Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Back to St. Anne, Martinique

After having a wonderful time with our friends on Lagom we headed out for Marinique.  The wind was light but we were able to sail some of the journey.  The rest was motor sailing.  24 hours later we arrived in St. Anne.
Yippee!  We celebrated in style with a French Bokit and baked goods.  
Trois Rivières Distillery
The weather was between hot and sunny to cold and rainy.  We took advantage of the hot and sunny days to rent a car for 2 days and tour the island.  The roads were steep and winding through hills and valleys.  We all noticed the amount of color of the tropical flowers.  Paul loved driving the cute little rental car around.  The first day we got stuck in some traffic.  It was like being back in the real city as we found our way toward Fort De Fance.  We stopped at La Galleria Mall where we found a Super U (grocery store).  They had some great deals on baguettes,chocolate and UHT milk.  Next we found an awesome store called Decathalon.  It reminds me of the REI from back home with some things being half the price of the U.S.  We made it out of there with a few swim shirts,swim suits and a boogie board.

A cool welded sculpture at St James Distillery

The next day we toured the south end of the island and up the East coast which was quite beautiful
The language barrier doesn't seem to be much of a problem as we can decipher much of what signs say with some common sense.

After more then a week in St. Anne we decided to move up the coast a little to Grande Anse d'Arlet. We spent the day on the beach and and anchored for the night. We actually dragged anchor for the first time since we've been cruising and had to deal with it at 5 A.M in a crowded anchorage. We decided to just raise sail and move instead of trying to re-anchor in the dark as the anchorage is very deep and its was impossible to see. We moved up to Anse Mitan and spent the afternoon walking around the touristy town and playing on the beach in front of the abandoned hotel. We have now moved over to Fort-de-France to do a little shopping and get some decent internet at the library so we could post these last few blog entries finally. We are going to travel a little further north to St. Pierre and perhaps rent a car to tour the north end of the island and do a little hiking. We really love Martinique.

Tobago Cays

We had a good sail up to Union Island to clear in to SVG. We then headed straight over to the Tobago Cays and anchored for three nights to hang out with our friends aboard Lagom and enjoy the full moon. We did a little snorkeling and beach exploring along with schoolwork and some boat chores.
Shambala under sail

Full Moon over The Cays
After a few days we got a decent window to make a passage to Martinique and we said goodbye to our friends and headed North. It's good to be on the move again.

Grenada, Trinidad, and back to Grenada

We haven't posted in a while so I'll try to get us back up to date. After we left St. Vincent and the Grenadines we sailed to Carriacou which is one of the islands of Grenada. We stayed in Tyrell bay which is very popular with cruisers with many staying there for hurricane season. It has a slower pace than the anchorages on the south end of the island of Grenada. On our arrival there we noticed one of our genoa sheets had snagged the forward hatch over the kids cabin and broke the hinge. This was a big deal because the hatch couldn't be made watertight and when we are sailing the forward deck is quite often awash so the kids would have very wet bedding. Fortunately there was a guy anchored in the harbour who had converted an old plywood trimaran into a full welding shop. I removed the hatch and took the broken hinge to him which he fixed right up for us and had us watertight again.
The trimaran welding shop in Tyrell Bay

We then continued sailing south to Grenada and anchored off St. Georges to do a little provisioning and make a visit to a dentist. After a couple of days there we moved down to Prickly Bay which is full of cruisers waiting out hurricane season. We reconnected with our friends aboard Taia and met a few more boat families. We had been having problems with one of our rentals in Colorado so decided that I(Paul) would fly home to deal with it and get some new renters. The flights from Grenada were very expensive so we looked into Trinidad and found we could fly for half the price. We made reservations and sailed another 80 miles south to Chaguaramas, Trinidad.

Once in Trinidad we found a good place to anchor and leave the boat at the TTSA. We met a couple of other boat families and spent a week hanging out with them while we waited to fly out. I flew to Colorado and Staci and the kids went to see the Grandparents in Phoenix. I came back after three weeks and hauled the boat to redo bottom paint and clean her up a little. Staci and the Kids got back a week later and we put the boat back in the water. The harbour in Chaguaramas is very commercial and very dirty with regular oil spills and trash floating everywhere. We ventured out to Chacachacare Island (a former leper colony) for a night and climbed around the ruins.  Chacachacare is only 6 miles from Venezuela and we felt safe enough on Saturday night because other boats were anchored near us but everyone departed Sunday leaving us all alone so we decided to head back to Scotland Bay on mainland Trinidad while we waited for favorable winds to sail back to Grenada.
Shambala on the hard at Coral Cove Marina with fresh bottom paint

Samantha cutting my hair on the dock
We cleared out of Trinidad and moved back over to Scotland Bay to stage for our night crossing to Grenada. Around 10 p.m. we left and had a very calm sail through the night being pushed along by a a north setting current that made the passage go quickly. Once back in Grenada we anchored in Prickly Bay for a few days then moved over to Mt. Hartman Bay to get away from the constant roll of the swells. We stayed in Mt. Hartman for a week and a half getting caught up on school, provisioning, and doing some touring of the island. We all ran a hash one Saturday and then Nicholas and I did another the following Saturday.  We also did a great tour with a driver named Cutty who brought us around the whole island stopping often to identify and explain the uses of many of the plants that grow here. We visited a chocolate factory, nutmeg processing plant, and an ancient rum distillery where they still use much of the original equipment.
Ladies sorting nutmeg

The kids pointing out Cacao pods where chocolate comes from

Mace with a nutmeg inside

An eggplant(ha-ha)

Waterwheel at the distillery that turns the sugar cane crusher

One of the stills at the distillery

We reconnected with our friends aboard Lagom and decided to sail up to the Tobago Cays together for the full moon.  We stopped in Carriacou to clear out of Grenada and the following day sailed to Union Island to clear into St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Union Island

Smooth sailing!

We have been doing a lot of sailing now and it has been wonderful!
Our next stop after the Tabago Cays was Chatham Bay on Union Island.  As soon as we arrived we were approached by a panga with two guys asking if we wanted to come to their restaurant for dinner that night.  We said no thanks and they said no problem.  Then we were approached by another panga with another offer for dinner, this one much less expensive so we took them up on the offer.  The name of the restaurant was Aqua and it was beautiful.  We enjoyed some nice fish and watched the sunset over the bay.  

Next day we went to Clifton to check out of St. Vincent and the Grenadines where we found slow internet and amazing rotis for $10 EC with brownies for $5 EC.  The name of the place was Yummys and it was yummy!

Next stop Grenada.  Whoop! Whoop!  We made it!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Tabago Cays or Bahamas?

This place so closely resembels the Bahamas that for a moment I forgot we were in the Caribbean.  A reef protects the anchorage but otherwise we faced right into the easterly trade winds looking out over the Atlantic Ocean.  I don't think the pictures do it justice.
So Beautiful!

The sailing we have been able to do since we left Martinique has been peaceful and beautiful.  Most of it is down wind or a broad reach.  So the sail to the Tabago Cays was peaceful as they come until a squall hit and caused the boom vang to come off.  We are glad it wasn't anything serious.  Earlier at St. Lucia we watched another boat blow out their headsail coming into the anchorage during a squall.  Glad it wasn't us, whew!

The Tabago Cays is a park that protects the sea life.  The snorkeling was awesome with clear blue water and a lot of sea life.  The kids are getting to be better swimmers and enjoy snorkeling as much as we do.  The kids get excited when they see new sea life and are able to identify what they see.  Nicholas especially enjoys spending time looking for new sea creatures.  He also likes to make a lot of bubbles and splashes in the water that scare them all away.  He is all boy.

The anchorage was surprisingly calmer than I thought it would be but still a bit of a swell coming at the bow of the boat.  Another surprise for us was the amount of other boats anchored in the small area.  This seems to be a popular destination for cruisers and charter boats.

The island in the background of had a small sandy beach with a small sand dune hill.  Paul got a chance to do some small repairs on the dinghy while the kids and I raced up and down the hill a few times (more like twice for me and 10 times for the kids).  I forget how out of shape I am until I actually try and exercise.  I like to blame it on the fact that it is too hot but what I secretly mean is I am too lazy and old.  Ha Ha!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


We all enjoyed Bequia (pronounced beck-way).  There were white sandy beaches where we played.  There is cool trail along the shore line that is fun to walk along to see all the restaurants and the water.

This was a popular anchorage with a lot of boat oriented trades.  We also found plenty of grocery stores.  We tried plantain chips and they were so yummy we bought a plantain and made our own on the boat.  We also tried breadfruit for the first time and found it is similar to a potato and made chips out of it too.  Can't go wrong with deep fried goodness.

Cool path built along the shore
We walked to the turtle hatchery and met the owner and founder.  He has an interesting place and a unique story as to how he started his turtle shelter.
Two day old Loggerhead Turtles

The wind changed again (lighter) so we took advantage and had a fast sail to the Tabago Cays. 

Rodney Bay, St. Lucia

We stopped to rest here and didn't visit much of the island.  From what we saw this place is where people come to relax.  There is a Sanadals resort and the place seemed like your typical touristy destination.
We took the dinghy over to Pigeon Island where we paid a small fee to walk up the the fort.  The kids love to hike up steep inclines.  The island was beautiful with all of the bright red flowering trees and other plant life.  We came back that afternoon to enjoy the beach.

Fruit/Vegetable Guy's Boat

In town we found one of the biggest hardware stores and pedestrian mall we have seen since we left the United States.  There was a very nice Marina where we got our propane tanks filled.  

We moved on quickly and decided to skip the rest of St. Lucia.  We chose to admire it from the water as we sailed by.  The Pitons were beautiful.  We also skipped St. Vincent as from what we have read it is not as cruiser friendly with deep water anchorages.