had to wait for the JB Weld to cure before I could reinstall the starter.
In hindsight, it turned out to be wonderfully fortuitous as we got to explore the paradise that is Mayreau. Even better, later that day our friends on Syrena entered the bay so we weren’t alone.
After my work on the starter was complete (waiting for JB to kick). We went to the beach with Chris, Catherine, William and Amalie (Syrena crew) and spent the afternoon drinking beer, eating sardines and just enjoying the spectacular day. That night Syrena came back to our boat and we taught them Dominoes. The buggers are a quick study and beat us, bastards!
The next day we called Syrena early in the morning with plans to walk up the BIG hill and drink in the view of the Tabago Cays, then explore the little town on the other side of the hill. They loved the idea and we were soon tying our dinghy on the beach and headed up the road. It was a steep HOT walk to the top, but worth every drop of sweat. Once at the top there is a small Catholic church with a lookout deck behind it. Let just say that words cannot even come close to describing the beauty. It was a truly stunning view with what seemed like endless visibility. The big island of Saint Vincent was clearly visible 35 miles away.
We eventually tore ourselves away from the stunning vistas and began the descent down the backside of the hill into the town. It’s a wonderfully quaint town full of small shops, restaurants, and more fantastic views. We found a nice little grocery store and stopped to look around. Turns out the proprietor used to live in Canada (Toronto) so had a lovely talk about Canada and SVG. The “Kids Bombs” eventually went off and we needed to move again. Since the grocery store was at the bottom of the hill we had no choice but to turn around and head back up. Another HOT AND SWEATY walk (you could have wrung my shirt out). As we were descending back into Salt Whistle Bay we were commenting on the really cool resort at the north end of the beach that was currently closed. All these awesome facilities were just sitting unused waiting for the resort to re-open (at the end of Nov). This got us thinking and Chris and I hatched a plan. Those facilities were the perfect place for a beach Bar-B-Q.
Back to the boats for school time, with a plan to meet on the beach and have a Bar-B-Q at 5pm. Rhonda and the kids got to work on school and I started the job of servicing our furler winch. Time flew by and before we knew it, it was 4:30pm and time to pack up. We piled everything in the dinghy and headed ashore. Upon arriving, the facilities were even better than we imagined. There were stone tables with palapas sitting right on the beach. Behind them was a bar (empty of course) with a small circular dance floor. We began setting up when a worker spotted us and came over (I knew this was too good to be true). He asked how we liked the facilities and to make sure we cleaned up. He even went and turned the lights on for us and then told us to enjoy. So now picture this, as the sun sets, we have setup our Bar-B-Q on one palapa and our plates, cutlery and appetizers on the next one. We have chosen the 2 palapas closest to the beach and behind us is 20 other palapas all lite up. We have somehow stumbled onto another resort that people pay 1000s to stay and dine at, and here we are with the entire place to ourselves. Really I can’t make this stuff up!
After a wonderful dinner we retired to Syrena for more sundowners and a rematch of dominoes (Rhonda whopped butt with a score of 30). I really can’t think of a more perfect day!
Stay tuned to find out if my frankenstarter was able to kick our Volvo over so we could search for another paradise!
(p.s. If you click on the pictures they will open in full resolution)
We were accompanies by my posse of bitches
Ok, Petit Saint Vincent is the darker small island directly below the arrow. The arrow is actually pointing at the top of Petit Martinique.
Coconuts for desert. Catherine made caramel sauce for dipping, yum yum. I’m using a hammer as my machete broke in half. No worries, a claw hammer works better and is much safer!