THE LAST POST OF SEASON 2016—THE WINDWARD ISLANDS—April 11 thru May 10

We’re in Grenada at our marina in Port Louis getting Nancy Lu ready for hurricane season.  Until May 7, I hadn’t been a whole lot of help since I’ve been sick since April 28 in Carriacou.  I’ve definitely had a major sinus infection, but I may have had a cold or the flu, as well.  I’m on the mend now, have been to the doctor in Grenada, and have been given various medicines.  It’s good to be feeling almost my old self!

There is so much to see, do, and learn about on these Windward Islands, and we’ve just had a tiny taste.  All I’ve seen of Grenada in the last week, is our marina and the ride to the private hospital where I saw the doctor…. “NEXT YEAR!!”

Martinique—French Country, April 11 to 13:

Martinique was the first Windward Island that we visited.  It was a ten hour sail there from Dominica, and was unexpectedly pretty good.

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I even blogged for a little bit while we sailed, since I was so behind on posting.  As predicted, ALL of our sails through the Windward Islands have been FANTASTIC!  What a great sailing note to end on!  Martinique was the last country on the way as we were still making a B-line to St. Lucia so I could go to Baby Ava’s baptism in Texas.

We had beautiful weather sailing to Martinique, but it rained the whole day we were there.

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We were anchored at St. Pierre in the shadow of Mt. Pelee, the infamous volcano, which had a major eruption in May of 1902, killing 30,000 people.  At the time, St. Pierre was known as the “Paris of the Caribbean”.  The population was a little over 26,000.  Today, the population is only about 4,400.  Even on a clear day, the top of the mountain is usually in the clouds.

Pictures from our anchorage, sightseeing, and lunch:

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Fishermen (Oh yeah, and another double rainbow) and their helpers on the beach.  We learned nothing about their technique, but we will “next year!”

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We started our sightseeing with this museum about the 1902 volcano eruption.  Tragic!

 

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Ruins in town left by the volcano.  I think this is ruins of the spectacular, at the time, theater that was wiped out along with everything else in 1902.  We just did not have the time or the resources to sort everything out on this year’s morning of sightseeing… “next year.”

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This building is a restoration.  We saw a picture of the original in the museum.

 

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We found this pretty area up a very narrow street.  I think it is a French military base of some sort.  There was a uniformed girl, packing heat tending the grounds while we were there.  We MAY have been trespassing…We’ll have to find out “next year”!

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Side streets…There were, what looked like, modern address numbers on these openings, but the portals led nowhere, looking like ruins from the 1902 eruption…who knows, we’ll look into it “next year”!

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We had lunch at Tamaya, a very reasonable and tasty restaurant, to cap off our morning of sightseeing in St. Pierre!  We chose it because we read in our guide book that one of the owners speaks English—always very helpful!

Most noteworthy event for me on Martinique:  At the town dinghy dock, they require you to put out a stern anchor.  When we got back from our sightseeing, we discovered that our anchor line snapped leaving our anchor on the sea floor.  We left it there while we went back to get my snorkel gear and lavacore (like a wetsuit) so that I could go retrieve it (I’m more of the underwater-type of the two of us).  I wasn’t too thrilled to go in the yucky water by the dock, and I hate getting cold, which is what I thought I would be especially on the ride back to the boat after the mission was accomplished, since I was already a bit chilly in the drizzle.  After a chilly dinghy ride back to Nancy Lu and we got back to the dock, I bit the bullet and hopped in the water with my snorkel gear and lavacore on.    I got the anchor!  No Problem, and I wasn’t even cold on the dinghy ride back, thanks to my lavacore!!   I took a nice warm shower when I got back, and that was that for our time in  Martinique!  

The next morning we sailed to St. Lucia with perfect weather. 

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There wasn’t even a cloud covering the top of Mt. Pelee!

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Mark was a happy sailor to be in these Windward Islands where almost every sail is in a good direction!

Rodney Bay, St. Lucia (English speaking) and The Pitons, St. Lucia—April 13 to 21

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I was here at Rodney Bay Marina for just one full day before Mark and I joined some boat neighbors for a taxi ride to the airport driven by Anthony who had already begun working for us, shining up our stainless steal and waxing and buffing our hull.  We lucked out with him and his son, who we learned later are written up in the guide book as offering good and reliable yacht services!  Mark had met him on the dock when he offered his services!

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It’s pleasantly surprising how you become friends with the people doing work for you.  We enjoyed conversation and smoothies together when they were forced to take cover in Nancy Lu’s cockpit during a little downpour.  The ride to the airport was more like hitching a ride with a friend.  At one point, Anthony handed me his cell phone so that I could talk with his wife about getting her a used smart phone in the states.  We’re still working on that, planning to bring her back one… “next year!”

My trip to Ava’s Baptism–April 15 to 18:

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Awwwww!

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Ava’s using her “I love grandmother” pacifier that I got her in Guadeloupe!

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We had fun all day Saturday!

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Ava’s gift from Granny K and Popeye

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Granny K and Ava at lunch

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Great Granddaddy and Ava at her house after lunch

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Ava in Mammaw Owen’s 100 year old christening gown

What a beautiful experience!  I thoroughly enjoyed my whirlwind trip to see my granddaughter baptized!  Claire met me at my hotel late the night I arrived and we enjoyed a sleepover together!  Saturday morning, we got up early and went shopping for an appropriate dress and shoes for me for the christening—that was fun.  Claire got a little something in the bargain!  We met Ethan, Kristin, and Ava for lunch, and then spent the afternoon and evening with them!  As a wonderful bonus to this trip, Mama and Daddy came!!  They stayed in the same hotel with Claire and me.  Mama got sick and was unable to attend the baptism, brunch, and visiting at the house afterwards, but I was so happy to spend just a little time with my parents!  They had brought my Great Grandmother’s (Mammaw Owen’s) christening gown for Ava to be photographed in!  I have a picture of all my children in it, so I was happy to carry on the tradition!  I was in bed early Sunday evening after Claire left to go back to Baylor, so that I could catch my Monday, 3:00am shuttle to the airport for my 5:00 flight!!  By 1:00 that afternoon, I was back in “another world”—much warmer and sunnier!  Anthony and Mark met me at the airport and we began our leisurely ride back to the marina.  Anthony stopped at his favorite roadside bakery and got the MOST DELICIOUS creole bread!!!  Creole bread looks like  little baguettes, and is scrumptious.  He shared some of the hot-out-of-the-oven loaves with us—a nice welcome back to island life!

Back at Rodney Bay Marina, St. Lucia:

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I spent the next day at the marina as if I was at a resort—smoothies (not homemade) by the poolside.

The next day we shaved a few hours off of our next sail by stopping at the south end of St. Lucia between the famous Pitons!  We had a great sail there and were just in awe of our surroundings all afternoon and into the evening…

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We’re almost to the anchorage, just around that point.

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Gros Piton to the south

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The resort in the middle, and

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Petit Piton to the north

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Us with Petit Piton in the background

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Just another potty-outing for Timmy; he wasn’t impressed.

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The Pitons loomed large and spectacularly-beautiful over the anchorage!

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I just couldn’t quit looking at the mountains!

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Goodnight, Petit Piton!  Yes, I went up into the cockpit to check on them a couple of times after dark!

Actually, this is the first anchorage where we started locking up the boat at night and only leaving the hatches that are too small for humans to get through open.  Sadly, because we routinely consult the Caribbean Safety and Security Net, keep informed as much as possible, and have the philosophy of “better safe than sorry”, we feel compelled to use more caution in this part of the Caribbean, but we’ve yet to feel unsafe.

 

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It was disappointing to leave so soon the next morning without a hike or tour of any kind, but we were still on a schedule to get to our marina in Grenada with enough time to properly get Nancy Lu ready to leave during hurricane season.  We had another perfect sail on to Bequia!

Bequia (Pronounced: Beck Way), Part of St. Vincent and the Grenadines—April 21 to 24:

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We passed up the beautiful, large island of St. Vincent, the biggest island of the Grenadines, because of all the reports of crime and the disinterest of the government and police about addressing the issue that we’ve heard.  It’s sad, really.  Poverty is great, and they could really use the tourism dollars of cruisers.

Bequia and its little fishing village was idyllic.  There were a few visits here from “Boat Boys”, but they were not pushy at all, and next year, we will most likely use some of their services.

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We cleared customs here.

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They still do boat building here on  the waterfront.  This was traditionally a whaling island, and they are also still allowed 4 whales a year, but using their traditional methods, on their small boats, they don’t always get whales.

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I did some serious shopping at this shop that sells locally made batik!

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Mark enjoyed his fresh tuna sandwich and I enjoyed my homemade nutmeg and chocolate ice cream with chocolate sauce at the restaurant at Gingerbread Hotel.

“Next year”, we will visit the whaling museum and the Hawksbill Turtle sanctuary.  We made the mistake of trying to do these things on a Saturday this year, and quickly found out that a large portion of the population are Seventh Day Adventists; therefore, lots of things are closed on Saturday…

Tobago Cays, Grenadines—April 24 to 26:

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We had a fantastic sail here!! The shallow water and these tiny Cays are reminiscent of the Bahamas, but is there really anything quite like the Bahamas?…I don’t think so!  We had beautiful weather while we were here and did a lot of snorkeling right off the back of Nancy Lu!  Extensive reefs surround the Cays.

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There’s a big protected area for turtles around Baradel, one of the Cays.

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Scrawled Filefish

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Sharptail Eel—those are white spots not dappling from the sun.

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An impressive school of Blue Tang—I couldn’t get them all in the photo!

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We wanted to dinghy out to the Cay that you see in the distance.  That’s where a scene from “The Pirates of the Caribbean” was shot, the one where Jack Sparrow is exiled and all his rum is burned.  We could not find an opening to get our dinghy through the reef, however.  So we’ll do that “next year” after better consulting a map!

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Mark sitting on Baradel while I hiked up the hill.

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Another shot of the “Pirates of the Caribbean Cay” from Baradel

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Apparently, it was a perfect day for wind surfing the day we left to sail to Union Island; I counted 9 of them!

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This 3-masted cruise ship had been “following us” to all our destinations since St. Lucia.

Chatham Bay, Union Island, Grenadines—April 26 to 27:

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We had a really helpful “Boat Boy”, Bushman, help us find a good place to anchor in the mostly grassy anchorage, and we were happy to compensate him for his help. Then we had a strange experience with Kenny.  He was a  fisherman camping on the beach with other fishermen and some women.  He rowed out to Nancy Lu and told us that they were not catching any fish, and asked if we had any food to share with them.  Well, I had some left over Turkey Chili and some cole slaw that I was happy to share.  He was very grateful, but he tried his luck and asked if we had any old shoes.  Mark asked him his size, and we actually had a pair to give him.  Well, why stop there, thought Kenny, “Did we have a few ECs(Caribbean currency) to give him?”  We coughed up a little money for him, and he was just ecstatic!  He asked me to take his picture as Mark was giving him the shoes and another one as he was leaving!  “Boat Boys” and yacht service providers are always happy to get their name mentioned and pictures in guide books, on internet groups, and even blogs.  Sometimes, we take their card and tell them that we will write about them on Active Captain, a sailors internet group.  It was like Kenny didn’t realize that begging wasn’t a valuable service he was providing for us, but we figured if he wanted his picture taken and for us to “tell our friends about Kenny”, he was pretty harmless.  He left us alone, but we saw him trying his luck with other boats that arrived.  I think he probably fared better than Bushman who actually provided a service!

I went snorkeling in the murky, algae filled water on a cloudy day.  It was not the best, but I did see a couple of cool things…

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Spotted Drum—not a great photo, but I had never seen one of these before so I wanted to record him in my blog.

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Spotted Moray Eel.  He was NOT shy!

 

Carriacou, Grenada—April 27 to 29:

Our next stop was the little island of Carriacou, which is part of Grenada, so we checked into customs there.  We anchored at the cruisers hang out, Tyrell Bay. 

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We tried the favorably reviewed Lazy Turtle Pizza—It was good.

We met another American cruising couple on Vision Quest who invited us over for happy hour, but I was starting to get sick so we had to decline,

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and we anchored behind a boat, Receta, whose first mate has written a book, “An Embarrassment of Mangoes”.  Many, many cruisers have read this book, as have I!  We were anchored with FAMOUS people!  If I had been feeling better, I would have gone over to meet Ann Vanderhoof, but I just didn’t feel well.

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Mark had a great last sail of the season, and we arrived at our final destination of our 2016 season!

Port Louis Marina at St. George, Grenada—April 29 to May 10:

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It’s been all work , recuperating from my illness, and no play for us here this year. 

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The marina is beautiful, and we hope that Nancy Lu will be safe and sound here for hurricane season.  Mark meticulously worked to get Nancy Lu situated in our berth.

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Just 2 of the yacht chartering businesses based here at the marina

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Maybe I’ll enjoy the nice pool a little bit before we get on our way “next year”!

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Mark got me a Mother’s Day and Birthday gift here at Fidel’s.  They sell only locally made products!

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Our dock,

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right in front of the AMAZING bath house complete with rainfall shower heads, ahhhh!!

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Beautiful Kapok tree on the marina grounds

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On Mother’s Day, yesterday, I went up the mast to fix something, and

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while I was up there I got some ariel shots!

 

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We hired Sean to do some varnishing, which he did over several days.

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He and Mark celebrated his 46th birthday today with a homemade smoothie from Kathy’s kitchen.

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Then later on we used up the last of the frozen strawberries for another smoothie to toast the end of Sailing Season 2016!!

2 thoughts on “THE LAST POST OF SEASON 2016—THE WINDWARD ISLANDS—April 11 thru May 10

  1. Great zoom Kathy and Mark..I can’t get over how much the whole area has grown since we sailed their many years ago and how many sailboats are around. I am glad you are remembering caution at night especially around big islands. Sorry to here that about St. Vincent.
    I have never personally seen under water the black striped fish with the tall fin. It is usually only in the National Geographic type programs. Glad you ventured out on a cloudy water day! You look pretty as a picture in your bathing suit onsomble. Mark looks pretty “cocky sailor” with the amount of experience he has under his belt. I like to see what you can eat onboard and around and what is offered in the local shopping. Nice to know you can get a little help from time to time to be sure of things and lighten the labor load just a bit. Nice pic of being on top of the mast. Ha! Top of the mast and down to the bottom for the anchor rescue! That’s Kathy doing what she does to keep Nancy Lu safe and sound. The beaches are really something there with the white sand. Thanks for sharing your journey of people, places and things. Happy you look! C

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