Arrival December 2010
The Windward Islands are called such because they were more windward to sailing ships arriving in the New World than the Leeward Islands, given that the prevailing trade winds in the West Indies blow east to west. The trans-Atlantic currents and winds that provided the fastest route across the ocean brought these ships to the rough dividing line between the Windward and Leeward islands.
5 May 2011
Slowly moving South, out of the hurricane belt. We arrived in Bequia, St. Vincent and are heading towards The Grenadines. Still have not made up our mind where we will leave the boat for the hurricane season, now it looks like Trinidad or Curacao, Grenada appears to be booked. We are getting more comfortable with the handling of the boat and the recommended reefing chart is not always adhered to. No, we are not taking bigger risks, its just that we know the boat a bit better now. Haven´t flown a hull yet, god forbid. So, we had quite a few "fast" passages between the Islands with speeds of 7 - 9 knots.
The temperatures are rising, it is even for us former desert residence now very hot and most days are sticky humid. I have moved out of our shared cabin for a couple of days to sleep in the other hull with more ventilation. Was not a big difference, moved back last night to sleep with my Ducky again, much better.
Coming from Schoelcher in Martinique, we caught at Diamond Rock a Wahoo, 9 kg beautiful specimen, gave us a bit of a fight, although the trick with Rum seems to pacify even the biggest. We gave our Italian neighbors a lot and salted some, tomorrow I will try to make Fish cakes from the by now mature filets. Our friends from St. Lucia came for repairs to Martinique and we could finally hand over the 40 kg Rocna anchor which we bought weeks ago in St. Maarten for them. Boat feels much lighter now.
Closing the milkround in St. Lucia, where it all started after our Atlantic crossing, now almost 7 months ago. In St. Lucia we had another fuel dock disaster, the guy through our lines and cast us off at the bow which predicted our direction with the wind turning us as well, we were not quite prepared for this and as usual there was another boat parked, we did not make it and our side was scratched and one stanchion bent...grrh..well, next time we know better.
We had one night near the Pitons, stern-to on a mooring buy, just bliss, being so close to the trees and hearing the birds. The water is crystal clear and snorkeling good fun. Unfortunately around 6 pm funny soap bubbles came streaming down our way and a very distinct smell of sewer, must be the outlet from Sufriere. Did not enjoy my morning swim as much after that. Our crossing to Bequia was 10 hours, averaging 6,5 knots, very comfy.
25 May 2011
Mystique, the temporary home of my favorite painter Stefan Szczesny.
He married his wife Eva here in 1999 and was inspired by the colors of Mystique. We did not encounter a single painting or sculpture of him, just found his books in the local library. Not only are the colors very special, Mystique is a privately owned island and managed by a company representing the residences of people like Mike Jagger, David Bowie, you name it. Sustainability is taken serious, part of the island is a big conservation area and all the sea around Mystique is protected. You can not just put your anchor out, you have to use the mooring buoys, which you can only use for 3 days for a fee of $ 75.-. The water is so crystal clear and looking out of our escape hutches, feels like living in an aquarium, we jump off the boat with our snorkels and soon clouds of fish swim with us, no need to motor to a nearby reef.
Mystique has plenty of shaded hikes, which we enjoyed greatly. The conservation area and the wetland are especially worth visiting. Otherwise you walk along little lanes with impressive entrance portals and you wonder which celebrity might live here. There are only small cars allowed, most people have golf buggies, which are called mules here, roads are clean, shady and narrow. Tourism is not encouraged, just a healthy balance to sustain the beauty of the island.
We went to the world famous Basil´s Bar, where you supposedly can rub shoulders with celebrities, lots of pictures and newspaper snippets there to proof it, we only saw more staff than guests. Never realized how short the season in the Caribbean is.
Conch conch conch...always wanted a lovely conch shell, to look at and to blow when dinner is ready, here we found heaps and heaps of shells. None of them were worth taking, looked rather unattractive. We watch the men taking the meat out of the shells, quickly drill a hole and poke a wire in, the conch is on a string. Where do they find so many? When we snorkel, you sometimes see one or two?
We came across this modern purpose built fishing village walking along Canouans coast. Log cabins for the fishermen, an office building and big refrigeration storage. A plague at the entrance of the complex told us that the Japanese Government is founding the village. Canouan is one of the seven Caribbean Islands receiving aid from Japan purely for the fishing industry. So, what does that mean? Traditionally the Islanders fish for their own consumption approximately 12nm around the Islands, with Japanese aid large fishing vessels were bought, which means higher yields for export..ah! And who loves eating a lot of fish and has very little? And certainly no fishing vessel of your partners will be turned away.
Aid is a very controversy topic. Canouan is very green and hilly, the vegetables come from St. Vincent, I asked the guy at the market stall, he said nothing grows here. I think he really believed it as well. Most of the Islanders live from the big hotel "Raffles", tourism is easier earned money than digging a garden, I guess. There is no bakery on the Island either, the American style factory bread comes with a ferry. .
19 November 2011
We are sailing, we are sailing...! With the Hurricane season almost at an end, we are underway at last! Our holiday from cruising has come to an end. We had wonderful 3 months in Germany, putting on some weight from getting spoiled and being far too lazy while Aluna lay idle in Port Lois putting on barnacles and seagrass. Then, we had a fantastic time in Grenada, the live aboard cruising community is large and very active, one event chased the other. I liked especially the aqua fitness in the morning, the potlucks and outings, highlights were the pig roast and of course the Halloween party, too much fun! Still, Richard managed to get all the jobs done in time while on dock in Port Lois and we are looking forward to the new season and new adventures for our second year of cruising.
Today is the official start of the ARC (Atlantic Ralley Crossing of 250 boats) from Las Palmas to St. Lucia. Exactly a year ago we were still shopping in Las Palmas for our Atlantic crossing, now we have done our last provisioning for our journey westwards, since we are leaving the Southeast Caribbean for the Spanish speaking Southwest of the Caribbean.
We are sailing with a clean bottom and polished propellers, all the barnacles have been scraped off by the friendly boys of Grenada Marine. The antifouling is now blue, black was not available in the end. The gurgling at night has totally stopped, which is wonderful.
25 November 2011
Arrived yesterday in a heavy squall in Carriacou, had to put on our foul weather gear, well I did, Richard kept hiding in the salon, I helmed to the mooring, Richard put his swimming trunks on and made a quick dash for the mooring lines. Luckily we knew the area, otherwise we would have had to wait until visibility would be better.
It took us 6 ½ hours from Prickley Bay to Sandy Islands Mooring Buoys. Supposed to be our "shake down sail" for the start of the new sailing season. Gosh, we had forgotten so many little things, like, how do you reef? Well, we were a bit rusty and remembered, haha.. We had the wind on the nose and could only put the sails up for a short time anyhow it was good training, we motored almost the whole stretch. The water here is crystal clear, quite a change to Grenada anchorages, and lots of boats are moored around us. Last time we moored here, it was just us and one other boat, but now most Americans and Canadians are moving up North and even the charter business has already started.
One charter boat crew kept singing late at night, we were already in bed. What is late for a cruiser? Like most cruisers we tend to go to bed around nine (cruisers midnight) and get up between 6 and 7 in the morning. Call it energy conservation, not wanting to drain the batteries too much or living in sync with nature and being more attune with ones body rhythm or getting tired easily while reading your kindle in the dark and walking around with a head flash light, solar powered ones of course? Only on the rare occasion do we sleep through the night, cruisers sleep in a drum, every raindrop is another beat on the drum, water is gurgling and lapping around the boat, the lines of the anchor might creek, well, I can tell you it is a hard live this cruising live I only sleep with earplugs, some of the other cruisers try to get a good quota at happy hour, which has the opposite effect on me. And after all this you wake up and you think, good god! Another day in paradise!
Today, we have a skippers meeting with our sail buddies "Good2go" and "Wakaya", how we are going to tackle the trip to "Los Roques" and how to avoid the Venezuelan pirates and coast guards (maybe same thing...??)