Lovely Sailing South

We have travelled south over the past few days, having great weather and enjoying the stunning turquoise waters in the Tobago Cays along the way.

Stunning Waters of the Tobago Cays

Leaving Marin at sunset gave us a gentle sail past St Lucia and St Vincent but in the lee of the islands the wind dropped considerably and we had to motor on a couple of occasions. The rest of the time it was perfect, with not too much swell on the side of the boat. The stars were just amazing – so many and so bright!

Leaving Martinique Just Before Sunset

We took 2 hour watches through the night but didn’t sleep very much, which is OK when it is just 1 night. Not much shipping and nothing much to do with the sails, so it was a simple passage.

The windiest stretch was sailing into Bequia, as usual, with 18 knots of wind giving us a fast few miles into the bay. Our friends and their family, on ‘Blue Moon’, were waiting for us and Wendy swam over to say hello, not realising 2 huge rays were swimming around our boat as well! We all had drinks onboard later on, once we had had a shower! We didn’t check in but kept the Q flag up instead, which is perfectly acceptable.

Peaceful Roomy Bequia

It was a peaceful night and we both slept well, being tired out. The next morning we headed off at around 0730, sailed past a ship on the reef and had another great sail to the Tobago Cays. We entered by the northern channel and carefully motored between the reefs. It was busy in the cut between 2 of the small islands but the water is unbelievably clear and we are looking forward to going back there on our trip north. The boat boys were polite and not pushy at all but I guess they do a roaring trade during the season.


After lunch we navigated the reefs out of the southern approach and sailed to the windward side of Union Island and on to Carriacou, anchoring in Hillsborough, just south of the town quay to check in the following morning. Tying up at the pier is not the easiest as there is only 1 set of concrete steps and several local boats were moored up there. We had to pull our dinghy along the pier and tie it to some railings instead but then on return we had to pull it around a couple of newly arrived dinghies.

We have been there a couple of times so know the clearance procedure. First the police station for Immigration and completion of a 1 page form, then the Customs window in the port by the pier and finally the Port Authority window opposite. The fee for a month is 75 EC$ which is about 18 GBP. After that we got some fresh milk and frozen smoked marlin from Patty’s Deli ☺

The anchor was well dug in and held us in some gusts but there were few boats in the bay, so plenty of room. Next morning we motored and sailed around the headland to Tyrrel Bay, one of our favourite places. It was quite quiet, with lots of sandy spots visible for perfect holding. We anchored next to our friends, Peter and Sylvie on ‘Jambalaya’ and swam over to say ‘Hi’. The water is much warmer here, some 150 miles south of Martinique.

Our 'Car' Tied To The Jetty with Beyzano Beyond

Nothing much has changed in Tyrrel Bay. All the bars, restaurants and shops we are familiar with are still going strong and the Slipway is gaining a great reputation with cruisers for the delicious food and friendly atmosphere.

One near disaster luckily missed us whilst sailing out of Hillsborough. We saw a white plastic bag in the water, just to our starboard beam but having passed it, a snorkeler popped his head up astern of us and started waving and cursing. He must have been deep down and was completely invisible to us before that but he was very fortunate we didn’t have our propeller engaged and hadn’t hit him. Unbelievable that anyone would snorkel hundreds of metres from shore, in the main channel, without anything more than a plastic bag floating in the water nearby as a warning. We just thought it was rubbish! If we had been motoring and hit him, the consequences don’t bear thinking about and we hope he has learnt a lesson today as he certainly shook us up.

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2 Responses to Lovely Sailing South

  1. Peter says:

    Georgeous Tobago Cays!! it all seems to just get better and better.
    Hello again, I wanted to ask, now you are into your second year of the cruising life, is it all and more of what you expected, I can’t see you hankering to get back to an office for a while if ever, and does the Caribbean still hold some hidden gems for you to seek out and savour, I think so.
    Beyzano looks fully self sufficient now with the arch, solar panels,and watermaker fixed, how many watts do they offer and how do you manage their power, which batteries do they refresh? Sorry that’s enough questions, it looks to me you have learnt so much since doing the arc that must be rewarding in itself, (you never stop learning about sailing)one more, how’s the finances going?Beyzano seems to prove reliable and I must say the 473 is a popular choice for cruising couples there’s loads of you out there! Enjoy this evening’s sunset, wherever you are.
    Best regards,

  2. Rhian says:

    Hi Peter & Laura
    Thanks for the questions 🙂 When people ask how we are getting on, we always reply the same: It has turned out to be far, far better than we could have dared hoped. We have been incredibly lucky, suffered no damage, no horrendous weather and no crime. The cruisers are really friendly and we have had some wonderful times. It is just such a lovely way of life.

    Certainly no plans to stop for many years yet and although people tell us if we stay in the Caribbean for more than 2 years, we will never leave, we still want to explore it for a good few years yet. We still haven’t done Cuba, Bonaire, French Guyana etc etc. The USA too! So much more to do.

    Beyzano is doing great, bless her. The solar panels power the frige, freezer and watermaker during the height of the day and give out 540 watts. The MPPT Controller manages it all and the domestic batteries get boosted.

    The finances are probably the area we messed up most!! I am keeping a more accurate log of our spending this year which I can share later on. Insurance alone is 2,600 a year, hauling out and antifouling was another 2,500 last year (3 months ashore) so our original hoped for 9,000 a year budget was far off the mark!! What really impacted us was having to return to the UK 6 times. Flights, hire cars and UK life cost a huge amount. This year we hope to just haul for 6 weeks and not need to paint the hull again. Food, drink and eating out is cheap though 🙂

    That all said – it is still definitely worth every penny.

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