Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Carriacou is a laid-back island, much quieter than its big sister Grenada. I know that probably sounds a little strange because all Caribbean islands have that laid-back quality. But the pace here is slow, you don't see very many cars and other than on Friday night when music comes drifting out from one of the bars, you hear very little noise. We enjoyed relaxing, walking the shady roads and spending time with friends.

The road to Manchineel Bay is lined with pastures and beautiful views.

There's a new addition to Tyrell Bay since our last visit. This is the Lady D, a floating bar and restaurant anchored in the center of the bay. The boat's name is "Hallelujah" which is probably what most cruisers shout when they see it.

This is Denise, aka Lady D who will greet you warmly when you arrive.
We were very happy to find friends Geoff and Pat (S/V Beach House) and Steve and Anne (S/V Fine Line) when we arrived in Carriacou. So it was off to the Lady D for happy hour when we arrived and then lunch later that week.

Denise serving up either chicken, pork or fish with peas & rice, salad and coleslaw.

We were sitting and enjoying some conversation after lunch when a squall popped up. With no time to run back to our boats we rode it out on the Lady D. The winds were 40 knots and the blue boat in the back of this photo started dragging. The owners were on deck quickly and things got under control. We all watched our own boats anxiously to make sure everything was OK. It always feels better to be on your boat in a squall then watching it from a distance.

Friday night and it's time to hit "The Lambi Queen" for dinner and the steel drum band.
Steve, Anne, Wendy, Jim, Pat and Geoff.

What is Jungle Jim doing?
a. looking for a banana.
b. looking for his monkey.
c. trying to see the band.
Sunday we head for Grenada and wouldn't you know it, another squall line pops up. The first one gave us 28 knots of wind and no rain. That was actually great. We were flying along at over 7 knots. I actually saw a reading of 10.2 knots on the GPS as we surfed down a wave. Woo-hoo!!! The second line dumped rain on us!
So now we are anchored in Prickly Bay, Grenada only 153 ft, according to our GPS, from where we were anchored last year. Someone stuck a mooring ball where we were last year! Our friends know that we really liked our spot and felt very possessive about it. In many ways our arrival felt like coming home as friends waved to us from their boats. After all, we did live here for 6 months and this will be home again for the next few months while we sit out hurricane season.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Stormy Passages

Before we show you pictures of our trip south from St. Lucia to Carriacou I have to share one of my favorite sights in the Caribbean. It's the Flamboyant Tree in full bloom. At this time of year the hillsides are ablaze with color from these beautiful trees. This picture is of Pigeon Island, St. Lucia.

The sailing at this time of year is generally beautiful. But you can also get thunderstorms or squalls that pop-up in the middle of a beautiful day. We had several on this trip and Jim got some great pictures of the storms as they approached. We were never in any danger but we did manage to get wet!

Squall line along the northern edge of St. Lucia as we were heading south to the Pitons.

Squall south of St. Lucia. We were right in between the 2 systems and didn't get wet!

Clouds over the Pitons.

Petite Piton from our mooring in between the Pitons.

Squall line in between St. Lucia and St. Vincent.
One minute the winds were 13 knots and a few seconds later they gusted to 32 knots. Hold on!

We were passing this boat just off St. Vincent when I spotted these fins in the water. There were 3 whales about 50 yards off our port side.

They came quite close and then passed our stern. They looked to be about 30 feet in length. That's bigger than Merengue folks!
What a beautiful sight! It is nice to know these magnificent creatures haven't been wiped out of our oceans.

Only a few more miles to Bequia and this squall formed. One minute the island was there and the next it was hidden by a sheet of rain. We tacked away and waited for the squall to pass so we could see our way in.

With only one more good traveling day left we had a decision to make. Be weathered in Bequia for a week (not an awful thing) or continue on to Carriacou. We decided to head on to Carriacou and be that much closer to our final destination of Grenada. We covered at lot of distance in those 2 days traveling 95 nautical miles from St Lucia to Carriacou.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Sands of the Sahara

There's an interesting, although dirty phenomena that occurs in the Caribbean each summer. It's called Sahara Dust.

Dust from the Sahara Desert is picked up by the wind currents moving off of Africa and deposited on anything it happens to pass as it moves westward. We started noticing it in May and if my memory of last season is correct it will continue for several months. We don't notice it on Merengue's deck until it rains. Then we find brown dirt marks where it collects under jerry cans. Where we notice it is on the leading edge of all the vertical surfaces like jib sheets, halyards and the roller furled genoa. Look how one side remains clean while the other is red-brown.

The dust has also created a haze in the sky that is especially noticeable at sunset. We haven't had a green flash in months! Jim is still trying to get a picture of the green flash to show all you skeptics. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Blog News

(photo stolen from Scott who stole it from Sky & Telescope)

Just wanted to let everyone know that we added a link to an interesting site called the Astronomy Minute. Our friend Scott on S/V Enee Marie provides astronomy updates once a week on the cruisers net in Grenada. He recently started posting them at http://www.astrominute.blogspot.com/. It's interesting reading for anyone who enjoys a little star gazing and he's a whole lot funnier then NASA!

The second thing is that we've been trying unsuccessfully to load video onto our blog. We've done it in the past but recently when we attempt to add a video the system just runs and runs but it never loads. If anyone has any ideas about how we can fix this, we'd appreciate knowing. We can't seem to find an answer on the blogger website. Send us your suggestions. We have some fun video we'd like to show you!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Iles des Saintes

We left Antigua 2 weeks ago to start the trip south for hurricane season. Most of our friends have already put their boats on the hard in Trinidad or have arrived in Grenada. A few are still enjoying some time in the Grenadines. We are far behind the pack and are enjoying the quiet anchorages and great sailing that you find in the summer.
From Antigua we sailed 45 N.M. to Deshaies, Guadeloupe. We overnighted there and then continued on to Iles des Saintes 34 N.M. south. I don't know how to describe how wonderful it is in the Saintes. Quaint, charming, picturesque yes but, so much more. In this French community it is more about how it feels then just how it looks. I was talking with a women in a cafe ( one of the only people I came in contact with who spoke any English) and she described it well. She simply said, "the sweet life." Life in les Saintes is certainly sweet!
A view of the town of Bourg.

The government building that houses customs, immigration, police, etc.

A few street scenes from Bourg.

Motor scooters are the preferred method of transportation.

A walk through town takes you past beautiful homes painted a rainbow of colors.

One of our walks took us past the cemetery. I'm always fascinated by them, something Jim finds a little ghoulish!

The harbor is always bustling with activity. These fisherman are busy folding their nets after a day at sea.

We had a front-row seat for some sailing practice. We saw this and other boats like it out sailing quite often. There must be some races coming up that they were practicing for. These beautiful little sloops were about 16 ft. long, rigged with a lot of sail and FAST!
It's always hard to leave the Saintes but we are officially 1 month into hurricane season and we need to head south. So on July 7th we sailed to Roseau, Dominica and then on to St. Pierre, Martinique the next day. I have to pause here to tell you how great it is to clear customs on a French island. You sit down at a computer and fill in the form. The British still like lots of pieces of paper. Most of the French islands don't charge a fee. They also tell you to stay as long as you like. But the customs office in St. Pierre has to be the best. Customs is located in a bar/restaurant/internet cafe. You can have a beer while you sit at the computer and do your paperwork. I actually think it would be rude not to! Because customs is located in a restaurant they do not follow traditional business hours. The restaurant closes after lunch and re-opens at 6:30 p.m. We cleared in at 7:00 at night and ordered dinner while we did our paperwork. How many customs offices can also prepare you chicken with mustard sauce, potatoes Provence and a salad? Tres Bon!
We spent several days enjoying St. Pierre and the anchorage at Anse Noir before heading to St Lucia. We arrived in Rodney Bay yesterday and will enjoy ourselves here while another weather system blows through that is supposed to kick up some big seas for 4-5 days.