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

Union Island - Last Stop in SVG

14 May 2024 | Union Island, SVG
Donna Cariss
We set sail early from Saltwhistle Bay and had the foresail up straight away but the wind was just the usual offshore breeze and it died as we left the bay, so the engine went on and that was it for sailing today. We could see Nessa V, still at anchor in Saline Bay and then we left Mayreau behind. As we rounded to headland, into Chatham Bay, on Union, we were surprised to see that it was almost empty. There were just 3 yachts and 2 catamarans. The bay is large and has a long, sandy beach, fronted by a reef. At the southern end, there is a small hotel, which has a dock and mooring buoys and at the other end, there is Sunset Cove, a regular meeting place for boaties, at happy hour, 4-6pm daily. All of this we learned from the small boats that paid us a visit once we were at anchor. There are other bars and restaurants in between, all of wooden construction. There are no shops. We anchored close to the northern end, dropping the anchor on a sandy patch. Not long afterwards, the 2 catamarans departed, from closer inshore, so we moved to where they had been anchored, on another sandy patch. Pete checked the anchor and it was dug in. It's important to ensure you have a good hold here, as the katabatic wind gusts are frequent and strong. We went snorkelling for a short while and there were plenty of fish under the boat, as well as small shoals of bottom feeders, where the anchor chain was disturbing the ground. Pete had seen barjacks too, identified by the dark blue stripe over their backs and down the tail. soon after, Nessa V arrived, coming straight over to show off a large fish that they had caught on their way over. We were invited for tea - fish and chips! They anchored a bit further off shore but parallel with us, closer to the better snorkelling area. While Nigel gutted the fish and then Sara cooked, we went ashore for happy hour. First stop was with Seckie and Vanessa, who had told us they did discount prices and free nibbles. We were the only people there. Nibbles didn't materialise and when the bill came, the prices charged were full, no discount. Pete had ordered 8 beers to take-away, also charged at 10 EC a bottle, which we would collect later. We walked up the beach to Sunset Cove, which was busy with boaties and the beer was 7 and rum punch 10 EC, as promised. Pete bought his takeaway beers here, provided in a beer bucket and we returned to the dinghy and asked Vanessa to refund the 80 EC, as we no longer wanted her beers. Consequently there was no assistance carrying the dinghy back into the water. We took the chilled beers and a bottle of wine to Nessa V, where we enjoyed our fish, chips and homemade coleslaw and another good night.
There was a massive solar storm last night, measuring 9 on the KP Index. We were too far south to see the resulting northern lights but we saw all the amazing photos, from around the World, including our home town of Howden, on Facebook and other sites. Pete was gutted, as he is desperate to see the lights but is never in the right place at the right time.
In Chatham Bay, I would find a new routine, alongside Sara. The morning would start with paddle boarding, across the bay to the shore, where we would pull up our boards by Sunset Cove, before walking the length of the beach, hard work in the soft sand, to Calabash. On this first day, we made our way up the sand and into the hotel grounds, exploring the pool and bar area and checking out the fancy toilet block and outside shower. There was nobody around, although it was almost 10am. After a while, a lady came to ask if we were just having a look around and we asked if we could get tea and coffee and perhaps take a dip in the pool. She was welcoming and brought us a menu to order from. The wood oven fired rack of New Zealand lamb, with garlic and rosemary sounded amazing, even at US$56. After showering, we slipped into the infinity pool, with its lovely fresh water. Soft music came on and our drinks arrived. We stayed until around 11am, chatting and swimming, with no hotel guests evident at all. There are only 4 villas to the hotel, so it was a lovely, peaceful retreat. We rinsed off in the shower, making the most of fresh water on tap, before retracing our steps, chatting to Susan from one of the restaurants and then paddling back to the boats for lunch; no easy task with the violent gusts of wind. Mid-afternoon, Pete and I returned to Calabash, a Tenute hotel, for a beer and swim, so he could see what it was like. I took my shampoo and conditioner and washed my hair in the shower. Sunset Cove was the place for our happy hour sundowner, where we met Gary, Erica and Steve and also Paul and Tracey from Magic Pelagic, which we had seen many times before. Dinner was at Susan's, where we were the only guests. We had ordered early in the morning and our chicken had been slow-cooking most of the day; tender and delicious. Overfull and with strong, gusty winds and barking dogs, I had little sleep overnight.
12th May was the second anniversary of our friend's death. Higgy was taken far too young, at age 64 and is missed by us and everyone who knew him.
Sara and I followed our new routine, arriving at Calabash to find a man sitting on the deck with a massive Saint Bernard. We said hello and wandered round to the pool. The man got up, along with his dog to greet us and explain that there was no bar service until 11am, as there were no hotel guests arriving until tomorrow but he said we were welcome to use the pool and the wifi. He was the hotel manager and put the music on for us but he couldn't make coffee. He told us about his efforts to keep the beach and area behind the bars clean and tidy but said he was fighting a losing battle, as the locals didn't care and didn't help. He warned us not to give our trash to a local person, as they would dump it in the woods or in the sea, after taking our cash to dispose of it. The hotel would take our trash for a fee of US$5, which is what they are charged for disposal. The man also talked about the buoys in front of the hotel, which are free to use if you eat lunch or dinner at the hotel and how the locals are destroying the reef by bringing boats in to anchor as close to their own bar or restaurant as possible. The reef is nothing now compared to 10 years ago, he explained. After swimming, we walked back up the beach, in search of coffee but Susan was away collecting salt and Sunset Cove had the workmen in repairing their decking. Back on board, I wanted Turkish tea. The large bag, purchased in Turkey was still sitting, unopened, in the cupboard because Pete couldn't remember where he had stored the teapot with the strainer inside. He went to search the storage area under the bunks in the forepeak, where he not only found the teapot but also my noodle.
We decided to go to Calabash / Tenute for Sunday lunch; a treat, as it would not be cheap. We picked up trash from Nessa V and motored down to the hotel dock in the dinghy. There were 2 men in the lounge bar, sitting on opposite sides, not talking, so we took the seats further back. Almost immediately, the man with the green, knitted tank top, beard and hair in dreadlocks started engaging Pete in conversation, about the environment and politics. The other guy, an American, from a catamaran called 'Music & Lyrics', added his two penneth now and again. The first man really liked the sound of his own voice and the conversation was becoming heated, so I asked him to stop talking to us, as I had come out for an enjoyable Sunday lunch. This brought the conversation to an end for all of 30 seconds before he started up again and the American told him to shut up. Having ordered lunch, we decided to move to the dining area, on the other side of the pool. The hostess apologised about the man, saying he had been there all morning and never shut up. He was just lazing on the sofa, smoking weed and having an occasional drink, while spouting continually. Our lunch was fabulous, fried barracuda with fries and asian salad, with a glass of Chianti Classico. Afterwards, we stayed for a cocktail, sitting on the sofas in the dinig room, vacated by the manager and the owner for us, so we could continue to avoid the man in the bar. The American had left. Eventually the hippy left and we were able to settle the bill and leave too. In the evening, everyone congregated at Sunset Cove for happy hour and the steel band. Gerald, the German we met in Bequia was there and also his friends, Christian (German) and Kristine (Austrian) and their 2 young children. Christian turned out to be the person who first arrived at our boat when it dragged in Dominica. Being Sunday, after the steel band, the locals had a bonfire and the usual bang bang music started playing but luckily it finished at 10.30 pm. The night was less gusty and we slept well.
Monday morning, we cancelled paddling and coffee, having realised that Calabash would not open until 11am again, as their guests hadn't arrived yet. We departed Chatham Bay, for Frigate Island (Ashton), just around the headland. We motored, as it wasn't far and we would be head to wind and tide after rounding the headland and going east. There were mooring buoys here but we managed to anchor in sand between the rocks, after waiting for a German yacht to leave. Nessa V arrived at 1130 hours and anchored alongside. Sara and Nigel kept an eye on Muirgen while we went ashore and caught the local bus to Clifton to clear out. Clifton looked to be a pretty anchorage / mooring field, looking out across the reefs and turquoise sea to Palm Island, another luxury resort but it's windy, being on the east side, as well as tight and shallow inside the reefs. We cleared out with customs, 48.40 EC, where it was pointed out that our cruising permit expired in the morning. Immigration were at lunch, so we went to the Tipsy Turtle for a beer and a burger (not to be recommended), before heading back to have our passports stamped. The bus was waiting, so we hopped on board and returned to Ashton, where we bought a few provisions before returning to the dinghy dock. There we had a beer at the bar with the dock, before returning through the old mangrove swamp lagoon to the boat. Sara swam over for a chat and then we had sundowners on Nessa V. We had roast chicken with mash and Bisto gravy for tea; yummy! Tomorrow we would leave Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and clear into Grenada, in Carriacou.
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 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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The Beautiful Kvitsoy
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Weekend with Hommersak Divers at Kvitsoy
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Mad creatures
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Getting to Norway and waiting for Donna to fly out
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Buying Muirgen
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