Caribbean Adventures Part TWO!

 

We are currently floating in the lovely Christmas Cove, USVI.   We have been experiencing unusual weather patterns (from our past experiences in the Virgin Islands)  We (well okay, I) have had to pull out a lightweight blankie to keep warm in the evenings; bought a light weight hoodie the other day; and we spend an inordinate amount of time opening and closing hatches but alas the vistas are still gorgeous, the beaches spectacular and adventures endless.  (And with our new camera we are happy to share a few photo moments with you now again.)

 We spent most of January in Antigua rediscovering its charm, finding new adventures and hikes, as well as dealing with a number of boat gremlins that had come aboard.  Reid and Kath had a fast and furious trip home and returned ready to set sail for our next port.  SO with a happy generator and water maker we were to go….somewhere…..After much discussion we decided to head west.  Heading south again for abit in order to take part in the Dominca Cruisers’ Week was tempting but moving on won the day with plans to catch up on Dominica on our return south.

Great Bird Island

 St. Bart’s and St. Martin were quick stopping points before a short weather window allowed us to head to the Virgin Islands.  And as we got closer to the damage wreaked by Maria’s path we were again gob smacked at the power of wind.  so hard to imagine.  Every time we would get “gusties” aboard it would make me shudder to think of the REAL gusties that were experienced by so many islanders.  And as we wandered about the islands the razed hillsides, topless trees, damaged homes and many boats in places they didn’t belong, we were very thankful we were hunkered in Grenada during the blows.

 

damage to the beautiful to Anse FLamade

tortoises….

love those IWW bikes… off to explore St Martin’s shopping

 The islands are working through repairs and getting things back up and running.  It was great to see 4 cruise ships in Charlotte Amalie (St Thomas) providing the return of some much needed tourism dollars.   A trip to the world famous Magens Beach was heartening as close to 500 trees were planted and an equal number pruned and saved, new shelters and facilities built so that it too was happy receive appreciative tourists.  We are excited to hear that most of the trails in the National Park in St John’s are ready for us and so we will continue to explore and enjoy the Virgin Islands. Our plans hope to include a stop in St.Croix and the Spanish Virgin Islands of Culebra and Vieques as well.

love that matching style

Honey Moon Beach on Valentine’s Day

the famous Banana Daiquiris at Mountain Top

the view from Mountain Top

homes lost

and many floating homes lost too

 

at the bar at Dinghies!!

the ferry to Water Island

one Salty Dog

wandering about in Charlotte Amalie

gorgeous Magens Beach

 So for now we are looking forward to calmer winds and warmer weather – tee hee… but again, not complaining.

Advertisements

SO even though October and the season of thanks has long past, we reflect and are grateful each day for our many blessings.  Grand Cru and her crew continue to have such fun and adventures.  We have explored new islands, had many hiking adventures, a super fantastic reunion with dear friends, Dave & Alex, experienced random acts of kindness that replaced our battered Canadian flag, (thx Silverheels!) and spent many hours of fun and sharing with friends new and old.

Some highlights include:

Thanks to Reid for his photos and camera sharing as our camera broke down in Tobago and we will be cameraless for awhile. 

  • After a boisterous start we had a beautiful sail, and our flotilla of three arrived in Bequia where we spent 10 days exploring, hiking and hanging out. The quaint charm of Bequia lives on for us.

  • We bid farewell to Alexian and arrived in St Lucia in time for provisioning and the Atlantic arrival of Dave and Alex aboard s/v Zao. What a great reunion … we were all confused as to the when and where of the last time we met (but finally determined it was just over a year ago in St Augustine).  Such fun to have them aboard for some serious catch up time and wizard, lots and lots of wizard!

Woo hoo! A great celebration upon arrival

what’s a celebration without champagne?

  • We had a lovely sail to St Anne, Martinique and then a spinnaker lesson around to Petite Anse de Arlet before we dropped them off in Fort de France.

farewell….until next time….somewhere, somewhere!

  • Island touring with Jean and Yo (s/v Caffe Latte) was fantastic… and of course, included the ultimate feat for us of finally hiking Mount Pele! This was truly memorable.

  • And then the beaches of St.Anne…. white, powdery sand and turquoise waters to delight. It is just a little hard to get our heads around Christmas being in 4 days…but I did just see Santa on stage at the waterfront!

Plans next include a quick trip for New Year’s celebrations in the Saintes.  We will then make our way to Antigua in time for Reid and Kath’s mid-January flights home for a visit.

An overnight sail saw us arriving with the sunrise!

We really loved this island… with the:

  • SIGHTS of lush rainforest, secluded bays, beautiful beaches, scary, winding roads and dark, dark nights

an adventure!

chilling at Argyll falls

do you see the birdie?

London Bridge

 

  • SOUNDS of mysterious, elusive parrots, the `clicking`of feeding fish at sunrise and sunset, the banter of local fishermen seine netting beside us, bubbles, just bubbles and the crunching of parrot fish on the coral

Diving off Little Tobago with Yo and Jean… (thanks for the photo)

some lovely fishes! (thx again for the photo)

  • TASTES of delicious pastries, creole food, papaya gathered on a hike and nibblies shared with friends at happy hour

yummy creole dinner

  • SMELLS of everything`earthy green`- so different than anywhere

now that is a rainforest

Dave’s “Dead Tree Scrolls”

Leaf cutter ant highway

Say What????

  • FEELINGS of accomplishment as we sweat and climb through the forest to reach a number of gorgeous lookouts; of safety and welcome from the locals we meet, (An island where the immigration officer gives you his cell number to call when you want to check out)

On Up!

Atop Flagstaff Lookout

down to Pirate’s Bay

Truly a great place to hang out and an awesome way to start our first cruising season aboard Grand Cru …

dolphin escorts

Tobago… we will return!

 

**Update***  November 4 and here we are in Grenada (still)…And so, we wait.  Not away as planned but hopefully soon come!  Final panel install now Sunday….so we will check out and do last minute errands Monday and depart Tuesday (fingers crossed).   All is good as the winds look a little better waiting the extra day and the other bonus will be to be able to hook up with friends tomorrow for a farewell grill ..

Cannot believe today is October 31!!!  Just where the time has gone I am unsure.  It has been a very busy 6 weeks since our last update.  Lots of Halloween fun was had by all…. Secret Harbor party – not quite a “cruiser event” … sure miss those bashes!

A Grenadian Bus is an experience like no other…so we decided to be one -driver, conductor, cruiser and local passenger squeezed in between many

great friends… “Super Yo” and “Jean” (s/v Caffe Latte)

Of course no sailor’s discussion is anything without talk of the weather…many of our chores have had to be completed dodging showers!  And deluges! And squalls and full on days of rain.  It has certainly been a very wet and unusual rainy season in Grenada this year.   Despite the weather we have been able to check off almost everything on our TO DO list.  As often happens, the majority accomplished in the last week as we make mad preparations to head out of Camp Grenada.

“singing in the rain”

One of our major boat projects (and dollars) has included installing solar.  This is almost completed as we just await the final mounting.  We have already seen great rewards to our batteries.  Our new dinghy is finally out of its “break in” phase and can go like stink.  And of course, the best addition to GC was last week’s installment of our onboard washing machine.  Now, THIS is a luxury and in the long run saves money and lots and lots of headaches.

aaahhhhh!

The reference in the title to the other “scary stuff” entails the boys truly horrible, nasty and smelly job yesterday.  As our cruising friends and those who have visited and lived with us know, boat life isn’t just “margaritas, beaches and sun tans” there are always endless boat chores that include cleaning, maintaining, scrubbing servicing, and repairing of just about anything.  On the top of the “ugly” list is dealing with the heads (toilets that is) and yes, yesterday was one ugly chore as we dealt with the leaking and plugged holding tank.  No more needs to be said other than at the end a lot of disinfectant was required for the tools and people involved.

come on boys, what’s the problem? and I have the stern! (another project involved new blocks for the davits to equal the situation)

In between the boat work we were consumed by the amazing 1000th Hash Week. This kept us busy every single day of the week… so well organized and executed, this Kennel (Hash Club) is truly fantastic.  We will miss our mud-packed Saturday afternoons.

 

 

Kathy, Reid and Dave aboard the “Rum Runner”

Receiving our special “perseverance prize” at the hash closing ceremony

Pick a trail, any trail…..

didn’t matter… they were ALL VERY muddy

don’t you love the name of this little rum shop? you will have to take our word that the road lives up to its name

a bus trip to the far north end… Sauteres

Yoga and volleyball sessions have also been such great fun and these too will be missed but I am sure we can fill the time with hiking, snorkeling and new island explorations.  It will be great to be “on the move” again.

Helping to load the Flying Buzzard with relief supplies for Dominca took up several days

 

A Canadian thanksgiving potluck at Hog Island

Complete with Canadian “Caesars”! Thanks Wendy for supplying the ingredients!

Our new ride… quite sweet!!!

So move it is… and soon.  Today we get some provisioning done, tomorrow we scrape barnacles and growth off the bottom and we hope to have a short test sail by Friday to make sure everything is in order after our careful servicing and idle months.

our very own coral reef (with lots and lots of barnacles)

We are really excited to be heading to some “new waters” for us … Tobago!  This island has been on our list for sure and reports are of a beautiful, remote and laid back island with superb beaches and diving.  Add to this mix the fun that we will have as we explore with some great new, crazy French Canadian friends and good friend Dave too!   From there the plan is to sail to Barbados (another new one for us) and then on to St. Lucia at the end of November where we hope to be able to meet Dave and Alex’s arrival as they complete a passage as crew from the Canary Islands.

the lovely St George… see ya next year!

And so are anticipating an exciting cruising season.  We are looking forward to exploring new waters as well as revisiting some old favorites.  Mixed in of course, will be the heart wrenching visits to islands recovering from Irma and Maria’s devastation.  We will be monitoring safety and security of these islands and making those decisions as we travel but hoping to spend some time in Dominica for sure lending any assistance that we can.  And then….we have no agenda… wherever the wind blows us (in a nice manner that is)….

And so, we cannot believe we are mid-September already… the  time is flying as fast as all the these tropical storms are forming – yeesh!

It has been gut wrenching to hear of all the devastation on so many beloved islands in the Caribbean chain.  So many have lost so much it is just heart wrenching.  Friends have lost boats, businesses and employment but have weathered the storm and everyone is vowing to rebuild and move on.  It is inspiring.

Just a month and a half ago whilst in the BVI’s awaiting registration and repair issues and not having much luck finding any help to do a straight shot south, we had debated staying and spending the season there…of course, we are thankful we made the decision to move on ourselves.  We had heard from many including Chris, our broker that it was going to be a crazy season for blows… and these predictions have certainly turned out.   Daily (and often more) weather checks have us watching all those “blobs forming off the coast of Africa and it has seemed nonstop.

And Now.   on to other whirlwinds….. we were all so excited to have Kelsey aboard for a visit.  Despite her initial saying that she wanted to be “moderately” busy, we often started the day that way but quickly found things to do, places to go and rum punches to sample.  We even got in a sail up to Carriacou so she could see how “all this stuff works” as she pointed out one day whilst laying on the tramp looking up at the sail.

14 hours late… but Kels finally arrives!!!

Poolside at Secret Harbor

fresh, fresh lobster anyone? YUM!!!!

snorkeling at the Sculpture Park is always on the “To Do” list

It was a great visit and catch up and also a break from boat work for a while.  With the “holiday” over we continue to work away at our list  and are happy to report that YESTERDAY we finally got our anchor light replaced and working!!  We are still awaiting delivery of a new dinghy as the freight is still not coming out of Miami…hopefully “soon come”.  Likewise for solar panels – we still have not been able to source these out of  Florida yet either.

our anchor light is finally up and working…. Only two lengthy trips up for Glen

In between boat chores we still sneak in yoga, volleyball, hashes and other adventures.  Things are ramping up for the BIG 1000th Hash Celebration at the end of the month with lots of great activities and events planned.  The kick off to the week will be the Carriacou Hash this weekend. Weather depending of course, we hope to make it up for that.

Best Hash ever…. at least 10 circles….and a Beer stop …woo hooooo

watching the J24 races at Clarkes Court Marina

Glen gets his “paddleboard legs” at Sandy Island

 

And before we know it the chore  list will be as complete as possible and we will be heading off for an exciting season up island exploring old and new locales!  On On!

 

 

Ahhhh Grenada – the Isle of  Spice and all things nice.  We celebrated our one month anniversary afloat in Grand Cru.  We did a sail by of most countries with a brief stop and check in at St. Kitts and St. Lucia.  We had a couple of ugly ‘easting’ days and then some great sail days south.  We are still amazed at the ease and speed at which this girl sails.  LOVE. IT!!!  We are so looking forward to next season and visiting new sites and islands as well as some old haunts too.

And it sure didn’t take long to get back into the spirit of “Camp Grenada” with yoga, volleyball, jam sessions, brewery outings, lazing by the pool at the Uni Club and more.  We have to get those day-timers out again in order to keep track of all the social happenings.  And what a treat it has been to reunite with some great cruising friends and locals that we bid farewell to two years ago.  It has been great also to meet new folk from all over and hear of the stories and journeys that have brought them to Grenada.

We scored about 15lb of delicious yellow fin tuna from a local fisherman at the dock …yummm tacos, filets, nachos, salad..

We are settling in for a few months and as always, trying to balance boat chores with social outings as well as anxiously awaiting Kels’s  arrival – our first visitor aboard Grand Cru!  We are excited.

our first new purchase…..a Rocna!!

On Our Way!

Grenada here we come… so close and yet so faaaaaar away.  A little scary during the official “H” season… we tried to find help to get her there in one shot but had no success… appears everyone bails out of the north islands during this time….go figure!  And so, we find ourselves making our way tentatively south through the chain.  A little disconcerting but we are cautiously following weather models, checking carefully and planning our hops daily as we get updates.   Our passage from BVI to St Martin was good, despite not being able to sail we had moderate seas and light winds and were able to make great time.  This is so different than having to do an overnight… we are loving the conveniences of our speedy catamaran.  We have made it as far as St Kitts and hope to get to perhaps Martinique before the next blow comes through.

toasting our first long passage! Thanks Chris and Karen for the delicious treat!

Our hideaway at Christophe Harbor has been quite delightful… we are only 1 of the 3 boats currently berthed.  With limited facilities in place the rates are incredibly reasonable… sadly this won’t last for long as they finish this gorgeous site.  We will enjoy it whilst we can.

proudly Canadian! Official registration complete…. hailing port, Edmonton, AB… really!

our visit in to Basterre to check in has Kathy making friends with the locals. Franklin, the weatherman, provides his advice and special drink and Kath just can’t escape

in addition to “engine room yoga” we have also added “Crew Coffin gymnastics” to our mantra…. this is where my beautiful friend the “watermaker” calls home

and why not a hike in the heat of the day?

Because the reward turns out to be….

at the Pavillion….where we find out we are welcomed with our marina berth… this is an over the top 7 star I am sure resort…. but hey, why not?

infinity pool and all

As we continue to adventure and enjoy this chapter I was amazed to read online today a summary of the “Good and Bad of A Sagittarian” and here it is:  “The biggest fear is being bored and stuck in the same routine for the rest of their lives”… not happening!  What a beginning to another great adventure!

Tag Cloud