Monday, January 27, 2014

Back in Bequia with Macdonalds

Lots to talk about...

After dropping the Keys we waffled about going into town and looking around - but in our case the best decision is often no decision.  So we hung around and then turned around back to Bequia.  Spent a nice couple of days doing little jobs and errands.  Ran into Richard and Jan on Morpheus and had a reunion in the grocery store.

Daffodil Services

Watch Glen create another diesel spill and wipe out another species
On Wednesday we zipped back the 8 miles to Young Island Cut.  Calvin (Kalvin, Kelvin, Celvin?) made it clear that it would be better if he brought Don and Pat to the boat - and of course tip-wise for him it was much better that way.  So Don and Pat were delivered and we enjoyed beers and a nice lunch prepared by Chief Cook Pam.

Forgot their names...
Boat gifts
After lunch we set out with a fully loaded Grande Heffe purse to the grocery store to load up for our trip back south.  Spent most of it on significant numbers of Diet Cokes for Don.

Had a lovely tour of St. Vincent the next day with our guide Christopher.  (Annoyingly, Glen kept calling him Chris although he emphatically introduced himself as Christopher.)  We were quite impressed with the agriculture.  In Grenada the crops seem to be intermingled but in St. Vincent there are discrete plots of bananas, coconuts, callaloo, etc.  It seemed much more organized in St. Vincent. Some of the roads were quite spectacular - 2 feet over the wrong way and you are over a cliff - first bounce at about 500 feet.  Don wore a blindfold for most of the trip.

We are conflicted about St. Vincent.  We had a lovely time, met lovely people and yet we are told that St. Vincent is to be avoided.  And this is from fellow SVGians on Bequia.  We met a sweet family at a restaurant - Mom, Dad, two beautiful little girls.  They initiated a conversation over the restaurant tables and were very interested in Canada.  They own a local bakery and we told them we would visit them when we were provisioning.  So, after our tour we stopped in and picked up some pasteries and bread.  They were overjoyed to see us... like old family.  And still, folks say, "Don't go!"

Formidable Fort Charlotte

Don't screw with us!

Black sand beach up the east coast
So we don't get it.  It's dangerous... but it doesn't seem to be.  I guess until it happens to you.

Anyhooooooo, now we've got the Macdonalds!

Nice sail back to Bequia.  Glen has brilliantly diagnosed the problem with Otto.  He needs a stint.  Otto must have blown a seal so we need to remove the hydraulic ram and replace the seals.  In the meantime, we can continue to refill the hydraulic fluid in the resevoir and Otto will perform... and drip hydraulic fluid into the bilge.

Had a little tour and some beers at the Whaleboner.  We are going to get to know them better.... we like it there.

Whaleboner... nice!
We were just in time for the Bequia Music Festival. We attended a live afternoon jam concert at the Bequia Beach Hotel (looks to be upscale) on the other side of the island (Friendship.)  Had some great food, many beers and enjoyed many groups.

Enjoying the concert at the Bequia Beach Hotel
On Sunday we attended the finale which included 5 or 6 terrific groups.  The place was packed and the atmosphere was electric.  Pam and Pat commented on the Rum Punches.  Apparently there was plenty of rum and plenty of punch.  All of which made for an early night.  We availed ourselves of 4 roadkill dinners - 2 ribs, 2 chicken so Glen is completed.  Didn't seem like we did much all day but we are beat so early to bed.
Kids were terrific


Little buddies

One of the awesome bands


little friends
The weather might keep us here for a couple of days.  Dang!  More beach bars, crib, sundowners... horrible....

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Briefly in Bequia

We've come back from Canada with coughs we can't seem to kick so between guests we are just taking it easy - Glen is drinking a lot of cough medication (aka rum.)

Just as we were getting ready to leave Young Island to head back to Bequia we heard a loud bang behind us and looked up to see that the lines holding 100 foot Seawolf had parted and it was adrift heading for the rocks.  We couldn't raise Seawolf on the radio but someone on shore responded and soon there was a rescue party trying to re-attach Seawolf to her moorings.  All very exciting and Seawolf ended up back on her mooring as we motored out.

We passed the island/rock with Fort Duvernette perched on the top.  Very impressive that the French were able to get cannons up there.  They were originally installed to blast the Black Caribs who were retaliating against the French for trying to drive them out.  In the end, the Black Caribs were all gathered up and sent to Honduras.  Probably ended up getting kicked out of there later on, too.  These damned indigenous people are so troublesome.

Fort Duvernette - see the steps up the left side?

We didn't put up much sail coming back even though it was a perfect run because the winds were up and quite variable.  So we had a gentle but fun crossing... until we were in the last mile and all of a sudden the waves were 12 footers.  They were well spaced so we glided up to the top and then lost sight of everything as we plunged down into the troughs.

Blue Pearl plowing through big waves

Just then, this crazy man came roaring up in his dinghy pointing a rocket launcher at us.  Wasn't frightening though - we had met Kenmore Henville last year and learned about his photography business.  He meets boats coming in and shoots several photos.

Otto has been on vacation so we were hand steering.  In order to get some good photos, Pam raised our jib... on her own... as Glen hand steered us over the waves.

We planned to go over to see Kenmore today to buy the photos but at 7 this morning he came by with a sample photo and a sample disk of all the images.
Ain't she sweet

All sails up... might not be perfectly trimmed


6 knots with reefed main and staysail

We are out of cough medicine so we are heading in for that and some other things.  A couple more days of laying about and then we head back to Young Island Cut to pick up Don and Pat.  And to start another of the adventures aboard the sailboat Blue Pearl

Saturday, January 18, 2014

A Crappy Trip

We've just put the Keys on a dinghy to head to shore near Young Island on St. Vincent to catch their plane back to Grenada.  We've enjoyed their company and loved showing them the places we've discovered down here in the Windward Islands.

It has been very windy but the reef around the Tobago Cays keeps the waves down.  We enjoyed a morning swim there with the turtles and then retired to the boat for lunch, beers and naps.  We were pleased to get an invite for sundowners on Calmos - Gordon and Tina - who had enjoyed Glen's Beergaritas the night before at Mayreau.  Gordon bought Calmos in Uraguay and has sailed it around to the Caribbean - all the while he and Tina hold down jobs at home in Europe.  Tina's hummas was excellent.
Murphy the Dinghy waiting patiently on the beach

At Saltwhistle Bay

Tobago Cays turtle

Tobago Cays spit with Blue Pearl out there somewhere

The sail to Bequia was quite spectacular.  We had too much wind so we reefed the main.  We were comfortable enough and made good time - even though we couldn't quite make our heading so had to motor an extra 1.2 miles to our destination.

You can spend a long time in Bequia enjoying the salty history of the island.  We only spent 2 nights but got a lot done in a short time.  Enjoyed beers at the Whaleboner - where you can sit in a chair made from the vertibrae of a whale.  Bequia is allowed to take 4 whales a year using traditional methods but thank goodness they average less than one per year.  Met the lovely family who own and run the Whaleboner - their history on the island connects back to the plantations and all that goes along with that.

Bought some questionable produce from the Rastas.  The papaya was tasteless and the mangoes were over-ripe.

The next day we hired Jose - a Bequian lifer - to take us on an island tour.  We saw the remains of Fort Harrison, an old sugar plantation, the turtle sanctuary and then onto the spectacular views from Mount Pleasant (or UnPleasant - can't remember.) Jose was very informative.

Taking the quick trip down

Turtle sanctuary

Old friends... really old.  Nice hats, though.

Admiralty Bay - see the WindJammer?

Fish and Chips at Jacks Beach Bar - Thanks Deb and George!

Crib - the smile on Glen's face is forced.  Bad cards.

Today, before kicking the Keys off the boat so they can continue on their winter adventure, we realized that we had not practiced any emergency drills.  So, before we left Bequia to come to St. Vincent we practiced the "head doesn't work any more" drill.  It is the least pleasant of the safety drills on our boat.

Once we got to Young Island, George and Glen managed to rip impossible hoses off impossible fittings... found the most delightful blockages... and with a minimum of cursing managed to put the whole thing right.  Turns out George is quite skilled in the Crappy Arts... something we didn't know.
No plumbers butts!

On to more adventures!!

So the Keys' Windward Island holiday is complete; although ending on a crappy note, they have seen some pretty spectacular places.  We are looking forward to following their further adventures on their blog.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Heading north

View from Fort George
The Carenage... from Fort George
The Keys have had a chance to enjoy Grenada, but with their time with us slipping away we decided to head north in less than perfect conditions.  We bounced and bashed up to Tyrell Bay, Carriacou and jumped in the water to wash off the salt.  An obliging rain cloud came by to wash down Blue Pearl as well.  We spent a quiet evening evening on the boat, enjoying one of Pam's dinner creations and watched a movie.

Next day, after a short walk we went to the Slipway for lunch.  The Slipway is an old slipway... a place to haul boats with all the assorted boat machinery integrated into the restaurant.  There is a table made from a combination planer/saw just beside an enormous band saw.  The bar itself is made from an old thickness planer.
Pam's Tuna Salad - fabulous
Wine cooler

Their food is fabulous and reduces your need for a big dinner... but we had a big dinner anyway.

The next morning we checked out and came round Carriacou to Sandy Island... normally a nice swim stop but the wind was howling and it wasn't very inviting.  We crashed across to Clifton to check in.  Everyone gritted their teeth for the 1.5 hour washing machine experience.

There is a lot to hate about Clifton harbour.  The tiny harbour is crowded with reefs and boats ranging from relics to fantastic cruising boats. Boat boys dart under your bow, trying to get you to take one of their moorings - twine tying a bleach bottle to a sunken sewing machine.  Failing that they try to direct you to a spot so they can collect a tip.  Over the years we've anchored thousands of times - but these guys think we need their help because we are suddenly inept.
George and Deb in Clifton
After clearing in and an obligatory beer at the internet bar, we jumped back on Blue Pearl for a 3 mile run to Mayreau.
At anchor in Saline Bay, Mayreaux
The weather is settling down so we are looking forward to our travels through the Tobago Keys, Bequia to St. Vincent.

Left = soursop  right = sourpuss
The white stuff tastes great!  Spit out the seeds.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Waiting for Weather

We had planned to get the Keys on the boat, come around to Port Louis Marina in St. Georges to provision and then set sail to the magical islands north of here.  Planning is a good thing but weather always trumps good planning.

We are looking at 25 to 30 knots on the nose for the next few days.
Arrow shows where we are

It looks better on Saturday
So we are going to be spending more time here than we thought.  That's great!!! We get to spend more time finding cool things to do.

We've done a little shopping, went on a great Cutty tour (described in great detail by George) wandered around the Carenage and whiled away the hot afternoons around the pool with G&Ts - in a plastic glass, of course.

We are considering general laying about, a hike to the Seven Sisters waterfalls, a trip to explore the beach at Grande Anse, possibly the Fish Fry at Gouyave and of course more hours around the pool and talking to fellow cruisers.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Cow Heel Soup

We have been busy as beavers (very Canadian) getting Blue Pearl ready - ship shape you might say - for George and Deb's visit.

Stuart from Palm Tree Marine came over and repaired/replaced our windlass so we are able to raise and lower our anchor.  That's a good thing.  We changed the gas pigtail so now we can get propane from both cylinders and the gas doesn't leak out anymore.  No explosions for us, thank you very much.  Glen replaced the impeller in Yan Diesel, although it looks like it might have been good for another year or two.

Old one on the left still had 5 fins left
Pam went nuts and cleaned the boat, inside and out.  Clean sheets for our guests, wiped all the wood down and cleaned up after Glen.

Windlass back and beautiful
George and Deb were dropped off at the marina after an eventless trip through Customs and Immigration and we enjoyed too many beers until too late in the evening, forgetting that our guests had been travelling for 24 hours without much sleep.

They didn't make the call for breakfast but after a good sleep-in they were ready to go so we dinghied over to Woburn for a lambi lunch and beers from Nimrod's Rum Shack.  But alas, there was no lambi so instead we had a lovely lunch of Cow Heel soup and hamburgers.  Cow Heel makes us smile - it's close to Pam's pet name for Glen.

Look at those cow heels floating in there...
Cow Heel Restaurant
We arranged for the Pan Wizards to play a private concert for us on the dock near the boat which was simply amazing.  These people are unbelievable and it was a wonderful way to enjoy a beverage as the sun set.  I wonder if you can find them on You-Tube?  I'm going to look right after I post this.

The Pan Wizards perform right on the dock!
Pam is cooking up a storm - I think we are having marinara sauce over chicken breast and pasta.  Tomorrow we have arranged a historical tour of Grenada and we have made arrangements to move the boat around to Port Louis Marina so we can provision for our tour up the islands.

We are hoping that the weather cooperates... but while it is blowing uncomfortably out there, we are enjoying showing our guests around this cool little island.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Warm again

We are full of turkey, booze and eggnog.  (No mincemeat - what's wrong with our family?  They don't like it.)  We had our fix of grandchildren every day for a month.  All of our kids were home for Christmas.  Just an awesome December!

So now they are all back to their regular lives full of work, family and school... and we are back to play.  Went from this...
With friends at Chatham Bay, Union Island... doesn't get any better
to this...
Oh gawd... I hate this stuff!
to this...

Fridge is on... Caribs are cold!

Now... to get back to Grenada we left Abbotsford at 3 AM to Vancouver, through Houston to Fort Lauderdale.  Overnight in a cheesy hotel near FLL then expensive rental car to Miami for our trip to Port of Spain, Trinidad to spend New Years in yet another cheesy hotel.  The final insult was a 4 AM wakeup on January 1 for our 6 AM flight from POS to Grenada.  When we got to the airport we could see that our plane had arrived but it was taking forever to get the folks off and get it ready for us.  Turns out someone was dying to get to Grenada... and did... die right on the plane.  So that meant a huge delay while they found us a new plane.  Not a great New Year for that poor soul.

Naturally our ride from the airport wasn't there so after waiting a while we took a taxi.  George from Survival Anchorage was there to pick us up and deliver us back to the beautiful Blue Pearl.

We could have flown direct from Seattle to Miami and then direct from Miami to Grenada getting in at 8:30 PM.  How boring!  Glen's brilliant travel planning makes all trips more interesting!

We had a nap on Blue Pearl and have now moved over to Le Phare Bleu Marina where we will install our new windlass motor and gearbox in preparation for our trip up the islands with the Keys.

Look expensive?  You're right!

Who cares?!  We are in Grenada, getting ready to extend our Caribbean cruise.  Woooohoooooo!

Happy New Year from Blue Pearl!!!