Dol'Selene

10 February 2018
31 January 2018
23 January 2018
01 December 2017
09 November 2017
17 April 2017
17 April 2017
22 March 2017
22 March 2017
11 January 2017
21 December 2016
21 December 2016
25 November 2016

Cartagena, Colombia

10 February 2018
Photo: Dinner on the gun emplacement- Cartagena
We finally dropped the mooring lines in Bonaire at 11:00 and headed across to the fuel dock to top up the tanks. We were then on our way to Cartagena, Colombia, a passage we anticipated taking 3 days. The wind was quite light as we left but gradually built, along with the sea state which was very confused until we changed angle when rounding the top of Aruba. We also had a strong positive current with us which was good, except we had timed our departure to ensure we would pass through the river mouth of the Magdalena River, Colombia in daylight two days away. With the speeds Dol was doing this now seemed unlikely. What a difference a moon makes to an offshore passage, it is much more pleasant sitting on watch at night and being able to see or make out the horizon and not being pitch black.
The first 2 nights were relatively uneventful, there were enough tankers and cargo ships to keep us interested but nothing too close. That all changed around dusk on night three, just after we had seen a large pod of dolphins, the first in a long time. As we neared Santa Marta Bay, a notorious stretch of water, the wind began to increase. Our forecasts had nothing above 30kts in them but they would be proved wrong, as the wind was a constant 35 – 45 knots with gusts of 50kts. The Dol handled it beautifully with a triple reefed main, she felt in control the whole way. We ended up doing 2 gybes in 30-35kts and had to radio a cargo vessel to ensure they had seen us and would give us sea room. We arrived at the mouth of the Magdalena River in the very early hours of the morning, about 5nm out. All the pre reading we had studied indicated you could smell the river and the water would be discoloured, there may also be logs, possible dead animals and other debris to avoid. We neither smelt nor saw any debris as we passed across the river outflow; thankfully it was the dry season. Finally about 10nm out from Cartagena the wind eased and we had a pleasant sail into Cartagena. As Cartagena is a busy commercial port we radioed Cartagena Port Control 5nm out asking permission to enter. They took all our details and confirmed we could use the Boca Grande entrance. This entrance is a buoyed channel through a XV century sunken wall, which we entered with no issues, it was very easy. We then made our way through the channel and past the Madonna and Child monument, anchoring off Nautico Marina, opposite the navy base. Needless to say, neither of us went below for a sleep during the night so we were pretty tired when we arrived.
We had arrived, none the worse for wear, Monday 5th February at 08:00, 68hrs for 490nm not bad. It was time for breakfast and then Brian went ashore to clear in as Gail cleaned and tidied up the Dol. Brian paid $US25 for a week’s shower, garbage, dinghy dock and laundry use at the marina and as we were not planning on staying in Colombia for more than 8 days we did not have to pay for a temporary boat import license. The rest of the day was spent doing minor chores and catching up on sleep. The harbour is very busy with both commercial and private traffic, it is well used and has a New York/Hong Kong skyline full of tall skyscrapers, a very different environment for Dol.
The following day we were up and off to explore the old town. Cartagena old town’s wall was built to protect the city from continuing sacking by pirates, most notably Sir Francis Drake, who were after the gold, diamonds and emeralds being sent back to Spain which Colombia is rich in. The old town is a delightful mix of narrow streets, overhanging balconies, flowers and brightly coloured houses. The interiors of the old buildings have been converted to modern shops and cafes while leaving the original architecture in place. There are plazas with cafes, street vendors with brightly coloured wares, they sell everything from food, fruit and drink to souvenirs. We walked around, had lunch and then walked the city walls. On the way back to the marina we stopped at the nearby supermarket, very good.
Wednesday we used the Hop on Hop Off bus to explore more of Cartagena. We always find these buses useful to orientate ourselves and they have very good audio giving information on the history and culture. We are not museum people, we enjoy walking around absorbing the atmosphere and looking at the architecture, not that we are not interested in the history of the places we visit, we like to learn the history from what is around us. Cartagena declared Independence from Spain on 11th November 1811 at 11:00 by 11 men, this information intrigued Brian, (I wonder why) and therefore the number 11 is considered lucky in Cartagena. We spent an hour or so at the Castillo de San Felipe, a fort built to protect Cartagena from the pirates. The fort stands on Lazaro Hill and was built from the top down, it is impressive and easy to see how difficult it would have been to attack. The fort has numerous underground tunnels to get from one area of the fort to another, again we had a very good audio tour giving us all the information. It was then back on the bus, and off to Boca Grande, the modern, tourist area, watching all the yellow taxi’s; there must be more here than on the streets of New York. What a contrast this area is to the old town, no colonial architecture, many skyscraper apartments, office blocks and shopping malls. This could be any tourist area in the world, even the beaches were full of the sun umbrellas and loungers. The days here are very hot but it is a dry heat and the evenings after the sun goes down are cool, great for sleeping.
Thursday night we had booked dinner at the Restaurante Club De Pe Manga Fuerte El Pasteli. It was a short dinghy ride from the Dol and is located in the restored ruins of the San Sebastian De Pastelillo. Our table overlooked the harbour and was situated in one of the gun emplacements, minus the canon, very nice and private. With the climate in Colombia and this being the dry season, restaurants can have all their tables outdoors with no fear of rain, the food was good and well-priced.
We needed to give the Customs Agent 24hrs notice of when we planned to depart so he could organise our Exit Zarpe and a weather window had opened for Saturday. Brian met David, the agent, and organised to have the Zarpe ready for a Saturday departure to the San Blaas Islands, Panama.
We have really enjoyed our 5 days in Cartagena, it has surprised us and made us wonder if we would return to Colombia to do more land travel in the future. It is time to move on again towards the Panama Canal via the San Blaas Islands.

Bonaire

31 January 2018
Photo: Lac Bay
Wednesday 24th January at 08:30, we left Seru Boca Marina, Curacao and motor sailed into 14-20kt easterly trade winds to Bonaire. We had booked a berth at Harbour Village Marina, and looking at the full mooring buoys outside it was a wise decision. We were tied up in our berth by 15:00 and then walked along the boardwalk to clear Customs and Immigration. On the way back we stopped at Karels Bar for a drink, the bar was mentioned in the cruising guide as a popular stopping place. Dinner Wednesday evening was at the French Bistro, within the marina complex and less than a minute walk from the Dol.
From Harbour Village Marina it is a 10min walk along the boardwalk into Kralendiik, the main town area. As we walked along and looked at the moored boats, there were plenty of bright blue fish, like parrot fish, swimming in the shallows. Bonaire is a world renowned dive and snorkel destination and plenty of people were snorkeling and diving just off the many beaches. Driving around the island we saw many yellow painted stones with the names of the dive and snorkeling sites. These corresponded to names on the road map. Cruise ships were in port most days, making the area quite busy with lots of English accents.
We walked into the main town area on Thursday, checked out the Budget Marine chandlery and then found the 2 good supermarkets, which are a reasonable walk to carry groceries. We did the walk a couple of times and on one occasion on the return trip, we were startled as 3 Iguanas shot across our path and sat in the short grass close by.
Saturday we had Johan and Lisa, Rubicon, a Swedish couple, over for drinks and shared our adventures with them and they there’s with us. Johan and Lisa are also heading for New Zealand, they plan to transit the Panama Canal before us but we will no doubt meet them again along the way.
Bonaire is a marine conservation area, hence anchoring is not allowed. To swim, snorkel dive or do any water based activities you must purchase a Nature tag at one of the many dive shops, price depends on what you intend to do, and display it when in the water. We attached ours to our snorkel masks. There are certainly lots of fish and some coral when snorkeling, but Bonaire is known for diving its reefs, so probably better.
Monday we hired a 4 cab Ute for a couple of days and drove up to the North West to Washington Slagbaai National Park, following the yellow and green iguana sign posts. Bumping and bouncing our way around the park over the potholes and ruts, it is easy to understand why cars and bikes are not allowed, you certainly come out shaken. The park is a wilderness of bays, rock formations, water holes, and bays for snorkeling and diving. Unfortunately for us, the day we went the surf was too rough and no-one was in the water. We enjoyed our 3 plus hours driving through the park, saw flamingos again, several Iguanas, the Bonaire Whip Tail Lizard, Birds and other natural phenomenon. The park must have thousands of cacti, they were everywhere although in places the park was also quite stark with rock.
Tuesday we went across to the east coast. Our first stop was the Donkey Sanctuary, home to 700 donkeys. The sanctuary was founded in 1993 as a place to care and protect the many donkeys which were previously used as workhorses but with modern transport they had been abandoned. There are still over 400 in the wild on the island but the ones in the sanctuary are curious and have learnt that a car may mean food and will put their heads inside the car if the window is down.
From the donkeys we drove to Lac Bay. What a contrast to the rest of the island. Lac Bay is a natural lagoon, surrounded by reef with on-shore breezes, with turquoise blue water, a mecca for windsurfers. There were dozens of them flying up and down the lagoon as well as learners. Ashore there are many windsurfing schools, cafes and bars. It seemed that most of the people off the 2 cruise ships in town had descended on Lac Bay. A good lunch stop to watch all the activity.
We continued our drive around the south east of the island, stopped to look at the Slave worker houses of the salt mines and also the beach for the kite surfers, who like the off shore breezes. It was then back into town to the supermarkets for a final stock up. Brian says we have to start eating some of the food on board or Dol will sink. We certainly have a lot on board.
A weather window seems to have opened for us on Friday to get around to Cartagena, Columbia. The area is known to be one of the 5 worst sea condition areas in the world, so we are a little apprehensive, but Dol should handle the conditions well. We anticipate the 480nm trip will take us around 3 days to complete.

Curacao

23 January 2018
Photo: Waterfront Willemstad
Monday morning, 15th January, we planned to leave Rodney Bay at 11:00 for the 460nm passage to Bonaire. However, that morning Gambion came into the marina. This was a kiwi family we had spoken to on the radio in Prickly Bay, Grenada and had since been swapping emails. It was good to spend an hour with them, before we cleared out, dropped our lines and headed over to the fuel dock to refuel.
We were finally on our way at 13:30, sails set wing on wing and doing reasonable speeds. The 460nm passage, our first of the season and something we will be used to by the time we reach NZ, was relatively uneventful. The second night after we had further reduced sail for a large rain squall at midnight, there was a squawking sound coming from the aft deck. Lighting up the dinghy with the spotlight revealed four sea birds settling in for the night, they finally departed at first light. There were enough large tankers and cargo ships to keep us interested and we finally saw the Southern Cross in the night sky again. We stayed 30nm off the Venezuelan islands as a safety precaution before turning to head directly to Bonaire.
We arrived in Bonaire at the end of our track at 13:30, exactly 72 hrs after leaving St Lucia. Brian was excited to have achieved the exact same finish as start time. Bonaire is a low lying island and having turned the corner to sail down the east side, we had the breeze but no wave action. We continued to sail around to the main mooring area, you are not permitted to anchor in Bonaire, avoiding the kite surfers on the way. As we reached the mooring area, there were no moorings available, you cannot pre-book them. We radioed the marina only to be told there was a fishing competition on and they were full, as were all the other marinas. Everyone we had spoked to and the cruising guides all indicated there was not an issue with the moorings as there were plenty of them. We asked what our options were, the marina guy said our only option was to sail to the island Curacao, 25nm away. Sailing to Curacao would have us arriving after sunset, and the cruising guides all said the anchorage should not be entered after dark. What to do? We had a close look at the charts and there was a bay that could be entered after dark, so on went Dol’s motor, out went the sails and we headed to Curacao, (pronounced Cure a sow), with as much pace as we could. We may or may not get back to Bonaire depending on the weather as it is in to the stronger trade winds.
We arrived at Fuik Bay and entered using the leading markers. The bay was enclosed by a low wall, very peaceful and calm, we saw turtles in the bay the following morning. We hoisted the Curacao and yellow quarantine flags, had dinner and went to bed for a good sleep. The following morning we headed around to Spanish Waters, the main anchorage. Spanish Waters is an inland water way with a very narrow entrance with a large resort at the entrance. We had decided to book into the Seru Boca marina so made our way round the appropriate arm and tied up. Seru Boca marina is part of the Santa Barbara Golf Resort, which has an 18 hole golf course, full resort complex complete with 4 restaurants, it was the resort we saw on our way into Spanish Waters. The main security gate is a half hour walk from the marina, everyone is checked in and out. Although remote, we found the people to be very friendly and helpful. On the first day we were given a ride to the main road where we caught the local bus into Willemstad for Customs and Immigration clearance.
Punda, the centre of town has a wonderful mix of candy coloured buildings and a very busy harbour. We first went to the Customs Building where Brian said the staff were probably the friendliest and most helpful he had met. From there we walked across the Queen Emma Floating Pontoon Bridge to clear Immigration. The Queen Emma Bridge is a pedestrian only bridge that crosses St Anna Bay linking Punda with Otrobanda and hinges open to allow the large container and tanker ships egress to the harbour. The bridge was originally opened in 1888 and fully restored in 2006. As we had lunch, we watched a large container ship come down the harbour and the bridge move, the ship does not stop so if pedestrians are on the bridge when it needs to move they get a ride across the harbour.
We hired a car for a few days to explore the island. On Saturday after the usual stops at chandleries, we went to the Maritime Museum. We watched an interesting video of Curacao’s history: Arawak Indians first inhabited Curacao around 500 AD, then came Conqueror’s, the slave trade, British Rule, Dutch rule and finally independence in 2010. The flag represents the sky, sea and the 2 islands with the 5 points on the stars representing the 5 continents its inhabitants are from.
The fresh fruit and vegetable market stalls are mostly owned by Venezuelans. Curacao with its close proximity to Venezuela has close trading ties and given the current issues in Venezuela many of the migrant workers are attempting to stay.
There is artwork throughout Punda, much of it colourful. From Punda we drove out to Willebrodus to the flamingo lookout, with low expectations. We were pleasantly surprised as the flamingos were close and you could actually see them. It was then onto the plantation house, Jan Kok, which is the studio for the art work of Nena Sanchez, a well-known local artist. Again her work is bright and vivid, sadly she passed away a few years ago. Back to the boat to get spruced up for dinner at Shore, the nicest of the resort restaurants. All dining is outdoors at the water’s edge, although being dark you could not see much.
Sunday we drove to the west coast of the island and visited Christoffel Park and Savonet museum. The park has many walking trails of varying degrees of difficulty and also a couple of driving trails. We drove around, stopping at various lookouts and points of interest including Caves with Indian drawings. It was then back to the boat for some boat jobs that needed doing and a relaxing evening.
Tuesday we were back in Willemstad early to clear out with Customs and Immigration, as we are heading back to Bonaire on Wednesday. There were 4 cruise ships in port, 2 of which were inside the Queen Emma floating pontoon bridge
The weather forecasts indicate the breezes are dropping and with us having to go back into the Trade Winds we did not want too lively a forecast. Given our experience when we initially went to Bonaire, we are taking no chances and have a confirmed marina booking.

St Vincent and Grenadines (SVG), St Lucia

12 January 2018
Photo: Christmas Lunch on Sol’Maria
After sitting in Tyrrell Bay for the weekend, we cleared out on Monday 4th December and sailed to Clifton Harbour, Union Island, SVG. Once cleared in, Brian had to go to the airport for Immigration as it was lunchtime, we sailed around the corner and dropped the anchor in Chatham Bay. We stopped at this bay on our way south earlier in the year and liked the peace and tranquility of the place compared to Clifton harbour, there was also no roll which we had experienced in the south of Grenada.
Entering Chatham Bay you are usually greeted by one of the local beach bbq guys in their small boats. They know where all the nice sandy pieces are in between the weed and guide you to a spot, your choice to anchor there or not. They will then leave you to get settled and then come back to tell you about the bay and the spots ashore. Bushman from Sunset Cove bar and restaurant greeted us, a really friendly guy. We thanked him and said we were staying a few days and would come ashore later. Tuesday morning we took the dinghy over to Rock Point for a snorkel, it was OK by Caribbean standards, a few different sorts of coral, plenty of fish, turtles and birds, Pelicans and Frigate birds. Not long after we returned to the boat the weather changed dramatically, the wind picked up, maximum gust we saw was 30 knots, and the torrential rain started, so much for going ashore. The wind eased back after a while but the rain continued till early evening.
The following day we took the dinghy ashore for a walk along the beach and went to Bushman’s bar for a drink and to use the Wi-Fi. A group of Portuguese and French yachties were there and we had a great time chatting and swapping stories, there was also a tour party from somewhere on the island that appeared by boat. The atmosphere was great with the Caribbean music and the pirate chef, we stayed for lunch. We had always wondered why all the conch shells we saw had slits on the back of them, we now knew why. We watched the chef hammer a machete onto the back of the shell to enable them to get the conch out of the shell. Conch is often seen on menus in restaurants around the Caribbean.
With time on our side and a blow in the forecast for later in the week, we decided Chatham Bay was a good place to wait for it to pass, so with another lunch ashore at Chatham Bay resort and more swimming, we relaxed and enjoyed the bay. Brian took the opportunity with no rain in the forecast and did the annual varnishing on the boat.
Monday 11th December we finally left Chatham Bay and motor sailed then sailed in 15k NE to Admiralty Bay, Bequia, dropping the anchor at 13:15. We stayed in Bequia for 9 days, Rogue, Josh, Sara, Nathan Luke and Bradley arrived early Thursday morning and we spent time exploring the waterfront and catching up, having beach time and dinner for a few days before they headed south to Tobago Cays. Wednesday morning, 20th December, we had the anchor up and where sailing out of the bay at 06:00. The sail across the Bequia channel was good, wind 15-20 from the east. We were motoring up the side of St Vincent when Brian heard a “funny noise”, he went below to investigate and discovered the second alternator was very hot and squeaking. We stopped and Brian disconnected the alternator, a job to do at Rodney Bay, luckily the guy who worked on it last year and installed the new smart regulator, is at Rodney Bay. The rest of the day was uneventful, the St Vincent passage was moderate and we again motored up the side of St Lucia, dropping the anchor in Rodney Bay at 16:45, 69 nms from Bequia.
The following day Brian had the alternator off the motor and into Regis Electrical for assessment. Christmas Eve we had a lovely surprise as Gavin and Lica, Sol’Maria, sailed into the bay. We had not been in the same bay as them since Fiji in 2010, although we had caught up with them back in NZ. Needless to say, we had a great Christmas day with them and Lica’s cousin, Rongai. There was plenty of food, drink and tall stories being consumed. Boxing Day they left and sailed up to Martinique ready to fly out and meet their daughter, Shae and her boyfriend Gareth in Florida.
Brian went back into Regis Electrical on 27th to be told it was a faulty internal wire on the alternator and it had been fixed. He refitted the alternator on the Dol and all is good. We remained anchored in the bay till 6th January, walking on the beach and occasionally going into the shops. New Year’s Eve the bay rocked, all the resorts had the music turned up and at midnight there were at least four large firework displays lighting up the bay. Several boaties also took the opportunity to let off their old flares. Rogue, Josh, Sara and the boys arrived on the 5th January which led to a night of rum and tall stories. The following day at 13:00 after watching the 40-50 Round the World, ARC, Rally boats leave we picked the anchor off the bottom and headed into the marina.
The next week was spent doing lots of checks around the boat, maintenance, cooking passage meals, provisioning at the two supermarkets and lots of socialising, as Rogue and friends of theirs joined us in the marina. Some of the maintenance items included a V belt replacement on the gen set, gas bottles filled, deck hardware check, new holding tank pump out fitting installed and inverter charger technical adjustments made. Wednesday evening saw a BBQ on the back deck of Dol with Rogue family and Los and Martin, Tikka. It was a great night with plenty of food and stories. The following night was the last night in the marina for Josh, Sara and the boys as well as Martin and Los, so it was a curry dinner on Rogue. Well done with the cooking Josh.
Friday 12th January Brian went up the mast to do a rigging check as we have a few thousand miles to do this year, then it was off to the supermarket for a major provision of bulk items. It is amazing how you think you have lots of stuff but when you get it back to the boat it all magically disappears into all the storage spaces with no problems. It was then a goodbye to Josh, Sara and the boys as they left to head north, we hope to meet up with them again in either French Polynesia or Tonga.
Tomorrow we will leave the marina and go out into the bay for a night or two and with a decent weather window looking promising early next week, we will turn Dol’s bows west toward Bonaire in the ABC Islands, 460nm away. From then on we will continue to head west in stages until we finally reach New Zealand later in the year.

Grenada

01 December 2017
Photo: Dol at Calivigny Island
We arrived back in Grenada on the afternoon of November 2nd, after a lovely dinner in Houston with Barb and Frank, Destiny, the previous night. It was then up at 03:00 for our flights to Grenada via Miami. The Cool Runnings Motel was fully booked, luckily we had booked one of the Spice Island Marina rooms. The next week was busy with cleaning Dol, shopping and getting all the work that had to be done completed before we launched at 13:00 Friday 10th November. We anchored in Prickly Bay while we put sails on, commissioned the water maker and Brian did several other jobs. We did manage to have drinks one evening with a British couple, John and Rosemary, who had just completed their circumnavigation in a 34ft boat.
Thursday 16th November we upped anchor and motored 5nm around to Calivigny Island. The island is privately owned with a very impressive looking, Balinese style resort and grounds. Apparently it’s one of the most exclusive in the Caribbean. As all beaches in Grenada are public, you can go ashore but expect to be questioned by security, to ensure you leave no rubbish.
After refitting the serviced water maker membranes and high pressure pump, we had a minor problem with the high salinity of the fresh water output which indicated an issue with the new watermaker membranes. Therefore, Friday morning we had the anchor up and moving. We motored 3.5nm along to St David’s Bay to Grenada Marina to meet Herve, the watermaker technician. We spent the next 3 days testing outputs, emailing and talking to EchoTech in Trinidad, eventually installing new end caps on the membranes, with limited success, the salinity of the fresh water output was still too high. The outcome was to ship 2 further new membranes and endcaps from Trinidad, this was going to take 3-5 days and as there is not a lot to do in St David’s Bay, we motored back around to Calivigny Island until the parts arrive.
The island anchorage is less crowded than those further into the bay and we took the dinghy into Whisper Cove Marina which has a restaurant, bar and an attached Meat and Meet shop. This is primarily a butchers with reasonably priced meat and sausages, vacuum packed and frozen or you can order any cuts of meat you want and they will prepare them for you in the same way. We also used Fast Manicou again to fill the dive tanks. John runs a pickup and delivery service from which he supplies beer, wine, soft drinks and also fills dive and propane tanks. His prices are very reasonable and he will deliver to the boat if out at anchor. On Saturday we took the dinghy across the reef to Le Phare Bleau, a small boutique marina with a nice restaurant, The Deck, for lunch. The marina has Customs and Immigration as well as an upmarket resort, all in all the atmosphere was very relaxed.
We are slowly getting used to the 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of dark again. It gets dark at about 17:45 each night which tends to make the evenings long, but is light before 06:00 each morning. We have listened into the cruisers net each morning and made contact with another Kiwi boat who have just arrived in the Caribbean, we hope to catch up with them later in the week. Apart from finishing jobs on the boat, we are spending our days reading, swimming, and keeping in touch with Kiwi friends, Rogue Family Josh, Sara and boys, as they cross the Atlantic via Iridium texts. We are also playing card games and Mexican Train dominoes. Filling in time while waiting for parts is always a challenge and frustrating.
Finally the water maker parts arrived and we motored back around to St David’s Bay on Tuesday 28th November, with the membranes ashore at 09:00. After several false starts with leaks etc, we finally had the watermaker back together and working. We went ashore for lunch and caught up with David and Melinda, Sassoon, who were back and working on their boat. After lunch we left St David’s Bay and sailed with the Yankee and then motored around to Prickly Pear Bay, dropping the anchor at 16:40.
On Thursday 30th November we did a half day tour of the island with Matthew, our taxi driver/tour guide. He told us many facts about Grenada and its history.
Grenada will celebrate its 34 years of independence on 7th February 2018 and even though many of the pavers along the roadside, trees and rocks are painted in the national colours of red, green and yellow, Matthew told us they will all be redone and brightened up for the Independence celebrations.
Grenada is known as the Isle of Spice and grows numerous spices including: nutmeg, cocoa, cloves, cinnamon and many more. Grenada was the second largest producer of nutmeg until hurricane Ivan wiped out most of the plantations in 2004, resulting in many of the processing plants being closed. Mature nutmeg trees produce the most fruit and although many have been replanted, it will take many years for the production volumes pre Ivan to return.
The day we did the tour it was raining or overcast, the view of the island and main town of St George from Fort Frederick is usually spectacular, but was shrouded in mist. Grenada is a volcanic island and therefore quite hilly with large, lush rainforests. Grand Lake Etang Reserve covers 15% of the island, there are extensive hikes and trails through the region to waterfalls and lookouts, but it was too wet for us to go exploring. We did visit one waterfall and the lake which was crowded with people from cruise ships in port. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in the northern Caribbean this year has seen many of the ports closed to cruise ships resulting in more cruise ships visiting Grenada. On the days they are in port most of the island sights are very busy.
Matthew drove us across the island to the east or Atlantic coast, along small, narrow roads which were not meant for the large volumes of traffic and Lorries, it was definitely breathe in in a few places. We went through Grenville, the second largest town on the island, very crowded, narrow streets, lots of small shops with people and cars everywhere. We visited a cocoa processing facility and were shown around by Mathias, the owner. The cocoa beans are dried on racks in the sun, the racks are on rollers and when it rains they are rolled back undercover. Ladies walk through the beans to turn them and move the moisture as the beans can begin to grow mold if not dried. Mathias showed us his back up of a drying machine, but that costs money to run in terms of diesel. Mathias sells his processed cocoa beans on the international markets. On the way back to Prickly Bay we stopped at Westerhall Rum Distillery for a tour, tasting and purchase.
We enjoyed our stay in Grenada, there are some lovely, safe anchorages and all the people we met were friendly and helpful, usually with a big smile on their faces.
Friday 1 December we left Grenada and sailed up to Tyrell Bay, Carriacou. We will stay the weekend and clear out on Monday and head further north to Union Island, part of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Back in Grenada

09 November 2017
We arrived back at Spice Island Marine, Grenada a week ago, Dol looked good after being left for 5mths. The week has been very busy, just call Gail, Sadie the cleaning lady. Dol has been cleaned thoroughly, water maker and outboard motor serviced, Dol antifouled, sails repaired, new clears fitted and many other jobs completed.
We go back in the water tomorrow, Friday 10th November, then the big 12mth journey home to NZ can begin.
Vessel Name: Dol'Selene
Vessel Make/Model: Warwick 47 cutter, built in three skins of New Zealand heart kauri timber, glassed over.
Hailing Port: Auckland, New Zealand
Crew: Brian & Gail Jolliffe
About: Brian and Gail have retired, at least for now, to enjoy the opportunity to cruise further afield than has been possible in recent years.
Extra:
Current cruising plans are not too well advanced but we are inspired by Mark Twain’s quote “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your [...]
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