Off to the Grenadines
Thursday January 10, 2019
Trendy stopped by on his way to Pigeon Point to pickup the leftovers from last night and a few other things I had left in the fridge. I phoned Dan and he dingied over to the marina to pick me up. The winds were light leaving Rodney Bay so we motor-sailed for a while until the breeze freshened.
Our first stop was at Anse Cochon for a bit of lunch and a quick snorkel for those inclined. From there we headed back up the coast to Marigot Bay where we moored med style to the dock at Chateau Mygo. The others took a walk up to the ridge while I stayed behind to start my trip report. Soon Richard and Sarah arrived as they flew in from Ireland that afternoon, and that completed our crew.
We all enjoyed the 2 for 1 happy hour at the Hurricane Bar, which is the patio bar for the restaurant. It was a good chance to get to know each other. The rest of the crew consisted of Dan & Em of course, Reka form Germany, Al from Maryland and Tony, a British transplant living in New Jersey. Of the six of us only Al & Tony were newcomers to Skyelark, with Richard, Reka and myself veterans of various WARC legs.
Dinner was at the restaurant, I had ceviche and split a hurricane pizza with Dan. The food and service were all good as we had come to expect.
Yachts at anchor in the still calm of Marigot Bay
Friday January 11, 2019
We left early for our long sail to St. Vincent, breakfast was served underway. The passage between St. Lucia and St. Vincent was rougher than usual and even I was feeling a touch of mal de mar, but all managed to keep breakfast down.
We had a strike on our line and saw a large fish jump out of the water, but it quickly split the hook. Soon we were entering Cumberland Bay, it’s the one just north of Wallilabou, where the Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed. We prefer Cumberland as the boat boys are friendlier and less pushy; also, as the only source of income in the bay is from yachts it’s safer than the others as the folks want to protect their business. Sundowners were the requisite mojitos at Mojito’s, the best spot to see the sun go down.
At Mojito's in Cumberland Bay
A catamaran at anchor as the sunsets
Saturday January 12, 2019
We left in the morning for Young Island cut; we started with two reefs in the main despite the light winds, however they soon piped up as Em had said they would. With the set and drift from the wind and current we had to tack in for the last bit. Just prior to our tack we hooked a nice little barracuda, he was quickly dispatched, filleted and sent down to the galley. We grabbed a mooring ball for the evening and no sooner had we gotten the awning up when Dan appeared from the galley with the barracuda fried up accompanied by another wonderful salad. Forty minutes from ocean to plate, hard to get much fresher fish than that.
A lunchtime snack
A short dingy ride to the dock and then we took the bus to town (always a memorable experience). It was about mid-afternoon when we arrived so a lot of the options at my favorite food truck were sold out; I did manage to get a small bowl of pig foot souse which was some condolence. Dan showed the group the market and fish market, where he picked up a nice fresh tuna. I did my own thing as I had some business to take care of, mainly getting a bottle of Sunset rum (169 proof) for my rum punch. The Digicel office was closed, I had hoped to get a local sim to take advantage of the international calling plan option. No worries though, I signed up for the monthly data plan in St. Lucia (80 EC for 10GB of data and no roaming charges). Kim’s son had loaded What’s App onto her phone so we’re able to keep in touch with that.
at the Kingstown market
It was Dan’s birthday so we enjoyed a nice chocolate cake, baked onboard, and some prosecco. We took a hike up Rock Fort, just behind Young Island; nice views from the top, so they tell me as I only made it half way. On the way back to Skyelark the sun was setting and there were no clouds on the horizon so we were treated to the illusive green flash. Sundowners were in the cockpit and dinner was on board, a nice roast leg of lamb that I had picked up at the Massey supermarket in Rodney Bay; everyone turned in early, knackered from the sun and sailing.
Sunday January 13, 2019
Another early start as we made our way to the Tobago Cays, we made good time and arrived early enough for snorkeling both in the turtle area and also out on the horseshoe reef. Dan phoned up Desparado to arrange our lobster BBQ and water taxi pickup (included).
Entering the Tobago Cays
There are now a group of rays and some puffer fish that loiter near the shore by the grills waiting for the scraps to be disposed of. Some major improvements have been made including toilet facilities, a large stone work grill and the guys now sell beers and drinks. We settled in for another nice dinner and I gave to obligatory safety briefing on my rum punch prior to pouring.
The stars were out and the breeze fresh as we had some Chairmen’s and beers in the cockpit enjoying the idyllic quite of the anchorage.
Lobsters on the beach
Monday January 14, 2019
After a snorkeling trip to the reef, we headed for Clifton on Union Island. Union has come a long way lately do to the emergence of the kite sailing school. My first stop ashore was the little roti shop on the road behind the Anchorage Yacht Club. Amazing chicken roti, bone in as it should be, with potatoes and mango in the mix. I wasn’t hungry having just finished breakfast so I got it to go. I met up with Reka at the fruit market and we both had fresh fruit smoothies before walking over to Sparrows Bar around the north side of the island.
the beach at Sparrow's Bar on Union Island
It’s a twenty-minute walk, some bits slightly uphill, but worth it for the very comfortable sunbeds and calm blue water of the sheltered bay. I was swimming and put my foot down in a weedy patch when something bit me. It was bleeding pretty good from the small punctures so once I got the bleeding to stop, I headed back to town to put some ointment on it. Dan thought I might have brushed up against a sea egg but there were no tips from their spines embedded in it and the lower portion of the wound was a solid crescent shaped slit.
We took the dingy over to Happy Island for sundowners, the place was buzzing as it always is for the sunset. Dinner was ashore, I opted for the Bougainvillea, where I had a huge bowl of ceviche and an order of fish and chips, yes revenge for my earlier encounter with a denizen of the deep played part in my selection.
Al and I at Happy Island
Tuesday January 15, 2019
We motor-sailed over to Petit Martinique for an excursion ashore. Most of us went on a hike around the island with the few heartier ones adding a climb to the peak. Most of the walk is in the open under the glaring sun; I was happy for the respite while awaiting the return of the intrepid ones, sitting in the shade and pouring water down my neck to cool off.
Once back aboard we motored across the channel to put us closer to Petit St. Vincent. Some went swimming and snorkeling, then we went to Goatie’s Bar to Have a birthday drink with Al as he was celebrating a milestone birthday. Dinner was on board and then we relaxed in the tranquility of the bay.
Goatie's Bar on Petit St, Vincent
Al and Richard at the bar
Wednesday January 16, 2019
It was a long sail to windward to reach our next destination, Admiralty Bay in Bequia. We hooked a large Barracuda and it had swallowed the hook so we had no choice but to keep it. With concerns for ciguera (sp) Dan did some research and it was determined to err on the side of caution even though the fish wasn’t fully mature and we have seen, and unknowingly probably eaten, ones that big at the market; we figured we could pass it along on the way.
Further along we caught another small barracuda, this one just bit through the lip so we quickly released him back to the sea, with mahi left from the ARC in the freezer there was no reason to keep it. Dan had borrowed fishing gear from Christian at Spinnakers while Skyelark’s is under repair and it did the trick, nothing like local knowledge. We made great time and only had to begin tacking when we rounded the tip of the island. We took a ball up near the Frangipani; the wind shifted and put us very close to a Norwegian yacht so we unhooked and moved to another ball a short distance away. Without a boat boy (or girl) to attach us to the pendant, Em gave an impromptu lesson in how to lasso a mooring ball, a very useful technique in some of these mooring fields.
Admiralty Bay Bequia
Everyone took a walk around town, I picked up a bottle of Sunset rum to use in my rum punch once back on St, Lucia. We met back at the Whaleboner for happy hour and Richard was able to make a deal with the restaurant to buy the fish, so our concerns were unfounded. Dinner was aboard and drinks were in the cockpit while listening the music from the various bars around the harbor.
Thursday January 17, 2019
Today would be a full day in Bequia; Tony, Reka and myself took a taxi tour around the island stopping at Fort Hamilton, the Haag turtle sanctuary and the boat museum. The more energetic hiked up to Ma Peggy’s rock the highest point on the island where Ma Peggy was able to spot whales better than anyone else and alert the whalemen.
4-month old turtles
A traditional whaling boat
Bequia folk art
We all met back at the Bequia Beach Hotel on Friendship Bay for lunch. Most set off in various directions, while Reka and I stayed behind to swim a bit. After our swim we walked back across the island to Jack’s Bar and enjoyed some well-deserved cold beers before taking the newly refurbished walkway back to the dock for our scheduled pickup.
After G&T’s in the cockpit, we went ashore for dinner at Mac’s; although famous for their pizza most chose off their dinner menu. I had the seafood chowder and chicken curry, both of which were very good. I think Reka made the best choice as she ordered the lobster salad and it was piled high with large chunks of meat.
Nightcaps were aboard and another great day was had.
Friday January 18, 2019
We set sail for Soufriere, a long sail but the winds were steady and favorable so we were able to make it without tacking. Dan & Em went ashore to clear us in and once they came back the rest of us headed in; there was an incident a couple years earlier where we arrived after closing on Friday and the custom agent wasn’t happy we had come ashore prior to clearing in on Saturday morning, even though it had never been a problem before.
Al takes one last look at the volcano he conquered
A Polish training ship passes by
Approaching St. Lucia
I went ashore to visit Boomer’s daughters and their mother; she now has a grill outside their home and was selling chicken wings and beef kidneys to the passersby. I took the girls for ice cream at the shop across from the gas station and then headed over to Skippers for a beer. The town was lively and Friday is a great night to party in Soufriere, but we were all tired from our long sail and settled for listening to the raucous music as it drifted across the bay as we finished up the grabber of Chairmen’s in the cockpit.
A beautiful sunset
Saturday January 19, 2019
We took the dingy to town, Reka had to meet a taxi to get to the airport near Castries for her morning flight to Martinuqe, the first step on her journey home. After good byes were said we went straight for the lady that sells saltfish & bakes and cocoa tea on the side street across from the Downtown Hotel. We enjoyed our breakfast at my favorite spot, the park on the waterfront. From there we walked to the market, which is held in the area of the fishermen’s co-op. The market runs on Saturdays and it was surprising to see the quantity and variety of fruit and veg on display.
I spotted a fellow enjoying a bowl of something so, as usual, I asked him what it was and where he got it; turns out it was cow heel soup from the food truck along the river by the bridge. Bowl to go in hand, we headed back to Skyelark to finish our last leg of the charter.
Petit Piton in the morning light
The winds were light starting out but soon filled in nicely. After a lunch and swimming stop in Rodney Bay, Dan took Tony ashore to visit the park while the rest of us packed our things.
All the rest of the crew were staying either in Castries or Marigot Bay so Dan took them to shore and they shared a taxi. He came back for me and we tied to the dock by the pirate ship and he helped me schlep my bags to the Chez Marie Alish Guesthouse (highly recommended for other budget travelers) which was only a five-minute walk away.
And so ends another great trip to the Grenadines as life back ashore begins.