A Travellerspoint blog

April 17 in St. Maarten's Simpson Bay

The final leg to Tortola

Hi there. When last we left off we were anchored just off shore in a location to watch a wedding party in St Lucia. It turned out to be quite a party, complete with limbo dancers, acrobats, steel drum band, huge bonfire, dancing, tons of food - quite the party. And it turns out it wasn't the wedding reception, it was just the kick off party for the wedding weekend, with several other events to take place leading up to the actual wedding and reception. Now that couple knows how to throw a wedding. From there we went to Rodney Bay marina, a large popular anchorage with lots to see and do. They were busy dredging the inside of the lagoon area surrounding the marina and building some additional slips in order to become a large mega yacht marina. Just about every island is getting in on the mega yacht action and building or expanding existing marinas in order to service these giant boats. We hope they are increasing their fuel dock capacity as well because it is not uncommon for a normal sailboat to want to fuel up (around 50 gallons or so) only to find some mega yacht was there before them and has taken ALL the fuel (3,000 to 5,000 gallons). When that happens there may not be another fuel delivery for sometimes days or a week on some islands.

From St. Lucia it was on to Martinique. Anchored in St. Anne with friends and Le Marin. Le Marin is the largest yachting center in all the Caribbean islands. Lots and lots of boats, and lots of support services. Fell in love with a cat there and wanted to bring him home with me but research into the matter and common sense prevailed. Guess he'll just have to live on in my heart. From there we moved up island to a protected anchorage to sit out 4 days worth of unprecedented swells (like a wave but different) the size of which (12 - 18') had not been seen in the caribbean for 40 years. At least we were fairly close to one of our favorite places to eat - so we were able to placate our appetites if not our urge to keep traveling.

When the swell finally receeded we continued on our way to Dominica, where once again the weather locked us in for the better part of a week. Dominica is a gorgeous rain forest island so we took advantage of seeing some additional sites around the island. A hike through the Syndicate rain forest to Milton falls rewarded us a torrential rainfall. Pretty appropriate I suppose. The rain in these places is like taking a warm shower. We saw and heard some of the local endangered parrots(Sisserou and Red Necked) which live only in Dominica. This is part of a national park, and Teddy Roosevelt visited here and climbed one of the peaks just in order to see these parrots. They are now protected and are making a comeback. There are a large variety of huge and magnificent trees in this rain forest which have had to adapt their root systems to all the moisture. Some of them have buttress roots which are kind of like a sloping room divider that start maybe 8' up the tree and come off at sloping angles around the tree and form almost like separate rooms at the base of the tree. Hard to describe - look it up in the encyclopedia. And there are Gommier trees which are huge and straight and the Carib indians used (and still do) to carve into dug out canoes. It must have been something trying to cut one of those down before the days of chain saws.

March 31 arrived in Deshaies, Guadeloupe. A good place to practise your french if you know any. We had not planned to stay here more than a day, but the weather once again had something different in mind with 30+kts winds and 10 to 15' seas in the passages, so it looks like we will be here about a week. Guess there are worse places to be stuck, here we have cheap french wine, fresh baked bread (who doesn't look cool walking down the street with a long baguette sticking out of the day pack), good cheese, fresh fish caught daily and Pain o Chocolates - how bad can it be? We went grocery shopping yesterday at Carrefoure - a grocery store to end all grocery stores. The selection and amount of choices are mind boggling. You can literally spend hours in there grocery shopping - of course it helps if you read french. Just the cheese aisle is 2 blocks long. There's an entire area of fresh seafood, one huge area of fresh baked french pastries, several aisles of french (and other) wines), etc. And why stop at carrying just food and liquor when you can also sell clothes (including fancy french lingerie), and hardware and household goods and TV's and electronics, and CD's and DVD's, and - well you get the picture. And it's located in a shopping mall with all kinds of other shops also. You really could spend the day there.

Evening entertainment on the boat sometimes consists of watching DVD movies which one regularly swaps with other cruisers so one always has a fresh supply of new ones to watch. Last swap we acquired the entire 2nd season episodes of Boston Legal and Desperate Housewives. If you like those shows it's fun to be able to watch them all at once (or as many as you can stand in one sitting)with continuity and with no commercials. Hope to be heading for Antigua or Montserrat on Tuesday as the weather is supposed to break then with 10 to 15 kts winds and seas 5 to 7'.

Time to go work on boat projects. Keep the emails coming. We love to hear what's going on at home too.

All Ways H. and C.

N16 18.504 W061 47.808

Guadeloupe, April1
We are now is Deshaise, Guadeloupe and haven't been able to leave for Antigua as the winds have been gusting to 30+ kts and the seas are any where from 10 to 18' in the passages from the Atlantic. The anchorage is kind of crowded now as boats are coming from the south and can't go any further north waiting for the weather break. Every thing is quiet here though. Today Hether is cleaning the cockpit and polishing everything and I'm running cleaning solution through the water maker as the water started having a sulfur smell so the membrane had something going on with it. I'm supposed to let it soak for an hour and rinse it with fresh water and then try making water again to see if that took care of it or I may have to use an additional acid cleaner. We'll see. We plan on heading out tomorrow or Tuesday for either Montserrat or English Harbor, Antigua where Hether has some friends waiting. I hope to stop at Montserrat for one day ashore to see the volcano and the destruction it caused to the town. The anchorage is not supposed to be that great in North swells and we are having NE swells currently so we are trying to talk to the Port Authority on the VHF to find out if it is okay.

St. Maarten's Simpson Bay.
April 17, 2008 at Shrimpy's dockside Bar on the internet again.
We arrived here on Sunday from St. Barths. Made the move from English Harbor, Antigua on April 9 and headed west to Nevis and up to St. Kitts North to Gustavia, St. Barths. The sail was nice with fair winds and seas. The leeward side between Nevis and St. Kitts was great sailing and the passage north to St. Barths was also okay but long. We are now ready to leave for Virgin Gorde in the BVI's and then to haul out inTortola. So today I'm on the Skype phone trying to call the boatyard to make reservations but can't get anyone on the phone that can transfer me to the right person to confirm a slot in the the long term storage yard. "It's island time don't cha know". "No problem mon just call back in an hour".
We plan to leave Simpson Bay on Thursday about 0500 for the sail west to the Bitter End on Virgin Gorda about 78nm to the BVI's about a 10 or 11 hour trip withe following winds and seas.
More later, C&H on sv/'AllWays'

Posted by Sailtales 10:56 Comments (0)

SV'AllWays' on the move

Rodney Bay, St. Lucia

sunny 80 °F

The skipper's take:
We finally made our way out of Prickly Bay 24/2/08 and went around the tip of the island to the lagoon at St. George's. The next morning we sailed for Tyrell Bay, Carriacou . Tyrell Bay is a small protected shallow anchorage with a dry dock and a few beach restaurant bars and a haven for sailing cruisers. Next morning we went up to Hillsborough to check out of Grenada at customs and search for the various offices to complete the process. Customs is in one office across town from the imagration office and neither office personnel really knows where the other one is. You'd think they would have a map already printed out to show locations or landmarks as they don't have addresses. Anyway, they make it an adventure just trying to check out.
We left the Grenada islands 26/2/08 after anchoring off Petit St. Vincent and a short cross for Clifton, Union Island to check into the Grenadines and the Tabago Cays. There is a turtle refuge here and you can swim with the hawksbill turtles. They were around the boat as we anchored and when I swam on the anchor to check it's set there were two 3' turtles and a 4' stingray hanging around the spot. The cays are surrounded by a reef so the seas are calm but breezy.
The weather was changing for the worst so we pulled up and headed for Admirlty Bay in Bequia for protection from the winds which were gusting to 30kts. Met some old friends and gathered together for a crossing when the weather cleared to check out at customs in Wallilabou where the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' was shot and sets are still standing. Stayed there one night and at sunrise we let go of our mooring and headed north along the leeward side and prepare for the blast as we head into open ocean at the top of the island. It was a little rough for the first hour and then calmed down for the next 5 till we made our waypoint about 31nm at the Pitons.
We had a good crossing up to St. Lucia and stayed our three nights at the marine park on a mooring ball off Harmony Beach. The water here is so clear you can see right down to 30' and watch the fish swim past.
We are now in Rodney Bay and have just returned to the boat after going to the GIA grocery super market and replentished our stores. Tomorrow I need to go into the lagoon for fuel to get ready for the crossing to Lemarin, Martinique on the next weather window Wednesday the 12th.
The new 123 watt solar panel is suppling the much needed extra electricity to keep the batteries pumped up with help of the wind generator and our newly rebuilt depth guage is working great with new LCD screen. Now I can actually see the depth in large clear numbers as opposed to the faded screen that gave you a reading of ( "is that 15 ft or 5 ft"?) how wonderful.
More later, C&H
N14 04.464 W060 57.402 Rodney Bay, St. Lucia

Hether's take:
March 4,2008
We are currently on a mooring ball in at Malagre Tout (by Soufrere) St. Lucia and tied stern to a palm tree at the base of the Piton mountains in St. Lucia. We are surrounded by palm trees, and lovely clear turqoise water, and lovely tropical plants. Started the morning by hiking to the nearby natural hot water falls which comes down from the volcano. Lounged in the pools at the bottom of the falls. Then we caught a ride to the Ladera Resort and had a fabulous lunch at their Dasheen Restaurant. I had Caribbean chicken oriental with fresh ginger and cocoanut mashed potatoes, Chuck had fresh yellow fin tuna in a fresh lime curry sauce. Without a doubt the best meal and presentation so far and it wasn't that expensive compared to US. The resort is such a wonderful place. We'd like to stay there in a room one of these days. It's the perfect peaceful gorgeous relaxing (not to mention romantic) get away.
Upon returning back to our anchorage we found the beach restaurant by our boat is busy setting up for a wedding reception on the beach later today. Looks like there will be bar b cue and live music, a big beach bonfire, flowers and dancing on into the night (we hope not too far into the night). We are in the perfect spot to be voyeurs of all the goings on, about 100 yards off the beach. And Chuck was pleased to find a stack of green bamboo poles laying there in readiness for decorations and he was able to buy a 4' section perfect for making some more bamboo glasses for our house. Next to us is moored a giant mega yacht, with a cross training exercise machine mounted on the top deck outside. Yesterday the mistress of the yacht was up exercising as she watched the sunset and the green flash. If one must exercise I can't think of a better way to do it.
All systems on the boat seem to be up and running and functioning properly. There's always a few little somethings here and there, but it wouldn't really be 'cruisng' if there wasn't. Ask any cruiser who owns their own boat, there's always something needing attention. Our new solar panel seems to really be helping our electrical needs. Chuck was able to figure out a really simple and inexpensive way to mount it as opposed to the initial $1000 estimate we got for a stainless steel mount. Meanwhile I sewed up a splash guard for the side of the boat. We'll see how well they work. I also fashioned some clear vinyl rain curtains to hang down from the bimini if it's raining and thus be able to sit in our cockpit even if it's pouring. That would be nice. They're not sturdy enough to use while underway, but good enough to use in the anchorage I hope.
While we were in Grenada we watched the lunar eclipse which lasted 3 1/2 hours (we didn/t last that long). The night before that we saw the space shuttle zooming by like a fast moving star. That was pretty awesome. Once you know where and when to look, it's unmistakeable because it's up so high and it goes so fast. It was preceeded by a stunning sunset to the east of a lavendar sky with a wide band of white clouds sitting on the horizon and the full moon rising above them. Meanwhile the local radio station was playing all steel drum music. Not just your regular variety of steel drum music, but cover tunes of various artists. I must say, I've never heard Michael Jackson's ' Thriller' played on the steel drums.
After we left Grenada we fast tracked it here to St. Lucia, and didn't linger long anywhere. In the Tobago Cays we saw at least a dozen large sea turtles swimming around our boat before we could even finish anchoring. Chuck went overboard to check out the bottom of the boat and while down there he saw 2 turtles and a sting ray all observing his activities. Can't believe how many catamarans there out these days. They outnumber the monohauls and take up twice as much space in every anchorage. In Bequia we got stuck for a few days waiting on the weather, but ran into serveral boat buddies from last year and so had a nice rendezvous and several lovely hikes, including to the turtle sancuary.
March 7, 2008
Now in Rodney Bay, St. Lucia

Posted by Sailtales 01:42 Comments (0)

2008 sv/'AllWays'

Rodney Bay Marina, St. Lucia


Posted by Sailtales 13:56 Comments (0)

On the Hard at Spice Island

'AllWays' gets it back together again.

sunny 0 °F

We arrived back at Spice Island Marine in Grenada, West Indies on Feb 4 around midnight and climbed aboard. 'AllWays is in a dry boat storage area on stands and it is about 10' to the deck so going and coming is not easy at the moment. We will be putting the Doger and Bimini back up tomorrow to give us some shade and a place to relax between sun and rain. The whole boat needs a cleaning and polishing inside and out and reprovisioning for the next couple of days. Dingy inflation, outboard maintenance, oil changes, bottom paint if needed, checking everything electrical will be spent during the next week. Chip arrives tomorrow to help with the list of things that need to get done before we again splash in Prickley Bay and then anchor out and check everything before we actually do sea trials around the Feb 15. We then will change anchorages and move up the coast to get ready for the weather window to head for Carriacou and the Grenadines on our way north to Tortola for our last stop in May. More later. C&H

Posted by Sailtales 15:04 Archived in Grenada Tagged boating Comments (0)

(Entries 6 - 9 of 9) « Page 1 [2]