06/30/2009, Cuthbert Snagg's Beach Bar
We wanted to get something to nibble on or a late lunch after checking in so late! We were directed to Cuthberts Snaggs by the locals. No food but icy cold beer and a sparkling G&T. We plopped down next to these guys whoppin' it up! Who knew dominos could be so loud and energetic? Maybe they bet and there's more at stake to fire them up! What a hoot.
06/30/2009, Anchored inside
Doesn't this look like a relaxed and easygoing harbor? A pleasant town perched on a perfect beach. As you walk down the main street you catch glimpses of the sea thru the buildings. We caught Altair while seeking the sunset on a mellow stroll thru this picturesque little seascape village.
Dudley and Bec
06/30/2009, Town of Hillsborough
Hillsboro is the only place to check in here at Carriacou and we know how to make the best of a quick stop. If there's a Yacht Club, we'll find it! How green!
06/30/2009, Carriacou, Grenada's Child!
Here we are checking into Carriacou, one of the two tiny islands that comprise the country of Grenada. A baby step toward our hurricane goal of the mother island, Grenada. We couldn't wait to embark on the latest exploration of this quaint little seaside wharf. The little ship Altair was welcomed by the cutest and sweetest kid , Alexis, at the customs office. He was so effervescent describing Grenada's upcoming regattas and carnival! He didn't stop there. When we assumed "girls were hanging all over him", he gladly described his colorful grandfather with his 30-40 kids. He's afraid to date because he may be related to the girl.
We got the calendars for the next two months and it seems we are going to be VERY busy! Grenada is going to be a joyful island if we are to listen to all the cruisers who've spent time here and shared their tales of these gentle, smiling people, gorgeous harbors and the flora. We we're just stopping long enough to clear in with Customs and Immigration, however, that G&T was huge (a side car the likes of Fox's in Miami) and a sail to Tyrrel Bay wasn't going to happen tonight!
05/27/2009, The Grenedines: Bequia, Canouan, Tabago Cays, Union, Mayreau and back to
Wow, we are getting some tropical waves barreling thru the Windwards and the satellite pictures are indicating a steady stream of them that are expecting to continue well into July. Nothing anything stronger right now or we'd be boogy woogiin' it to Grenada in a flash. We will check with the weather gurus one last time after we pick up the laundry to see today's weather forecast playing with our destiny. The satellite pics are pretty impressive for a week more of this, but we just got back here to Union Island and signed up for more of the Grenedines. Before we knew about these back to back t waves we were heading back to the Tabago Cays for the third time. Now we don't know what we will do, Cariacou or Tabago Cays? That is the question.
Ok, I'm taking responsibility for my expatiating again. Help, I need helpI!! I started this "Grenedine" blog entry yesterday, one month to the day after we arrived in the Grenedines, and it was five pages without even trying. I'm not kidding about being in love with this place. We've said it before and we're starting to sound redundant but seriously, we are IN LOVE and truly blessed to be on this journey. I know this hard to believe, but we're only scratching the surface in describing all the positive benefits of a trip like this. Emotionally, psychologically, artistically, communicatively, facing fears, etc...are a small peek.
Yes, in LOVE with the Grenedines and with each other. Dudley hasn't thrown me overboard YET...not to say that he hasn't thought of it from time to time, so I guess that's proof positive, right?
So I promise to give you all the abridged version and save the five pages for my journal, so here's another attempt.
We entered Bequia with a blast, love those island hops, and got shot. Photographically speaking of course. [email protected], phtographer extrordinaire sold us some great action (or moving, under sail) shots of Altair with Bequia behind us. This was our first peak at the Grenedines. We were wondering what that crazy person in a rubber dingy, with his bow in the air, in these big seas, off the northwest coast of Bequia, waving something big, was doing out of the protection of the Admiralty Bay. Can't wait to share. We only stayed a few days, but really wanted more. I think we might just find that humble, natural, white crescent beach , lush mountain backdrop, place to choose a wedding spot. We met up with Sea Wings, Interlude and Dream Chaser and then we met two Frenchies, Josee and Michael on S/V Epsilon. We all met daily to check out the great snorkeling, had a wicked beach party and squeezed in a bus ride to the Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary on the windward coast. The turtle savior, Orton, "Brother" King, was right at the top of the list for Bequia, for this tree and sea hugger at least, and then we left. Wheennnnn.
Our rapid pace thru Canouan, the next St. Vincentian island south, but not before we enjoyed day two of the three day Whit/Sun/Tide Regatta. Pics should tell the story of a high energy day. Music was filling the air, food was being cooked along the beach, and along the village behind that beach, and racers were immersed in one stage or another in the rigging of these cool sailboats up on the shore. These traditional sloops are fishing and whaling boats of old and fancy new replicas alike getting syked for the day's racing. We got a sweet glimpse of the locals embracing their heritage. Our time there was short, but memorable with pizza on Interlude, by the gourmet 'girls', Cheryl and Karen, to a happy hour dressed like 'proper yachtsmen' at the Tamirand Resort with Lynn and Lew on Sea Wings and then being in the thick of things early in the day of the racers. The resort was showing signs of hurricane season approaching and ghost villages are evident everywhere lately...not to mention the state of cruisers evacuating lastly. We like that anchorage with just a few boats not eager to drop an anchor on top of yours. Hip Hip Horray!
Here we go again, 'cause our goal is to reach the Tabago Cays with plenty of time to enjoy them. We truly feel like we are on vacation here. Nobody lives here. It just yachties, which are fewer now too, immersing ourselves into this plentiful aquatic sea life. That we did, it's so spectacular. We anchored just behind the huge, 2 mile long, Horseshoe Reef where you get all the wind a hot flashing, redheaded, artsy, loud, A-type, Aries woman could want, but no seas. Our batteries were topped off, with the wind generator paying for itself now that we are in the "Windwards", which is a really good feeling anytime. We were mesmerized and I know we've said this before but I'm going to learn Spanish and French better so I can share some different adjectives. The turtle sanctuary is roped off and further protected, so you swim with them off the grassy area at the south side of "Baradel". Thanks for the brilliant folks who work so hard to save our oceans and all they encompass for our children.
Most everybody we've been traveling with since Antiqua are doing the insurance racing! Depending on your latitude and the price you paid to insure your 'home' is why every is rushing to Grenada, Trinidad or Venezuela. Then you pay less the earlier you get out of the hurricane 'box'. We stopped trying to keep up with the 'Jones' and we're not doing the insurance two step, so we're going back to Tabago Cays if we can.
It was everything we could do to tear ourselves from this water wonderworld. But we did, twice. We saw Union, loved the island, loved, Janti's Happy Island, built and operated by him when he wanted to clean up the village of Clifton and help bring back the tourists. He removed all the conch shells littering the town and started the foundation for "Happy Island"...It's now a bar and restaurant just inside Newlands Reef with the rest of us. We met the wife of Enrique, Elaina, the husband and wife kitesurfers team. They liked kitesurfing here behind Newlands Reef for the same reason they loved it in the TC's. They have a lots of wind, no waves.These fun folks also have a 'guest house' biz called LaCigala in Las Roques, Venezuela. We went to thier site and it's gorgeous so maybe we can go there on our way to Central America next year. They like to entertain us 'flying' about the anchorages because they can. They are in great shape and we hate them...hehe.
We also made a tiny visit to Mayreau. It's the only island in the marine park where people live. Not that many mind ya, but we managed to meet Robert, at Righteous & de Youths. Robert is a well known Rastafarian who can up the groove with some Bob Marley and other Raggae. The restaurant is an ongoing artform of add ons and design who has earned him "the character and spot of the island". We sat for a couple of hours, after our one and only hike to the top of the windward side at the really old church. The really old graveyard sweeping into the lee bay was truly beautiful too. There was a young french couple that joined us at Robert's place and we were privy to the constant stream of his daugters and granddaughters. The granddaughter, Vera, at the congo drums with her little shy friend was demonstrative and humorously entertaining for such a youngan. We did get violated there when someone, cruiser or local, don't know, stole the fuel out of our dink tank. Shit happens, and it was only 4-5 US gallons, a violation none the less.
Our second week is up, fini, kaput at the Tabago Cays...we have in fact purchased another month of which we were realistically going to use 2 weeks at most. We still want to go back, but this weather is going to keep us here in Union for possibly a week! You'll know when we know!
Do we go back north (only 2.5 nm in reef painted trails) or south to Cariacou? Stay tuned...
Hugs, Dudley and Bec, S/V Altair
Hey, Hey Hey...Just thought I'd start adding these wishes each month so everybody knows that we're thinking about ya! It's been hard getting wifi on the boat since Antiqua, so when we do we'll send our wishes. Happy Birthday John Clark. Happy Birthday Caroleena, Grace and your daughater Miranda a Happy Happy Birthday. Happy Anniversary Elaine and Jim. Love you lots!
05/09/2009, St. Lucia in the Windward Islands
Not only is the wind and sailing great in the Windwards, the activities have been a whirlwind. We spent a month in Martinique and it flew by. Now here we are, St Lucia, Rodney Bay, with our dear old Miami friends Olga and Don on Richard Cory, Lynn and Lew on Sea Wings, Karen and Sheryl on Interlude and our new Friend Neal and his Dad on Dream Chaser for the St. Lucia Jazz Festival. We're all going to Grenada or Trinidad for Hurricane season and it's been a blast traveling together. Everyone that we speak of here are seasoned cruisers, with many years just here in the Windwards. Interlude, Dreamchaser and most lovingly, Richard Cory have been so willing to take us by the hand and share their island knowledge and lore. Thanks everybody! We love you!
Everybody we mentioned signed up for the four day pass at the Pidgeon Island Event except us. We boohooed when they shared some pics, some Amy Winehouse stories, and all the accolades of the great musicans they heard before we arrived. The whole island was covered with various venues participating in this18th annual Jazz event which started May 2.. At the next festival, if there is one in our future, I want to check out those local artists at the clubs 'round town to contrast the mega event on Pidgeon Island. Mo' personal, ya think?
How's this for a tease, and I'm only naming a few acts and star performers from the 4 day event on the main stage at Pidgeon Island...Kassav, Angelique Kidjo, Junior Marvin, Amy Winehouse, KC and the Sunshine Band, Jeffrey Osborne, Bebe Winans and Michael McDonald to name a few!
Don and Olga continued to share their inside skinny on getting around and suggested we take a water taxi to keep our dingies at our boats for safety and conjestion reasons. Good idea so they called "Orgasm", a memorable water taxi name, right? James was the character of that boat and was howling entertainment to the park! We had a full day from l pm til midnight of dance groups, custumed parades, food and drinks everywhere and MUSIC, wonderful, glorious music all day long .
We picked a good day to come. The rainstorms reeked havoc on the entire festival since the beginning, but we got lucky! The monsoons stopped for 'mother's day', the l0th, and we got a day full of sunshine and entertainment. Yippee. George Duke presented Patty Labelle, Chaka Kahn and a hot new St. Lucian artist, Nicole David who was thunderously entertaining. We just could not stop dancing. What a blast. This, our one and only day, we were treated to the Jazz ensemble of Eclectic Pan Jazz with Allison Marquis, CHICAGO had us up on our feet early in the evening and just when we thought we couldn't go on we were reinvigorated with the finale of Beres Hammond and his original reggae. What an electrifying day! It was literally sizzling when the fireworks lit up the sky for the close of a great festival . We were tired can't imagine doing 4 or 5 days of this in a row. Old foggies, or 9pm is now 'cruiser's midnight!!!
We managed to hang around in Rodney Bay after the festival for about 10 days, with bus trips, shopping, duty free shops, yatta yatta, and to visit with our friends from home, but they got sick! Rumor had it that a flu had circulated the Jazz Festival and Don on RC, Sheryl on IL, and Dudley with his sinus infection were all suffering with a crud! Since VHF eavesdropping is a pastime, we found out lots of other folks picked up the bug at the festival too. Olga had a few symptons but was one of the luckier ones as was I. Neal and his Dad were spared too, because Adrian, Neal's Dad wouldn't socialize with anyone for fear of having to fly back to England with the FLU. We got to be in close proximity with RC, check on them daily and help where we could, but that's it. We didn't get to socialize very much, with the exception of hanging off their boat and they had to leave quickly it turned out. Don's mom's health meant that they were cutting this year's crusing season short, we're SAD. They will shoot for Grenada when Don recovers...Very sad.
Our next stop in St. Lucia was Marigot, not just because it was where the original "Dr. Doolittle" was filmed, way back when Rex Harrison played the lead, or "Water" starring Michael Caine or how about Fire Power with Sophia Loren. This place is unbelievably picturesque, or to quote James Michener, "the most beautiful bay in the Caribbean". We had three peaceful days while at a dock, yes, we bellied up to a hose and fuel dock where we got a half price deal. Seriously folks, watching kids swinging from rope swings or speaking to local vendors as they weave 'lava beads" on sparkling necklaces is why we're here. Thanks Universe.
"Moses" took us on a half day trip in the Soufriere area of the lee coast to see La Sikwi Sugar Mill, the River Rock Waterfall; a sweet sleepy fishing village called Anse La Raye where we had lunch at Moses' friend's restaurant and a another distillery.
Are you beginning to see a pattern? All these verdant islands seem to have'sugar' in their agricultural history. We've seen more distilleries than we can even remember! You can only visit one per island tour 'cause you'd be pissed before lunch...not to mention an alcholic. The grounds, the architecture and the personal estates of these rum families are quite majestic, so I guess we'll keep visiting them and tastin'...hehe.
One last delectible meal at Chateau Mygo, here in Marigot, where some of the best restaurants are anchored, reeping success, was pure torture. We were actually trying to find the "reasonably priced local haunt" but stumbled on this gem. We were serendipidously joined by the Marigot Marina manager, Bob and his wife Melinda! Both were Brits who sailed here and bought land. The home they described with solar, wind power, cisterns and indigenous flora on top of a nearby mountain seemed just too good to be true! We didn't stay long enough to wiggle an invitation out of them before we admitted we've dreamed of a similar surrounding...only closer to home where family and friends are. I think the islands are full of characters and the characters in the cruising community are becoming more prevelant too. What an anthropological ride we're on.
Last but not least are the Pitons! Oh my God!
If you look up St. Lucia, you will probably see these two magestic peaks that rise from ocean floor for the most magnificent wonder! Whether you are anchored at the base of either Gros Piton or Petite Piton you can only imagine from our photos a tiny glimpse of the beauty! I'm just going to share the pictures of the walks we attempted up the Pitons but even my excessive expatiating can't describe their beauty. We got a taxi to rescuse us on day two, when we left too late and it was too hot. That was Peter D and we secured him for another tour, the Diamond Waterfall which is joined by an incredibly maintained botanical garden that tickled my love of nature, the drive thru volcano, steadily hissing steam and ash, the beautiful village of Soufriere to clear customs and the lunch were the highlights of our Peter D tour until...Dasheens. We were advised to lunch at Dasheens, because we probably couldn't afford dinner. The panaramic view is what they were encouraging even more than the award winning menu. This should be the # ???? world wonder of the world, whatever number it's up to now.
Check out the shot of Altair, that itty bitty speck, framed by the historical Pitons, Gros Piton @ 2619' and Petite Piton @ 2460'. Breathtaking and Altair even looks good at this distance.
The two things we planned to check out in St. Lucia were the Jazz Festival and the Pitons. Thanks to the folks who protect and earn a living from the assets of this beautiful island we were treated to many more surprises. My favorite to photograph and hike are the rain forests. What a magnifique ecosystem, RAINFORESTS. Then you meet the locals and they beam with pride that they were raised on the vegitarian bounty. I would love to photograph the marine park which is remarkable from what we hear. Someday maybe a waterproof, underwater camera or housing is in my future.
We are on cloud nine, what a whirlwind! Hope you enjoy, hope you join us!
Moving on to the next group of islands which are the Grenedines. We can't wait.
Hugs, Dudley and Bec, S/V Altair