Wednesday, July 10, 2013

One Last Jaunt through the Grenadines

Friday, July 5 - Monday, July 8, 2013

It doesn't quite seem possible, but we're getting close to reaching the end of the group of islands known as the Grenadines. We've been here for two weeks already, but it seems like our stay has flown by.

We left the Tobago Cays Friday morning for the five-mile trip to Chatham Bay, on the northwest side of Union Island. We'd said a temporary good-bye to JoHo early that morning, and headed for what was supposed to be a more secluded anchorge than Union's main port of Clifton. We had some major boat cleaning to do thanks to the reddish "Sahara Sand" (yes, it really is carried on the wind from Africa) that had coated the boat during countless rainstorms in Guadeloupe and Dominica; we were hoping we'd be more motivated in a quieter environment since...surprise, surprise...we tend to be easily distracted when we have great friends and good shoreside attractions. :-)

It took us all of an hour to reach Chatham Bay, and the one boat that shared the anchorage with us departed after 30 minutes. We got a quick start on boat cleaning and maintenance jobs, and spent the next five hours prettying up the Pipe. A few local dinghies approached us trying to get us ashore for happy hour, dinner, internet, etc., but most got the hint from Stacy's yellow rubber gloves (and Rene's boxers, of course!). Stacy got all those pesky rust stains and sandy bits off the top deck, while Rene played maintenance man checking fluid levels in the engine and generator. Thanks to a quiet (read: not rolly) night in the anchorage, we even decided to stay an extra day to tackle the ground-in dirt in the cockpit.

Saturday morning we got a great surprise when JoHo pulled in and dropped the hook behind us. They'd been in Clifton Harbor, but decided to stick around for a few extra days before heading to Carriacou. We agreed to meet up for happy hour and internet ashore, followed by a home-cooked Indian meal aboard Pipe. The only problem with that scenario? It meant Rene was stuck cleaning the cockpit on his own while Stacy played master chef down below. (Yep, I definitely got the better end of that deal. Thanks, hon!)

Our internet fix ashore highlighted our first weather concern of the season: a system was developing to the southeast of us, and had a 30% chance of developing into a tropical depression. (By Sunday, the probability had increased to 60%.) As of Saturday afternoon, the system was already expected to bring 35-50 knot winds to either Martinique or St. Lucia by Tuesday or Wednesday. That was over 100 miles from us, but we couldn't help but think of our friends on Island Dream, Blues Breaker, and Another Way, who were scattered between Guadeloupe and St. Vincent. We also knew how changeable these storms could be, which meant we had to keep a close eye on it ourselves in case a quick move became necessary. We joined JoHo for one last happy hour at Vanessa's beach bar Sunday afternoon, and prepared the boat for the trip to Carriacou.

Chantal officially became a tropical storm early Monday morning. The track continued to stay north of us, but we wanted to get ourselves tucked into a more protected anchorage to get away from the swells. We left Chatham Bay early Monday morning for the short trip to Clifton, where Rene officially checked us out of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. From there, we rocked and rolled (yep, sea conditions were already getting ugly) four more miles to Petit Martinique for a quick fuel-up and, rumor has it, the best diesel prices in the Windwards.
Next it was a seven-mile jaunt to Hillsborough, Carriacou, where Rene had to make three separate visits to immigration, customs, and the port authority to clear us into the country of Carriacou & Grenada. FINALLY...we were able to finish the last four miles around the corner from Hillsborough to Tyrell Bay. Whew - we don't usually move this much in one day!

Now we hunker down and wait for the effects of Chantal. As always, our thoughts are with everyone in the storm's path. We have cruising friends in the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and the Bahamas, and all of them have been warned to keep an eye on Chantal. Stay safe, guys!

 Enjoy more pictures here.


Darnell Aguillard said...

It is hard to believe we are so close but so far away! Miss you guys!

Anonymous said...

Salivating at your Indian Feast picture, yum! Was this the Tandoori recipe done in a pot? Looks scrumptious! xxxooo Mom