January 2015: The Grenadines
The Grenadines (of Saint Vincent)
The Grenadines are divided in 2 groups of islands. In the south they belong to Grenada, in the north to St Vincent. Clearance is different and needed for each territory. We decide to go first to the north.
Thursday December, 25th 2014 around 9pm we leave Tobago... We want to arrive to Union with daylight in order to see cleary the reef.
After diner we wash the dishes, prepare the boat, the kids go to bed and we raise the sails.
Swells are big, coming from the side and wind blows between 20 and 25 kts with gusts at 30 kts. Lolo goes to sleep and then Loïc at 3am.
Around 7am Lolo goes back to sleep, but not for long... Loïc is folding the genoa. "It looks like there is a small fishing boat needing help, they are making signals with a red cloth." Of course no AIS or VHF... Pirats or true fishermen with a probem???" We go carefully closer to see what is going on.
We see 4 men on the small wooden boat, they tell us that they have an engine issue. They are from Tobago. What are they doing so far from their island? We decide to bring them to Union, they are ok.
They don't have a rope so we go very slowly close to them and through one.
The old man with a long gray beard thanks us a lot. They ask for water, one of them looks unconscious, not easy to talk from one boat to the other with the wind and swells. We through a bottle in their boat and they catch it. We have now 3 hours to go to Union.
When we arrive, we drop them in a quite bay, not sure that they want to pay for their clearance... We learn that they where 4 days at sea... They missed Christmas and their families have no news. They have no communication device. We understand that one of them was really in bad condition because they had no food or water. Going at sea for one day is not the same as 4 days...
We try to find an idea to drop them on the shore but we can't get too close with Mariposa, it is too shallow. We put the dinghy two other local fishboats come closer and help us to take them to the shore. Loïc and Maël follow them with some more food and water while Lolo and the girls keep an eye on Mariposa as we are very close to the reef.
Needless to say the fishermen were more than happy to touch ground. They hugged Loïc one by one and the old man told him: "Thanks a lot for my wife and my kids, good people meet with good people!!!"
And we were thinking of a short and quite navigation from Tobago to Union, again, what an adventure!!!
In Union we stop in order to do our clearance for the Grenadines of St Vincent.
Water is turquoise. There are more people, a lot of catamarans, kite-surfs... The atmosphere is different. Now we really feel that we are in the Caribbean Islands ! Fish is much more expensive than in Tobago or Cape Verde but the place is great!
The next day, after school, we head north until the island of Canouan. We sail windard, it didn't happen for a long time! But navigation is fine and short. After 3 hours we anchor in Charlestown Bay.
The next day, after school, we go more north until Canouan. Some close hauled tacks, and the boat is heeling a lot... but the navigation is not too loog. After 3 hours we are mooring in our new bay.
Sunday 27th of December, a walk in the small town of Charlestown and we finish by a good Sirloin at the restaurant of the Tamarind hotel. From the shore, we suddenly see some agitation around Mariposa, 2 catamarans look in trouble while anchoring there... We now see one of them very close to our boat, then some people on our boat!?!?!? What is going on there? Loïc qnd Maël jump into tthe dinghy and getting closer understand that the chains of the 2 cats are blobked together and also in ours... The boys help the guys really not skilled to get out of that bad situation, no damages, we are lucky again...
In the afternon we have the surprise to see 44.com anchoring close to us. The kids play together at the beach.
We follow 44.com and go to Bequia with them.
Admiralty Bay is a huge bay... filled with a lot of sailing boats.
The colored house of the village are cute. We haven't seen so many fruits, veggies and groceries in the stores for a long time!!!
We go to the Tobago Cays in order to see Méléos. There is a lot of wind (25/35 knots), we sail fast, 7-8 knots with 2 reefs and the jib.
Méléos reserved us a mooring buoy because the wind is blowing very strongly!
The place is beautiful!!! The sea is really turquoise.
For the 31st, we have a drink on Méléos and it's barbecue on the beach: what a great plan!
Thursday the 1st, the kids are doing their school exercices very fast. They have friends to play with! In the other boat the motivation is the same.
In the afternoon we can observe fish, turtles, starfishes... It's just magic!!!
On the small island, we can see some iguanas, hermit crabs, a ground turtle...
Friday January 2nd, we decide with Méléos to go mooring in front of Mayreau in Saline Bay. With 40 knots the departure is strong!
There is a huge beach with coconut trees. The rasta bar of Robert Righteous is unique. There we read a quote we liked a lot:
"PAST is HISTORY
FUTURE is a MISTERY
TODAY is a GIFT
That's why it's called PRESENT"
On Saturday Méléos leaves us to go back to Martinique. Kids are sad but we will see each other next month.
We stay in Saline Bay because we like the place. Maël tries to climb the coconut trees in order to take some coconut. It is not so easy but he makes it!!!
Sunday the 5th of January we go back to Union in order to do the clearance of the Grenadines of Saint Vincent. We have to anchor under the rain... But after the sun is drying quickly everything.
Les Grenadines (de Grenade)
Monday morning, we sail to Saint George in the Grenadines of Grenade.
As there is a lot of wind coming from the back, we sail just with the genoa. It is great : we can read and play games during the navigation. Every body is happy!
We moore in St George Bay. There are at least 4 trimarans.
The day after we follow to the bays of the south of the island. It is close by but with the wind and the current in front it is hard to move forward even with the engine. The fastest is 3.2 knots!
After a first night in Prickly Bay we go in Clarke's Court Bay to meet again with Camao.
Since we are in Grenade we feel that the atmosphere is different: less rented boats and more travelling sailing boat.
At Clarke's Court Bay, there is a small marina owned by some french canadiens with a bakery and a meat market! The first night, with Camao we go dining in the marina-restaurant. Everybody eating there is at the same big table to share some barbecue.
The harbour is also renting some mooring buoy. And when Loïc goes to the meat market this morning, he hears that a french sailing boat that stayed more than ten days on a buoy just left without paying... The canadians explain us that this happens often with french people. Great image, isn't it?
Grenade : the spice island
A visit of the island allows us to enjoy beautiful points of views, some mark of the past. There are still a lot of french names remaining from the past: Mont Jaloux, Crochut Point, Grande Anse...
It is incredible all the smells , the plants and the trees we can find here: ylang-ylang, pomelos, mandarines, oranges, lemons, soar sop, cafe, cinnamon, cacao, lemon grass, turmeric, star fruit, eucalyptus...
Some animals living there:
And of course there is the nutmeg! We can see it on the flag. Grenade was on of the most important producer of nutmeg before Ivan's hurricane. Now the island is developing the tourism...
We also visited a small chocolate factory. It is 14 years old. Before that they were just producing the cocoa bean to export it.
At the end, we taste some 100% cocoa chocolate, then 82, 71 and 60% cocoa. It was delicious!!!
We visited a rhum factory. It seemed like going back in the past.
They produce only two kind of rhum one is 75% of alcohol and the other one 69% so that you can put in your suitcase when you are going on an airplane.
We begin our way back north. We stop in Cariacou where we finaly meet our friends on
Sev'on Seas. We already met them before our big departure.
An other family on a boat W-Alter was already with them.
We spend 3 and 1/2 days together visiting the island, participating to W-Alter's project, having a barbecue on Sandy Island...
The kids, together on the same boat, enjoy jumping in the water, playing games or watching a movie while the parents are spending time like old friends.