Wind, Waves and Kites
22 March 2018 | Clifton Bay - Union Island - SVG
We are now safely on a mooring in Clifton Bay on Union Island.
It was as predicted a bumpy and windy anchorage last night with a heavy wet squall at about 02.30.
We left Petite Martinique at about 08.45 this morning after running the OCC Net.
It took a while to get the anchor up as we had lots of chain out, the holding was very muddy and it was pretty wavy too.
The sail across this morning was fast and furious on a broad reach with 25 to 30 knots of wind on very little sail.
At one point I got swamped by a large wave hitting us directly on the side. Mandy of course stayed dry tucked up under the spray hood!
I got drenched again in the dinghy coming back from checking in at customs.
So..... I am sat here in nothing but a towel, having had a shower and put all the wet kit in the washing machine.
Mandy is in scrubbing the water line as penance.
Clifton Bay is busy with people waiting for the winds to drop over the weekend.
But….. the kite surfers are out in force and really enjoying themselves
We are hoping to get across to Tobago Quays on Saturday.
The Winds are back in Paradise.
21 March 2018 | Petite Martinique
We are still anchored off Petite Martinique.
It has been perfect all day but now it is blowing force 7 again and the sun is just beginning to set.
Fortunately we don’t have that hideous north swell back too!
The trade winds just won't settle down for more than a couple of days.
Yesterday afternoon we walked right round to the western tip of the island and looked right across to The village of Windward on Carriacou.
It is absolutely delightful with virtually no cars and certainly no white folk.
People are a little shy but very friendly.
It is probably the last unspoilt Caribbean island.
This morning we walked right round the eastern point and then up the hills where we had spectacular views to the north towards Union Island, Mayreu and Tobago Quays.
We had an excellent lunch The Palm Beach Restaurant and we were the only people there.
In the afternoon we took the dinghy across to Petite St Vincent where the water was so blue and the beaches just so white!
So we have battened down the hatches and expect a rolly night - being the insomniac I guess I will sleep in the cockpit and do anchor watch again!
Squeals from The Crew
20 March 2018 | Petite Martinique
We left Tyrell Bay in Grenada mid morning after checking out with customs and buying some groceries in the marina.
We are now anchored between Petite Martinique and Petite St Vincent.
We have Grenada to the due East. Union Island and Tobago Quays are due North.
The trip round was very varied and even in these much lighter trade winds we had the Toe Rail in the water which got Mandy squealing!
It's a fantastic place we are right on the edge of the Atlantic and only protected by a shallow reef and we are looking forward to going ashore.
It is a pity that the weather prevented us getting here a couple of weeks ago with Eddie and Julie.
Back in Tyrrel bay
19 March 2018 | Tyrrel bay Carriacou
Mandy and Frank
We spent a couple of days in Clark's Court waiting for the trade winds to moderate and while we were there we went to Brisa's farewell gathering on the pontoon and to Toodelloo for some wonderful home made cinnamon buns and coffee with several other occ boats.
The weather window allowed us to sail down the windward side of Grenada and avoid the grumbling volcano.
A big fish bit off our shiny new fishing lure so it is spag bol again tonight!
Very Windy to Windward
16 March 2018 | Clarke’s Court Bay - Grenada
It got pretty lumpy during the night, so we left True Blue Bay at about 8.30 this morning and bashed our way to windward to Clarke’s Court Bay.
It was very wet and uncomfortable head to wind and the Atlantic waves in nearly 30 knots of wind.
Silvio from On The Spot very kindly welded up our anchor locker catch at no charge.
We then had lunch with Brisa and Blue Jacket at Whisper Cove.
In the afternoon we ordered our anchor chain from Alan at North Yachts.
The warning is still out on the volcano and the trade winds are still very strong.
None the less it’s great to be here!
True Blue Dragons
15 March 2018 | True Blue Bay - Grenada
We spent yesterday night on a mooring at the Marine Park just off Dragons Bay north of St George’s..
It was very pleasant but we had to put a series of VHF calls out because of a sailing boat apparently adrift. It managed to get itself sorted after about an hour and sailed away.
This morning after I ran the OCC radio net, we sailed back across St George’s Bay thankfully with out incident this time.
We are now in True Blue Bay.
It is picturesque and quiet with reasonable shelter from the strong trade winds which persist.
It is one of our favourite bays.
We will probably head to Clarke’s Bay tomorrow morning to join a number of our OCC friends.
Reckless Abandonment and Dangerous Seamanship
14 March 2018 | Dragons Bay - Grenada
We have just been witness to an incident of reckless abandonment and appallingly dangerous seamanship by a Sandals Dive Boat in Grenada.
We are both PADI Advanced Open Water Divers and we are experienced transatlantic sailors with over 30 years experience.
Today shortly after 11.00 a Sandalls dive boat caused the near disaster to both their customers and our sailing boat.
We were sailing from Point Saline's on the South West tip of Grenada on a course of approximately 024 degrees in a direct line to Dragon Bay just north of St. George's.
The sea state was moderate but the wind speed was high 25 knots gusting to 30 knots. We had only a partial Genoa out. We were using AIS and transmitting our course and speed.
We were about over 1 mile offshore.
We kept well clear of two dive boats to the East of us, passing them by about ¼ mile.
We were following about 1½ miles directly behind another sailing boat also under sail - a Bavaria 42 called Namaste.
There were two of us onwatch on our boat Infinity B - a Najad 460. I was sitting to leeward and my wife to windward. Visibility was good.
We were about ½ mile past the dive boats when the Sandals Dive boat took off with two huge outboard engines and headed straight for us from our port side a full speed.
At the same time we noticed a group of divers in the water approximately 20 yards off to our port side.
They were all surfaced with inflated BCDs. They had absolutely no fluorescent markers or buoys of any sort. They were 1 mile offshore with no dive boat near them and they were not easily visible until we were upon them.
If we had been a fast motor boat we would have certainly hit them.
The Sandals Dive Boat then came between us and the divers at high speed and turned straight across our bows with virtually nothing to spare.
The divers were lucky not be sucked into its wake and we were forced to turn sharply to Starboard to avoid collision.
To leave unattended and unmarked divers in the water so far offshore is totally inexcusable.
To further endanger them and to endanger us and our boat in such a manner is beyond words.
I am sure as a reputable tour operator Sandals will want to fully investigate this incident as will PADI.
Baskets and Bowls
14 March 2018 | St George’s - Grenada
We have had a great few days in the marina at St George’s Yacht Club.
We very much enjoyed the thriving market where we bought three hand made wicker baskets from Elizabeth. They look great in the saloon.
We had supper with a very interesting OCC member who was a retired judge from London. It was an excellent meal he prepared and fascinating conversation. We stayed far too late and felt a little hung over the following morning.
We have also replaced some of our very tired plastic bowls and plates with some very fancy new German melamine ones.
We are planning to head north again to Union Island and Tobago Quays and keeping well clear of the volcano!
Urgent Volcano Alert
13 March 2018 | St George’s - Grenada
We have just received an urgent red alert.
There is significant potent activity for volcano Kick-Em Jenny.
We have sailed across it twice this season and we are only a few miles away now.
The Grenadan Government have just made a 5 mile exclusion zone.
We were planning to sail across it tomorrow to go back upto Carriacou.
We shall have to think again!
Domestics before it rains!
12 March 2018 | St George’s - Grenada
We are safely in the marina at St George’s Yacht Club in Grenada.
We had a very pleasant walk upto the fort and round the fishing dock yesterday evening.
This morning we are on our 4th lot of washing whilst we have acess to plenty of water and power.
It looks like rain so hopefully we will get it all dried.
We are then off on foot to further investigate the beautiful town centre and market.
URGENT FISHING UPDATE
11 March 2018 | On Passage Carriacou to Grenada
Frank and Mandy
Just caught a massive sailfish north of Grenada.
The rod was almost at breaking point.
The reel was fine and the 300lb breaking strain Dyneema line was holding.
But with strong winds and waves we just could not get it on board.
So we had to cut the line.
When we told the local fishermen in the marina they said they have a “strong catch & return policy” and they always put them back too!
On Passage Carriacou to Grenada Again
11 March 2018 | On Passage Carriacou to Grenada
Frank and Mandy
We lifted the anchor at dawn (05.50) in Tyrell Bay in Carriacou.
We have been sailing about an hour.
Moderate winds (30 knt) and average seas (2 to 3m swell).
Weather forecast is for strong gusts, so we have staysail and a small main.
We are just past the Saline islands and heading directly for the volcano off Kick-Em Jenny.
All is well and Eddie and Julie are fine.
The Wind Returns
09 March 2018 | Tyrell Bay - Carriacou
On Sunday morning we all helped Bluejacket onto a mooring as they had engine failure.
In the afternoon we all went to Hog Island for the regular Sunday BBQ and live music.
On Monday the forecast was for light winds with some south in it. So we left Clarke's Court Bay and headed north up the East Coast (Atlantic Side) of Grenada to Carriacou.
We had excellent views Grenada and the islands. We stopped off at Saline island for lunch, but with strong currents and darkening skies we decided not to stay overnight.
So we anchored in our usual spot back in Tyrell Bay in Carriacou.
On Tuesday we set up the spare dinghy and Julie and Eddie when off for a trip to Hillsborough by bus. In the evening we had a large social gathering at The Slipway Bar near the old marina.
On Wednesday we rigged up a floating line for Eddie to go swimming and later they made a bus trip to Windward. In the evening we had a large social gathering on Infinity B.
Yesterday the forecast was very reasonable so we lifted anchor and motored round to the next bay. We found that the forecast was very wrong!
We picked up a mooring in the Marine Reserve just off Sandy Island.
It was spectacular but the winds were very strong and constantly over 30 knots.
There was also a huge northerly swell wrapping round the island.
We watched a Dutch boat break it's mooring line in one large swell.
We had lunch and decided not to stay overnight and returned to Tyrell Bay.
All is well and Julie and Eddie are really enjoying themselves.
Hiking in The Rain Forest
04 March 2018 | Clarke’s Court Bay - Grenada
We are still in Grenada. We spent several days at anchor and a couple of days on the dock at Clarke’s Court Marina.
On Wednesday we did a excellent hike and tour with Henry’s Tours. Heather and Doug from Kalluna came too and we happened to spot Mick and Gill from Bluejacket in St George’s so they joined the party to.
We started with a hike from Concord Waterfalls up through the densely wooded valley upto a second waterfall. We also visited the Nutmeg factory and the rain forest.
On Thursday we had a hike around Hog Island.
Friday we went to the dock and wheat on a massive shopping trip by minibus to stock up on provisions. We also caught up on some maintenance and investigated new anchor chain.
Saturday was major boat cleaning and housework ready for Julie and Eddie to arrive. Fortunately they managed to fight the uk snow to Gatwick and arrived safely with us yesterday evening.
Grenada, WiFi, Photos and 35,000 Visits
27 February 2018 | True Blue Bay - Grenada
We arrived in Grenada safely yesterday after a very pleasant sail.
We are at anchor in True Blue Bay next to Prickly Bay.
It is a very pleasant spot near the airport and university.
It has a great bar The Dodgy Dock with wifi!
It is now about 4.00 am and I have been uploading our pictures for 3 hours.
I have added photos to all the posts and I have added 6 more albums in the gallery on the blog. Use the gallery Tab at the top of the blog or the images to the right.
So please take a look.
Thank you for all your comments - please keep them coming.
And..... thank you for your interest in our blog ... we have now had over 35 thousand visits since it started!
Volcano Exclusion Zone
25 February 2018 | On Passage Carriacou to Grenada
Frank and Mandy
We are on passage from Carriacou to Grenada.
We left at just before 10.00 this morning.
We are about half way and just passing the edge of the active volcano exclusion zone by Kick-Em Jenny.
It last erupted in 2015.
Varied winds and no fish yet!
24 February 2018 | Tyrell Bay - Carriacou
We are still in Tyrell Bay Carriacou and have been doing some gentle walking while Frank's back recovers.
Yesterday we walked to a beautiful beach off Sandy Island where we may anchor if there is calm weather while Eddie and Julie are with us.
We have also postponed diving until the weather is calmer, the water is clearer and the new moon currents have subsided.
We will probably head for Grenada on Monday.
22 February 2018 | Tyrell Bay - Carriacou
Frank and Mandy
Yesterday morning I replaced yet more teak deck plugs and then we took the local bus into Hillsborough with Simon & Hilda from Brisa.
Our first stop was Kingdom Travel to pay for our tickets. So we are now booked to fly home on May 2nd and back out again on November 24th.
That gives us plenty of time to explore these fantastic islands.
We then took another bus to Windward on the North East tip of Carriacou and walked all the way round the northern peninsula to Bogle.
The views across the reefs to Union Island, Mayreu, Tabago Cays, Petite Vincent and Petite Martinique were simply outstanding.
Probably the finest views in the Caribbean. Once the weather settles we will sail over to the islands to investigate.
We had lunch in The Round House in Bogle which was delightful and well priced. We shall certainly go again.
Hill Walking, More Walking and Delightful People
21 February 2018 | Tyrell Bay - Carriacou
Frank and Mandy
We are still at anchor in Tyrell Bay on Carriacou and the winds persist.
It such a friendly and laid-back island.
The locals are always smiling and wanting to chat. We have met several cruisers that have sailed down to here and just never left.
On Sunday we hiked up to the top of the tallest mountain/hill (1000 feet) Chapeau Carre.
It was a very rough and tough path in places and coming down was very steep and slippery.
Unfortunately I twisted my back and have been suffering with lower back pain and sciatica every since. So I had Monday and Tuesday off.
On Wednesday we walked into Hillsborough about 1 1/2 hours away.
It's a delightful little town much like a Caribbean version of Southwold.
We found a excellent small travel agent there called Kingdom Travel and a lady called Sherril is sorting out some flights for us to come home in May.
I'm still working on replacing teak deck plugs and I guess I will have to have ago at the chalking next.
Fish Bats and Teak Plugs
18 February 2018 | Tyrell Bay - Carriacou
Frank and Mandy
We had a very pleasant sail down from Bequia to Carriacou on Friday with Cranstakie and Brisa.
We caught two large barracuda on route which we filleted and have subsequently been eaten.
Yesterday morning I replaced about 20 teak plugs in the cockpit and I have a lot to do on the toe-rails too. We went for a walk in the afternoon and booked some diving with Mike at Dive Carriacou, who happened to have been based at North Luffenham just a few miles from our village at home.
After a drinks party on Brisa in the evening we returned to Infinity B to find several bats flying around the stern who attracted by the insects flying around our stern LED spotlight.
When we get internet access we will post a photo of our smart new dinghy chaps
On Passage To Carriacou
16 February 2018 | On Passage to Carriacou
Frank and Mandy
We left at dawn from Bequia and we are on passage to Carriacou. We will sail past Mustique, Canouan, Mayreu, Tobago Cays and Union Island.
After a week of very very strong winds in Bequia we are experiencing fairly light winds today.
I think I will have to furl the staysail and put out the much larger genoa.
I guess we will arrive sometime in the afternoon.
We have two fishing lines out and Mandy has been receiving expert fishing advice so w are very hopeful of some great catches today!
Wind Wind Hike and Polish
14 February 2018 | Admiralty Bay - Bequia
We are still on the mooring In Admiralty Bay in Bequia.
It’s been windy every day with gusts over 30 knots even in the relatively sheltered bay.
None the less we have been busy and enjoying ourselves.
On Saturday we had a massive tidy up of the front cabin ready for Eddie and Julie to arrive. We scrubbed out the lockers below and polished all the teak. We also washed all the cushion covers throughout the boat. Infinity looks splendid.
On Sunday we went on one of Mandy’s long hikes. We always feel so much better after a long walk, although I might occasionally complain about them.
We walked right over to the Atlantic coast past the Sugar Reef, to beyond Crescent Bay and the Turtle Sanctuary. We had an excellent lunch at The Firefly overlooking the sea and the plantation. We walked back via Marley Bay with spectacular views out across the Atlantic with the waves smashing on to the reefs.
On Monday we went shopping and bought a very comfy new pillow for me, some sims for the phone and iPad and lots of vegetables.
On Tuesday we took the dinghy across the bay to Grenadines Sails for templates to be made for a smart new cover.
We then went for another long hike upto Hamilton Fort (Mandy’s mother was a Hamilton) and right round the bay to Princess Margaret’s Beach (Mandy’s mother was Margaret too) and then back.
In the evening the Lars and Susanne (Swedes) from Sea Wind and Reg and Nicky from Blue Velvet cam onboard for drinks.
Today Max is going for a small operation in Edinburgh and will be off work for a week. We hope all goes well and I’m sure Berry will take great care of him as always.
Stong Winds and High Seas
10 February 2018 | Admiralty Bay - Bequai
Frank and Mandy
We are safely in Admiralty on one of Phat Shagg's moorings.
We had a very windy trip across from St Vincent yesterday with high waves breaking over the entire boat.
Even stronger winds are now set in for a few weeks according to the forecast.
So we will have to plan our passage south carefully. We have booked into have a dinghy cover made for our dingy to protect it from the sun and bashing on the dock.
There are lots of OCC boat here so I guess there will be much socialising over the next few days.
We are off now to book some diving.
Waves Wind and Fish
09 February 2018 | Cumberland Bay - St Vincent
Frank and Mandy
We are anchored stern to in Cumberland Bay in St Vincent.
We have a very very long line from a bridle to our rear cleats going and tied round a palm tree on the beach. It is the most stunning small bay with just a handful of boats.
The locals are delightful and very helpful.
However, the trip form St Lucia yesterday was pretty rough with large waves and gusts up to 40 knots.
We were fine on Infinity B with a large reef in the main and staysail.
Brisa found the trip much tougher and were they very tied and wet when they arrived an hour or so behind us.
We did manage to catch a nice Barracuda to each in the lee of St Vincent.
I guess we will have no internet for a while so all correspondence will have to be by SSB Radio.
On Passage to St Vincent
08 February 2018 | On Passage to St Vincent
Mandy and Frank
We left Marigot Bay in St Lucia at dawn.
Mixed winds in the lee of the island.
Currently in company with Brisa.
Expecting big winds across the passage.
Two fishing lines out.
Bureaucracy, Bats and Bananas
05 February 2018 | Marigot St Lucia
Frank and Mandy
We had a fabulous fast sail down to St Lucia with strong winds and moderate Atlantic swell on our port quarter.
Our early arrival meant we were able to get a mooring ball in a prime spot right in the inner lagoon in Marigot Bay.
We were joined later by Brisa who rafted up with us after sailing down from Rodney Bay to join us.
A Canadian couple from the next mooring joined us all for tea and with Brisa regaled their woeful tales of the bureaucratic farce of checking in and the exorbitant $100 extra overtime fee for checking in on a Sunday.
I had filled all our checking in details on line the day before we arrived so we were not expecting the same issues.
But alas the bureaucracy in St Lucia makes it absolutely the worst Caribbean Island to check into. We were sent away from customs at 12 as they were shut for lunch for 1 ½ hours. On our return they had no acess to the official on line system so made us fill in all our details again on paper forms and they charged us the extra $100 overtime fee!
Last night as last year we were raided by the bats who nibbled our bananas hanging in our fruit net. I saw one last year but this morning we just saw the aftermath! However, we are both very fond of bats and hope they visit again but we have hidden the bananas!
On Passage to St Lucia
04 February 2018 | On Passage to St Lucia
Mandy and Frank
We lifted the anchor in Martinique at dawn.
We are now part way across to St Lucia. Fairly strong winds and a lot of Atlantic roll.
One bite on the fishing line, but no supper yet. Hope to be in Marigot Bay for lunch.
All is well.
Thank you all for your blog comments.
We very much enjoy reading them.
Totally Naked and Mandy Says No
02 February 2018 | St Anne Martinique
On Tuesday we went for a 4 hour hike around a series of separate spectacular sandy bays on the southern tip of Martinique, right across to the Atlantic side of the island.
About half way round the island the track led from one bay up over a rocky outcrop and through some trees to the next bay. It was here we were shocked to see an elderly man stark naked standing on the path and peeing into the bushes with his stark naked elderly wife by his side.
The bay was full of naked people walking, swimming and just sunning themselves.
I tried to convince Mandy to take her top off so I could get a photo of her for this blog. She said NO!
I spent most of Wednesday trying to sort out Shian’s new smart voltage regulator for their alternator. I’m not sure it is smart at all and I think it’s faulty.
On Thursday I ran the OCC Net first thing. It was great to speak to Dan on Eschaton making his way across The Atlantic single handed again. It was also great to speak to Mick on Bluejacket for the first time this season now recovered from his health problems.
In the morning I rebuilt the front deck hatch with the help of Simon from Brisa. It has been leaking since last season. We completely disassembled it and fitted new hinges. Hopefully it will be ok now. I have ordered more hinge kits for the other hatches for Eddie to bring out.
In the afternoon we refilled all the diesel tanks and Mandy shopped for provisions.
We are planning to head South to St Lucia probably over the weekend.
And...... quite amazingly the number of viewings of this blog is over thirty three thousand five hundred!
Solar and Electricals
30 January 2018 | St Anne Martinique
We arrived safely in St Anne a week ago.
It's been a pretty tough period with strong winds and rain and a lot of maintenance and feeling a bit poorly too. Blood sugar has been a bit higher than I would so I'm trying even harder to keep the diabetes well under control. The answer is a diet of water and cardboard only!
We have bought 4 50w replacement semi-flexible solar panels locally from a specialist shop called YES. We also bought some canvas material. Simon from Brisa is a much better seamstress than me and has offered to help fit them to the bimini when the weather improves.
We have just managed to get half our money back on the old panels.
I spent most of the past 3 days sorting out a series of frustrating electrical issues on Cranstackie a catamaran belonging to our good friends Alister and Ester.
The first problem was they had lost AC mains voltage to half the boat, we traced the problem to a badly corroded socket in the port heads.
The next issue avoided a near catastrophic disaster with their wind turbine. The incorrectly fitted fuse holder actually caught fire and and the feed from the voltage regulator also went to the wrong side of the main battery isolator switch.
There were a whole series of issues around the installation of their new Mastervolt charger/inverter which had was not charging their genset battery or monitoring its voltage and not correctly monitoring the main battery bank current.
I'm now desperate to get ashore and go for a long walk.
On Passage to St Anne - Martinique
25 January 2018 | On Passage to St Anne
Mandy and Frank
We left Grande Anse Bay at 08.30.
We had a good sail for a couple of hours.
We are now motoring into wind.
All is well.
Should arrive at St Anne Martinique in an hour.
Old Friends and Socialising
23 January 2018 | Grand Anse Martinique
We have been here in Grand Anse D’Arlet for nearly a week.
We have been very busy socialising with something happening most evenings.
We had a fabulous lunch with Brisa and Lahania on Friday at a restaurant on the beach overlooking the bay.
I spent Saturday with a pretty sore back having done too many heavy tasks. But I’m fine again now.
Shian and Serenity joined us from St Lucia on Sunday and are still here. It’s great to seem them after so long.
Sunday night we had 12 people onboard for drinks and nibbles which was very successful.
Nevera dropped by and rafted up with us briefly yesterday while they were on route to Le Marin.
Yesterday evening there was a group of nearly 20 including 2 Swedish boats met for sundowners at the bar.
I have also started repairs on the forward holding tank with some epoxy putty. Hopefully it will work as a semipermanent fix.
I think we will be here for a couple ore days before moving on to St Anne before the winds set in again.
14 30.27N: 16 05.22W
Rum and Rum
18 January 2018 | Grand Anse Martinique
On Tuesday we had a long hike up to the Depaz Distillery with Clementina and Milan from Nevera.
It was well worth the walk.
The gardens are excellent with great views down the valley of lush sugar cane crops and the sea beyond.
They have refurbished and reopened the magnificent old chateau, biult in 1922 twenty years after the eruption.
Of course we had to persevere with some rum tasting and buy some bottles after the distillery tour!
Yesterday day we had another great sail.
We left Sainte Pierre at 09.00 in zero wind and expected we would have to motor all the way.
However, the wind picked up dramatically and we stormed down to Grand Anse D’Arlet where we were greeted by Brisa and Lahaina. It’s a Bay we particularly like.
Today being Thursday is my day as OCC Net Controller. Shortwave propagation has been very poor recently even using lower frequencies. So I’m expecting a struggle.
14 30.27N: 16 05.22W
Sainte Pierre Destroyed By Volcano
16 January 2018 | Sainte Pierre Martinique
We had a cracking sail across on Sunday, plenty of wind and gusts over 30 knots. Infinity B enjoys the strong winds.
We arrived at about 14.00.
We are now anchored at the foot of a volcano in Sainte Pierre Martinique.
The entire town was destroyed by the erupting volcano in 1902.
30,000 people died despite prior warnings!
The town is very Mediterranean in style and very different to the humble buildings in Dominica.
We have have met up with many friends on Brisa, Nevera, Exodus and Clementina.
We are planning a long hike today up to the distillery high up in the hills.
All is well on board.
On Passage to Martinique
14 January 2018 | On Passage to Martinique
Mandy and Frank
Up at 05.00 (well one of us was).
We set set sail in the pitch black.
We are now half way down the west coast of Dominica heading for Martinique.
We should arrive late afternoon.
The weather is very mixed with periods of light wind between very windy and wet squalls.
The fishing line is out and Mandy is now up!
And Yet More Rain
13 January 2018 | Prince Rupert Bay - Dominica
It continues to be very wet here in Dominica.
But the rain is warm and the trees and shrubs are growing rapidly after the hurricane devastation.
Our thoughts are with those coping with the many buildings with damaged or part repaired roofs in this consistent rain.
They locals are amazingly philosophical about it.
There has been a lot of socialising with the increasing number of OCC boats arriving. We feel that we know half the boats in the bay.
We were delighted when our friend Milan on Nevera arrived unexpectedly yesterday and he and his crew were pleased that we were able for fix the blockage in their heads.
We also managed to fix the water maker on Baracuda which was drawing salt water back into the fresh water output.
Unfortunately we are have having less luck sorting out our solar panel issues with the supplier.
Earth Wind and Fire
10 January 2018 | Prince Rupert Bay - Dominica
Yesterday night there was a 7.5 Earthquake on the other side of the Caribbean Sea.
This caused a tiny tsunami wave that we hardly felt here.
The past few days have been very wet and windy on occasions, but each squall passes fairly quickly. We have had to take shelter when walking but it has given us a number of opportunities to chat with the locals.
There are still quite a few bonfires around the place as people burn piles of fallen trees and hurricane debris. But every day the island gets tidier and the trees get greener.
We have been busy walking, doing boat jobs and generally socialising.
Avin from Albert’s Boat services has been polishing the hull and Infinity B is looking much better for it. It was Mandy’s job but she subcontracted it!
Our greatest discovery is “under the counter” which can be found in most bars. It is very therapeutic and consists of rum and marijuana!
Meantime my blood sugar is pretty ok, but have been trying to reduce some meds to get rid of a nagging dry cough which is a known side effect of Tamulosin.
We are hopefully getting our solar panels replaced shortly.
Repairs in The Hills
06 January 2018 | Prince Rupert Bay - Portsmouth - Dominica
Mandy and Frank
We have just had a huge rain storm. It was so wet we had to wait to swap the gas bottle for morning tea.
Yesterday we went on a tour of the northern hill region with Alexis with a group of 12 of us to meet people in need and donate items we had brought.
However, our first stop was the primary school in Portsmouth. We met Teddy the headmaster and some of his staff. The school has only just reopened as it had been used as accommodation for homeless after the hurricane.
There were over 200 very happy, very polite and very smartly dressed kids. It was so inspiring to see them after such a traumatic experience.
We passed through a damaged area near the school and we gave a hammer and a roofing nails to a man working on his house.
We saw lots of tarpaulins labeled UKAID, USAID and Samartans. Later up in the hills we gave vegetable seeds to various local small holders.
We stopped at a Red Cross water treatment plant in one village which purified river water for people to drink . We gave larger bundles of clothes to a group of people in the local store/bar to distribute.
Zigzag gave lots of food to one homeless shelter. We hope to be able to put some photos on the blog once we get interenet acess again. More help is needed and we are going to a meeting with the head of the secondary school to discuss how we can all help.
Devistation by Wind, Rain and Sea
05 January 2018 | Prince Rupert Bay - Portsmouth - Dominica
Mandy and Frank
Yesterday we took a mini bus and guide south.
We went with Brisa, Lahaina and Zigzag. Our guide Dylan also worked for the National Parks. He took us through villages devastated by Hurricane Maria. We were all truly shocked.
We also went past a site of many acres where large hills of the old roofing sheets had be gathered after being ripped off by the wind. It gave a idea of the scale of the repair work required. What we had not expected was the destruction of the coastal villages at the bottom of river valleys.
Here millions of tons of boulders, soil and fallen trees had cascaded down from mountains and smashed and buried villages. Down at the southern tip of the island at Scott's Head the sea had swept in and destroyed many of the seafront properties and bars.
On route vast sections of road had been washed away or engulfed by landslides.
Up in the mountains we saw entire forests where the trees had been stripped of their branches. The upside is that nature is fighting back and new shoots and leaves are sprouting but it will take many years to fully recover.
The Dominican people are positive, resilient and welcoming. They have done a huge amount of work to clear up and repair, but there is still much to do.
Today we are going to some hill villages to distribute clothes, seeds and repair materials. We also hope to discuss methods we can all help financially.
Generators and Hiking
04 January 2018 | Prince Rupert Bay - Portsmouth - Dominica
Mandy and Frank
We are still in Dominica.
Today is my day to run the SSB net in just over an hour.
So first a cup of tea and the blog.
Yesterday morning Ole on Lahaina who is moored next to us was very depressed that his new Fischer Panda generator was cutting out so he could not make water or coffee.
After a few hours tinkering and tidying up some of the installation and resetting the inverter/charger we managed to get it stable again.
Ole was very happy.
Fingers crossed! In the afternoon we took the dinghy across to the dock at Fort Shirley at Cabrit.
The dock was very badly damaged by the hurricane an we could not get ashore.
So later we walked to Cabrit and round to the next bay. We narrowly missed the storm on our return by having emergency beer with Brisa and Zigzag at The Purple Turtle which has just reopened and now has power again.
In the evening all four boats celebrated Ole's generator stabilization on Lahaina.
The solar panel company have said they will replace our faulty panel, but have said it was wind damage! T
oday we are off on an Island tour at 8.00.
Off Grid and Distribution
03 January 2018 | Portsmouth - Dominica
Mandy and Frank
We have arrived safely in Dominica.
Dominica is one of the poorest islands in the Caribbean. It is blessed with fabulous green forests and wonderful scenery. Unfortunately it was devastated by a hurricane a few months ago.
So we have brought some items to help. Emilie from The Saintes has sent a large parcel of clothes for us to distribute. We are on a new mooring ball in Prince Rupert Bay.
We were warmly greeted as we arrived and when we went ashore. Some places are still with out electricity and there is very limited connectivity.
I expect that we will be off grid while we are here and our only contact will be via SSB.
New Years Day
01 January 2018 | Les Saintes - Guadeloupe
Happy New Year.
We had a great hike yesterday over to Pompier Bay, where there was clear evidence of the hurricane damage to the palm trees.
We walked back via Marigot bay and over the ridge just below Napoleon's fort.
Lunch was a very fresh cheese and ham baguette. Delicious.
We celebrated new year on Lahaini (a Najad 490).
Ole & Jette kindly invited us with Simon & Hilda from Brisa.
It was a great supper where we all brought a course.
Today we all plan to go for a beach BBQ on Cabrit.
I had dug out the very old BBQ which is looking very rusty!
We plan to set sail for Dominica tomorrow.
The French Cats
31 December 2017
A lazy day yesterday.
But... A fantastic evening.
Our dear French friends Renee and Christian dropped by in the afternoon with their friend to invite us for evening drinks at 19.00.
We located their Catamaran Cyane across the bay where we were greeted by the slightly shy boat cat and 3 delightful French couples
Despite the language differences, we had a fantastic time.
Great food, wine and company with excellent humour and fun.
Thank you to all on board Cyane.
Happy New Year to you all and thank you for all your emails and offers of assistance.
30 December 2017 | The Saints
We are still on a mooring buoy in the Saints and planning to spend new year here.
We went for a walk past the air strip along the eastern side of the island where we could see quite a bit of hurricane damage.
We had a very good lunch in a little French restaurant called La Tombana over looking the cemetery.
On the way back we came across a large iguana peering out of the undergrowth.
A Very Frustrating Day
29 December 2017 | Les Saintes - Guadeloupe
Yesterday was very frustrating.
Our brand new very expensive solar power battery charging system failed.
We have 2 12v 100w panels in series to charge our 24v battery bank.
We bought the best panels we could buy in the uk and then paid huge amounts of excess baggage to bring them out.
But one of the panels have failed after just a few weeks so we get no charging at all.
We hope that the supplier will sort them problem out quickly.
First Fish and Full Sail
28 December 2017 | On Passage - Les Saintes to Dominica
Mandy and Frank
We are on passage to Dominica.
Perfect sailing. Full Main and Genoa.
But Mandy keeps making me slow the boat down as we fly along. So I have let the traveller out and eased the main.
We just caught a very large Barracuda which we put back.
Hoping for something edible.
Teak and Tanks
28 December 2017 | Les Saintes - Guadeloupe
The good news is Brisa’s outboard is now working fine after we re repaired it.
Mandy and I spent yesterday morning fitting a new teak rail to port side to hold two of our old dive tanks. (Our UK dive friends hate us calling them tanks!)
Unfortunately we discovered that our oldest tank that Greg gave us many years ago is now looking quite pitted.
So we are now looking for a couple of replacement tanks.
We had very pleasant early evening drinks in a local bar with Brisa and Lahaina where we also met somebody form Max’s college, Peterhouse.
We will probably stay here now until after New Year.
I have been pretty strict on my sugar intake and my diabetic glucose measuring machine seems pleased.
It was my turn to run the OCC SSB Net this morning, we had a good turnout and a new member single handed sailor coming down from California checking in.
Wind, Oil and The Outboard
27 December 2017 | Terre de Haute - Les Saintes
Mandy and Frank
We have moved over to the main island and we are now on a mooring buoy yesterday morning.
We raced across the straits to grab the empty mooring after beinkg informed by friends it was free.
I spent the morning working on Brisa's 4 stroke outboard engine. It had been serviced in Antiqua and reassembled and set up wrong. so that the choke was partially jammed shut which they had compensated for by over adjusting the air screw.
They had also put far too much oil in so that when the engine was warm and up to speed the increased crankcase pressure forced hot oil into the carburetor intake.
The hot oil acted as fuel and the engine over-reved and poured oil out of the flooded carb.
We discovered this to our cost as it sprayed oil and water all over Brisa's cockpit while we were testing it in a large bucket of sea water!
It was a very windy squally night and quite uncomfortable. Hopefully we will do some walking today.
26 December 2017 | Pain de Sucre - Les Saintes
Mandy and Frank
We had a great Christmas.
We hope you all did too.
We took the dinghy across to the isle of Cabrit for a Christmas Day lunch party with 3 other OCC boats.
The trip across was head to wind and waves.
We got soaked.
However, lunch was excellent with everybody bringing something different to share.
We walked across to telegraph bay after we got back. We were amazed to see the results of the hurricane with broken trees and the hotel roof blown off 1/2 mile away.
Later we had to help a clue-less charter boat pick up a mooring. We are going to try to move nearer to town today.
Christmas at Anchor
25 December 2017 | Pain de Sucre - Les Saintes
It's 03.00 I have got up to check the anchor.
We are anchored off Pain de Sucre in The Saintes after a very blowy and bumpy crossing yesterday with wind of over 30 knots all the way.
There are lots of boats here and we had a lot of trouble finding space, so we have ended up a long way from our friends and the main town.
We shall probably launch the dinghy and got for a walk to the next bay later.
Early start on Christmas Eve
23 December 2017 | On Passage Guadeloupe to Les Saites
Mandy and Frank
Happy Christmas Eve to you all.
An early start for us.
I was up at 05.00 and Mandy a little later.
We lifted the anchor at dawn (6.00) and set sail south.
We are currently on passage down the west coast of Guadeloupe and heading for The Saintes, which is half way between Guadeloupe and Dominica.
The straits can be very rough and Mandy has dosed up on sea sick pills. Last year the straits were very rough indeed as we fought our way to Pointe e Pitre to meet friends flying in.
We should arrive mid/late morning - we will let you know of our safe arrival. We will miss Pigeon Island and the fantastic diving, perhaps we will come back after Christmas.
Meantime we are very much looking forward to meeting up with all OCC friends. The fishing line is out ..... so we are hoping for a Christmas tuna supper!