Magic's Adventure

21 April 2009 | Georgetown
17 April 2009 | Mayaguana
11 November 2008 | St Croix
07 November 2008 | St Croix
22 October 2008 | St Croix
21 September 2008 | St Croix
15 September 2008 | Chaguaramas Bay, Trinidad
15 September 2008 | Chaguaramas Bay, Trinidad
14 September 2008 | Chaguaramas Bay, Trinidad
07 September 2008 | Scotland Bay, Trinidad
21 August 2008 | Clarkes Court Bay, Grenada
09 August 2008 | Clarkes Court Bay, Grenada
06 August 2008 | Clarkes Court Bay, Grenada
06 June 2008 | Bequia
05 June 2008 | Bequia
02 June 2008 | Bequia
28 May 2008 | Bequia
27 May 2008 | Bequia
26 May 2008 | Bequia
25 May 2008 | Guadaloupe


21 September 2008 | St Croix
We had left Chaguaramas at 8.40am, had managed to get the tide right going through the Boca, and had been spat out into Caribbean Sea at over 9kts. Initially the wind had been light and fickle and much to our annoyance we were having to motor-sail. However by noon the wind had picked up from a perfect direction and we were sailing beautifully with all our canvas flying. Behind us we were watching large thunderheads roll from the east over Trinidad and we could hear thunder in the distance. But with Magic charging through the waves at over 7kts we managed to outrun the storms and by the time we reached the Hibiscus Oil Field we were in the clear and having a wonderful sail.

Just after lunch and to the north of the Hibiscus rig Dave caught a small mahi mahi, the fourth we've caught, but only the second we've actually been able to land. Just before 4pm we caught sight of the coastline of Grenada in the distance. We were making excellent time. We sailed up the windward side of Grenada and although we were fighting a 2kt adverse current as we approached the north of the island, Magic was still making good progress. By 11.30pm we were in sight of Carriacou. A few hours later we finally had to switch the engine back on as the wind had dropped and the current against us was now slowing us down sufficiently that we were barely making way. But by 2am we were anchored in Hillsborough Bay. We had covered 113nm in less than 18 hours. We always knew that, in the right conditions, Magic is a 150 mile per day boat and we had just proved it.

We had come directly to Carriacou to meet up with our good friends Steve & Sue who had come here from the UK on a diving holiday. We managed to catch up with them at their hotel and arranged to meet. Dave picked them up in the dinghy and they came aboard Magic for the first time. We decide to spend the evening anchored off of Sandy Island where Dave grilled the mahi we had caught on our way from Trinidad. There is nothing to compare with the flavour of freshly caught and prepared fish and our guests were very complimentary of their simple dinner. We talked late into the evening and then took Magic back to Hillsborough so that Steve and Sue could get back to their hotel.

Over the next week we joined Steve & Sue diving the island. Max and Claudia at Carriacou Silver Diving were very helpful and took us to a couple of beautiful spots. The diving itself brought back wonderful memories. It doesn't seem possible, but Dave & I have known Steve & Sue for over 20 years. We all belonged to the same scuba diving club when we lived in Chelmsford, and Sue & I were very often 'dive buddies' on the many weekends we spent indulging in our favourite sport. Being back in the water together was even stranger for Dave & Steve however. Back in 1988 Dave suffered an 'incident' while diving a wreck off of the English south coast and ended up spending 11 hours in a recompression chamber. Steve was his 'buddy' on that day and joined him on the helicopter ride that took Dave to shore. Our first dive in Carriacou was also to be the first time that Dave & Steve had been in the water together since that memorable day 20 years before. Fortunately everything went really well and it was great to be back 'enjoying a bubble' with buddies we felt so familiar and comfortable with.

Our first dive took us just off of Mabouya Island. Two tugs have been deliberately sunk here by Max to create an easy dive. The tugs are already attracting a good deal of life and we spent almost an hour investigating all the nooks and crannies for fish, small invertebrates, moray eels and lobster. Didn't find any lobster though!

Our second dive took us out to The Sisters, a group of rocks rising out of the ocean situated just off of Tyrrel Bay. The dive here was wonderful and we saw scores of fish, moray eels, lobster and turtles along with soft corals and sponges. Towards the end of the dive we got caught by the current and had to swim hard to get back to the dive boat. By the time we were getting ready to make our ascent, I found that I had used much more air than normal. As a result the aluminium tank I was using had become very light and was starting to become buoyant. I dumped all the air out of my jacket and was maintaining my depth, but was still lighter than I felt comfortable with. I gestured to Dave so that he could understand my problem and could keep an eye on me as we were coming to the surface. The last thing I wanted was to reach the surface before I was ready! Dave, however, misunderstood the gravity of my situation and proceeded to hold me down. Unfortunately his enthusiastic efforts on my behalf had me scrunched against the rocks with my face in the coral. Not exactly what I had in mind! Fortunately after much gesticulation on my part he got the message and after he picked up a suitably sized rock and stuck it in my jacket pocket I was able to swim freely again. We surfaced without further excitement, got back in the dive-boat and headed back to shore.

We had been keeping an eye on the weather for a day or so as some heavy winds and nasty squalls were forecast to be headed in our direction. As we were heading back in to Hillsborough the wind was starting to pick up. As usual, we all went back with Max to the dive shop for a shower and to change. We had noticed as we passed Magic in the harbour that another boat had anchored very close to her, but as we intended to move once we had cleaned up we were not too worried. It was a mistake. As we were preparing to go back to the boat the wind made a dramatic change of direction and started to howl. In a matter of moments we watched as Magic swung around on her anchor in response to the wind change, and the boat that had been close before was now lying against her. Dave & I ran for the dinghy and sped out to our boat. The couple on the other vessel were trying to fend off our much larger and much heavier boat, but they hadn't even started their engine! We climbed on board and managed to push them off while Dave yelled at them to get their engine fired up. After much scrabbling we had sea-room again and quickly checked for damage before we hauled up our anchor and prepared to move. The forecast bad weather was upon us. The wind was blowing over 30kts directly from the west which meant that it was howling straight into the harbour. We appeared to have suffered no damage and powered out into the harbour. Our intention was to move to Tyrrel Bay which, theoretically, should be more protected.

It took us an hour to motor around the headland. When we got to Tyrrel Bay we were quite shocked by the conditions. Boats were pitching wildly on their anchors and moorings. The sea was running 2 - 3 ft, and that was in the 'sheltered' part of the bay! There was no way that we could anchor safely amongst the other boats. Our only option was to 'drop the hook' on the other side of the bay outside of the mangroves. We found a spot and dropped the anchor in 50ft of water! It was the first time we had ever used all of our anchor chain. We were also pitching in the rough seas but there was no-one around us so for the moment at least, we felt safe. As we were sitting on deck wondering what we should do we watched a couple of boats manoeuvre their way through the narrow entrance into the mangroves. Dave jumped up. "We're going in there!" he declared. He jumped in the dinghy, and taking our hand-held depth-sounder sped off in the direction we had seen the other boats go. Within minutes he was back. "There's 12ft in the channel there and then 15ft once you get inside the mangrove. The entrance is narrow, but we can do it". OK, if he says so!

We hauled anchor again and positioned ourselves in front of the passage into the mangroves. Very gingerly we felt our way in. There is no chart for this and either side of Magic we could clearly see the sand bottom inches below the surface. For a few minutes we held our breath, but then we were in! And it was as if someone had flicked a switch. Outside the wind was howling, the seas were rolling into the bay and boats were pitching and rocking violently. Inside there was a brisk breeze, but other than that all was dead calm. And the breeze kept the mosquitoes at bay! We dropped our anchor and backed up against the mangroves where we tied off Magic's stern. It was time for a well-earned drink.

We spent three days in the mangroves while the weather howled around us. During that time we did discover some damage that had been caused by the boat in Hillsborough. A stanchion had been bent, we believe by the other vessel's anchor as she collided with Magic. Dave made temporary repairs but the stanchion will need to be fixed properly once we find a good 'stainless guy'. Steve & Sue came and spent more time aboard with us, and on their final night in Carriacou we had a wonderful dinner with them at their hotel. The weather was still awful and frequently the heavens would open and the rain would just pour. The restaurant was on an open veranda so when we had yet another downpour just before dinner we all retreated to the kitchen and kept chef Lesley company while we enjoyed our drinks.

We reluctantly said 'au revoir' to Steve & Sue on Friday, September 19th. The weather was finally due to settle down over the weekend and we had to head back to Grenada. In a few weeks we were due to fly to the UK for Amy's wedding and we wanted to make sure that Magic was well settled in Clarkes Court Bay Marina before we had to leave. On Sunday the weather was good. We left the mangroves at 8.30am and again sailed down the windward side of Grenada to Clarkes Court Bay. We were anchored off the marina by 2.45pm. We had a lot to do. It was still officially hurricane season and Magic had to be prepared so that we could leave her. We had a quick dinner and an early night ready for the work ahead.
Vessel Name: Magic
Vessel Make/Model: Baba 40
Hailing Port: Ipswich
Crew: David & Donna Glessing