27 February 2019 | Bonaire and Curacao
10 August 2018 | Frigate Is and Tobago Keys
29 July 2018 | Martinique
08 April 2019 | Jamaica
With Sue back in Curacao we provisioned for the sail north to Jamaica, said goodbye to new friends, and motored away from Curacao Marine. As we entered to channel to exit Curacao harbour we called the Port Authority on VHF to ask them to open the bridge, but no answer. After a number of failed attempts to contact them we tied up side too near the customs wharf. After Sue phoned Garth from Curacao Marine we eventually talked to the Port Authority and the bridge was opened. Once clear of the channel we raised sails and headed for Jamaica.
We took one reef at first but followed with another as we rounder the western end of Curacao. The first night was a bit tough as the sea state was up and I felt less than 100%. The next morning was much better as my sea legs had improved and the wind had dropped a few kns.
Being our first sail in months we took it easy and still made reasonable time. We did not see any other sails and only a few ships on AIS. As we were going to reach Jamaica during the night was slowed Sojourn 1 down to ensure we would arrive at first light. We had previously contacted the Royal Jamaica Yacht Club and booked a spot. On arrival at the club they explained that the boat that was meant to have vacated the berth was still there but they had another spot for us. A little narrow pier with interesting access. Turned out we had great neighbours (a common theme) and the club were very accommodating and friendly (not cheap).
While in Jamaica we had the life raft serviced (not cheap). They went far beyond my expectations including pickup and deliver and spending hours improving the release mechanism.
Back in the water
14 March 2019
I arrived back in Curacao on 24 Jan to get work done on Sojourn 1 before Sue arrived. I was surprised by the number of people who were staying at the marina on their boats. Most were waiting for the weather to improve with others waiting on work or parts. A large number of different nationalities were represented and I think I was only one that could not speak more than one language. A very social group with BBQ's, movies, and a few beers enjoyed.
Sue ended up being delayed in Australia so I had to spread the jobs out to give me something to do. Its given me the opportunity to spend time and look around Curacao, including Carnival. We plan to head to Jamaica and Cuba a few days after Sue arrives, weather permitting (as usual).
Haul out at Curacao
27 February 2019 | Bonaire and Curacao
Time to catch up on the blog. A lot has happened since the last blog but I'll try to cover off on the important points of our cruising adventure.
We sailed from Granada to Bonaire with Rootsie, a very similar boat, arriving in the early hours of the morning. Once the marina staff arrived we checked into the marina and they found us a berth for a few days. After the normal immigration and customs procedures we started to settle into Bonaire. Didier and Veronique from Rootsie were great company as we did the tourist things on Bonaire for the next few days. We worked out how to go about getting one of the sought after moorings in front of the town. When visiting Bonaire by boat you only have the choice of the marina or mooring buoys, you are not permitted to anchor. Bonaire is a beautiful place, particularly for snorkelling and diving. The moorings in front of the town are particularly nice once you get used to the nightly drag races on the road fronting the beach.
We continued with Rootsie onto Curacao dropping anchor at Spanish Waters initially. As Didier and Veronique were heading back to France within a few days we helped them take Rootsie from Spanish Waters to Curacao Marine. They appreciated the assistance and we appreciated the opportunity to see how the see how the haul out process and the bridge opening worked before it was our turn. I gave Didier a hand to service the motors, etc over the next few days before saying goodbye to them. Sojourn 1 wasn't being hauled out for a number of days so Sue and I used the time meet some of the other cruisers in Spanish Waters and get to now Willemstad a little better. When the time came Sojourn1's haul out went smoothly - it can be a stressful time.
Curacao shares the dry climate with Bonaire but is a larger industrialised centre. Bonaire sets a high standard when it comes to beautiful places to visit.
We settled Sojourn 1 for the stay on the hard and said our farewells to the friends we had made at the marina before heading to Australia via Miami, Chicago, Tokyo (for a 10 day stop over), and Sydney.
14 August 2018 | Grenada
The first stop heading south from Frigate Is was Tyrell Bay on Carriacou. There were many boats in the bay, some short term as ourselves, and some longer term, as the guy who set up a stainless steel fabrication business on an old trimaran in the middle of the bay. Low rent I guess. Carriacou is part of the Grenada group and we could check into customs and immigration here. Another nice island and the first good supermarket we had seen in a while. We spend four nights here before heading south again to get out of the hurricane zone. A noice sail south until we were hit by a heavy rain squall just as we were rounding the south western point of Grenada.
Sue had previously organised a mooring for us at Whisper Bay Marina. A very nice little marina with nice people, great little bay and restaurant, and a meat market with some very nice European, North American style meat cuts. There were a number of Australian boats in Clark's Court Bay (some we had met previously) with nice people and new friendships formed over a few beers and/or wines and/or rum punches.
We decided to have the gelcoat damage (thanks Barcelona) on the stern repaired while here. We spend a couple nights side to at Clark's Court Marine while the guys there did the repairs. We also had the damaged s/s handrails replaced. A guy with a s/s fabrication business on an old mono anchored beside Hog Island looked after these for us. I used the time for a number of other repairs, replace main halyard, fix the solar panel wiring, etc.
Clark's Court Bay is a nice place in many respects but water quality is not one of them. The rum distillery is to blame I'm told. We still had a week or so to wait for Rootsie and I wanted to find some cleaner water of Sojourn 1 so we moved to Grenada Marine. A little further our of the way but a really nice place in a rainforest setting. Again the people were competent, helpful, and friendly. Jan and Pete from Twenty Twenty where they and had some very social times with them as they waited to put their boat on the hard.
Once Rootsie arrived in Grenada we sailed back to Clark's Court to catch up with them, also Patrick and Lilly. While there we caught with with Brain and Lani from KI to say goodby as we would be sailing with Rootise to Bonaire in a few days.
Grenada is a great place with friendly people and generally good facilities. The buses are fantastic, sometimes scary. Example - 20 people wedged into the hi ace van (the same buses in Curacao are limited to 8 passengers), very loud music, two youngish girls drinking beer that had been handed to them by a young guy at a bar we stopped at, most heads nodding in unison to the music. Everybody having fun. All this while the driver drives like a maniac.
10 August 2018 | Frigate Is and Tobago Keys
We had been communicating with our French friends on Rootsie who were anchored on Frigate Is near Union Is and were looking forward to stopping there for a few days. It was great to catch up with Veronique and Didier along with their Swiss friends, Patrick and Lilly on a nice 60ft mono. We made numerous visits to Union island and supplies and a little sightseeing. The people are friendly and this was our first introduction to the small buses.
Sue and I took Sojourn 1 our to Tobago Keys for a night and got to snorkel with the many turtles and fish in the area. We also took up the offer of the locally cooked meal on Petit Bateau Is. Not a cheap meal but we were happy given the assistance for mooring and supporting the effort the guys go to just to get to the Keys each day.
We spent 14 days anchored at Frigate and the Keys before moving further south. Our boat insurance required us to be below 12 deg 9' before the official start of the hurricane season, we needed to keep moving.
(photo of the Keys courtesy of Didier)
29 July 2018 | Bequia
Following the decision to miss St Vincent we decided to go from St Licia, down the west coast of St Vincent and on to Bequia, Admiralty Bay. It was another great day of sailing where the Outremer performed well. On the approach to Admiralty Bay a photographer in a RIB comes out to takes photos of each boat and then visits the boat later to sell prints. As we had very few photos of Sojourn 1 sailing, we bought one. Bequia was different again to the previous islands visited. People were nice, efficient, and accepted no without argument. At that stage, one of the nicer islands visited. We only stayed on night having pizza on the way back to Sojourn 1 after clearning in. The bay was full of visiting yachts, showing that others agreed with our assessment of the island and people.