November 1994 - Grenada to St Vincent

 

1 November 1994 Prickly Bay, Grenada to Tyrell Bay, Carriacou
We motored around to Secret Harbour, picked up the gas bottles and then set off to chase “Dabulamanzi”. When we both motor-sail, we catch them up, but when we both sail they streak ahead. We eventually caught them up near the top of Grenada.

We drew alongside and were just pulling ahead, when a big gust of wind blew one of our cockpit cushions overboard. We had to go back and get it, so they got ahead again. We tried to get the cushion by Glenys climbing in the dinghy which we were towing. I luffed up, but we kept getting blown off so I just dived in to get it.

We stopped off at Ile De Ronde for lunch. We all went for a snorkel and Gareth impressed us all by catching a 4½ lb lobster with his bare hands. We had a very nice sail up to Carriacou and had dinner on “Glencora”.

2 November 1994 Tyrell Bay to Tobago Cays
Glenys, Gareth and I went for a dive at the Sisters. We then sailed to Union, cleared in and motored to the Tobago Cays. We had dinner on “Dabulamanzi”.

3 November 1994 Tobago Cays
Bit of a hangover today. We did school work and then went for a snorkel with Gareth. Gareth and Fi left after lunch and we had a quiet afternoon.

4 November 1994 Tobago Cays
School work in the morning. Glenys and I went for a short dive, but the visibility was terrible. We stopped off at “Manx Cat” to have a cup of tea with Ian and Terri. Filled 2 tanks.

5 November 1994 Tobago Cays
School work in the morning. It threw it down most of the afternoon. We had a big squall go through with 40 knot winds. We decided to go to the beach at about four o’clock and got covered in thick oil hidden in the sand. It took us ages to get it off the boys using white spirit.

I’ve been spending a fair bit of time practicing the clarinet. It’s very hard work and I don’t seem to be getting any better. I think I’ve reached a wall and need to keep pushing to break through.

6 November 1994 Tobago Cays
School work in the morning. Another horrible, rainy, windy day so we decided to stay put. I spent an hour and a half windsurfing. It took a while to get used to it after a three month layoff. I was shattered.

7 November 1994 Tobago Cays to Saline Bay, Mayreau
We took the opportunity of a break in the rain to dash to Union Island so that Glenys could buy some essentials. We then motored to Saline Bay.

After lunch, Glenys and I went to do a dive on a wreck just off the headland. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find it. We decided to do a short dive anyway. The current was very strong and the visibility was poor, so we only did 5 minutes! We went back to the boat and I rechecked the transits. Armed with a hand bearing compass I went back with snorkelling gear, but still couldn’t find it - very frustrating!

8 November 1994 Saline Bay
We woke up this morning to find a cruise ship anchored off the bay and the usually quiet beach was buzzing with activity. White beach chairs had been set up along the beach with the locals waiting, hungry for Yankee dollars. We did school work and then went to the beach with the intention of buying a roti for lunch.

The beach was heaving with about 500 people. We waded through the locals selling t-shirts and tourist stuff to find that the cruise ship had set up its own bar and buffet lunch. There was no local food or bars, so we couldn’t get anything to eat! It was an amazing operation with steel band, towels, beach mats and waiters all laid on by the cruise ship. The passengers were queuing for food. The thought of all that queuing has put me off cruise ships for life!

By five o’clock, everything had been returned to normal, the only sign of the bustling day being the neatly stacked beach chairs and the footprints in the sand!

9 November 1994 Saline Bay to Saltwhistle Bay
I went mad and decided to go snorkelling at quarter past seven in the morning - I finally discovered the location of the wreck, but Glenys didn’t want to go for a dive, so we did school work in the morning.

We motored around to Salt Whistle Bay (past two boats anchored next to the wreck.) Salt Whistle Bay really is lovely. We went for a snorkel around the headland which was nice. We ended up on “L’Escargot” (UK) having a beer with Peter and Stella. When we got back to our boat another bloke came over for a chat. He’s a doctor from Lichfield who owns an oyster 406 called “Sakida” which is based in Plymouth.

10 November 1994 Saltwhistle Bay to Little Bay, Canouan
School work in the morning. We sailed to Little Bay, Canouan where we’ve been before – it’s a great, quiet anchorage. After lunch, Glenys and I went for a dive but (alas) saw no sign of lobster. Glenys raided the cupboards for dinner. Craig and Glenys caught a few small fish in the evening.


11 November 1994 Little Bay
Schoolwork in the morning. We bought some grouper from a fisherman (£1/pound). I filled two tanks. Craig did his first test today and passed with 100% - I was really proud of him. I did a Discover Scuba dive with Kiri Harris (daughter of the doctor from Lichfield). I went ashore for a chat with the fishermen on the beach and they agreed to take me diving for lobster with them tomorrow.

12 November 1994 Little Bay
Up at six o’clock in the morning and off in the fishermans’ speed boat. We travelled 10 miles out to Sail Rock and dived to the east of it. They operate with 3 people in the boat – a diver (Gary), a surface snorkeler (Rolf) and a boat handler (Lawrence).

Gary did 3 dives to 40, 40 and 30 metres. I did a 40 and a 30 metre dive with a 40 minute surface interval. I had to do a decompression stop on the first dive and Gary was down there 5 minutes longer than me! Gary takes 12 snares and a spear gun with him. They snare the lobster around the antenna and just tow them around. I only took a couple of snares on the first dive and 4 on the second. Gary caught 10 lobsters and speared 2 grouper - I only managed to catch 3 lobsters for them.

It was spectacular diving in very clear water. They gave me one lobster and said that I can go with them again tomorrow. The building on the beach is a “Bunkhouse” built by the St Vincent Government for the use of any fishermen who want to camp there. I had a lazy afternoon because I was shattered! I filled 3 tanks.

13 November 1994 Little Bay to Bequia
I went out with the lobster fishermen again – I didn’t catch any lobster, but they gave me a snare and a plate of cooked lobster. We sailed to Bequia and anchored off Princess Margaret Beach. We filled up with water from the Daffodil tender. We haven’t got enough petrol in the outboard to go swanning about Bequia, so we had a quiet afternoon and evening.

14 November 1994 Bequia
We did a to do list, picked up mail, went shopping and had an admin day. I filled 4 tanks. “Dabulamanzi” turned up in the evening and Gareth came over for a chat.

15 November 1994 Bequia
School work in the morning. We had lunch, went for a dive and suddenly the day was gone! I filled 2 tanks. I find it really hard to start working on the boat after I’ve done school work. I’m going to have to pull my socks up!

16 November 1994 Bequia
School work in the morning. We took down the No. 3 genoa and put up the No. 1 genoa. I took the No.3 genoa into town to be patched on the luff at the point where it enters the roller furling extrusion. We did a bit of shopping and another day was gone.

17 November 1994 Bequia
School work in the morning. I picked up the sail and we had a bit of a tidy up.

18 November 1994 Bequia to Mustique
We motored to Petit Nevis which is a small island with a whaling station. The Bequians still have a small whaling fleet - they hunt humpback whales in small wooden boats in a traditional manner. They haven’t caught a whale for several years. We walked around the island, had a quick snorkel and had lunch, before sailing to Mustique.

We anchored to the south of the moorings and then I went to explore Montezuma Shoal which is a reef about ½ mile west of the anchorage. I found a buoy marking a wreck on the east side of the reef and had a quick snorkel. On the way back the outboard kept cutting out, which was very worrying as this dinghy is very hard to paddle. Anyway, I made it back to the anchorage and spent an hour cleaning the carburettor which was full of bits again.

19 November 1994 Mustique
School work in the morning. Glenys and I went to do a dive on the wreck. We had a quick walk ashore. There seem to be a lot of lobster fishermen operating from here.

20 November 1994 Mustique
Pottered around in the morning and then walked around to the beach on the south west of the island. We had a picnic on the beach and spent the afternoon playing and reading.


21 November 1994 Mustique to Bequia
We started to sail to Baliceaux, but it was a bit rough bashing to windward, so we headed more downwind to Friendship Bay, Bequia. We roared in on a reach down 6 ft waves, dropped the sails, had a look and decided not to stay because it looked very rolly and not too interesting. We sailed across to Admiralty Bay and anchored off Princess Margaret Beach. There were lots of gusts coming through, so I went windsurfing. “Dabulamanzi” arrived and came for dinner.

22 November 1994 Bequia
Play day today. I did a lot of windsurfing - Gareth did some too. We played boules on the beach and I showed the boys how to play “getting the stick” on a rope swing. Glenys dropped by at “Manx Cat” and Ian loaned us some sheet music to photocopy. We went to “Dabulamanzi” for dinner.

23 November 1994 Bequia
Pottering about day. I did some jobs and went snorkelling.

24 November 1994 Bequia
I went over to Kingstown, St Vincent on the ferry and exhausted myself walking around. I didn’t get any good ideas for Christmas presents for Glenys. Glenys did school work.

25 November 1994 Bequia
Miserable rainy day. We did school work and then I practised the clarinet. The boys have got the habit of pushing past me to get into the back cabin. I’ve been telling them off if they push past. Craig did it again so I shouted at him. This seemed to be the final straw to Glenys, who went crackers, told me that “you’re always playing that thing!” and stomped off to the shops. It would appear that my inexpert playing is getting on her nerves, combined with the fact that she thinks that I’ve got better things to do!

26 November 1994 Bequia
Blew a hooley today, so it was school work in the morning and windsurfing the rest of the day – much to Glenys’ disgust! (I didn’t play the clarinet, though!)

27 November 1994 Bequia
Very, very rolly night. Waves were crashing onto the beach so we decided to move over to the other side of the bay. We went for a Sunday lunch at “The Old Fig Tree” and spent the rest of the day lounging about – just like you should on a Sunday. We had crackers and cheese and fruit sponge pudding for dinner.

28 November 1994 Bequia to Petit Byahaut, St Vincent
We filled up with water and fuel then motor-sailed across to St. Vincent. It was very bouncy for the first half hour because of a squall. We anchored in Petit Byahaut which is a lovely little bay with a secluded hotel – the only access is by the sea! Glenys and I did a dive off the headland which was very good.

I took the boys around to the next headland in the dinghy to a bat cave. The entrance is through a big cave which rapidly narrows and you can swim through a small entrance into a very narrow cave. It is about 3ft to 6ft wide, about 30 ft high, 100ft long and has water to a depth of 20ft. The sea surges through from the other entrance. I went through by myself – Craig and Brett very sensibly declining the opportunity! There are thousands of bats in the cave and the surge was not too bad at the exit. I swam around the headland, then brought the boys back.

We all went in for a look and they were suitably impressed. I then foolishly asked if anyone wanted to go completely through – they both said yes. I suggested that Craig hang onto my back which he did, Brett hung onto him. All went well until a big surge came in. I steadied us on the rocks but unfortunately the surge swept Brett and Craig over my head and proceeded to bounce them off the sides of the passage. They panicked and we made our escape to their anguished screams.

Fortunately we escaped with just a few scratches and bruises – a very silly thing for me to have done! The anchorage was getting a bit more rolly as the day drew on so we re-anchored and put out a stern anchor – I think that it’s a bit better.

29 November 1994 Petit Byahaut to Cumberland Bay
What a night! By about eight o’clock, the swell was still rolling us about and we could hear the waves crashing against the rocks at both sides of the small bay. Eventually, I decided to rig up a long line from our bow to a mooring buoy in the middle of the bay because if our stern anchor dragged we could be swung uncomfortably near to the north side of the bay. Once I’d done that I slept a bit better (but not much!)

I got up at half past six, removed the mooring line and went to take a picture of the bat cave. We motored around to Cumberland Bay and anchored stern-to the beach with a line to a coconut tree. Glenys bought some fruit and some fish from the boat boys (yellow tail snappers, I think). The boys and I went for a quick play in the river, but didn’t mange to catch anymore fresh water fish for our mayonnaise jar aquarium.

We went for a dive and caught a lobster. Filled 4 tanks . We went to Steven’s Beach Bar for a few beers and decided that it would be very nice to run a bar/restaurant by the side of a tropical beach!

30 November 1994 Cumberland Bay to Wallilabou Bay
We had a rude awakening at seven in the morning by fishermen who wanted us to move so they could seine net. In a half daze we motored around to Wallilabou. We had the expected hassle from the boat boys and were helped to tie up for 5EC (eventually!) We ended up at an angle to the beach so the swell was making us roll. We removed the shoreline, re-anchored and re-tied the shore line.

What was amazing is that we did it without incurring any further “help”. The boat boys are extremely persistent and some are very rude if you don’t buy anything. Glenys went mad when she heard one of them calling her a “cheap woman”, and shouted at them all to “Go Away!” I did a quick reccy for a dive site, but there wasn’t anything spectacular, so we didn’t bother.

I went to clear out at two o’clock so that I wouldn’t incur any overtime charges. I was told that the customs don’t turn up until half past four, which, of course, is in overtime! I was fuming and sulked until quarter past four. I spotted the customs guy arriving, rushed over and gave him a sob story about having waited all day for him. He was, surprisingly, very nice and I didn’t get charged overtime.

By nightfall there were about 15 yachts lined up along the beach, with hordes of boat boys in craft, ranging from brightly coloured row boats to a raft made from a pallet. Our last caller was at nine o’clock and was a pathetic sounding bloke with some mangy looking fruit in a bag, begging for some pasta or other food “to go with his fish” – it must have taken 10 minutes to get rid of him. A beautiful place filled with awful people who are too used to handouts.