Monday, 13 June 2016

Our season is winding down.

As I write this post we are tied up at the Le Phare Bleu Marina in Grenada getting the boat ready for haul out.  It's a lot of work, day after hot sweaty day. There is so much to clean out and wipe down, all with the aim of trying to prevent mould and mildew growth while she is left on " the hard".

  My last post had us enjoying Dominica, which we did for 6 days. Not nearly long enough and we will certainly be going back for more next season. We left there on May 20th and after a full 15 hour sail arrived in Rodney bay, St.Lucia. We spent several days in the marina, hooked up to shore power so that Ian could ( technical alert!) equalize the boat batteries. I won't even try to explain what that entails (google it) but with it successfully accomplished we moved on down the coast to Marigot Bay. There is a very nice resort there, Capella Resort, and we had been told by friends that if we stayed on one of their mooring balls we would have use of the resort and most importantly their fresh water pool!

Ahh, that feels good.

   While in Marigot Bay we did the walk up to the Marigot Ridge. My goodness. The trail goes straight up, no switchbacks here. The view at the top was well worth it.

Straight up.

The rope was a huge help.

Looking down on Marigot Bay 

Looking out to sea from inside Marigot Bay

  Our next stop was Bequia, one of the Islands that make up St. Vincent and the Grenadines. I love Bequia. On this visit we were finally able to complete the Peggy's Rock hike, after our aborted attempt last year with Jo and Cliff.

A gentle start to the walk.

Then it got steeper.

And rockier.

The view was beautiful at the top.

Looking down on Admirality Bay, Bequia from Peggy's Rock.

The road back to town. 

Homes downtown in Port Elizabeth.
Restaurant on the waterfront pathway. 

Good snorkelling off Tony Gibbons beach.

Love these little spiral sea anemones (?)  

  On our first day of snorkelling here we saw juvenile lobsters, a beautiful eel and to top it off, an octopus. When the octopus became aware of us it changed colour and its camouflage was amazingly good. When I swam down close to it, it puffed itself up to twice its size and turned white with blue "eyes", quite intimidating looking, trying to scare me off. Of course, I didn't have the camera with me that day, the pictures would have been fantastic.

The view on our walk to...........

The Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary. A 2 year old Hawksbill.

    Our next stop was the Tobago Cays. These are a group of small, uninhabited Islands which are protected from the sea by the surrounding  Horseshoe Reef. They are within easy reach of both Canouan and Mayreau Islands.

    We had been unsure if we would stop by this year. Unfortunately a few days earlier there had been a boarding of a sailboat by armed local men. Money and valuables were demanded and violence was used, a horrible experience for the boaters involved. Apparently the perpetrators were later caught. We decided to go; you can't live your life in fear of what might happen; but if, on arrival we had  found ourselves to be the only boat there, I think perhaps we would have enjoyed a swim and snorkel and then moved on for the night. Happily for us though we met up with two other Antares boats and had a fun visit with Peter and Sally (s/v Milly) and Warren and Annie (s/v Exit Strategy). A delicious BBQ dinner was delivered to the boat by the local boat boys who do all the cooking on shore.

S/V Zooropa, S/V Milly and S/V Exit Strategy.

     Our next stop was Clifton Harbour, Union Island. A quick walk to the small local airport and we were checked out of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Peter and Sally had followed us here so the four of us did a quick walk up to Fort Hill to take in the beautiful views.

At the dock.

A short walk up hill rewards you with this view.

With Peter and Sally (s/v Milly). The Tobago Cays in the background.

      We finished the day with a quick sail over to Carriacou Island which is part of Grenada. All of these Islands, from Tobago Cays to Union to Carriacou and then Grenada are within sight of each other and mostly run North/South which makes for easy and quick sailing trips. We stayed just two nights in Carriacou and then continued on down to Grenada.

    We have our haul out date booked and our season is winding down. Enough sun, fun and beach time, the emphasis now is on cleaning and preparing to leave the boat. We are both looking forward to a land break.

Sunday, 29 May 2016


      Dominica, pronounced Dom-e-nee-ka, is a lush, green, mountainous Island, 75% of which is heavily wooded rainforest. There are no white sandy beaches and no large resorts, visitors come here to hike and discover the rivers, waterfalls and varied plant life.

Our first view of Dominica, sailing down the coast.

    We sailed into Prince Rupert Bay and the town of Portsmouth, at the north end of the Island and were helped onto a mooring ball by Alexis, one of the local guides and a member of PAYS ( Portsmouth Association of Yacht Security). The harbour was previously unsafe for boaters due to thefts, break ins etc so this group of young men formed the association and now patrol an area of the harbour and also help boaters by organizing tours, delivering ice, taking laundry and generally making sure the yachties have a good visit. They hold a weekly BBQ where the cost of the ticket gives you drinks and dinner and a chance to meet other boaters. Word gets around quickly in the cruising community and boaters obviously feel safe here now, during our stay there were at least 40 boats in the anchorage.

   We took in a very enjoyable Jazz Festival and several lovely hikes during our short stay.

We pay a lot for Heliconia flowers at home. Here they grow by the roadside.

Hiking section 11 of the Waitukubuli National Trail.

surrounded by beautiful foliage, it was a steep and wet climb.

we walked with a somewhat eccentric British trail custodian for a while, according to him this is the oldest tree on the Island?? 
Local home. 

Alexis rowing us up the Indian River, no motors allowed. 

Surrounded by huge swamp Bloodwood trees. We saw large crabs and herons and heard many birds and insects.

At the halfway point of the trip you arrive at this bar in the forest! 

So sweet. Alexis presented me with this arrangement. 

A close up to show the hummingbirds he fashioned from grasses.

This is a large Mango tree, absolutely dripping in fruit. 

Looking at Portsmouth and Prince Rupert Bay from Fort Shirley, Cabrits National Park.

Royal Poinciana or Flamboyant tree.

Ruins of Fort Shirley, circa 1700's. The trees growing over the walls reminded us a lot of Angor Wat in Cambodia.

It was an easy hike into Milton Falls.

A Pineapple growing on the ground.

The flower of a Banana tree

Inside the flower. Each bunch of bananas is called a "hand" and each individual banana a " finger".

    On a walk with our guide Alexis we saw growing; mango,banana, pineapple, oranges, papaya, coffee beans, nutmeg, cinnamon, dasheen, christophene, breadfruit, sugar cane, avocado trees ( not in season yet).  I'm sure there was more that I can't remember. Needless to say, the people of Dominica have plentiful access to healthy eating.

   We very much look forward to returning to this charming Island next season and exploring some more.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Passage between Isle des Saintes and Dominica

 It's a fairly short 24 NM hop between Isle des Saintes and Portsmouth, Dominica. The winds were in the low 30's ( apparent wind) so we had both reefs in the sails. Fortunately for us another Canadian couple ( Catherine and Henry) on s/v Mowzer - incidentally we had chartered their boat several years ago in the BVI's- whom we had met in the Saintes were also making the passage at the same time and took these great photo's and video for us.  Thanks Catherine!

Having trouble downloading video. Will try again when I have more robust internet.   PB

Monday, 16 May 2016

Loving Iles des Saintes

Well we didn't have to wait too much longer in the BVI's for an opportunity to make the overnight passage to St.Martin.  We headed out, just as the sun was setting, into fairly lumpy seas but with the weather forecasters promising lightening winds. We had an uneventful night ( always good ) and by breakfast time the next morning we were just off the St. Martin coast. Since the winds and seas had died down -and since we really didn't need/want to necessarily stop in St.Martin - we just kept right on going. Next stop Antigua.  We pulled in to Jolly Harbour, Antigua at 2 am. the following morning and dropped the anchor. It's a large open harbour which we have anchored in before so a night time arrival was not a problem for us.  Straight to bed and we both slept in that morning. We spent the day on the boat and left at sundown that evening, never having set foot on land. We were now, finally, heading south ( winds mostly from the East) so we had a good over night sail from Antigua past Guadeloupe and on into Iles des Saintes.
The pretty town Bourg De Saintes, on Terre D'en Haut, Iles des Saintes

main street

old building

local church
the Mairie, town/city hall

looking down on the town and harbour

on top of Le Chameau, 1,000ft up. The highest point on the Island.

taking a rest.

the airport runway on the right of picture

looking down onto Baie de Pompierre

     We really enjoyed our few days on  Iles des Saintes and will definitely return next season. The Island is small enough to to be able to walk from coast to coast and has some good, steep hiking trails. We love the vibe of the French Islands. Laid back, everything shuts down at lunch time, great croissants! and even though our ( my) French language skills are appalling I enjoy the challenge of trying to make myself understood in the grocery store. OH, and nobody cares if you go topless off the back of the boat !!!! ( no pictures please).

   We have now moved on to Dominica, which we are also loving.