The Grenadines

After our extended visit to Fort de France, we left Martinique and sailed for St. Lucia’s Rodney Bay where we were to pick up ‘Damsel in Distress’ Lorraine – who’s crewing experience didn’t quite work out as planned, so rather than have her stay in a hotel for 2 weeks waiting for her flight home to Canada, she joined us aboard Toodle-oo! Lorraine had kindly paid for a mooring inside the Lagoon at Rodney Bay where we checked in with 2 people and out with 3!

We left the following morning (not keen to stay in St. Lucia which continues to fail to deal with some security issues) and headed straight to Bequia, past St. Vincent – another island failing to secure the yachties – a long trip with some wildly variable winds arriving just before nightfall.

Unfortunately, our anchoring spot was not that great and we ended up gently dragging in some pretty breezy weather, so in the morning we moved to the other side of the anchorage and found a nice secure spot where we stayed for the next 10 days.

Bequia's Admiralty Bay from Peggy's Rocks

Bequia’s Admiralty Bay from Peggy’s Rocks

On the way up to Peggy's Rocks

On the way up to Peggy’s Rocks

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Rum Shack on east coast

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Interesting flora – an Eggplant??

Our friends Bob and Anne on Baloo were in the harbor and so were a few other OCC boats – so we had a rather nice sociable week or so and managed a few great hikes. I also got to do a dive with Bob – and saw some really nice coral and wide variety of fish.

Lorraine left us after about 10 days aboard Toodle-oo! – heading via ferry to St. Vincent and then by plane to St. Lucia and then a murderous trip back to Vancouver by numerous connections. We had a lovely visit from Lorraine and Laurie is still trying to fix her up with some unsuspecting single-hander!!

After Bequia we headed to Mayreau where we spent a couple of very rolly nights in the anchorage. It’s a small island but sports a very nice beach at the north end (unfortunately full of charter catamarans – which we tend to avoid when possible) but we enjoyed a few beers on the beach taking in the beautiful scenery.

Beach with deck chairs and waitress service!

Beach with deck chairs and waitress service!

We checked out of the Grenadines with a quick stop in Union and then sailed the short distance down to Carriacou where we checked into Grenada. Last year we didn’t do justice to Carriacou at all – leaving Tyrrel Bay after just a couple of days.

Relaxing in Hillsborough, Carriacou at La Playa Beach Bar

Relaxing in Hillsborough, Carriacou at La Playa Beach Bar

Kitty likes La Playa's fish!

Kitty likes La Playa’s fish!

OCC Friends in Tyrrel Bay

OCC Friends in Tyrrel Bay

Double in Tyrrel Bay

Double in Tyrrel Bay

This year was very different and we had an excellent stay, meeting new friends Steve and Carol on Innamorata II and did a couple of excellent hikes. We succeeded in climbing to the top of the second highest peak at 954 ft,

Made it again!

Made it again!

View from the Top of Tyrrel Bay

View from the Top of Tyrrel Bay

followed by a failed attempt at the highest peak (955ft!) which turned into a nice walk with Steve and Carol around the north end of the island. The following day however, we managed to find the trail head for the ‘summit’ trial which turned out to be a short, steep, Cactus filled trek. Once at the top, we tried looking around for the trail we’d tried the day before but there was no evidence – so it must be very overgrown.

Walking around the North End of Carriacou with Steve and Carol

Walking around the North End of Carriacou with Steve and Carol

Highest Peak

Highest Peak

Woohoo!

Woohoo!

After our trek up to the peak, we came back to Bogles and enjoyed a fantastic lunch at Bogles Round House – best meal we’ve had in the Caribbean – not bad since this was our 15th wedding anniversary!

We finally left Carriacou and made our way to Grenada and while we were hoping to anchor in St. George’s anchorage, it turned out to be way too rolly, making setting the anchor impossible. We therefore continued round and found a spot well into the anchorage at Prickly Bay.

 

This brings you all up to speed as to where we’ve been and since we’ll be in Grenada for a few weeks, I’ll update the blog with Grenada stuf

Carnaval

Carnaval in Fort de France – a 4 day affair… Pictures do it better justice than words…

Oh how Cute!

Oh how Cute!

Earthy folk??

Earthy folk??

A Band

A Band

The Couple

The Couple

Ardys and Carl

Ardys and Carl

Jeff and Marcia (UJAM'n)

Jeff and Marcia (UJAM’n)

Looking Good!

Looking Good!

Another Band

Another Band

We think this is Mr. Trump getting...

We think this is Mr. Trump getting…

Anchoring Shenanigans!

Oh Boy! I’m behind! Sorry…

We left you last in northern Martinique – St. Pierre… from whence we sailed down to the capital, Fort de France where we figured we’d stay a night. The sail down was horrid! After a reasonable start, the wind came up dramatically – so much so that we ended up sailing as close as possible to land in order to receive some shelter! We still saw winds in the high 30’s and motor sailed with two reefs in the main – but we made it to Fort de France where the real fun began!

The anchorage was pretty full, so we picked a spot quite far out. The anchor bounced along the bottom… lets try again. Same thing. Third time’s a charm – except in this case! We moved a bit and tried again – same thing. For our fifth attempt we moved to another spot altogether – nada. The sixth try was in the same spot – eureka! It held! We were at the very back of the anchorage, closest to where the ferries went back and forth (constantly), kicking up a big wake each time. It was rolly, but at least we were attached – though we didn’t feel like exploring the town! We settled in for the night – and fortunately, the ferries stopped at a reasonable hour so we were able to sleep.

In the morning the ferries stared at 6:00am – and so did the swells, however, several boats left the anchorage early so we decided to move again in order to be out of the swell. We continued our anchoring count – and attempt 7 didn’t catch, but when picking up the anchor it was apparent why – the tip had sunk into a large old piece of coral – we shook that off and tried again. Attempt 8 managed to hook the same piece of coral! We tried again… something wasn’t right and fortunately, Jeff on UJAM’n was out and about in the anchorage and swam over to take a look – the anchor was wedged under a rock – all well and good while the wind was in this direction, but if it changes… Jeff then swam off to look for a better spot – and well into the anchorage he found a great spot – in sand, so we moved over there and attempt 10 set immediately!

Then the currents in the harbor all went crazy and we found ourselves turned through 180 degrees and now sitting on the bottom! Meanwhile a Catamaran was still afloat when the wind changed back and we were really close to touching boats before we managed to extricate ourselves!

Attempt 11 saw us move just slightly from our nice piece of sand – but we put out a stern anchor as well – to prevent going through the 180 degree gyrations! All is good and we’re so far into the anchorage that there’s no swell! But then, the wind and current play another trick and a different catamaran comes too close! Fortunately, I was able to avoid them by snugging in the stern anchor some, but the proximity was a little disconcerting…

In the morning, an adjacent boat left the anchorage – so we decided it would be prudent to move into that spot – eliminating the need for the stern anchor and at the same time getting away from the cats… I launched the dinghy in order retrieve the stern anchor and came back to the boat. We then lifted the main anchor and reversed away from the cat in front and suddenly there was silence! The stern anchor rode had spooled out of the dinghy during our reversing and the slack generated was now fouled in the propeller! We were adrift in a crowded anchorage…

I quickly got back in the dinghy and tied it alongside and maneuvered Toodle-oo! to where I wanted to anchor next – all was well right up until the stern anchor rode decided to attack the dinghy’s propeller! Once again we were adrift in the water! Now it’s time to yell for help! Fortunately, another OCC friend, Bob on Oasis was to hand and he towed us with his dinghy to where I wanted to drop the anchor.

Our 12th anchoring attempt proved to be the winner! We were well set in sand (and deep enough water) with no obvious targets to collide with us during the night!

By now there were about 7 other OCC boats in the anchorage – all here to enjoy the Carnaval celebrations – so we decided to enjoy them too and ended up staying in Fort de France for 10 days!

Plans laid in sand at low tide…

Dominica and Guadeloupe

Unfortunately, internet has been extremely difficult to come by – finally got this post up and will slowly add photos as I can… 

We returned to Dominica to find rather more boats in the anchorage than when we were there in December and more and more arrived over the coming days – with over 40 boats anchored or moored each night by the time we left a little over a week later.

While we were there a bunch of cruisers got together to assist the Dominicans in their rebuilding efforts – at the communal food pantry ‘The Lambs Feast’ at the local radio station and simply helping locals out with whatever project they were up to. I had an interesting morning with John and Chris from Saphira Blue and Mark from Calypso K, assisting a gentleman called Alexis and his cousin Monty put a new roof on Alexis’ house. What we did in a morning together would certainly have taken them a couple of days.

We also did a fantastic hike to ‘The Boiling Lake’ with John and Chris and with Martin and Lydia from Cheglia, guided by Sea Cat. This had to have been the most interesting and most arduous hike I’ve ever undertaken. We left Toodle-oo! at 6:00am, were at the trail head at 8:30 and didn’t get back for another 8 hours! The route took us over a big hill and down, across a river, up a mountain (and down again ☹) across the valley of desolation and up to the boiling lake. The second largest in the world and it is BOILING! The trek was very steep and quite challenging, but along the way we got to enjoy fresh pineapple, rum punch, fresh boiled eggs (boiled in the fumaroles) a blue mud pack and lunch at the lake all courtesy of Sea Cat who provided a wonderful dialog about the flora and fauna along the way. Anyone considering this hike will be well pleased if the go with Sea Cat.

Unfortunately, the hike took it’s toll – in the hot steamy and wet conditions, Laurie’s camera (which I had chosen to bring instead of mine) suffered a death and the card is unreadable – so no photographs ☹

We bid adieu to Dominica and enjoyed a brisk sail down to St. Pierre in Martinique. There were a couple of OCC boats anchored around us and we had sundowners aboard Toodle-oo! with Jeff and Macia from UJAM’n and Neil and Helen from Milvinia. We had already decided we wanted to hike Mt. Pele, the large volcano that last erupted in 1905 ? killing about 30,000 people in St. Pierre. As it turned out, Neil was planning the hike the following morning, so we opted to join him.

Last year when we attempted this walk with Peter and Patty (Serendipitous) the weather was awful and we called it quits at the first major ridge we came to. Turns out that ridge was not even half way to the top… This hike was another strenuous effort – taking over 5 hours – but this time we had perfect weather and the sights on the way up and from the top were breathtaking. We completed the walk with Neil and with Fletcher, Kristopher and Ward from ‘Lovely Cruise’, a younger family taking a 12-18 month sabbatical…

Last year's "Summit" turned up to be not even half way to the real summit...

Last year’s “Summit” turned up to be not even half way to the real summit…

View from the lower reaches of Mt. Pele

View from the lower reaches of Mt. Pele

It goes up, then down then up again...

It goes up, then down then up again…

No that's not the top - you have to go down and then up again - over here!

No that’s not the top – you have to go down and then up again – over here!

Still not there - you go down again, then up again :-(

Still not there – you go down again, then up again :-(

Finally made it! With Neil McCubbin - a mere 74 years young!

Finally made it! With Neil McCubbin – a mere 74 years young!

The crew of Lovely Cruise - Ward Kristofer and Fletcher

The crew of Lovely Cruise – Ward Kristofer and Fletcher

 

We’ll be heading south along Martinique’s coast for the next few days before moving to the next island – probably Bequia…

Fixing Stuff in Exotic Locations

We came into the Marina in Pointe a Pitre, Guadeloupe with one goal in mind – fix the generator! It has been making a heck of a lot of noise recently – so much so that when I first heard it while we were down in Dominica, I thought the main bearings had gone, however it continued to run, just with lots of noise.

I ordered spare parts – including engine mounts – which I hoped might solve the problem and had Neal bring them to us on his visit.

This was always going to be a messy job – lifting the generator out and working on it’s oily extremities in the cockpit – and it lived up to expectations! Fortunately, we discovered the cause of the noise… an Aluminium plate between the engine and generator had broken and one of three mounting bolts was therefore inoperable. However, of the two remaining mounts, one had lost it’s nut and the other’s nut was loose. Basically the thing was held together by the drive belt!!

Messy Generator

Messy Generator

Cleaned up

Cleaned up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I spotted a tech working on a Halberg Rassey a few slips down and confirmed that he is a welder – he came and took a look and confirmed that he’d be able to weld it up – though because it’s aluminium, there were to be no guarantees! I gave him the piece the following morning and he brought it back in the afternoon!

Broken Mount

Broken Mount

Fixed!

Fixed!

It took all this morning to reassemble the thing and get it back into it’s spot on it’s new engine mounts. Turned the thing on – and bliss – purrs like a kitten!!!

I love it when a plan works out!

 

We’re off tomorrow – back to Dominica!

 

Fun Visit

Having a great visit with Neal and Kathy – enjoying the opportunity to land cruise around Guadeloupe and take advantage of their apartment’s WiFi and washing machine! WooHoo!!! Our livers on the other hand are looking forward to them heading home!!

Looking across to 'Les Saintes' from Guadeloupe

Looking across to ‘Les Saintes’ from Guadeloupe

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Did a super walk up the Volcano Soufriere – apparently the highest point in the Antilles… Quite a hike!

It's a long way up!

It’s a long way up!

Every once in a while the cloud would break for a few seconds

Every once in a while the cloud would break for a few seconds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It's steep!

It’s steep!

So did I!

So did I!

Made it!

Made it!

 

Amazing lichens and mosses

Amazing lichens and mosses

The descent

The descent

On the 'Rim'

On the ‘Rim’

 

Neal & Kathy

Timing was rather tight to get out of Antigua after Abigail’s visit and down to Pointe a Pitre in Guadeloupe in time for the arrival of Laurie’s brother Neal and his girlfriend Kathy. We had a very salty 2 day sail but arrived unscathed on Saturday.

Neal and Kathy are actually staying on land – in an Air B&B adjacent to the Marina we use as a dinghy dock. Couldn’t be more convenient.

So, getting right into the program, we headed out to inspect the local beaches and bars – and found several of both! Day two we decided to go for a bit of a walk in the rain forest – and it obliged by showing itself in it’s full glory – wet, wet, wet! And muddy! No matter we survived to live another day and drink another rum!

The walking dead?

The walking dead?

Aww - It's Muddy!!!!

Aww – It’s Muddy!!!!

A little uphill...

A little uphill…

 

 

 

Debating in the Rain Forest

Debating in the Rain Forest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hunting Tree Frogs!

Hunting Tree Frogs!

Washing off the mud

Washing off the mud

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All Done!

All Done!

Holidays

We had a lovely Christmas in Les Saintes with David and Leanne of Perigee – Christmas Eve on Toodle-oo! and Christmas Day aboard Perigee – excellent food, far too much alcohol and a little bit of snorkeling for good measure!

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve

Christmas Lights

Christmas Lights

 

 

 

 

 

Toodle-oo! was nicely lit up for Christmas, but unfortunately, the last night we were there, we went ashore for the evening and came back to find the boat in darkness… the lights had shorted, and caused a small fire before the electricity was automatically cut. We were very lucky that the only damage was a small hole burned in the sail cover and mainsail. We fixed the main the following morning with a handy little manual sewing machine we were lent by Frank on Infinity B and then hightailed it up towards Antigua where we picked up Abigail and spent New Year.

We took the mainsail into North Sails who did a great repair very quickly – highly recommend them! And then we moved the boat around to English Harbour with David on Perigee aboard to act as coach for our first experience of “Med Mooring” where one sets an anchor and then backs in to the dock stern-to, held off the dock just be the anchor – and hoping you’re not putting your anchor and rode over someone else’s! The whole thing went smoothly – largely because the wind was cooperating!

Laurie then organized a Beach Bar pub crawl for all the OCC boats assembled in the vicinity… we had a tremendous time visiting 4 very different beach bars on Antigua’s western coast.

Best Girls!

Best Girls!

Hanging out in the bar!

Hanging out in the bar!

Beach Bar Crawl

Beach Bar Crawl

New Year’s Eve saw 5 OCC boats on the dock host appetizers for about 30 OCC members and then on New Year’s Day we had a Bocce Ball tournament! Quite the weekend!

Not such a fine performance!

Not such a fine performance!

We’re now in Green Island – a very secluded bay in Antigua – protected from the Atlantic by just a reef – so the next land east of us is Morocco! Abigail steered us here – having the inevitable race (and winning) with 2 boats headed in the same direction as us!

Showing them how it's done!

Showing them how it’s done!

Racing - and Winning!

Racing – and Winning!

As you can see, all’s well aboard Toodle-oo!

Guadeloupe

We left Dominica on Sunday after nearly 2 weeks there. It felt good to help out a bit and it was rewarding (and challenging) cleaning up the galvanized from the sea floor. We ended up with quite the pile!

Bill and Jeff's fabulous haul!

Bill and Jeff’s fabulous haul!

We had a wonderful sail to Pointe a Pitre in Guadeloupe – probably the best sail we’ve ever had in the Caribbean. We were close hauled all the way, and the true wind speed was only 10-15 knots, but Toodle-oo! was flying along – great fun.

We arrived and anchored in Pointe a Pitre close to our friends Bob and Anne on Baloo and for the next couple of days were highly productive – laundry, restocking the boat, buying Christmas Dinner, and sourcing various bits for the boat. Unfortunately, our generator is acting up again – it’s making a lot more noise than normal and turns itself off at random times. Very frustrating! However, we have spare parts being brought to us just after the New Year by Laurie’s brother Neal, so hopefully we can limp by until then.

We left Pointe a Pitre today (Wednesday) and had another cracking sail, this time to the small island of Marie Galante where we hope to decompress for a bit! We’re spending Christmas with our friends David and Leanne on Perigee – but it sure would be nice if we knew where – The Saintes or Antigua seem to be the two choices and there’s only 4 days between now and Christmas Eve!

Looking forward to Abigail joining the boat of a few days around the New Year… we’ll be in Antigua, a hotbed of buff young sailors – and she’s on the prowl!!

 

Diving for Galvanized

Today we went mostly free-diving for Galvanized Roofing Sheets – there are loads of these sheets strewn around the bottom creating a real anchoring nightmare. In one morning we collected all these pieces – from just a small area of the anchorage.

Diving for Galvanized!

Diving for Galvanized!

Got a bit of a scare when I got my leg tied up in the hauling line just before surfacing – that gets the adrenaline flowing!!

The morning's haul!

The morning’s haul!

Meanwhile, the kitchen counter is ready for pouring…

Ready for the counter-top to be poured...

Ready for the counter-top to be poured…