Thursday, March 8, 2012

Spring Time in the Caribbean

We finally made it back to Lone Star at the end of February.  She was berthed in Martinique at the Amel facility for some repairs after the ARC.  We had a short sailing season due to Jan’s mother’s health and ultimate passing away in January.  We were looking forward to getting away and spending time on the boat.  We had originally planned not to have any guests on board but in the end changed our minds and had three great sets of friends on board.   

We arrived in Martinique close to midnight after a full day of flying including two plane changes.  Hey we thought having the boat in the Caribbean would be easier to get to than in Europe!  A little secret about most of the French islands – they aren’t easy to get to unless you live in France.  We found Lone Star in great condition.  All polished and cleaned and most repair work done.  We spent 10 days in Martinique waiting for the rest of the work to finish up, touring the island and visiting with the folks from fellow ARC boats Perseverance and Maxi.  

Then on March 12th we were off to Rodney Bay, St Lucia to wait for our first guests to arrive. Prior  to their arrival we ran into Tony Wessendorff and his wife Gail Corrigan.  Tony and Gail are members and past Commodore and First Lady of our former yacht club Lakewood.  Tony and Gail have based their sailboat Ceteca in St. Lucia for the past 11 years.  Recently retired, they were making plans to set sail in July for an extended cruising adventure.  We had a great time enjoying drinks on each other’s boats and enjoying dinner out.  They provided us with a wealth of information on cruising in the Caribbean which we knew would come in handy.    

Lynda and Mike Staley joined us March 15th for a week of fun in the sun.  Long time friends, Mike and Lynda were with us on our previous boat Seabbatical in Florida and the Caribbean and Mike helped sail the boat with Craig from Gibraltar to the Canaries.   We spent the week enjoying activities both on land and sea.  Before setting sail we decided to risk life and limb with zip lining and had a blast. Having survived flying through the air suspended from cables we decided to conquer the seas and set sail for the Pitons.  We spent two nights moored in one of the most idyllic spots in the Caribbean (if not the world).    

Mike fished, Jan and Craig snorkeled and we all toured the botanical gardens, “drive-thru” volcano and enjoyed cocktails at Ladera.  A resort nestled between the Pitons. After two nights we sailed into beautiful Marigot Bay.  From there we went horseback riding on what had to be the most pathetic looking horses we had ever seen!  Word of warning – in St Lucia do not use Trims Stables.  Our final evening we had dinner at the Rainforest Hideaway.  A great send off for great friends.   

After Mike and Lynda left we set sail for two weeks of cruising the Grenadines.  We visitied Bequia and had the famous lobster pizza at Mac’s,  did some awesome snorkeling in the Tobago Cays where we met Mr. Quality who took care of us every time we were anchored in the Cays, spent calm nights anchored off Canouan and a rolly night off Mustique where Basil’s Beach Bar and the snorkeling made the roll worth it!  The highlight of explorations was the two nights we spent in Chatham Bay on Union Island.  A beautiful calm bay filled with sea turtles, Chatham is home to 5 BBQ Shacks where you can enjoy a fresh lobster or fish dinner.  We picked Sun, Beach and Eat owned by Seckie and Vanessa.  Seckie is the man behind the grill and Vanessa is the lovely hostess and the master mind of the place. The food was phenomenal and we had a great evening visiting with Seckie and Vanessa.  Turns out they have been featured on Anthony Bordain’s No Reservations.  We’ll definitely return. 

We then headed back to Marigot Bay, St. Lucia and were joined by Nita and Stacey Horne from Kingwood who also sailed with us in Greece in 2011.   After a return visit to Rainforest Hideaway and a night between the Pitons we headed back to the Grenadines for some great sailing and fishing.  Of course we had to first stop in historic Bequia Harbor where we enjoyed lobster and Jack’s Beach Bar.  Then we were off to Tobago Cays for some awesome snorkeling.  Along the way we dragged the fishing lines and the Fishing Gods were smiling down on us that day.  A double strike at the same time!  Two fat tunas were waiting for us at end of the lines – yum! yum! Not satisfied with just two fish, the lines went back in the water and strike again!  This time one line was spinning and it was something big.  Before we could stop it the line was stripped but then caught on the other line that was still out in the water. The monster on the end had plenty of fight and the guys were having difficulty realing her in when suddenly something or somethings jumped out of the water and then the fight was gone.  Upon realing in the catch we found the top third of a large tuna.  Something had decided they needed the rest of the tuna more than we did!  After two great days in Tobago Cays we sailed to Palm Island for a last lunch together then on over to Union Island where we bid them fairwell. (0928) Nita and Stacey boarded a puddle jumper headed north to St. Lucia and we were on our way south to Grenada. 

After clearing out of Union Island on April 24th we sailed to Carriacou and cleared in to Grenada.  After spending the night on the hook in Tyrell Bay we sailed in to Port Louis Marina, St George’s, Grenada.  Port Louis is a large, modern marina with all the facilities a yachtie could want – restaurant, bar, wifi, swimming pool, a nearby Island Waterworld Marine chandlery, grocery store and beautiful views of the charming harbor of St. Georges.   On May 1st Carol and Dave Weigel joined us for a week of cruising the Grenadines.  Great friends we have enjoyed visiting their beautiful home on Casewell Beach, NC and having them on board in the Balleric Islands in 2009.  Unfortunately, the Weather Gods had other plans and we were never able to leave Grenada.  So we went to Plan B – explore the southern bays of Grenada and do some land touring.  If you have to be “stuck” somewhere Grenada is a pretty cool place to be stuck.  We spent a couple of nights in St George then after some snorkeling at Moliniere, the location of Grenada’s underwater statue park we sailed to the south side of Grenada and spent the night on the hook off Hog Island.  A extremely calm anchorage we grilled steaks under the stars.  We then spent 3 nights at Clarks Court in Woburn Bay.  During that time we booked a tour with CB’s Historical tours which was awesome.  CB gave us a very interesting, historical tour of Grenada including the time of the revolution and the invasion of the American Troops. As it turns out Dave has a good friend who was part of the invasion which made the tour all the more interesting.  We also visited waterfalls and a nutmeg factory (Grenada produced most of the world’s nutmeg).  Another night we enjoyed a cruisers pot luck and live entertainment. From Clarks Court we sailed to Prickley Bay for our last two nights together.  We booked another tour with CB this time visiting the rain forest, Rivers Rum factory, and a chocolate plantation.  After a great week doing things we hadn’t planned on doing we said goodbye and watched Dave and Carol’s plane from the boat head for the States.