Bavaria 51'

Saturday, March 24, 2012

More photos...

Alex, Janna and Karen at Carnival

Carnival parade 
Peter with daughter Janna

Laura with son Alex

Marigot Bay, St. Lucia

Walking into the rain forest, Grenada

Hiking the rain forest

Reaching one of the waterfalls in the rain forest

Ocean view, Bequia

Old sugar mill, Grenada

Porpoise swimming along side our boat

Moving on...

St. Lucia to Grenada

By the time we reached St. Lucia in early January, we were each a little out of sorts. The windless motor 
( that is the electric motor that puts down and pulls up the anchor) was no longer functioning. That means that Peter would have to put down and pull up 100 feet of heavy chain and a large anchor every time we went to a new anchorage. To have a new motor shipped here would be outrageously expensive due to import taxes, shipping costs and so on. Peter decided to order the motor, ship it to our house, and have Alex bring it with him mid February. 5 weeks of hauling up chain and anchor!
Also, a shroud was unraveling and needed to be replaced. This could be done here.

I on the other hand was feeling "cruiser's isolation" and needed to meet people and talk about other things besides wind direction, fixing the windlass, and the  electrical layout of the boat! Michelle told me to listen to the Cruiser's Net which is a way for cruisers to find out what is going on locally, swap merchandise, get weather reports and plan activities. I was delighted to find out that there was to be a cruiser's luncheon for ladies at at local resort.  We made reservations and went. It was exactly what I needed! 30 women attended. We introduced ourselves, drank rum punches, ate lunch and swam in the resorts pool. I felt like I was back in the civilized world again! I enjoyed it so much I went the following week as well.

We took the bus into the capital city which is a crazy place with market stalls everywhere, all selling the same things, cruise ship passengers all buying the same things. We sat with Michelle and Al at an outside cafe and watched this show. We had beers and roti's which have become a favorite. A roti is a hot pastry filled with curried chicken, beef, vegetables or fish and potatoes. 
As we went about, I would meet up with some of the ladies from the luncheon and talk and so on. It's nice to see a familiar face and this would continue as we traveled to other islands.


Bequia has long been a favorite of cruiser's and we can see why. Isolated enough to remain relatively unspoiled and lively enough to be stimulating and entertaining blending the old and the new. The old traditions continue. Boats are built on the beach in the shade of palm trees. Everything from little fishing boats to large schooners, each is built by eye using only simple hand tools. 
While here, we visited a  sea turtle sanctuary located on an old coconut plantations. Sea turtle survival is looking bleak as buildings continue to be built on their nesting sites and watercraft endanger their habitats. 
On the way back we stopped off at Dawn's Creole Cafe, a lovely arch stone and tile place on a stunning crescent ocean beach . There are 3 rooms for rent here, clean, each with it's own patio facing the ocean for $40 a night! Our taxi drivers was Steve and every time we saw Steve after that ( which was often - small island) he was wave and yell "Hello friends!" and we would shout back "Hello Steve!". Best friends.
We celebrated Peter's birthday and watched the Super Bowl in Bequia. We participated in a Saturday reading program where people are invited to come to the Figtree Restaurant to read to groups of local children. The idea behind this is to reduce illiteracy on the island. These children are so adorable and so well behaved and so much fun! 

The Caribs called Martinique "Madinina"-Island of Flowers. It is part of France and feels it with excellent roads and a thriving economy. Fort de France is a busy city, bustling with shoppers and cars. The smaller towns are quieter and some look so clean they could have just been scrubbed.It helps to speak French but it's not necessary, though I do wish I paid more attention in French class way back then.
St. Pierre is probably one of our favorite ports. It is at the food of a volcano which erupted in 1902. The side of the volcano facing St. Pierre burst open releasing a giant fireball of superheated gas that flowed down over the city, releasing more energy than anatomic bomb. All that remained were smoking ruins. An estimated 29, 922 people burned to death leaving only two survivors. A cobbler and a prisoner in prison for murder in a stone cell. Twelve tall ships ;in the bay were destroyed at anchor. 
Many of the ruins still remain which can be toured and a museum was set up to tell the story. The city has rebuilt and it's lovely to visit.  Behind the city are rolling hills of sugar can and plantations. We visited a rum distillery there and learned how the the rum is processed from sugar can to the bottle. Of course we had to do some sampling of the rum.a
Marigot Bay in Martinique is like a picture post card with palm trees leaning over the beaches and turquoise waters framing the beaters. 
A visit to the rum distillery. Look at all the that rum!

As we traveled further south we stopped at several islands: Canouan, Mayreau, Tobago Cays, Union island, and Carriacou.
By early February, we were in Grenada, our furthest  planned destination and the island that we would have more guests, namely my son Alex, his friend Karen, and Peter's daughter Janna. And the windlass motor arrived, YEA! It was an active week. We went to a local jump up and carnival, went snorkeling and scuba diving, fishing (Alex caught at 23 pound yellow fin tuna, a once in a lifetime catch, and it was delicious), had a BBQ dinner on an island that served from a shack but had a great live band, explored some beautiful beaches, took a tour with Justin ( the driver) hiking into the rain forest to the waterfalls and swam in the pools. The kids partied every night after that with Justin and his side kick Nigel and apparently had a wonderful time. We were sorry to see them leave at the end of their stay.
Alex catches a yellow fin tuna

So at this point we turn around and start heading back north, stopping at many of the same places but investigating a few new ones too. We meet up with our friends Sue and Curt for a few days in Antigua then head to St. Martin. Peter's friends will join him for a week while Gracie and I head home. Then the boat will be stored until November when the hurricane season has passed.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Martinique January 4-13

As we approached Martinique, we were greeted by 2 large dolphins that swam alongside our hull. They rolled over on their sides to eyeball us.  I got so excited I think I scared them away!

Martinique is the prettiest and cleanest island we have been to thus far. We are both in love with this island. Our first port was Saint Pierre  known as the Paris of the Caribbean in the late 1800's and early 1900's. The wealth of the island was in the plantations. Ships would take on rum, sugar, coffee, and cocoa, and enough was sold to make several of the plantation owners multi-millionaires. However, in 1902 a volcano above the town burst open, releasing a giant fireball of superheated gas that flowed down over the city, releasing more energy than an atomic bomb. All that remained were smoking ruins. 30,000 people were incinerated within 2 minutes. Only 2 people survived, a cobbler and a man in a stone prison cell who later became an attraction with Barnum and Bailey Circus.

We have been to Fort de France which is the capital of Martinique. It is a well developed city with much commerce and global businesses. But, the people take their family and rest time very seriously. There is not a single restaurant, bar, or shop open Saturday afternoon through Sunday.

We are currently in Sainte Anne - a sleepy, quiet cove with a few beach restaurants and shops, mountains in the background. We will go into the town today, have a ridiculously high cholesterol and caloric french lunch then try some scuba diving nearby. Hopefully, we will be able to swim after such a meal!

Tomorrow we leave for Le Marin which is our last stop in Martinique then to St. Vincent and St. Lucia. We'll need to stock up with as much with water, fuel, food, and drink as we can to last us for a few more weeks. The islands south of here can be very expensive. Martinique has wonderful french wine for about $4-5 a bottle and the french cheese and fresh fruit is out of this world. You can bet we will get a couple of cases of that wine to go!

Photos: a "house" looking like a boat a Rastafarian built on the beach; crew hard at work NOT earning her dog bones; St. Pierre with volcano in background; the capital city fort des france; Sainte Anne.

Monday, January 2, 2012


December 29 - January 4
After a week in Iles Des Saints, we decided to sail to Dominca. As each boat arrives in the harbor, they are greeted with about 3 skiffs of islanders and "Welcome to our beautiful island!" These guys are more than happy to escort you to their mooring, get fresh fruit and ice for you and even fill up the dingy gas tank which is what we did. Of course, they overcharge when doing so but as one said, " We all have to eat."

On the first day we met a lively couple from Canada who have been doing this for 3 years. Actually, we are such newcomers at cruising these islands that I have yet to find another. People have been doing this for 5,6,7 years! Some sold their houses, businesses and belongings to pursue this dream. I don't know. Seems too long for me.

Anyway, we had this couple, Al and Michelle, aboard for drinks ( I was starved for conversation with others!) and learned quite a few things about the cruising lifestyle, security and the islands. We attended a beach party for cruisers organized by locals for New Year's Eve. It was great fun! The rum punches really packed a punch and we danced to the DJ music after having a BBQ. I can tell you this, EVERYONE suffered the next morning with hangovers.

On New Year's Day, Al and Michelle invited us over to their boat with another couple for a ham dinner that was out of this world. They bought it in Canada and smuggled it in. It was a good time.

Right now we are at a beach bar having drinks and using their wifi. The place is owned by this huge guy named Big Pappa who keeps calling me Little Girl! Maybe he needs glasses. The Christmas winds are here and it has been blowing hard all day. Tomorrow we rent a car to see the rest of the island. More later....


December 22 - 29
We spent on night at an anchorage in Guadeloupe before heading to the Iles des Saints which are a group of small, dry, mountainous French islands. Here we spent a few days over the holidays on the island named Terre Den Haut at an anchorage of a small fishing village. The houses have red roofs and the older Caribbean building have balconies and gingerbread trim. flowers grow in abundance around the houses and no one is in a hurry.

Christmas Eve here is spent in  celebration. The music and drinking starts early on the main street with the locals and goes well into the night. ( see photo ) The music drowns out the church bells that chime every hour. I don't understand the significance of this happening on Christmas Eve and there was no one sober enough to ask! We spent it quietly on the boat listening to our Christmas DVD's and hanging Christmas lights around the cockpit.

The town was very quiet the next day and we enjoyed our Christmas dinner in a courtyard setting of a restaurant with tall palms and warm breezes. As delightful as it was, it is not the same as being home with family which we both missed very much.  

The next day we rented a motor bike to tour the island and try to find gas for the dingy outboard which was at this point running on fumes. We found lots of unspoiled beaches and breath taking vistas, but no gas. Apparently, we will have to go to another island to get some! We suspect that what ever gasoline they have is saved for the locals.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Rain, wind and rocks in our heads

Time to leave Antigua and make our way to Guadeloupe. We really have no choice but to do so with the dog situation and all ( Gracie is still feeling very humiliated!). The crossing was almost 7 hours with winds gusting up to 32 and wave heights 20-25 feet and occasional rain. Not very pleasant to say the least. 
But we arrived with no one getting hurt and nothing broken so that's considered a good day of sailing ( I quote Bill Strein). 

Guadeloupe had as much rain as it did sun so lots and lots of rainbows. Spent one night. Now off to Iles Des Saintes for the holidays.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Antigua: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly!

The good: Antigua is absolutely beautiful! It feels like a mixture of the Caribbean Islands and Bermuda rolled into one. It is a sailor's paradise. The harbors are deep, the yachts are magnificent, the hills lush, the restaurants plentiful, and the people friendly.

The bad: We were denied immigration to the island because of my 7 pound Maltese dog! Despite having papers from my Vet saying that she had her rabies shots ( actually 2 in the last 5 years and each shot is good for 3 years), being microchipped which is a requirement, and the Vet declaring her in excellent health, this was not good enough. They wanted to see that she had a blood test that indicates if the anti-rabies blood cells are present. Oh come on! And, there is only one place that conducts this test which is in Kansas and takes 4 weeks to get the results!

The ugly: We have 24 hours to leave the island. There goes our Christmas in Antigua. Looks as if we will be heading to Guadaloupe.

Unfortunately, there are probably 3 other islands that we may have the same problem with. Looks as though my son Alex who is visiting in February will have to fly her home with him. Any one for taking care of a sweetie pie of a dog for 3 months??