12 November 2018 Chatham Bay, Union Island
The day started off overcast and looked very unsettled, but by ten o’clock the skies brightened and the wind dropped, so we went for a snorkel with the Green Turtles. What a difference a day makes. The visibility was up to 15 metres and we saw plenty of Green Turtles and Southern Stingrays.
After swimming with the turtles for an hour, we ventured off to snorkel on a reef at the south-west corner of Petit Bateau Island. The reef was okay, but there’s lots of dead coral. However, there are shoals of friendly fish and even the groupers don’t run away - it just shows the benefit of marine national parks.
I was really excited when a Lemon Shark swam past me - only about ten metres away. Unfortunately, I had my camera on the wrong setting and didn’t get a good shot of it, but it circled around the shallow reef and came back - not so close this time, but I managed to get a snap of it. Five minutes later, the shark returned, so we decided that it was acting very territorial and got out of the water.
In the late afternoon, we went to Jamesby Island and had a sun-downer beer, sat on a rock overlooking the anchorage - it’s a lovely place when the sun shines.
13 November 2018 Chatham Bay to Saline Bay, Mayreau
The weather forecast still shows strong 20-30 knot winds and unsettled weather tomorrow, slowly returning to normal by Saturday 17th. We decided to run away to Saline Bay, which should be a lot more sheltered than the exposed reefs of the Tobago Cays.
It was a short, one hour, downwind run through the southern passage to Mayreau, where we anchored in Saline Bay at 12°38.01N 061°23.86W in 6 metres depth. The sea bed is mostly thick weed, but there are plenty of sandy patches to drop the anchor in - the sandy patches are actually one foot deep holes in the dense weed, so at worst the anchor will dig into the wall of the hole if it doesn’t dig into the sand.
We went for a snorkel on the rocky reef just to the east of where we anchored. The visibility was a little murky and the reef is covered by a light dusting of sediment, but it’s interesting enough and looks like a good place to practice my close-up photography.
We had a quiet afternoon.
14 November 2018 Saline Bay, Mayreau
It was a very windy and rainy day, so lurked around down below.
Our wind generator has been playing up and today it was whirring around very fast, indicating that it was under no load and therefore not charging the batteries. I traced the wiring and found that the fuse holder that I fitted a couple of months ago has become so hot that the plastic case had melted. Obviously too much current has been going through the 25 amp fuse and has exceeded the rating of the fuse holder. I replaced the wiring with a thicker cable and fitted a car-type 30 Amp fuse.
15 November 2018 Saline Bay, Mayreau
It was a windy, but sunny day, so we went for a walk around the island. This is the fourth or fifth time that we’ve done this route, but I still managed to lose my way a little. It’s nice to walk along the beach on the windward side, but somehow, I was suckered by a path and we ended up squeezing through thick bush.
I found my way back to the beach and we worked our way across to Saltwhistle Bay. As usual, it was cram packed with charter boats. It’s a pretty bay, but I couldn’t stand to have so many people so close to me. I have photo of our first boat, Glencora, anchored in isolation in the bay in 1994. There are just too many boats in the West Indies nowadays. (Bah Humbug!)
From Saltwhistle Bay, we struggled up the steep road and visited the charming Catholic church at the top of the island, from where there is a great view of the Tobago Cays. There’s also an interesting water catchment facility consisting of two concrete slopes leading down to two huge tanks. Being at the top of the island, there would have been plenty of water pressure in the houses down the island. They’re not used any more - I guess that the island has a huge desalination plant now.
On our way back to the boat, we stopped at the Combination Café and had a Lobster sandwich - they cost £10 each, but they had plenty of lobster in them. We chilled out for the rest of the day, letting our huge lunch settle.
16 November 2018 Saline Bay, Mayreau
It looks like we’re finished with Tropical Waves for a while. Today was lovely and the forecast looks like more of the same for the next week. We pottered about in the morning - Glenys continued with her Sisyphean task of painting the cupboard doors. The grain on the plywood is deep and the paint isn’t quite covering it, so she’s having to rub down in between coats -it will probably need 4 or 5 coats of paint.
I tightened our lower shrouds. I had the rig professionally set to the correct tension in Trinidad, but when we’re beating to windward, the downwind lower shrouds are a bit too loose for my liking. I went around all four shrouds and tightened them by half a turn - we’ll see how that goes. I went for a snorkel in the afternoon on the rocks close to where we’re anchored, but I didn’t see anything special.
17 November 2018 Saline Bay to Bequia
The weather looked fabulous, so after breakfast, we pulled up the anchor and sailed to Bequia. The wind was 15-20 knots from the ENE, so we were beating into 1 metre waves, making it a bit tough. After a few sail changes, we settled down to 2 reefs in the main and just the staysail and even then we were heeled over past 20 degrees.
It’s only 25 miles to Bequia, so we were dropping our anchor by 14:00. As usual, we anchored off Princess Margaret Beach at 13°00.17N 061°14.67W in 6 metres, good holding sand. The wind was swirling around as we anchored, with the anchored boats moving about, so it took us two goes to get the anchor in the correct place in the crowded anchorage. At one point, we looked like complete newbies with Alba facing 180° to the other boats, but we settled down within ten minutes.
We hadn’t been to a shop for a few days, so we hopped in the dinghy and went into town. I like Bequia, it’s a laid back, colourful place. Glenys stopped at one little vegetable stall, where there were clear plastic bags filled with water hanging from the ceiling over the fruit. It’s a way of keeping Houseflies away, something to do with the refraction of light confusing the fly’s vision, so they buzz off. The lady on the stall was convinced that it works.
18 November 2018 St Margaret’s Beach, Bequia
Being a Sunday, we had a fairly quiet day. We went over to Devil’s Table to go snorkelling. There was a dive boat circling around and the driver pointed out a small buoy/bottle marking a wreck about 80 metres directly north of the cardinal pole on the reef. There’s a sturdy mooring attached to the top of the wreck which is about 5 metres under water. The bottom of the wreck looks to be about 20 metres.
We spent ten minutes diving onto the wreck, which was interesting, but it’s all a little too deep, so we went back to the reef and picked up a mooring next to the cardinal marker. The reef varies in depth from 3 metres to about 15 metres and looks a little boring when swimming on the surface. However, it’s very colourful and full of sea life when you dive down.
I’ve been hunting for Scorpionfish and Frogfish for the last week, so I was delighted to find a couple of Spotted Scorpionfish. I spent a happy 15 minutes diving down and taking photographs - the camouflage is incredible and they are very patient, allowing very close approach.
After lunch, we did a few chores, running the water maker and to her great relief, Glenys finished off painting the cupboard doors.