Turkey to Barbados and beyond

Travels in the Caribbean

26 February 2018 | Clarke's Court Boatyard, Grenada
26 January 2018 | Hog Island, Grenada
25 January 2018 | Hog Island, Grenada
12 January 2018 | Clarke’s Court marina, Grenada
14 May 2017 | Grand Mal Bay, Grenada
05 May 2017 | Saline Bay, Mayreau
20 April 2017 | Marie Galante
08 April 2017 | Nevis
24 March 2017 | Bitter End Yacht Club, Virgin Gorda
08 March 2017 | Jolly Harbour Marina
15 February 2017 | Jolly Harbour, Antigua
08 February 2017 | The Saints (Iles de Saintes)
04 February 2017 | St.Pierre
02 January 2017 | Rodney Bay Marina again
25 December 2016 | Rodney Bay Marina
14 December 2016 | Customs Dock
11 December 2016 | So near
10 December 2016 | Somewhere in the mid Atlantic but a bit nearer than last time
07 December 2016 | Somewhere in the mid Atlantic
03 December 2016 | Over half way

Season's end

26 February 2018 | Clarke's Court Boatyard, Grenada
Having sat at anchor behind Hog Island, Grenada for about 3 weeks waiting for the weather to moderate, and seeing no sign of that happening we decided to come home early. We had to return in early April and so we had LA hauled back out at Clarke's Court, packed everything away and are now back in the UK.
Had we stayed we would have been in a rush to go North once we returned in Mid May, and would have missed out on all the places we wanted to spend time in, such as the Bahamas, as we tried to escape the hurricane zone.
So we shall return in early November and escape from the South of the chain when the winds should be more favourable and not so strong.
We are not alone in this although others are just staying put until the weather breaks.
We managed to travel 10 miles and put 5 hours on the engine and 25 on the generator, and on leaving all essential services were working, so hopefully not too many jobs to do on our return

Waiting for the winter winds to ease

26 January 2018 | Hog Island, Grenada
Ian Sales
Yes we are still here at anchor listening to the weather forecasts, and the most comprehensive is Chris Parker on Bellamy WCY on the SSB who gives complete coverage of the Eastern and Northern Caribbean, and I think the Bahamas. He reckons this is an El Nino year which is why the winds have persisted so strong and with a northerly element in them for so long, with not much sign of respite. Unfortunately for us any move to go North up the island chain requires an element of going slightly East, especially to offset the westbound Caibbean current. We have considered a dash for Cuba to be a step too far for us as the conditions in the middle of the Caribbean Sea are a bit too lively at present for what would be a 7-10 day passage. So a journey North toward the US virgins with the option of stopping en route seems more prudent, thus the frustration at wind strength and direction. No one in a cruising yacht wants to be beating into the wind and sea and that is what we would have to be doing. Better in port wishing you were at sea than the other way round springs to mind. So we pass our days getting all the boat jobs done, catching rainwater to take the strain off the watermaker, going on the occasional shopping bus and joining the other cruisers just waiting. We dont want to move lest we lose our spot, as here in Hog Island it is mainly moorings with only a few spaces for anchoring, but it is more sheltered than Clarkes Court Bay just a few hundred yards away,( although by yacht its about 4 miles) A great success today as I managed to make contact with the OCC radio net on the SSB radio with a vessel just south of Guadaloup, we have been able to receive most transmissions but transmitting never worked, we had the radio checked but were advised to send it to ICOM. However while the boat was out the water I cleaned the grounding plate so perhaps there is nothing wrong with it, we shall see. Most OCC members wherever they are, are waiting for the weather or able to do short hops between islands, although coming South is much less of a problem so its not just us. We had a report from our friends who are in Cuba, who have managed to have a rat join them on board, and it shows no sign of wanting to leave regardless of poison and sticky traps. They report few provisions available and are having to get by on fish from fishermen. This does not bode well for me and depending on how long before we can get away may determine whether we miss Cuba altogether. Our boat jobs are virtually all complete now (until the next system fails) and although we are thankfully free from mosquitos here, unlike the next bay along where they are rife, we do get flies. Therefore we invested in some swatters, the best being a battery powered tennis racquet shaped one with an electric grid. It is most satisfying to see them sparking in the grid, although the smell is not great. Finally we are about half way through running the new outboard engine in, so we should see how it works when planing and thus keeping us both drier when the inevitable motoring around in 15-20 knot winds has to be done, which is more or less all the time. So regards to any readers out there, its a bit dull just sitting around but at least its about 28 degree C and the rain is warm(ish).

The waiting game

25 January 2018 | Hog Island, Grenada
Ian Sales
We are now anchored in the Hog Island anchorage which is more sheltered than Clarkes Court Bay. From here we can dinghy to the marinas in Clarkes Court Bay or to the marina in Secret Harbour where we can buy petrol for the outboard. I dont remember if I mentioned that we invested in a new 9.8HP 2 stroke outboard (Nissan Marine, made by Tohatsu) This should give us faster times as long as I dont turn the dinghy over, its only rated for 4HP, but who takes any notice of all the health and safety stuff! We also thought that this may be our last chance to buy a new 2 stroke (Which are lighter and cheaper) as the US and EU wont sell them anymore. So far its just running in but seems to work OK with the dinghy. The weather forecast is not good for the weekend and next week, with gusts up to 30 knots and rain (even more than we have had already, not a day without showers so far, or liquid sunshine as the locals call it) So we shall just have to wait it out and wait for a window. We have abandoned our plan to head straight for Cuba as this would entail crossing the Caribbean sea for about 1000 miles where the winds seem strongest, and the seas highest. So we plan to head straight for the US Virgin islands which is about 400 miles and then work our way west towards Cuba...hopefully. Boat jobs are nearing completion although the list keeps growing, weather is 28-30C but very humid, we have done another island tour but I got bitten by no see ums somewhere but we at least have a decent internet. Have met plenty of Americans but have yet to meet a DT supporter, or perhaps they dont like to admit it. Regards to all and thanks for the comments. I will try and post some pictures soon.

Ashore in Clarke’s Court, Grenada

12 January 2018 | Clarke’s Court marina, Grenada
We arrived Ok and having declared our £200 worth of spares by going down the red channel were waved through with no charges. Perhaps they took pity on us as two bumbling old fogies!
We checked into a marina apartment for two nights, this enabled us to find the boat after it had been moved, and clear enough space to live aboard. She was nice and clean inside as per the fortnightly boat check and the important jobs had been done, now it was down to us to complete the pre and post launch jobs list tha5 just keeps getting longer.
We had one panic moment when both anchors that we had left on a pallet with all the chain and rode down, but still attached to the boat, had disappeared. However after a trek round the yard with one of the very helpful office staff, they were tracked down and delivered today.
We hope to launch on Monday 15th and make sure everything is working and then having provisioned up, and assuming the incessant rain and squalls have passed we hope to leave for Cuba where we may arrive in time to meet up with Inga who arrived there today.

Grenada at last

14 May 2017 | Grand Mal Bay, Grenada
Ian Sales
Our prime mistake when going for a meal at Saline Bay was not to ask the cost. We were collected in the water taxi and were the only people eating in a sort of lean to on the beach. The meal was edible from two very nice young chaps but the bill including the taxi was a little hard to swallow. However we adhere to the philosophy of supporting the local community so we accepted it, and even went so far as to get collected the next morning for a walk round the island, which involved climbing up a steep road to see the church at the top, and the school, plus the views across to Tobago Cays. We managed some basic shopping and had a beer at our "guides"uncle's bar before returning to the boat. The following day we motored around the north of Mayreau and went across to Tobago Cays, as we wanted to be close to the turtle sanctuary we were helped to pick up a buoy and enticed to another beach barbecue the next day. We didnt really want to go but at least we asked the price. The cays are stunning, even with 15-20 knot winds and an overcast sky, conditions which have now dogged us since Guadaloupe. We saw plenty of turtles and got some good pics, even if it was the same two turtles doing the rounds. The next day our boat boy came to collect us an hour early, we settled for half an hour and then he took us over to the cooking area on one of the islands. While waiting we saw box fish and rays in the shallows waiting for offcuts from the cooks. The meal arrived and was markedly better than on Mayreau but a tip was expected and no sooner than we had finished eating than he wanted to take us back as he was moving to another island.. Again we were left with that ripped off feeling. The next day we were off after the mandatory heavy morning rain, taking the southern passage through the reefs on our way to Union Island. Here we had decided to stop in Chatham Bay, and get a taxi tour including a trip to customs in the capital Clifton to clear out of the Grenadines.The anchorage in Clifton is behind a reef so quite like Tobago Cays, i.e. windy and we needed a respite from that. The guy mentioned in the pilot was the third boat boy to visit and he offered a beach barbecue. We said we have had enough barbecues but he then said it didnt have to be a barbecue, so we relented as he was doing the taxi thing, asked the price and went over in the evening in the dinghy where we had barbecued chicken for the third time, although this was the best of the lot , and the cheapest. While we ate Seckie and his wife Vanessa chilled smoking Ganga and quizzed us on whether they could come and work for us in the UK. The next day we went for the tour, the old 4x4 bounced up what looked to me to be an impassable track of rocks and stones that led from the beach to the road at the top of the ridge., but we made it and then round to Clifton on the concrete roads. Once there we cleared out, revisited the dock we backed onto in the flotilla we joined in 2005 where G slipped off the stern just as we approached the quay. Luckily she came to no harm other than soaked clothes and pride. We did a little shopping then had a beer with Seckie before he had to rush us back to pick up another fare for Clifton, another rushed visit. At least we went back a different route and determined there is not that much to see in Union Island. The anchorage in Chatham Bay was not crowded but was gusty, however all was well as the holding was good in sand and the next day we set off for Carriacou. We had a nice gentle sail under headsail for the 11 miles down to Tyrrel Bay where we anchored on sand in 5.5 metres along with lots of other cruisers in this popular anchorage. We cleared into Grenada here and after a couple of nights where the main jobs were toilet repairs we motored the 3 miles round to Sandy Island where we picked up a buoy and after lunch went ashore. This is a small sand spit which was where I proposed to G back in 2005 when we visited with the flotilla. It was nice to revisit although it had changed since our last visit in 2010 when all the vegetation had been blown away. Now it has been replanted and has waving palm trees on the shore. We stayed overnight there and waited for the early morning squalls to pass before setting off at last for the Grenada. We had an enjoyable sail down, missing Kick 'em Jenny, the underwater volcano by 2.5 miles and picked up a buoy in Grand Mal Bay, just a few miles North of Georgetown the capital.

Down to the Grenadines

05 May 2017 | Saline Bay, Mayreau
Ian Sales
We intended to hire a scooter to explore Marie Gallant, but all scooter rental outlets that were open didnt rent scooters, so we were advised to check one of the other outlets who would most certainly be open in the morning. When dawn broke it looked like it was going to rain all day, so we ducked out and motor sailed the 17 miles to the Isles de Saintes, the second time we had been there but this time there were several buoys available so we picked one up and waited till the morning to go ashore. The next day it bucketed down all day, requiring the skipper to visit the stern to siphon the water out of the dinghy. After two siphonings I gave up and dropped the dinghy , which meant it could rain as hard as it liked for as long as it liked. So the following day after emptying the dinghy(method is to lift the bow on a halliard and tip the water out over the stern) we went ashore, had lunch, checked the place out etc. We did the same the following day, passing on walking up the hill to the fort due to our extreme age. I had to change the generator fan belt which had done very well at about 55 hours, usually they need changing at about 10! On Wed 26th April we left the Saintes to sail down to Dominica, and had decided to break up the passages into more manageable chunks of about 35 miles, which meant heading to Roseau further down the coast than Portsmaouth at the N end of Dominica. Some rally friends said they had picked up moorings their OK. We had a good sail down to Dominica on a close/beam reach, but then had to motor most of the way from there to Roseau. Met quite a way out by boat boy Brian who said he had a mooring for us. He blasted off to show us where to go and nearer in another Boat boy approached called Marcus, who was mentioned in the Pilot. He said Brian didnt have any moorings and we should come to one of his, but we played the white man (can you say that) and stuck with Brian. The pilot is full of tales of dodgy and unmaintained moorings so its a bit of a worry but Brian had found some where the buoy had sunk below the surface, and once he recovered it the rope beneath looked like it would hold a supertanker, so we felt justified. Overnight more heavy rain requiring more siphoning and the resulting dinghy drop.The following day we set off for St.Pierre on Martinique, it was very bumpy and windy off the south of Dominica but gradually eased allowing us to sail on a close/beam reach down to St.Pierre where we anchored for the night. The next day was the passage to the south of Martinique to St Anne. A combination of sailing and motorsailing as we were in the lee of the island. However once at the south end you have to turn due East for 15 miles to get to the large anchorage at St.Anne. Traversing this bottom corner near Diamond rock, referred to in previous blogs, the sea were subject to wind over tide giving a very short and large sea, just like the Alderney Race,but it went on for longer. Its at times like these you start wondering if the fuel will block up or the engine will fail for any number of reasons, but all was well and we eventually arrived and anchored in 6.5 metres. We have now had cloudy and showery weather for a couple of weeks now which probably explains why many cruisers have packed up and gone home. In fact the OCC net has now finished as there were so few calling in or able to run it, and there is a distinct end of season air around. After a couple of days in St.Anne we sailed off the 22 miles to Rodney Bay in St.Lucia. Once anchored up we dinghied in to the supermarket, (you can leave the dinghy a couple of hundred yards from the supermarket) and stocked up on essentials. Next day we planned to go to the south of St. Lucia, to Laborie, where we had been before with Paul, as it shortened the sail on to Bequia, missing St.Vincent out due to security worries, although I suspect it is no better or worse than any other islands. We slogged down to Laborie with the usual mixture of sailing and motorsailing, and now we are quite slow due to the growth on the bottom or more specifically the prop. Another cruiser told us that growth on the prop can knock 20% off its efficiency and I can well believe that. Its only with a scuba tank that you can clean off the prop so without a diver we have to live with it. At Laborie we anchored but it was so rolly with a SE swell that we decided it was untenable and we left at 6pm that evening for a slow overnight sail for the 55 miles down to Bequia. We arrived at 9am after a slow sail which we were well suited to (see above) and we anchored in Admiralty bay. Here we checked in to the Grenadines and had a meal at the Whaleboner restaurant, and the following day managed to get our large gas bottle filled. On the third the wind picked up from the NE and made the anchorage very uncomfortable so we upped anchor and sailed down to Canouan, where we anchored over sand. There was a fairly new catamaran half sunk on a reef near the beach, a local told us it was a charter boat that was on a mooring buoy but came adrift in strong winds, apparently the charterers were on it drinking rum punches and by the time they realised it was too late! We left the next morning for Mayreau and after looking in at Saltwhistle bay, where it looked windy and rough we went on down to Saline Bay where we anchored, aided by two locals who run the restaurant where we are going for dinner tonight. So we continue to read the security reports and hope our main defence is that we dont look affluent enough to have much of anything worth taking, lets hope that and locking up work, although we may try a trick that Inga use which is to make up a dummy and leave it in the cockpit!
Vessel Name: Lucy Alice
Vessel Make/Model: Oyster406
Crew: Ian & Glenda Sales
Lucy Alice's Photos - Main
3 Photos
Created 12 January 2018
No Photos
Created 26 March 2017
Barbados upt o the North and back down to Granada
19 Photos
Created 15 February 2017
Passage to Barbados and observations thereafter
11 Photos
Created 3 November 2016
39 Photos
Created 7 August 2016