Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Hop, Skip & A Jump

Leaving the big island of Grenada and heading north, our first stop was Carriacou.  Such a favourite stopping off place to check out of Grenada with customs & immigration, it was almost like stepping back into Camp Grenada with all the boats we knew there.  The anchorage was crowded but the water clean and clear - oh so good to be on the move again!

We met up with Neptune II who had spent the season in Mt. Hartman with us so we hatched a plan to head north together.

Raising sails and looking forward to a quick sail up to Union Island.
Union Island is the southernmost outpost of The Grenadines, the island chain that stretches out below St. Vincent like a string of little jewels.

Our stop for the night was on the west coast of Union in Chatham Bay - so good to see the azure tones of the water all around us.

Anchored in a sandy patch in about 10' of water, we were dazzled by the colours around us once again.

With no power and no running water, the little shacks along the beach offer the traditional selection of BBQ and deep-fried meals with stunning sunset views.

Sundowner rum punch right on queue.
As we sipped our cold beer and rum punches and met up with other cruisers making their way north from Grenada, we celebrated my birthday in picture-perfect surroundings.

The next morning we decided it was time to get out and stretch our legs a bit with a hike over to the little town of Ashton.  Up the trail behind the BBQ shack, along the road and over the ridge brought us down into the bowl where the town is built between the dizzying heights of The Pinnacle and Mount Parnassus.

Thankfully we didn't have to climb over the Pinnacle to get into town.

The picturesque town of Ashton with Petit St. Vincent (St. Vincent) and Petite Martinique (Grenada) in the distance.

There were originally five wells dug in the town to provide people and livestock with water.  This one was described as "the least salty" so was once used for drinking water.  Now only used for domestic use, rainwater is captured in cisterns for drinking.

The doctor comes to Ashton, but hopefully you can fit into their schedule.
We scored some cold drinks and ice cream in Ashton, along with arranging our dinner for the evening back in Chatham Bay and then commenced to find our way back to the west side.  Flowers are still in bloom along the way making for a pretty wander and we are back in islands that are so much drier than Grenada.  Lots of waving grass in the breeze emulating the waves we see on the sea.

Pretty paths lead the way.

And down we go back to the boats in Chatham Bay.

Looking at the weather report for the next few days over the weekend it looked like we were in for a rainy spell that wouldn't make the Tobago Cays particularly enjoyable.  We decided to take a bigger jump right up to Bequia with the plan to enjoy the rest of The Grenadines on our return south later in the season.

Of course, as we arrived after a particularly frustrating sail fighting wind and current all the way, we were greeted by a few little spritzes and a changed forecast with no rain.  Dang it - we could have made water as we motor sailed north rather than waiting to fill our tanks with rainwater.  Not complaining about the sunshine though we settled into Admiralty Bay amid the beautiful colours of Bequia, known as the Island of Clouds.

Just enough rain to produce a beautiful rainbow over the anchored boats in the bay.

I'd like to meet the character that painted his fishing boat pink - not many men down here have the gumption to do that!

Such pretty colours scattered up the hillside above us.

There's a busy little industry providing cruisers with clean laundry, water and fuel.  Gotta take a call wherever you are.

The busy little port at Bequia often sports three or four of the local ferries lined up beside each other.  These ply the waters back and forth to the main island bringing back everything needed on the little outpost island.

Bequia is even a stop on the itineraries of the smaller cruise ships, although they still dwarf us in the anchorage.
Someone once told us (it was Alex on Banyan I think) that once you have spent a season in Grenada you will never be alone in an anchorage again.  I remember when we came down this way in July we knew no-one and the place was so strange to us; now we look out and see a half-dozen friends anchored around us and the place feels like another version of home.  The smiling faces of the Bequians, not known personally, are familiar and our ears are more tuned to the Caribbean sing-song creole accent.

While enjoying the companionship and sunset bocce ball on the beach, we still have a few projects to work on aboard.  Henry has been upgrading some of our wiring and finally figured out an issue with our chart-plotter that has been temperamental for quite a while, and I have added to our new bikinis with rain and sun protection.

The aft shade cover is crucial to comfort in the afternoon when the sun bakes down on the back of the boat.

Now when it rains, the water runs from the helm bimini down to the main roof without soaking the seat below.  Little things like a dry cockpit are a MAJOR improvement to comfort.
Traveling with Neptune II afforded us one last chance to enjoy the soothing sax tones as Gary joined Gavin from Secret Smile for an evening of jazz at The Fig Tree. We ended up with a table of 10 as various folks came and went, enjoying another evening of entertainment.

Gavin and Gary at The Fig Tree for one more appearance.

Travelling with kid boats always reminds us of those years when the kids were in school with homework, tests and exams. Boy did we have it easy just sending them off to school.  Kids on boats have to get their education through home schooling, the internet and sheer force of will to get the work done.  We love these folks though since they have taken such a commitment to get out here and show their kids a different view of the world.

So, as Elliott on Neptune II had to knuckle down to complete some assignments and write some exams, we joined up with Three Little Birds (John, Maria, Fin, Oliver, Annabelle and Tashi the dog) for a hike up to Peggy's Rock.

Friendship and Moon Hole - what better names to have on your address?

More beautiful windswept views to the south of Bequia and Friendship.
Around we went and up and up, up to 900' above Admiralty Bay where we spied our boats in the anchorage below.

John ponders the view below and the main island of St. Vincent in the background.

Next stop on our passage north?  We will linger a few more days enjoying the sights of Bequia, and then make our way north with a plan to stop in Wallilabou on the main island of St. Vincent for a night.  Most boats avoid St. Vincent but we are willing to give it a chance, especially as it will knock a couple of hours off the longer transit straight up to St. Lucia.