We returned to Grenada yesterday as Dennis and Paula’s flight leaves this evening. The past few days have seen us out in wind strengths we normally avoid like the plague but this time we ‘had’ to go out and it probably did us good, as we are so used to waiting until good weather!
The Bequia Jazz and Blues Festival was great fun, with bands on the Thursday and Friday evenings providing wonderful music and a lovely atmosphere at De Reef on Lower Bay. Sadly we couldn’t stay for the final 2 days but Dana Gillespie and the London Blues Band were excellent.
From there we had a quick sail to the Tobago Cays, taking a mooring for 2 nights at a cost of 40 GBP, including the Marine Park Fee. The boat boys also want a tip for tying you to the buoy, although ours didn’t actually pass our lines through the eye the first time, so we had to start again! Reports last year said the moorings were suspect with some boats breaking free but the Park Officers told us that all the moorings are new this year and they certainly looked solid and in good condition. The Cays are beautiful, with water so clear and turquoise but it doesn’t get captured in photos at all. Dennis wanted to have a romantic lobster BBQ with Paula, on the beach of one of the 4 island, all provided by one of the many boat boys but when 1800 came, so did the deluge and the chef brought out all the dishes to our boat instead, collecting his plates the next day. Not bad service and the food was excellent!
The wind got up to around 30 knots in a squall that first evening but the new mooring held us fast. An anchored boat wasn’t so lucky, dragging onto a charter boat, also anchored and being stuck t-boned across the bow for what seemed like ages. They then got tangled together via the anchor chain but eventually got free and re-anchored safely.
The following day we took a 2 tank dive with Grenadines Dive at Mayreau Valley and Gardens. The latter was a very rapid drift dive and we sped along barely being able to see anything except a nurse shark, the highlight of the dives. At 90 GBP each, it was our most expensive dive ever and they didn’t even bother to provide a cup of water or a biscuit during our surface interval between dives. The boat wasn’t really designed for diving either, with a makeshift ladder to climb back into the boat and a very narrow ledge on the side to sit on before going into the water backwards. It didn’t even support the heavy tank. We have been spoilt by the wonderful diving in Bonaire, which was easy and also free but for the air!
We left the mooring with the wind registering 28 knots, so not ideal. Motoring carefully through the reef we made our way under genoa alone to Clifton Harbour on Union Island. This is a place I really have never liked. The anchorage is often crowded, the holding poor and the locals can be intimidating. As we entered the harbour we saw a gap and headed for that, happy to see our friends on Mai Tai and Smart Move either side of it. We had to anchor in 13 metres but it did hold despite the wind. Given the conditions, Dennis and Rob stayed on the boat in case of a problem and Paula and I headed to Customs to clear out. Got to the dinghy dock and were told we couldn’t lock it up, so had to leave Paula there guarding the dinghy whilst I headed off alone to the office. Again, not ideal given the reputation of Union Island. Got to the office and it was padlocked shut with a sign ‘Temporarily Closed Go To Airport’! Off I went, a short walk but still on my own with Paula on her own. I called up Rob on the VHF to tell him the situation and asked him to phone Paula (later found out she didn’t have her phone so she wandered off to Customs to find out what had happened!).
Once we were cleared out we left and had another blast of a sail to Tyrrel Bay on Carriacou. As soon as we rounded the headland, Wendy on Blue Moon radioed us, apparently the third blue yacht she had called up! Good to catch up with them again that evening and lovely to be in Tyrrel Bay, despite having to anchor in a Force 6 again. There was a beautiful sandy patch next to Blue Moon and our entire chain was laid out in it, ensuring a peaceful night’s sleep.
The next day we had to get to Grenada, so we all enjoyed a quick cooked breakfast in the Gallery Cafe and got the sails up. With one reef in the main and genoa we tore back to Grenada in only 4 and a half hours, negotiating the exclusion zone around the underwater volcano and exhausting the crew, bless them. (Note, we have the exact same photo from the BVIs in February 2012!). The early mornings, fast sailing, rum punches, fresh air and heat certainly make our guests tired 🙂
We stopped at the Underwater Sculptures Park just north of St George’s so Dennis and Paula could snorkel over them. It cost just 6.50 GBP for the 24 hour mooring but we decided to carry on to the anchorage for the night. Today we just sorted out the boat, were treated to a delicious lunch in Sails, on the Carenage and had to wave them away. It has been a great fortnight, with lots of happy memories.