Sunday, March 30, 2014

Manger, boire et faire la sieste en Martinique

So... we've been lazy.  What's new?!

We checked into Martinique at Marin and wandered around a bit.  Checking into the French Islands is a dream.  Don't know why it has to be such a pain elsewhere.

Found a cool pub that served draft Leffe, Hogarten and Lorraine.  The beer was terrific.  So was the price.  Terrifically high.  Won't be doing too much of that.

We read in the cruising guide that there is a place here that will mix paint and a hardener in a spray can that would allow us to individually fix the little bumps and scratches on our gelcoat.  Glen found the place, approached a clerk and pantomimed mixing paint in a spray can for a little while.  After everyone was thoroughly amused, Brad finally stepped in and rescued him.  (That's why we put the kids in French Immersion - so they could rescue us on our travels.)  Turns out that the place DOES NOT have the spray can technology so that turned out to be a bust.  Too bad.  Terrific idea.

We cruised around the Leader Price Supermarche and scanned all the cool stuff.... ended up with some French box wine, and a few appies to have with our dinner.  Our previous post about "Bahamas Boiled Fish" or "Glen's Fish Soup" inspired several of you to try your own version.  We are thrilled!  Hope it turned out well for you.  Talking about that got the saliva glands going so Glen made it with mahi-mahi.  It was as spectacular is it always is.


Made enough for 6 - ate it all!  None left for breakfast.
While we were in Marin a freighter came in with a huge mega yacht and a sailboat.  We watched them unload the sailboat with a mammoth crane and saw the boat slip away and anchor not far from us.  On our way into the harbour to rent a car, we stopped by the boat.  They are a French family with 5 or 6 kids and decided to ship their boat from Florida rather than do the Thorny Passage.  The mom told us it was expensive but only took 4 days.
Weird looking...

Big Lift
It loaded another mega-yacht and took off for Italy!

After a day in Marin we moved out to St. Anne.  We love St. Anne.  Not much here but it is a quaint little resort town with neat little bars and beaches.  Last year we found a bunch of old geezers playing some really great music at the Dunette... notably some unbelievable tango pieces!  We were served a substandard meal by a snotty waiter at exorbitant prices - but somehow it just ended up being the most charming evening.

Getting ready to try out the GoPro camera

At the Dunette

We wandered down to the Club Med to find a EuropCar rental place.  They were closed but we found another rental spot.  It wouldn't open 'til 14:00 - another 15 minutes - so we had beers and a sorry, expensive croissant avec ham at a nearby boulangerie.  You needed a magnifying glass to find the ham and it was so dry that we needed several beers to choke it down.  Echk.

A Car Rental
Wandered along the beautiful beach, near the Airstream Trailer Park and had a cooling dip before heading back to the Blue Pearl for another cooling off dip, sundowners, salad and spaghetti avec sausage, crib, internet thanks to a stray Netgear signal and a blissful rest.

Makes you nervous when someone anchors too close and then puts up all their fenders

Cool dip

Sunday sailors!
Tomorrow we pick up our car and tour the island... en francais!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Cruising with Brad

Had a lovely get-together with Richard and Jan from Morpheus of London.  We are both juggling guests so we only had the one day.  Had some sundowners, lovely conversation and a great dinner.  Nice!
Morpheus of London

Blue Pearl

So we decided to rent a car and go pick up Brad at the airport.  The car was the size of a large pumpkin and the AC didn’t work.  We had done a great deal of studying to get down to Hewanorra, including downloading maps on the iPad, searching out a map in the local community and checking out google maps.  Very confidently, we left Rodney Bay and promptly got lost.

We drove past several of the places we had been with Mike and Charlotte and at one point decided to ignore  a ROAD CLOSED sign to see where that led.  Turns out, the road was closed because it ended at the edge of a cliff with nowhere else to go.  Google Maps was way off.  It wanted us to go somewhere that didn’t exist, the iPad map program had completely different ideas.  After about 45 minutes we finally emerged from the hills onto the highway that would take us to UFV (Hewannora) near Vieux Fort. 

We arrived at the airport after an hour and a half.  Google Maps says it will take 73 minutes and the local cab drivers say it is an hour and a half.  So they must take our “lost” route as well.

Got to UVF in plenty of time so Pam decided that we needed to get some groceries.  We found a Liquor and Grocery outlet but that turned out to be liquor with an aisle of canned weiners and beans.  But the prices were spectacular so our livers will continue to suffer.

Piton beer, coconut water, baguette... what else could you ask for?
Great to see Brad as he burst through the Customs and Immigration doors and off we went in our Pumpkin Chariot back to the Blue Pearl.  Stopped for a coconut to wash down the ham and cheese baguette super mom Pam had purchased for him.  Back at the marina we purchased a few things and then lurched into the dingy to retire to the Blue Pearl.  Had a quick swim and a delicious burger by chief cook Pammy.

Might have seen the elusive "Green Flash" after the sundown.  We are skeptical.

Brad had worked a 14 hour shift, flown a red-eye and arrived a little bleary so he was perfectly pleased to have an early bedtime, especially after a couple of nightcaps.

Trying out Brad's new GoPro camera

Checking the anchor... no, really checking the anchor

Today we had a lazy morning and wandered about the marina collecting essentials like baseball caps and tonic.  We are fueled, watered, checked out and ready for Martinique in the morning. 

Avez vous une bicyclette et le fromage?  Que ce que c'est?  How many apostrophes and "q"s are there?

Friday, March 21, 2014

Transition Time

Well that's it, then...

Dingied the Inmans to their taxi this morning and waved them off on their trip to the airport.  We hope the taxi driver is a better driver than Glen because we got hopelessly lost with Glen navigating the mountain roads of Saint Lucia.

Getting ahead of ourselves...

After our short sail up from Marigot Bay on Wednesday we found a great place to anchor with good internet and an attractive naked couple next door.  It is really rude of them to prance around in their altogether.  The binoculars can start to hurt your eyes after an hour or two.

Clearing in to St. Lucia at Marigot Bay
We scoped out the marina and ran into Jan from Morpheus of London.  Great to see them again and we are hoping to share a few stories and beverages in the next couple of days.  Made arrangements to rent a car to tour part of the island and then headed back to the boat for G&Ts and world problem solving - Mike's specialty.

The next morning we headed out with our brand new, first customers, cool little Daihatsu jeep and roared off, through Castries and straight into the unknown.  The rental agency was out of maps so we had no idea where we were.  Pam got out her Navionics marine charting program which showed us to be miles from where we thought we were going... but our boat speed was fantastic!  The folks we stopped to chat with along the way were very helpful and soon we were on our way south.  Our ultimate destination was to be Soufriere with the Pitons, the volcano and a resort restaurant reported to be fabulous by Morpheus.

Interesting house somewhere in the middle of St. Lucia
Around 10 AM we came upon the colourful fishing village of Anse la Raye and stopped for refreshing beverages.  We spotted a young man eating flying fish and had him show us where he got it.  We bought fish fritters, flying fish and chicken to increase our daily grease intake and washed it down with Piton beer.  Delicious.
Seen better days

Pitons to wash down the fish bones

Can I have that deep fried?

Looking back at Anse la Raye

First glimpse of the Pitons from the road
On to the Ladero resort for another beverage and one of the most impressive views we have ever seen... on the order of the Grand Canyon.  It is impossible to capture the beauty of the Pitons with a camera or words... so glad we stopped in.

Petit Piton

Can't get back far enough to capture the whole thing
Intrepid travellers!
We weren't ready for lunch so we headed out to the "drive-through volcano"... very cool (actually hot) and VERY sulphur smelling.  After our tour we were suffering from input overload so decided it was time for lunch in Soufriere.  The place we chose turned out to be underwhelming and the kids in the parking lot "watching our car" for us became quite pushy even after we had tipped them for showing us in which slot to park our car.

Smelly volcano

100 degrees C!
We've come to accept that this "service" is going to be imposed on you where ever there is poverty but even the window washers/beggars back at home leave you with a clean car window.  These kids ran up and pointed to an empty stall and then stuck their hands out.  Yuck.  They were really put off when we didn't come up with more when we left the restaurant... assuming we should have been thankful that their vigilance kept the car from being stolen... even though we were within 20 feet and in sight of the car.

Wishing that we had returned to Anse de la Raye for more grease we made our way out of Soufriere and back towards home (boat.)  The roads are amazing with 15 degree slopes and hairpin turns around crazy cliffs.  Crazy!

Banana plantation near Marigot

Hit Castries at rush hour so the 2 kilometers took 45 minutes but we had lots to talk about from our adventures of the day.

Back at the marina the Inmans insisted on treating us to dinner.  Too early for dinner and didn't want to come back in later so we ordered up some sushi and headed out to the Blue Pearl.  The sushi was spectacular... we will make sure to return to that restaurant.  Why didn't we take a photograah?  It was beautiful!  After a furious and exciting crib tournament we had our nightcaps and headed to bed for our last night together on the boat.

Jonah spirited Mike and Charlotte away at 9 AM and after a few errands ashore we headed back out to the Blue Pearl for some quiet time and boat chores.

We are so pleased that all of our guests this year have seen a significant part of the Grenadines.

Son, Brad is going to be here in a couple of days.  Looking forward to showing him around Saint Lucia and Martinique!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Bequia to Rodney Bay

Bequia is a great place - really the jewel of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.  Union Island is nice, especially Chatham Bay.  The Tobago Cays and nearby Mayreau are very pretty.  Saint Vincent itself has some charm but also some scary bits so we avoid it.  But we love Bequia.  And so does the rest of the yachting community.

We had limited time to share this lovely place with Mike and Charlotte so we just wandered around the town.  Saw the Rasta’s fruit and veggie market, bought some scotch and rum for Mike and Glen, got some great veggies and fruit, drinks at the Whale Boner… really saw the whole place.  We learned of a “jam session” at the Whale Boner so made arrangements to be there for drinks and conch fritters.  Ms Ruthie is a tremendous host and worked with Glen to make martinis for Mike and Glen.  Can you imagine not knowing how to make a martini?

As usual, the more Glen drank, the more his musical abilities improved and… according to Glen… he was the star of the night… receiving standing ovations again and again.  Pam has a different version which is not worth reporting.

Anchor handlin'

We purposely added a big leg to our trip with Mike and Charlotte, thinking that they wanted to see a Blue Pearl big journey.  Not like the overnighters to get down here from Florida but 61 nautical miles is significant.  We got up at 0400 and by 0430 we were “hauling the freight” to St. Lucia with the staysail and a double reefed main.  We set Marigot as our destination to cut off a couple of miles to Rodney Bay but also because it is a cool place to see. 

Glen attempted to set an example and had a nap around 8 or 9.  The group reports that humpbacks spouts were spotted and other miracles occurred while he slept.  The whale thing might be true.

We had a great sail to the north end of St. Vincent and then got the big seas that were predicted (NOT!!!) that resulted in lots of water over the side and an opportunity for an exhilarating ride.  At one stage we were too close to the wind and turned on Yan Diesel for an assist.  When the wind became more favourable it was hard to turn Yan off because we were doing 8 knots.  The faster you can  get through nasty conditions the better… so we made great time up to Marigot.

Marigot is very pretty with lots of activity.  Santa (Noel) comes around - along with 4 or 5 other irritating boat boys - but he is so charismatic that it is impossible to send him away without some purchase.  His prices are exorbitant but you can work with him… and if you add in the price of entertainment it turns out to be a pretty good deal.


Rope management

Arrrrrrrhhhhhgggg, haul in that sheet.

Navigation conference


Our last sail for this trip with the Inmans was only 8 miles but it was lots of fun and we were getting close to 8 knots under sail before we headed in to Rodney Bay.

More on Rodney Bay in a day or two!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Moving north

Mike and Charlotte flew into Grenada with us but they are flying out of St. Lucia.  That means that we have a couple of big jumps before we pull into Rodney Bay.  We are stopping at all our favorite spots but the jump from Grenada to Carriacou is 32 miles, from Mayreau to Bequia is 26 miles and the jump from Bequia to Rodney Bay is a big one, 65 miles.

Our direction is mostly north and so an east wind is good for a beam reach... but when it swings up to the north a little it makes for harder sailing.  We are hoping for east but the forecasts have it at slightly north of east... 75 to 85 degrees.  It might be a wet trip!

Lunch at the Slipway was great as usual.  Mike and Charlotte had the fantastic burger... Glen and Pam had the fish salad. 

Gary had given us the design for a dingy boarding ladder and we decided that we needed to have one just like it.  After lunch we took advantage of years of experience in plumbing and built it on the Slipway dingy dock.  Glen didn't get enough glue in one of the joints and it promptly broke when we tried it on Chatham Island.  After a repair job by sanitation expert, Mike, it is now performing well.

Ladder committee

Representatives came by to encourage our patronage at the little bars and restaurants in Chatham Bay and we really enjoy Tim at Bollhead's but this time we decided to use our provisions and stayed on the boat despite their entreaties.

Charlotte spent a lot of time in the water at the Tobago Cays pestering the poor turtles who congregate there.  We had a nice day keeping cool and then enjoyed sundowners on the boat monitoring all the action in the bay.  After a great dinner and drinks we ended the evening with an exciting game of crib.

Boat boys trying to sell us stuff

Now that's a cool cloud

Cleaning up for dinner

Tobago Cays


Turtle watching

Tough life.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Bahamas Boiled Fish in Grenada

They call it Boiled Fish in the Bahamas.  Boiled Fish sounds gross so our friends always ask for our Bahamian Fish Soup.

Fry a bit of bacon or salt pork in a big pot, along with a couple of onions, some celery and green pepper along with a couple of tablespoons of oil.  Choose your own proportions... be creative!!!

When the onions are translucent, add a starch... we love yams or sweet potatoes and carrots... but we've used breadfruit, bush yams and dasheen.  Enough for the people you are serving.  Also, a couple of cups of water and squeeze in at least 5 or 6 limes.  Smell your fingers!!!  Wooooohoooo!  Cook until the potatos (or whatever you've used) are tender.
Dasheen on the left, bush yam on the right, Mr. Potato Head in the middle

Pam likes bland... but Glen insists, this recipe needs heat... so add significant quantities of Franks Hot Sauce (no substitutions here).

Add big chunks of fish - bones and all.  We like grouper but you can use anything.  Snapper, tuna, cod (from back at home) sailfish, wahoo... anything.

Cook until the fish is tender and falling off the bones.

Serve with buttered bread... or even better... cornbread.  Wash down with beer.

You'll eat your fingers off!!!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Island Hopping

We are back in Grenada with Mike and Charlotte, looking forward to some island hopping - Grenada->Carriacou->Union Island->Mayreau->Tobago Cays->Bequia->St. Lucia.  We are trying to fit in everything interesting in Grenada in just a few days so we can spend some time in the Grenadines and St. Lucia.

We got in on the 8:00 PM flight from Miami on Wednesday and went straight to the boat.  We were worried that we might be miserable after a long trip... including a red-eye... but it was great to get back on Blue Pearl, enjoy a few nightcaps and head off for a great sleep.

The next morning we took the dingy over to Woburn for some lambi at Nimrod's Rum Shop.  Mrs. Bernadette makes the best curried lambi we have come across and at $10 EC it is a great bargain.  And she is such a lovely person so it is nice to be able to patronize her place.  After lambi we skidded over to the store at Le Phare Bleu to pick up a couple of things for a few meals, had a refreshing beverage and then back to the Blue Pearl for Happy Hour and a savage game of cribbage.

Charlotte on the Vastra Banken - old Swedish lightship
We dropped George's mooring in the morning and had a great sail around the south coast until we had to turn north after the airport.  Then, the winds got confused and we motored the rest of the way into Port Louis Marina.  We've docked here so often now that the gong show almost seems normal.  We drift the nose up to the waiting dingy, he ties off the lines and then we back... such as it is... into the slip.  When we get dangerously close to other boats he pushes us with the nose of his inflatable.  Tie off at the stern, tighten up at the pointy end and "Bob's your uncle" (Uncle Bob) we are snug.

We've been enjoying the amenities here and have taken trips into town for the Fort, the market and a general walk-about.  We stocked up on tuna and sailfish at the fish market and we've done our provisioning so we are just about ready to leave for points north.
Flying fish will fly right into our frying pan
Tuna Surprise for dinner
Frying Flying Fish
Rehydrating after an exhausting beach walk
OK - 2 bars of Grenada chocolate a night for 11 nights is how much?
Is the lifeguard drinking a G&T
They arrived as we were sitting there... the crew of 10 jumped off and enjoyed beers at a picnic table near the pool.
We've got the obligatory Cutty Tour taking place tomorrow and then we are off to Tyrrel Bay in Carriacou.  Winds look good for a beam (maybe close?) reach on Tuesday.