November 20-29, 2010... Bequia

Bequia is a beautiful island in the Grenadines and though we'd been here in July, we were happy to return and get to know it a bit better. We walked to the windward side of the island to visit the privately-run turtle sanctuary. Met by Martin, a member of the family, we were able to learn a bit more about the hawksbill and green turtles. He also showed us the newest arrivals -- 6-week olds that will be nurtured for a couple of years and then released to the wild. Why is it that seeing turtles makes us smile?

The walk to the east reminded us of why we are staying put here for so long. The weather has been pretty horrible for going north -- high NE winds and large seas. All were on display from the east coast road we walked (or got blown) along to the sanctuary. Even in the harbor the winds are strong and squalls blow through pretty regularly. One day we had three boats drag near us -- two of them dangerously close. Luckily they all had responsive owners who minimized the threat immediately.

One day we walked up to the battery on the west side where there are English and French cannons overlooking the entrance to Admiralty Bay. And wonderful views. That day we were surprised to see a windjammer cruise ship come in -- quite beautiful -- dwarfing all the rest of the boats in the harbor.

As we wait for weather we are settling in to life here. We know where to find good bread and fresh vegetables, we kayak and swim, and are reading the papers about the upcoming election in SVG. [We talked with several locals about which way Bequia will go... NDP (opposition party) all the way is the consensus.] We spend time with other cruisers in the anchorage, all of whom are waiting for the perfect weather window. No one is on a schedule, so we have the luxury to wait and enjoy the sail rather than get beat up by rushing headlong into the wrong conditions. As we all say, there are definitely worse places than Bequia to wait for weather!

November 16-19, 2010... Inching North

Over the past few days we've moved north trying a couple of new anchorages. Leaving Carriacou (where we saw a turtle when we were out kayaking...forgot to mention that earlier) we sailed up to Union Island in order to check into St. Vincent & the Grenadines. We really only wanted to stay in Union for that purpose, and didn't like the anchorage in Clifton, so we tucked up to Frigate Island. Only boat there. A welcome change to the tumult we could expect in Clifton where a zillion charter boats come in and anchor right on top of you.

Next day we left for Mayreau, a short sail away. This time we anchored on the windward side of the island behind the reef. Only boat there! Stayed a couple of days and would have stayed longer, but a front threatened to bring bad weather for the weekend and we thought it better to head for Bequia. In Mayreau we did get to see a terrific hunt by little tunas for the really little fish that school by the hundreds, maybe thousands. The tuna would literally jump out of the water chasing these fish. The whole basin was alive with activity. (Maybe you had to be there...but we thought it exciting.)

Today we sailed to Bequia. This goes down in the history books as one of our best sails. Even though the winds were incredibly light, we made this 45,000 lb. boat go under sail. And when the winds finally did come up later in the day, we had Anhinga in a groove. We are now anchored in Admiralty Bay, and very happy to be back here.

16 Nov: Frigate Island, Union, SVG: 12d34.904'N 61d26.277'W
17-18 Nov: Mayreau, SVG: 12d38.243'N 61d23.244'W
19 Nov: Admiralty Bay, Bequia, SVG: 13d00.070'N 61d14.628'W

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November 11-16, 2010... Sandy Island, Carriacou

Wow. We moved the boat! We were worried we had forgotten how. The sail up the windward coast of Grenada didn't give us as much wind as we'd hoped for, so we had to motorsail, but once we were at the northern end of the island and crossing to Carriacou we had 15-18 knots and we started really going. Too bad we only had a few miles left! Rounding the bend into L'Esterre Bay we found Sandy Island just as we left it 3 months ago, and a choice mooring next to the beach was available. The contrast with the water in Grenada was stark -- here we had clear, gorgeous turquoise waters and we could see the bottom. It really does a lot for your attitude to have such beautiful surroundings.

Of course we snorkeled the reef several times -- it felt so good to get back into the water. But, we were slightly disappointed. Though the number of fish was terrific, it looked to us like the reef had bleached in several places since we were here in August. We are trying to determine by looking at our photos from then if our suspicions are correct. If so, the reef may be on its last legs and the efforts to preserve it too late.

Something we hadn't done before is kayak across the bay to Paradise Beach. We did this a couple of times to get a good workout. It is also where Curtis runs his Off De Hook beach bar. He had come by the boat to tell us about it so we thought we'd give it a try. What a beautiful view! Good music, nice people. We could see spending many fine afternoons there -- if we were staying on. But the Grenadines beckons. So we're off again after only a few days in Carriacou. (so many islands, so little time...)
Sandy Island, Carriacou: 12d29.070'N 61d28.896'W

November 10, 2010... Saying Goodbye to Grenada

This will be our last night in Grenada after three months here; the longest we've been in any one place since we started this adventure. Leaving is bittersweet as this is such a beautiful place and we really enjoyed our stay. But we are anxious to move on and have spent the past few days with preparations. John went up the mast to make some minor repairs and scraped the hull one last time of its Calivigny Harbour ecosystem. We scraped the kayak bottom too, did one last laundry at the Grenada Yacht Club, re-provisioned, made chandlery purchases, raised the boats, and took down the awning.

We took some time to look around again, appreciating the life here. One walk up a BIG hill rewarded us with fabulous views of the harbour where we've lived for seven weeks, as well as of Westerhall Point and the entrance to Port Egmont. And we saw a man move his goats to another pasture by the road. We had last visits to Alina's fruit and vegetable stand, a wonderful meal at the Mangrove Hideaway with Heidi and Bill from Act III, and of course, last bus rides on the island.

Tomorrow's journey is only 25-30 miles to Carriacou, but it signals the start of another migratory season for us in the Caribbean as we start the voyage north. Goodbye Grenada!

October 31, 2010... Halloween in Calivigny Harbour

Tropical Storm/Hurricane Tomas blew through 90 miles north of Grenada on Saturday October 30, leaving us untouched. We had prepared for the storm on Friday by deploying a second anchor, taking down the awning, raising the kayak, and tying everything down. The winds and rain behind the storm that came through on Sunday were actually stronger, though still incredibly light, considering what could have been.

Once all that calmed down, the kids in the anchorage came calling for trick or treat! Philemon the pirate and Cyrene the ballerina from Tariro and their friend the ghoul from Nomad knocked on the hull. They were going boat to boat and took in quite a haul of bonbons et gallettes. Its fun to see an American tradition practiced by French kids in Grenada!