First stop- Guadeloupe, May 6 to 9:
I went snorkeling again in the anchorage off Malendure Beach. Surprisingly, I didn’t see turtles the last time I was here, but I did this time!
See the turtle grazing on the ocean floor?
It’s munching on grass.
That’s our anchor chain.
I see a tag on its right flipper.
I love swimming with these quiet creatures with the gentle eyes!
I moved on to snorkel around the point of the bay with Bob…
I’ve posted so many snorkeling pictures that I am trying to be selective about the ones I include in this blog update, trying not to duplicate too many sights also seen on earlier snorkeling trips.
Second stop- The Saints, May 9 to 12:
Mark planned my 55th birthday celebration at La Fringale, a nice French restaurant in town. He invited Bob and Anita and Tony and Deb to join us. I’m so glad that they did! Thank you everyone; I’m a lucky girl! I even got a present from Anita!
The sunset from our mooring at Ilet a Cabrit
One of our favorite snorkeling spots, right off the back of the boat at Ilet a Cabrit, lived up to our high expectations!!
I was thrilled to see a little Burrfish, a fish I’ve never seen before. It is in the puffer family. It was about 8 inches long, and was not shy at all! They’ve got to be some of the freakiest fishies in the sea! Look at those eyes!
Not far from where I saw the Burrfish, I saw this little “garden” of eels…Garden Eels!
When I would dive down close, they would retract into their holes. I remembered Bob telling me that he uses a landscape, uh, I mean seascape setting on his camera just like mine, the Olympus Tough. I was skeptical of getting a good quality photo, but I tried it so that I could capture the eels as they acted naturally—it worked! I use that setting more now, but I still like to dive down and get the close ups.
I was even able to zoom in. Aren’t they cute?
Sometimes the colors just amaze me! That’s how this sea anemone really looked! You do have to dive down close to really see the colors, however!
A little fish took up residence in our bow thruster. He would only come out when I got too close, but he would quickly swim back in. I thought about him when we left to go on our way south…Sorry for leaving you homeless, little fella! BTW, Mark worked hard on cleaning our bottom while we were moored a Ilet a Cabrit!
We popped up to say hi to Tony and Deb with their Westies, Barley and Sugar!
Third stop- Marie Galante, May 12 to 15:
This was our first visit ever to Marie Galante. We anchored at Saint Louis. The town was deserted, a sign that we are now in the “low season”. Many boats had already headed south (or north) for hurricane season.
We rented a car with Discovery and Exit Stage Left for a day and saw some sights, which included…
an old sugarcane plantation,
beautiful Anse Canot, where we did some beachcombing,
and a shop where the owner dyes fabrics with indigo.
She uses all sorts of natural things to tie around in order to create designs with the dye. I see a hamburger bean in there!
Along the way, Bob found some breadfruit suitable for cooking. He and Anita had us over for dinner later, in Dominica, so I could learn how to cook it. It tastes just like potatoes but grows on a tree. He fixed it like mashed potatoes, but I’ve had it fixed like potato salad, as well. DELICIOUS!
I experimented with the seascape setting on my camera the one time we snorkeled at our anchorage at Marie Galante,
but I still love diving for the close-ups!
Fourth Stop- Dominica, May 15 to 23:
I love coming back to Dominica! I’ve tried to think of a fitting alliteration, but I can’t—maybe DAZZLING DOMINICA? No, not good enough. I guess I’ll have to settle for DIFFICULT-TO-DESCRIBE DOMINICA, but that still doesn’t do the job and is definitely not poetic enough! Anyway, we were back with a different set of friends, Bob and Anita on s/v Discovery, Deb and Tony on s/v Exit Stage Left, and we found Gary and Kathe on s/v Tribasa Cross there! So we shared with them, on different days, the place we enjoyed at the end of the epic hike we took with Ed and Cheryl on s/v Slow Down earlier this year. This time we just skipped the hike and had more of a “walk” to the swimming hole in the Picard River.
Our first trip was with Bob and Anita!
Some men were doing some work near the suspension bridge, which is on private property, but is part of the Waitukubuli Trail.
We had passed the swimming hole on the way to the suspension bridge for a photo opp. We got good and hot on our way back to the swimming hole so we could thoroughly enjoy
our dip in the river! Bob and I are the more adventurous ones of the Nancy Lu/Discovery duo.
Floating on your back and looking up through the trees is a must!
But the view is equally beautiful from an upright position!
Mark did a little laundry while we were there.
just a little roadside beauty on the walk back to our boats
Our second trip to the swimming hole was with Kathe!
It was still beautiful.
I felt like it was my duty to make Mark experience the place in the supine position!! I let Kathe off the hook.
How we missed this goat house on all previous trips here, I don’t know!
We decided to take another snorkeling tour with Alexis, as we did earlier this year. This time it was just us and Tribasa Cross.
I was excited to show the Orange Cup Coral to Kathe and Gary. It looked very different from the last time I saw it. The tentacles were not out as much this time, which made it a little less bright and spectacular. Also, I was disappointed not to find the Balloon Fish that I saw here before, but I guess that was to be expected, it IS a big ocean, after all. This experience made me even more grateful that I saw it and this beautiful coral the first time!
Using the seascape setting again!
We got directions from fellow cruisers on s/v Honey Rider to a natural hot tub, and
we hiked there with Tribasa Cross.
Another close-up beauty
Tribasa Cross was headed north, and Discovery had already headed south, so that left us headed to Roseau by ourselves to spend a couple of nights.
Although Mr. Bean (our snorkeling tour guide from our previous visit here) came out to see us on one of SeaCat’s moorings, we opted to visit the Champagne Reef on our own this time around.
This time, I was able to get a photo of the spot where the scene that shows Captain Jack Sparrow running over a suspension bridge in one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. The bridge is no longer there, but that notch furthest out on the point in the foreground of the photo is where it was.
I’m glad I got a picture of the big school of Blue Tang before the battery on my camera ran out. This is the only time this has happened because Mark is so good about taking care of things like that! SHOUT OUT!
I was sad to leave Dominica, passing Scott’s Head for the last time this season, but
this bird flying along with us AND the anticipation of seeing Claire when she visits us in Grenada brightened the morning!
Fifth stop-Martinique, May 23 to 25:
Hello, goodnight, and goodbye, St. Pierre.
Hello, goodnight, and goodbye Anse Mitan. I’m sorry I didn’t even photograph you, we’ll come back to see you next year!
Sixth Stop- St. Lucia, May 25 to 27:
We skipped St. Lucia altogether on the way north, but we decided to break up the trip going south. We spent one night at Rodney Bay and did a big grocery shopping trip early the next morning before we headed to…
Marigot Bay. Little did I know that we were in for a mini-vacation ( I know—we live on vacation; but not like this!)!!! We paid for a mooring at the Capella Resort and Marina, so we were able to use many of their amenities!
I sat here a while with Mark;
I sat here a while and enjoyed the view;
I walked around and took pictures of the lovely setting, thinking of all the family members that might want to meet us for a stay here;
I swam around a long time, luxuriating and taking more pictures as I tried out the big pool and the infinity pool;
I dried off in a lounge chair by the pool, reading, and
finally, ended up back here reading for a long time.
Nancy Lu looks comfortable in this protected little bay!
Ahhhh! What a nice place for a little vacation!
We awoke early (like 5:30, well Mark did. He let me sleep in, but I got up for a bit to take pictures as we passed the pitons) and were on our way to our next stop.
Seventh stop- Bequia, May 27 to June 7:
We caught back up with Discovery, Lequesteau, and Slow Down in Bequia.
We got to go to church for the first time in a long time at the Anglican Church here. They even invited us to lunch afterwards!
sugar apple aka sweet sop
Passion Fruit, one of my favorites
We got yummy fruits and veggies at the open farmer’s market while we were in here! Mangoes are just now in season—slurp, slurp!
We had a sail bag made for our staysail at Grenadine Sails (we had them make sun protection for our headsail when we were on our way north) so we can leave it out on the deck most of the time for easy deployment.
We had Winfield Sargeant clean all our stainless and wax our hull while we were here. We met him and his wife in church on Sunday. They were in the pew in front of us and turned around to tell us the page numbers of some of the recitations that weren’t in the order of worship. Turns out, he is the younger brother of Lawson Sargeant, the famous model boat builder who runs the Bequia Maritime Museum in town that I visited earlier this year! Winfield enjoyed the smoothie that I made for him and Mark while he worked. Nancy Lu looks PURDY!
We went on a pretty strenuous hike up to Peggy’s Rock with Slow Down. We can always count on them for good hikes! We met another cruiser, Seth on s/v Serenity of the Sea who also went on the hike with us. The hike started with a pretty long walk along the road to the town of Friendship, one bay south.
Then we went off road and up!
WHAT A VIEW of Admiralty Bay (Nancy Lu is down there somewhere) on the north side and
Friendship Bay and the airport on the south side of the ridge!
I got more and more daring! The photo opportunities were just too great to pass up!
Looking back towards the ridge in the distance where we were…we did a lot of hiking and walking!
After the long walk back down to Friendship Bay, we rewarded ourselves with a scrumptious lunch at a wonderful resort on the beach!
Then we took a taxi back to check on our sail bag all the way back on the north side of Admiralty Bay!
Just one of the beautiful sunsets in Bequia!
On another day, we did a much less strenuous hike to a fort on the north side of Admiralty Bay with Slow Down and Discovery.
You can see where we hiked a couple of days earlier in the distance.
We’re headed back to the dock along the shore.
A local boy was skillfully sailing his model boat and swimming after it!
Bequia is a such a picturesque island! I can’t stop taking pictures!
One morning, bright and early, we caught the ferry over to St. Vincent for a bus tour of the east side of St. Vincent with Bob and Anita and Heinz and Margaret on s/v Meridian whom we had met one night over on Discovery.
Okay, this is a blog worthy story—That night on Discovery when I found out Margaret and Heinz were from Dallas, I told her that we lived close to Dallas on Cedar Creek Lake. They told us that they used to keep a sailboat at Don’s Port Marina! We LIVED at the condos there and kept our sailboat there, as well! Mark immediately knew which boat it was and proceeded to describe it to them. You see, Heinz and Margaret are originally from Switzerland, which Mark remembered about the owners of that big boat (30 feet) with the red hull that he had admired all those years ago. Margaret was also shocked when Mark said, “Heinz worked for Rolex, right?” Somehow, Mark remembered all these details about this couple that we never met on Cedar Creek Lake, but were fortunate to meet 20 some-odd years later on our mutual friend’s boat in the Eastern Caribbean!!! WOW!
Back to the trip to St. Vincent- Also joining us was Robbie and Sumi along with their daughter, Jina on s/v Coral Trekker. Mark had arranged our tour with HAZECO TOURS, and it was a good experience.
Our day started EARLY, as we caught the 6:30 ferry along with all the upper level school kids from Bequia!
It was about an hour ride until…
we were there! Have a good day at school, kids!
As Millie of HAZECO TOURS suggested, we started our time out in St. Vincent with a huge breakfast at the historic Cobblestone Hotel in Kingstown. The hotel was built from the shell of an 1814 cobblestone warehouse. I enjoyed our leisurely breakfast and getting to know the crew of Coral Trekker! The nice bus met us there, and we were off!
A village along the way
Our first stop was a national park where the main attraction is the watery, bat-filled, historic Black Point Cave that was hand chiseled by slaves in 1815 as a quicker route for transporting sugar from the factory at Grand Sable Estate to the wharf on the Byrea side of the cave. The park also had beautiful black sand beaches.
We saw many places where tropical storms had swollen rivers and washed down silt and rocks destroying everything in its path. The small villages looked impoverished to me; although, there were signs of prosperity closer to Kingstown, the capital of St. Vincent.
We were on our way to our main destination, which was another national park on the north eastern coast of St. Vincent. The main feature of the park is Owia Salt Pond. It is named for the area where it is located, Owia, which is home to some of the indigenous people of the Grenadines, Caribs. The scenery was breathtaking as we looked towards the salt pond (giant tide pool) at the point!
Scenes from the park, above the Owia Salt Pond:
Looks like Noah’s Ark to me
a couple of sections of the 199 stairs leading down to the salt pond
View from above
Before we went down to the salt pond, we enjoyed a delicious, homemade, traditional meal called peleau, thanks to Millie who prepared it and our tour guide who served us! After lunch, we changed into our swimsuits and walked the 199 steps down to the ocean.
Robbie, Jina, and Sumi
Margaret and Heinz
There was even some coral in the “pond”.
The waves were crashing making new “waterfalls” every time!
The smoother rocks in front of the craggier ones looked like ocean waves against a rocky shore.
I climbed up those rocks to see the power of the real ocean beyond—stunning!
Looking back at the little people headed back up to the park
After a long time there, it was time to climb back up those 199 steps, get washed up and dressed in our dry clothes, and board the bus to head back to Kingstown.
All along the way our tour guide had been letting us taste different fruits. He called this a rose plum. It smelled just like a rose!
looking back on where we had been
An old aqueduct from colonial days
Bob waved goodbye to the school children on the bus passing us, and soon we waved goodbye to St. Vincent from the ferry headed back to Bequia, where we arrived after dark.
Just the next day, we were saying goodbye to Bequia, heading to our…
Eighth stop- Carriacou, June 7 to 8:
We had a wonderful sail accompanied by 10+ dolphins having a fun time playing with Nancy Lu for about 30 minutes! We spent the night and got up early to head to our…
Final southern stop of our 2017 sailing season- Grenada!
We arrived 2 days before Claire came to visit on the 10th. We had a great time with her, but I’ll share that in my next and final blog update of 2017!