Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Grenadines Bareboat Charter Feb. 2016 Log

And so begins our adventure to the Grenadines.  Chris and I arrived at St Lucia about 2:30 on Saturday.  We took a cab to the base and promptly sat down for the skippers briefing.  We learned more about the area we will be cruising from Alex.  He had some very good suggestions and laid out the course we should take.  We adjourned and headed out to the boat.  Alex pointed out all the cool features of our 43.3 Beneteau.  Our other crew had done the provisioning and were in the last phase of putting everything away.  We have a nice fish dinner and then head to bed.

Up at 7 and get ready to check out of St Lucia at the customs office.  We have a few minor issues on the boat and head out about 10.  Once clear of the harbor we raise the sails and head south for the Pitons.  The wind is glorious and about 17- 20.  After lunch, the Pitons appear in the distance.  What a sight.  As we approach the bay, a boat boy greets us and says he has a mooring for us.  We follow him in and he hooks us up.  He say he has some tours for us if we are interested.  We are and so we jump in his boat and head to an awaiting taxi.  We head off to a nice garden a few miles up the road.  We are over looking the town of Souifre.  Next we head to the volcano that created this island.  It is still smoking and bubbling.  Our last stop was a thermal waterfall.  We go for a short dip and then back to the boat.  Had a great sunset along with some fish tacos.

We were up early for a 50 mile sail to Bequia.  The winds were strong and were we're flying for the first 5 hours.  I decided to give the crew a break and went to the lee of St.Vincent.  Worked great as we were able to have lunch in light winds.  We arrived in Bequia about 4 and promptly headed over to Customs yo check in.  We picked up some needed items and returned to the boat.  The bay is crowded with more than 100 boats.  We had a nice dinner of carne asada and some wine.

Our next stop was a highlight.  We had a nice 10 mile sail to Mustique.  This is a private island and home of many stars from the movies and rock and roll.  We pick a mooring and were promptly charged $80 for the privilege.  We walked around town and stopped by Basils to find out about the bluesfest that night.  The show started at 9 we were told.  After an amazing dinner and some star gazing, we headed for the bar.  It was several different players with an all star band.  They were great. As I walked by one of the tables I introduced myself to several gentleman.  One of them was Joe Louis Walker from the Bay Area.  He would be performing later.  We had a nice chat and my friend Chris came over and it turned out they had many mutual friends.  We danced and laughed the night away and before we could say John Lee Hooker, the night was over.  What fun we had.

Wednesday we were all a little worse for the wear.  We departed about 12 and had a motor of 20 miles to Tabago Cay.  What a nice spot.  We anchor and head to the beach for some Frisbee and snorkeling.  We will be here for 2 nights.

We met some nice kids on the beach and played some Frisbee with them.  Had a great dinner aboard and then some fine rest.  The next morning we headed off to a nice beach nearby and had some fun.  We snorkel and then climbed the hill for a full view of the area.  Awesome.  We hit another beach and had some fine snorkeling.  The best snorkeling so far.  Chris and I really enjoyed it.  We headed back to the boat for lunch and some naps as well as some hammock time for me.  At 5:30, Niel came by and pick us up for an island dinner.  Lobster, great wine and our feet in the sand.  What a great time.  We all slept well.

I had noticed a wind direction change and knew the wind would be back on Friday.  It was in a big way.  We were seeing gusts up to 30 with just a jib up.  We headed to Union Island to check out of St Vincent.  Taking off for Carriacou, we hit the height of the wind as well as a little rain.  After one big gust over 40, we headed for shelter.  We got the anchor down and prepared another fine meal paired with some red wine.  That night we did one hour anchor watches as the wind was between 30-40 knots.  No problems.

We were up early to head to a rendezvous dive in the next bay.  We motored the 2 miles to Tyrell Bay and headed to a dock for fuel.  Our instruments were not showing us our fuel/water/batt levels so we wanted to make sure fuel would not be an issue.  After setting the hook, Colleen and I took off for a two tank dive.  The dive site was less than a mile away so soon we were in 60 feet of water and circling a large pinnacle with great coral and lots of fish.  There was one point when I was in a swarm of Sargent Majors that was very special.  The next dive was similar but not as deep.  Several sting rays and lot of eels and fish.  We even saw a sea snake.  Easy, fun dives that were awesome.  Colleen had a great time taking photos.

Back to the boat and Chris and I took off in the dingy.  There was a racing boat nearby with six women onboard.  We found out they were mostly from the the UK and racing in the Carib for the season.  Most of the ladies ignored us, but Claire was nice and gave us the skinny on the boat and where they were racing.  Then we headed over to the mangrove river nearby for a cruise.  Very quite with a beautiful setting.  I had some hammock time and then a little happy hour on the boat.  After sunset, we headed over to a restaurant for a nice fish dinner.  It was shack like but right on the beach and we walked in with bare feet.  Very nice.

Up at 6am for departure and a 36 mile sail to St George's on Grenada.  We had an excellent 4 hour sail to the lee of Grenada.  Winds were 18-25 and we blasted across in the morning sun and some clouds.  In the lee, we started to get some big gusts and we rounded up a few times.  We were due at the base by noon and we pulled in at 11:45. 

What a great time we had on our adventure.  Our crew was wonderful, the food and beverage was outstanding and the boat was great.  All in all a very memorable cruise and my favorite of the 4 I have done.  The beauty of the islands was stunning and the locals and boat boys took good care of us.
I hope to return to this lovely spot some day!

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