Born of the Sea

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

26 May 2024 | Ile de Ronde, Grenada
21 May 2024 | Tyrell Bay, Carriacou
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

Saint Lucia to Saint Vincent Passage

15 April 2024
Donna Cariss
Sunday 14th April: At first light, it was raining, there was a rainbow behind Gros Piton and the wind was gusting. We completed the SailClear arrival notification for Saint Vincent, having forgotten to do it yesterday. At 0700 hours, the rain having stopped, we started the engine and dropped the mooring buoy, to motor across the bay. A yacht and a catamaran departed at the same time but from further south in the anchorage. In the shelter of Gros Piton, we turned head to wind and raised the mainsail, with 1 reef in. We had decided to always set off with a reef in, as the winds in the Caribbean can suddenly gust to 25 knots, with very little warning, with squalls or simple topography. By 0725 hours, the foresail was also out, with a reef in and we were under sail. The other yacht headed slightly more west than us and was probably heading to Bequia (pronounced Beckway), bypassing Saint Vincent. Many people do this as Saint Vincent has a bad reputation for boardings and theft but it's also said to be a very beautiful island. We had decided to visit the island anyway but ensure that we didn't anchor anywhere alone and always lifted the dinghy, locked the boat when we were away and set up our security devices. Once away from the shore, the wind settled and the swell was the forecast 1.8 metres and the sailing was great. The catamaran was behind us, having struggled to raise his mainsail in the bay but we were slowly leaving it behind. The water pump kept running, every so often, increasing our belief that we had a leak somewhere; something to investigate on arrival. We had an aerial display from a couple of boobies, who were soaring above and around the boat before diving to catch the flying fish that we were chasing out of the water. The swell had settled down to around 1 metre and the catamaran was catching us up again. He came closer and closer and we could hear his engine. He was motor-sailing with both sails up. He passed us and left us behind. Then the dolphins arrived, the large ones and the small, black, Caribbean dolphins. There were at least a hundred of them visible at a time, suggesting the pod was around 300. They played around the boat for around 15 minutes before moving on. The wind came round nicely, as we headed towards Saint Vincent and then, down the west coast, gusted suddenly to 30 knots. We threw the mainsheet, as the autohelm alarm sounded that it was unable to cope and then reduced the foresail. Within 15 minutes the wind had dropped off to nothing so, a couple of miles out from Chateaubelair, we dropped the sails and motored. We could only see one yacht at anchor and when we checked with the binoculars, it was a very old boat. We decided that it might not be safe to go there, so even though we had named Chateaubelair as our port of entry, we changed direction and motored around the headland to Cumberland Bay. As we entered this beautiful, sheltered bay, we were met by Cas in his boat. He instructed us to have a 50 metre line ready at the stern, as he would need to tie us to shore once we had anchored. I dropped the anchor in around 9 metres of water and Pete reversed back and we had 25 metres of chain out. Cas declared that it wasn't enough and we should drop much further out and have our full 50 metres of chain out. I raised the anchor and Pete motored out again, lined up with the jetty and started to reverse, shouting for me to drop the anchor with 25 metres beneath the keel. I let close to 50 metres of chain out and the anchor caught somewhere on the steep bank of the sea bottom. Cas took the long line and secured it to the jetty, before adding a second line as a bridle to reduce swing. The standard charge for this service is 20 EC but we paid Cas 30. Cas explained that he looks after the security in the bay, to keep it as safe as possible and that he lives there and his family have Mojito's, the restaurant bar on the beach. There are other boat boys but they tend to take the money and run, having left your boat in a less than perfect position. If you visit Cumberland Bay, contact Cas by phone or WhatsApp on +1 784 497 5806. Safe and secure, it was time to check the bilges for water and evidence of a freshwater leak. They were full. We cleaned them up, turned off the pump and topped up our water from the 10 x 5 litre bottles we carry. The tank took it all, confirming that the water in the bilges had come from the freshwater system. We went ashore, a short row in the dinghy to the jetty behind us, for a beer at Mojito's. Pete decided to order food, which was a long time coming, after a misunderstanding but was good and cheap when it eventually arrived. We chatted to a French family while we waited. They told us that customs, in Wallilabou, a mile or so south, opens at 1630 hours each day. We hadn't gone to clear in as we assumed that customs would close around 4 or 5pm, which is the norm in the Caribbean, if they are even open on a Sunday. We would therefore need to clear in the following late afternoon. Cas told us about the catamaran, Serenity, which had been found here, with 2 murdered Americans on board, just a couple of months ago. It had been hijacked in Grenada by 4 men that had escaped from jail. The men were caught near Chateaubelair. It was case of wrong time, wrong place for the unlucky couple. Back on board, the man on the motorboat beside us told us that he had been at school with the woman.
Comments
Vessel Name: Muirgen
Vessel Make/Model: Westerly Typhoon
Hailing Port: Hull
Crew: Donna and Peter Cariss
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Mad creatures
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