Archive for August, 2007

Entry for August 26, 2007

August 26, 2007

This morning we decided to check out some of the other snorkeling spots in the Tobago Cays.  We dinghied over to a couple islands near us and secured the boat on the beach.  We snorkeled through some great corals where there were schools of many fishes we usually only see in groups of only 2 or 3.  Our goal was to see the turtles which are supposed to be abundant here.  Instead, we saw just about everything but turtles.

There was a school of large Blue Tang which looked like a cloud of fish moving from one coral to the next.  They attacked the coral with abandon until one of them (maybe the leader?) took the entire school to the next stop.  There were probably 100 fish in that school. 

There were many Stoplight Parrotfish that look very cool because of the many colors in their bodies.   We say many Damselfish (Sergeant Majors, Bicolors and Yellowtail), Goby, and many  beautiful Butterflyfish.  My favorite is the small Foureye Butterflyfish Juvenile because it seems the colors are very distinct.  Laura’s favorite is the Banded Butterflyfish and we saw many of them today.

Schools of Grunts and Jacks were all over the reefs and they seemed to just be hanging out waiting for something to happen.  Bigeye and Glasseye Snapper always seem to hang out in the crevices and you have to look under shelves to see them most of the time.  The Trumpetfish were very cool as they seem to hover upside-down waiting for something good to swim in front of them.  We saw some of the biggest Trumpetfish yet – probably 2 feet long.

While we were snorkeling around the end of the first island to a place where the turtles were supposed to be, I heard Laura yelling to me.  We usually yell to each other while we are snorkeling if we see something interesting.  When I picked my head up, she said, “There is a big Barracuda right behind you!”  I got a little worried because she was about 20 feet away from me and can’t usually see that far.  I turned around and there was a 4 – 4 ½ foot Great Barracuda less then 10 feet behind me.  He followed me for awhile and I’m not sure what he was looking for.  It was one of the biggest Barracuda I’ve ever seen.  Usually, when you lunge at them, they will take off.  I lunged at this one and he just sat there and looked at me.  “Oh boy” I thought.  We were quite a way from the beach with the dinghy so we started swimming back.  The Barracuda followed me for probably 10 minutes then decided to finally swim away for better hunting somewhere else.  Phew!

We motored over to the second island and tied to dinghy to a mooring just off the beach.  The coral and fish there were just as spectacular and the morning Sun made everything glisten with colors.   A short while later, I saw a Southern Stingray lying in the sand in front of me.  I yelled to Laura and she came over to see.  The Stingray gradually swam away very gracefully.  It was a pretty good size – maybe 2 ½ feet wide and 5 foot long including the tail.

We didn’t see any sharks (good!) but we did see another small Spotted Moray Eel wandering through some small coral.  This one seemed to act more like a snake than an eel so we think it might have been a Sea Snake but our book doesn’t have pictures of them and we never saw it come up for air like a snake would have.

All in all this is a wonderful place to stop and see the beautiful corals and fishes.  We are definitely going to purchase an underwater camera when we get to a place where they are less then 2-3 times the price in the U.S.  It seems like everything in the Grenadines is very expensive as they don’t grow or manufacture anything locally.  Everything is imported and there are heavy import duties.  Hopefully, Tobago or Trinidad will be better and we can start shopping for some of the items on our wish-list when we get there.

The Picture is Second Wind in Saline Bay Mayreau.

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Entry for August 25, 2007

August 26, 2007

We left Union on Friday after going into Clifton for a little while and checking out a couple places on the local reefs for snorkeling.  I would rate the snorkeling at C+ as the fish and corals were so-so.  We sailed only about 5 miles north to Mayreau (pronounced “My-row”) and anchored in the lee of the island in a little bay called Saline Bay.  We were able to snuggle the boat right close to shore and anchored in 12 feet over grass and sand.  The water was very calm even though we enter the bay in a rainstorm.  We’ve seen a lot of rain around here lately as squalls seem to zoom by the boat 4-5 times a day.

After anchoring, we took the dinghy to the beach and walked up this huge hill to the town.  We stopped at Dennis’s Hideaway (recommended by our friend Hank) and found Dennis tending bar at the little tiki hut because his bartender left a week ago.  He had some great stories and we met two nice couples from a megayacht (100+ feet) anchored about ¼ mile behind us.  After leaving there we continued our walk up the hill until we came to a Catholic church at the very top.  It was very cute and we walked around to the other side of the church for an awesome view of the Tobago Cays and The Grenadines.  We took some great pictures from the top of the hill and enjoyed the view in all directions.

Today (Saturday) we sailed around the north side of Mayreau and entered the Tobago Cays Marine Park.  Working our way around the islands and reefs was a little tricky but we eventually found a great isolated anchorage near the southern end of the huge horseshoe reef.  About 30 minutes later, another sailboat came and anchored about 50 feet away from us.  Laura and I just looked at one another – we couldn’t believe it.  Did we have the only good anchoring spot in the whole marine park?  This anchorage would probably hold 100 boats and we were the only two here anchored right next to one another.  Rafi (from Windfall) would definitely call this “snuggling at the anchor”.  We decided to move rather than complain.  We started the engine, pulled up our anchor and re-anchored about 500 feet away a little closer to the reef.  Geez!

About 1 hour after we re-anchored, a park ranger boat came by.  They immediately tied up to us which is a big no-no with boaters – you don’t tie up to someone’s boat without an invitation.  Ok.  So they didn’t start out on the right foot but we figured they just wanted to talk about the park or something.  Come to find out, there is a daily charge for using the park and it is $10 EC / person / day – pretty expensive for cruisers on a budget.  These guys wanted their $20 EC and I told them I thought it was way too expensive and I was contemplating if we should leave instead of paying the money.  I look over at Laura and I could tell she didn’t want to pull up anchor and sail somewhere else today so I paid the $20 EC while telling the rangers we wouldn’t be back because it was too expensive for us.  They said something like they had plenty of other customers so it wouldn’t make much difference to them.  They were very untypical of the many nice people we’ve met in the Caribbean and I had a feeling that most of my $20 EC went to paying for 3 guys in a small boat riding around all day to collect the fees.

Later in the afternoon between rainstorms, we took the dingy out to the reef for some snorkeling.  It was the best snorkeling we’ve seen since the Bahamas (so I may grudgingly admit this place is worth $20 EC / day).  It was a cloudy day so the colors were not so bright but the different corals were still beautiful.  We saw so many different fish including some we’d never seen before snorkeling.   We swam through clouds of small fish – some of which seemed like they must be only hours old because they were so small.  Toward the end of our snorkel, Laura grabbed me and pointed to a group of Sea Rods on top of a few rocks.  Intertwined in the rocks was a small spotted moray.  He was so cool!  The other little fish seemed like they didn’t want him around and were darting all around him until he moved to another bunch of coral.  When he moved we could see his whole body which was only about 15 inches long. That was the highlight of our day.  The water was very shallow near the reef and we were probably never in more than 5 feet of water.  It was very easy to see all the fish going about their busy lives. 

It looks like Tuesday will be good for our overnight to Tobago which is about 90 miles south- southeast of here.  We’ll probably stay around Mayreau and Union until Monday then checkout of St. Vincent and anchor off Petite Martinique until we leave.

The picture is a map that was painted on the backside of the church in Mayreau. “we are here”

Entry for August 24, 2007

August 24, 2007

So we took off at about 8 am on Tuesday morning and no sooner than we left the harbor, the winds were wonderful and out came the sails, we headed east/northeast along the windward(east) side of Grenada and the more we headed North, the better the southeast winds were for us. At a beautiful beam reach we were doing 5.5- 6 knots and just loving it. The day was gorgeous and we barely had to trim a sail once we were set on our course to Petit Martinique. The clouds were wispy in the sky and never did a dark one come overhead. The only problem we encountered was that we started hearing a thump, thump, thump coming from the underside of the boat and narrowed the problem down to the propeller, figuring that something got caught on it, like a stray line. Since it freewheels while we are not motoring one of the ways to stop it was to put the boat in gear and hold the propeller in place, while hoping that whatever was hanging on, would fall off. We arrived in Petite Martinique at around 4 pm and decided to get a bit of diesel and gas, so that we wouldn’t be pushing fumes when we arrive at Tobago/ Trinidad later in the week. Better safe than Sorry. We then motored just across the harbor to a bit more northeasterly protected bay, next to the island of Petite St Vincent. Yes these are tiny Islands, thus the Petite, but I’m thinking someone could have been a bit more creative and come up with other names than copying the big Islands in this area – oh well, they are still beautiful. We anchored in 12 very clear feet of water and settled in for the night. Bill jumped in the water with scuba gear and swam down on the anchor to make sure it was in nice and good, also he checked the prop and all seemed to be ok. Just about sunset we realized that we were seeing an ocean sunset for the first in about 6 weeks.. I was taking some pictures and wouldn’t you know it, Bill hollers out, “that was a green flash”.. I’m like, “no way.. I missed it, here I was taking pictures, from now on you’re taking them”. He just laughed and said , “wow, I really saw it, there is such a thing as a green flash” Now I’ll just have to keep my eyes open!. Overnight brought on a brief squall, and our crazy running around to make sure all hatches and portholes were closed up. Nothing like being awakened out of a deep sleep. But then morning broke, bright and beautiful and as we sat in the cockpit with our coffee, Bill saw some flying fish doing there little dance on the water, then he yells, there’s a barracuda after them. A three foot Barracuda had also jumped out of the water not wanting his breakfast to get away. Well, there was another thing I missed…maybe Bill’s just pulling my leg, most likely not.

Since we had checked out of Grenada(about a week ago) right before all the commotion with “dean”, we thought that we might need to get “legal” and decided to check into customs on Union Island, the southern most port of entry for St Vincent’s and the Grenadines, and only less than 5 miles from where we were in Petite St Vincent’s. So about 11 am we pulled up anchor and sailed with our jib only to Clifton, the port on Union Island, maneuvering through some reefs and shallower waters that in stormy weather could have been pretty hazardous. But we made it through and I could see Bill relax a bit once we did. Again we heard the thump, thump, thump down below and when Bill actually checked out the engine, he wasn’t too happy when coming back up to the cockpit. We’re still not sure what it is, but it’s not looking too good as for either the prop or transmission. Yikes! I don’t like the sound of that. He’ll check it out in the next few days that we’ll be here, as there’s some snotty looking weather moving in and we won’t be heading to the Tobago Cays for some snorkeling for the next few days. Arriving at Union, we motored around a few other reefs checking out the anchorage, finally anchoring in what seems to be a “pretty good spot” nice sand and the anchor set quickly and firmly. We dropped the dinghy, and went into “town”. A local gent met us at a dock by one of the restaurants in town and said he’d look after our dinghy and pointed out where customs was, etc. He also told us that once we were finished at Customs, we would need to go to Immigration which was at the airport, about a 10 minute walk out of town. He offered to take us there, but we nicely declined and said we would rather walk. Not many of the locals do anything for free, so we knew we’d already have to give him something for watching the dinghy. On the way to customs, we stopped at Erika’s Store. Now, let me tell you a thing or two of the enterprising done on some of the islands. Erika’s not only has some Marine supplies, but she also provides internet access (5.00 EC – about $2.00 for 15 minutes of service), she’s the UPS lady, also rents DVD’s, rents bicycles (built for 2), has a book swap, a water taxi, laundry(collect and deliver from the boat) and is also a travel agent. We also noticed one store sign on our way back from the airport that said “Western Union, Grocery, Bar and Restaurant.” How’s that for one stop shopping, hehe.. We shipped a package UPS, and also bought 15 minutes of time on the internet just to catch up on what the weather will be in the next few days, and she actually put a timer on us! Across the street from Ericka’s, there are some nicely built vendor shacks. Some of them were open with fresh veggies and fruits. Many things seemed kind of expensive, (almost $6.00 US for 3 cucumbers) There is a resort and some chartering that’s done from this harbor, so we’re figuring that the veggies are priced a bit higher for the “rich” visitors, we did talk one of the vendors down a bit on the cukes. I certainly don’t mind supporting the local economy as we go from place to place, and I really enjoy meeting the local people as we’ve become more open to speaking to them and introducing ourselves. Many open up and are so friendly. As we prepared to get back in our dinghy, A fisherman had just dropped off his catch for the restaurant.. and what a catch, really nice looking Red Snappers, all a good size and ready to fillet. We were going to ask him if they were for sale, but he bagged them and took them into the restaurant for the owner. Guess we’ll have to check out the restaurant and have Calaloo soup and Red snapper tonight. We just got back from Lambi’s (the restaurant) and are thoroughly satisfied. They didn’t have the soup, so we’ll have to try it some other time. But they did have the snapper, I had mine fried and Bill has his grilled .. now let me explain, this restaurant usually has a huge buffet but since it is off-season, they just bring everything to your table family style. And my, what a feast! The menu stated that all meals come with potatoes, rice, pasta, salad and ect. We weren’t quite sure what that meant, but as they started bringing out the plates, we saw, plate 1: coleslaw type salad with cucumber and tomato slices. Plate 2: mashed potatoes. Plate 3: rice with carrots and peas. Plate 4: carrot and string beans with a sauce. Plate 5: plantains and fried zucchini. Then she brought out our fish, silly me, I thought they would be filleted?? It was the whole red snapper, head and all. It really was cool, but I’m glad I couldn’t see the eyes under the breaded covering on the fried. I didn’t look at Bill’s but he said it was delicious, as was mine, nice flakey white meat, and very fresh and tasty. We ate down the whole meal, including a nice bottle of white wine. A meal I’m sure neither of us will forget.

As I mentioned earlier, tomorrow is supposed to not be so nice weather-wise. So we were thinking of hanging around here a day or two. We’ll go into Erika’s again, post this blog, swap some books and maybe even rent a DVD or two. Every once in a while we need a day to veg in front of the TV. Some things never change… hahaha.

The picture is from the carnival in Grenada. For one of the parades, the locals all cover themselves in different colors and walk together. The ones that cover themselves in black use engine oil and wear helmets with horns coming out of them. This fellow was one of the yellow group. I thought he took things a little too far when I saw his phone was also painted yellow.

Entry for August 21, 2007

August 21, 2007

After a few days of dodging thunderstorms and working minor projects on the boat, it is now time to leave St. David’s and continue our cruise.  We’ve been in Grenada for almost 6 weeks and hope to be back here again some day.  It’s been wonderful with the super-nice people and great anchorages.

We woke up around 6:30 this morning to get the boat ready to leave by 7:30.  The winds should be excellent for our sail 40 miles northeast to Petit Martinique where we will buy enough diesel to hold us until we get to Venezuela and can fill our tanks with the 33 cents / gallon stuff, anchor for a few days behind the reefs there and the Tobago Keys to check out the snorkeling, and hang out until probably Saturday when we will sail overnight to the island of Tobago about 90 miles to the southeast.

The picture is one of my favorites from the Grenada Carnival.  Each group in the parade had a theme and wore similar outfits.  They all competed for prizes and were judged at various points along the parade route.  As you can see, most of the women wore skimpy clothing.  It a good thing too – the temperature was in the mid 90s without a cloud in the sky.  Everybody was very hot.

Sometime in the near future, I’ll create another web page with many of our favorite pictures from Carnival.  It was very colorful.  Enjoy!

Entry for August 18, 2007

August 18, 2007

Friday night was not the usual night for us.  Just before we went to bed around 10 pm, we could see lightning off to the south.  We went up on the deck and watched one of the best fireworks we’ve every seen nature put on as the whole southern sky was at times lit up by 8-10 simultaneous flashes.  We watched for about ½ hour then decided to hit the sack.  I remember thinking just before I went to sleep that I was very glad those storms were not over us.

Around 1:30 am, I woke up hearing the wind howling through the rigging and the boat bouncing around a little.  The boat was also shaking some which it usually doesn’t do unless the winds are over 30 knots.  I lay there listening when all of a sudden we were almost blown over by a huge gust of wind from the side.  The boat stayed at probably 20-25 degrees of tilt for quite awhile and I was sure we must be dragging our anchor.  We immediately ran up to the cockpit and the scene was pretty fearsome.  We had dragged our delta anchor (which was set to the east) about 100 feet but it looked like it was holding now.  The Fortress was still good out to the south but the wind was blowing from the east around 30 knots at that time.  We had been blown backwards into the middle of the 3 moorings maintained by the marina and were only about 150 feet from Meggie.  I started the engine and ran low RPMs in forward gear to take some of the strain off the anchors.  We were getting blown around pretty good.  Meggie and Nana Parahee (the other two cruisers in the bay) all had lights on and were running their engines to maintain their anchors.  Nana Parahee had also dragged but they looked ok now.  Mike (from Meggie) called me on the radio to make sure I had my engine running and didn’t drag into them.  At that moment we noticed one of the non-cruiser, anchored sailboats (a 40 foot yawl) being blown backwards toward the docks and concrete piers.  We contacted some friends on shore and they dinghied out, in a major storm, and boarded the boat which had finally stopped just short of the docks.

I watched the thunderstorm on our radar and it was huge – about 20 miles across and we were just in the beginning of it.  The winds had settled down to a constant 25 knots and we were holding ok but were very close to running over a mooring as the boat swayed back and forth.   About ½ hour later the wind had died down to 20 knots and we decided to reset the delta anchor further east.  Of course we had to pull up the 150 feet of chain that was already out while watching closely we didn’t run over the line from the Fortress which ran south.  The rain was coming down pretty hard sideways as I was out on the bow running the windlass and directing Laura on the helm.  We had our wireless headsets on which we purchased after the storm in Marathon where we couldn’t hear each other yelling at the top of our lungs.  They worked great and it probably only took us 15 minutes to reset the delta.  When we fell back on it and let out all the chain I was a little disappointed that we were only 50 feet further east from where we started.  That was enough to be out of the mooring field so we left it alone.  We shutdown the engine and I watched everything like a hawk.

Our friends Jim and Amanda (on Adventure Bound which is having work done out of the water) had made their way out to the dragging boat and had called the owner who came right down.  Mike also dinghied over to help them while Kyle stayed on Meggie to make sure everything stayed ok there.  It probably took them over an hour to untangle the anchor lines and move the boat back out into the harbor for re-anchoring.  We talked constantly on the radio and I kept my deck lights on to help them see.

Around 3 am the storm had quieted down to 15 knots with a steady rain.  I finally went to bed and monitored closely how the boat was behaving before falling asleep 15 minutes later.

The general consensus was the big gust was 50 – 60 knots.  It wouldn’t have been so harmful but it came from a suddenly different direction which we’ve seen happen before in thunderstorms, especially when they first come through.  I have never felt anything like that before while on the anchor.  The boat leaned over so far, and stayed there for probably a full minute, that I thought we were ashore and the keel was dragging on the beach.  We have a pretty high freeboard on this boat and a gust like that from the side can put a pull of 5,000 to 10,000 pounds on the anchor line depending on how perpendicular the wind is to the boat.  The delta anchor holds great in sand but seems to be not so great when pulling hard through mud.  We’ll be rethinking our anchoring strategy the next time we anchor in mud and anticipate high winds.

The morning was fairly calm and clear.  The sun has been out all day and the weather seems to have settled back to normal (10-15 knots of wind from the east) with only a few clouds in the sky.  We defrosted our freezer this morning because it has been taking more generator time to keep up the batteries.  I stayed on the boat and cleaned out the thawing freezer while Laura took the dinghy into the marina for laundry.  We’ll relax the rest of the day and probably pull up our anchors tomorrow or Monday and head to the Tobago Keys a little north of Grenada.

Entry for August 17, 2007

August 17, 2007

We just finished dinner on Friday night after a pretty decent weather day in St. David’s anchorage. I don’t think we saw any winds over 25 knots but they were from the south where we are a little open to the ocean. That caused a 1-2 foot swell in the anchorage that bounced us around a little but not more than some of the other anchorages we visited on the way down here. Right now, there is a gentle 10-15 knot breeze from the southeast which very much feels like the normal trade winds here. Other than the lightening we can see off to the south, the weather seems quiet settled.

The first time we’ve deployed our Fortress anchor and it worked excellently. We pulled on it all day long and it was rock solid even with the front of the boat moving up and down maybe 2-3 feet during the worst of the swells. We’ll probably pull it up tomorrow and stow it away in our deck anchor locker for the next storm. 25 knot winds aren’t a huge test of an anchor but I’d rather build up my confidence in it gradually than try it for the first time in 60 knots.

The other 2 cruisers in the anchorage also fared well with the winds and waves. We talked a little on the marine radio with them but none of us had any problems so we didn’t need to activate our emergency plans.

We’re still seeing some of the last squalls from Dean as he heads west and intensifies. The last report I had from the National Hurricane Center website predicted Deans’ winds to be around 150 miles per hour by time it reaches Mexico. That’s a huge storm and I’m glad we’re here.

Tomorrow we will finish our preparations for leaving and probably depart St. David’s Harbor early Sunday morning for the great snorkeling reefs 40 miles north of us. After almost 6 weeks in Grenada, we’re both ready for some new sights. This trip to Grenada will be one of our favorite memories of this cruise and we’ve made some lifelong friends we’ll always cherish.

It’s time to watch a DVD and probably early to bed after a restless sleep last night. All is well on Second Wind after missing the Dean bullet.

Entry for August 17, 2007

August 17, 2007

It’s 8 am on Friday morning and hurricane Dean has passed through Martinique about 150 miles north of us.  We had a pretty quiet night and slept well.  Around 2 am I got up to check everything and could see lightening off to the south and east but clear skies with the stars out overhead.  I almost thought, “After all the hype, this is all we get?”  The winds finally started building a little here this morning around 5 am and are blowing about 15 now from the south.  The south winds are supposed to pick up this afternoon to 25 – 30 knots and change to the east tonight.  We have our big storm anchor set in the southerly direction and are giving it its first test holding the boat in mud against the winds and 1-2 foot chop in the anchorage.

The seas will be building today to about 10 feet off-shore  and we can see them crashing on the reefs outside our anchorage now.   We’ll probably spend the day on the boat as the winds build a little to make sure everything stays where it is supposed to.   The boat is fully stocked for our tentative trip to Venezuela so we have plenty of fuel, water and groceries.  I’m sure the marina will be open today if we need anything but it will be a wild dinghy ride.

All is well and we are actually enjoying the slightly cool breeze.   The sun just came out from behind the clouds.

Entry for August 16, 2007

August 16, 2007

We’ve prepared the boat for tonight’s storm and put out a second anchor, our new Fortress, to hold us when the winds turn to the south.  It’s the first time we’ve deployed the big Fortress and it wasn’t too bad to get it in the water and set in the proper direction for never having done it before.

Hurricane Dean is predicted to miss us by about 150 miles to the north so we are only expecting 30 – 40 knot winds early tomorrow morning around 5 am.  Today the weather has been very unsettled with some thunder storms passing by with calm winds in-between them.   You can tell there is power in the air with the humidity rising and air pressure dropping.  It doesn’t feel as hot as the previous few days but maybe it’s just because of the clouds hiding the sun.   We keep opening the hatches when the rain stops then closing them again 20 minutes later as the storms keep marching by.  The winds are predicted to be mostly from the north and east which should be fine for this anchorage.  We’re a little open to the sea on the south but the reefs will keep any big swells down to 1-2 feet in the anchorage (I hope!).

We are only one of three boats that decided to stay in St. David’s Harbor.  We’ve been hearing on the marine radio about other, more protected harbors, becoming packed with boats and many arguments between the captains criticizing each other’s anchoring skills.  Whatever the outcome we are committed to staying here and I’m glad we’ll have a few friends nearby to watch out for each other during the night.  I’m also glad there are not many boats here and the few left we know are experienced and the boats are anchored very well.  Most of the time the better protected storm anchorages are only as good as the poorest anchored boat.  Once someone starts dragging in the storm, there can be boats pulled in all directions by the anchors.  We won’t have any of that here.

The hurricane is now only 300 miles away from the eastern Caribbean islands and traveling at 23 knots.  The center of Dean now has sustained winds of 100 miles per hour per the National Hurricane Center website.  That puts our max winds only about 13-14 hours away.  Of course, they will hit in the middle of the night so we’ll try to get a nap or early bed so we can be up and watching what’s happening with the boat.

Mike and Kyle on Meggie are one of the other boats that stayed and they are coming over for dinner in a little while.  Laura is baking her now famous pizza which Mike always raves about.  It will be fun to have some company so the stress of waiting for the storm is minimized.

I’ll try to update the blog every couple hours to let you all know what’s happening.

Entry for August 16, 2007

August 16, 2007

Tropical storm Dean is now Hurricane Dean.  He is scheduled to be in the Caribbean Friday morning and pass about 120 miles north of us near Martinique.   We have the boat prepared to leave at any time and we’ve even checked out with Customs in St. Georges so we can depart quickly if Dean decides, against all the expert estimates, to move south and come closer to here.

We’ll be staying put in St. David’s Harbor until probably Sunday when we plan to sail to the north end of Grenada and visit the Tobago Keys and Petit Martinique – both of which have beautiful reefs for snorkeling.  From there we will sail to Tobago which will be an overnight trip of approximately 90 miles to the southeast.   Then, who knows where we’ll go next….

 

Entry for August 14, 2007

August 14, 2007

After a very busy day we are back on the boat fixing a light supper.  We started out early this morning (10 am-ish) because we wanted to get to the drug store in St. Georges before they closed at noon.  The stores have been mostly closed for the past 4 days because of Carnival in Grenada!  We’ve seen a little of it and today we wanted to see the final parade.  After a little shopping, we met Dee and Don at the Grenada Yacht Club for lunch.  The parade was going right by the front of the yacht club so we didn’t have to walk far for a good view.  The weather was hot and humid but clear skies which is much better than the “liquid sunshine” we’ve been having about every 2 hours.  The town was like a big party (it’s supposed to be like Mardi Gras in New Orleans) but instead of having bands in the parade with the different groups, they had huge trucks with generators and awesome sound systems blasting Caribbean music.  The costumes were beautiful and of course I like the skimpy outfits of the jiggling female dancers the best.  I’ll try to post some pictures over the next couple days.

On a more serious side, there is a tropical storm / hurricane heading our way.  Tropical storm Dean is currently about 1,200 miles east of us heading in a westerly direction.  All the boaters are tracking the storm very closely with the Internet and all other tools available to us.  Second Wind will stay in St. David’s Harbor, Grenada for at least the next 24 – 36 hours until we know more about where this storm is going and how strong it is.  If we only get 30-40 knot winds, we’ll probably anchor the boat in a very nice “hurricane hole” harbor about 3 miles west of here that is protected all around from the waves and major winds.  If the winds are predicted to be more than 40 around here, we’ll run south to Trinidad or other ports in Venezuela that will prove to be safer.  Grenada is in the 50-year hurricane climatology and Trinidad is in the 100-year band.  That doesn’t mean there can’t be major storms here but we’d really have to beat the odds for things to be dangerous to us and our boat.

As of 8 pm today (Tuesday), it looks like Dean may hit Grenada and / or Trinidad so we are making plans to sail southwest to Margarita (about 140 miles) then probably on to the coast of Venezuela which is only about 20 miles south of there.  We really didn’t want to sail in that direction because if we decide to come back to Trinidad or the eastern Caribbean, it will be difficult against the wind and currents (we’ll be motoring into the wind and waves AGAIN!).  But, on the brighter side, we wanted to get another quote on fixing our decks and the yards in VZ may be much cheaper than here.  We’ll probably find out in the next couple weeks how much it will cost there.  It looks like we will be boning up on our “Spanish for Boaters” over the next couple days.  We’ve definitely become spoiled with the past 6 weeks in English speaking Grenada.  The current plan is to stay here and monitor the forecasts closely until Wednesday afternoon while we get the boat ready for an ocean crossing.  If the storm still has a good chance of heading our way, we’ll leave around 5 am Thursday for the 30 hour sail to the beautiful island of Margarita where other boaters have told us the diesel is 33 cents / gallon (YO MAMA!).