Born of the Sea

Preparing for a phased retirement on the sea. Muirgen (Gaelic for 'born of the sea')

14 May 2024 | Union Island, SVG
10 May 2024 | Mayreau, Grenadines
09 May 2024 | Tobago Cays, Grenadines
07 May 2024 | Mayreau, Grenadines
05 May 2024 | Mustique, Grenadines
02 May 2024 | Baliceaux, Grenadines
01 May 2024 | Bequia, SVG
22 April 2024 | Saint Vincent
15 April 2024 | Marigot Bay, Saint Lucia
08 April 2024 | Saint Lucia National Parks
06 April 2024 | Rodney Bay / Gros Islet, Saint Lucia
31 March 2024 | Sainte Anne, Martinique
13 March 2024 | Iles des Saintes
10 March 2024 | Deshaies, Guadeloupe
03 March 2024 | Monserrat to Guadeloupe
02 March 2024 | Monserrat

Day Sail to Empty the Holding Tank

18 January 2024 | Seaworth's Bluff, Antigua
Donna Cariss
Wednesday 17th January was forecast to be a little less windy, so we planned to do a day sail so we could empty the holding tank in deep water, away from any beaches or anchorages. When we raised the anchor, which was really dug in, after the wind and covered in mud, there appeared to be very little wind. Having almost cleared the channel, we raised the foresail, turned off the engine and sailed slowly into safe water and towards the end of Five Islands. Pete went below to use the heads, leaving me on the helm and sheeting in the foresail as I turned gradually to starboard. The wind started to strengthen and as I cleared the islands hit 25 knots. Even on just the jib, I was overpowered. The wind was gusting and the angle changing through 90 degrees and back again, requiring a lot of concentration on helming, to keep wind in the sail but not heeling over uncomfortably. After what seemed like an age, Pete had finished in the heads and then dropped the tank. I didn't have a spare finger and thumb for holding my nose, unfortunately! Now to decide where to go and anchor. I couldn't steer far enough to Port to go to Deep Bay, so we decided to tack and go into the bay over the hill from Jolly Harbour. It took 3 tacks to get close to the anchorage, by which time I had been at the helm for 90 minutes, definitely a workout. Pete reeled in the sail and we motored towards the shore, watching our depth, as it's very shallow. We dropped the anchor when we chickened out. Besides us, there was just a small, chartered catamaran. The anchorage was shown as Seaforth's Bluff, on the chart. It was very pretty, with a curved, sandy beach, backed by mangroves and a swamp hidden behind. When lowering the dinghy, Pete found a dead fish in it, which had obviously landed there after jumping in the waves. Pete rowed us to the shore, against the wind. The hired skipper from the catamaran and his client came over in their dinghy to see whether we wanted a lift or a tow but Pete said he was getting some exercise. We had a walk up the beach, paddling in the water and investigated the pink picnic tables and wooden building frame which suggested a bar of some kind had been here at some point. The paint looked pretty fresh but there was nothing there. There were deep undulations in the sand, close to the shore, which looked unusual and a possible indication of currents or strong waves but the waves were lapping quite gently. We returned to the boat and ate the remains of last night's Al Porto pizza for lunch, had a swim and relaxed. It was more sheltered than Jolly Harbour and very peaceful, so we decided to stay the night. We cooked a pasta carbonara for tea and shared a bottle of red wine - Waitrose's mellow Spanish red, which costs about £4.50 and turned out to be Borsao!
I had thought about going skinny dipping when night fell but a French yacht arrived and anchored slightly behind and to the side of us. It was flying the yellow Q flag and had come from the north, so we assumed that it would be going into Jolly Harbour to check in next morning. As night fell, we could see the lights of St Johns and then Pete exclaimed at some very brightly coloured lights that had suddenly appeared. I looked round and said that it must be a massive cruise ship, ready to set sail and within seconds, it started to move. It was so big and bright that we could see its glow above the hills as it made its way out of the harbour. I thought we might see it head south but on checking Marine Traffic, I found that it was heading for St Kitts, to the northwest of Antigua.
I had a bad night. The anchor chain was rubbing and the current was causing a strange yank on the chain. I was worried we might drag, so was constantly up and down checking our position, relative to the yacht, the catamaran and the island. We were up at 8am and raised the anchor just before 9am, as we wanted to be back at anchor, in Jolly Harbour, before the wind became too strong. As we left, a truck arrived by the pink tables, so we thought that someone was coming to do some work on the cafe / bar but we were told later that it would be the people who brought their black pigs down to swim. I wish we had waited and seen that! We had a downwind sail towards Five Islands and then lost the wind altogether as we nipped between islands four and five, so put the engine on and rolled away the sail. The passage was narrow and shallow, so there was no room for a lack of control. From there, it wasn't far to the channel and we were soon at anchor in the same place as before. Freedom Girl wasn't there, so we assumed they had gone for water but then we spotted her at the opposite end of the beach, closer to the shore and closer to the marina, taking shelter, ready for the high winds to come.
Comments
Vessel Name: Muirgen
Vessel Make/Model: Westerly Typhoon
Hailing Port: Hull
Crew: Donna and Peter Cariss
Muirgen's Photos - Main
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Photos of Muirgen preparations
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Created 23 June 2017
Photos are limited as the weather was dreadful and was mostly a white out. Photos are from the phone as too wet to take the cameras.
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Created 19 June 2017
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The Beautiful Kvitsoy
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Created 5 June 2017
Weekend with Hommersak Divers at Kvitsoy
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Created 30 May 2017
Mad creatures
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Created 29 May 2017
Getting to Norway and waiting for Donna to fly out
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Created 6 December 2016
Buying Muirgen
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Created 26 November 2016