Petit St. Vincent and Grenada

 

We left Union Island and sailed to very nearby Petit Martinique (about 3-4nm in order to buy cheap booze (yes friends – believe it or not, -vinni and I have finally managed to drink all the wine we packed when we left Denmark – so we have to stock up) Petit Martinique is actually a part of Grenada but because it lies directly on the way from Union Island to Carricaou and Grenada and sells cheap booze and diesel – everyone goes there without clearing in (which means that technically they are illegal entrants into Grenada and could probably be classified as smugglers).  Vinni and I are no better so we sailed over to stock up and have a quick wander around the island.

Terrible swell however and we decided not to anchor in the bay but instead to sail the 1 nm across the channel and anchor behind Petit St. Vincent (which is a part of the Grenadines)

Confused?  Google all this, look at the map and you’ll understand. Anyway – technically we were still in the Grenadines (behind St. Vincent) but since we had cleared out of the Grenadines, we were now illegal entrants to the Grenadines and when we took the dinghy over to Petit Martinique to buy booze we were illegal entrants to Grenada (we’re becoming hardened criminals here).

Petit St. Vincent is a private resort island. You are allowed to make landing and eat and drink at the beach bar (assuming you are properly attired meaning no beach wear). The island is absolute gorgeous and the beach is pure white sand (we didn’t go in, but we anchored only 100 yards from the beach). If you’re looking for paradise – this really is about as close as you can come on this planet. The water is crystal clear (we could easily see the bottom 10 meters down).

So we dropped the hook, laid back and had a glass of white wine and tried to decide what to do now. Eventually we took the dinghy over to Petit Martinique and stocked up on wine. The island didn’t have much else to recommend it – very nice island, but compared to where we were anchored- it paled. The people were extremely friendly and it was obvious that the only income the island had was selling cheap booze, fuel and some food to yachties (although supposedly the big super yachts all stock up here also).

We hurried back to Petit St. Vincent and enjoyed a magnificent sundown (complete with a magnificent sundowner) and then more stars than you can possibly Imagine exist. This was so wonderful that we decided, being the hardened criminals we’d already become, to spend another night here and make our excuses when we showed up in Grenada.

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sundowns like this are an everyday occurrance out here

Here’s some footage of the island – I apologize again for the quality of the video. But I’m still trying to a hold on using my Nikon as a video. The last part of this is footage of a sailboat coming through – this a boat type that has been built on the nearby island of Carriacou for the past couple of hundred years – certainly is a beauty – just for your enjoyment

Just on the northern side of Petit St. Vincent is a reef and we dinghy’ed out there.

Now what do you suppose Vinni is looking so intently at?

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Vinni looking for her own bit of paradise

Dear Friends – some of you said when we left that we would probably end up fining a sandy island and staying there, never to come back.

How’s this for a paradise island?  Just sand and a little grass roofed hut? Kinda sets your imagination on fire doesn’t it.

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Almost like a dream – Vinni’s own little paradise

I tried to convince Vinni that this was the place she would wander around in only a grass skirts and keep me cool by fanning me with a palm leaf – but alas, her imagination doesn’t run the same paths as mine (sigh).

Two more unexpected days in paradise and we almost couldn’t tear ourselves away – but we HAD cleared out of the Grenadines and said we were on our way to Carricaou (only 8 nm away), so we simply couldn’t hang around here any longer or the questions from the Grenadian authorities would be long and heavy. Finally we set sail, genua only, and 3 hours later we entered Hillsborough bay, dropped the hook and prepared to go ashore.

I’m not sure why – but for a town that say they love yachties and really, really want more to come – they don’t do much. There isn’t any real dinghy dock, meaning you have to drag your dinghy up on the beach and tie it to a tree, which isn’t a problem I guess, but you get wet  in the surf as you go ashore and even more wet when you try to launch the dinghy in the surf.  If there is a big surf – you simply don’t go in (meaning no revenue for the town). Anyway – ashore we went (getting wet) and went to Customs and Immigration. WOW – for something new and different – there was a line (sigh). So we waited. And waited. We could hear the first guy in line being given a very hard time by the customs, because he has been over 24 hours getting here from Union Island (a quick 3 hour sail). He was silly telling the Customs that he had been to Petit Martinique to buy booze etc.

Of course that meant he was telling customs that he entered the country illegally (stupid, stupid, stupid) and then get himself caught up in all kinds of misstatements, and cross statements etc.  Eventually the Customs had pity on him and let him clear in and he got out of the office in a hurry.

Finally it was our turn and I was mindful that I had written it had taken us 48 hours to get here from Union Island. But I was prepared to say we spent the time by Petit St. Vincent (the Grenadines) and had not gone over to Petit Martinique (Grenada).  If they questioned the 48 hours – well it is always the skippers prerogative to decide if the boat is seaworthy to sail or not. I was prepared to say we had anchored and we had some issues with the anchor winch and I, as skipper, decided we weren’t sailing until I had fixed it.

Sounds pretty good doesn’t it?  Didn’t need it at all. The customs woman, read through the papers, stamped them and said “welcome to Grenada”. Took all of 5 minutes.

So we wandered around Hillsborough for the rest of the day – pretty little town but there wasn’t all that much.  We wanted to trek over to the other side of the island and see some of the little towns there (including one where they build some beautiful boats like this).

 

We never got there – the anchorage was so rolly and the swells got bigger and bigger, making landing the dinghy difficult that we decided to sail directly to St. George’s on the main island of Grenada.

 

Grenada

 

Off we went and Capri settled in for a good long sail with sails up and the sun shining.  Uhhh – sun shining? N Part of the time – the rest of the time we had squalls all around us. They all passed us by and late afternoon we sailed into St. Georges harbor under the guns of old Fort George. We turned into Port Louis Marina, as we wanted to repaint our anchor chain (to mark how much chain we have out, we’ve painted about a meter of it every 20 meters). The paint we’d had on it had just about worn off (bad quality paint and the chain is galvanized, which is difficult to paint.)

We’ve been living on the hook for more than 3 weeks now – so we’re wondering what it is going to be like to be tied up to a pier again. Port Louis is a modern marina (including the prices – USD 30-35 per night), not including water or electricity. Fortunately we’d run the watermaker coming down so our tanks were full and our solar produces all the electricity we can use.

So what were the 4 nights in the marina like?  Nice with the showers and all the hot water, although we but would rather take a bath on the back end of the boat. Nice to be able to just step off the boat and not have to dinghy in, although this also meant we had neighbors and very close also. But there was a lot of traffic on the main road just outside the marina and we’ve gotten used to the peace and quiet of lying on the hook.

We came in late saturday, so Sunday morning we walked around the lagoon and into the town – all closed because it is Sunday, but it was a good walk (we need the exercise). There were several super yachts at dock including one showing off all its toys.  Naturally it has a helicopter (can’t live without you own private chopper) and all the other toys, jet skis etc. But for something new and different, this one also has a sailboat – yep a sailboat – look closely in a cradle ready to be lower whenever the owner has a fancy to go for a little sail – I’m guessing, but it looks like it is about 38-40 feet long – the same as Capri.

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Let’s see Helicopter – check Jet skis – check Sailboat – check yup all my toys are here

Ah well – the rich are different from you and I.

Yes – they have more money.

We painted the chain and fixed a few other small things and then we rented a car and drove around Grenada. One of the thrilling local sights is Belmont Estates – a nutmeg and cocoa plantation (at the other end of the island of course) that should be worth seeing.

Driving here is not for the weak at heart. Indeed weak men faint and strong men pale at the experience. Islanders seem to think that cars only have two speeds- on and off. So un less they are standing still – they are driving as fast as the car will go. They pass on blind hairpin turns (of which there are many), up hills and down hills. Worst are the bus drivers. The roads are very narrow so 2 cars can just barely pass by.

It’s a thrill a minute – they could sell tickets – who needs a roller coaster when you can “drive Grenada”.

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Typical housing in the interior of Grenada

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Banana trees everywhere

The plantation was interesting – we got a private guided tour from Kelly – who truly was knowledgeable and vastly entertaining. Ask us anything about nutmeg or cocoa – now we know it.  We got back just in time to visit the local computer store and buy a new camera (jubiii- can’t wait).

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A cocoa bean broken open

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When the beans are being dried, they have to be turned every half hour – here one of the local women does the job

We checked out early the next morning and sailed for carricaou. There’s a small island, Sandy Island, ,that we sailed by on our  way down here that we’d like to anchor by. It was a great sail – hard on the wind the whole way, but you could feel that Capri was a “happy boat” enjoying every minute of it and pushing for more speed the whole time. The sun was out and it was warm and glorious.

About 6nm from the island, being too lazy to tack, we took down the sails and started the engine for the last bit. 15 minutes later, the engine sounded an alarm saying it was overheated.

Ah shit!

Ok – now it is time to play detective and see if I can figure this out – hopefully it is nothing serious.

20 minutes later – I give up. This will take a fair bit of time so we’d better get in somewhere and drop anchor. Tyrrel Bay is nearby and set our sails and scurry towards it hoping we can make it in before the sun  goes down. Vinni is nervous and upset, the thought of sailing into a bay on our sails without the benefit of an engine is more than stressful for her. Even worse is the thought that we might end up having to drop the hook from the boat while we have the sails up. The engine might or might not start ( I know it will start but Vinni is uncertain, no matter what I say). The real issue is that we don’t want to overheat the engine, so we’ll leave it off until  the last possible moment and only use it for backing down on the anchor.

Naturally, when you sail into a bay, the wind dies as you come further in. Vinni is now fully stressed out, despite anything I say. We do manage to get in although most of the nearby boats are looking at us, thinking – what are these idiots up to? Are they planning to drop the anchor while sailing? Either they are very, very experienced or else they are complete idiots.

We get into the bay, find a spot, I haul down the sails, vinni starts the engine and I drop the hook. We get everything set and start to back down on it.

Unfortunately, it didn’t bit – we can’t get it to grab, because the bottom here is weed (it is almost dark by now). So up with the hook and move the boat 100 meters or so and try again.

This time – it grabs and despite backing down on it with 2400 revs of the engine – it doesn’t move an inch.

 

We’re in for the night – so time for a sundowner and then dinner – which we do.

Next morning – we’re beginning to look at the engine when we notice that the boat that came in ahead of us and which has been lying in front, is drifting. We yell at the top of our lungs “Tegan ahoy” but there is no response. I get out our long 40 line and prepare to swim over to Tegan and tie her onto our boat.  A dinghy comes out from one of the other boats nearby and he starts pounding on the hull and up comes a young man who claims he was reading and didn’t hear us calling.

We get the line over to him and tie him onto our boat. His father, who is the only one who knows how to sail, is ashore. He shows up in the dinghy about 15 minutes later and is, of course, shocked that he dragged.  The only good thing is that he dragged this morning not during the night – otherwise he’s have been on the rocks or far out to sea when he woke up.

He pulls is hook, gets untied from us and sails further into the bay and anchors again.

Strange though – had someone rescued our boat, we’d have come by with a bottle of wine or something to say “thank you very much”, but he didn’t.

Different strokes for different folks I guess.

Right now we are waiting for a diesel mechanic to come out. I can’t figure out what is wrong. We’ve got lots of water coming out of the exhaust so that seems to be ok. I changed the impeller but the old one looked just fine. We have hot water, so that means the water pump on the engine is pumping the coolant from the engine down to the hot water heater and back.

The only thing left would be the thermostat, which would then need to be replaced or simply taken out and we would run without one until we can get a new one.

Manny, the diesel guy shows up at about 6 pm, and starts down the same list I’ve made above. He also suspects the thermostat and pulls it, drops it in a kettle on the stove and we heat the water.  Manny has an infrared gun which allows him to read temperatures and when the thermostat gets to 185 F, it opens.  Many says that it should open at 180, but 185 is fine.  We let it ool down again and heat it up one more time and once again it opens at 184.

Hmmmm – Manny pulls the impeller and rummages around down there finally pulling out a thin n baffle plate from the back of the pump housing. He uses a straight edge and pronounces that the problem is that the front and rear plates of the impeller housing are worn.  He zips in to the dock in his dinghy, coming back 30 minutes later with the back plate and a thin piece of plastic he’s cut to fit.  He drops it all in puts the thermostat back and we fire up the engine.

No way it gets hot – we run it in reverse against the anchor and it still won’t overheat.

“All fixed says Manny – thank you that will be $100US for the house call.”

I paid him and was happy to do so – we good to go tomorrow and we’ll be sailing to Union Island and then on to Bequia, with a stopover on Mustique (see a separate post about that) to clear out before heading up to Martinique.  We’re backtracking now and we’re going north.

We had no issues getting to Union island and since it was Friday – we ate at Joys – this time I had pigs tails and the food was just as good and cheap as last time

As I’m writing this, we’re in Bequia, anchoring in gale force winds with gust running as high as 40 knots. Our Mantus anchor has bitten hard in the sand and we’re sitting like a rock while everyone around us is nervous as hell.

In Mantus we Trust.

Even my very own nervous nelly (AKA Vinni) is sleeping through the night without worrying about the anchor holding

 

One thought on “Petit St. Vincent and Grenada

  1. The superyacht seem to be Tatoosh, from wiki:

    Tatoosh is a 303-foot (92 m) private yacht owned by Paul Allen, who also owns the 416-foot (127 m) Octopus. She is now the world’s 43rd largest superyacht.

    Background as I remember:
    Paul Allen is the microsoft guy. Tatoosh was built for one of the McCaw brothers – started Mc Caw Cellular and got a few bucks when they sold to AT & T. Eventually, the AT&T-stock price falled with the recession in the telecom market and he had to sell. Paul Allen stepped in…

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