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s/v Skylark
It's Always An Adventure
Hurricane Season Debate
Elizabeth (photo by Ed)
05/30/2012, Iced Tea with a Shot of Simple Syrup

For anyone interested in what dominates the thoughts of liveaboards and topics of discussions these days, it's where to go for hurricane season. The season officially starts in two days, June 1, ending in November. Many liveaboards go without marine insurance; we happen to have it. This means we have to be mindful of where our policy covers us if there's damage from a named storm. In our case, that means Trinidad. That doesn't mean we have to stay put where we have coverage, only that we have to be there if a named storm looks threatening and the potential for damage to our vessel exists. Trinidad and Tobago are islands on the edge of South America; in fact Trinidad was part of SA a very long time ago and geographically resembles Venezuela. Trinidad and Tobago were skipped over by cruising vessels up until recently when someone at a local marina decided to invest in a used 50 ton travel lift to haul boats out for the hurricane season. Suddenly, many became interested in going there. While Trinidad isn't typically "Caribbean" in appearance, it is rich in history, culture and beauty. But many cruisers still shun it and "Trinidad Bash" with great conviction. Too hot, unattractive, crime-ridden, difficult at Customs, etc. Grenada, further north is described as the place to go by many boaters. However, Trinidad is considered to be "below" the hurricane belt while Grenada is often a target for named storms. When a storm is brewing, many cruisers staying in Grenada leave and head to Trinidad to wait things out, returning when all is clear. We hear that Grenada is beautiful and who wouldn't want to wait out a season in a place like that? But for us, settling in and having inexpensive marine services at our doorstep is important, as well as being able to stay in one place with the kind of conveniences a marina offers. If a named storm forms, we'll still move rather than being stuck at a slip in a marina, but around the corner to a hurricane hole beats making our way to another whole island, each time debating whether the conditions warrant an exit to safety or not. No one seems ambivalent in their opinions about where to go. If you don't like Trinidad, you really don't like it. If you do, you love it. We hope we'll become fans of it. If not, another lesson learned, I suppose. The other option for us, as suggested by our good friends and cruising mentors Terri and Chuck (s/v Makers Match--retired) is to sail around the ABC's (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao). While those islands are not below the hurricane belt, they typically get hit with tropical storms and depressions rather than hurricanes. However, two hurricanes in '03 and '04 did impact the area. Our decision, as of today and subject to change with the wind is to spend our time in Trinidad, work on the boat while in a slip at a marina and hope we are one of those people who love it there. The ABC's still swirl around in our heads, and if Luna isn't granted an import permit for Trinidad, maybe we'll reconsider all our options. We'll keep you informed as we make decisions, though we're very apt to change our minds several times over. Right now, we'll continue to enjoy St. Vincent and the Grenadines before making our way further south.

06/04/2012 | tyson
would love to wake up in Bequia. no in auxerre, heading out to paris on the fast train around noon. i am supposed to be excited but in all reality i would rather be waiting for the fuel/water boat in the bequia harbor. Stayed in front of Jacks and loved every minute of the anchorage. cold and rainy here, electric storm the other night. sun does not set until 9:55 pm. not to my liking. i have changed from sundowners to noners!
Playing with Coral
Elizabeth (photo by Ed)
05/30/2012, Princess Margaret Beach, Bequia

Luna's favorite beach game is finding a flat piece of coral and trying to get it in her mouth so she can swim out to Ed with it. And then back again, dropping it in the water, digging it back out before a wave departs with it, and swimming back to Ed. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Waiting, waiting, waiting...
Elizabeth
05/30/2012, Princess Margaret Beach, Bequia

As I was buying bags from Fay, Luna and Ed waited somewhat patiently in the dinghy for me.

Luna's favorite spot
Elizabeth
05/30/2012, Princess Margaret Beach, Bequia

Actually, we all love this little grotto where the rocks form a natural bridge. If Luna is lucky, she can chase a group of little crabs up the rocks from the sand. Not so lucky for the crabs, but she doesn't ever hurt them. Just scares the shit out of them probably. Maybe I should stop her?

Fay
Elizabeth
05/30/2012, Bequia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines

Every morning, like clockwork, Fay sets up her vendor's table with the help of husband Paul and sells her mama's handmade bags designed from flour and rice sacks. They come in all different sizes and shapes with colorful fabric along the edges. One morning we looked at them and said we'd return in the afternoon to buy a few (they are very reasonably priced and so unique). When we walked up a few hours later with our money in hand, she said she had just sold every last one of them to another cruiser. We had seen them from our boat on display but between the time we got our dinghy over and walked up to her area, they were gone. Fay said her mother promised to make a new batch and send them on that evening's ferry from St. Vincent. She also promised to hold a few aside if another person tried to buy them out from under her.

We returned the next morning, in spite of the rainy conditions and she helped me pick out a few special bags. When I told her I was afraid she wouldn't be there due to the weather, her husband said, "She came especially for you." I was touched. They are both lovely people. Fay has two friends who join her every day, Rusty and Princess. They are island dogs who live at the end of the beach with a family but run out to greet her every morning and stay with her until she leaves at the end of the day.

06/03/2012 | Terri
Oh I love these bags! I have one but it is so warn. Shows that it was my favorite bag while cruising. So good to carry those provisions as well as laundry. I just love your blog :)
Princess Margaret Beach
Elizabeth
05/30/2012, Bequia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines

We are fortunate to look out over a lovely beach from our anchorage, but even luckier to have a perfect place for Luna to play, us to swim and to take strolls up and down from Jack's Restaurant on one end to a delightful grotto on the other side. This morning an egret of some sort was hanging around in the shallow cove.

Luna's Night on s/v Sapphire
Elizabeth
05/30/2012, Bequia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines

Our friends on s/v Sapphire, Caroline and Moby were gracious hosts and gave Luna everything she wanted. A good rub, a bowl of water, a teak floor to nap on (her favorite) and many photo opportunities. She was one happy dog. Sapphire is also a Bristol 41 like Skylark, with the exception of ours being a center cockpit, making the layout slightly different.

Poetry Party Group Photo
Elizabeth (photo by Sheron Garraway)
05/28/2012, Bequia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines

The guest speakers, open mike participants and organizers of the evening were all asked to pose for Sheron who is a freelance writer for the Vincentian newspaper, as well as the West Indies campus newsletter. She was kind enough to email me copies of the photos you see on the blog.

An another note, we had a fantastic, incredible dive this morning with Dive Bequia. One of the instructors offered to take me on our own private excursion (I do have special needs, like fear, anxiety and a "Why the hell do I want to do this at all?" kinda attitude) and that turned out to be a wonderful idea. He helped me relax, enjoy myself and have that "corrective" experience I was hoping for. The dive itself was exquisite, the coral colorful and abundant, the fish populations parading around like there was no tomorrow--oh my goodness, it was what diving is all about. My ears are now clogged, like they were before and that's a drag, but it was well worth it. We highly recommend Dive Bequia for both beginners and experienced divers. Now I believe I'll be able to go with Ed on our own, which was what he was gambling on.

06/03/2012 | Terri
So good to hear. Keep up the small steps so that you will enjoy diving to its max.

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