Journal 1 -
Gibraltar to Canary Islands
Journal 2 - Across the Atlantic
Journal 3 - Barbados to Canouan
Journal 4 - Tobago
Cays to Trinidad
Journal 5 - Trinidad to
31 January 2006/Tuesday/Canouan
We woke up
this morning to big rain squally screaming through the anchorage at Bequia.
Once they passed through, the winds went down, the sun came out, and it was
a beautiful, if windy, day. We decided to go for it! We pulled up the anchor
at 0930 and it did take quite a pull to get the anchor up. We had been
sitting here for 19 days, so the anchor was set hard. We were ready to move
on, so we headed out with 22-28 knots of wind blowing from the east and 4-5
meter seas. Since we were on pretty much a beam reach or taking seas on the
stern quarter (back corner), we moved along quite well heading south toward
Canouan Island. This is a distance of roughly 20 miles.
Sailing along, we could look around us and see many small islands...Mustique,
Canouan, Mayreau, Union, Tobago Cays, plus islets smaller than these small
islands. EXIT ONLY sailed along under foresail moving downwind easily. We
watched in amazement at charter boats passing us going upwind, beating into
the seas with their full sails up, flapping noisily and dangerously. One
huge mega-yacht passed us going upwind, pounding into the big swells with
giant splashes. We felt sure the people who paid multiple thousands of
dollars to charter the mega-yacht must have been asking themselves seriously
why they didn't charter an airplane instead. It is one thing to be out in
those seas with a proven boat you trust and a crew whose judgement you
trust, but we wonder how many of those charter boats have a captain and crew
that have faced this kind of wind and sea situations before. The Grenadines
are one of the most famous and popular charter boat destinations in the
world because so many islands are in close proximity to each other, the
weather is good, and the aqua blue water is beautiful...just like the
postcards and posters we have all seen.
We arrived and anchored at Canouan Island about 1355. There were about 27
boats either on mooring balls or anchored in Charles Town Bay. It turned out
that only 5-6 of the boats had anyone on them. Canouan is the newest base
for Moorings Charter Boats and 20 of the anchored boats belonged to them.
The "high" winter season from December to January is over now, so many of
the charter boats are not being used. The next "high" period of time will be
in April for Easter/spring break
Canouan (prounced "cahn-oo-ahn") is a small island, 3.5 miles long by
1.25 miles wide. In the 1990's, the people of Canouan sold the northern half
of the island to an Italian development company. The company wanted to build
an exclusive resort. In fact, they wanted to make it so exclusive that the
local Canouans could not use the beaches or come on the property without
permission. The guide book says the Italians hired Israeli mercenaries to
guard the mega-resort and there was a lot of friction with the locals.
Evidently, Raffles bought the property from the Italians and in 2004 opened
a mega-resort called Raffles Resort Canouan Island with private beaches, an
18-hole golf course, 52 luxury villas, 180 rooms, fancy restaurants (we read
in the SSCA Bulletin that you should plan to spend $100 US per person per
meal to eat there), and a Trump casino on the property.
We were anchored off the southern end of the island where the 1,250
locals live. There is a big ferry dock where local freighters and
ocean-going ferries come with supplies for the island. Tradewinds Hotel is
located on the shore next to the buildings for the Moorings Charter Base.
Moorings allows cruisers to tie up their dinghies to their dock. David and I
went in to have a look around. The swell was quite big coming in, so we put
out a stern anchor from the dinghy when we tied up to their dock.
We walked on the cement road that followed the line of the bay to the
south. Most of the island is hilly, but we could see the flat area at the
south end where the airport is located. We read in the guide that the resort
wants to extend the runway to allow bigger airplanes to land, so they are
going to pay for knocking down a huge hill/small mountain called Glossy Hill
at the end of the runway. The debris will be used for landfill as the hill
disappears. I took photos of the village school, small shops, and the boats
anchored in the harbor. We saw a bank and a small grocery store that usually
sells food to charterers and bought two loaves of bread there on the way
back to the dinghy. We will be going to the Tobago Cays from here and they
30 January 2006/Monday/Bequia
To go or not
to go, that was today's question. The swells were still rolling in this
morning, but not nearly as strong as yesterday. The rain squalls came
through off and on all night last night and into the morning. We had more
wonderful bright rainbows this morning. Dave got photos of more boats
sitting at the "end of the rainbow". We decided we would not leave today,
because it kept raining and blowing hard...gusting 30+ knots. We have been
listening to Eric from Trinidad on the LSB ham band in the mornings. Today
he reported it is raining all the way from Trinidad to Puerto Rico due to a
tropical depression being pushed by hi pressure areas.
The big entertainment for the day was go into the Gingerbread Cafe and do
internet. When we weren't doing that, we watched the tourists moving along
the shore walk trying to miss getting washed down by the huge waves coming
into shore. The dinghies at the dinghy dock were doing a lot of dancing. The
biggest swells would actually put some of the dinghies up on the dock
because the painter was too short to let the dinghy float very far away from
the dock. Dave dropped David and I off this morning and took our dinghy back
out to the boat, so we didn't have to worry about it getting pushed under
the dock or lifted up on top of the dock.
When it came time to eat lunch, we ordered a pizza from Mac's to take out
to the boat. I stayed with the packed-up computer gear at the Gingerbread,
while David walked on the grass and climbed two stone walls to pick up the
pizza. Dave came in and picked us up to take everything back to the boat.
The afternoon brought more rain...and more rainbows. Dave has beautiful
shots of rainbows in Bequia. We are still hoping to leave tomorrow morning
and have everything ready to go.
29 January 2006/Sunday/Bequia
expected to be leaving this morning, but sometime in the night the wind went
more northerly the big swells started coming straight into the
anchorage...again. We are anchored in a good place for not being too
bothered by the swells, but the 10-15 boats anchored between us and the
shore were experiencing varying degrees of discomfort. The huge swells were
moving in and crashing on the shore, throwing water and foam up on the
walkway built along the shoreline, as well as the raised grassy areas
belonging to the shops and hotels. Easy to decide not to leave Bequia today.
The anchorage at Canouan would be as bad as this one or worse, we were told.
Rain squalls came through early in the morning, with rain pouring down.
Once that was done, the sun came out and lit up the blue sky. Dave got some
more amazing rainbow pictures when the squalls were moving through. We
missed rainbows when we lived in the desert, so we are making up for all of
them we missed now. We have gotten some lovely rainbow shots that actually
show the strong colors bending in high arcs, low, flat arcs, etc.
After the sun came out, Dave and David decided to do some photos and
video from the dinghy along the shoreline. Next, they hired a truck taxi to
take them to high vantage points on the island, so they could get a good
overview of both the windward and leeward sides of the island. Their driver
turned out to be a good guide, too, and told them many things about the
island and the people who live there. By chance, they saw two wooden boat
loads of locals racing miniature (well, 5-foot long model boats with 6-foot
high masts and 3-4-foot deep keels) sailboats. There were four men in each
large wooden boat supporting a miniature racing boat. They would set the
sails on their boats, then chase after the boats as they raced off being
pushed by the wind. There were no engines on these mini-boats. When they had
to tack, one of the men would jump in the water and change the set of the
sail to make it go on a different tack. The man who jumped in the water
would be left behind as the others in the boat chased after the racing mini
boat. The next time they needed to tack the mini-boat, another man would
jump in the water, tack the sail, then, off the other two men in the boat
would go. This would go on until three men from each boat were in the water.
They turn around and start racing their boats back, picking up the men in
the water as they go. I wish I had seen all of this myself. Maybe when we
are heading north to Florida, we will stop at Bequia again and can see
another race. The taxi driver also showed Dave and David a 65-man life raft
anchored along the shore. It showed up in perfect condition a few weeks ago.
We are wondering whether ships or oil rigs use life rafts that large?
While they were off shooting pictures of the island, I was using
internet. When they returned, we ordered a pizza from Mac's Pizzaria. We
headed over to Mac's, usually about a five-minute walk from the Gingerbread
Cafe. Today, with the swells pounding the shore, we could not walk on the
shore walkway. We had to walk across the grassy areas and climb two rock
fences. Some of the day trippers off the cruise ships were trying to walk on
the walkway, running to avoid the rushing waves. Some made...and some ended
up getting soaked from head to toe.
We are ready to head south, but we won't be leaving until the swells go
28 January 2006/Saturday/Bequia
We decided we are going to get ready to leave on Monday. This means we
have to take care of "business" in the village on Saturday before noon.
Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday everything is closed. I took the turn
of using the internet, so I was sitting in the Gingerbread Cafe most of the
morning. Dave and David went to get petrol for the dinghy engine, tomatoes
and cucumbers from the vegetable and fruit lady under the big shade tree,
and fresh bread from the bakery. We also got more Diet Coke because we are
headed for islands smaller than Bequia, so we reckon groceries are going to
cost even more than they do here because they have to be carried farther.
The morning's activities were accomplished, so we are ready to move on
from Bequia. Maybe we will leave tomorrow morning, heading south in the
Grenadines. We want to stop and see as many places as we can, yet still get
moving and keep moving south to Trinidad. The next island south of Bequia,
in the Grenadines, is Mustique. We won't be stopping there because you have
to pay $75 US to pick up a mooring. That is for three nights whether you
want to use it for three nights or not. We hear the anchorage is very rolly
and few yachts end up staying their prepaid three nights. Next in line is
Canouan. We plan to go there and anchor in the main anchorage off the
After lunch on the boat, David went in to take his turn at internet and
Dave and I stayed on the boat to work on some of our own projects. We have
been keeping someone on board the boat most of the time because the wind
gusts moving through the anchorage make some of the boats drag. Our anchor
is dug in very well, but too many of the charger boats have light ground
tackle that isn't suitable for strong winds and gusts.
27 January 2006/Friday/Port Elizabeth, Bequia
We are still
having strong winds gusting through the anchorage, but the steady winds were
lower, 12-18 this morning. We decided we are going to get ready to leave on
the next "window" of light winds that comes. The weather forecast says maybe
Monday, 30 January.
Dave took the laundry into shore today. He found a bright, shiny, new
laundromat to the left of the town dock. You can do the laundry yourself or
pay a little more to have it done for you. He took a book and did one load
of laundry. Since the wind was blowing so hard, he decided to dry the
laundry, too, instead of bringing it back to the boat and hanging it out.
The clothes, linens, etc. were in the dryer for a long time and not getting
dry. The manager of the laundry took a look and saw the propane tank was
empty. He changed the propane tank and the heat came on in the dryer.
Because of the propane problem, it took a lot longer to do the laundry, but
when it was done, everything was clean, dry, and folded.
David was at internet finishing up the last of the upload for the
website. He and Dave have worked so hard to have everything changed and
added to the website while we are here using wireless internet. We paid one
fee and it was good for one week of unlimited wireless internet use. We are
now in the Caribbean where we hear $8-$12 US/hour for using internet at a
cafe is not uncommon. Paying by the week for unlimited connection has been a
real bargain for us.
I took Elvin and went shopping for UHT milk and cereal, and a few paper
goods. I bought some tomatoes from the lady who is located under the big
shade tree next to the main road in town. It was late in the day for her
customers to be buying, so she was packing up to go home. She gave me a
romaine lettuce to go with my tomatoes. I told her I would be back tomorrow
for cucumbers. I will buy some bread tomorrow and that will be all we need
for provisions before we leave. I think all of these islands have food
available for the locals and the charter boats that come through regularly.
We thought we had seen a lot of things as we sailed around the world, but
this evening we added one more experience to our list. About 1730 Dave and I
were sitting in the salon. We heard a very loud "boom" that was fairly close
by. What was that? We went out into the cockpit. We looked over at the huge
wind jammer-type tourist boat anchored off our port side. This boat was
painted to look like an old-style pirate ship. Coming into port at that
exact minute was a sister-ship to this one, also painted like a pirate ship.
The second boat anchored. The first ship "fired" a cannon at the second
ship. The second ship returned "fire". They "fired" at each other a few
times. The tourists/"crew" on board each ship were yelling and cheering when
the guns went off. Dave and I could hardly believe our eyes. We felt like we
were anchored in the middle of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" exhibit at
26 January 2006/Thursday/Port Elizabeth, Bequia
We listen to Eric from Trinidad on a ham radio station weekday mornings.
He comes on at 0630 local time (Atlantic Time) and talks with ham radio
operators all over the Caribbean. These people report the weather conditions
where they are located. At 0700, Eric gives the weather forecast for the
Caribbean. He divides the Caribbean into north, south east and west sectors.
Eric also gives an overall summary of the weather in the States. Today, he
was telling how Trinidad has been receiving huge amounts of rain. They
recently received as much rain in one night as they usually average for the
whole month of January. The low clouds have been hanging down over the
Trinidad mountains and one of his friends drove off a cliff yesterday. They
think he was driving in clouds and could not see the road. We certainly are
glad we are not there in all that rain. We thought it was raining a lot
here, but this is nothing compared to the rain Trinidad is receiving now.
All of the radio nets report missing yachts or yachts in trouble as a
service to ships and yachts. Today Eric announced the sailing yacht INCA had
lost its rudder off Barbados and the single-hander had been picked up by
fisherman after being adrift for four days. This is the second cruising
yacht in the past month that we have heard has lost its rudder. FIRST LIGHT,
Jill and Andy, are safe and sound in Barbados after they were picked up by a
British cruising trawler mid-Atlantic. FIRST LIGHT was a J44 racing design
cruising yacht that lost its rudder mid-Atlantic.
We are all ready to move on from Bequia, but the winds are continuing to
blow in the 20's all day long, with higher gusts. The seas are stirred up
and the only people moving about from island to island seem to be the
charterers who paid lots of money to be here for a limited time, so they are
going to sail...no matter what. They sure are getting their money's worth
out there. We would like to get moving south, but the people we talk to say
this is the best protected anchorage for miles around.
With little I want to do off the boat here, it seemed like the perfect
time to continue going through bins and storage to see what we need to use
and what we still have on board. We discovered we certainly are a healthy
crew. I went through all of the medicines on board. Most of them are still
good (not expired), but I did destroy the medicines that were out of date.
We have quite a collection of medicines for routine problems, and I am happy
to say, we haven't used many of the medicines except the basic Tylenol,
Claratyne, and Sudafed. Now that we are in the Caribbean, getting supplies
is not a problem and we are not going to carry supplies like we did when we
were crossing oceans.
25 January 2006/Wednesday/Port Elizabeth, Bequia
Another day of
high winds (20-25 knots), higher wind gusts, but there was no rain. I wished
we had done laundry and hung it out to dry, but it was too late for that
when we thought of it. Also, it is hard to find enough clothes pegs to hold
the clothes in the gusty winds. Maybe it was just as well not to do laundry
We ate lunch on the boat, then Dave and David went into internet to work
on the website. I stayed on the boat and worked on sussing out the cruising
guides we have covering the islands in the Caribbean. We have heard people
talk about bays and anchorages, but since we are not familiar with the
names, it takes awhile to figure out which places are good ones where we can
anchor. The first time I go through the guide, I look for the names of the
anchorages and try to figure out which anchorages would suit us the best. I
go through the book and match the maps to the text, so when it comes time to
use the maps, we will know exactly where to find the correlating
information. I went through all the maps and tried to come up with a logical
plan for moving through the islands from here to Trinidad, then from
Trinidad to Florida. Although this process takes a lot of time, basically, I
enjoy reading about the islands and discovering what is special about each
one, so time does fly when I work on these guides.
LEGEND, a Canadian boat anchored near us, came by today with a bag of
Trinidad and Tobago Dollars. They want to trade for US Dollars, because they
are headed north. That is fine with us, because we will be needing the
Trinidad and Tobago Dollars (TT) when we arrive in Trinidad. This big bag of
TT didn't amount to too many US dollars, as $6 TT = $1.00 US. There was a
lot of change (coins) in the bag, so it was very heavy, too. We will be
spending those coins first to get rid of them. They are too heavy to carry
24 January 2006/Tuesday/Port Elizabeth, Bequia
Another day of high winds, rain squalls, and then the sun shines through
for awhile. David and I went in to use the internet this morning while Dave
stayed on the boat. We used and the time to catch up on e-mails. David was
still working on uploading new info on the website. We decided to order a
pizza and take it back to the boat for lunch. Mac's Pizzaria does a good
After lunch, the winds were higher as rain squalls came through. I stayed
on the boat while Dave and David went in to the internet. I had the VHF
radio on and suddenly someone shouted over the radio, "Switch catamaran
dragging through the anchorage!". Of course, everyone who was aboard a boat
in the anchorage, ran outside to see if the dragging catamaran was near
them. We were located in the area of the catamaran, but there were at least
two yachts it would hit first before we were endangered. Yachties in
dinghies and boat boys in wooden motor boats hurried to the catamaran. Some
of these people tied their dinghies to the stern and got aboard, while
others tried to push the hull, using their wooden boats like a tugboat. Now,
the catamaran was dragging all of these boats through the anchorage.
Finally, the "tugboats" began to get control of the catamaran and they
succeeded in moving the cat away from other boats to another mooring. Switch
is the name of a French charter boat company. This Switch catamaran was tied
to a mooring ball and the mooring broke. The rescuers succeeded in tying the
boat up to another mooring, so the threat was neutralized. The excitement
was over...until the next boat drags.
The weather forecast keeps saying to expect high winds and rain squalls.
Everyone keeps saying we are in the best-protected harbor around, so we have
decided to sit here until the winds go down. Our Next stops in the
Grenadines are beautiful, but don't have the protection we have found here.
23 January 2006/Monday/Port Elizabeth, Bequia
winds of 20-25 knots, gusting to 30 and a little higher, kept blowing all
through last night and into today. This morning the winds may have been down
to 18-20 knots, and that felt like the wind was lighter than yesterday.
Quite a few of the charter boats put up their sails and headed out into it
this morning. I guess when you pay all that money to charter, you want to go
as many places as you possibly can go in the time you have aboard the boat.
I remember how it was when we chartered one year for one week in the Abacos,
Bahamas. It rained night and day for the whole time we were there. We kept
moving between islands because we only had one week.
A dinghy came over to our boat with Peter and Shirley Austin from New
Zealand aboard. Dave and I saw them at their boat, a 38' Admiral (built in
South Africa) catamaran named JADE a couple of days ago. We stopped by their
boat on our way to shore. Their transom said, "New Zealand" and we asked
them if they knew our DUETTO friends, Geoff and Pat. Peter said he was the
commodore of the yacht club in Whangaparoa, New Zealand, which is home port
to DUETTO, and of course they know Geoff and Pat. Peter and Shirley said
they knew exactly who we were and asked if we remembered them. It turns out,
we met them in 2002 when we were all in Noumea, New Caledonia. They were
there on their monohull, SAIL AWAY. They came by EXIT ONLY on the dock and
asked us about our catamaran and how we liked it. We gave them a boat card
and they still had it in their file. We were some of the people who
encouraged them to buy a catamaran if they thought they would like one. They
bought JADE in Trinidad one year ago and have been sailing in the Caribbean
since then. They are headed north from here, so maybe we will cross paths
with them when they get to Florida.
We decided to celebrate having such a good morning by ordering pizza for
lunch. Of course, it is always easy for us to think of a reason to order
pizza! David and I took the dinghy into shore. I had to drop something off
at another boat and we did that on the way in to the dock. I stayed in the
dinghy(we didn't bring the cable lock with us, so I was "guarding" the
dinghy) while David picked up the pizza and spoke to the man who runs the
internet place about no internet service yesterday. The man found the
problem and fixed something in the system on his computer. Then, he gave us
extra time on our card because we did not have service yesterday. The pizza
restaurant made a smaller pizza than we ordered, so they gave us a second
pizza to go with the first one and we ended up with extra pizza. Our day
continued to be full of good surprises.
After the sun went down, we watched as more yachts predictably continued
to arrive at the anchorage. We are trying to figure out where they are
coming from. The islands in this area are really close together, so moving
between islands takes very little time. Too often a chartered boat drops its
anchor in front of us after dark (sundown is around 1830), then ten minutes
later the crew jumps in the dinghy heading for dinner in a restaurant on
shore. They don't wait and see if their anchor is set well. No problem...we
are watching to see if their anchor is set well. There were a few boats
dragging anchor again tonight. We hear about it on the VHF radio or see it
happening as we are watching the area immediately around our boat. This
cruising in the Caribbean is bit of an adjustment for us. We have been
anchoring around people who own their yachts and feel about them the same
way we feel about our yacht. Now, we are surrounded by members of the
charter fleet. Even if they are good mariners (some are, some are not), they
don't have the same investment of money, time, and emotional attachment that
we have in our yachts. They seem to be a tad more cavalier about how and
where they anchor. So, every evening, for our entertainment, we play the
anchor dance. So far, so good.
22 January 2006/Sunday/Port Elizabeth, Bequia
We had strong winds of 20-25-30 knots all last night and all day today.
David says he is sure there are at least 150 yachts of all sizes and
descriptions anchored or on moorings in this bay. Dave stayed up until 0100
this morning checking to see that no one was dragging down on us. We are
also checking to see that we are not dragging, but we don't really think
that is going to be a problem. We are anchored exactly where we were the
first day we came here and put the beugel anchor down. The VHF is quiet for
awhile, then suddenly the air waves come alive with someone calling out the
name of a boat that is dragging. Sometimes the crew is on another boat and
will hear the radio call. All of us anchored here want to know what part of
the bay the dragging boat is located in, so we know if we are in the
possible path or destruction or not. We had one boat drag down on us a few
days ago, but no collision occurred. We have not had a problem since then,
but that may be due to the fact Dave goes out on our bow when anyone looks
like they are going to anchor too close in front of us. He stands there and
watches the other boat anchor. The people who came in last night put out a
second anchor after we told them we were afraid they were going to drag down
on us in the strong gusting winds that were blowing through the anchorage.
Most of the boats in the anchorage kept someone on board all day because of
the gusting winds. Of course, most of the boats that were dragging had no
one on board.
These "reinforced" winds are supposed to get a little lighter by
Wednesday of this week. We will probably stay here at Bequia until the winds
lighten up, then we will be headed south to check out the rest of the
Grenadines...Canouan, Mayreau, Tobago Cays, and Union Island. All of these
islands are smaller than Bequia.
21 January 2006/Saturday/Port Elizabeth, Bequia
Dave and I went
into town this morning to run some errands. I wanted to get more sliced
smoked turkey and some vegetables. I also needed to find a certain taxi
driver whose taxi is named "Cream Skin" (it is a tan truck). The people at
Moonhole told me he would be bringing a group out for the tour this
afternoon. I wanted to join that group in the taxi. Dave wanted to check out
a couple of the small boat chandleries at the north end of town. We agreed
to meet later in town.
I went to Doris' Fresh Foods and bought the sliced turkey out of the
freezer. It is already cryo-packed. I bought tomatoes from a lady selling
vegetables from a small wooden booth set up by the road. She was sitting
there eating chicken when I walked up. She asked me to come around the back
of the booth to get a plastic bag from her to hold the tomatoes. I chose the
tomatoes I wanted and carried them back to where she was sitting. She
weighed them and I paid her.
I popped in to one of the grocery stores for a couple of items, then
started looking for Dave. There he was, sitting on the steps of the corner
grocery store on the street by the beach. No matter where you are going in
Port Elizabeth, you will eventually walk past this corner. Dave knew this,
so he sat on the step drinking a Diet Coke, waiting for me to come by.
We went back to the boat for lunch. Dave and David decided a pepperoni
pizza sounded really good for lunch. David got on the VHF radio and called
"Mac's Pizza". Mac's came back and took our order. David went in to pick up
the pizza in 30 minutes. Meanwhile, I made a fresh salad with the good fresh
things I had bought a few hours earlier.
At 1345 Dave took me into shore to meet the taxi that is taking a group
to Moonhole. There were five Norwegians and three Americans in our taxi, all
of us off cruising yachts. Moonhole is an isolated community of houses,
founded by the late American Tom Johnson in 1969. Tom and Mary Johnson's
son, Jim, and his wife Sheena, live at Moonhole now and manage the rental
properties. Tom and Mary Johnson were running Sunny Caribbee Hotel on Bequia
in the 1960's. They used to go to the southeast part of Bequia to a small
cove where a natural arch was formed in the rock for picnics on their day
off. Eventually, they built overnight protection, then this expanded to
purchasing 35 acres of land and building natural houses using stones, wood,
and whale bones from the whaling factory at Bequia. There are no straight
lines or angles in the buildings. The houses are built to include the
contours of the land and rocks as well as the trees and plants. The rooms
have at least one side that is open to the world around them. Tables and
sitting areas are built out of stones and mortar. The beds have huge
mosquito nets surrounding them. There is no electricity. They use solar
panels for power, kerosene lanterns for light at night. Stoves and
refrigerators are run on propane. People own the 19 houses on the site. Four
of the houses have the owners living there year-round. The other 15 houses
are used part-time by their owners and the rest of the time, Moonhole
Company rents the houses out to people seeking somewhere "out of the
ordinary" for their holiday.
When someone rents a house for their holiday, the staff of Moonhole goes
in and sweeps out all the sand and leaves. They dust every surface. They put
crockery and utensils in the kitchen, turn on the refrigerator, and put
fresh linens on the bed and towels in the bathroom. Large woven hammocks are
hung up on the patio. All of the houses have steps and paths going to the
ocean and beach.
We climbed up and down stone steps and walked on stone paths to the Moon
Hole arch. The moon actually shines through this arch/moon hole during the
spring and fall equinoxes. Tom Johnson built the original Moonhole rock
house for his family under the arch in 1969. Four years later, one of the
rocks fell from the bottom of the arch and crushed a bed in one of the
bedrooms during the day when no one was there. They moved out of that house
into a new house that was built near-by, but not located under the arch.
Back in the 1960's, 1970's, and into the 1980's, the only way to get to
Moonhole was by boat. Now, you can drive to Moonhole on a paved road that
becomes a sand track that becomes a boggy track and peters out at the gate.
It takes a half hour to drive there from Port Elizabeth.
After the tour, everyone gathered on a large patio and had cold drinks
while Jim reminisced about growing up at Moonhole. The group asked a lot of
questions and he seemed to enjoy answering every one. Walking around the
patio were three land tortoises. These tortoises were each about 10 years
old, so they were quite large. They came up to us as we were sitting on the
stone seats and walked on our feet trying to get close. These tortoises
wanted us to rub their shell. Two days in a row of petting turtles and
I really did enjoy the trip out to Moonhole and the tour. Back in 1974-75
Dave and I fell in love with the Tropics when we lived in Panama for a year.
We moved back to Lexington, Kentucky, in 1975. That year we ordered a book
from National Geographic entitled "Caribbean". This book was full of
pictures of islands in the Caribbean. One of the pictures I remember seeing
was of rock houses without walls at Bequia. I remember wondering where
Bequia was and I also remember marveling that someone would live in open
houses by the ocean. It was a real treat to take a tour through these
Back in town, I met Dave and David at the internet. We went back to EXIT
ONLY and arrived with the first sprinkles of the evening. The wind is still
blowing fairly hard and we are still having to watch out for boats dragging
near us. Our anchor is holding well, but many other boats are having
problems. We hear them talking on the VHF radio. The weather forecast says
these winds will start going down after Tuesday next week.
20 January 2006/Friday/Port Elizabeth, Bequia
We woke up
to a very hard rain first thing this morning. Our rigging and decks are
looking bright and clean. After all those months in the Red Sea without
rain, we don't mind a free rinse off. This morning after we thought the rain
clouds had passed by, we all got in the dinghy with the cameras to go into
shore and find a taxi to take us to the Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary on Park
Bay, Bequia. This is on the windward side of the island. We got to the
dinghy dock in front of the taxi area and it started raining fairly hard. We
decided to return to EXIT ONLY. The camera gear was enclosed in waterproof
bags, so none of it got wet. We, however, got soaked!
I called Moonhole on the VHF radio to make a reservation to go on their
weekly tour tomorrow afternoon. I will tell more about Moonhole tomorrow.
We ate lunch on the boat and decided we would try to go see the turtles
in the afternoon if the weather cleared. About 1330, the sky was clear and
the sun was shining. We took the cameras and went in to shore again. We made
an agreement about how much to pay the taxi driver to take us to the other
side of the island to the see the turtles, the driver would wait with us
there one hour, then we would get a return trip to Port Elizabeth. Taxis
here are pick-up trucks with wooden benches covered with removable cushions
in the bed of the truck.
Any thoughts of walking to the turtle sanctuary and back disappeared when
the truck started laboring up the steep hill on a very narrow road. The road
goes straight up a the ridge in the middle of the island, then straight down
the other side to the coastal beach areas on the windward side. Inland, we
saw many coconut palms planted for harvesting.
Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary was started by Brother King, a retired Bequian
skin diving fisherman in August 1995. He catches Hawksbill sea turtles after
they hatch on the Bequia beaches and takes the hatchlings to his sanctuary.
When we pulled up to the sanctuary, we were parked next to the house where
Brother King lives. The area around the house was filled with chickens,
goats, and small tan dogs. Our driver stood by the truck peeling an orange,
and all of the animals came over to see what he was doing and to search for
any tidbits that might come their way. We entered the turtle sanctuary
building. Here, the turtles live and grow for 4-5 years until they are big
enough to have a good chance at survival in the ocean when they are
released. He has over 200 turtles in the sanctuary at any one time. We saw
4-month-old turtles and 4-year-old turtles. What a difference in size! There
was one tank with a huge 9-year-old turtle who is a special pet. This turtle
likes to have its back (shell) scratched and rubbed. When you rub one side
of her shell, she leans into your hand and pushes against the pressure. I
would never have believed a turtle would respond to people like that unless
I saw it myself. We certainly enjoyed the hour we spent watching the sea
turtles and taking photos and video shots of them.
The taxi took us back to the dinghy dock in town. We put our gear into
the dinghy, then hopped in. We made it back to EXIT ONLY just as the gray
clouds moved in and it started raining hard again. We were so glad we went
to the sea turtle sanctuary and we relived the experience as we sat down and
went through the photos we took while we were there. Dave was already
choosing which shots would go up on the website.
19 January 2006/Thursday/Port Elizabeth, Bequia
There were five
cruise ships anchored in Port Elizabeth today. Two of the ships were very
large and three of them were small wind jammer-type boats. There had to be
more people on all five of those ships than there are living on Bequia. Many
of the people get off the tender onto the dock and head straight for a taxi
to take them to a beach. Some of the people head for the grocery stores for
a cold drink. Others fill the small cafes and snack bars and can be seen
eating snacks and enjoying cold drinks or hot tea and coffee. Then, there
are the people who walk through all the small boutiques and souvenir shops.
We all went into shore this morning. Dave and David went to internet and
I went to find some lettuce and onions. I saw all of these people off the
cruise ships walking through the clothing shops, so I thought it would be a
good time for me to take a peek. I haven't gone in the clothing and souvenir
shops, because I didn't want to go in and be the only person in there "just
looking". I was shocked when I saw the prices on the clothing for sale. I
happened to be wearing a simple cotton tropical print- sundress I bought in
Malaysia or Thailand for $5 or $6 US. I found myself looking at a similar
dress hanging in one of the shops. The price here was $45 US. Next to the
tropical-print dress was another dress of the same style with a hand-painted
fish design on it. The lady who owns the shop does batik and painting on
fabric. The hand-painted fish dress was $82 US. I wanted to ask the sales
clerk "Is anyone buying these dresses at these prices?". Obviously, they
must get that much money sometime, because they are asking that price for
more dresses. On the other hand, I started looking harder at the cruise ship
people I saw on the street. I did not see many of them carrying packages
filled with purchases.
We went back to the boat for lunch. After lunch, Dave and David went into
shore to do internet. I stayed with the boat. The wind continues to blow and
the tropical squalls continue to come and go. The big gray clouds come over
the mountain pushed by the northeast winds, so we can tell when it is going
to sprinkle or rain. Within minutes the rain is usually over and the sun
pops out again. Typical January Caribbean weather, but the "enhanced" Trades
are hanging on longer than usual this year is what we are hearing. Everyday,
we say we are so grateful we have a big beugel anchor holding us in place.
It is terrific.
18 January 2006/Wednesday/Port Elizabeth, Bequia
These days are flying by, but we really haven't been doing much that is
new and different to talk about. I have gotten behind writing my journal,
because David has been using this computer to work on the web site and to
hook up to wireless internet on shore. Dave has been using another computer
to work on the photo gallery for the web site. The web site has taken
priority so we can maximize the wireless internet time we paid for while we
are in Bequia.
We ate lunch on the boat, then all of us made a quick trip into town.
Once again Dave and David hit the internet place while I walked through the
shops. I bought freshly baked wheat bread at the bakery and "The Leeward
Islands Cruising Guide" at the Bequia Bookstore. The cruising guide sold for
$3.00 US more than the price it sells for in the States before you add state
sales tax. If we order the book from Blue Water Books in Ft. Lauderdale, we
don't pay sales tax, but we have to pay shipping. We reckon they charge a
fair price here. I was really glad to get the Leeward Islands book. I
brought the Windward Islands book back from the States with me to Gibraltar,
book shop in Ft. Lauderdale did not have the Leeward Islands book at the
same time. I have heard the names of most of these islands for years and
generally know where they are, but now we have to make a plan that takes in
the individual islands in a logical sequence. I realized I knew which island
was next to which island, but I had no idea which one we should go to first
without looking at a chart. There are many people cruising in the Caribbean
who have been here for several seasons. They speak casually about this
anchorage and that bay and sometimes I find myself grabbing the cruising
guides to figure out where the bay they referred to is located. I have spent
literally hours in the past few days going through the information we have
about the Windward and Leeward Islands trying to get an overall view of what
choices are available and which islands would appeal to us the most.
I joined Dave and David at the internet place and did some work with out
Hotmail inbox and address book. David was working on his website,
toomanydrummers.com, now that he has finished updating the maxingout.com
website as far as Bequia. He and Dave have been re-working some of the
features on the website and adding some new information. We will be doing a
couple of activities on Bequia and adding those pages before we leave here.
Dave and I decided to walk farther down the beach walkway from the
Gingerbread Cafe where they are doing internet to Mac's Pizza Place. We
ordered a 15" pepperoni pizza to go for $48 EC/$18.46 US. Not cheap, but as
prices go around here, it turned out to be one of the more reasonable prices
because the pizza was delicious! While we waiting on the open raised porch
that is Mac's eating area, over-looking the sea, we noticed small green
lizards were running along the wooden railing around the porch. We watched
the lizards and talked about bringing a camera to photograph them because we
could easily get good close-up photos. Then, we noticed another lizard on
the vines growing up the side of the porch...then another, then another.
There were literally lizards everywhere on those vines. Once we started
looking, we could see them sticking their long tongues into the centers of
the flowers and sucking out the liquid they found there. We took the pizza
to a picnic table down by the beach. David came over from the Gingerbread.
The three of us sat and ate while the sea waves rolled below our feet. It
was good pizza. We gave it good ratings...cheese and topping 10/10, sauce
10/10, and crust 7/10.
17 January 2005/Tuesday/Port Elizabeth, Bequia
We keep listening to the radio nets we know about, but so far
propagation has been poor to fair. We have heard boats in the British Virgin
Islands and boats in Venezuela, but the boats here in the Windward Islands
have been hard to hear. There is one weather net from Trinidad and another
weather net from north of here (maybe the British Virgin Islands) that come
through clearly so we are receiving weather every morning. Dave has not been
downloading weather because we have not been moving, but that is always
available to us, too.
The winds have continued to blow strongly in a steady 15-20 range with
higher gusts. The swell wasn't so bad today, so we all went into town in the
morning. Dave and David was working on the website. Dave sent out a letter
asking for estimates on repairing our port bow pulpit. He attached pictures
and measurements to the e-mail. We want to see how much the repair is going
to cost before we see the captain from MV/Harmony. We also have to find
someone who is willing to take on the job. With all of these boats here in
the Caribbean high season, it seems like most of the repair facilities have
jobs already lined up. Dave sent letters to places advertising in the
cruising guides we have on board. He wrote to Carriacou, Grenada, Trinidad,
US Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, etc.
While they were at internet, I went into the shops in town. I bought a
few tomatoes from the lady in the yellow baseball hat who stands at a wooden
table under a large almond tree beside the main road in town across from the
beach. She is always friendly and doesn't hassle you to buy more. I walked
through the grocery store looking again at what is on the shelves. I don't
need much yet, but I always enjoy looking.
I tried the TV today to see if it is going to work here. We have not
watched TV for months, but we want to be able to watch some of the Olympics.
I got a perfect picture, but no sound. This TV is from New Zealand. We don't
know what kind of TV format they have here. It will either be PAL or NTSC. I
will ask someone when I am in town.
Back at the boat for lunch, we decided the wind was up again and we would
keep someone on the boat during the afternoon. There is a large open area in
front of us and most of the boats that anchor there seem to drag. We don't
know if the holding isn't good or if these boats have anchors that are too
small for these windy conditions. Poor Dave has been on the bow of our boat
almost every night after sunset (about 1845) watching another boat that
comes in, puts down its anchor, then drags back toward us. There are a lot
of boats in this bay and it seems like every night some boat somewhere is
dragging. So far, the boats in front of us that dragged, have moved far, far
16 January 2006/Monday/Port Elizabeth, Bequia
Dave and David were very busy this morning. They cleaned the water line
all the way around both hulls. That is 160 feet of waterline. We still had
an oil residue on the hull from the oil spill in the harbor at Las Palmas,
Gran Canaria. Dave was in the dinghy. He tied the dinghy fore and aft to the
boat and worked with a small brush on the areas he could reach. David was in
the water. He had a plastic handle with two huge suction cups to attach the
handle to the side of the boat. He was hanging on to the handle with one
hand and using a small brush with the other hand. The hulls look so much
better now that they removed the oil and dirt from the waterline.
While they were doing that, I cleaned out the locker in the cockpit that
contains all of our cleaning products, brushes, clothes pins, etc. We are
finding that we have been gathering products that we like to have handy and
storing them away like squirrels with nuts for the winter. We have been
carrying two or three bottles of each of our favorite cleaning products.
When we were "out in the middle of nowhere", that seemed like a good idea,
because we usually had what we needed on board. Now, we are having to
re-adjust our thinking. We have to realize we are back in civilization, or
at least on the edges of it. If we need something, we will probably be able
to find it fairly easily. We are presently in the middle of one of the most
famous charter boat areas in the world. They have everything for boats
Dave and David met Neil and Kerry from Minnesota at the dinghy dock. They
keep a Privilege 39' just like EXIT ONLY here in this bay and run 1-14 day
charters in the Grenadines on the boat. They gave us the name of a man on
the island of Carriacou (near Grenada, south of here) who does excellent
stainless steel work. Once we get money from Captain McKay, we will contact
this man and see if he is available to work on our boat. Neil and Kerry
named their present boat LOST OUR MARBLES. I don't think they lost their
marbles, but they did lose their last boat, also a Privilege 39', when
hurricane Ivan went through Grenada. They were not on the boat. The boat was
anchored out and did fine until the wind blew so hard, it lifted the boat up
out of the water. The anchor held and the boat was literally flying until it
turned over and was dropped back into the water. The hull floated, but
everything was soaked with sea water and damaged from being tossed around.
15 January 2006/Sunday/Port Elizabeth, Bequia
After lunch Dave and
David went into shore with the computers. The wireless internet connection
was up and running again. Dave did some online work while David worked on
the second computer editing a song that he recorded a few days ago. The cafe
doesn't mind if we plug the computers into the wall to work as long as we
leave the cafe area by 1800...before the dinner customers arrive. We buy a
Pepsi everyday when we are sitting in their cafe. At 1800 we can still use
the computers, running on battery power, when we are seated at tables set up
near the water in front of the cafe. The wireless connection is good there,
The weather continues to be sunny with intermittent rain squalls passing
overhead. We open the hatches and ports, then shut them, then open them,
etc. umpteen times a day. The "enhanced trades" seem to be late this year
(this is what we keep hearing people say), so we have light winds, then we
have a blast that comes through the anchorage pushing all of the boats to
the end of their anchor rode. All of the boats react differently to the wind
pushing them around. Some boats immediately change their angle and face into
the wind. Others move their bows into the wind at a much slower pace. There
are a lot of boats anchored here right now, but the bay is large enough to
hold all of the boats that are here and more. Most importantly, our anchor
is holding and we haven't moved a centimeter since we put the anchor down.
Every boat in our area seems to be anchored securely, too. We are anchored
on the far right side of the bay. Some of the boats on the far left side of
the bay did drag, so they relocated to this side.
14 January 2005/Saturday/Port Elizabeth, Bequia
Most shops were only open the first half of the day today, because it is
Saturday. Dito and I went in to the shore about 0900. Dito took the computer
to the internet cafe to do some internet work while I walked through the
south end of the village to check out two more grocery stores I read about
in the tourist brochure. I walked up the hill to Euroshopper. I already
didn't like having to walk on the edge of the road as the truck taxis
(trucks with benches in the back) whooshed by, so I was glad to arrive at
the shop after a few minutes of hiking. The shop was pretty much like the
others I had already seen, so I was glad I didn't find a lot of new and
different things I would have to carry back down the hill. They did have
tins of Diet Dr. Pepper, and the one I bought was easy to carry! It was
empty by the time I got to the bottom of the hill.
I stopped by Knight's, a second grocery store in the town that I had not
seen before. I wanted to fix chicken today and needed apricot jam. I
couldn't find apricot jam, but they had peach jam from Spain, so I bought
that. I often find myself thinking, "What in this store is almost like the
item and want and can't find?" In this case, I decided peach jam was sort of
like apricot jam.
Back at the bakery we shopped at the other day, I bought freshly baked
bread in a sliced loaf, some buns, and a banana bread. The man told me they
sold 68 loaves of banana bread last week. When we tried the banana bread
later, we decided it was good, but mine is better. Maybe I can sell banana
bread off the stern of our boat! We have been reading that St. Vincent is
famous for the bananas it exports around the world. We have also been
reading that the whole eastern Caribbean is upset because the World Trade
Organization made a ruling that stopped the European countries from giving
preference to bananas from the Windward Islands. The Caribbean Compass, a
monthly maritime publication, held a banana recipe contest and published the
three winners this month. One was a daiquiri recipe, one was a parmesan and
banana fish recipe, and the third was a banana bread recipe. The bread
recipe says the ingredients are the same as most recipes, but the method of
creating the batter for the bread is different. First, the directions tell
you to mash 4-5 mashed ripe bananas, 1 oz. rum, 1t vanilla, 2t cinnamon, and
3/4 whole nutmeg, freshly ground. Stir all of the ingredients together,
cover, and let this container set for a day or two. The recipe says to check
the container often, because fermentation may knock the top off the
I went to the cafe where Dito was connected to internet. He went back to
the boat to have a sandwich for lunch, while I sat and did some catch up
with our hotmail files. I need to do a lot of updating with addresses, etc.,
so I worked for quite awhile. Dito has opened a Skype account, so we can
make phone calls on our computer when we are connected to internet.
13 January 2006/Friday/Port Elizabeth, Bequia
About 0925 I was
going to start writing e-mails but thought I would go to the head first. I
was in the head, Dave and David were in the salon when we heard a “BANG!” A
mega yacht anchored dangerously close to us yesterday. Dave went out and
indicated to them he thought they were too close for the windy conditions we
are having in here. They stayed where they were. At 0930 this morning, the
mega yacht began to take up its anchor. A gust of 25-knot wind blew while
they were pulling up their anchor, and the bow of the mega yacht was out of
control. Their bow hit our port bow and crushed our stainless steel pulpit.
The stainless will all have to be redone and replaced. The navigation light
will need to be replaced. The stainless steel bale we use for our storm
parachute will have to be replaced. Lifelines may need attention. It appears
there is no hull damage, but we will have to have the boat surveyed to be
sure. The roller furling headsail seems to be fine. Two crew from the mega
yacht came over with their ship's details. They gave us the details of their
yacht (a chartered mega yacht with a professional crew) and we gave them the
details of our yacht. They said they would be in touch with us via e-mail
later today. The first issue is their insurance paying for repairing the
damage. The second issue is where and when we will have this done. This is
going to impact our Caribbean cruising.
We are very upset and sorry this happened, but we also are very grateful
the damage is not worse than it is. There are many other things that could
have happened when the yacht hit us that would be much worse and we realize
that. Everyone on board is fine. EXIT ONLY does not seem to have permanent
damage. We can still sail. We are thankful.
12 January 2006/Thursday/Admiralty Bay, Port Elizabeth, Bequia
We listened to Eric from Trinidad on the radio net he runs Monday
through Saturday at 0630 local Atlantic time (-4 UTC) to hear the weather
that is happening now as well as the weather forecast. There wasn't much
that was new or different...more wind and more rain. Again, we are glad to
be anchored in a protected anchorage with good holding. We are very
About 0800 someone knocked on our hull. It was a local man in a wooden
boat filled with groceries. He moves through the anchorage selling groceries
and scheduling boat work jobs. Obviously, he could see our boat desperately
needs the hull cleaned and polished. We still have oil residue at the
waterline from the oil spills in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria. Our decorative
stripes that Dito and Sarah worked so hard to put on when we hauled out in
Turkey, have started coming off and we are not sure why. EXIT ONLY is
showing how hard the trip across the Med and the Atlantic really were. Dave
has done preventative maintenance and done the jobs that had to be done, so
the boat is in good shape. It just doesn't look so polished and shiny right
now. We particularly noticed how shiny and clean all the charter boats are
and the cruising boats that stay in the Caribbean look good, too. We are
going to start working on cleaning up our hulls when the wind stops blowing
We put up our St. Vincent and Grenadines flag today. We found we have a
flag for Bequia that is one of the most "fun" flags we have ever seen. The
flag is white with the cutout of a smiling black whale in the middle of it.
We asked the lady at the bookstore about this smiling whale flag. She said
it is, indeed, the flag of Bequia Island, but it must be flown with the St.
Vincent and Grenadines flag. We are flying both flags.
Dito stayed on the boat to do some song recording this morning, while
Dave and I went in to the small town. We "did" the shops on the first street
running parallel to the shore. We found a tourist information office with
island maps and information, a couple of small, but basic grocery stores, a
book shop, and a bakery. We bought some freshly baked bread at the
bakery...two baguettes... and immediately ate half of one of them!
Fortified, we went to check out the grocery stores. One shop was full of
items I recognized as usually being sold at Sam's. There must be a Sam's
somewhere in the Caribbean. I will have to look into that! The charterers
stop here at Bequia and buy food. All of the meat is cooked, frozen, and
cryopacked into servings for four. I bought frozen Tyson chicken breasts and
paid by the pound. There is an amazing choice of foods available...for a
price..in the shops. I guess they have stocked everything someone has come
in and asked for.
The winds blew strong all day long, but there was less rain today. The
weather forecast says this weather pattern will stay around for a few more
days. We feel sorry for the people who paid a lot of money to charter a boat
11 January 2006/Wednesday/Admiralty Bay, Port Elizabeth, Bequia
squalls and strong winds off and on all night long, but the boat kept moving
downwind easily. We all took our watch, then slept well as the boat moved
along at a good speed. There are cruise ships moving in large circles
between the islands at night to avoid paying dock charges and freighters
moving goods from island to island, so we had plenty of things to watch out
for as we moved through the night.
We could see St Vincent Island and Bequia Island (9 miles apart) from
about 0800. We went through the passage between the two islands, then into
Port Elizabeth/Admiralty Bay from the north. Wow! There must be 80 cruising
and charter boats anchored in this bay. It is a big bay, so there is plenty
of room, but we haven't seen that many cruising boats anchored out in a long
time. It was blowing 20-30 knots as we came into the bay because a huge
squall just started dumping rain as we let down our anchor at 1200.
After a hot lunch, we prioritized what needed to be done. Everyone was a
little tired, but first of all we had to check in to St. Vincent and the
Grenadines. We talked to AHQUABI on the VHF radio and found out where we
needed to go to check in. Dave and Dito took the empty propane bottles in
the dinghy and went into the small town of Port Elizabeth at the end of the
bay. I stayed on the boat to make sure our anchor was holding as the gusts
of wind and rain squalls kept coming all afternoon.
When Dave and David returned from shore, we were checked in. They had
dropped off the propane tanks for filling and were told to come back for
them tomorrow afternoon. They found out there is wireless internet at the
Gingerbread Cafe, but you have to take your laptop to the cafe and sit there
and work. The wireless internet cannot be used on board boats anchored in
the bay. They do have a good deal where we pay one fee and can use wireless
as much as we want to use it for one week. There is water available for
purchase from a boat that comes around carrying diesel, gasoline, and water.
The small boat pulls up next to your boat and you fill from their tanks into
yours. Dave asked about where the water comes from and the man on shore told
him the water is collected in cisterns and put in tanks. Then, they put
small fish in the tanks to eat all the algae out of the water. Once that is
done, the fish are removed (I hope!) and the water is carried around for
sale. We decided we would make more water with our watermaker.
Bequia (pronounced "beck-way") is a small island, roughly 5 miles long
and 2 miles wide. The population numbers 5,000. Admiralty Bay is a popular
stop for the myriad of charter boats based in the Windward Islands. I am
just now getting these islands fixed in my mind as where they are located
and how they relate to each other. St. Vincent is west of Barbados. Going
south from St. Vincent, the islands are the Grenadine Islands: Bequia,
Mustique, Canouan, Mayreau, Tobago Cays (5 small uninhabited islands), Union
Island, Palm Island, Petit St. Vincent. Next comes Petit Martinique (belongs
to Grenada), and Grenada. We will check out of St. Vincent and the
Grenadines at Union Island, then check in to Grenada, a different country.
10 January 2006/Tuesday/Sail from Bridgetown, Barbados to Port Elizabeth,
morning we were anchored in Bridgetown, Barbados (13.05 N, 59.37 W). The
"Christmas winds" or "enhanced trades" have come in late this year (everyone
is saying), and we found ourselves bouncing around in the anchorage as the
wind pushed the waves around the southwest corner of the island. The boat
was moving like it does when we are on a passage with moderate winds
blowing. The weather forecast is for these winds to blow for the next week
or so. A huge high is sitting over the area, bringing the winds and rain
squalls. We were wishing we had already left Barbados and we were anchored
Paul and Sandra from QUARTERDECK came by in the morning to ask Dito if he
would go into shore with Paul and help him lay out a large sail and fold it
up properly. Of course, Dito was glad to help with that job. When Dito
returned from helping Paul, we all got ready to go into town. We ate lunch
at Kentucky Fried Chicken, then parted ways. Dave went to Customs and
Immigration at the cruise ship terminal to check out. Dito went to internet.
I went for one last walk through the Trimart Supermarket. My goal was to
spend the last of our Barbados dollars, because the money is only good on
Barbados. I spent all of the Barbados dollars, then gave the cashier a few
U.S. dollars to finish paying for what I bought. I loaded Elvin with my
purchases and walked back to the boardwalk where the dinghy was tied. I read
the newspaper and drank a cold pop while I waited for Dave and Dito to
When everyone was back, we loaded the groceries into the dinghy and
headed back to EXIT ONLY. They dropped the groceries and me off at the boat,
then Dave and David took the cockpit water jugs and made a water run over to
the yacht club spicate. Just as they were returning with the water, a huge
rain squall came through and poured on the town and anchorage. The guys got
soaked! After the water jugs were secured, we all had a rinse off in ocean,
then fresh water from the Sunshower. We were ready to leave.
We brought the anchor up at 1600, then swung by to say "See you later" to
QUARTERDECK and ZEPHYRUS. QUARTERDECK is headed to St. Lucia, so I don't
know when we will cross paths with them again. ZEPHYRUS is going to Trinidad
for Carnival, so we will see them there.
We had 15-25 knots of wind, with higher gusts when it rained all through
the night. There was a full moon, so we could see the waves and squall
clouds easily. Since we were going downwind all the way, the winds pushed us
along quite nicely. We only had our foresail out and Dave would roll it in
or let it out as the winds and rains came and went. EXIT ONLY moves best
downwind, so we had a very good ride. We will be in Bequia tomorrow. We have
done so many long passages, that it was funny to talk about going to Bequia.
Every conversation included, "It is only an overnight sail". We are glad it
is "only an overnight sail" and we will be anchored there tomorrow.
9 January 2006/Monday/Bridgetown, Barbados
We were thinking we would leave Barbados and head for Bequia today, but
the wind came up...a lot...and we decided we would stay one more day to see
what the tropical wave on the weather forecast is doing.
We went over in the dinghy to see ZEPHYRUS and welcome them to
Barbados...Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Congratulations on crossing
the Atlantic. They will complete their circum-navigation in Trinidad.
Dito did some last minute revisions to the update for the website, then
put the new version on the memory stick.
After lunch we all went into town. The internet place Dito and Sarah had
been to before wasn't open for use because their server was down. We went to
have ice cream at Chefette while the guys decided what to do next. We found
another internet cafe in the Broad Street Mall. The lady at the desk told us
the prices for using the computer. We ask if we could have the "crew
discount" we saw advertised on posters on the wall. She looked at the three
of us and asked, "You all work on a cruise ship?" I told her, "We are a
cruise ship...a small cruising yacht." She started laughing and said we
could have the discount. It took about 37 minutes to upload the new website
online with the good internet connection.
We decided not to sign out today and see how the weather is tomorrow.
Bequia is 100 miles away, so when we leave, we will go about 1400 in the
afternoon. A downwind overnight sail will take roughly 20 hours.
8 January 2006/Sunday/Bridgetown, Barbados
Today was "catch up" day for me. I took part of the day to catch up on
some boat jobs and I took part of the day to read a book. I have hardly read
anything since we anchored here and I was missing enjoying a book.
Dave and Dito worked almost all day on updating the maxingout.com website
offline. They have the website on our computers, so Dito can make additions
and changes on our computers, then he downloads the new version of the
website onto a memory stick. The plan is to take the memory stick in to an
internet place Monday morning to do the actual upload of the new version of
the website on line. All of us have contributed new material to the website,
but Dito is the one who pulls it all together and makes it work. He puts my
Daily Log entries on the site after he adds photos to go with what I have
written about. Dave wrote quite a few articles while we were on passage
crossing the Atlantic and all of that had to be put in where it belongs.
Dito put up new photos in the photo gallery and that takes a long time to
select photos, then actually put them in.It is quite a big job and very time
consuming. It took most of the day to get everything set up the way they
wanted it to be.
ZEPHYRUS came in about 2300 tonight from the Cape Verde Islands.
7 January 2006/Saturday/Bridgetown, Barbados
Sarah went snorkeling first thing this morning. Sarah is going to fly back
to Kentucky today, so they wanted to get in "one more snorkel" before she
left. Dito found the old 110 underwater camera we have owned for years.
There was still a roll of film in it with a few pictures left to take. He
checked the "O" ring and found it was good. They took the camera with them
and shot the rest of the roll underwater. The camera is old and the film is
old, so no one knows if the film is good or not.
Dave and I were busy getting the things we were sending to Kentucky with
Sarah ready to go. We wrote several business letters and addressed envelopes
so Sarah could mail them in the States. We just found out US postage has
gone up to $0.39 for letters.
We ate lunch on the boat, then Dito and Sarah dived in the water behind
the boat for one last swim before it was time to head for the airport. Dave
took them into the dock and they caught a public bus going out to the
airport. When Dito returned, he said the airport was very crowded and all
the planes were full. Guess many of the tourists were returning home after
QUARTERDECK (Canadian boat) arrived here in Carlisle Bay from the Cape
Verde Islands this afternoon. QUARTERDECK is one of the first boats we met
in Panama at the yacht club in Colon in 1995. They had already been in the
Caribbean for three years before they went through the canal to start their
circumnavigation. We think it is remarkable that one of the first boats we
met on our circum-navigation is now anchored right beside us as we both
return to the Caribbean. We both have been many of the same places and many
different places over the last 10-11 years, but here we are now.
I baked some cookies to share with QUARTERDECK today and ZEPHYRUS when
they arrive here from the Cape Verde Islands tomorrow. I put candy canes
(Sarah brought some from the States) in with the cookies to say "Merry
Christmas", "Happy New Year", and "Congratulations on successfully crossing
6 January 2006/Friday/Bridgetown, Barbados
morning Dito, Sarah, and I went to the Cheapside Market for fruit and
vegetables. Friday and Saturday are the biggest market days. I like to go
there to shop because at least half of the stalls have signs with prices
written on them. I don't like to buy at stalls where there are no posted
prices, because I know there is one price for locals and a different, higher
price for me. They sell things per pound here and I find myself wishing it
was per kilo because things are expensive here. We bought some beautiful
tomatoes, onions, potatoes, cucumbers, and we bought three christophenes to
try. The lady told us they are like cucumbers and you peel them, then chop
them up in salad. We did that later and they tasted just like cucumbers. I
also bought some fresh basil with long stems this time. I am going to try to
root these stems so I can keep a pot of basil going. This basil has the
smallest leaves I have ever seen on a basil plant and is very tasty in
From Cheapside, I went to Trimart supermarket to shop for groceries while
Sarah and Dito went to an internet place. I did a small amount of shopping,
then sat in one of the chairs provided at the store for waiting until they
came with Elvin (the grocery cart) to help carry groceries back to the
dinghy. Sarah had received e-mails concerning papers for her new job in
Lexington, so she had to write e-mails and call the States. She is planning
to start her new job 10 January. I didn't mind waiting at the grocery store.
I drank a Diet Coke and watched the people as they checked out with their
groceries. The older Bajan ladies wear nice dresses and wear hats. The
younger ladies are very neatly dressed in denim and mostly conservative
tops. They all have nice leather sandals and many of the younger ladies are
wearing high heels.
After we put the groceries away on the boat and had lunch, we all went in
the dinghy with the video camera to the snorkel area where the sunken boats
are located. We had the video camera and the big orange underwater viewer
with us. Dave and Dito call it "snorkel cam". Dave holds the viewer in the
water and Dito puts the video camera where you normally put your face to
look under water. Sarah did some swimming among the schools of fish for the
video. I was sort of the lookout to make sure we did not get in anyone's
way. We tied our dinghy to one of the buoys provided for snorkelers, then
let out rope until we were positioned over the shallowest sunken boat. Dito
was able to get good underwater footage, so this endeavor was a success.
We had a light supper and then ate popcorn while we watched the
documentary movie "Endurance" about Shackelton's attempt to explore
Antarctica around 1916. Their ship, the ENDURANCE, became frozen in the ice
pack, so the real adventure changed from exploration to survival. It was a
fascinating story and the movie was well-done. We felt very cold watching
those men struggle in the snow and ice. When the movie was over, we were
glad to be sitting in the Caribbean where we don't have to be watching for
5 January 2006/Thursday/Bridgetown, Barbados
The strong winds died during the night and we woke up this morning
floating on a flat pond. A light wind came up about 0830, but the water was
still fairly calm compared to what we have had in the past few days. We all
decided we would go snorkeling over on the sunken tug boat again while the
sun was shining.
First, David and Sarah took the water jugs over to the spigot at the
yacht club to fill them. We used all the jug water we had when we did
laundry yesterday. This time they took the hose and water filter with them.
We didn't drink the water we got from the spigot, but we still didn't like
having particles of something in the water. We had gotten out of the habit
of using the filter, but now we are going to start using it all of the time
in the Caribbean. We are using our watermaker to desalinate water for our
tanks. That is the water we drink.
We took the dinghy over to the area where the dive/tour boats were tied
up to let their customers snorkel and dive the wreck. We tied up to what we
thought was the same white ball buoy we used the other day. It turned out to
be a different buoy...and it turned out there are three wrecks down there!
That was a surprise. The tug boat is in the shallowest water. It has the
most fish swarming around it because the guys on the boats feed the fish
when they arrive. This means the bright splashes of colorful fish are
literally right in your face because they think you have food, too. We
haven't snorkeled with schools of fish like this since the Pacific. There
were fish everywhere. The wrecked boats become an artificial reef and coral
was growing all around. The two other boats were larger than the tug boat
and in a little deeper water. The sun was shining, so it was still possible
to see all the fish on these wrecks, too. Beginner scuba divers were
swimming around at a level beneath the snorkelers and above the wreck.
After lunch on the boat, Dave took the rest of the crew into town and
dropped us off at the Careenage boardwalk. David and Sarah went to the bus
station and caught a bus that went north along the west coast of the island.
The went to Speightstown and Port Charles. They rode the yellow mini-bus
with the blaring hip hop music, so they got the full island bus
"experience". They said there are lots of hotels with lots of tourists
broiling themselves on the beaches up there.
I walked around town and checked out a couple of shops I had noticed.
First, I went into Woolworth's. It turned out to be Woolworth's like I
remember it when I was young. They sell a little bit of everything at a
cheaper price than other places in town. I walked through two souvenir shops
and wondered who buys all this stuff at those outrageous prices. I stopped
in the Trimart grocery store to pick up some bread and guava jam. All the
guide books said to try the guava jam. I did and we liked it, so I wanted to
get more. I bought a local newspaper. The lead story was about the house
exploding yesterday. The article did say one man died in the explosion, but
there were no details about what exploded and where the man was (in the
house or outside). I ended my walk through town with a stop at the Chefette
for ice cream.
In the evening, I made up frosting and we decorated the sugar cookies I
made a few days ago. All of the cookies are frosted and sitting out
overnight on the table so the frosting can set. It was a lot of work, but
everyone is quite pleased to see the finished product. One of the shapes is
a fish and we ended up with some creative colorful fish cookies. No doubt
the snorkeling this morning inspired these works of art.
4 January 2005/Wednesday/Bridgetown, Barbados
Today can be summed
up in one word..."laundry". We finally got our sunny, clear day with no rain
showers (just the briefest of sprinkles that were no count), so it
officially became "Laundry Day" first thing in the morning. Dave brought out
four buckets and had whites soaking in bleach water, another pile of laundry
went into the wash bucket, some laundry was in the rinse bucket, etc. We had
not done laundry since we left the Canary Islands, so we had a lot of
catching up to do. The wind was blowing steadily and the sun was shining, so
everything we hung out dried fairly quickly. Still, there was so much to
wash and hang out that it took us three separate times of filling the
lifelines and extra lines we strung on the foredeck to get everything up and
dry. The wind was blowing so hard, we had to use extra pegs on each piece we
hung out. Basically, the laundry project took all day to complete, but by
the end of the day the boat was smelling like a rose!
Sarah and I were on the foredeck hanging out clothes at 1230 when we
heard a huge "BOOM", then a couple smaller "booms" went off. We looked over
at the town on shore and saw a white mushroom cloud made of smoke rising
swiftly up into the air on the east side of town. Everything went very quiet
for a couple of minutes, then sirens started screaming all over town. Once
the white smoke cleared, we could see black smoke rising beyond the trees.
We had no idea what was over there, but we did know this area was not the
airport and it was not downtown. Quickly, we turned on the local radio
station. There was a regular talk show going on, but about 20 minutes later,
at news time, they said a house had exploded on the east side of town. They
identified the area by street and address, but it didn't mean anything to
The reporter said they did not know if anyone was in the house when it
exploded. The house was destroyed. Of course we were sorry to hear anything
so awful happened, but we were all relieved it wasn't a terrorist event,
because that was the first thing we thought of.
3 January 2006/Tuesday/Bridgetown, Barbados
Yesterday I was hoping we could get the laundry done today. No way it
was possible with all the gray clouds filled with rain showers passing over
us. We opened the boat when it wasn't raining, then closed the boat when it
started raining. We must have done that 7 or 8 times.
David and Sarah went into town and did a little grocery shopping for us
while I made lunch on the boat. They took the thermal bag in with them and
brought back a bag of ice. That was a nice treat. We all enjoyed having
ice-cold drinks with our meal. Between rain showers, they took the water
jugs over to the Barbados Yacht Club and filled the jugs with free water
provided by the club. The spicate is located out in the water at a buoy. We
now have plenty of wash water to do the laundry...when we have a bright,
In the afternoon, Dave, David, and Sarah decided to go snorkeling over by
the buoy where they noticed several tour/dive boats gather each day. These
boats are filled with tourists off the cruise ships and from the hotels on
the island. I rode over to the other side of Carlisle Bay in the dinghy with
them, but I asked to be let off near the beach. I wanted to walk on the
white sand and see what was at the edge of the water. After I heard about
the snorkeling, I wished I would have gone with them. They went out and tied
the dinghy to one of the buoys marking the snorkel area. They saw the sunken
tug boat, BERWYN, lying in 7 meters of water. The water was very clear and
there were brightly colored fish swimming everywhere. They decided they
would like to go back and see if they can get some video footage through the
large viewer we have that is used for looking in the water from the dinghy.
2 January 2006/Monday/Bridgetown, Barbados
Today is another holiday in Bridgetown, so almost everything was closed.
David and Sarah went into town and found the Chefette was open, so they had
ice cream. Dave and I stayed on the boat and worked on some projects. I am
trying to get a holiday letter together in time to send envelopes back to
the States with Sarah. She is going to put some letters in the mail to
friends of ours who don't have e-mail addresses.
The tropical trough was continuing through this area today, so we had
sunny times, showers with huge rainbows over the cruise ship terminal, then
more sunny times. I don't mind the showers, but we can't get our laundry
done and the pile grows bigger as the days go by.
Sarah brought a few recently released DVD movies with her, so we popped
popcorn and ate left-over pizza while we watched a movie tonight. After the
movie was finished, about 2100 we heard one of the Dutch sailboats calling
the Barbados Coast Guard on the VHF radio. They were reporting theft on
their boat. A computer and camera were missing. We don't know the
details...whether they were on or off the boat, if the boat was locked or
not, etc. This boat just arrived here today and they anchored as close as
they safely could to the beach. It is possible someone swam out to their
boat or paddled a windsurf board out that short distance. We are anchored
much farther out. We immediately went to the stern of our boat to make sure
our dinghy was still there. We pull the dinghy up every night, but hadn't
done it yet tonight. No problem. The dinghy was right there where it was
supposed to be.
Mary from KITTYWAKE brought a bag of paperback books to swap when they
came over last night. Today, Bruce from AHQUABI came over with books from
their boat. He looked at Mary's bag of books and the bag of books I had
ready to swap and chose some new-to-him books. We made up a bag of
new-to-her books for Mary and Bruce took the bag of books over to her. There
is a book swap at the local cruising club that cruisers are permitted to
trade books with and that is what I had planned to do after the holidays. I
realized today that I now had all "new" books without leaving our boat!
1 January 2006/Sunday/Bridgetown, Barbados
A tropical wave went by Barbados today and we got the winds and squalls
off the clouds in the overcast sky. The swell came around the southwest
corner of the island and we had more bouncing around than we have had since
we arrived here. The squalls came and went all day...open the hatches, close
the hatches, open the hatches, close the hatches...We really can't complain
because we have had good weather most of the time we have been here.
I spent the morning fixing food for this evening. We invited Pam and
Bruce on AQUABI and Mary and John on KITTYWAKE to come over for a small
party at 1700. All of us were on passage Christmas Day and all of us
successfully crossed the Atlantic, so we were ready to celebrate that.
AQUABI and EXIT ONLY are finishing circum-navigations in the Caribbean.
KITTYWAKE was purchased in France and sailed in the Med. The Atlantic was
their first ocean crossing.
Dave and Dito went into the beach to one of the reataurant/bars and
bought a bag of ice cubes, so we had ice-cold Diet Pepsi! There was
left-over ice, so I am going to make a big pitcher of iced tea tomorrow. Now
that we are in the Caribbean, we are planning on adding a small 12-volt
freezer to the boat, but I am not sure where we are going to find exactly
what Dave wants. We should have brought the one we had in the truck in
Australia, but at the time, it seemed like a good idea to leave it in the
We are talking to PEACE AND ALOHA everyday after we listen to the radio
net in the morning. The boats that are crossing the Atlantic right now are
having lots of rainy, squally weather. Unbelievably, there is another named
storm out in the middle of the Atlantic. Herb, the weather guru for yachties
from Canada, said he thinks Tropical Storm Zeta is going to make the
Guinness Book of Records for being so late in the season. The water is still
83F degrees and that is unheard of...too warm for this time of year. Dave
listens to the weather shared on the radio nets and he is still pulling down
weather faxes. Bridgetown is a nice anchorage, but it is open, so if the
wind came from the "wrong" direction, this could suddenly not be a nice
place to be. So far, so good.