21 July 2021
Christmas Day was great in Bequia. Cheryl and Lafayette from the Fig tree restaurant closed for the day and allowed us cruisers to hold a pot luck bbq there. It was a lot of fun with so many friends.
December 27. Bequia. Donna, Kev, Angela , Gary and I caught the ferry across to Kingstown, St. Vincent’s capital. EC$ 25 one way and took an hour. What a vibrant town! Busy, people laughing and had a great feel about it. Some of the best hardware and grocery stores in the Caribbean. We walked around, seeing some beautiful old buildings and then caught a local bus out to Blue Lagoon Marina. Very nice out there. Had a snack and a few beers. Bus back to town, shopped and then caught the ferry back to Bequia. A great day out. I’ve bought some lamb loin chops, which are rare as hens teeth out her, to bbq on New Year’s Eve.
Greg and Jenny, on Nebula, upped anchor and sailed north to St. Vincent. They are meeting friends up in Antigua late in January but don’t want to get caught south of there if the winds pick up. Sad to see them go but we will hopefully meet up in Martinique in a month or two.
New Year’s Eve. A crowd of us got together on the beach, just opposite my boat, for a late afternoon bbq. Gary and Ang on Mystic Blue, Richard and Rowena on Galene, JK and Nelia on Windkat, John and Wendy from SA and a few others were there. It was loads of fun swimming and the lamb chops were like butter. Delicious!
That evening I noticed that my inflatable, read deflatable, dinghy was getting very soft. Upon inspection the following day, Gary and I found that the seams on the nose had started to give way. This is 2 years after I’d bought the little beast. Warranty here in the Caribbean? One year. So I went to the chandlery in town and bought a tube of 3M 5200 adhesive. We took the dinghy to the beach and deconstructed it as best we could. Then slathered it with the glue and taped it up. 24 hrs later I pumped a bit of air in and it held shape! A week later and it’s good. But I think the saga will continue.
Otherwise just been chillin’ in the Caribbean Mon. Loving life, swimming a lot. Yes it is winter time out here. The temperature hardly changes. Only the humidity.
Sailing at 0 knots.
Life at the speed of zero.
That was mid January 2020. Skip ahead to late April 2020 and the world has changed. I’m currently in St. Anne, Martinique and there is lock down here aboard too. We can go ashore for essential services and exercise for one hour. We have to have a self issued permit with us while ashore. All good though. The Martinique authorities seem to be on top of the situation here. The grocery stores are well stocked and social distancing is happening.
My friend Murray Hoffman, made a detour on his trip back from South Africa to Canada to visit his son, to visit me here in the Caribbean. He flew into Martinique as the world was about to start shutting down. He was due to spend 2 weeks out here, sailing the islands, but I couldn’t leave the anchorage. A week in and it was decided that the prudent move would be for him to try and fly back to Australia, via Miami and LA. After a couple of attempts at the airport here he managed to board a flight out. Good decision Murray! You might still have been here.
We are allowed to sail away but none of the islands want us arriving or won’t let us in. So best to stay put I think.
Life aboard is always a little slower. Life aboard during a pandemic is at a snail’s pace.
Skip ahead to early July 2020. The world has gone even more nuts. Lost it’s shit. World leaders are are showing their total incompetence in dealing with this pandemic. There are exceptions of course. I hope think that this might be the first time that most of the world is looking at the USA with pity. How sad is this and how the mighty have fallen. Not to mention the Victorian Govt in Aus. The government’s handling of covid 19 and now the BLM protests, riots whatever. I wonder how many people realize that there were a lot more black slave owners than white ones? And there still are. Africa is still a very harsh continent and the world turns a blind eye.
So.. reality of the situation. Hurricane season has arrived!
I’m not positioned where I want to be. I’m about 200 nm north, in the hurricane box. I can sail south to St. Vincent and the grenadines but is not a good place to be when a storm comes bowling through. I’m waiting for Grenada to open up. Currently they are open with a 14 day quarantine period. I’m hoping that Carriacou, part of Grenada will open too. Then I might set sail. Mean time, here is good. I’m surrounded by good people, facilities etc. and I can duck into the mangrove area a mile away from where I’m anchored.
I’m anchored next to a friend of mine, John, on Out of Africa. We have lots of swims together and go shopping on Wednesday’s. So all good. Sadly John picked up a fish pot line with his prop and messed the drive train up. So he can only sail, in and out of bays too. Not too easy. I’ll hang around and give him a hand.
And.. a good friend of mine, who’ve I’ve been sailing with for a year or so , Greg, who I’ve known since 1980, and his lovely lady, Jenny are part of this chapter. Jen had to fly back to the U.K. to assist her Mum and wasn’t going to make it back. The world shut down and Greg was aboard Nebula in Antigua. He set sail for the Azores a few months ago. Made it. Then continued to the U.K. single handed! I’m very proud of my friend. And he has total command of the Cobb bbq too. He should be their rep.
Playing catch up.
15 July 2021
I hauled out at Tyrell Bay Marina on Tuesday 26 November 2019 . I was greeted by many familiar faces. It’s like coming home for me here.
The folks at this new marina have got their stuff together. From the guy who drives the travelift, to the guy who guides him up front, like landing a Boeing, and it’s my Boeing look a like. Everyone in this establishment is accommodating, polite and they go the extra mile.
When hauled, the boat had a high pressure wash and and sand. Very good. After that, chocking and stands. The same day the guys managed to prime the whole underwater area too. The next day was applying the anti fouling. One that day, the second the next. Brandon, in the yard, did a great job for me.
And Sandrine is a sweet heart.
Edwin oversaw the work and I thank him.
So back in the water and enjoying it. I have good friends in Tyrell Bay who I swim with most afternoons. John and Betty, Ang and Gary. Richard and Rowena, Greg and Jen are also players. I always look forward to to the afternoons.
And suddenly! Boom! It nearly Christmas . I’ve never spent it in Bequia and I’m told it’s a good place to be.
Fondest memories of my son Matt rescuing a few of us at the dinghy dock. Ron? Jackie? Love you both.
So I’ve sailed out of Tyrell Bay, Carriacou and am chilling in Chatham Bay. I only through out the Genoa and got the boat up to 8.5 kts. Great sailing. Sunday morning I decided to use the same sail plan again. Not such a good idea. The wind had backed about 35 degrees and was up to 25-30 kts. I set the stay sail out and had to motorsail into a lumpy sea. Not much fun. It took me an hour more than expected to do the 28 miles. A long day.
Monday morning I took the dinghy in to check in with customs and immigration and am now anchored tight in off Princess Margret Beach. The winds have increased quite a bit. These are known as the Christmas Winds and should blow for the next 6 or so weeks. I have various friends anchored around me and we all socialize quite a bit. Yesterday we all went on a Rum Shack tour around Friendship Bay, on the south side of Bequia. Good fun had by all.
So sad. So very sad.
29 November 2019 | Carriacou
I had to sail down to Grenada. I needed new batteries, buy anti fouling paint and get other bits and pieces for Golightly. I chose to sail down the windward side of Grenada as it’s a shorter distance to Prickly Bay. The currents were horrendous, I was at times making 45 degrees leeway. This was while I was between Carriacou and the north of Grenada. It only slacked off half way down the island. I made it safely in and dropped anchor. So while I’ve been here I’ve bought new batteries, anti fouling paint, primer and new canvas to redo the dodger, Bimini etc. It’s been fun here with all the events and happenings. The only downside was being here for 2 tropical storms. This is a southerly exposed anchorage and large swells and a chop were coming in to the bay. It made it very uncomfortable to say the least. Dangerous too. Many boats dragged anchor and 3 went aground in this bay alone. Two are a total loss.
I’ve also made a reservation to haul the boat out in Tyrell Bay, Carriacou, to clean and repaint the bottom. This is for 11 November.
And then on Sunday October 27, the worst day of my life began.
At about 8am AST, Daniel, my youngest son, phoned me to let me know that Matthew, my oldest and Dan’s brother, had passed away.
It’s Tuesday 29, and I’m still at a loss for words. I’m flying to Miami and then catching a bus down to Key West on Wednesday. Gary on Mystic Blue and Greg on Nebula are going to keep an eye on Golightly for me.
Wednesday 30. October.
Gary on Mystic Blue, picked me up and delivered me to the Budget dock in Prickly Bay. Took a taxi to the airport. Flight delayed 1 hour. Flew to Miami and it took 2 and a quarter hours to clear immigration. Ridiculous! I missed the last bus to Key West and had to spend the night in the airport. It was a long, cold and very uncomfortable night. I had coffee and a banana.
Thursday 31 October.
Spent the night in a steel chair in Miami airport. Not fun. I had a good Cuban sandwich for breakfast. The first bus down to the Keys was at 11am. I was dropped at Joel and Helena’s house at about 3pm.
Darren and Pauli, Matt’s friends, came to the house to fetch me. We then went to the hotel where I met up with Daniel and Eudi.
We then all went down to the Green Room, where Matt had worked. We stopped at Jack Flats for a couple of peanut butter whiskey shots. At the Green Room a party to celebrate his life was going on and we joined in. His friends, Darren and Tiffany, Pauli, and many others made us feel very welcome. By the time I got back to the house, it was 0200.
Friday 1st November.
Darren fetched us and took us to the funeral home to see Matthew. We spent about two hours there chatting etc amongst ourselves and including him. It was a good time. A time to say goodbye.
The funeral director took us home
Saturday 2 November.
RWC 2019. SA v England. We won.
Then before sunrise a crowd of us gathered on the beach for the lighting of lanterns, sprinkling of his ashes and roses into the water. It was in front of Matt and Jeff’s apartment and a rainbow appeared above the building. All very cool on this calm morning. Grant and Mel were there too. From Australia. Then went up to Jeff’s apartment.
Helena and I went shopping and the others rested up.
That evening we went down to Mallory Square to watch the street performers and the sunset. Had a mojito there. After sunset we had a drink at Hogs Breath Saloon then walked up to Jack Flats where we had peanut butter whiskey shots. After a few of those we walked up to Mr Zs for pizza slices and philly cheese steak sandwiches. The boys treated us well there.
We were treated so well everywhere.
Sunday 3 November.
Pauli, a lovely lady and one of Matt’s best friends, picked me up and we went to Hog fish grill Tiffany arrived with Daniel and Eudi. Had lunch there. Shared van den Berger. Huge!
That evening we met down to the waterfront for the remembrance cruise. It was a great send off for Matt again. About 80-100 aboard. Another boat with friends also followed. Eudi sprinkled his ashes and said good words too. When we came ashore, we went to Mallory Square to light lanterns again. Too much wind. Then we traipsed up to Ricks, where Matt first worked. Had a drink there and then off to the Green Parrot. Lots of drinks there. Someone paid for an Uber home for me at 11. The rest got home at 5 the next morning!
Monday. 4 November.
It was a slow day all round. Most of the crew had only got to bed at around 5am and couldn’t be roused until about 3pm.
I hung around waiting at Helena’s house till 11. No response from Daniel or Eudi. I then went down town to buy a few things. Since I hadn’t heard from anyone, I decided I’d have a quiet evening as I was going to have a early start. We had a delicious dinner of roast loin of pork with roasted veg. Very nice. At about 8, Pauli, Daniel, Eudi and Grant arrived to say good bye. It was good to see them although I would have liked to have had more time with Daniel. Early night.
Tuesday 5 November. Up early, coffee, pack and to the airport by 6. Joel also flew to Miami for a business meeting.
A huge thank you to Pauli, Darren for carting us around. Big ups to you!
I had a sweet cheese and a cherry danish for breakfast. The flight to Grenada was good. Taxi to Sails restaurant and had happy hour with Gary, Ang, Jenny and Greg. Then back to Golightly. All good aboard.
Thursday 7 November.
Put dinghy in the water. Yoo-hoo!
Went shopping with Ang today.
I cried a bit more today. But not yet enough.
I’ve picked up a bad chest infection and am having difficulty throwing it off. On antibiotics now. I can’t sail single handed not being at full strength so I’ll hopefully sail up to Carriacou next week.
I motor sailed up the leeward side of Grenada and on to Carriacou on Tuesday 19 November 2019. It was pretty easy going. I fished all the way, tuna were jumping, but didn’t even get a strike. The fish are becoming few and far between. For me that is. I then anchored in Tyrell Bay and confirmed my haul out date for Tuesday 26 November.
A long laz summer 2019.
14 October 2019 | Carriacou
The fridge is running a bit more efficiently. I am going to reduce the size again.
A week ago we went into Le Marin, Martinique, and completed the warranty claim on my anchor chain. Thanks Greg and Jenny for the help. The chandlery exchanged it after 16 months of use. Very good service I thought. I also picked up my wind transducer that had new bearings in it and a new wind vane put on. €40 all up! Very good service by Luke at Diginav, Le Marin.
Nebula and I cleared out of Le Marin on Saturday 6 April and sailed down to Marigot Bay, St. Lucia. Had a comfortable night and up at 5am. Sailed and motor sailed down to Bequia. All good. The chart plotter didn’t fire up first time I switched it on. Don’t know why. I hand steered from St. Anne to Castries, St. Lucia, before I got it going again. From there it a good full day sail down to
Princess Margret bay in Bequia. Here the water is clear and it’s usually very calm. It is also a lovely white beach and I anchor quite close to the shoreline. We, Nebula and I, caught up with a lot of friends, old and new.
On the island of Bequia, they are still permitted to hunt one whale a year. Traditional thing. They hadn’t been able to get one last year but this year they did. Great excitement around the island. Friends of mine, JK and Nelia on Windkat were given a piece of the cooked meat that they kindly shared with us. I can’t say it’s to my taste but others enjoyed it. I found it to fishy but the meat is like lamb or beef.
After a great stay there, it was down to the Tobago Cays which is always beautiful. Crystal clear turquoise water full of turtles and other sea life. We spent a few days there them sailed down to an anchorage in the lee of Union Island, Chatham Bay. It’s very tranquil here. From there we motored around to Frigate Island, on the east side of Union Island. Also a cool spot to watch the kite boarders do their stuff. From there it was a mile or two east to Clifton Bay where we anchored for a night or two. Greg and Jenny, Nebula, had their first roti here. A very good one too. Here we cleared out of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and sailed across to Tyrell Bay, Carriacou. We check in here for Grenada and her islands. I caught up with friends on Kelly Down and they kindly offered me their mooring while they were haute out for summer. We had great afternoons swimming at the beach right in front of our boats.
Buy now my house bank of batteries were showing signs of giving up the ghost.
Here I reduced the size of my fridge again by moving the one side inboard by 14 inches. About 34cm. It’s the side that gets the afternoon sun. I also insulated it very well.
Gary, from Mystic Blue, came aboard and regassed the fridge compressor for me. What a difference it made! The drinks were now ice cold by 5pm. Sadly as the batteries were pretty shot, I couldn’t run it at night. But the new insulation helped keep things cool.
We had a lot of fun in Carriacou, making lots of new friends. Gary and Ang on Mystic Blue, Donna and Kevin on MaxScene, Ken and Susan on Whiskey Jack from Canada, who, after much consideration, were made honorary South Africans. We spent great afternoons down at Paradise Beach swimming and drinking the local beer. And having good times at Miss Lucky’s, DJ’s bar, Frogs bar and restaurant and of course a bar which we named 3 for 10.
And I sent Greg, Nebula, up my mast to put the repaired wind transducer back.
To be continued...
Balmy Winter 2018/19
31 March 2019 | Martinique
My goodness! How time flies!
This entry has been long time coming.
It’s mid March ‘19 and I’m still in St. Anne, Martinique.
I arrived here, in le Marin early December after a sail up from Tyrell Bay, overnighting in Chatham Bay, Union Island, Cumberland Bay, St. Vincent, Marigot Bay, St. Lucia and then across the channel to Martinique. They were all great sailing days and I used the engine maybe 2 hours in total, in and out of anchorages.
I motored into Le Marin and spent a week or two sorting things out. My wind transducer had broken and I took it in to Luke at Diginav. He had the replacement bearings and wind vane for it. Sorted. I then went to le Ship Chandlery, where I bought my dinghy, stove and new anchor chain a year back. I had told Katie, who works there, in March, that the chain was starting to rust as I felt the galvanizing was not good. December ‘18 I receive an email from them asking if I’d come to the chandlery to organize a warranty replacement. I told them I’d be back in le Marin late March and they are happy doing it then. That’s service. Highly recommended!
I’ve also had friends visiting. Richard and Lavinia, ex Partners, flew out for a month and spent Christmas and New Year out here. We had a great time catching up and touring the island too. They are great friends and I miss them very much out here.
Then Sven from Germany flew out, looking to buy a catamaran for charter purposes. Sadly the Martinique brokers must be some of the worst I’ve ever seen. They had a cash buyer walk into their office and didn’t show him anything. He had to pull the info out of them. I could go on ..
Then, about 3 weeks ago, I had Greg and Jenny, on Nebula, arrive from across the pond, meaning Atlantic. They made it from Cabo Verde to Martinique in 18 days. So we’ve bussing it around, showing them what there is on offer out here. Lots! They’ve gone up Island for a week or so, so I thought I’d get a couple of boat jobs done.
Today! I’d bought an aerosol foam, about a week ago, special stuff, to re insulate my fridge. I’ve been promising myself that I would do it soon. I bought a 750ml can of this goo last week, which expands to 150 liters of solid foam,and then remembered I had one stowed below.
I eventually found it and it had expired in 2014! It’s been a while of promising.
So this morning, all enthused, I’m into this job at 8am. Empty the fridge, clean, drill the holes to pump in the foam and away we, I, go.
This large can hardly made a dent in the job. So I was off, into St. Anne dingy dock, dash to catch the bus, buy 2 more cans, a bit of rum shopping, and back by 1300. I used 1.5 of the new cans of foam. Allowing for waste foam that comes out of all the holes, I’ve used about 300 liters of foam! The must have been very little left in the insulation cavities. Then again, Golightly is 20 years old this year and with moisture and movement, this stuff breaks down. Finished the job at 4pm this afternoon. I went ashore, after switching the fridge back on, had a swim, bought a baguette, and 5kgs of ice to try and help the fridge draw back down. It’s going to be interesting to see the difference it makes.
End of Summer
15 November 2018 | Carriacou
Once again. Apologies. Late I know.
I had a great time in Bequia. It is very tranquil there, with a beautiful setting. I had a great time with old friends, and making new friends, what with beach bbqs, rum shoppe tours and the like. I might have mentioned before, but my favorite part of the Caribbean is from Bequia to Carriacou and the islands in between. The Grenadines are spectacular with pristine beaches. Sailing is all day trips, no overnight jobs. I’m over those. It’s all about the destination these days. Not the getting there. Please don’t get me wrong. I love a good sail but, there had to be a “but”, I enjoy having the anchor set by about 5pm, boat sorted by 6 and a cold drink in hand soon after.
So now I’m in Tyrell Bay, Carriacou, after motor sailing down. July 2. A while back.
This hurricane season has been a quiet one so far. Other than for the Florida Panhandle. Hopefully it lasts. A few days to go yet. I haven’t had to go into the mangroves this season. I’m happy.
To a curtain extent. September is my annual insurance month. Mine went up by $600 a year. I’m a bit pissed about this. I seem to be funding the people who stayed up north and to their peril. I pay my insurance on time and it one of my biggest expenses through the year.
I understand. The insurance companies have to make money. So they therefore allow boats to stay in the hurricane box for the duration of the season. The charter boats, who are generating income, can easily pay a premium.
Last year, a lot of them got wiped out. Friends of mine too. Insurance pays out, they buy a new boat and I pay extra. WTF!
Sucks man. Its going to cut my time out here quite a bit.
I’ve managed to get a few boat chores done this summer. Small ones but they have to be done so that they don’t turn into major ones. Reinforce the dinghy davits, new to me dinghy cover altered. Thanks Jacqui! And I had to get the boat surveyed for insurance purposes. Golightly passed with flying colors I’m happy to say.
It has also been a very sad time out here
A good friend of mine died of a massive heart attack about 6 weeks ago. He was a great man. Helping others, advise, a real gent. Going to miss you Dude!
Devin, I’ll never forget you. Or Liz.
And then SA friends of mine, out here, on Out of Africa, had hauled their boat out in Trinidad and were on holiday in Canada and Scotland, John and Joanne. While in Scotland Jo was diagnosed with cancer.
All so sad. Both younger than I am.
Enjoy every day while you can.
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