Monday, October 2, 2017

Casting Off Toward the North

Our first stop after leaving Port Louis Marina in St. George’s harbor was in Tyrell Bay, Carriacou, which part of Grenada. The anchoring guide suggests that the bay is vast and peaceful. That is was, but it was also filled with boats! March and April are the prime chartering months of the sailing season so there were many "week long warriors" in the anchorages and on the VHF!

It is a nice anchorage though, and we found a nice little beach with a great sandy bottom for swimming. Actually, it was the first time in a very long time that we had been where it was safe to swim. No sharks, jellyfish or crocodiles! It was so refreshing! And I found some interesting sand glass, too.

The Slipway Restaurant was recommended as were reservations for dinner. Since we were clearing out of Grenada, we stopped there for a nice lunch. The guys tried a local beer and thought we should bring a bottle – empty, of course – back to our boys in California as they brew beer. Somehow the bottle disappeared from the table before we could abscond with it! Maybe next year, kids.
The sail from Grenada to Carriacou caught me off guard and mal de mare struck again; although, I did manage to prevent to worst by lying in my berth the whole trip. I guess I am just used to downwind sailing now. While sailing to windward, the waves were playing with my brain. I was very happy to be at anchor when we finally reached Tyrell Bay, Carriacou and had a couple of days at anchor. This is the clearing out point on the north end of Grenada before moving onto Union Island below St. Vincent and the Grenadines. We will have to clear in at Union and out again in Bequia before going to St. Lucia for the final rally party.
Simon, the lobster man – and anything else he can sell you – came by and asked if we would like some lobsters, fish or oysters. Of course, we went for the lobster and a dozen oysters. When he returned with his “catch of the day,” we were overwhelmed with the size of the lobsters! Three of them totaled 13 pounds! They were huge – and delicious. The guys made a mess cleaning them on the teak deck. Dennis cooked them on the grill and we had enough left over to make a lobster and papaya salad from lunch the next day.

Only the locals are allowed to catch the lobsters and the ones they bring to the boats are huge! Of course, they sell them by the pound and think all cruisers are rich. They were very tender even though they were so big. Lobster is relatively inexpensive here compared to flying in Maine lobsters at home. These are the ones without big claws so there is less meat there. They also provide a source of income on these islands where there is little work and small incomes.

Personally, I can't stand the sight of people eating raw oysters so I just turned my back while the others enjoyed those slippery, slimy things! Apparently, they grow in the mangroves, but only locals can harvest them. (I later read in the cruising guide that it is illegal to harvest oysters in the mangroves and it states that cruisers should not buy from the locals! Opps!)

This was our first time in the Windward Islands that run south from Martinique, to St. Lucia, through St. Vincent and the Grenadines, which include the Tobago Cays, and onto Union, Carriacou and finally to Grenada. They are the last link before Trinidad and South America.

I had the wrong idea about the name. I thought these islands would have stronger winds than the Leeward Islands, but that is not the case. The name is related to the location of the islands as they create an arc toward the southwest as you travel down the island chain. The British named them Windward because you have to beat into the wind to sail north. The trade winds provide good sailing with slower passages on the leeward side of the islands and some real romps between islands.

Our plan was to make several stops on our way north. Since Merc and Bob had spent some time in the area over the last ten years, we took our lead from them when setting our course. The next stop was at Sandy Island just around the corner between L’Esterte Bay and Hillsborough Bay. It was a small islet with a nice beach and a snorkeling area. It is a protected area so we had to take a mooring buoy.

The current was quite strong, so we drifted from one end of the sandy spit to the other. The coral was in bad shape and there wasn’t much to see. We later learned that we should have gone further up the island to find better snorkeling so we will have to try it again. In a way, we are very spoiled by the lovely snorkeling we have had throughout the world so this was disappointing.

Two nights there was enough. At least we had several WARC boats there so we had Sundowners on the beach. The biggest challenge was that Dennis lost one of his hearing aids in the sand after snorkeling and didn’t realize it until we got back to the boat. He and Bob went back to hunt for it, but the wind was shifting the sands and the tide had changed since we were there.

When we went for Sundowners on the beach with several other WARC boats, the S/Y Into The Blue gang helped search again, but it was a lost cause. So it will be a challenge with communications until we get home and get another set of hearing aids. So enjoy the company and the sunset as tomorrow is another day!

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