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 Vincent - Trials and Tribulations

22 April 2024 | Saint Vincent
Donna Cariss
Monday 15th April: I stripped the beds, folded the dirty sheets and took them through to the aft cabin, to put in the laundry bag. There I found that the carpet was wet. Investigation showed that the lockers under the seat in the aft cabin were full of water and were leaking onto the cabin floor. All of our tools and spare filters were wet through. We emptied the lockers and placed everything that was wet in the cockpit to dry, before pumping out the water. Water continued to leak in from the air hose which is attached to the clarifier (hot water tank). This confirmed that the leak was in the hot water system, in the cockpit locker. We emptied the cockpit locker of fenders, lines, buckets etc. and then removed the wooden board under which resides the clarifier. Water was leaking out of the top, as the seal had gone on the connection between the tank and the water pipe. Pete routed around in his box of plumbing spares and found a suitable connector, fixing the issue. The pump went on and the hot water tank filled up and didn't leak further. However, it would be several days before the water that had already leaked made its way into the aft cabin lockers, so we would be living surrounded by tool bags for a few days, leading to many a stubbed toe, especially during night time visits to the heads.
A young man came by the boat selling fresh lobsters and we bought 2 for 100 EC. They lived in the sink bowl for a few more hours, before Pete sank them into boiling water to part cook, ready for grilling with garlic butter, for tea. Not long after we had been swimming, to cool off, there was a massive katabatic wind gust, from the south east and all the boats strained on their lines and anchor. However, when it was over, we remained very close to the motorboat at the side of us, suggesting that our anchor had dragged a little. We were still using the Delta, which has no swivel. We took some chain up and the anchor dug in again, so we shortened our aft lines to compensate. At 3pm, we put the engine on the dinghy and headed round the coast to Wallilabou, passing the Pirates of the Caribbean rock, which is rock with an arch in it. The bay is really lovely but again, has a bad reputation, so isn't much frequented by sailors. We were early for customs, so had a beer in the bar there, which was all done out with Pirates of the Caribbean posters, memorabilia and statues of Captain Jack. Around the dockside, there were open coffins with skeletons in and pirate gravestones. Just before opening time, we joined the queue for customs and the officials arrived, a lady for customs and a man for immigration. We were provided with forms to fill out; they didn't have computers here for SailClear. Customs charged us an extra 35 EC for overtime, on top of the 35.90 per person. Immigration was a further 35 EC. All was to be paid in cash, something we were running out of, as there were no card payment machines either. It seemed unreasonable to charge overtime rates when the office only opens after hours but apparently the officials work in Kingstown during the day and make a special trip to Wallilabou for sailors to clear in and out. We returned to the boat to find that a catamaran had been moored up next to us but at 45 degrees, so probably had its anchor chain across ours. We climbed on board and chatted with the French lady and her daughter, both of whom spoke good English and had come over to us on their paddle boards. The husband was at Wallilabou doing their clear out but came over when he returned. By the time they left us it was time for our lobster dinner, so there was no visit to Mojito's this evening but we spent a very pleasant night in the cockpit listening to the music they were playing. The French charter cat beside us got really close, as we all swung in the breeze and we had to shine a powerful torch through their windows to get their attention. They were not happy at being asked to shorten their lines but we were there first and they obliged in the end. At 0130 hours, I was awoken by loud music from Mojito's, which went on for at least another hour. It had been instigated by another French man on the catamaran on the other side of the motor boat, who was a musician. Good tunes but inappropriate volume for that time on a Tuesday morning.
Next morning, we watched the chaos of boats departing, who had been moored up by the Faith boat boy and the boat boy with his hair wrapped in a tall turban. Eventually, when the French family could leave, having been hemmed in, we waved them off. Soon the catamaran on our port side started its engine and we were up on deck sharpish. Sure enough, they caught our anchor, didn't realise and started to pull away. Pete shouted to them and pointed and eventually made them understand but they didn't know what to do. The boat boy came to help. I started the engine in case we needed to motor against the aft lines. Eventually they freed their anchor and left without apology. Pete reduced our chain but the anchor wouldn't catch. Cas was away in Kingstown, so we untied our lines and gave them to one of his boys while we raised the anchor and went out to reset it. Just as the anchor appeared from the water, the windlass stopped dead. The trip switch hadn't tripped and the fuse hadn't blown either. That left us with no option but to retrieve our lines and head south to a marina, cutting short our stay in Cumberland Bay. We motored 7 miles and called into Ottley Hall but that was just a boat yard, so we continued around the headland, fighting wind and current on the nose, to Blue Lagoon, calling the marina to confirm that they had a space for us. We approached Young Island and went through the Cut, which was beautiful, then negotiated the rocks and reefs to approach the marina. A man came out in a boat to offer us a buoy but we said we were booked into the marina. The approach is very narrow, between a red and green marker and very shallow. We had about 0.6 metres under the keel. We called up the marina and were waved around to go alongside, between a dive boat and a Sandals cruiser. It was tight. The marinera stopped Pete dead with the forward line, causing him to lose control and a chunk of paint was taken off the hull. The guy hadn't trusted Pete to reverse before hitting the Sandals boat. Our first stop was the showers, followed by a pizza, as it was now well passed lunchtime. The marina office re-opened and Pete paid our dues, 116 EC for the night. We asked a security man about a marine shop and he directed us to the dive shop. That was lucky, as the man there was really helpful, calling someone he knew who may be able to help with our windlass problem. He said that Terry would be on our boat once he finished work, around 4.30pm. Next we took our dirty washing to the laundry. At 4.45pm, Terry and Bradny, from Horizon Yacht Charter, arrived on board with an electrical tester and soon confirmed that it was the motor that had failed. They spent a couple of hours taking the motor apart, cleaning it up and had it working but when it went back into the windlass, it couldn't lift the anchor and chain. It needed to go to their workshop for a proper job but it was now dark and time to call it a day.
We found a restaurant on Google maps, preferring not to eat at the marina and walked up the 1 in 3 slope to the main road, turned left and found the Driftwood about 400 metres on the left. It was a pretty place, on a balcony, overlooking the bay. The proprietor was welcoming, friendly and informative. Pete had the roti and I selected a burger, both of which were delicious. There was only us and a family, with 2 girls in the restaurant, so we ended up talking. They owned a cat hotel, where each cat has its own bedroom, with home comforts, cuddles and tickles and a camera, so the owners can see their cats while they are away. They could house 12 cats and the business was very profitable, so the prices must be spectacular. When we paid the bill, at the counter, we found a cannabis menu there too!
Back on board, with the boat rolling in the swell, we changed the mooring lines to the stretchy ones, to reduce the creaking and banging. The people from one of the charter cats passed by, in high spirits and slightly drunk. Earlier, we had seen them provisioning and the amount of alcohol going on board was staggering. We headed to bed.
The 17th April marked the third anniversary of my Dad's demise from pancreatic cancer and I took some time to reflect before we started on the day's tasks. We filled up with water and Pete removed the anchor windlass for Terry to collect later. Then we marched up the hill again and caught the local bus to Massey's supermarket, a few miles away. There is a constant stream of little buses, so you never have to wait long. There's a conductor, who looks out for people wanting the bus and takes the 2 EC fare per person and they pick up and drop off anywhere you like. Massey's was great for provisioning and the cash machine didn't charge any fees either. Next door was KFC, so we bought a 9 piece bucket to take back with us. That would last us for a lunch, a dinner and nibbles on day 3. As we manhandled our bags towards the roadside, a bus saw us and slammed on the brakes for us. It dropped us on the blind corner by the marina and the conductor crossed us over the road. We unpacked, ate KFC, picked up the laundry, changed the bedding, put everything away and then found the man, Kelvin, who had offered us a buoy the previous day. At a discounted price of 60 EC per night, he put us on a buoy just beyond the marina pontoon, sheltered and clear of the swell. It was a trot, meaning the stern was also tied to a buoy, so we would never turn side onto the swell. The other boats moored around us were empty and we were close to the beach and trees, so we would need to lock up whenever we left the boat and lift the dinghy at night. We also hang a few tin cans on a string hooked under the coach roof top, so it will fall and make a racket if anyone tries to enter the boat in the night. We had a sundowner at Cafe Soleil, opposite the boat. No need for the engine as it was only a 100 metre row to the dinghy dock. There was a pleasant breeze to cool us overnight.
The following day, we swam and relaxed on board while waiting for news on the windlass. Just after lunch, Terry messaged to say the motor needed new barings and bushes and they were sourcing them and a repair. A later message said the repair cost, including parts, would be 540 EC, which we accepted, knowing there would be additional charges for Terry's time. We went ashore and used the marina's showering facilities, although we weren't on a marina-owned buoy. As we were pulling in on the dinghy, a lady started asking us questions and asked us to join her and her friends in Cafe Soleil. She was called Melissa and her friends were Dr Scott, Jasper, Cookie and Nick. We shook hands but Nick said that wasn't the way to greet someone and got up and gave me a hug. He was 6 foot 4 and towered over me and he turned out to be Nixon McLean, ex West Indies and Somerset cricketer. We had a fun evening and almost started a riot by asking what to see on Saint Vincent. Melissa is from Trinidad but her father was from Saint Vincent and her and Cookie argued at length about the prospective merits of the Botanical Gardens on each island. Melissa said she would come for a drink on board the following afternoon. There was another hug from Nixon when we left and their party carried on.
Next morning, I put the big fridge on and Pete caught the bus back to Massey's to buy beer. 6 bottles for 20 EC there, versus 6 EC each in the mini market at the marina! We needed to be prepared if Melissa came over, either alone or with her crowd. She didn't turn up, probably couldn't remember after their party and we didn't see the in Cafe Soleil either, when we called for a sundowner.
The wind had changed direction in the morning and due to the trot, we didn't turn head to wind and had a lovely breeze across the cockpit. At lunchtime, Terry called to say he had the windlass back and it was working, so Pete went round to the workshop to collect it and pay the bill. Terry only asked for 100 EC for his time but Pete gave him 170, which still seemed very little for the time he had spent. We felt grateful that the repair had only cost us around £200. We do need to get a spare motor though, as this will happen again in the future. In the afternoon, we went to Coconut Beach and walked up the hill to look out towards the Atlantic and to Bequia and then had a drink at the Coconut Beach Bar. The drinks weren't very good and it was overpriced, probably explaining why there were so few people there. Later, we had our usual sundowner at Cafe Soleil. The water was very still and we could see box fish, zebra fish and angel fish, swimming beside and under the dock. Before leaving, we collected a portion of fries to have with our curry, back on board. Because it was so still, there were lots of insects out, so we burned lavender joss sticks in the saloon and in the cockpit. It was uncomfortably hot and sweaty overnight, especially with all the nets in. Then the rain started hammering down and all hatches were closed, increasing the humidity.
On Sunday, we were leaving but first we needed to go to Massey's again to provision. We climbed the hill out of the marina and waited for a bus. After a couple of minutes, a bus approached but didn't look like it was going to stop and then it screeched to a halt. It was Brabny (known as Skipper). He wasn't running the bus yet but had recognised us, so gave us a free, air-conditioned, ride right to the door of Massey's. The return trip, there was a long queue, as everyone was going to church, dressed in their finery or traditional, colourful skirts and dresses. We got on the third bus to come. Today, there was gospel music on the bus, instead of the usual thump, thump music. On our way through the marina, we bought fuel for the outboard and back on board, we prepared to leave, for Young Island Cut, about a mile away at most. We had 0.3 metres under the keel, as we traversed the channel. We had been told to ask for Sparrow, when we arrived in the Cut and that was who arrived to allocate us a buoy and help us tie up. We were very close to Young Island and there was a bit of swell today. There was also a haze caused by Saharan sand which took the shine off the view, somewhat. Pete rowed us ashore and we reserved a table for the Sunday lunch buffet at the Young Island Resort. Pete gave up his seat at the bar, to a young man, so he could sit with his family group and we moved to a small table for 2. It was a good while before we were called for lunch, so Pete had already had around 4 beers (they are small bottles!). The tables were all set out under straw canopies, facing onto the beach; a lovely setting. The buffet was good, not excellent and the bill was US$124, so not the greatest value for money but a nice afternoon out. There were no other yachts in the anchorage tonight and we were a little bit concerned about security. There was a big day trip cat moored across from us, with a crew member on board and later 2 other cats from the same company returned from day trips and also moored up. The crews came over to say hello and tell us about the beach BBQ at Tobago Cays. They said they all stayed on board overnight, so we wouldn't be alone and would be safe. The swell settled down and we watched the sunset, as did the family from the resort, who had walked up to the little lookout post at the end of the island, opposite us. We had a bad night. There was a current, which kept turning the boat round and the buoy was banging on the hull. Four times, Pete had to get up and adjust it but he did say the moon looked lovely in the hazy sky. Just after dawn, I saw a bright orange spider hanging over me in the forepeak and I slithered out of bed, found tissue paper and removed it. Then we went back to sleep, as there was no immediate rush to leave for Bequia. We had enjoyed Saint Vincent and were glad we hadn't missed it out based on reputation for trouble.
Comments
Vessel Name: Muirgen
Vessel Make/Model: Westerly Typhoon
Hailing Port: Hull
Crew: Donna and Peter Cariss
Muirgen's Photos - Main
No Photos
Created 1 April 2024
26 Photos
Created 22 March 2024
49 Photos
Created 22 March 2024
19 Photos
Created 22 March 2024
30 Photos
Created 3 March 2024
5 Photos
Created 3 March 2024
84 Photos
Created 3 March 2024
7 Photos
Created 3 March 2024
29 Photos
Created 4 February 2024
22 Photos
Created 4 February 2024
32 Photos
Created 24 January 2024
31 Photos
Created 24 January 2024
14 Photos
Created 27 December 2023
9 Photos
Created 11 September 2023
15 Photos
Created 11 September 2023
44 Photos
Created 11 September 2023
13 Photos
Created 9 August 2023
9 Photos
Created 9 August 2023
10 Photos
Created 9 August 2023
12 Photos
Created 9 August 2023
9 Photos
Created 19 July 2023
10 Photos
Created 19 July 2023
66 Photos
Created 14 July 2023
10 Photos
Created 14 July 2023
3 Photos
Created 24 May 2023
65 Photos
Created 20 September 2022
56 Photos
Created 9 July 2022
13 Photos
Created 7 July 2022
7 Photos
Created 18 April 2022
19 Photos
Created 3 April 2022
22 Photos
Created 3 April 2022
3 Photos
Created 10 September 2021
3 Photos
Created 10 September 2021
4 Photos
Created 2 October 2020
16 Photos
Created 26 September 2020
13 Photos
Created 23 September 2020
11 Photos
Created 27 August 2020
27 Photos
Created 25 August 2020
9 Photos
Created 25 August 2020
11 Photos
Created 18 August 2020
16 Photos
Created 15 August 2020
22 Photos
Created 15 August 2020
18 Photos
Created 10 August 2020
10 Photos
Created 7 August 2020
20 Photos
Created 3 August 2020
14 Photos
Created 3 August 2020
20 Photos
Created 27 July 2020
10 Photos
Created 26 July 2020
29 Photos
Created 18 July 2020
5 Photos
Created 18 July 2020
12 Photos
Created 18 July 2020
Photos of Muirgen preparations
8 Photos
Created 12 July 2020
39 Photos
Created 11 August 2017
52 Photos
Created 6 August 2017
35 Photos
Created 6 August 2017
10 Photos
Created 6 August 2017
26 Photos
Created 6 August 2017
4 Photos
Created 21 July 2017
13 Photos
Created 21 July 2017
14 Photos
Created 21 July 2017
5 Photos
Created 21 July 2017
10 Photos
Created 21 July 2017
6 Photos
Created 21 July 2017
13 Photos
Created 21 July 2017
30 Photos
Created 1 July 2017
15 Photos
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.
10 Photos
Created 19 June 2017
9 Photos
Created 17 June 2017
11 Photos
Created 15 June 2017
17 Photos
Created 15 June 2017
The Beautiful Kvitsoy
5 Photos
Created 5 June 2017
Weekend with Hommersak Divers at Kvitsoy
8 Photos
Created 5 June 2017
13 Photos
Created 30 May 2017
Mad creatures
16 Photos
Created 29 May 2017
Getting to Norway and waiting for Donna to fly out
6 Photos
Created 18 May 2017
12 Photos
Created 6 December 2016
Buying Muirgen
6 Photos
Created 26 November 2016