Sailing matilda

15 April 2013 | Rodney Bay, St Lucia
25 March 2013 | Union Island, SVG
10 March 2013 | Union Island, SVG
25 February 2013 | Speightstown, Barbados
18 February 2013 | North Atlantic Ocean - 165 East of Barbados
12 February 2013 | South Atlantic Ocean - 300 miles North of the mouth of the Amazon
03 February 2013 | South Atlantic Ocean - 260 miles East of Ilha de Fernando de Noronha
29 January 2013 | South Atlantic Ocean - 225 miles West of Ascension Is.
23 January 2013 | South Atlantic Ocean - 145 miles West of St Helena
16 January 2013 | South Atlantic Ocean - 75 miles from St Helena
10 January 2013 | South Atlantic Ocean
31 December 2012 | V&A Marina, Cape Town, South Africa
20 December 2012 | Hout Bay Yacht Club, Hout Bay, South Africa
24 November 2012 | Durban Marina, Durban, South Africa
24 November 2012 | Bluff Yacht Club, Durban, South Africa
16 November 2012 | Richard Bay, South Africa
11 November 2012 | 85 miles off Richard Bay, South Africa, Indian Ocean
08 November 2012 | Mozambuique Channel, Indian Ocean
02 November 2012 | La Port, La Reunion

Mustique, Bequia, Tobago Cays and Saltwhistle Bay

10 March 2013 | Union Island, SVG
9 March

The last night on Mustique was very special. We stayed on for the Sunday night jazz at Basil's, which turned out to be Jan, a very down to earth lady from Yorkshire and her partner, Louis. She had once come to Bequia on holiday, ended up staying and becoming a diving instructor and then landed the job of Social Director for Mustique (what a job!). Jan also played a pretty mean jazz saxophone with Louis on the keyboards. We got to Basil's early and ended up helping them set up after we were really taken with her dog called Stump (due to having not a lot of tail). Stump was a real character she clearly felt she was overseeing operations and I took it as a joke when she was described as the singer with the band. It turned out not to be joke at all because as soon as Jan played the high notes on her tenor sax, Stump would stop whatever she was doing, take up centre stage and start 'singing'. She very quickly stole the show and had her own fan club among the younger members of the audience, who pretty much became her slave. Must be a bit frustrating though if you would like to be known for your playing and not your dog. We have a video and photos that we will try and load on our sailblogs site soon, if you need cheering up I defy you not to smile at the video of Stump at work.

We got back to Bequia without much of a problem and decided to top up with electricity and water along side at the marina. Here they recommended Kerry, a guy who was good with electrics (a former aviation engineer). He seemed to actually know what was going on, and appeared to solve our alternator problems in about 10 minutes, so lets hope. We still don't think it is quite right and topping up fully, although it is a heaps better. Thanks to Kerry, we think we know now what to do to amend the issue - thank goodness we didn't have to beat up to St Vincent again.

Bequia was heaving, with yachts and various cruise boats dropping in, but it is easy to see why and it is a massive bay. We loved taking the dinghy to Princess Margaret's Bay, snorkelling round the point (surprisingly good snorkelling) and then sundowners at Jack's Bar, probably one of the most idyllic sunset locations in the Carib. There is a regatta over Easter and we would really love to take part, but we will see what happens after Grenada. In Bequia we also managed to get some canvas work done and the Parasail stitched up very quickly, so after provisioning we headed off to the Tobago Cays.

We were a bit afraid of what to find there. We had heard it is a must-see, but we had also heard it is chock full of yachts. All of which is true, but the yachts are there for a reason, it is a breathtaking location that is as interesting on the islands as in the water, as on the boat. The waters around the little Cay called Baradel is simply turtle soup. At one point during snorkelling I was surrounded by at least 7 turtles all eating the sea-grass. On the Cay itself there were iguanas littering the place and even wild tortoises. There are moorings (for a price on top of the marine park fee), but we took an anchorage and from there we could buy fresh croissants for breakfast, baguettes for lunch and even fresh fish for the barbecue in the evening - all without having to leave the boat. These little, wonderfully painted/flag festooned boats come in from Union Island selling an assortment of goods, but were not in the least bit pushy (we had to flag them down to come to our boat). My only complaint is the speed they sometimes go, especially when the ranger is not around. When I bought my croissants (around 7.30am), they were still warm from the oven. Fishing is banned on the Cays, quite rightly so as it is a marine park, so fish is also brought in from Union Island by enterprising fishermen. I was a bit disappointed that they appeared to be allowing a T shirt seller and a bbq cafe to operate on one of the Cays, it really should be retained a proper marine park

Early this morning Jonathan went up the mast to re-feed the secondary spinnaker halyard and took some stunning pictures. We then set off from the Cays and less than an hour later were anchored in Saltwhistle Bay on Mayreau. A beautiful half moon bay, but very busy and some islanders have set up a series of huts on the beach, some acting as bars, some cafes, some selling T shirts- which give a shanty town appearance. There have also been makeshift moorings that appear to have been laid by several guys who seem to be in fierce competition. We arrived early and anchored without any fuss (and free), but I suspect that would have been harder later - not quite the quiet spot we thought it might be. Apparently the guy who owned the resort here (tastefully hidden among the trees) died last year and things have changed for the worst since that time. We should have checked Noonsite.

10 March

Last night we had a bit of a surreal night. We went to the bar at the Saltwhistle Bay resort, the only thing open there. The staff were pretty miserable and could not wait for us to go. We then ended up at makeshift rasta bar which turned out to be a lot of fun. Great music and what turned out to be great food.

This morning we headed for Union Island to check out from the Grenadines and heard some familiar voices on the radio. At Last and Dreamcatcher were coming out as we were coming in (they are off to Tobago Cays) it was lovely hearing their voices again!

Just heard that apparently we are famous! We are quoted in Yachting World and even have a picture! Would be grateful if someone could buy it and save a copy for us.
Vessel Name: matilda
Vessel Make/Model: Hallberg-Rassy 42E
Hailing Port: Portsmouth
Crew: Jonathan & Heather Howard
About: Jonathan and Heather Howard are now back in the Caribbean after completing the circumnavigation. matilda is now on the market and in May we will return to the UK with our friends on Peat Smoke.
Extra: matilda was re-launched in October 2011. Our circumnavigation took 15 months and we are now starting to think about getting back to work.

Sailing matilda

Who: Jonathan & Heather Howard
Port: Portsmouth