BVI'S to Panama
15 May 2019
Amy Manning | Rainy season!
So ol’ Babsy (shouldn’t say old coz she same age as me 🙈) was craned back into da water looking all spanky fresh n blue. Anchored back in Simpson bay…dingoed past Rajak-a cool, black piratey boat housing a French and Dutch family we keep coming across and swapped numbers. Picked up Propeller which had been with the welder. Electrolysis had caused it to decay so he had to weld a new bit back on. Still a rattle going on in the engine area but we’ve tried everything so just gunna have to live with it. Poor ol ben having mini breakdown he’s so frustrated. Piddled on down to the flea market and talked to a French couple who are sailing to Polynesia around the same time as us on a wooden boat they’ve just bought in the Caribbean. Had a lil barby on the cruisers island. Guy there called Pete was burning the roots of an invasive spiky bush to make way for fruit trees…..papaya seedlings being planted in lil pots. Fun, friendly time sharing Marshmallows with an eccentric Bulgarian carver who aint ever munched ‘em before!
After many a bad hangover in Sint marten I’ve decided after a bit of inspiration from Oneyearnobeer on Facebook to boot the booze for a year or try anyways…After me birthday I realised I’ve been binge-drinking every weekend (minus 3-4 months) for nearly 20 years- similar to many of my friends but my body has never taken it as well as them- always being sick or going Asian. Really noticed my lethargy and lack of motivation lately and have tried lots of detox’s, supplements etc over the last few years to try and make meself feel better-nuffins worked really so thinking giving up booze will be a good experiment.
Nearly got out of sint Maarten but was held up by the anchor winch not working properly...Took it to a bloke to get fixed but much da same when we got it back…bens breakdown swiftly approaching! Motor through the bridge into Marigot bay. Last bit of provisioning, a delish swim in turquoise sea’s-aint swum in a month apart from b-day as the lagoon was so scuzzy. Made a cake and chilli for the upcoming night shift so no need to cook on night shift tomoz.
Finally we leave at 16.45 on the 11/04/19…44 days after we arrived in the lagoon-feels fwwuccckin great! Rolley swell comin on the starboard (right) side makes me feel a wee bit queezy. First night shift just the 2 of us…hard as feel sick but after two 3 hour shifts each and a 2 hour shared shift we arrive in Anegada in the BVI’s at 7.30am. Beauts, deserted beach with lush water and turtles popping up to say cooey. I go back to bed for a few hours while ben naps/reads (yep ben reaaaading!) Had a walk on the beach and into a lil village-flat scrubby island…such a relaxed island, well needed change from sint maarten. Swim back to babs as benny boi rows Radda.
Take bikes and trot along the empty, main road. Great until we turn the corner into strong headwind, the road soon changing to a sandy track. Guy on a digger attempting to flatten/remove sand lolling at us! Found the Kite beach and had lil chat to local instructors….massive bay protected by reef but still pretty choppy. Ben went for a gusty kite back on our beach. Got a fire going later on and had baked tatties, baked ‘nana’s and marshys. Proper treat as our oven aint hot enough for baked tats. Barefoot run along the beach next morn before sailing past Necker (Richard bransons) island. Looking for kite spots but pretty gusty-best one in front of Richards island but don’t reckon we’re allowed there. Saw a couple of dolphins very briefly on way across. Loadsa charter boats anchored around the back of prickly pear island…totes amazeballs coloured waters.
Didn’t get up till 10am-felt fab! while ben got on with boaty jobs 😜👍 Flat, windy sail over to Tortola-cooked banana bread on the way- checked in, a long wait while a cruise boat came in made more interesting by chatting to an American bloke who captains charter boats. After a few different windows and $16.50 we were out of there. Used wifi at a bar and went for a food shop in the notoriously expensive BVI’s. No prices on the products so just went for things we hoped were cheap. After looking at the receipt we realised a bunch of bananas had cost $13! …in bloody banana land! Wtf! so it was extraordinarily good luck that some mega kind ppl stopped us on the way back to the boat offering us the remains of their stores from their week chartering a boat. Met Rick and his friends on their boat the next morn avin a chat about each other’s adventures. Lovely bloke, very enthusiastic asking questions about our journey. They gave us about 5 bags of grub and toiletries then came to look at Babs... I gave Ricks friend Brenda a book ‘Sarah Outen-taking on the world’ in which Sarah bikes through their homeland Canada and is a bloody great adventure to feast da mind. Pulled Ben up the mast which much moaning and swearing (literally dunno how he puts up with me 🤣) so he could change the anchor light. Flat sail over to Norman island- Quick snork spying lots of spiky black urchins but not much else. Only 5 other boats here... peaceful, magical feeling to the anchorage with steep cliffs and a stony beach. Had a run (mostly walking) along a rocky, grassy path to one end of the island-loadsa orange butterflies and lil lizards. Quick snork and I saw me first turtle under water on the trip so far. ‘Quick sail to ‘the Indians’ where we took a mooring ball and snorkelled around the rocks-few fish but seen better in other places. Sailed onto sandy spit- small area in-between boats to kite so had a little go but nearly stuck me kite in their masts twice one time having to release the safety so I didn’t tangle kite in mast. Ben found some waves and we had a rolley nights sleep. 4-5 hour upwind sail to Spanish town smarming ourselves through the reefs. Spoke to a bloke snorkeling with his kids…he told us they were all proficient kiters and often kite from island to island. Small provisioning, podcast downloading and weather update from restaurant in town. Sailed back to the magical anchorage at Norman and prepared boat for the passage to Panama. Boat is swinging 360 degrees in wind and we’re nearly on the beach so move to the outta bay. Couple of Angle fish on me snorkel.
Nest day we run to the other side of the island, Quick dip and shower- underway by 12pm Feeling in proper good mood and feeling lucky to be out here with da Harms. Had a feeling we’d see wildlife today-soon after a pod of pink bellied dolphinos show ‘emselves flipping and jumping about babsy. Am a bit on edge for me first night shift as had a yacht to slip past and dark clouds bringing in the winds. As I was relaxing pondering whether mermaids are good/evil/exist I nervously look over me shoulder into the depths and see phosphorescence glittering alongside-cheery moment! 🙌 Poor ol Harms weren’t getting much sleep in his time off but was "dozing" when I checked the time and saw it was my time to be on shift..lolz. 12-3am pretty easy devouring me book. Spent the next 7 days reading a LOT, listening to podcasts, baking and sleeping. Had a dip when we were about half way with no wind in 4000mtrs depth of water…very quick dip holding onto a rope trailing off bab’s stern. Calm seas for the first few days, spinnaker up going 4.5/5knts. Went through a massive blanket of weed and had to de’weed tezza’s rudder using the boat hook. De-frosted the freezer as the fridge weren’t working too well and stuff kept going off. Waking from a sweaty, dribbly nap I had me first shower on day 6---truly amazing feeling da cold-ish, refreshing water. Big waves coming up behind us, sailing fast throughout the day, put a reef in for the night but still going 6.5knts. Spotted grey dolphins visited us on the 8th day for 10-15mins…sooo clear in the deep blue waters. My last night watch was a bit bladder-dribbly as had 2 ships to avoid and we saw our first lightening over the Panamanian mainland. Ben got up and we gybed to avoid the 1st ship…me wee chicken legs were a trembling as the waves were knocking us sideways as I steered on the new gybe in da dark. Ben woke me up at 6.30am-looked out to see proper jungle covered hilly mainland and island greet us out of the mist. Immediately LOVE IT! Lots of people chilling on their decks already, as we look for a place to anchor the air is filled with sooooo much birdsong. Spot a small fin break the surface as well but not sure what it twas. Ben downs a beer to help him sleep and we have a long, glorious kipparoo till bout 2pm. Quiche for brekki!
Very humid here with cloud cover-hottest we’v been yet-constant drip from me mustache ben finds hillair! Talk to neighbors before an explore on land. Only a main road to walk along guarded by steep jungley hills and the sea. Best road walk evvvvvver though. First we spot leaf cutter ants soldiering across the earth. Massive, beautiful, varied trees everywhere-I’m literally in heaven! Hear loadsa birds chattering, coming across them in a mango tree and realise they are little green and yellow parrots-literally hundreds of ‘em! Sooooooo beautiful! Notice an avocado tree further on and pick one hanging low. Ben exclaims ‘no way-it’s Benji!’ (Fellow friend going by the name of Benguin who has sloth like features) There's only a bloody SLOTH curled up in a tree nearby! 2nd sloth I’ve seen in the wild, the first was in Guyana on a survival trip. Feeliiiing verrrrrry lucky! Different colored birds all around, one black with a bright yellow chest. On the way back we hear loud squawking and out of a tree flies 2 massive, original colored parrots. I’m literally hopping up and down in excitement for the whole walk with a mahooooosive grin and a sense of wholeness- this is ma place! Hear the impressive Howler monkeys from in the undergrowth-it just don’t get any better.
After a sweaty sleep I’m up at 7am-before ben for the first time ever- exercise sesh done in the cockpit before we go check in at the marina, leading onto a bus into Portobello for immigration. Bus is plastered with posters and large pics of who I’m guessing is the drivers baby. Get pizza and chips from a restaurant on the water front. The German owners parent to tonnes of once stray dogs, proper cute puppy with some sorta skin issue that they found in a shoe box. Few supplies and taxi back with a couple of random fellow boaters. Took babs to fuel point to fill up with water and petrol. Luckily 2 fruit n veggie trucks came by as there was nothing fresh/decent in Portobello. Bought looooads ready for our trip to San-blas. Used the free wifi from the marina and left for san-blas at 6.30 the next morn. Head wind but managed to fetch most of it. Nice n calm waters for 2nd half of the sail anchoring around 16.30. Lots of other boats surrounded by the 5 little islands and people bathing in the shallow, turquoise waters
Been sailing around the sandy, palm filled islands for 9 days, very chilled. Doing me exercises in the morn, supping around the islands and over some bright colored reefs and occasional spotted ray. Best sup was on a shallow reef where a lil turtle popped up his head and a puffa fish swam nearby. Found some green coconuts on a lil beach -As we got round the other side of the island to the mangrove lined cove we found loadsa orange and yellow starfish twinkling in the emerald waters. Defo felt like crocodile territory (which we late found out it was), saw a little stingray and a bird of prey screeching and flying around the lagoon. Proper decent like! Been searching for internet as need to check an email concerning the timing that we need to be in shelter bay for our passage through the Panama canal. Finally have luck at Povinir island-a local waving wildly at us paddles over in his dug out. Very friendly and speaks English. Ben does the talking and gives him the doller to go and get us a sim card, credit and bread from his neighbouring home island while I buy a handmade Mola from a couple of women and a kid in their dugout. Luckily he comes back with the goods…lush, still warm bread off his neighbour. Gave him a couple of beers and nuts as we try to understand the Spanish credit card-didn’t work so he paddled me over to the nearest island and interrupted his mate during lunch to work it for us. Very grateful-requested $5 for his troubles which I thought was a right ol’ deal. Proper happy, friendly, energetic bloke with 7 kids-apparently all from da same lady.🙃 Ben opens up the 3 green coconuts which have a lot of flesh inside- gunna avta freeze it there’s so much. Sail over to an island with a lot of backpackers and after a hot morning suppin and swimming we get our first real tropical rain storm with thunder and lightning- feeling very exposed on our little boat with TALL mast—eek! Have a rinse off in the rain and scrub the cockpit, then sit it out sweating inside with hatches closed.
Another day waiting out the rain before setting off to Linton bay- 3 dolphins lazing around the anchorage before we left around 7am, diving showing off their impressive tail fins. Motored most of 8 hour journey in mill pond flat waters. At least 3 large shoals of fish breaking the water with dolphins feeding on the final lot giving us a quick look over showing us their pink bellies n spotted sides. Sense of wholeness returns as we arrive at the beautiful Linton bay. Gotta say it’s predictably difficult spending all this time with just 1 other person-doing me in bit and arguments or silence are flowing after 2 months since our last vagabond (mumsky) left Babs. Longing for some friends and social contact, dancing to LIVE, decent music etc. Spose everything can’t be sandy beaches and mega wildlife though🦎🤔 . Gunna make an effort to make some friendys.
Used the Wifi at the marina to make contact with our agent and arrange the transit through Panama Canal. All sorted so go for another walk along the road seeing lots of birds, insects, mahoooosive bird-like butterflies and a dragon like epic iguana (ben saw it while I was happy snapping some ants 🐜 ) Tonnes of birdy life. Met a threesome who are also transiting the canal….social contact…wahhoooooo! Picked up some more fruit, veg n eggs from the truck and left the next morn, 6 hour motor towards the canal passing loadsa anchored ships waiting for their slot through the canal. Anchored up and took up the invite from our neighbors for happy hour. Brilliant night laughing and SPEAKING to different people….proper got me on a level again. Talkative ozzy couple who are very good at befriending everyone which is very helpful! I stayed sober coming back to babs for a late dinner and a perkier happiness
Simple procedure talking to our agent over whattsap, got the inspector onboard- originally from hong-kong he started out in panama working in the Chinese food stores that are all over the Caribbean leading onto agent work and now working for the canal authorities…seemed a right kind ol soul sweating in his uniform and rushing through the paperwork in a nervous kind of manner. All good inspection wise-just hope we can keep up 5knts motoring🤩 . Dinghy into the marina to meet with a couple who need line handlers on Saturday to help them through. Be good practice for us so sign our wee bum-holes up for da task. Another fun filled eve taking a walkies into the forest- MONKEYS jumping around, chomping on mangos and sending branches crashing to the ground. Hearing an amazing sound we carry on and ben spots (he’s very good at spotting!) tear drop shaped, grass bird nests hanging from the palms like Christmas decorations! The black birds with yellow tails are making this spectacular sound-can’t even describe it- ben has announced them as his best bird ever! Met up with the a big group again in the eve, more people joining all the time thanks to brads (ozzy) very welcoming, chatty nature. 4 friends sailing together- Irish, English and 2 ozzys were particularly funny and we spent most of the night talking to the Irish guy- very funny…..as 2 young kids got out their harp and violin playing titanic and game of thrones it was such a fucking great atmosphere, Irish guy (I’m shit with names) getting on the spoons and singing a fab Irish ditty. Me and the kids the only sober one but I defo enjoyed meself but dunno how many more nights I can do as feeling a nice lil gin would do me wonders! 🙈😁. Left at 10.30pm for a very late dins! Proper muggy and humid with rainclouds rolling in as it’s the rainy season but all is swell with new mates and family coming out soon to help us into the pacific to meet the sharks, krakens and pacific islanders!
Enjoy the summer my fellow favorite peoples…big love! xx
Kiting and Gear box says no!
02 April 2019 | Guadaloupe, Antigua, Barbuda, Sint Maarten
Filled up the water with Alberts help form a buoy with a hose brought out from shore attached to it. 3 hour sail on the beam (side of boat) at 7knts to an island below Guadeloupe called Terre-de-haut. Wifi working here as French islands so immersed ourselves all afternoon in the www! Checked out the town the next day. Different style-a french cottagy feel but still the bright Caribbean colours. Spying at least 2 older gay couples it definitely had the feel of a chilled, artistic, gay retirement village. Walked up to another fort to gander at the views. Saw a ginger cat up a tree, when zooming in on my camera I saw it was horrifically injured around the mouth. Lots of dried blood and teeth showing. Made me feel incredibly sad as I don’t reckon it will last long.
3 hour sail to the north-as we motor in we hear fast paced drumming coming from the shore. Excitedly get the dinghy ready and find a massive carnival with the best dressed people I’ve ever seen. A group of girls and occasional boy dancing in front of a band of mostly males drumming in a African kinda style. At least 15 separate groups with different styles. Amazing to watch and brought water to me eyes thinking back to the fun filled days with Balakulanya (me old drum group) locals and a few tourists lined the roads on deck chairs, standing or dancing. Food and souvenir stalls on the beach side. Woke up to the anchor alarm warning of the stony sea bed. Luckily we were just swinging wildly as very windy, gusting off the hills. Had my first run in ageeees, short but sweet congratulating ourselves with croissants and baguette! Mwahhahah. Spent the rest of the day blogging as we had a leaney sail to Deshaies at the top of Guadaloupe. Checked in and out ashore before talking ben through how the make a vege cottage pie. Came out very good! Attempting to plan the route through pacific to avoid hurricanes and cyclones. Quite a lot to take in but think we’re getting somewhere. Basically got about 4 weeks to get through a few more carribean islands before heading west for a 5-6 day sail to the San Blas islands which look ammmmaaazing. Getting through the Panama Canal before the end of march.
Up at 6am sailing 8 hours to fetch the island in one tack. Few large grey dolphins swam under Babs ..pretty friking mega! Kiters out in the bay as we round Green Island and anchor. Little explore on kite beach, trying to gee meself up to get back out there and attempt ‘The jump’ Feeling pretty nervous the next day but all’s good when I eventually get out there. Choppy but flatter water than a lot of places. Ozone (kite brand) central here as that’s what the local school use. Ben also loves them. Improving slightly but lower back ache brings me in. Talk to a gal who has a seat harness which I’m dying to try and she gives advice to hire one from the kite school. Long, wet dinghy ride but worth is as I set up the loan of a bigger board and seat harness for tomoz morn. Ben getting a free try of a new 12mtr Alpha kite as he’s thinking about buying one of their used kites.
Grannys sleep oils came in handy again as I was too nervous/excited thinking of the rentals and possibly, finally getting me arse in da air. Met the guys on the beach and got into me nappy …perfect non-gusty wind and I only went and fucking DID IT! I CAN JUUUUMPPPPP! Obvs felt AMAAAZING and good to know it was the harness position that’s been holding me back….meeheheheh After lunch we motored across the bay and anchored in our first deserted anchorage amonst the mangroves called Emerald cove. Put Radda on a fishermans dock and caught a lift with a friendly rasta to the bus stop in the next village. Very helpful Lady helped showed us to a supermarket in the in town and we stopped for a fat arsed pizza. Bussed back in the dark paying the driver a a little extra to take us to the end of our lane.
After much indecision from ben (surprise surprise) we went and bought the kite and me new harness! Took Babs round to a small anchorage on the other side of green island. Ben played on his new kite while I snorkelled eyeing up a zebra patterned fish and another sea dweller about 15cm long swimming very close to the surface with sword noses as long as their bodies. In the morning ben went to sort out a leak in the bladder of his new kite with the school. We spoke to a woman snorkelling from Ramsgate who raved about French Polynesia making us as excited as a fruit fly in a sloppy mango.
Left around 11am. Windy with big waves. Couple of tacks then a beamy 6 hour sail at 6-7knts. Caught a Barracuda on the way and saw a Dorado jump high out of the water like a dolphin! Amazing as we pulled up to Barbuda with dark stormy rain clouds combined with a pink sunset over the white sands and turquois waters. Met a local on the beach as we were setting up our kites the next day. Telling us how he hates the system and lives alone in a beach shack. When asked how he got his food and water, he replied –‘mostly from the boat ppl’ Have a lil go on the kites but not really windy enough. I head back to the boat and ben joins me by kite telling me ol’ mateys request of ‘some Barracuda, onions, seasoning, herbs, water…lolz! Ben duely took em back hoping we wont avta see him again as he didn’t have a good energy.
Sailed back to coco point- me on the bow trying to look for reefs we may crash babsy’s belly into. Tried a lil bit of fish for dins to see if it made us ill-ben shat throughout the night with mine coming about 8 hours later (metabolism issues-lolz) Sailed to Low-bay spotting the wrecked hotel we’d been warned about as a pack of dogs sheltering there had attacked a few people. Bit of kiting with only one other (big, posh kite boat) boat at anchor. Ben attempted to warn a lady near the hotel about the dawwwgs but apparently she looks after them and they get locked up during the day due to the attacks. Ben found some waves and I manged a few more little jumps.
Alarm at 4.30am-leaving by 5.20am. I attempted to look out for coral reefs but without any sun it was pretty impossible so had to trust in the plotter. Quick sail and arrived just before the last bridge opening at 5pm. Sint Maarten is a crazy arsed place-they call it the vegas of the Caribbean! Defo the most built up and busy place we’ve been to in the Carib. Cars queuing and lots of tourists. Nightlife whenever you want it and lots of different restaurants-big fat bonus in manning land! As we came through the bridge with the tanoy man shouting at us to hurry da fuck up our gearbox died. Shitbums!
So instead of spending a couple of days here, ben now has the long task of getting and fitting a new gearbox. The next month is pretty boring intertiwined with a few nights out and lil explorations so I’ll keep in brief-ish.
Ben jobs- Take off gear box, find and order new one, put back on, change couplings, re-align the engine…lots of work to the engine and steering
Both of us take the boat for a motor around the lagoon (a few times) going up and down the same path to test for a rattling sound in the engine…Every time it’s still there so ben investigates something else getting Dr diesel to try and work out the rattle issue-still no luck. Atlantic divers got their scuba gear on and took off the propeller so ben could but on the old 2 blade and check the current one….Still rattling! After much sweat and frustration for da Harm-dawg he decided its gotta be a bent shaft so we were craned out the water and plonked ourselfs in Toby’s yard for a week.
Amy jobs- While Ben was having a grand (mheheheh) time in the lagoon deciphering the problem I researched a way to get weather on-board for the pacific crossing settling on an Iridium Go. Sorted boat and personal insurance …only 1 company out of hundreds would insure us coz Babs was too old and not worth enough…Dick-wads! Researched weather and routes for the next year realising we weren’t gunna make it through to the pacific as the engine took longer than expected. Happily settled on spending the Hurricane season in Ecuador. Cooking, provisioning, washing, occasional cleaning, jet washed the underneath, sanded and cleaned off the white painted line. Obvs made it sound like I’v done more here but ben was defo working more hours. I fitted in some yoga, facebook and book time to keep meself at a decent level ()
So now we are out of the water-the shaft has been straightened, propeller which had a lil’ dink in it went to the welder who had to cut loads off and weld a wedge on as electrolysis had eaten away at it.
HIGHLIGHTS at sint maarten have been:
* meeting up with bens mate Josh and his g/f Tay getting off our tits in the bars…I’v had horrible hangovers so gunna kick the booze-more on that laterz
*Walk up to the highest point we could see-started off easy peasy before going straight up along an old river bed climbing over boulders then hauling our (my) fat bumholes up the ropes handily placed on some dusty, slippy ground. Felt wikid to get me heart pumping although me face said otherwise.
*Saw a huge spotted ray in the lagoon as we were dinghy-ing from the French side to the dutch side
*Went along to 2 talks –one on the pacific islands by a bloke who’s been there 4 times and 101 sailing tips…free beer , snackettes, beer coolers and t’shirts were there to grab and all!
*Me birthday-cake from mummykins, getting bus’s to the beach and eating out for brekki and dinner-not that I remember dinner but josh kindly stowed the uneaten pizza in me bag which was a pleasing treat in the morn!
*guy gave us a great tip to get off the white salt stains off the top sides of babs as were about to polish the whole thing—wash with vinegar…3 washes later it was back to pure blue!
*Yoga on the lil island the cruisers have made into a chillout zone with shade covers and old seats etc.
*Got a whole loada series and films off a Russian couple. As I spent most of the day on their boat with their huuuuge dawgs (a giant snauzer) they fed me, watered and vino’d me…extremely hospitable!
*Managed to get radda on the plane which was necessary as the lagoon is mahoosive so long dinghy rides if ya cant get on z plane…pretty happy with meself.
*Got the bikes out on the very busy roads but felt brilliant to be riding again.
*Met a cool woman in the yard who has fire coloured hair- 67ears old but she don’t look or act like it. Had a fun, interesting convo about mutual interests for about 3 hours…sober! Good to talk n laugh as does get bore o’clock with just me n ben on ere!
So tomorrow we should be going in the water..ben gotta do a couple more things, test it, provision up and get OUTTA here sailing onto the BVI’S …wup a dee wup wup!
Laterz ploppys-love n miss ya’ll looooads!
Maammmmaaa comes to stay...
02 March 2019 | St Lucia, Martinique, Dominica
When we anchored in Marigot bay, St Lucia we didn’t realise its where the loaded (money not narcotics) gents n gentesses hang out. Picturesque restaurant and mangrove lined bay with green waters. Finally found a decent taxi deal and I went to pick mum up from the airport while Ben slaved through the chores.🙈 Found mum with red vino down her top happily able to drink again after a dry January! Her seat companion who was chatty and friendly got a taxi with us to meet his mates for a sail round the Grenadines. After a meal out in Marigot as we had no fresh supplies we sailed to Rodney bay in the morniiinnngg. Rodney and St Lucia in general is warned for its crime and dinghies etc being stolen. Lock it and lift out of water is the general rule and we aint had no problms so far practicing this. Done some chores in rodders, buying 3 green coconuts from the roadside. We drank the juice before they machetted them open and scooped out the jelly-like coconut from the inside and bagged it for us. We used this for a smoothie the next morn.
After a pancake sesh we sailed in head wind. (just for a change🙃) Kept reeling the fishing line in as soooo much weed about. Enjoying a little argument with ben about the length the line needs to be put out as I reckon shorter is fine (and I’m too lazy to keep winding shit tonnes of line back in every 10 mins)- the next second we catch the only fish of the day on me very own SHORT line. I cackled hard for a long time as ben pulled on-board a nice size tuna with a weird hole in its gut. (read later in our fishing book that it was made by a cookie cutter shark who bites a hole out of its prey as a little supplement to his diet) Fuck it feels good to be right (occasional when you live with da Harman 👏) Mum got hold of steering easily which overcame her queasiness. 4.5 hours later we anchored in a lovely flat bay with a beauts beach. The most boats we've seen anchored anywhere! Had a walkies and sun-down G and T’s watching in horror as a mahoosive dog nearly mauled a little girl as he ran from dinghy to shore. Poor owners tripped over running to lead up the dog. Girl soon stopped wailing so all good. Drumming could be heard in the distance and we found out there was a carnival on in St Annes town a short dinghy ride away. Unfortunately when we arrived there was just drinking, confetti and awful music left. Beddy byes it is….
Sailed down to st Marin the next day to do a big shop (we’d been told Martinique was the cheapest place to re-stock) and filled the boat tanks with water. My back had started aching in the day and a temperature soon followed with a cough and sore throat. Very annoyed as I never get ill (cystitis not inc) but hope it clears up so can enjoy mummy time. Used Grannys sleep oils she’d sent me which helped me to dreamland soothing me aches. Cheers Granny! Xx Harms went for a run and laundretted the washing while mum made delish eggy bread! New one for the Babs menu! Sailed north to Les Anses-d’Arlet where mum kindly made me a healing soup with 52 cloves of garlic! I also ate it for breeki the next day which was a bit too far🤢 Watched a fisherman heave in a net from his dinghy pulling up loadsa little, silver fish. Mum and Ben snorkeled as I lay in me pit. Just the sore throat by morning so after a quick snorkel and attempted spear fish we sailed into Dufour to snorkel with turtles. Ben and mum saw 3 between them. It hurt me throat so I didn’t stay in for long.
Unfortunately Ben caught the sicky suzie bug but managed to get us up the coast to St Pierre before succumbing too bad. St Pierre is the capitol of Martinique and is over shadowed by a huge, outstandingly beautiful volcano. This erupted in 1909 killing 30000 inhabitants. The only survivor a prisoner in an underground cell. Me n mum went to explore ashore even now seeing singed buildings. We got chatting to a friendly shop owner who gave us directions in English luckily as Martinique is french speaking. Walked across a bridge and uphill to a church with tonnes of the biggest mango trees! Nicked 3 fruits but think they are a bit too small (found out later when they’d softened they were as very sour) Found the ruins of a theater and bought some French baguette…defo up points to a French island!
Following morn we checked out and had a real nice sail to Roseau, Dominica. Mum's loving the sailing and it’s been bloody great having her excited, happy energy on board as Ben don’t do excitement!😁 Marcus, the security for Roseau met us on his boat and we paid the 40EC (£12) for the mooring ball as no anchoring allowed. Had a swim and mum chopped some of me dried up straw hair off…..freeessh! I walked through the village to check in the next morn. Lots of locals hanging around the streets and on their doorsteps cheerily saying hi. Customs people weren’t there yet as a Saturday so I went back and picked up mum for a jaunt around town. Found a massive fruit and veg market…the best I’ve seen on any of the islands and the cheapest. Booked ourselves a tour of the sights for tomorrow with a local taxi driver. Dominica was in the eye of hurricane Maria in 2017 which proper devastated the whole island. Many peoples homes were ripped apart, especially the ones made of wood. The lush fruit trees were left bare, just poles. Trails and rivers full with destroyed island. A smiley shop owner told us what it was like during Maria, how she had sheltered in the wardrobe with her husband as it raged outside all night. When they came out in the morning they couldn’t believe the state that Dominica had been left in. Her shop is still on the waiting list for the government to repair the leaking roof. Arriving in Feb 2019 'the island of nature and water’ is green again, leaves growing back on the bare stumps but it will be many years until the rain forest is back to its full glory.
Up early to do a bit of hand washing in our buckets. Ben's feeling better so we snazzied into Eddies taxi. Posh car and he was dressed to impress stinking of man perfume. Walked the 3 hour round trail to Middleham falls. Mum did very well as some long inclines and not da best footing. Feels soooo good to be in the trees and a refresh in the pool. Saw little black and white snake on the way back up passing the ‘comfortable hikers group’ Hungry after the walk and only a banana for brekki but as we were soon to find out Sundays were a day off for everyone. A little packet of crisps filled a hole at the fresh water lake. Up high in the mountains we were enveloped in a freezing, windy fog. Quickly left and had a paddle in a hot pool up the road which spued from the mountain side. Tutu gorge was fucking spectacular! Swimming through high sided cliffs for 5 mins in the most delish coloured indigo water to a small fall that you climb up to be pounded by the bigger one. Warming yaself up as you swim out in a hot, sulphur spring. Bought some vanilla essence that had been steeped in rum from a street stall. Onto Trafalgar falls which you can see from the roadside lower down in the valley. They call them the mother and the father as the 2 waterfalls are divided by a small outcrop of rock. The mother is wider and cold while the father streams warm water and is tall and slim (twas a bloke telling us this!) Sulfur springs were last on the tour around 3.30pm and we were ravenous! Quick look before we could stuff our faces back on babs and an early night at 7.15pm! Rock and fucckinnnn role! 🤣
Mum was cooking on route to Portsmouth up north. Strapped in defying the lean and doing the self proclaimed ‘mum dancing’ to cut capers and formidable vegetable sound system. Ben weathered the rain for us 😜💖 until Albert welcomed us into the bay. Booked an Indian River tour with him for the next day, checked in and had a rum punch at a moody French man’s bar. Passionfruit, peanut and guava flavour! Albert is a gappy toothed ledge with one leg. His outboard catch broke so he had to row us 3 heavys upwind in his large boat with the engine dragging in the water. This got stuck on the river bed a few times, one time benny boi had to get out and manoeuvre us off. Felt proper sorry for Albert as he is a proud man, telling us a story of a tour that had gone wrong years before in his old wooden boat and he had cried in shame. He was however a brilliant guide knowing shit tonnes about the flower and fauna and history of Dominica. Stopped at a river bar 1 mile up for a walk around the flower garden breeding lots of ginger lilies. Rasta lady serving us more rum punch. Albert telling us Dominica is the land of rainbows as every time its rains which is a lot in rainy season there is a rainbow. We saw 2 on our way up river. Heading down as the sun started to set Albert pointed out 2 night herons which were magical and a flock of egrets perched in a tree for some sleepy time.
Walk to Fort Shirley the next day which we could see up the hill from Babs. A dog met us on the beach and walked all the way with us stopping when we did and waiting if we weren’t all walking together. Local tour guide shouted shoo and attempted to throw a stone at him even though I told her he was fine Pissed me off but he didn’t go too far and we was friends again. Walked past the fort to see more ruins and the other side of the rock from a view point up top. Pretty excited about the bbq tonight at the PAYS (local business to provide security for yachties, Albert was part of PAYS) shack. £15 for grub and as much rum punch as you can drink. Defo the cheapest island we’ve been on yet for eating and drinking out. Mum got chatted up by a Rasta guy and was on the dance floor before us skanking her tang! We soon got involved and I bombarded the dj with Buju Banton requests. Thankfully he listened and everyone seemed to enjoy a night of mainly Buju Banton 😁Harms got totally fucked up and hilariously fell off the dinghy as we were all getting back in it. The security PAYS guy was laughing soooo hard. I drove back to Babs where ben fell out of dinghy again trying to get on babs …spued everywhere and had to be helped out of wet clothes before he crashed on sofa with the washing up bowl next to him. (sorry benny boi but too funny not to tell)
Woke at 6am feeling very ruff but had to make it to a tour of the northern attractions at 9am. Got meself together after a brekki of bananas and crisps and got picked up by Albert. His passenger putting his hand on bens crusty puke as he grabbed the rail to keep Alberts boat alongside Babs. Very shameful! Ben stayed at home while me and mum tried to keep it together in the car with Alberts mate ‘Shadow’. He was equally great knowing the answer to every one of our questions and lots more. Dominica has 365 rivers and we drove past quite a few bouldery streams, still seeing the back log of the hurricane. Stopped off at the moon-like scape of Red Rock where a Rasta showed us round, his little dog in tow. Man dug cave and a tight gorge passageway to squeeze through. Red rock plain looking out at the windward side of the Atlantic. Bought some frikin fabulous lemongrass flavoured choc at the choccy factory-sorted out our hangovers with the tasters 🐷 Shadow stopped along the roadside to pick some lemon grass and I took some home for me Thai noodles. The lemon grass was everywhere once he’d pointed it out looking just like grass at in the fields, smelling wondrous as the strimmers cut away at it. Locals were planting brightly colored plants along the roadside. Shadow told us the government had employed young people to beautify the island after the hurricane. As we passed a banana plantation he taught us that a banana plant only bears one bunch of bananas, maybe 2 but both at the same time. This takes about a year and after that they are cut down and the sprout around the bottom will grow up for the next cycle. Apparently a lot of the coconut tree’s had survived the hurricane as they are so bendy they can lay quite flat hiding from the winds. Mum bought a souvenir from the Carib Indian territory and we had a wikid 3 course lunch and drink for £15 each. Shadow is a full blood Carib Indian. His granny is 103 years and still looking after herself well! Apparently they have quite a few people over the age of 100 on the island. I asked the secret and he said fresh, real food and keeping active. I reckon this is pretty easy as Dominica grows a variety of food, has fresh water streams and many mountains to climb. Ended the tour with a dip in the Emerald pool which was truly magical. Me n mum had it to ourselves invigorating and relaxing us…so much so I fell asleep on the 1.5 hour journey back through the lush interior and up the drier, west coastal road. Another amazing tour! Big thanks to mum who treated us to them.😍
Walked El mummykins to the bus station to take her to the airport. Will definitely miss her. Was mega having her on board and exploring the islands and showing her how we are living. Also great to have a brilliant cook on board who loves food and cooking as much as I do🍰. Got some grub from a street stall on the way back and spoke to a loud American who had just finished munching. He loudly announced that he didn’t think much of the island. What a prick! The stall holders looked over and I cringed while telling him how FAB I thought Dominica was. I’ve proper banged on about this island coz I think its fan-fucking-tastic! If peops are into nature and hiking, fresh grub, friendly locals and quite a cool government (shadow was telling us) get ya arses over there😊. It also doesn’t have too many tourists as it don’t sprout the best beaches but still a few black sand ones that are decent.
Sounds like spring is entering England ….enjoy me fellow bumholes xx
Grenada and the grenadines
18 February 2019
So it’s beeeeen a loooooooong time since me last blog…soz! Been lazy brained (and bodied) enjoying exploring the Caribbean with family n benny boi. So ere’s 2 writings to catch you allz up.
…woke up after our first night in the bar with predictable gut ache and period in sync with the full moon-makes me happy🤣 Did a HIT exercise routine with was very hard after 21 days stationary! Feel like the luckiest person ever looking around at this beautiful green island and green water. Lil turtle poking its head up for a gander at us uglys. Cleaned up the boat and took a note of how much fuel and water we’d used during the crossing- only used 290 ltrs for 4 ppl over 21 days! Pretty impressive considering we done the whole 640 ltr tank in 2 weeks later on in our trip! Showering had upped its game by then 👌
We got to explore quite a bit of Grenada as Ben and Droids families were there for 2 weeks. Had an epic Christmas day after a mahoosive food shop in an expensive supermarket. Even the local fruit and veg aint very cheap…Do better off with a Bennisons farm bag and a trip to Aldi. Met everyone for a swim in da turquoise sea at Grand Anse beach …droid made a fucking spiffing fry-up with a couple of rums at lunch time before splashing down the beach again. Some people played ball while I supped my 80% rum off the local rasta bar…was totes ‘scustin but did the job! Rasta barman was incredibly stoned and shoving biscuits in his mouth while talking …crumbs going everywhere🤢
Wandered back to the hotel cum hostel and Jane and droid got on the bbq and oven producing a wondeblah Christmas dinner. Don’t wanna forget to mention lucy’s washing up as she’s not into cooking but luckily she’s a perfectionist at the dishes and just keeps on going after 10 peoples munching. Felt very lucky to have prezzis and cards from home thanks to mummykins and Jane for bringing them over. Ring of fire and a moonlit dip rounded off the eve.
Ben left the next night to meet his fam for dins while I relished an alone night- well I should of relished it but I was shitting myself as had read loads of reports about boats being boarded day and night even when humans on-board. Pretty happy when he came back and I could put me wimpish self to bed.
Soon after Christmas a urine infection set in making me pretty miserable morning and night. Tried to clear it with natural remedy’s which eventually worked. During this time we explored Grenville town by bus which is a busy fishing town with a very yummy buffet style restaurant visited by locals overlooking the sea. Munched to the choccy shop in St Georges and had the best ice-cream ever (even Ben agreed) Nutmeg flavour!! I went back for it twice more during our stay…mwahhahaha! Rosie (Bens sister) had a falling out with a very rude overly priced fruit stall seller when she tried to bargain. Safe to say no-one bought anything from her after that. Most Grenadians however were extremely friendly and helpful. Vehicles stopping to let us cross the road and beeping buses or tax’s seeing if we need a ride.
All 10 of us had a tour with Lucy’s contact starting at 8.30am. Visited the chocolate factory. Dreamy garden homing cocoa trees, nutmeg, paupau, (papaya) French cashew and annatto. Onto leapers edge (sad bit of history) but friendly, happy woman showing us around and telling us about the turtle project she helps with. A look round the muddy, copper coloured sulphur pools stinking of rotten egg but apparently very good for ya skin. Lunch on the windward side of the island before driving up into the rain forest. Fed a lone monkey from a wild troop that hang around the roadside when they fancy a treat off locals and visitors. Walked to a massive lake and delish waterfall that was surrounded by edible plants and trees. Grenada is literally a garden. It seems every 3rd plant grows something edible- breadfruit, mango, avocado, coconut and tonnes of other tropical pleasures! Taxi guy gave us homemade citrus juice and had a green coconut off the side of the road. Real great tour!
MORE FOOD TALK… 🐷
Ben cut his finger open one day sharpening and de-rusting me machete, later opening a brown coconut with it. Fried up the last of our Dorado we had frozen so everyone could try it. Had this with some breadfruit dumplings Lucy experimented with. Good reactions all around. THE ROTI-cwooooor basically chicken/fish or veg curry wrapped into a large chapatti like wrap-addicted! Really enjoyed the French cashews with their white, refreshing flesh.
On new year’s day eve we visited a perfect white beach cove rimmed by trees and found whole urchin shells up the far end nestled in the weed and roots. Tom fished in a little river running onto the beach and caught 2 fish on his first casts! Face timed the mummatron as it turned new year in England and saw the fireworks from her balcony. Danced outside a posh hotel on the beach before dingoe-ing everyone to babs to have drinks and watch the fireworks being set off from the water. Found 2 kayakers creeping around the boat so invited them on-board for the fireworks and they shared their champagne and stories with us. Bonus!
If a cruise ship is in, Grand Anse beach is always extremely busy with 3 rows of deckchairs for half a mile of the 2 mile stretch. 20 us dollars for the pleasure of 2 deckchairs and an umbrella. Lots of people pay this rather than sit on the soft, white sand. Good way for the locals to make money with fruit sellers, musicians and hair-braiders roaming for business. Me and ben got a bus to to the seven sisters waterfall on one of these days. Steep downhill climb to 2 waterfalls and a bit of off-trailing to find a secluded fall where we had a lush dip! Desmond (our taxi driver from the tour) made a huge pot of Oil-down, their local dish. We hoped to eat it at the hotel but he insisted we come and get it as the pan from the fire was too hot and big. Jane and Andy went with him and chomped stew in the half dark in a tiny corridor of his sisters house sharing rum with desmonds friend. They returned excited from the adventure and we all tucked in being slightly put off by the pigs tails, Luckily lots of veg in there as well. Went out for pudding at a beachside restaurant as it was the Balfes last night.
Farewells n toodle-pips to the Balfes the next day before ferrying Andy, Jane and Rosie to babs for a week on-board. UTI has appeared again (don’t think I’ve kept hydrated enough with all the rum and sun sucking me dry) Sailed North to Cariacou and anchored by torchlight in Tyrell bay. Amazed to see bats attracted to the torchlight fishing for the bright blue little beings surrounding the boat! Went into town to find a tour of the island the next morning. A kind eyed lady tooted so we went over and she offered to take us around the island for half price 100EC (about 30 quid) as she was driving around anyways selling her Roti. Her morbidly obese son was passing out drinks as unemployed due to weight. He was extremely jolly and a great tour guide as his 2 kids played around in the back. Island seems to have more fields and less trees with goats tied up everywhere. (Well they look like goats but we were told they are sheep) Decided to go docs for me wee issue but being a sat they were shut. A kind local took us up to the hospital on top of the hill and they told us it was 300EC as they were in the middle of treating me. As they didn’t have a card machine we agreed to come back as only had half the cash in American dollars. On the 30min walk down the hill into town we rabbited on about whether we should go back but when our cards didn’t work at the cash point it made our decision easier as we wanted to sail away that arvo. Used the card for prescription and got the antibiotics and felt very guilty coupled with the dread of bad karma! Soon got into the spirit of Sandy Island which is a tiny but has great snorkelling and a couple of nurse sharks in a pool with lobsters that the locals show to tourists before releasing them at the end of the season. Sailed over to Union Island the next day in a wikid bay that we later returned to for kitesurfing. Loadsa pelicans and turtles popping up their wee heads to cast an eye. Had a cup of tea and had best flat water sesh ever fuelled by the unusual caffeine.
Andy loved sailing around Tobago cays which is a national park. Very crowded in anchorage so went ashore to Baradal. Easy to walk around the island in 10 mins which we did and were frikin amazed at the wildlife- Iguanas, Brown and orange coloured Tortoises, Grenadian doves, a lil snake and turtles swimming in the turquoise ocean. Proper sanctuary bustling with life! I LOVE IT!!
Anchor for the night at petit st Vincent Island and woke to do yoga on a deserted beach with Rosie, Jane and Andy. Made me feel brill! Left Anchorage by 8.30am on our way to hog island, the wind pushing us along. Caught 2 barracuda, one we lost and the other one sent me into a huff because I thought it might be toxic so didn’t wanna kill it if its gunna make us ill anyways. Sulked downstairs for a bit before getting over meself and had a walk around hog island with da Harm-dawg (ben). Reminded me of England with meadows and cows. Hog is popular with cruisers especially those with children as calm, safe, pretty and has a yachting community. Tried yoga on hog in the morn but the cows had other ideas. One big mamma shook her big head at us right by me mat-didn’t seem friendly so we scarpered. Took a dinghy ride to the mainland and saw the locals had caught loads of parrot fish which are friking stunning! Sad but guess we can’t just eat ugly fish. Cooked the barracuda we’d caught on a free standing Rasta colored bbq. I had a bit of an argument with the tour companys chef as he basically said they run this show and we should spend money on coals instead of using their trees. As we were finding dead wood on ground and there was nowhere to buy coals I made my point and we went our separate ways. His friend/colleague later sat at our bench making friendly chit chat. His company also gave us a free bottle of COLD wine leftover from the lobster meal they’d put on for their clients.
Back at Grand Anse Rosie booked into hotel for early flight the next day and A+J helped take boat to st George to fill up with water. Our boat neighbor was still there who we’d got talking to when we first arrived in Grenada. Looks proper like Robinson Crusoe and bought his 20-ish foot boat for a very small amount. He’s lived on it for months in the same anchorage healing from his divorce. Getting healthy in body and mind by eating raw, meditating and fixing his boat up. Great smile and animated chatter. We invited him out on Christmas day and new year but the food and drink was too much of a temptation for him. Andy and Jane staying in the hotel for a couple of nights and after a google search I found I can drink on antibiotics…WAHOOOO!..which made for a few fun eves. Unfortunately on day 6 of my 7 day course of antibiotics the thrush came on! BIG FUCKING GROAN! I’d been taking pro-biotics to counteract it but reckon the drinking didn’t help in the end. The thrush meds caused extreme stinging and itching and was awake most of night with ice packs, even sitting in a sink full of water at one point in our veeerrrry small bathroom sink. Harms was very supportive and I eventually fell asleep on the sofa calmed by ice and meditation. Quick stopover at Carriacou before heading to Clifton in Union Island. Walked to the airport to check in with customs. Talked to South African skipper of a local kite boat and he gave us some good kiting locations to adventure to.
Sailed around the corner to spend a week anchored in Ashton lagoon, Union island. Fellow kiter wrapped his kite around a mast of the boat in front of us as we came into anchor. Instructors shimmied up the pole to release it. Walk into town across newly built, rickety wooden rope bridge. Lots of lizards and bird house as part of the islands eco project. Quiet town with 1 bar and unsmiling locals. Found an ice-cream shop with free wifi which delighted our guts in the upcoming week. Had a few good and a few frustrating sessions attempting to jump in the lovely flat water. Mostly on the water by 8am before anyone else which is pretty good for my lazy arse. Ben would help and instruct me as offshore winds blew me away concluding a few dinghy rescues. When I got tired he’d go out on the wavy side while I stretched and watched all dem bloody people easily mastering ‘the jump!’ Walked up frigate hill one evening, piles of conch shell in drifts along the shore line. Made friends with 2 American couples who were there kiting and a young English couple who were out teaching for the season.
Had a minor accident owing to the fact I hadn’t attached my kite to my harness properly heaving me forwards when launching and rag-dolling me onto the stony beach. Came off lightly with grazes. Another wee accident of the arse ripping kind happened when ben dinghoed me back to shore and I slid off the side catching my swimsuite completely ripping it to pieces! Luckily no-one on beach so slid my harness down on bens advice and tried to land my kite () After a very frustrating kite session I knew the only way through was a booze sesh—a few hours of rum, cards and backgammon and me smile had returned () lazy day followed while ben supped to other side of bay. Later the Americans and English invited us on beach for a party as to celebrate the full moon. Twas fun night as local kiters cooked sea urchins and fish on the barby and lots of rum flowed.
Decided to check out the other islands for a change in scene and I wanted some more provisions or to eat out as Ashton only had icecream. Sailed to Chatham bay around the corner. Beauts white beach surrounded by green hills. Restaurants were too expensive so Ben agreed to make a dahl following a recipe while I made chapattis. Walked through bush up to the top of hill in the morning. Soft prairie like grass blowing in the wind with cows and goats wandering free or tied up to trees. Met the self named ‘bushman’ who looks after the animals for a French couple who own a villa.
Easy 2 hour sail to Mayreau to an idyllic, palm line beach. Very crowded with Americans but Ben had a kite on the other side of the spit in some waves. Found some brown and green coconuts lying around..free grub! Sailed half way down the island to anchor to find me belly a nice meal. Walked up the steep hill and found ourselves in a crazy, jabbering Rasta mans bar. Graffiti and pictures drawn over every available space. Left to find dinner somewhere else as I wasn’t sure whether to believe his announcement he was a great chef. Luckily had the best dinner of my trip so far- Red snapper seasoned and fried with cubed potatoes and salad …a massive garlic flat bread on da side! Got chatting to 2 drunk French girls who were a laugh and gave one of them a lift back to her boat after she had argued in a very French fashion with her mate. Had a walk passing baby goats to the other side of the island to see if it was kite-able. No space to launch but our first deserted beach so had a refreshing skinny dip. Paid £25 for 1 bag of shopping, £5 for a block of butter! Sailed back to Ashton bay hoping to get 1 more day of flat water having checked other places and realizing its pretty spesh! Unknown Fish risotto that we’d caught in the day. (Thanks to Droid and Jane for helping me like risotto with ya grand cooking) Used bens kite the next day fuelled by tea and went all day long! Managed to do a bit of a pop or at least leave the water a tad but jumping still gives me the V sign. Morgan and Amber (English couple) joined us in the arvo for kite before saying Ta-ra. Tacked 1 hour back into Clifton for some wifi and a Roti...Love this town-colourful and chilled.
Left Union island for the last time and fetched for 2 hours for a quick night stop in canoun before sailing 4 hours on the wind to Bequia. Real nice feeling to this island-lots of rastas selling fruit and souvenirs. Walked over the hill to friendship bay for a walk along the beach, steel drums tinkling from an expensive restaurant. Made Breadfruit salad (basically potato salad) as the stall holder told me the recipe when I bought it from her. Pwettty good! Was planning on a run the next morn but remembering the free yoga sesh was on in local restaurant my lazy arse chose this instead. Walked over to the Firefly plantation which is owned by an English couple who live on a neighboring island frequented by the rich n famous. Lovely, gentle guide showed us around the garden describing different trees and their usages. Bought some homemade mango chutney from their mango trees and trundled down to a weedy, smelly beach surrounded filled with coconut palms. The owner of the fig tree restaurant and her granddaughter joined us as we were playing cards but then mugged us off money at the end when we paid for our drinks….karma right there!
Left Bequia and anchored in Cumberland bay, St Vincent. I finished me book ‘Gypsy boy’ that mum had given me for xmas. Proper harrowing but interesting life of a Romany gypsy living in the uk. Boat boy (man in wooden rowing boat) helped us into anchorage tying our stern to a tree onshore as no swinging room in the strong gusts coming down the hills. More boats boys who we bought some fruit off both of them giving us something for free after we’d purchased. River mouth flowing into the bay led to a colder swim but muchly refreshing. Spent all of next day using someones unlocked wifi to naturally cure my reoccurring uti and drinking tonnes of water. Ben went for a sup and a spearfish and came home with dinner! Just enough fish for 2 pp..perfectol! Also done some washing in the river before we dingoed 1.3miles to the southern bay to check in. Wallilabou bay-set of pirates of the Caribbean. Cool to see the old film set and buildings. Incredible rainbows over our bay as we motored out. Wee feeling good the next morn. Motored away at 8am and found wind once past the north of the island. Felt queasy with head winds and big waves so had a nap downstairs while the long suffering benny boi done all the work 😜 Nearly caught 2 fish but one was so big it bent the hook straight! Anchored in Marigot bay, St Lucia to pick up mum the next day from the airport. Will start a new blog asap for Mummatron adventures… laterz hobos xx
28 December 2018 | Gomera to Grenada
Well we gone n done it…This is how we rolled for 21 days and cwoooor did we roll!
Our shift pattern recommended by droid was alternating so we swapped our night shifts every other night
Day 1 Day 2
05.00-09.00 Amy +Ben Droid and Andy
09.00-12.00 Droid and Andy Amy and Ben
12.00-15.00 Amy +Ben Droid and Andy
15.00-18.00 Droid and Andy Amy and Ben
18.00-21.00 Amy +Ben Droid and Andy
21.00-01.00 Droid and Andy Amy and Ben
01.00-05.00 Amy +Ben Droid and Andy
Worked really well making each night and day a wee bit different and every other day catching the sunrise. Droid pre-made dinner for the first night so we wouldn’t have to worry about that as the first day or 2 can be a bit sea sicky. Andy was the only one who suffered mainly on the 3rd day not managing his dinner and having to go to bed. Droid kindly did his night shift. Lots of fishing going on, some getting away but had a few meals of Dorado inc dorado kedgeree and risotto. Droid is very keen on fishing and they all get pretty excited while I hide below once it’s on deck avoiding the blood n guts.
Barometric pressure dropped on the 2nd day which could indicate bad weather. Luckily a ship was in range so Ben radioed them and they gave us a weather report…we all good.
Halo’s around the sun and stars by night…Very peaceful doing the night shifts as calm with little wind. Been motoring but I block this out with me headphones. Keep tearing up as I think about events and people I don’t always have the head space to let in … me emotions are going wild in this wild world.
Very special moments- 4 days in some dolphins sidle up to the boat and 1 gives the best jump at least 3 meters out of the water wagging his tale to get more height and looking right at us grinning! Later Ben hears a whale blow and a huge fin crosses the bow of the boat..next a mother and calf surface on the port side right next to babs. ORCAS!! Lifelong dream accomplished! Proper incredible as we see them glide off into the dusk.
Next day was Benny bois bday! Made him a carrot cake and lasagne for dins. Gave him a couple of shitty lil prezzis… the whales were his real prezzi I’d conjured up…mwahhahaha. Still motoring and everyone’s hoping to hit the trade winds soon! Not sleeping all that well due to engine being an arms distance away from me beddykins. All got our separate beds as on different shifts. Droid up in the front, Ben and Andy in the saloon on couches and moi (queenie) in the pilots berth (best for engine noise and a cool breeze through the hatch)
On the 6th day I baked me first white loaf-everyone’s talking about how we aint gunna lose any weight with my cooking…lolz- I’d been counting on losing weight this trip as droid says you generally do on crossings. Woopsy! Finished me 2nd book of the trip enjoying the sunbathing weather.
7 days after leaving droid unblocked the toilet and instigated mass washing of bodies. Felt lush chucking buckets of sea water over meself sitting on the overturned dinghy at Bab’s bow. Ben and Andy start on making a cockpit table and Andy joined me in 1 of only 2 butt and core workouts we managed on this very rolley polley trip across the ocean. He then requested some music to be put on…Andy Harman!... who likes peace and quiet while sailing!...changed man…his beards growing nicely aswell. Droid opting out of a beard off. 🧔
Wind is finally here nearly a week after starting…feels grand having the engine off but the rolls are more frequent. Doing 6-7knts and we’ve kept this up for over a week. Started taking a pro-biotic hoping it’d help my digestion but made me unusually tired so quit after a few days….think it’s die-off symptoms but can’t handle it on this crossing so will try another time.
Me and droid have been doing most of the cooking so I showed Ben and Andy how to make bread …came out good but neither have offered to do it again..lolz like father like son…one (sporadic) dish wonders. A strap has been put across the galley to keep us from flying all over the place while trying to make meals…way better-at least 70% less frustrating.
My ipad which I’v had for years and years has finally broke so music is limited..taken to reading me book by red head torch on me night shifts if calm enough. We’ve split our shift team so only doing 2 hours each on a 4 hour shift so getting lots of sleep in. Did me 1st bit of washing 12 days in as totes out of pants. Lots of wind and white crests, 2 reefs in the main sail. Found another dried up flying fish on the foredeck. Seen tonnes of them flying across the water..look just like tiny lil birds.
Defo feeling the need to stretch me limbs and use them how they sposed to be used-long strides and swimming, looking forward to land. Had another wash in the cockpit as my hair was more matted than I’ve ever known it…took bout half hour (harms helping) to get through the knots with conditioner and a tangle teezer! Have kept it in a tight plait ever since coated in coconut oil!
2 weeks into the trip we finally see whales again just before dusk cruising around the boat. They came back the next day-2 of them circling the boat and riding the waves. Droid reckons they were Fin whales and stayed for about 3 hours surfacing right next to the boat and swimming underneath. At one point, while surfaced a couple of arms reaches away I saw the blow hole contract as he breathed…like a big ol’ bum-ole…and barnacles on his skin…truly incrediblllaaaah!
Fresh fruit and veg has lasted pretty well. Still got a bit left on day 17 (Gorging on Vege wellington, all da trimmings and apple crumble) we’ve eaten like fat bastards!! Got frozen fruit and veg when we run out and me mums delish dried fruit she made us. All day sweat fest was had today as the toilet was blocked…not happy boys on the road to fixing it…I luckily had the ‘cooking excuse’ which got me out of it nicely. Caught a massive dorado which was too big for us and he luckily managed to get away.
Made a Grenada flag out of a rag and fabric pens…looks ooooo.k as longs as its far away up the rigging. Andy fried up some flying fish he'd harvested off the deck in the morning-Everyone quite enjoyed them but bit bony and scaly for moi liking. Did a bit more motoring in the night and spinnaker by day 2 days before arriving and a bit of rain came our way .My last night shift was the most beautiful full moon iv ever seen. (I felt like I was in Enid Blyton land) truly magical! Setting just as the sun started to rise. Land spotted at 6.30am on Saturday the 22nd of December 2018…wahooooo. I had a lil sleepette as knackered and woke to a beautiful green, hilly island in front of us! As we sailed into prickly bay we saw Jane (Bens mum) and co waving and jumping up n down by the lighthouse. Real exciting and a mega welcome to delicious Grenada. Anchored up and jumped straight in for a swim in slightly murky, green water…fucking heaven! Boys got dingoe ready and we signed into immigration. It’s rum time mofo’s…Lil congrats crew rum back on babs before meeting all the fam in the beach bar leaving us all pretty wonky!
An amazing 21 days…Didn’t know I could sit down so much..got through about 5 books and put on 1.5 inches round my belly button (blaming this on my upcoming period).. Gotta stop with my man portions…lolz. Droid losing 3 inchs in total. Seeing Whales was the most incredible thing ever and having the delish nights all to yourself was pretty frikin special! Feel very lucky n privileged…thanks to everyone for their support…hope to see some more of you out here soon!
Big love me ol’ bum chuckles.
Canary times mofo!
23 December 2018
Sorry been lame on me typing! …eres 2 for the price of 1
So we spent a week or so in el Medano in Tenerife to meet dee-dawg and Josh’s famalam. Windy ol bay at times, had us moving the boat from one side to the other gaining protection from mount Roja or the sea wall. Josh left ol babsy to join Emma and fam in an air b and b opposite the bay and Dee joined us for 4 nights on z boaty. Josh was a great crew member…highly recommend da boi 😁 ..motivating and up for laughings and such.
Was bloody great to see ol dee…Had a shopping morning followed by 2.50 euro mojitos. Swimming off the boat in pretty warm waters. Climbed up mount Roja before getting a text to hurry back as vindy ol weaths picking up and need to move babs to a better anchorage around z corner. Best day at Siam water park which I had been MEGA looking forward to. Dee was the only one up for it and was an expensive day out but totes worth it! Pure excitement from start to finish…amazing rides, 1 shit dee up pretty bad so we had a bit of time on fake beach to get her nerves back togeths. I forced meself on the long, nearly vertical slide that I’d been on in Florida with the wondrous Marley family in me teenage years. Had to prove I still had the guts.
1 night Ben woke me and dee up at 12am to move babs half hour away to an industrial port and we anchored there till the morn. Proper stunk like egg and it weren’t me farts this time.
Back in El Medano we did a bit of snorkelling and saw the most beats fish of my life…dunno what it was but shined a vivid orange, green and purple..luuushhhh! Spent a night in San Miguel marina an hour south down the coast. Ben got on with some jobs. Bumped into a fellow boater (Glen) and invited him for drinks after a rather scuzzo meal in local restarant. Real good to her some stories from his travels.
Back in El Medano dee hopped back on z plane and I got on with some chores. Big washing load using the washer in josh and Emmas air b and b. Big thanks to his mum who dried and folded them all up. Took our newly acquired single speed, rusty ol bike (couldn’t be bovved to delve into the depths of the locker to get me proper bike out-big mistake!) 5 miles up hill on a main road to Mercadona to get supplies that aint available in Lidl. Had to walk it at least half the way but all downhill on way back albeit with only the back brake in use. Got very drunk that night, found a local bar and was talking to a fellow wrongen (got told most of this by ben) ended up in a yoga sesh outside the front door on the pavement. Searched for a party but none to be found so went back to a rather wet radagahst and predictably felt awful the next day. Lil bit of kiting with Josh and Emma and couple of meals out before it was their turn to hop on z plane.
Gut aching 2 days after hangover so did a 24hour water fast which is menna calm your insides. Think it helped the gut but felt mega tired the day after which I overcame with a junk food binge (don’t reckon that’s quite the idea). Wrote a 10 day rolling menu for the upcoming Atlantic crossing.
Back to San Miguel marina to wash all the kite gear, pack away and service the engine, Tidy and scrub of deck before Andy (Bens dad) and Droid (Bens family friend) came onboard. 4 nights in the marina waiting on some solar panels we had sent out there. They didn’t turn up as stuck in customs and no amount of ringing or driving to the depot helped. Luckily droids bruuuvvver was living a few miles down the road so he very kindly drove us about to stock up and do any other chores. Bought some new solar panels in the end and downloaded some music and podcasts…Glen lent us his hard drive so got at least 200 new films..wup wup!.it’s time to leave.
Attempted to make bread on the way down for Atlantic practice…came out swell! As I was kneading ben called me to see some pilot whales surfacing….Smega!! Mostly motored with wind enough to sail for an hour or 2. As I was chilling looking aft I saw what I thought was a windsurfer go down quite far away before quickly realising it was a whale doing a mahoosive jump which he/she repeated…out of this fucking world! Arrived in Gomera in the arvo, few jobs and more food stocking. Few too many rums ending up in the rowers bar where lots of people were getting ready to row across the Atlantic.
Last few jobs and facetime to mummys…(rather difficile on me hangover). Then on the 2/12/18 it was time to wander into the Atlantic…wahooooo! Ben got up just as the sky was brightening. I did me usual- stay in bed till the last minute…Last lap of the marina, few piccys and we motored out of the marina.
p.s photo to follow
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