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.
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.
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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