Friday, July 22, 2016


Finally.... Grenada

We left Miami Florida on January 14, 2015 with our final destination Grenada so we could be out of the hurricane Zone! The trip was close to 2,000 km, it saw us clear in and out of 12 countries and visit 18 islands. Now just before June 1 we make landfall on the island of Curracou the northern most point of the country of Grenada. On Curracou we anchored at both Anse Roche and  Terryll bay,the first a small but wonderful little hole in the wall  bay located on the northern most point of the island, its a turtle beach with beautiful white sand with 10 feet of water almost right up to the beach. It has great snorkeling on both sides of the anchorage and seldom have we had to share the spot!  Terryll bay on the other hand is a large protected anchorage on the south end of the island. It has a customs office and is a great place to clear into Grenada! Its a handy place to stage to make the final trip to the main island.

     After spending a couple of days clearing in and enjoying the island we left early in the morning headed for the Main island of Grenada and the port of St Georges the capital. We anchored just off from the channel into the harbor and explored the town of St Georges! The best beach on the island Grand Anse, is just south of the anchorage and it makes a great playground to beach walk and snorkel on the reefs just hundreds of yards off the beach!

     We spent a couple of days off of St Georges and then sailed around the south point to the first of the main anchorages on the south end of Grenada, Prickly Bay. The south end of the island is home to most of the protected anchorages, Prickly Bay, Mt Hartman, Hog, and Clarke,s court. Prickly is the home of two of the most prominent cruising spots on the island, Prickly Bay Marina and Spice Island Yard. The marina has a few slips and a great restaurant along with a bandstand and a tiki bar. They have pizza night specials, sponsor domino tourneys and great live entertainment! Spice Island is a large and very secure place to haul your boat for repairs or a hurricane season. It also is the location for the largest budget marine chandlery on the island and a great place to eat called timbers! Its also has a great dinghy dock and its a short walk to a main street to catch a cheap bus to get to just about anywhere in the St George area! We spent a couple of weeks here to arrange for the haul out of our boat and move around town to both sight see and get some work done on the boat. 
     The only down side of this anchorage is the rolling that occurs on a regular basis, It can get so bad that sleep is difficult so when we got our projects done and had enough of the rolling we moved south one anchorage to Mt Hartman, wow what a difference its protected by several reefs that cut down the swell and make this a quiet anchorage, sleep is much easier! Its also a scenic place with beautiful mountains surrounding it and a wonderful marina called secret harbor, It has a number of slips , dressing rooms, laundry etc. It also has a great restaurant and bar that provides a great overlook of the harbor! It requires a pretty good walk to get to Prickly bay marina and a even longer walk to get to a highway where you can catch one of the great buses to take you into town cheap. But it makes up for this by being such a pleasant place to drop the hook!
    The cruisers have developed a very full list of options for those that drop the hook around the south end of the island, they have arranged for buses that will pick up at all the major anchorages to take you to the groceries, the shopping mall and the chandlries. Also by listening to the cruiser net on channel 68 you learn of the sightseeing trips that the bus drivers promote, some of the trips are to the turtle beaches on the north east side of the island to see the leather-back turtles as they lay their eggs in the early summer, and the interior plantations like the organic chocolate  factory at Belmont plantation, as well as the many rum tours to the rum factories, and lastly the trips to a small fishing village on the west coast called Quave and their Friday block party called fish Friday. We did it all and had a great time. 
     We arrive in Grenada on June 1st, we finally hauled our boat out on July 12th and spent 4 hectic days getting the boat ready for its 5 months on the hard! Finally it was time to turn the page on a fantastic adventure and return back to our family and friends in the states and reconnect with our loved ones. Discovery will sit patiently until we return in November to begin another chapter in our Caribbean discovery!

Waterwheel at the Westerhall rum factory

What a coco pod looks like at harvest

Coco out to dry

Raw coco beans right after harvest as they are put in the bins to ferment

One of our boat friends at the Westerhall rum factory

Downtown St Georges

The fruit market at the center of St Georges

The monkey lady at Etang lake

One of the many waterfalls in Grenada

Happy adventurers

At Etang crater lake with the monkey lady

Etang crater lake

Yours truly snorkeling in the Grenadines

Closer look at one of the 100+ yr old wheels at the Westhall rum Factory

Saturday, July 16, 2016

St Lucia and the Grenadines

St Lucia and the Grenadines

After our stay on Martinique as interesting as it was, our focus went back to our deadline to get down to Grenada and out of the hurricane box by June 1. So we left from Grand Anse another one of the wonderful french fishing villages at first light with our destination to be Rodney Bay the northern most anchorage with customs so we could clear in. Rodney bay is home to a wonderful IGY marina with facilities for mega yachts all the way to cruisers like us! It has a great group of bakeries, stores, marine stores, a sail loft, electronics service shop and several restaurants! The floating docks are great and the prices during the cruising season are very reasonable. We anchored off the beach that is home to Sandals and several other lage resorts! It was a easy dingy trip into the visitor dock and then we had access to all the facilities at the marina. We also took the dink thru the marina to the lagoon that is further in island and that gave us access to more stores, groceries etc. We took advantage of our time and did a tour of Pigeon island and the British fort that overlooks the anchorage, its a very well preserved example of the types of fortifications that dot the Caribbean islands. We also did a tour by bus of the island, this gave us a chance to see the famous Pitons up close with out having to take our boat to this less area that has a history of boat boarding's and robberies. The Pitons are two volcanic mini mountains that rise straight out of the sea and are spectacular! 
     We decided to bypass  the southern part of St Lucia but the entire island of St Vincent the next island south. On our way we changed our mind and after the 40 mile passage from St Lucia to St Vincent we stopped at Chandebilar the Northernmost anchorage on the island. As it turned out it was a mistake, when we arrived a boat boy came out and meet us , he showed us where we should anchor, then he took us ashore to find the customs house and clear into the island, the customs office was closed and no one knew when they would open. So we returned to the beach and our boat boy took us back to the boat. The village was clearly very poor even by Caribbean standards, very quickly we had two fellows paddle out to our boat begging for food, batteries etc. Also we learned that one of the three boats that were anchored in the bay was broken into 3 days prior. The robbers beat up the boaters, stole money, passports and the dingy. This pretty much sealed the deal and we decided that we would stand watch that night and leave at first light. If the robbery wasn't enough the swell was so bad we could not sleep even if we wanted to!
     So at first light we were off to Bequia, a island just 5 miles south of St Vincent that is the gateway to the Grenadines! The Grenadines is group of small islands located just south of St Vincent, they are part of the country of St Vincent and are positioned on a shallow bank of wonderful white sand and coral reefs. Included in the Grenadines is the Tabago Keys, islands that have perhaps the best combination of sand, clear water and beaches in the entire eastern Caribbean!

     Bequia is the first stop coming from the north to the Grenadines. Its the largest island and is home to great eating places, good snorkeling and the best sail loft in the Caribbean to get chaps or other canvas work done on your boat! The snorkeling on the point that's located on the north edge of Admiralty is spectacular! Its also a convenient place to clear into St Vincent from the North and clear out when traveling from the south! We spent a few days enjoying Bequia and then headed to Mayreau and the the Tobago Keys! 
    Maryeau is a cool island with two really special anchorages, Salt whistle on the north edge and Saline a little further south. Saltwhistle may be the most photogenic anchorage in the Caribbean if you like south pacific looking beaches!  Saline bay has a great beach and its less crowded than Salt Whistle. It also is well protected to swell and offers a peaceful night sleep! And unlike Salt Whistle you can anchor here instead of being required to take a mooring ball. There is a small village at the top of the hill with small grocery store and a few restaurants!
   From Mayreau its a short 4 mile sail around the top to the Tabago Keys, these small islands are scenic and along with the reefs offer just enough protection to be comfortable. There is a section between  the islands that is a turtle sanctuary with area roped off to protect them, it makes for a great place to snorkel and get up close to the turtles! In addition there is a small island just beyond  the turtle area that's called Petite Tabac, it was used in the first Pirates of
the Caribbean movie, its the one where Captain Jack was marooned and where Elizabeth built a bonfire and burned the rum, its a wonderfully beautiful island and cool to be on one of the sets of that movie!
    After our visit to the Tabago keys we headed south to Union island, the last of the Grenadines islands and the place we can clear out of St Vincent! We anchored at Chatham bay a large very well protected bay at the northwest side of the island! Chatham is surrounded by tall hills and anchored up next to the north hills we were snug as a bug in a rug.... until the gusts started rushing down the mountains, the wind would be light and then all of a sudden wham 25 knot gusts come rushing down, not really a big deal but we needed to make sure the anchor was well set in the soft sand! We had a great 5 day stay in Chatham, our first day we were greeted by a boat boy named Bushman, he was representing a beach restaurant called Boll heads, we told him that we were good for dinner that night but we would consider him in the coming days. The next day he came by again but this time with another fellow in a differnt boat, he explained that his boat was broken and he couldn't work, he asked if he could borrow our dinghy, not sure why but i said ok, he told us if he was successful in getting customers for dinner we could come and have dinner for free! He did find customers and we were invited to dinner and had a great meal! This arrangement lasted several days and we either ate at the restaurant or had dinner brought to the boat! We snorkeled and ate like kings during our 5 days at Chatham, but we needed to move on to Clifton the village at the south side where we could clear out of St Vincent and leave for Grenada! The day we left  Chatham our new friend Bushman came by in the morning to take me fishing, I envisioned rods reels etc! But instead we took my dink just 100 feet from our boat and Bushman jumped into the water and came up with a rope, we then pulled up a huge fish trap loaded with fish!  Bushman picked out several big ones, scaled and cleaned them and  we put them in the fridge! We gave our new friend some t shirts and exchanged hugs and promised to visit again!  Next day we sailed to Clifton cleared out and made our way to our final destination for the season Grenada!

The sail maker at Bequia

Admiralty Bay in Bequia
 On Saline bay beach on Mayreau

Anita on the beach on the north east side of Mayreau

Tommy's restaurant at Bequia
Admiralty bay

 Anita on the west beach at Mayreau
Looking toward Discovery anchored at the Tobago Keys 
 More Tobago Keys
 View from Discovery anchored at Chatham bay looking toward Bollheads
 Our Friend Bushman
 Anita at Bollheads
 Snorkeling at Chatham
 View from Discovery at Palm Island beach
 Pic of a Flying Ganard fish
 Turtle at Tabago Keys
Beach life !

Thursday, July 14, 2016

South to Dominica and Martinique

Our stay in the Saintes was short but very pleasant, but our June deadline to reach Grenada meant that we need to keep moving. So we made the 15  mile passage from the Saintes to Dominica the Mountain island! Dominica is a lush and mountainous island, perhaps the most lush and most mountainous one in the entire Caribbean! We stopped first at the northern harbor of Portsmouth. This anchorage is the best and safest on the island. A group of boat boys have unites and formed a group called PAYS, they are polite and work hard to make sure the anchorage is safe and that cruisers can access the interior by sponsoring tours of the interior and also the Indian rive that flows into the anchorage and is a great eco tourism site, its even the site of a scene from Pirates of the Caribbean.
After our visit to Portsmouth we sailed to the southern end of the island and the city of Rousseau the capital of Dominica This anchorage is a roadside anchorage without the protection of Portsmouth, the water is hundreds of feet deep right up to the shore almost! We saw a neighboring boat drift away with its mooring attached! luckily the owners were taking to us and were able to rescue their  boat!
We didn't stay long here before we pushed on the 40  miles to Martinique and the anchorage at St Pierre! St Pierre was at one time the capital of Martinique and was called the Paris of the Caribbean before the neighboring volcano Mtt Pele erupted in the early 1800s and destroyed most of the town and its people and many boats in the anchorage! We toured the town and sailed on to our next anchorage at the capital of the country Fort De France!  This is the largest town in the country and perhaps the largest town in the entire Caribbean! Martinique has the most people of any island in the Caribbean almost 300,000! We anchored in the shadow of Fort De France a fort built by the French t protect the Harbour! The town  bustles with activity, any kind of produce can be found at the largest market in the Caribbean and the architecture is amazing

Looking at downtown Ft De France from the anchorage

Discovery  anchored under the French Flag at Ft De France

Cathedral in Ft DE France

Downtown Ft De France

Perhaps the Caribbean's largest market

Scene from Rousseau in Dominica
 More Rousseau Dominica

Catholic church in St Anne Martinique

Looking towards anchorage from church in St Anne Martinique

Diamond Rock The island the British occupied and made a part of the British navy to pester the French
Another shot of the roadside anchorage at Rousseu Dominica

Sailing South to Guadeloupe

After our tour of Montserrat we were off to the French island of Guadeloupe, its the largest of the islands in the west indies and home to what would become two of our most favorite spots, the small fishing village of Deshaies and the beautiful islands of the Saintes just off shore on the south end of the island!
     Deshaies is the northern most harbor on the island and a secure anchorage. Although the small harbor is a good place to escape the swell and waves, its also one of the most windy spots in the Caribbean, its known for the amazing gusts of wind that funnel down the mountains and blow thru the anchorage. But its a handy place to clear into t
he country and has a charming village with great bakery  and restaurants. It also is the home of a great Botanical garden which is a cant miss attraction. The Saintes is a group if three islands that lay just 6 miles south of the main island. the main island is Terre de Haute and it again is a charming fishing village replete with dress shops. restaurants and French bakery! We rented scooters and toured the entire island in a few hours, The island has several great beaches, good snorkeling and of course good food.
Its also the site of a very well preserved fort, and inside is wonderful display of artifacts that describe the big naval battle that occurred between the French and the English just north of the Saintes, this battle was the defininative battle between the Fench and English for domination of the Caribbean. The English won the battle of the Saintes and pushed Franch out of the Caribbean dominace for good.
The fort should not be missed on any trip to the Saintes!

Wonderful church in the Saintes
 Mahogany dress shop in the Saintes

Street scene from Deshaies

Entrance to Botanical gardens in Deshaies

 Parrot cage in Deshaies  Botanical garden

More Parrott funny business

View of the anchorage at Deshaies from the Botanical garden rd

View of the beach at Dehaies