Saturday, April 25, 2009
The Tobago Cays and Beyond
Sometimes we’re slogging along making 2-3 knots. Engine is rumbling. Wind and spray in our face. Both tacks are uncomfortable. We’re not going to get there. And I wonder, “What the hell am I doing out here”? Other times we get somewhere, like today when we arrived in the Tobago Cays and I think, “This is why I came here”!
The top photo is from the top of our mast. Thanks Sue!
The Tobago Cays are part of the Grenadines and by the way if you’re looking for a place to charter and/or you’re tired of BVI, the Grenadines have that BVI property of allowing for short hops, gorgeous anchorages, and crazy blue water. We see lots of charter boats. Moorings is here of course out of Canouan, Horizon out of Grenada, and many others.
We had just spent a couple of days in Mayreau in Saline Bay. Pretty busy little anchorage. Not much here but a small town with a few bars and restaurants. We did find a few provisions - cheese, noodles, flour. Sue went farther up the hill than I did and got some great pictures looking north and south as well as a cute little church.
WARNING: MANY SAILING TERMS ENSUE. . .
We also took the main down here to make some repairs to the upper sail slides. Look! Sue sews! Actually I think these upper slides/connectors broke due to operator error. This is what happens when you sit too long and don't sail. I have been frustrated at how the luff of the main would slacken after being up a short while. I'd go out and tighten the halyard but it would seem to go slack again. Finally I figured out that we were not loosening the main sheet when we hoisted the main. This causes the leach of the sail to tighten before the luff so when I crank on the halyard I begin to pull the slides away from the mast. This failure to understand how to raise my own mainsail has since been fixed! Yes, appropriate punishments were meted out.
From Saline Bay to the Tobago Cays is about four miles. See? You come in between a couple of small islands (nothing on them) and anchor or take a mooring ball between there and the reef. You can then dinghy out to the reef proper and there are orange mooring balls to tie your dinghy to. What great snorking! The huge area is littered with coral heads and all kinds of fish. The whole area is about 5 feet deep but maybe 1 foot over the coral heads. It’s a special place and there is no picture that shows the panorama of where we are now. I want to bring my daughter here because she damn well would find a way to capture this photographically!
Oh look, this is Sue’s bread! Sue has been baking a loaf of bread ever other day or so. So yummy and makes the boat smell nice (for a change!). Look, if we’re taking pictures of bread just imagine us with a grandchild! Wheeeeee.
Friday morning the sky is full of small squalls. Weather says the some could bring some gusts in the 25 knot range. Also, they may be with us for 4 or 5 days. Great. We wait while some of these little buggers move through and then take off sensing an OK window. We’d like to make Bequia today but if it turns to crap we can always turn back and tuck into Canouan which is only about 5 miles north of here. In fact I plan to hug the Canouan coast to get some north and some east in before falling off and trying to lay Bequia. This sort of works. Of course after leaving the coast of Canouan we find just about no wind so back on the motor and main. By the way the off shore report was for 20 knots north east to north today. Right. But it could be that all these squalls are disturbing the gradient wind. Whatever, looks like we’ll make Bequia unscathed.
We arrive in Bequia around 1500. Tried to anchor on the north side where it is supposed to be less rolly but the anchor wouldn't stick. Uh oh. . .Now it's a little crowded so Sue cannot leave the helm. I had to do the crank some chain - run below to drag chain aft - crank some chain - . . . repeat. Took about 3 -4 trips to get it done. From there we moved to the south side of the bay where I know it is a more sandy bottom. No problem here. No wifi either though! Our internet service, HOTHOTHOTSPOT is supposed to work in this harbor but I think we're too far out. Well that's a project for another day.
Bequia is one of the more yachty anchorages in the Caribbean without being so busy like Grenada is. You can provision here pretty well. There is a service that will bring water and fuel right to your boat and also pick up laundry and garbage if you want. There's a bookstore here and there is just about nothing rarer than a good bookstore!
Finally, while walking on the beach in Chatham bay this giant monolith appeared. It seemed to be calling me. I carefully approached and lightly touched it's surface. Was it vibrating? Did I hear something? Hmmm.....
I walked on but the next day I got the idea to use a chicken bone to perform minor surgery. Coincidence?