Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Heading North Grenada to Bequia Jan. 2007

Picture: Cruise Ship blocking entrance to Clifton Harbour, Union Island

Subtitle: Playing with the Big Boats!!

We finally escaped Grenada's charm which had held us since July, and sailed from Carriacou (north island of Grenada) toward Union Island (southernmost island in the Grenadines) We had been in the Union Island Harbour on the way down, and knew that it was U shaped, 2 entrances, with a reef in the center. Just as we were approaching the island we watch a cruise boat arrive. We didn't think the harbour was large enough to accommodate such a vessel, and we were right, so it anchored right at the entrance to the harbour, and with the NE wind, right in the channel. Fortunately we are small and sufficiently maneuverable to still make our way in, and once inside it was not as crowded or windy as the last time, so we were able to anchor. Ross stayed onboard (we were anchored very tight) as Bev walked to the airport to deal with the government officials and pay the entrance fee (71 EC about $30). We were also informed that is we wished to visit the Tobago cays there now was a new fee 10EC per person per day. Somehow St. Vincent has to get the money to pay for the services they offer, nothing!! We had visited the Cays on the way down, they are beautiful, but will probably bypass them on this trek.

Once checked into St. Vincent, we exited Union and made our way to Mayreau, the next island in the chain, about 3 miles to the north. Here a 5 masted cruiseboat was anchored off the beach, and its occupants enjoying a day of sun, sand, surf, and beach bars. Didn't see the play toys we had seen with other boats, ie jet skis, wind surfers, etc. We stayed on RAFT and let them have their fun, knowing that they would be rounded up and taken back to their big boat well before dinner time.

Next experience with a big boat: We are anchored about 150 feet off the Mayreau's "commercial dock". It appeared, and confirmed by locals that the "commercial boats" docked on the far side so we where we were was okay. Also since there are only about 300 people who live on Mayreau, we were not expecting too much traffic. However as we were making supper, a good sized ferry, complete with cabins, dining rooms, and double width cargo level, pulled up beside us, dropped his BIG hook and proceeded to do a 180 turn within 30 feet of RAFT. The captain obviously had done this before, and was turned, dropped off his packages, most in garbage bags, and was gone within 10 minutes. It really was something to see, but really didn't want the front row seat.

As sun set, we watched the cruise boats sail off to the northwest, the commercial boat go south, and we figured our contact with Big Boats was done for the day. We are sharing the anchorage with a mega yacht, probably 80-100 ft long. About 8pm, of course we were already in bed, they are on the radio trying to hale the Mayreau police. We got up but couldn't see anything suspicious, their boat was lit up as most mega's are. No one was answering the radio call, and we found out later there are no police in Mayreau, but we figured they have cell phones to call for help. It did raise our security level, (we are out of Grenada) so we locked ourselves in RAFT and settled in for a night's rest. And so end's our day with the BIG Boats.

The next day, we had the town, beach and island to ourselves, and we took full advantage its peaceful serenity. We walked into the town, toured the church, enjoyed the fabulous views of the Tobago Cays, Salt Whistle Bay and swam at the billion dollar beach, that yesterday had been swarmed by the cruise boat occupants.

We had a fabulous sail into Bequia, even tacked into the anchorage. What a wonderful treat! But now we have another problem: the fridge has decided not to freeze anymore. It is of course the original refrigerator system, over 20 years old which Ross has been babying by topping up the R12 for nearly a year since the Dominican Republic, Since we had stocked up the freezer in Grenada before we left, we were going on the Scarsdale high protein diet until all the thawing meat is eaten. We didn't think we would be able to get the system fixed in Bequia, so we took off for St. Lucia.