06/15/2012, Tobago Cays
Sorry for the large gap in writing but we have been busy exploring Grenada and the Grenadine Island Group to the north with two other catamarans, "AVATAR" with Mark, Fiona and their son Kieren and "SHILOH" with John and Holli. We are currently at Tobago Cays which is a part of the country of St Vincent. Very beautiful but few fish, dead coral though heaps of turtles to swim with.
Last night we celebrated Fiona's birthday on a small beach with champagne at sunset. Gill and Kieren mucked around on the beach and checked out the iguanas while Keely swam in the surf. A very nice ending to a great day. We sailed originally to Petit Tabac which is where some of the movie Pirates of the Caribbean was shot. (The part where Cap'n Sparrow is abandoned on a beach with a large rum stash) It was blowing a bit and the anchorage was untenable so we will get to go and search for the rum another day. There are also some old Soyuz rocket parts washed up there from a misfire at French Guyana.
Since going back into the water in Grenada we have spent a few weeks at a place called Hog Island. It is a nice sheltered little anchorage with a great beach bar and we stayed till we could wait no longer for the Code Zero sail and will pick it up in a couple of weeks on our way south. We moved north about 50 miles to Carriacou which is the second main island of Grenada and spent a few days there at Sandy Island which has great clear water but once again no coral and very little sea life. I think they have been learning from the Indonesians here!
Then the big 10nm jump to St Vincent in a blustery 30 knot head wind and the beautiful Chatham Bay. Lots of turtles, beach bars and a nice reef to the north. Nothing we have seen compares to Cocos Island or anything in the Indian Ocean so we now regret leaving there so soon. Tobago Cays is a few more miles to the east and is a reef anchorage and is a bit like the Whitsundays but with more boats. It is the "off-season" here with the Hurricane Season in full swing but is still busier than anywhere we have sailed. Full of Americans, Canadians and various Europeans on sailing holidays so every second sailbag has Sunsail or Moorings printed on it. Bit disconcerting when the wind picks up in an anchorage and they start to move around a bit.
Last night we had a Tropical Wave come through and it blasted the reef with strong winds and showers but thankfully no-one dragged. It caught everyone unawares as it was forecast for the day before but decided to make landfall last night instead.
We ran the reef on the way up but caught nothing on the lines and the new lures we have made. I think it is time to go back to the drawing board on fishing lures as we are all waiting to sink the teeth into a freshly BBQ'd mackeral.
With only a week to go to Mid-Winter (mid-summer here) things are hotting up on the home front with the 30th reunion of my first Casey 82 Antarctic Expedition. The emails are flying thick and fast between the old crew as they prepare for a 3 day "jolly" on a cruise ship out of Sydney. It would be nice to join them but circumstances do not allow it. Hard to believe it has been 30 years since I was there with all those wonderful people. We will celebrate it here on a tropical beach and think of the dark and cold of an Antarctic winter.
Our plans continuously change and we may now go to Bonaire around July, San Blas for Christmas and up the Yukatan Peninnsular, Cuba then the eastern seaboard of the states to check out how the other half live before heading for the Pacific. At least that is todays plan. Will post some photos when we get access to internet in a few days or so.
Hope you are all in good health and happiness as we are.
Tizer the HOP you ask ! He was renamed the HOP (Hidgeous old Pollywobble) after his wilder tendencies have made themselves apparent and his destruction techniques had been fully honed.
Then there were 4..........................
Greetings from Hog Island. Strange name but nice beach. We have not left Grenada yet as we are waiting for the new sonar to arrive from the good ole USA. It should be here Tuesday and we will pick it up, install it and then maybe head for the Grenadines.
Hog Island has one of the last beach bars in the Caribbean. (See picture) It is right on the only beach here and opens every night after the beer is chilled by the ice. The yachties here all seem to have been here awhile and with the bar who can blame them.
We have been up to our armpits in maintenance. The fridge pooped itself and it was a voltage drop problem so the wiring needed to be replaced. Hard job going through untold small spaces but all OK at the moment. I wont mention the heads pipes exploding.....Enough said..... It happens when you have been out of the water and they dry out. It is hard work scrubbing poop from engines .........
Gill is growing and needed his own transport so we have purchased another kayak. This makes us a family of four with four boats now. Soon to be 5 as we will need another small dink and outboard when we leave for the San Blas Islands soon.
First stop will be Santa Marta where we will leave CH while we go look at the USA and Disneyland. It is easier to fly to the USA than visit on a boat with less restrictions. Hard to believe but its the truth and probably cheaper as they do not tend to like anchored boats either and marinas charge like wounded bulls.
Will post again when we leave for the Grenadines, hopefully next week.
Chaotic Harmony is back in the water. (Picture of how the other half cruise)
We splashed yesterday just after lunch and the first question they ask is "Are you sinking?"
Well we were not sinking and made a better exit than we did entry out of the Travelift slip. It is 7.4m wide and we are 7.1m. Had to deflate the fenders to get in and out but all is well with no scratches.
Today is a public holiday so we will chill for the day. Buy fuel tomorrow and head for the Grenadines.
The new prodder is functional and makes CH look even more menacing. CH was a bit of a hit in the boatyard as she celebrated her 21st there and all her plastic, steel, timber and aluminium friends came along and complimented her on her gracious looks.
Will write a better story shortly.
Why are Boatyards like Hospitals?
(View from the hotel balcony)
If you stay in them too long something always goes wrong that you were not expecting.......................
Removed the forestay today and found a large crack in the aluminium bracket loosley called the Martingale. This bracket sits on the fore cross member and holds the forestay from the mast and this was a bad crack. All the way through the bracket to the eye. It was good to see it as it would have gone when we were at sea and we would have lost the entire rig.
Anyway this was cut off this morning and a new one built and it should be welded on tomorrow. Gill and I dropped the genoa and while we folded it noticed rotten stitching at the head so this is also being repaired.
It is good to actually make sure you are seaworthy but this was out of the blue and we have cancelled our scheduled splash on Wednesday till probably Friday or next Monday. Pity really as we all miss being aboard CH and Tizer who is esconsed in "Dolores Home for Wandering Hellcats".
So. Once again we are delayed but at least once again we will go back to sea with a better boat. The rot has been removed from the aft heads and new fiberglassed bases and backings installed and gelcoated. The crack in the stbd aft sugarscoop repaired, new antifouling, a good polish, new cluthches and teak bases and a multitude of other jobs that are part and parcel of boating. The davits are now fully supported and strengthened. The Indian Ocean took a lot out of CH and it is all coming back together.
Pulled apart the crash bulkheads forward to get into the space to mount backing plates for the padeyes to support the prodder for the Code Zero sail being made. This is not a good job if you are over 1 meter tall. The new sail is too big to be made here and Doyles of Barbados are making it. Should be ready in a few weeks.
Dry Dock in Grenada
Chaotic Harmony is back out of the water getting some TLC as the last 12 months have taken a bit of a toll. We actually thought we could do a lot of the work required while we were in the water but the rates are reasonable and it gives us a chance to stay in a hotel for a week or so where Gill and Keely are riveted to Cartoon Network, free WiFi and fantastic grenada pizzas.
The main jobs we began to tackle before slipping were antifouling, repairing damage to the boat from Mauritius where we were sideswiped by a recalcitrant catamaran and the saildrive oil changed. This soon grew and we are now completely rebuilding the aft heads as the toilet mounts were completley rotten along with the backing behind the liners. This is a big job and continues but should be finalised by Friday. The line clutches in the cockpit have all been replaced with new teak backing blocks added to raise them and take the vertical pressure away.
Jobs still to do include building a prodder and installing it at the bow as the old spinaker has seen better days (still operational ) and it will be replaced with a Code Zero being made here by Doyle Sails. This is another reasonable sized job but should be done before we splash down next week. The last major job still to be tackled is to rebuild and strengthen the dingy davits as they are a bit flimsy and have resulted in fiberglass work where they have deformed the underlying glass. Aghh the problems of a cored glass boat........
Lots of minor jobs when I can repack the boat will include all cabin window sills repainted and some varnishing. Then we splash and get to move back aboard. Actually docking is a lot like going to hospital. You (read CH) develop more illness or in this case work to do.
Plans then are to circumnavigate Grenada and the Grenadines before we take off for Porta la Cruz and onto Bonaire in the Lesser Antilles (ABC Islands). Then it is onto Columbia where we will enter a marina for a month or so, fly to the USA and hire a car to see the East Coast from Florida north to Maine and possibly get to see Peru on the way back, pick up CH and sail to the San Blas Islands offshore from the Caribbean Sea coast of Panama for a few months. These will be another major highlight as they are supposedly beautiful and we will spend a few months here before moving through the canal and finding the Pacific Ocean once more.
Hope all is well.
WE ARE HERE in one piece.
(Image....Horizon blows another sail)
Well we arrived at long last after having to reduce all sail and drift at 4knots across the sea from Tobago to Grenada so we would arrive at dawn. The buoyage here leaves a little to be desired so discretion was the better part of valour and we anchored safely in Prickly Bay on the south coast of Grenada at 0700 on Sunday the 01st April 2012 for an extended stay.
Customs and Immigration were very easy and friendly and we were soon having a cold beer to celebrate yet another landfall and new country.
Mail was waiting and so were Gill's schoolbooks much to his delight. Plans are to get out of the water and do some much needed work before we tour the islands by sea and by tour bus.
The Grenadians are very friendly and nice people and we will have good memories of our stay here. We have made good friends with Jo the Taxi man here and will take him and his family sailing when we get back into the water. He is also a pastor and trying his hardest to get me to find a God of some kind. I wish him luck but seriously if you come to Grenada call him on 4165332 and tell him Ian sent you if you need a cab.
We will stay at the "Flamboyant Hotel" at Grande Anse Bay while we work on the boat. Hopefully get a few pictures for this web.
Hope all are well.
Ian, Jo Gill and Keely