Union Island

5 November 2018   Tyrell Bay, Carriacou
During breakfast, we made a snap decision to go for a hike.  I’d been looking at Google Maps and spotted what looked to be a dirt track leading along the coast from Grand Bay, which is on the other side of the island.  I thought that we’d be able to link up with the dirt track that leads up to Chapeau Carre and then could walk back down to Tyrell Bay.

We caught a mini-bus into Hillsborough and bought some bread rolls to go with our Mackerel in Mustard Sauce.  This is our favourite hiking food, only available in French supermarkets (“Filets de Maquereaux à la Moutarde à l’Ancienne” - we’ll have to stock up again in Martinique…)

Walking on Carriacou

With the provisions sorted out, we caught a number 12 mini-bus, which took us up a very steep hill and then down the other side of the island to Mount Pleasant.  There’s no real village centre for Mount Pleasant or Grand Bay, but we asked the driver to turn right to Grand Bay and take us to the start of the hike, which is at 12°28.39N 061°26.00W.

The route follows a dirt track along the coast, giving access to the beach occasionally and some fine views over to Petite Martinique whenever the track climbs higher.  It was a nice 3 hour hike, but the mosquitos were murder - every time that we stopped, we were inundated by clouds of the little black buggers.  It didn’t seem to mind whether we were by the beach, or high in the hills, or in the sun, or in a good breeze - they just appeared.  We were glad that we’d brought loads of insect repellent.

We started to walk up the trail to the big hill called Chappeau Carre, but by this time, Glenys was tired and every time she stopped for a rest, the bloody mosquitos were on her.  We retreated and walked down to Tyrell Bay.   On the way, Glenys was surprised to see a Tree Snake slither across the road in front of her.  It zipped up a wire fence, reached across to a bush in someone’s garden and disappeared.

Back on the boat, we had our Mackerel in Mustard Sauce and chilled out for the afternoon.   I’ve written some Hiking Directions for the route.

6 November 2018   Tyrell Bay, Carriacou
A Tropical Wave came through last night, giving us plenty of rain.  It looked pretty miserable in the morning, so we abandoned the idea of leaving and hunkered down for a couple of hours.  By 11:00, it had brightened up, so we did a supermarket run.

Tree Snake

As well as the normal visit to the new supermarket, we popped along to the wholesale place and bought three cases of beer and six bottles of wine.  The lady looked very bemused that I was removing the cans of beer from the cardboard trays and packing them into big shopping bags.  I explained that we never take cardboard onto the boat because sometimes cockroaches lay their eggs in the cardboard and we don’t want the boat to be infested.  Her eyes nearly popped out of her head when I found and squished three big cockroaches - my paranoia is justified.

We’ve been having a bit of trouble with the batteries being at a low voltage in the evening, despite the solar panels soaking up the sun and the wind generator whizzing in the strong winds.  I ran the engine for a couple of hours to fully charge the batteries and then tested them.  Thankfully, everything tested out okay and all four domestic batteries and the starter battery seem to be in good condition.

We’re obviously just using too much electricity, with fans running all day, the computer on all day and, in the evening, we’ve been watching a movie - our TV projector uses a lot of power.  It’s not a problem when we’re moving about because we’ll be using the engine, which charges the batteries.   I don’t like to run the engine or generator just to charge the batteries, but I need to keep on top of the charging, when we’re stationary.  

7 November 2018   Tyrell Bay to Clifton, Union Island
The weather forecast for the next few days shows that there will be heavy showers both day and night.  This unsettled weather is being caused by the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), which has moved north and is stationary over the Windward Islands.  We can expect squally weather for the rest of the week.

Market Square, Clifton

After breakfast, I tried to run the watermaker, but I couldn’t start the generator.  It took me 20 minutes to get it going.  I had to bleed the diesel lines and re-seat the fuel pump relay.  It ran for about an hour, but then the revs started to vary, so we switched it off.  I need to read my excellent article on “Fault-finding a Generator”…

In a lull in the weather, I jumped in the dinghy and went to clear out at the marina.  It was a bit crowded in the small office, but the paperwork was soon done and we were on our way by 09:45.  With the wind on the nose, we motored around Sandy Island and up to the north-west corner of Carriacou, where we had a good enough wind angle to sail towards Clifton on Union Island.

The edge of a huge squall hit us when we were a couple of miles away from Clifton, bringing 25 knot winds, but we only had a little rain.  The yacht a mile behind us disappeared in the heavy rain.  We rolled away the genoa and slowly sailed with just the main, arriving ten minutes after the skies had cleared.  

As usual, we were met by a boat boy, offering a mooring.  We normally try to anchor in the crowded anchorage, rush to clear customs and then leave.  However, this time this time, Glenys wanted to have a wander around the town and stay the night, so we accepted a mooring.  The moorings are installed by the Tobago Cays Marine Park, cost 60 EC (£15), but look to be in very good condition.

After lunch, we parked the dinghy in the new dinghy “marina” and walked the 20 metres to customs and immigration, where it was easy to clear in.  It only cost 71EC (£18) for a 1 month cruising permit, which is a bargain compared to some of the countries that we’ve visited.

Happy Island

Once we were legal, our first stop was at the Digicel office where we bought a new SIM card - £20 for 3 GB for 30 days.  We still have 8 GB left on our Grenada Digicel SIM, but that doesn’t work here in St Vincent - it’s a damn nuisance having to change the SIM in every country, but it’s just part of the cost of cruising.

It only took us an hour to walk around the small town.  We bought some vegetables from the colourful stalls in the square, but the other stuff in the super markets is expensive, especially imported things like Tortilla Chips.  We were back on the boat by 15:00, narrowly avoiding another squall.

In the evening, we went over to Happy Island, which (apparently) is THE place to go for a sunset drink.  The island was built by hand, using old conch shells and has evolved into a pleasant bar with concrete walls protecting it.  The guys running the bar are very friendly, but charge high tourist prices.  A small, weak rum punch cost 20 EC (£5) and a small beer was 10 EC (£2.50) - I hate being ripped off, but for the sake of marital harmony, I took it on the chin.  The sunset was rubbish.