Saturday, 16 February 2013

The last post!

Tuesday, 5th February
Up at 0650, breakfast and tea. Up anchor and under sail by 0745. Heading for Bequia (pronounced Beckway) about 30 miles NNE of Union Island. A long beat north in a NE 15-20 knot wind then tacked eastward to Admiralty Bay. Arrived at 1445 and put down anchor - miles out. Motored ashore in the dinghy  to book in with customs and immigration. Colourful stalls all along the harbour front but we got ripped off buying fruit in the market. The luxury three masted sailing ship that came into Chatham Bay last night is now at anchor in Admiralty Bay, Bequia. It is called Mandalay - must look it up to see about prices for a two week trip next year for Jackie's birthday or our anniversary.

Three masted cruise yacht Mandalay

Looking down on Admiralty Bay, Bequia

After booking in with customs Chris went back to the boat while Simon and I stayed ashore to do emails and have a look round. Chris said he would pick us up from Princess Margaret beach in an hour. We soon realised we couldn't walk along the shore to PM beach, but a local man told us we could get the 'dollar bus' and promptly whistled to the driver of a hand painted purple mini bus that was standing stationary about fifty yards away. The bus reversed back and we climbed aboard. The road was winding and hilly and well worth the one dollar fare (East Caribbean dollars are about four to the GB pound). We got dropped off at the end of an unmade track leading down to PM beach, which is a 300-400 long white sand beach. We waited on the beach waving our arms occasionally at L'Esprit de La Mer moored in the distance (pre-arranged signal!) and eventually Chris came and picked us up in the dinghy. The bay and its beaches are really beautiful but as a consequence very popular with yachties, so the areas in front of the town and beaches are quite crowded with boats, many of them charter boats.
Princess Margaret Beach, Bequia

Chris made turkey surprise for dinner (chunks of turkey breast in a sauce he concocted with green beans and rice). Very tasty but far too much of it. Chris stated he was full up and threw most of his over the side - then suggested we should have cheese and biscuits!

Thursday, 7th February
Last night Chris announced a change of plan! We are having another day here at Bequia then going back SE to Mustique on Friday. Will have to get a T shirt there to go with the Bequia one I bought yesterday.
Robinson Crusoe? Or just Mike on the beach at Hope Bay, on the Atlantic side of Bequia?

Up at a reasonable hour this morning and after we'd had breakfast Simon rowed me ashore to catch the ferry to the island of St Vincent. Ferry times are not very reliable but we left at 0940 and the crossing to Kingstown took about one hour (45Eastern Caribbean dollars return - about £10). Spent a couple of hours wandering around looking for fresh fruit: St Vincent is the place to buy fruit, apparently, as they supply all the smaller islands, but all I managed to get was a bunch of seven bananas for less than £1 - no sign of any ripe mangos or pineapples. Got the 1300 ferry, which actually left at 1345, back to Bequia and must have fallen asleep on passage - I woke up as we were docking.
Kingstown Ferry Terminal, St Vincent
Once back on Bequia I bought five ripe mangos for 10EC  dollars (about £2.50) and a coconut-and-cherry ice cream which I ate as I made my way to the Internet cafe.  
Sent e mails then caught bus to Princess Margaret beach and started waving my arms  at Espirit de la Mer to be picked up(our usual signal).  
There is a problem with generator - it starts but cuts out when any electrical load is applied to inverter. We spent all evening trying to decide where the problem lies but were unable to resolve it.

It now looks as if we will be heading up to St Lucia tomorrow, rather than Mustique, as there are boat yards there with electricians and chandlers where we may be able to sort out the generator.

Friday, 8th February
Spent the morning taking various bits off the generator to see if we can find the fault. No joy. Went ashore to PM beach to snorkel and sunbathe. Back to boat for lunch then more work on generator - still no joy. We decided to move on tomorrow to St Lucia so went ashore to book out with customs and immigration. Chris thinks he can get spare parts for generator shipped out from the UK or Italy if they're not available in St Lucia and if it costs too much for repair work there we may return to Trinidad, where he is confident the work can be done much more cheaply. If spares/repair can't be obtained/done Chris has suggested the Pacific trip may have to be cancelled/postponed as he is not keen on doing the crossing without generator/water maker.
Spag bog for dinner.

View from cafe across Admiralty Bay, Bequia
Saturday, 9th February
Up at 0730 and usual breakfast. Weighed anchor and mainsail up by 0830. Lovely sail across to St Vincent then up the west side of the island. Very light wind here so engine on and motor sailing. Once N of St Vincent the wind picked up again and we had a brisk sale up to St Lucia. The Pitons mountains on the SW corner of the island make a very dramatic sight. Continued up the west coast of the island and eventually reached Rodney Bay at about 2300. Spag Bog for a late supper and bed at 0015.


The Pitons, St Lucia

Sunday, 10th February
Email to Jackie:
Hi Pongle,
1100hrs and sitting in cafe with Simon in Rodney Bay Marina, St Lucia while Chris books us in with customs and immigration. This is a fabulous place filled with super yachts, a Sandalls Resort Hotel, lovely beaches and lots of fancy, expensive beach-side houses.
The luxury sailing cruisers all look very nice but I agree with you about chartering a yacht next year and doing our own thing. There are loads of 40ft catamarans and monohulls for charter which would give us loads of room to romp about and we could sail up from Grenada to Union Island, Bequia then back via Mustique (which we haven't visited).
Did you have a nice meal with Jim and Maureen? Have they any plans for sailing this year?
I think we are going to move into the marina for a couple of days while Chris tries to get the generator repaired so I should have good access to Internet for a while. I'll try Skyping you later.
Fresh fruit seller, Rodney Bay Marina
Sunday, 10th February
Up just before 0800 and took photos of monster luxury sail cruiser, old sailing boat and Sandalls hotel resort. Quick swim around boat then we moved to other side of bay to go ashore and book in with immigration and customs. Rodney Bay Marina is very plush and not as expensive as you would expect. Sat having a coffee while Chris booked us in. Used wifi connection, sent emails and had Skype conversation with Jackie and Rose (six-year-old granddaughter).
'monster' luxury sail cruiser
Walked around bay to find electrical engineer's premises so Chris can go there tomorrow morning, and back to marina where we watched the last 15m inutes of England v Ireland rugby match in the Six Nations Tournament.
I told Chris that although I have really enjoyed the trip so far,  I have made the reluctant decision to return to the UK rather than carry on to do the Pacific crossing, although I am willing to stay on as far as Panama if needed. He is going to see if his American friend, Eric, can fly out to here and join the boat to get experience before the Pacific. If that happens I will probably fly home from StLucia (apparently there is a daily flight to the UK from here).
Back to the boat for cheese, tom and cu sarnies for lunch.
Roast beef for dinner followed by further discussion re my decision.
We are moving into the marina tomorrow morning for one night.
Monday, 11th February
Didn't sleep well last night. Up at 0715 for cereals, mango and tea then moved into marina (berth E8).

Couldn't log into marina wifi servers so ended up going to Elena's cafe, buying a cup of coffee and using their free(?) wifi. Had nice long Skype conversation with Jackie.

Three bags of laundry to 'Suds' - 50ECdollars (about £12.50) ready for collection in about two hours.

Returned to boat and made beef, tom and cu sarnies for lunch.

Electrical engineer had been to boat in the morning and it looks as if the generator can be repaired here. He or his boss was supposed to come back later but he didn't turn up!

Simon and I went shopping in the afternoon.

Pork chops for dinner with 'christophers' (a sort of courgette) and rice - delicious.

Tuesday, 12th February
Email to Jackie:
Hi Pongle
Repairs to the generator are likely to take up to a couple of weeks and Chris still doesn't know when or where Eric will join the yacht. Since the boat is not going far I am coming home, as I don't see much point in sitting here in the marina or at anchor in the bay outside.
I have booked a seat on British Airways flight number BA2158 leaving St Lucia at 2025 on Thursday, 14th February and arriving at Gatwick at 0830 on Friday, 15th February. Will get a train from Gatwick back to Fishguard. Will call you when I get back to the UK to let you know I have arrived okay.

Wednesday, 13th February
Up at usual time and went for a shower - water not very hot. Back to boat for usual breakfast.
Booked taxi to take me to the airport tomorrow afternoon.

Simon and I caught the local bus into Castries, capital of St Lucia, and spent quite a long time wandering around the market. Lots of fruits and spices as well as local craft stalls etc. Bought several bits and pieces to take home.
 Very big tree in the centre of Castries, St Lucia
Even bigger tree in Derek Walcott Park, Castries
Derek Walcott OBE is a St Lucian poet and playwright who recieved the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992. He is currently professor of poetry at the University of Essex.
As if he would! Mike shopping in Castries market, St Lucia on his final day in the Caribbean. 
Got the bus back to the marina and Chris made sarnies for lunch. Out to the beach at Rodney Bay for a final swim in the Caribbean before leaving tomorrow.

Simon is making dinner tonight - pork chops, potatoes and salad - I think.
This is the final entry of my trip - I hope you've enjoyed reading it! If you'd like to carry on reading about the rest of the round-world voyage of L'Esprit de la Mer, you can follow Dr Chris Bates's blog at 

Monday, 4 February 2013

Grenada bound

Monday, 28th January
Pirate Bay
Up, breakfast and pottered about on boat, reading etc. Eventually went ashore to try and get Internet connection and some more cash. Back to boat for cold roast pork, tomato and cucumber sarnies for lunch.
Swam ashore to Pirate Bay beach and back for a bit of exercise. It was interesting getting ashore in the strong surf and getting back out again! Swimming back to the boat I realised the bay was full of small jelly fish, about 3" in diameter. There were thousands of them and they appeared to have been swept into the bay in the big swell. Tried taking photo of them but they were too indistinguishable.
Sweet and sour pork with rice for dinner.

Tuesday, 29th January
Up just before 0700 and breakfast before heading off. Weighed anchor under motor at 0740 and headed out of bay. There was a following wind so we motor-sailed with no.2 genoa and then later changed to no.1 genoa. Made good progress down to Store Bay where we put down anchor at 1215. On the way there we saw some dolphins and lots more flying fish. Had the last of the roast pork in sarnies for lunch. Chris stayed on board trying to unblock/fix the toilet in the forward heads while Simon and I went ashore to get diesel in cans and some fresh veg for tonight's dinner.
Back on  the boat Chris had managed to unblock the pipe but had had to cut it to get it out: now, without the fitting attached to one end, it wouldn't go back on. He eventually gave up and will buy a new pipe when we get back to Chaguaramus. Chris went ashore to buy peppers for tonight's dinner, and beer.
The beach here at Store Bay is lovely soft fine white sand and the water is clear. I swam ashore, helped Chris launch the dinghy and then swam back to the boat. Spent rest of the afternoon and evening relaxing on board.

It was my turn to cook and I made carbonara for dinner: onions, butter, bacon, milk, spaghetti and milk - it tasted delicious and went down well. Chris wanted garlic in it but I left that out. Went to bed about 2130 leaving Chris and Simon still trying to download Mailasail (automatic global weather forecasts via satellite phone and email) onto the boat's computer.  The plan is for an early start tomorrow, back to Chaguaramus, Trinidad.
No photos taken today 

Wednesday, 30th January
Up at 0615, made tea and had breakfast. Weighed anchor at 0650 and motored out of Store Bay. Only about 5-6 knots of wind so it looks as if we might be motoring all the way back to Trini. Dropped anchor in Chaguaramus Bay at 1740, as all visitor moorings were occupied, including lots of Dutch boats. They are probably visitors for the Trini Carnival which starts on 10th February. The crossing from Tobago was a mixture of motor, sail and motor-sailing as winds were following and light for most of the time.

Simon and I went ashore to send e-mails, leaving Chris on board still trying to sort out his computer systems. When we got back C was still struggling with them. Eventually, with help from Simon, he appeared to have made some progress, at which point it was left to Simon and me to cook dinner - corned beef hash ( very tasty).

No photos today.
Thursday, 31st January
Got up at 0700 and made tea and breakfast. Once the others were up and sorted we went ashore to use the Internet and do laundry while Chris went to the chandlery to get a new waste pipe for his toilet. The life raft is now ready and will probably be delivered tomorrow, Friday, and I think we will be heading north on Saturday.

In the afternoon we went ashore again again to notify customs we had arrived and would be leaving on Saturday, did more shopping for food, and an electric plug adaptor and shore power cable connector, but I couldn't find a suitable shore power connector.
Chris is cooking dinner tonight - spaghetti bog.

No photos today

Friday, 1st February
Simon up at 0730 making tea so I got up. Had breakfast then went ashore to Internet and chandlery. Back to boat, then Simon and I went ashore again to get a bus into Port of Spain for shopping while Chris waited for the life raft to be delivered. Back on boat again by 1230 then ashore to clear immigration & customs and collect pre-ordered duty free drinks. Headed back to the boat with supplies but ran out of petrol and had to paddle the last 300 metres.
We're getting pizza take-away for dinner tonight and tomorrow, to use up the last of our Trinidadian dollars.
Planning on an early start tomorrow morning, northwards, almost three weeks after arriving in Trinidad!

Saturday, 2nd February
Up at 0450 made tea and had cereal. Weighed anchor at 0550 when dawn arrived and motored out of anchorage into clear water. Raised mainsail and untangled reefing lines. Cleared passage at 0630 and headed north from Trinidad towards Grenada. Full main and no.1 genoa but not a great deal of wind. Stayed like this all morning but wind picked up in the afternoon and we then had a good sail all the way up to Grenada, although it poured with rain for a good part of the afternoon and evening. Dropped anchor off Georgetown at 2121. Did not go ashore.

We saw one small pod of dolphins, several flying fish and the Hibiscus gas field on way.
Georgetown, Grenada

Sunday, 3rd February
Currently at Carriacou, an island just north of Grenada. Spent last night at Georgetown, Grenada. We're leaving tomorrow morning for Union Island,  the next one up the chain,which is small but we're told it has a beautiful beach.