On To Carriacou

29 October 2018   Benji Bay to Tyrell Bay, Carriacou 
We were planning to go up to the Grand Etang National Park for a hike today and then sail up to Carriacou tomorrow or the next day.  However, there’s a Tropical Wave due to arrive tomorrow night, which will bring rain and stronger winds for the rest of the week.  After ten minutes of debate, we decided to abandon the hike and sail up to Carriacou today, while the weather is perfect.

It took us 30 minutes to get the boat ready for sea and we left at 08:30. We had a pleasant motor along the south coast to Saline Point and then a cracking sail across St Georges Bay.  As usual, when we arrived at Moliniere point, the wind dropped and came from all directions, so we motor sailed up the west coast of the island.  It was very calm, so we chilled out reading our books.

The lovely colours of Tyrell Bay

Just as we were passing the small town of Gouyave, I noticed that our boat speed had dropped to 2 knots despite the engine running at 1800 rpm - we’d picked up some flotsam.  We stopped the engine and drifted while I donned snorkelling gear and went to have a look at what we’d picked up.  I was amazed to find a large polystyrene float attached to a long rope leading down into the depths - probably to a large lobster pot.

The rope had missed the propeller, but has snagged around our rudder, so we were towing the whole contraction along.  It took a few dives, but I was able to pull the rope away from our rudder and there was no damage done to Alba or the fishing gear.  Speaking of fishing, we trailed a line all the way to Carriacou and all we caught was Sargassum Weed, which I had to keep cleaning off every 30 minutes.

To the north-west of Grenada, there’s an active underwater volcano called Kick Em Jenny, which has a 1.5 mile exclusion zone around it.  The volcano last erupted in 1973, but there have been a couple of minor earthquakes this year, so we wanted to keep well clear.  Unfortunately, Kick Em Jenny is directly on the rhumb line to Carriacou, so we motor-sailed a few more miles upwind along the north west coast of Grenada before we headed offshore.

We had a cracking sail to Ronde Island and then onto Tyrell Bay where we anchored at 12°27.36N 061°29.29W in 5 metres on good holding sand.  The bay isn’t as busy as it was in June, but there are still a lot of boats here.  Marcus and Margie from “Island Kea II” came over to say hello, so we invited them on board for a few beers.

Bearded Fireworm

30 October 2018   Tyrell Bay, Carriacou
It was a bit more blustery in the morning, but still sunny, so we went snorkelling along the headland to the south of the anchorage. We first went to a small wreck in shallow water at about 12° 26.69’N 61° 29.89'W, which was okay.  It’s a fairly new wreck, so there’s not much sea life established yet and the area around the wreck is mostly boulders.  At least the visibility was good.

On the way back, we picked up a dodgy looking mooring about 50 metres off shore from a large rusting wreck (about 12° 27.077'N 61° 29.668'W).  The mooring leads down to a very nice reef with good visibility.  Unfortunately, it’s between 6-10 metres deep and a challenge to do photography, so I soon exhausted myself.

The wind picked up in the afternoon, but at least it didn’t rain.  We’re glad that we came up in settled weather.  We ran the water-maker and chilled out for the rest of the day.

31 October 2018   Tyrell Bay, Carriacou
The tropical wave finally came through in the middle of the night, bringing some heavy rain, but not much wind.  After breakfast, we went for a walk to see if we could get to the end of the southern-most peninsula.  We dropped our dinghy off at the marina dinghy dock and walked up the very steep access road.  

At the top we turned right.  Within a few hundred metres, we were out of the houses and into grazing farmland.  It’s all fenced off, so we were unable to walk to the edge of the high cliffs overlooking where we were snorkelling yesterday.  We came across a place where the fence ended and we were able to turn right to walk across to the west coast line.  Unfortunately, the bush was too thick to walk up to the top of the cliffs.

Over-run Mangrove Trees

Eventually, we arrived at a beach facing towards Saline Island and walked along through the mangroves, coming across some impressive invasive plants, covering the mangrove trees - lovely colours.  The dirt track petered out next to a couple of houses and we weren’t able to get through to the end of the peninsula, but it was nice to get out and stretch our legs. 

In the afternoon, we popped over to see “Island Kea”, who are on the hard.  They’re deep into work, but had time to dig out some chart books for the Bahamas, which they gave to us.  We need to do some serious planning of where we will be able to visit.  Our keel is 2 metres deep and a lot of the Bahamas is very shallow water.

1 November 2018   Tyrell Bay, Carriacou
In the morning, we went snorkelling at a shallow reef next to the southern corner of the bay at about 12°27.25N 61°29.55W.  It’s an interesting little reef, with some rocky walls dropping down to 5 metres.  I spotted a Common Octopus, which was surprisingly active, swimming about the reef looking for food.  Taking photos of it kept me occupied for 15 minutes.  It never ceases to impress me how quickly they change colour and the amazing way that they blend in to the background reef.

Marcus & Margie from “Island Kea” came for dinner to give them a break from the monotony of living on the hard.

2 November 2018   Tyrell Bay, Carriacou
We had a chores day - dropping off laundry, going to the supermarket and running the water maker.

Spot the Octopus

3 November 2018   Tyrell Bay, Carriacou
Glenys removed the spray-hood and gave it a good scrubbing - she now needs to waterproof it. I did a bit of wood work on the cupboard doors that we’re making for the front heads.  It’s a fiddly job, fitting the hinges and latches before painting.

4 November 2018   Tyrell Bay, Carriacou
A huge squall came through last night giving us strong winds and heavy rain.

We went snorkelling in the morning.  We tried a couple of places - it was good visibility at the deeper reef opposite the rusty wreck, but terrible visibility on the shallow reef.  Back at the boat, Glenys got changed and I went for a snorkel on the old wreck in the middle of the anchorage.  It’s marked by two small buoys and is in 5 metres of water.  It was surprisingly full of sea-life and bristling with small juvenile Lobster.  

The mosquitos have been bad for the past few days.  Every night, we’re getting some coming into the boat.  Tonight, we had to light a mosquito coil in the cockpit to keep the little devils away.  We have mosquito nets on the hatches; I constantly have mosquito repellent on my legs; and the bug mat heaters are running 24 hours a day.  Despite all this, we’re still picking up a few bites every day, which is damn irritating (excuse the pun…)

There are more photos in our Photo Album section.