La Aventura with Patti & James

06 July 2018 | Faial Island –Atlantic Portugal
24 June 2018 | National Holiday day in Faial
22 June 2018 | afternoon whale watching boat trip
20 June 2018 | an enjoyable day trip to another island.
19 June 2018 | Fabulous Faial. – Azorean Island
18 June 2018 | Faial Island – Horta Harbour - Mid Atlantic
29 May 2018 | Mid Atlantic - in the middle of nowhere
26 May 2018 | the cruising yachtsman’s haven
25 May 2018 | party day in Hamilton
10 May 2018 | Vero Beach/Ft Pierce –road trip to Jacksonville.
12 April 2018 | Vibeke onboard
17 March 2018 | lovely to return to Belize and Mexico and meet up with sailing friends along the way
24 January 2018 | I have become so interested in Guatemala textiles
17 January 2018 | So great to catchup with so many friends and our families
01 November 2017 | what a wonderful Guatemalan fiesta to experience
29 October 2017 | Volcanic crater
28 October 2017 | Antiqua - Guatemala

wonderful snorkeling; swimming with turtles; palm fringed islands; anchoring amongst the reefs;

01 June 2012 | the month of June exploring St Vincent and the 5 Grenadine islands. Lat 12.43N Long 61.20W
some good sailing – island hopping; a dry and humid; now officially summer – and the start of hurricane season here in the Caribbean.
IMAGE: Island Girl!
JUNE 2012
On the 1st of June we checked-in to the multi-island country of St Vincent and the Grenadines and were issued with a 1 month personal visa - so we had plenty of time to slowly explore these 50 miles of islands and little cays, as we head south towards Grenada. The grenadines have many of the Caribbean's private and secluded hideaways - so we were keen to see, explore and find a few of these hideaways for ourselves.
After sailing south from St Lucia, we checked-in at the Port of Entry on the island of Bequia -the northernmost island in the Grenadine group, just 9 miles south of the largest island - St Vincent. We had visited both St Vincent and Bequia back in April, and were especially looking forward to enjoying Bequia again at this quieter out-of-season time - without all the regatta boats and the Easter visitors. Bequia is the largest of the Grenadine islands but still only 7 sq miles with the main town of Port Elizabeth just a line of shops and restaurants rimming the beach of Admiralty Bay. The whole island has approx 5,000 inhabitants. Bequia derives from a native Carib name meaning 'island of clouds' i.e. rain - and we had plenty whilst we were here - but thankfully in the Caribbean so far we have only experienced short, sharp, heavy showers that pass through quickly with the winds - and then the rest of the days bloom with beautiful blue skies and hot sunshine - making it uncomfortably humid at times - thankfully there is always a 'trade wind' breeze. The sea and maritime activities are the lifeblood of this island and its people, and on this visit we watched the men boat building and repairing the many traditional wooden boats - large and small- and the kids playing with their miniature models and coconut play boats at the water's edge of the village. During our stay it was interesting to watch the progress of the repairs to one of the traditional boats - the lovely Bequia built, powder blue hulled schooner ' Friendship Rose'. Apparently she was once, many years ago the ferry between St Vincent & Bequia - now she does tourist day trips around the various islands. All local activities instantiate from 'under the almond trees' - the shaded waterfront area off the Main Street and ferry dock. Here the Bequians of all walks of life assemble to discuss issues and their world. During this visit we were able to wander through Port Elizabeth village without any hustle and bustle to admire the waterfront of Admiralty Bay that rises into the surrounding hills. I just loved wandering the main towns front and back streets admiring the many brightly coloured shops, houses and restaurants. Most of the tourist shops and inviting and inexpensive little bars and eateries offering everything from traditional rotis to burgers and pizza are along the narrow sideways along the shoreline at the south side of Port Elizabeth known as the Belmont walkway. Most of these buildings have beautiful examples of intricate fretwork - in fact there is a Gingerbread Hotel, Bar and Restaurant which is an excellent example of this type of traditional wooden carved edging. We were at anchor on the northern side of the Bay,off the fishing village of Hamilton until the 9th June. We experienced very strong winds here for a few days as a weather front passed through, thankfully Admiralty Bay is a deep protected U shaped bay with excellent holding and good protection. It is calm and clean - so we could swim off the back of the boat most days as well as regularly seeing the local turtles swimming by. Just for a different view, some days we swam at the southern side off Princess Margaret Beach - just around the corner from Port Elizabeth - this is lovely stretch of sandy beach which many of the yachts anchor off. On reflection Bequia is the most perfect island in the whole grenadines chain - striking the balance between remoteness, accessibility and development. We set off - after our weekly egg and bacon Sunday Breakfast on the 10th -back north to the largest island - St Vincent. We needed to do a big food shop for supplies for the next 20 or so days to see us through as we headed further south to the smaller and more basic islands. We had a 5 hour, tacking and at times frustrating sail, fighting the winds and cross currents to anchor exactly where we had been before - off the Young Island resort. This is a lovely anchorage looking over to the vaguely hear-shaped private island of swaying palms that line the beach and shade the attractive villas. Just 200 years from the southern shoreline of St Vincent, this tiny island is just 35 acres of lush gardens full of native plants - apparently the villas have plunge pools and the resort is very exclusive - so we had suitable neighbours! We had a BIG Day on Monday 11th - with the supermarket shopping completed, we then enjoyed a lovely downwind afternoon sail back to Bequia, arriving just in time for me to catch the local market here for our final purchases of fresh farm eggs and local- mostly organic fruit & veg.
On Tuesday 12th there was a big swell running with 20 to 25 knots- so we had a lumpy 5 hour sail to the next island to the south - Canouan. We anchored in Charlestown Bay, the main anchorage located off the village and within a short dingy ride to the Tamarind Beach Hotel and Yacht Club. We were anchored with 4 other yachts and 1 large luxury motor boat. This resorts style of giant thatched roof buildings looked all very quiet, with a very much out-of-season feel to it was we wandered around. Canouan is now advertised at the Caribbean's newest luxury destination, all thanks to 800 acres on the northern half of the island which has been developed into the Raffles Resort - an ultraposh hideaway with luxury accommodation, a Donald Thump operated casino, private beach and world class 18 hole golf course. This resort is out-of-bounds to the likes of us - so we would only see the lights at night. The whole island it is just 5 sq miles. Canouan is derived from the Carib word for turtle - but we didn't see any swimming about whilst we enjoyed our 3 day stay until the 14th. On our first afternoon we had a walk of town where everybody and everything was 'CCA' (Raffles) sponsored. It was obvious that thanks to developers the local community now has paved roads, electrical power, water production, a commercial jerry and fisheries complex - plus a health clinic and education facilities from pre-school right through the age groups and up to a technical trade training school. Big Business has bought economic benefit and local employment, which can't be a bad thing. During our wander we could hear the high pitch of the steel drums, and eventually followed our ears to find 'The Pan Shed' where we watched the kids during steel band practice. Canouan was a good snorkelling stop. On our 2nd day we caught a lift with a local (mad fast driver) over to the Windward side of the island to see the extensive barrier reef and enjoy the snorkelling at Carnage Bay. There were 1,000's of fish - mostly small but very colourful. The next day we made a short dingy ride to Corbay Bay-here they were many large fish in beautiful, clear and shallow waters.
It was time to move on again by Friday 15th. We were heading for Tobago Cays but a large and violent squall passed through - and we were not in a great place to have zero visibility, driving rain and 35 knots!! We headed west away from any 'hard bits' and to get some sea room for an hour or so as the squall and rain passed through. As the day didn't look like clearing up we headed to Salt Whistle Bay on the island of Mayreau, where we anchored with just 5 other boats. Mayreau is a compact palm-covered island - just west of Tobago Cays. It is very basic here, with only 1 main road, no airport and only a small village settlement - electricity was only introduced here in 2003.What is does have is superb white-sand beaches with clear and tranquil waters. Salt Whistle Bay is picture perfect - the thin strip of beach leads to a point where the ocean laps on both sides. There are a couple of locally owned beach bars and associated T-shirt sellers, and of course the 'boy boys' selling fresh fish. First thing on Saturday 16th we headed to Tobago Cays Marine Park. This is a cluster of 5 tiny, uninhabited islands (called cays because they are so small) all sheltered from the open sea by the aptly named Horseshoe Reef. This is the most scenic anchorage in the grenadines, and rightly the pride of the country. We paid 20EC$ park fee for a 24 hour entry. We firstly snorkelled off the edge of the reef, which was sadly not impressive for a protected marine park - then we swam in the Baradal Turtle sanctuary. This is a protected area where we could swim and observe the green and hawksbill turtles foraging freely on the sea grass. Swimming with turtles- so up-close and personal was wonderful. In the evening there were only 20 other boats in the Marine Park, the advantage of being here out-of-season. We stayed a further half day at Tobago Cays and enjoyed breakfast watching a kite-surfer wiz along between the rim of the outer reef and the line of anchored yachts. This is the 1st time we have been anchored off a barrier reef, with no land for protection. The waters on our side of the reef were calm, but on the windward side you could clearly see and hear the rough water pounding the reef.
Our next stop was Union Island, where we anchored off the town of Clifton in the main harbour. We made this convenient anchorage our base, coming and going over the next 10days or so. Here at the Anchorage Yacht Club, James could watch a few of the games of the European Football Championships on their satellite TV, I could listen via the BBC to Black Caviar win the Blue Diamond Stakes at Royal Ascot - and we could be on Hurricane watch via internet forecasts from the US National Weather Authority. It is only late July now and already we are up to the letter D - so there have already been 4 named storms so far this season. The Anchorage Yacht Club, just a short dingy ride from where we had anchored was perfect for us. Most afternoons our entertainment came for the kite-surfers flying and twirling along the narrow edge of the outer reef and amongst the anchored yachts and moored boats in the crowded harbour. The Yacht Club definitely had the most laid-back atmosphere and the staffs general evasion to anything associated with 'the fast lane' - all happy and friendly -fine with us. The village of Clifton had that end-of-season feel, but we were still able to get fresh bread and basic supplies. The brightly coloured wooden huts selling fruit juices, fruit and veg and tourist goods made an attractive stop off each time we passed by. Evenings were especially beautiful from the Clifton Harbour anchorage as we could clearly see the lights and outlines of the surrounding islands - Palm Island to the east, Petit St Vincent (PSV) and Canouan to the north, Mayreau and Tobago Cays - with Carriacou to the south. We could even see a far south as the island of Grenada in the far distance on a clear day. We had a few walks up the hills above the town of Clifton, mainly to get a view and some photos of the panorama of the surrounding island and the reefs. The prospective from these heights was so dramatic. On our walks up and around Union, Canouan and also Mayreau we noticed that the locals all have massive storage tanks for rainwater and there are communal water catchment areas - mainly because these 3 islands are low set with just few low mountains for the rain clouds to hang too - so they have less rainfall.
Coming and going from Clifton Harbour over the next 2 weeks we did pop back to Salt Whistle Bay on Mayreau. This time we had walk of island up to the Roman Catholic Church located on the hill above the village, where we had commanding views over the surrounding sea areas of grenadines islands and out to Tobago Cays. Another day we sailed over to anchor off Palm Island for 4 hours. This island is a 135 acre tropical paradise and 'boutique resort'. As 'non-residents' we were only allowed to walk along the beach up to the high water mark and marvel at the beautiful blue clear seawater, and catch a glimpse of the resort. The white sand beach here looked just like a strip of blinding snow. We also took a sail around to Ashton - the only other village on Union Island to anchor off Frigate Island. The following day, as we were preparing to leave for Chatham Bay a very nasty squall passed through with 40 knots, and lashing rain- lasting about 2 hours. We sailed around to Chatham Bay, where we anchored off a long crescent shaped beach, with just a few huts which presumably become beach bars during the high season. We enjoyed some wonderful snorkelling for a few hours off the headland here. We were swimming with millions of shoals of small fish, being totally surrounded by them many times, an amazing sight and experience. The eagle eyed pelicans kept watch for their catch as the 1000's of fish rose on the swell amongst the rocks. We especially enjoyed Chatham Bay with that far-away from the world feeling here, with no telephone signal and just half a dozen other yachts - this is lovely, tranquil out-of season sailing. Finally on 27th it was back to the small, busy, reef strewn port at Clifton harbour as it is the southern port of entry and customs clearance - our wonderful month here in SVG was now up! Time flies when you are having fun!
Thursday 28th was a busy day, with morning internet at Anchorage Yacht Club - then boat and immigration check-out, up anchor and depart SVG. We had a relaxing downwind 10 mile sail, except for 1 short, sharp squall - reflecting on our month in SVG. SVG courtesy flag down, Grenada flag up as we anchored off Hillsborough - the main town on the island of Carriacou - we were now in Grenada. We made our required visits to Immigration and customs, who were all helpful and friendly - 1 hour later and a 50EC$ charge we had personal visas for up 3 months and clearance for the yacht for 1 month. We both made a mad dash around the 'town' - James going one way and me the other - to tourist office and then various small shops for some fresh fruit and veg, bread and BBQ food - just managing to get everything done before the 'town' closed down at 4pm. This harbour was very rolly so we motored 15 minutes over to anchor off Sandy Island Marina Park for the night with 4 other yachts -in lovely calm surroundings. I saw a Mantra Ray whilst swimming to check the anchor - my 1st one on this trip - so just fantastic.
We spent a good few hours on Friday 29th snorkelling and wandering on Sandy Island. The snorkelling was excellent - the best so far. The water was just SO clear and we were in shallow water so could clearly see various coloured coral and loads of fish plus 1 hawksbill turtle. To be settled for the evening we made a quick motor around to anchor off Tyrrel Bay - to be with the most yachts (about 50) we have been with for a very long time. We collected more rain water during this night, more than we had collected for the whole month in SVG - what a difference a few miles and some high mountains make. We decided to explore the shore side of Tyrrel Bay during the morning of Saturday 30th. We found a 1 street village lining the shore - all VERY BASIC, with just a few fruit & veg stalls (which apparently are only there on Saturdays) a few very basic supermarket/general stores and a few local bars/come restaurants. We discovered that we had arrived for the annual Fishermans Day celebrations. Many of the local fisherman and wife's were very busy with various concoctions of food being prepared over coal fires in huge cast iron pots for evenings event, and we were invited to come back in the late afternoon/evening. The rest of our day was spend making the most of the rainwater to do some clothes hand washing. James put on dive tanks and cleaned the bottom of the hull, which was become our own Marina Park! Also during the afternoon, whilst watching the clothes drying!, and reading my book - I enjoyed seeing the organised small boat and dingy racing around the bay. In total there were about 10 vessels of all shapes and sizes, a few locals and some of the liveaboards, who are obviously now into the community and here for the summer season, all out having fun on the water. The Fishermans Day events started about 5pm - the whole village - about 200 people - turned out for the lime and spoon races; mens and ladies tug-a-war; arm wrestling and a beach treasure hunt for the kids - all great fun. A few of the liveaboards joined in the events too. We ate well from the cooking - tasting the traditional dish called 'oil-down' and a very tasty saltfish dish. After the events were finished the loud music and dancing started we walked off to find an ice-cream and then headed back to the boat - a great day and evening out Carriacou style - but sadly with no camera as the newly purchased one has died!!!! So we will just have to return here another time for some photos.
Our next stop for July will be the main island in this 3 island country - the largest island Grenada.

Vessel Name: La Aventura
Crew: James & Patti

Who: James & Patti