Rum Sodomy and the Lash

sailing around the world on our yacht, Ruby Rose

Month: February 2016

Dominican Adventures

We had planned to stay an extra day in St Pierre, but after our anchor dragged we felt a little spooked. There was absolutely no room in the anchorage- there is a very narrow shelf on which to anchor and it drops away very quickly, so all the boats were crammed in together. So dragging our anchor was really not an option! We got up in the morning and, over a morning coffee, enjoyed the sight of sails on the horizon: about ten boats had left early to get up to Dominica. We were suddenly inspired to get the sails up and head off ourselves, which is just what we did.

Spectacular Dominica

Spectacular Dominica

We had a stunning sail up from Martinique, one of our best this season. The skies were blue, the seas were reasonably calm and the trades were light. Time to get out the code zero!

Before long we were doing 7 knots with only 9 knots apparent wind. Yes! We love our code zero! We slowly started catching up with the group of other yachts that had left about an hour before us, and, to our amazement, started passing them one by one! We must have passed about 6 of them, which is pretty impressive for a little 38 footer like us. This is exactly the type of sailing we like: beam reach, 10 knots of wind, sun out, swell minimal. Perfection. It’s days like this we remember why we love sailing so much.

Once we got into the lee of Dominica, we had to take our code zero down and use our jib instead, because there was either 20 knots of wind gusting down from the mountains, or no wind at all. So we put the motor on and motor-sailed up the coast.

The anchorage in Portsmouth. Beautiful!

The anchorage in Portsmouth. Beautiful!

The views of the island were spectacular and it was with a real sense of excitement that we approached the anchorage of Portsmouth. I had hoped this would be a little off the yachtie beaten track (I’m not sure why I thought this- wishful thinking more than anything!), but no, we were in for another very busy anchorage!

After the usual faffing around, we got ourselves anchored. There were a lot of boats- probably about 50- but the anchoring area is huge and we had plenty of space right next to the beach. We waved to Eupraxia, anchored in deeper water, and had pasta for dinner, then bed. No matter how pleasant the sail is, it’s always exhausting!

Another one of the anchorage

Another one of the anchorage

The next morning we were picked up nice and early for a tour of Indian River, but first we had to clear in. It was a Sunday, so the customs office was closed. But the tour guide took us to his house, knocked confidently on the door, and a few minutes later a dishevelled man wearing his underpants and smelling of last night’s alcohol opened the door. He wasn’t impressed, but went back inside and reappeared a few minutes later in a pair of shorts and with the paperwork we had to fill out. Ten minutes later, we were all cleared in! Very surreal.

We then joined another couple- non-cruisers, staying in a nearby hotel- for a tour down Indian River. It’s part of a national park, so no engines allowed- rowing only. Even if we’d been prepared to row our own dinghy down the river, we couldn’t have done- only certified guides are allowed to take you. Whether this is to preserve the river from irresponsible tourists, or to make money for the guides, I couldn’t say. Probably a bit of both.

Indian River

Indian River

Anyway, it was a leisurely paddle up the river, which was really quite stunning and peaceful. We stopped for a drink at a river-side bar, then made our way back. The tour took 2 hours and was a very pleasant way of spending a morning.

Indian River

Indian River

 

Indian River

Indian River

Indian River

Indian River

That night was a beach BBQ, put on by the Portsmouth Association for Yacht Services, otherwise known as PAYS. Let me explain. Some years ago a group of river guides got together and formed this organisation to service the yachting community. There are about ten guides, many of whom have several other people working for them doing tours and so forth, and they provide all possible yacht services from help clearing customs, to garbage collection, from providing mooring buoys to doing island tours and everything in between. They also provide 24/7 security of the anchorage, which is a major plus. In order to raise funds, they put on a beach BBQ every Sunday night and for the cost of 50EC (about £12) you get all you can eat and drink and then once the food is gone they pack all the tables away and everyone gets up and dances, proving once and for all that white people CANNOT dance no matter how hard they try. It was hilarious and ever so slightly cringe-worthy, but the rum punch was flowing freely and everyone let their hair down and had a laugh. Sandra and I had a grand old time giggling at the more amusing dance moves of some of the attendees. Needless to say, there were many sore heads the next morning.

Nick’s sore head was probably worse than most, but that didn’t stop him from spending the entire morning fixing our fresh water pump, which had packed up the night before. We were facing a long wait to get a new pump shipped out from the UK, and we don’t have a manual pump (fairly crucial oversight, we now realise!), so we had no way of getting water from our taps. Luckily, Nick was able to fix the pump, reminding me that between cooking me my dinner every night and fixing crucial boat parts, he does have his uses.

The following day we took a tour of the north of the island, which involved a lot of driving around on winding roads and getting out periodically to take photos. We had lunch on the beach, and walked up to a ‘cold soufriere’- a cold spring from a volcano. Apparently this is quite an unusual phenomenon, but visually it wasn’t particularly spectacular. The same cannot be said of the scenery of Dominica, which is absolutely stunning. We were completely bowled over by how beautiful this country is. Even the roads are lined with gorgeous colourful hedges, which are apparently planted and maintained by the locals every Independence Day. The local houses and their gardens are similarly well-maintained with plenty of fresh, bright paintwork and perfectly manicured tropical gardens.

 

A walk in the forest

A walk in the forest

Nice view they've got there!

Nice view they’ve got there!

Red Rocks

Red Rocks

Nick on our tour of the north of Dominica, at the Red Rocks

Nick on our tour of the north of Dominica, at the Red Rocks

The inside of a coco bean. Tasted like lychee!

The inside of a coco bean. Tasted like lychee!

Sailing boat off the Dominican coast

Sailing boat off the Dominican coast

The cold soufriere

The cold soufriere

Red Rocks, on the atlantic coast

Red Rocks, on the atlantic coast

 

The walls of a 200 year old sugar mill

The walls of a 200 year old sugar mill

We booked a third tour for the following morning to take us on a hike in the nearby mountains, but the rain was absolutely torrential overnight and was still pouring down when we got up, so we decided to cancel. Such a shame, as we really wanted to do some hiking in Dominica, which is apparently famous for excellent hikes. But it wasn’t to be, and we decided to make our way to The Saintes instead, a small archipelago that belongs to Guadeloupe. More on that next time!

 

The Last of the Windwards

Martinique marks the northern-most island that makes up the windwards, and Nick and I can now breathe a sigh of relief that our days of sailing close hauled are- hopefully- over for the present. Our course now turns vaguely north-west and we’re hoping for more favourable passage making conditions.

Sunset in Martinique

Sunset in Martinique

We crossed to Martinique, once again battling with the inter-island Atlantic swell, and arrived back in Grande Anse d’Arlet, one of our favourite anchorages from our week in Martinique with Kate. However, there was a major difference on this occassion. As we approached, the bay opened up and we were shocked- shocked I tell you- at the number of yachts in the anchorage. It was positively rammed.

There are, essentially, three possibilities when anchoring in Grande Anse. The southern corner, the northern corner, or somewhere in the middle. That might seem bleeding obvious, but allow me to explain. The swell was coming from the south, so the southern corner was nicely protected thanks to the headland. The northern corner was, as a result, less crowded but was open to the swell. The middle was also well protected, but very deep- too deep for us to anchor. We spotted a buoy- the last one- in the northern corner, so we decided to just tie up to it and then go ashore for a sundowner. However, as we sat on the beach watching the sun set, the ambiance was somewhat marred by the view of our mast swaying wildly back and forth. I sulked for a bit, anticipating a sleepless night, before Nick relented and agreed to move.

We had an hour or so of light left, so dropped the lines and, after a bit of deliberation (read: heated discussion) chose a spot close to the beach with the other catamarans and smaller yachts. Sometimes having a lift keel is really, very cool. We were closer to one of the catamarans than is strictly polite, so like the good boat neighbours we are, we re-anchored and finally settled down for a meal. We were back in France and boy, we were happy about it.

Evening guitar practice

Evening guitar session

The following morning we walked to Les Anses d’Arlet to clear in, and spent a good 20 minutes wandering around in the heat following several different sets of directions before coming across the poorly marked customs office (for reference: if you’re in front of the church, with your back to the dinghy dock, turn right and it’s about 100m on your left. If you’ve reached the market, you’ve gone too far). At least the office was air-conditioned.
Once we were officially cleared into Martinique, we wandered down to Chez Fab et Claude, where we had a meal last time. Once again, the Claude was great entertainment, running around and chatting the entire time. We mused that things weren’t quite the same without Kate with us ordering one pina colada after another and so sent her several pictures of us holding our drinks on the palm-backed beach. I’m sure she really appreciated it.

That afternoon we went for a snorkel to find turtles. We’d spotted quite a few swimming around the boat, popping their heads above water for a quick look around before diving into the depths once again, so we knew they were there. We did indeed spot a couple and swam with them for a while before they buggered off.

Another beautiful sunset

Another beautiful sunset

The next couple of days were rainy with no wind. We really don’t like these days at all, not only because they’re unpleasant in general, but more specifically because we cannot produce any energy at all if we don’t have sun or wind. So we put out buckets and collected water, and put the basil plant out for a good drink (I think we’ve only prolonged its agony- it’s looking pretty limp and sad to me and has done for some time…). At least the rain washed all the salt off the boat. We saw quite a few of our neighbours braving the elements with a mop, but Nick was reticent to get his hair wet and I obviously wasn’t going to do it, so we just let nature do its thing.

Uh oh! Not always a paradise...

Uh oh! Not always a paradise…

Eupraxia were once again at anchor nearby and they have friends visiting, so we all went out for dinner and had a lovely evening drinking rosé and eating fresh mahi mahi at L’Escale.

Mt Pelée, the volcano that overlooks St Pierre

Mt Pelée, the volcano that overlooks St Pierre

The sun finally came out so we motor-sailed up to St Pierre, the northernmost anchorage in Martinique. The scenery was magnificent. The town of St Pierre sits under a huge volcano, the summit of which is obscured by cloud. It was very impressive, even more so when we read in our trusty cruising guidebook (the Chris Doyle one- highly recommended) that in early 1902 the volcano started rumbling in a pretty ominous way. The population of St Pierre was 30,000 and it was the capital of Martinique. For reasons that seem rather unsatisfactory in retrospect (mainly to do with politics and money- but, of course!), the people in charge decided against evacuation and stayed put, despite recent minor eruptions that had covered several surrounding villages in ash and had swept away a couple of nearby estates. In their defense, very little was known about volcanoes at the time, although the island of Martinique was about to get one hell of an education. I think you know where I’m going with this.

At 8am on the 8th May the side of the volcano facing St Pierre burst open and a ‘fireball of superheated gas flowed over the city, releasing more energy than an atomic bomb’, according to Chris Doyle. Depending on which source you consult the surviving population numbered either one or two. Either way, it’s not many, is it? Fort de France is now the capital.

Nick diving on our anchor at St Pierre

Nick diving on our anchor at St Pierre

We had planned to stay an extra day in St Pierre, but the holding was a little poor- we dragged and had to reset our anchor that evening- and the weather was good. Not one to miss a weather window, and with the delights of Dominica only a day-sail away, we decided to set off with the dozens of other yachts heading north the following morning.

Honey, I’m Home

After almost three weeks of cruising St Vincent and the Grenadines (WHERE HAS THAT TIME GONE!?) we are back in Rodney Bay, somewhere we’re coming to think of as our ‘Caribbean home’. There is something wonderful about coming into a port and not spending your entire first day working out where to clear in, where the supermarket is, or walking around trying to find an internet cafe. We’ve treated ourselves to a weekend in the marina and have celebrated this increasingly rare convenience by doing nothing but cleaning, provisioning, fixing and repairing, replacing, washing and laundering. After two day’s we’ve almost finished our long list of jobs. Who said living on a boat was nothing but lazy relaxation?

Lots of actual sailing this past week!

Lots of actual sailing this past week!

Well the last week hasn’t felt very relaxing. We’ve spent most days sailing north from Grenada, but it’s been somewhat reminiscent of the old days beating up the English Channel. Except, thankfully, without the beanies, gloves and wet weather gear. But it certainly hasn’t been easy, or particularly pleasant. However, we need to get used to it; we’ll likely be sailing very close to the wind for the next month at least.

We first sailed to Carriacou, but only overnight in order to break the journey up. After clearing out first thing in the morning, we headed to Bequia and arrived mid-afternoon. We were very pleased to be back in Bequia and celebrated by going back to our favourite internet cafe Chameleon and ordering their awesome ham, cheese and pickle toastie. Eupraxia were also anchored nearby- just can’t get rid of them- so we had dinner again with John and Sandra. We dinghied over to their’s and Sandra and Nick teamed up to produce a very delicious pork and vegetable dish. One of the things about the Caribbean (so far- would love to be able to change my view on this) is that, if you can cook, there’s really not much point in eating out that often. The restaurants have, in general, been both expensive and the food quality unexceptional. Rodney Bay I exclude from this- there are some awesome restaurants here, although they are pricey. So we prefer to cook for our friends than go out to eat.

Goodbye once again Bequia!

Goodbye once again Bequia!

After a day in Bequia we made the 15 mile journey to a little bay called Keargan’s in St Vincent. There we tied up to a mooring buoy owned by a local restaurant called Rock Side Cafe, with the help of a questionable looking fellow in a tiny wooden dinghy. Once secure, we went ashore to explore.

St Vincent was completely different to anywhere else we’ve been in the Caribbean. Okay, well we only saw one little corner of it, but still, it was in stark contrast to the relatively sanitised version of tropical paradise we’ve experienced so far. It is totally undeveloped and feels wonderfully wild and rugged. The people are so friendly- everyone we passed said hello- and it was completely unsophisticated and rural. We walked to the neighbouring bay and then around the corner to a little waterfall (a local described it as “some rocks with water” which did sum it up) amongst a tropical garden. It was 5EC entry but we didn’t mind, even if the waterfall was a bit of a let down.

Sports day!

Sports day!

We then had dinner at Rock Side Cafe with Rosi, its German owner. The dinghy ride in was a little fraught due to the breaking swell on the beach, and there was a moment of exhilaration as we managed to ‘touch down’ without getting wet. That quickly turned in dismay as we realised that the pink, rubbery object floating in the nearby water was pig’s intestines. We saw the slaughtered animal earlier that day, being nonchalantly wheeled through the small village as the local school put on what was clearly a sport’s day. Charming!

Home for the night

Home for the night

There were two other tables there, both from our neighbouring boats and we had a wonderful evening. We had a perfect view of our boat at anchor and Rosi treated us like friends rather than guests. She even gave us a printed personalised menu- although my name was, as usual, spelled incorrectly!

We worriedly told her that we planned to leave first thing the next morning, but were concerned that one of the other boats’ mooring line was going to get caught around our propeller as we swung around (we were tied both stern and bow). Rosi cheerily said that someone will be out at 7am to drop the lines for us, making life much easier. We went back to the boat full of rum, wine and Caribbean food, and, after a few nervous minutes on the pitch black beach trying to a) find our dinghy and b) avoid the pig’s guts, we managed to return to the boat, still dry. Small miracles.

The next morning we waited in the cockpit drinking our coffee and watching the shoreline for signs of movement. A man appeared on the beach and waded into the water, putting on his snorkel, mask and flippers. Nick and I looked at each other.

“That must be him.”

“It can’t be. It’s 6:58.”

“So? Ross said 7. This must be her guy.”

“Yeah, but it’s the Caribbean. There’s no way he’ll be on time.”

Yet, I ate my words, because at exactly 7am he undid our stern line (with a wave) and 30 seconds later we were motoring out of the anchorage.

Garden in St Vincent

Garden in St Vincent

Our sail to Saint Lucia was long, tough and rolly. It didn’t help that we were constantly being pushed away from our target. The wind was coming directly north-east and guess which direction we were trying to go… yes, north-east. The last 10 miles took forever, not helped by the engine cutting out sporadically. We decided to forgo Marigot Bay and get ourselves into Rodney Bay marina to try and sort out the engine. Plus, if it died completely, we knew we’d be able to get towed in. Luckily it didn’t come to that!

Nick’s changed the filters and the diesel looks clean, so we’re not sure what the problem is. Hopefully it won’t happen again, but it’s something we’ll need to keep an eye on.

So that brings you up to date! This week: back to the land of french baguettes and rosé wine!

Spicy Grenada

You know you’re in Grenada when nutmeg is added to literally everything- local chocolate, ice-cream, banana smoothies… Not complaining though. I adore nutmeg, so am in heaven over here.

Our local beach in Prickly Bay

Our local beach in Prickly Bay

We’re leaving Grenada tomorrow and are quite shocked to realise that we’ve been here a week! That’s forever in sailing-time! That said, we’ve been quite busy. In between the obligatory afternoon naps, lazy mornings drinking coffee and listening to the cruiser’s net, and yoga classes (yes, I finally found one that fit into my hectic schedule!), we had to make time for more serious pursuits. Namely, changing the boat batteries. Our first morning in Grenada we dinghied over to Budget Marine- the only reason we chose Prickly Bay anchorage. Nick scuttled off to enquire about the batteries and I hung around the book section. They had free magazines and leaflets and I picked some up for perusal at my leisure. Then I went to find Nick, who quietly slipped me some money and advised I head over to the bay-side bar. This was going to take a while.

After an hour, we were finally free. They had the batteries and would deliver them in two days. So we turned our attentions to securing a berth in Prickly Bay Marina, which were stern-to moorings with a lazy line. To make a long story short, Nick spent a long sweaty day changing the batteries over, and we spent two nights listening to the live music from the marina bar (like, we’re trying to watch Game of Thrones over here!), and then decided we’d had enough of marina life. We went back to the anchorage.

DSC_0011_edited-1

 

We had all sorts of weather over the week. While we were in the marina, it was still and humid. There was almost no wind- quite unusual! It made sleeping at night quite difficult and we were grateful when the breeze picked up again a few days later. Then of course we had a different type of sleepless night- the one where we’re lying in bed listening to the shrill whine of the wind generator, feeling the boat swing back and forth and buck with the swell, knowing that it was gusting over 20 knots all night long and fretting that our anchor was going to drag. Just can’t win.

We also spent a day doing the grocery shopping. Okay, not particularly exciting, but it’s a curious fact of life these days that the simplest of chores can take up an entire day. Consider how long your last trip to the supermarket took you. An hour? Well, we first had to dinghy across to the dinghy docks, ask around for the location of the bus stop, walk to said bus stop, hail down a bus, make that first nervous bus journey where you know where you want to go in theory, but you have no idea how you’ll know when you’ve arrived. I didn’t even know how to stop the bus when we got there (turns out anything from yelling, “Here!” to knocking on the window to tapping the driver on the shoulder will work). In the end, we passed the supermarket, and, not wanting to cause a scene, simply got off when the next person- a little old lady- did. It just seemed easier.

Then we backtracked, found a little cafe for lunch, did the shopping (there’s always something oddly exciting about entering a supermarket in a new country for the first time) and, exhausted, got a cab home.

Prickly Bay anchorage

Prickly Bay anchorage

 

The following day, invigorated by our successful shopping trip, we caught the bus again into St George’s, the capital. The bus system here is quite fascinating. They’re actually a series of privately owned minivans. Some are old, hot and uncomfortable. Others are wonderful, with air-conditioning so powerful that you start to shiver. Without exception, they all play pop music at full volume. There is the driver, but there’s also an assistant who sits in the back and sticks his head out the window to call out to pedestrians, “Bus!? Bus?!” Some nod, and the bus swerves suddenly to the side of the road to pick them up.

The driver and assistant frequently call out familiar greetings to other drivers on the road, or people on footpaths. Even the passengers join in: we were parked to let someone off, and the elderly lady seated in front of me had a shouted but necessarily brief conversation with another woman waiting at the bus stop, before it was cut off mid-sentence as we sped away, door still open.

It was brilliant. Nick and I sat there grinning the entire journey. We’d been observing that we’ve been struggling to break away from the sailing communities on these islands, and find a more authentic cultural experience. Not to sound like a travel snob, but hanging out with a bunch of yachties is rather a pointless exercise- I could have done that by staying in Conyer. We’re here because we want to explore other cultures and see how the locals live.

St George's

St George’s

St George’s was hilly and situated around a small harbour full of tourist boats and small wooden dinghies, but it was lively and colourful and, despite a slightly tacky air and the overwhelming presence of cruise ship passengers, we loved it. We wandered the streets and finished up at the market. Finally, we found the main bus station where we were crammed into another minivan. Nick was sitting next to a young girl attempting to juggle a baby, a bagful of recently purchased fruit, a handbag and a hold-all, along with her packed lunch in a plastic bag. Nick offered to hold her lunch while she fed the baby, and when it came to our stop the elderly man behind me, having heard my earlier conversation with Nick, cheerfully informed me that this was where we had to disembark. Nick knocked on the window like a pro. It was all very satisfying.

Tomorrow we head north again, as it’s already the second week of February and if we’re going to make it to the US for hurricane season, we need to get a wriggle on!

Turtles At Last!

Well, at last we’ve swam with turtles! It’s been on my to-do list since we saw a little turtle’s head briefly break the water’s surface in Martinique, so I can finally tick that off.

We spent a total of 5 days in Bequia in the end, and we’re glad we did. I really liked Bequia. It has a perfect blend of plenty of things to do- beautiful beaches, bars, restaurants, shopping- coupled with a slow pace of life and a chilled out vibe. We spent a lot of time snorkelling, swimming and eating out, as- somehow- about six ARC boats convened in Admiralty Bay during the week, and we had some serious catching up to do!

Snorkelling off the Admiralty Bay point

Snorkelling off the Admiralty Bay point

Nick continued to woo Sandra and John with his skills in the galley. We offered to cook for them one night and managed to intercept a dinghy that was selling lobsters.

“How much?” Nick called as they passed, holding a poor lobster up for display. It waved its claws feebly.

“25 EC a pound!”

“What? You said 20 EC a pound yesterday!”

“Ah, okay, 20 a pound.” They came alongside and as we started the process of choosing which lobsters looked the tastiest, the boy apologised, looking sheepish. “The thing is, I told your friends [he was referring to John and Sandra] 25 EC because they got a big, posh boat! They looked like they could afford it.”

We grinned at the implication that perhaps we couldn’t afford that extra 5 EC (£1.25) a pound, but were happy with the transaction. Clearly having a smaller boat does occasionally have some perks! Nick bunged the lobster in the pressure cooker and then turned the cooked meat through a lightly spiced coconut and dill sauce. I swear, it was one of the best meals I’ve ever had. Ever. John and Sandra couldn’t stop talking about it for days.

We left Bequia for the Tobago Cays because everyone said, “Oh, you MUST go!!” Nick had been before, in the low season. He was not happy when the anchorage that he’d been in last time was suddenly teeming with charter yachts. We anchored and then dinghied across to the turtle watching area. Nick glared at all the charterers.

“This place was empty when I was here! Now look at it!”

“Yes, but it’s- OH MY GOD I JUST SAW A TURTLE!!!” And with that, I literally jumped into the water and swam over to the spot I had seen it’s head poke curiously out of the water. I don’t know what I planned to do when I got there- cuddle it perhaps? But, alarmed, it swam away.

Turtle! Come back!

Turtle! Come back!

Not to worry, we went to the protected turtle watching area and soon found several more. Nick and I took turns diving down to get a closer look, but were careful not to frighten them by getting too close. They looked pretty serene to me anyway and are probably used to tourists gawking at them.

On the hunt for turtles...

God, do I really look like that?!

Beautiful!

Beautiful!

Anchoring in the Tobago Cays

Anchoring in the Tobago Cays. Such concentration!

The next morning we left. I’m not going to lie. I was disappointed by the Tobago Cays. I’d love to come back out of season when there aren’t so many charterers and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. But it was not very pleasant being crammed into the anchorages (not small anchorages either!) like sardines. We motored over to Union Island to clear out of the Grenadines.

Tobago Cays. No boats in this picture!

Tobago Cays. No boats in this picture!

The anchorage at Clifton in Union Island is protected by a reef, but otherwise completely open to the easterly winds. We didn’t have a choice, though- we were here to check out. After going aground on the reef- yes, it was embarrassing, let’s move swiftly on, shall we?- we then anchored on our second attempt out near Happy Island. We were too close to another boat, but luckily they cleared off within an hour, so we let out a bit more chain and relaxed.

The next morning it was Monday, so we could clear out without being charged weekend rates. Nick went in first thing, but ended up having to go to the airport because no-one was in the office. It was only a five minute walk away, so hardly an issue. He returned by 9:30 and we were off!

Happy Island, Union Island! It's a bar and an island all in one- sadly closed the day we were there.

Happy Island, Union Island! It’s a bar and an island all in one- sadly closed the day we were there.

Now, the sailing thus far hasn’t been brilliant. The sail to Bequia from St Lucia was challenging due to the variable conditions the whole way down, and between Bequia and the Tobago Cays it was pretty windy and choppy. However! The 45 mile sail between Union Island and Grenada was, I have to say, absolutely cracking. We had a consistent 15-18 knots on the quarter, and made an average of 6.5 knots. The boat was wonderfully stable, the sun was out, the scenery was pleasant- what more could one ask for!? Nick got so excited that he even unearthed our magnetic chess board, and we had a game off the Grenadan coast.

He won, but I swear it was close!

We came into Prickly Bay about 5pm and found a spot in the anchorage. It is a lovely and very well protected hilly bay with lots of impressive houses dotted around the place. Nick radioed the marina and asked if customs were still open.

“They were meant to leave an hour ago, but they’re still here…” Nick and I were momentarily confused by this, but when Nick went ashore with the paperwork, it all became clear. They were in the bar, enjoying happy hour! Nick dragged them away from their half priced beers and got us cleared in, and now we’re planning to spend the next few days in this location in order to change the boat batteries and do some general maintenance.