Tuatara

Alan and Jean sharing our cruising news with friends, family.

20 July 2015 | Rabi Island Fiji
29 June 2015 | Suva Fiji
18 December 2013 | Auckland
05 December 2013 | Auckland
27 October 2013 | Vavau Tonga
12 September 2013 | Samoa
24 July 2013 | Moorea, Tahiti
19 July 2013 | Papeete
19 June 2013 | Nuka Hiva
02 June 2013 | Pacific Ocean
29 May 2013 | Pacific Ocean
24 May 2013 | Eastern Pacific Ocean
19 May 2013 | Western Pacific Ocean
16 May 2013 | Western Pacific Ocean
13 May 2013 | Isla Isabella
06 May 2013 | Isla Isabella
08 April 2013 | Shelter Bay marina, Colon.
28 March 2013 | Belize
27 March 2013 | Belize
03 March 2013 | Panamarina, Panama

Waiting the weather

07 January 2013 | Grenada
Jean fed up with squalls!!
Sarah and Bryce at Tobago Cays

Christmas and New Year have been and gone, Sarah and Bryce are now enjoying their American holiday and we are sitting in Prickly Bay, Grenada, waiting for the wind and swell to subside. The one constant thing about the last few weeks has been the wind. Luckily the best patch of weather we have had was when Sarah and Bryce were with us and even then it wasn't that great. We took them up to Carriacou then on to Tobago Cays from where we worked our way south. This year we again couldn't stop in Salt Whistle Bay, supposedly the prettiest bay in the Grenadines, the northerly swell made a stay impossible so we went down to Saline Bay where the swell was manageable and enjoyed its beauty. We have decided postcard perfect days are seldom a reality. However if you saw Decembers Boating New Zealand magazine you will have seen a beautiful photo of the bay in the article by Brenda from Bandit. Sarah bought the magazine over for us and what a nice surprise to see the article and a photo of cruising Kiwis, including us, enjoying Caribbean sundowners.

We decided Chatham Bay on Union Island was the place for Christmas day, downwind from Saline we could start introducing Bryce to real, motor off, sailing. Chatham was flat and pretty, the big headland protecting us from the northerly swell created by a storm in the north Atlantic. Chatham Bay has a long white sandy beach with about 4 little beach restaurants, no houses and the only access to the main town is via boat. With only 3 other yachts in the bay we had plenty of space to drop the anchor. By nightfall there were 10 boats enjoying Christmas eve, a little different from last January when the bay was very full. Not long after anchoring we spotted a turtle as I had promised. The bay was full of little spats being chased by bigger sprats being chased by large tuna all being followed by pelicans, boobies and frigates. We in our turn were being pursued by the boat boys and girl. The beach restaurants were looking for customers. We liked Tim from Gerry's Palm tree restaurant. He waited in his runabout while we anchored and put up our cover before approaching us with his dinner proposition. With his lovely smile and polite manner we couldn't refuse. Christmas eve dinner ashore was decided on as we had the makings for Christmas lunch on board. A heavy afternoon down pour finished in time for us to get ashore dry and enjoy a rum punch at Vanessa's pink restaurant as the sun set. I had to agree with her sentiment when she visited us earlier in the day.

" Come and have a drink at my place, its Christmas, spread the money around."

However we were pleased we chose the Palm Tree, as Gerry's rum punches were bigger , tastier and made on the spot not a pre mix. Consequently they had a little more punch!!!! Tim cooked us a great meal of tuna, lambie (counch), plantain and local vegetables, finished by banana fritters all enjoyed in the light of kerosene lamps. No twilight here its sunset at 6pm and dark at 15 past.

Christmas day dawned...well, no it didn't , the sun didn't make an appearance all day, lots of rain cleaned our decks and made the day quite steamy. The next day the sun came out, the wind carried on and we sailed down to Carriacou Is. We stopped for lunch and a swim at tiny Sandy Island just off the main town of Hillsborough. A real Caribbean postcard gorgeous, sandy cay. After exploring the tiny island we headed around to Tyrrel Bay for the night. Tyrrel Bay is many cruisers favourite spot. It's a nice bay, the beach is ok and its full of yachts. There is nothing specific that you can say why it's a favourite stop, perhaps because Tyrell is the first stop after a long day beating or motor sailing up from Grenada. You arrive relieved to be there, thankful you have skirted Kick'em Jenny, an underwater live volcano, right on the rhumb line from Grenada. Carriacou, home to about 5000 people, has a laid back atmosphere away from the Cruise ship rich Grenada, it is easy to see how yachties visit for a week but stay a year. There is a small boat yard and hardstand on the old slipway. This part of the Caribbean attracted Scottish boat builders in the late 1800s and now the Scot surnames on the island attest to the fact they stayed to build boats and families. The old slipway building is now a restaurant with some of the old haul out machines adding ambience to the beach setting.

Attached to a mooring buoy, not far from the slipway, is a workshop where stainless steel and other work is done. The owner reputedly sailed in on his trimaran, liked the place enough to stay and build a large workshop on top of his boat. We are told his stainless steel work is excellent and we were hoping to talk to him about our bimini we want built but unfortunately he was shut for the holidays. Seems this bimini is not meant to be.

With our visitors time nearly over we headed back to Grenada, a lovely sail all the way south so different than beating north. We caught a fish as we rounded the top of Grenada. The wind died in the lee of Grenada and we ghosted along at 2-3 knots enjoying a lunch of hot bread and fresh fish . The wind was watching us because as we cleared away the lunch plates the wind built, our speed crept up and we had a lively sail until we turned the corner and had to motor up wind for the last couple of miles back into Prickly Bay.

All good things come to an end, we loved having the "kids" but they had a date in chilly New York and we needed to get organized for our sail west to Bonaire. If only we could organize the wind! Wind wise we should have left at the same time as the flight to New York. Sailing off is a little different than just popping on a plane. We had laundry, shopping and a little boat work to do. The wind built and the window to go west shut. Looks like this Wednesday 9th Jan or Thursday will be the time to sail the 3 day stint to Bonaire. Until a day of rain yesterday we had been keeping cabin fever at bay. The excitement of the day was catching a little water and exercise was had by opening and shutting hatches between squalls. The hatch dance, I heard someone on the radio call it.

Last Friday night a small group of us went into the Grenada Museum to the monthly Jazz jam session. This free event had been highly recommended by many people. Each month a jazz band made up of local musicians play and invite locals, visitors, musicians and poets to join them up on stage. What eventuates is a spectacular evening of music most of which is improvised on the spot. For jazz fans I would just about recommend visiting Grenada just for one of these evenings. I really regretted not taking my camera to capture a movie because as the band leader said, " you won't hear that piece of music again, it's a one off."

Today is another squally day but the weather gurus say tomorrow will be less wet so here's hoping.

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Vessel Name: Tuatara
Vessel Make/Model: Alan Wright 51
Hailing Port: Opua NZ
Crew: Alan and Jean Ward

Sailing in the Pacific

Who: Alan and Jean Ward
Port: Opua NZ