|Aaaaarh, Dem be Pirates|
The movie is historically grounded in fact, as St. Vincent was no stranger to pirates who stumbled upon a last stronghold of the Carib Indians against the onslaught of French and English colonisers.
On to Antigua, we farewelled our welsh mate Lance and his cousin over dinner at Jolly Harbour and wished him a safe sail across the Atlantic to the Azores for the next 18-20 days on Alf-A-Bet his 46 ft catamaran.
|Joe's 06th revisited|
|Trappas Bar Antigua with Pat's & Joe|
The wet was No deterrent to adventure some P&J so seeing old wooden boats in English Harbour, wearing ponchos, was relaxing, laughing when the Rain hit harder, yes it filled the damn dingy. Anyone got a bucket here?? pump pump ..
Torrential rain means the Rainy Wet Season arrived in May a month early.
The next Wednesday we set sail for Guadeloupe a large passage crossing and just enough wind to let WYUNA reach, heading south and cruising at 8kns to arrive at Pigeon Is. for a quick overnight stop, then early rise to plot our next leg.
Its a long day sail to Dominica and there's little bird or sea life to see, so getting in by sunset to Portsmouth a truly lay-back town, was a relief on a calm anchorage.
Christopher Columbus landed and named Dominica in 1449 and after many battles in 1763, the British gained full control of the island. The indigenous Kalinagos were given 232 acres of mountainous and rocky shoreline. In 1903, the land was expanded to 3700 acres and the Carib Chief was officially recognised.
On our day trip to the west coast and tour of the Kalinago reserve, run by the only surviving 2,000 people (who killed the Arawak's that came from Venezuela) reminded us of the great ocean road, but with spices and tropical forests covering the rugged coastline. P&J liked the traditional sites, with beautiful wooden open structures, small cooking and sleeping huts and a flowing river for picnicking and lying in a communal hammock. Picnics are traditional here, as is creole chicken, green peas and sweet potato for lunch, at their hut.
On the way home we stopped to buy fresh Marlin steaks, cut and skinned on the beach by the fisherman "for our deck BBQ dinner". Delicious with Patsy's lime and salsa.
If you love fresh salsa, frozen juice, cut fresh mango for breakfast and avocado/lime for happy hour then the Caribbean is a tropical paradise. At the market its 6 for 5EC$ or $2 AUD, and there's green, yellow and red ones. Its tricky using a 8ft stick to get mangoes to fall from the trees without hitting you on the head..so we didn't try.
|Trafalgar Falls Dominica|
A cool walk to waterfalls and then soak in Trafalgar's sulphur spa water, which comes from an ACTIVE volcano, left us very tired and relaxed ready to celebrate with wine.... but not to be, both Patsy and Gina flaked out and had a badnight & day with gastro, putting it down to a lunch meal. We took a Raincheck on the Taurean celebrations.
Moving south to Fort de France, Martinique was a great sailing long day, wind blew, dropped out and breezed til we finally bypassed the Nth volcanic town and made it in by 5 to this french harbour. WYUNA likes sitting under the huge stone fort wall.
|Bush & Mitterrand meeting|
Close by are fishing villages so exploring french carib haunts, and trying out basic vocab for beginners was enjoyable. Hooray at last, that night we hit the champers for Patsy's birthday and cooked up a storm! Rain pouring so too wet to get ashore!!
The 22 May is emancipation of slavery celebrations with African music from Mali, there's always a festival here.
After seeing P&J off to fly to St Lucia we headed out to a jazz night upstairs on the balconey, listening to fine sax, and percussion's... a FdeF renowned blend.
Most times cruising or touring here is energetic and uplifting, and other times the heat takes hold of you and causes the limbs to flop.. til you can't stand up without telling the legs to walk. Humidity just saps you after doing jobs on board... and its steamy with the Rains. Bruce and I have become " nappers" known for being lost down below & too lazy to drop the dingy. Happy to escape the hot part of any day!
A week of chilling out led us quietly to beautiful Bequia, Grenadines a very pretty harbour where we anchored off, Princess Margaret beach, (who visited once) so British here, then we were ready to meet Fiona and Drew on Sunday. Only trouble was their bus driver took them to the wrong dock so 3hrs later a local guy brought them to us by boat.
|Fee & Drew, Basils Bar, Mustique Island|
One of the best surprises we all agree was -NOT finding Mustique Is. (privately owned) Little Bay harbour the home of rich and famous Mick Jagger & co, where Basils Bar was dead as the doormat. No doubt the hidden grand summer homes are splendorous coastside mansions with acres of palm and frangipani gardens.
The treasure WAS finding Tobago Cays, 5 small uninhabited islets and a pristine coral reef extremely well preserved by the local community, so much so that the threatened green turtle populations has grown to 200 in the marine reserve aaaaaannnnddd we could snorkel with them all day. Green turtles are beautifully marked and were aged from 6-30, they can live to over 100 years and only a few of 1500 eggs become fully grown.
Turtles are strong swimmers if you try their stroke, of forearms as paddles and back ones as rudders, you can't keep pace. They come up for air frequently, less than 1 minute, and seem to be comfortable with us staying 6ft away even though sharks are a predator.
|Mayreau Tobago Cays|
"Never wish to leave here or always wish to come here...Tobago Cays is sublime"!
F&D and G&B were all sorry to leave this sanctuary. Our next stop is Grenada, WYUNA's home port and our return destination after 7 months at sea and (thanks to Mal's log) we have recorded 1069 nmiles sailed. Capt B has mastered the catamaran's skippering and come to set the sails for smooth crossings at 8kns if the winds are right. Gina is named Admiral after learning all the basics of helming, anchoring, charting and setting the sails. So2 up is our forte, thanks to Mal's coaching and a little help from our friends and the Winch Buddy.
|St George's Harbour Grenada|
We decided to satisfy our steak craving (only available frozen in gormet delis's) so enjoyed a dinner at the Victory Bar before we saw Fee&Drew off to Peurto Rico early the next morning.
Finally, we've learnt the lessons of cruising, sail in 15kns at 8knts, find clear water, a sandy anchorage within swiming distance to a beach and dingy dock, and enjoy the freeedom of living afloat on the Caribbean Sea surrounded by beautiful islands and friendly people. All who wander are not lost.
The message from long cruisers is" there is no plan it happens as long as you go along". Hey John Lennon sang it years ago!
Maybe this will become the WYUNA theme song .... just have to make up the songlines to go with the chorus.
We're home in July to enjoy the daily TV news, The Age, doorknockers, cold winter racing days, tennis in winter trackies, finding a car park in our street etc and no more daily rituals of coating the body in sunscreen and dropping the dingy in the water to get ashore. Not sure about long showers, but we hear definitely more Rain!
|Wyuna squeezing into Spice Island Marine|
This is WYUNA, WYUNA, WYUNA Over and Out for 2012.
We are looking forward to catching up with our family and friends, and Billy.