Grenadines

30 April 2018   Bequia, St Vincent
Bequia is a nice place, but it’s very crowded and the anchorage has been rolly for the last two nights, so we’ve decided to head off tomorrow.  We popped into town to buy some provisions - a case of beer, two loaves of bread, veggies, etc.  Port Elizabeth is an expensive place to buy anything because it all has to come over from St Vincent by ferry, so we only bought enough to last a couple of weeks.

We chilled out in the afternoon and had a quiet night.

1 May 2018   Bequia to Tobago Cays, St Vincent
We were up at 07:00 and after a quick breakfast, set sail towards Canouan.  After going past the bizarre Moon-hole houses, we rounded the south-west headland and had a lovely beam reach for 3-4 hours to Rameau Bay.  We anchored in 7 metres of water in a patch of sand at 12°43.48N 061°19.99W, which is surrounded by broken coral and weed.  It’s not a very secure anchorage and the boats swirl around in the current and wind, so we decided to move on after lunch.

Tobago Cays

We went for a snorkel around the head land, which was rocky reef.  The water visibility was ok, but there wasn’t very much to see.  After a nice bowl of Calaloo Soup, we upped the anchor and headed off to the Tobago Cays sailing in through a small pass just east of Baline Rocks.  We dropped our anchor at 12°37.81N 061°21.42W in 4 metres on fabulous holding sand. 

The Tobago Cays is still very pretty, but the wind howls across the shallow fringing reef and it’s quite bouncy.  A park ranger soon came over and extracted the fee of $10EC (£2.50) per person per night, which is very reasonable.   It’s getting to the end of the tourist season, so there were only about 30 boats in the anchorage, the majority being large chartered catamarans.

2 May 2018   Tobago Cays, St Vincent
After waiting for the sun to get a high in the sky, we went snorkelling in the turtle protection area.  It’s buoyed off and no dinghies are allowed in the area, which is good because there’s a lot of traffic, including kite-surfers whizzing about.  The conservation efforts are obviously still working well because we saw at least ten turtles in an hour.  The water is lovely and clear, so I took a few nice photos.

We tried snorkelling over by the reef towards the small boat channel, but the reef is in very poor condition.  We spent the afternoon chilling out and doing a few chores like running the water maker.  In the evening, we were invited for a glass or two of wine with Rob & Cathy on “B&G”, a 53ft Hallberg Rassy.  

3 May 2018   Tobago Cays to Saline Bay, Mayreau
It was another bouncy night with the anchor snatching as we veered about in the strong winds.  Last night, I managed to cut my foot on our swim ladder as I leapt onto our sugar scoop, so I didn’t want to go snorkelling until it has a chance to heal.  

Green Turtle

We chilled out until 10:00 and then sailed out of the south west channel between Jamesby and Petite Bateau.  We had good light, so the channel was easy to navigate, but as we came out of the shelter of the reef, we had big, steep waves on our port beam, rolling us over dramatically.  We hadn’t prepared very well for rough seas, so things were crashing to the floor down below.

It was only a couple of miles of open water, so we were soon rounding the south tip of Mayreau and into the calm shelter of Saline Bay.  There’s a lot of weed on the sea bed, so we dropped the anchor in a patch of sand at 12°38.05N 061°23.84W in 5 metres of water.  It’s a beautiful bay with a lovely white sand beach and coconut trees swaying in the breeze - one of my favourite anchorages in the Grenadines.  

I had another go at getting North Sails to accept responsibility for adjusting our baggy mainsail.  After a few stroppy emails with their Singapore office, I finally decided to get in contact with the headquarters in Rhode Island, USA.  I’m now in contact with Bill, the Global Cruising Products Manager with whom I'm now having a civil conversation.  

Bill has come up with lots of suggestions and information about the relationship between the rigging and sail shape, so I’m planning to get the rig inspected and adjusted when we get to Trinidad.  Bill has given me a contact in Trinidad, who will come to inspect the sail and he has said that if there’s a fault with the sail, then they will be “open-minded” about who pays for the adjustments.  I’ve said that I’ll report back in a couple of months.  

In the evening, we invited Anthony and Sally from “Fortino” over for cocktails.  We’re slowly building up a circle of British friends.