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Sailing South

We had a nice quiet day yesterday. The other boats left fairly early and we had the reef to ourselves for the day. We went ashore and took some great pics. We also decided to put out a stern anchor just in case the current should reverse and put us on the reef. Apart from that, not a lot.

We left to go south fairly early this morning. Right now we’re approaching the northern end of Grenada. The winds are not too strong so we’re taking our time.

Would you believe it – we caught a fish. On the biggest lure we have we caught something like a sixteen inch barracuda. This is the smallest one we’ve caught so far but it’s been filleted all the same. I definitely need some practice at filleting as again I made a mess of it. The lines are all out still so maybe we’ll be able to add some more meat to this evenings fare.

We’re heading for St David’s where we intend to discuss this summer’s haul out which we intend to do mid to late August/early September coinciding with the peak period of hurricanes.

Island Time

We’re having a nice bit of real Island Time. Our solitude did not last that long though. Within minutes of my last blog three boats showed up. We have the one and only spot where you can swim to the island. Given the nature of the reef which is almost in line with the wind and current one has to find a sandy rise off the reef to drop the anchor that is far enough from the reef so that you won’t swing into it. Our spot is perfect as of our starboard the sea bed rises up to sand with the reef ahead and behind us. If we did swing we’d bump into the beach. The next available spots are some distance so the other boats are not too close and they have to come in via dinghy. One of the boats left before dark.

In the early afternoon we had a brief snorkel then walked the beach. While snorkeling we spotted a lobster in only 4 feet of water. That was a surprise as normally we find them only in deeper water. Maybe it’s because we’re out of season and they can be bolder and get away with it.

Back on the boat it was sleeping and reading for a while before we made bread and cake. We finished the day by watching “There Will be Blood” – a very interesting movie.

Today will be washing day and we’ll stay around here until at least tomorrow – maybe Thursday. It’s nice being off the net and being disconnected for a while.

White Island, Carriacou

Now we’ve found a heavenly spot. And for now, we’re on our own. We’re anchored just off White Island, Carriacou. The reef is protecting us from the current and waves. We can swim ashore in a minute. The water is turquoise. It is deserted. We’ll stay here for at least lunch and the afternoon and decide if we’ll stay the night. I suspect we’ll go snorkeling on the reef. No internet so we’re cut off. Didn’t catch any fish on the way round.

Lazy Days in Carriacou

Not a great deal to report on for the last couple of day.

On Friday I dropped off our new dinghy cover with Andy at In Stitches as it needed additional protection where it rubs against the davit. No price was agreed for the extra work but he seemed reasonable about cost.

Friday evening we ate (and drank) out at Lambi’s with Karen and Matt from Where II. We were picked up and returned by Karen and Matt in their dinghy. Going ashore involved a beach landing which was straight forward (unlike leaving the beach when Karen fell in the water). The steel band started about an hour later than we were told and the place wasn’t crowded, unlike our last visit. Helen and I were merry enough to dance for a while to the live music. We all ended up on Dignity for nightcaps. Returning we found Andy had dropped off the dinghy cover while we were out.

We ended up spending the most of yesterday, US Independence Day, alternating between lazing and planning the rest of 2009/10, an exercise which is continuing today and still requires a lot more effort. I am recording all of the results of our research in Google Earth and organizing the information hierarchically as well as against place holders. I’ve also put together a spreadsheet where I’m recording all the cruising areas between Grenada and New Zealand (which is now our current preferred goal for December 2010 start of Pacific cyclone season), the amount of time we think we want to spend in each and the distances between each cruising area. The spreadsheet will compute overall time needed and spread any differences across the cruising areas. With this we should be able to knock up a rough set of milestones from place to place which no doubt we’ll ignore once we’re into things.

The general point is that it is forcing us to look into places, understand some of the key concepts such as distance and where we can or can’t go, the relative sizes of the various groups of islands, specific areas we definitely want to visit and making us choose the general direction across the Pacific. As it stands, the route across will be Panama, Galapagos, Marquesas, Society Islands (Tahiti, etc), Southern Cooks, Tonga, maybe Samoa, Fiji, NZ. At a higher level still we’re beginning to favour using Australia as a base to explore the Far East rather than putting Dignity on the hard in Fiji. That would mean our 2011 itinerary would be to leave NZ in April to visit Vanuatu (formerly known as New Caledonia), maybe the Solomon Islands and then back down to Australia.

Once this is all done, we’ll publish the derived itinerary and the Google Earth notes. They should be of interest and could be useful to others.

I did go ashore yesterday to find Andy and see what the cost of the extra work to our cover was. He wasn’t in the shop and he had put together no bill for it. Maybe he’s done it as part of the original effort – that would be nice. I can’t be sure if this is the case so left my email just in case. While ashore, I bumped into Alan and Anne from Freya of Clyde who we shared an island tour with in Dominica. It was nice catching up. They’ve been here in Tyrell Bay for two weeks now and will be heading south to Grenada soon and then onto Trinidad for the summer. It’s possible we’ll run into them in Grenada.

Today we felt we needed some exercise so we broke off the planning work and went for a walk. We left the dinghy at the ‘yacht club’ which is really just a dock and haul out facility. We headed south and the road we were on soon turned into a mud track – the mud having a clay texture which clung to our flip flops.

On the way back we climbed a hill which overlooked Tyrell Bay. From there we could see the islands and reefs on the south east of the island where we intend to visit quite soon.

Speaking of which, our intentions are to leave Tyrell Bay tomorrow, head round the north of the island and tuck in behind the reefs on the east coast. We’ll then make our way south to the anchorage we saw today before making our way back down to Grenada and the start of our summer projects. This then is our last cruise away from things until we get going again after the hurricane season dies down. Unless of course we get some extra time and head south for a bit. We’ll see. The more we look at next year the more we realize we need to get everything done early and be out of Grenada as soon as we can.

Not a lot

So far today’s been one of those days when not a lot has happened. We had some strong winds this morning, stronger than forecast in fact. We saw sustained winds in the mid twenties gusting up to 35 knots. Fortunately we were well anchored and so was everyone else around us.

We did see Karen and Matt from Where II yesterday afternoon. We’ve agreed to mee at Lambi’s this evening for dinner and live music. The weather, touch wood, has calmed down sufficiently for this.

I noticed today we’ve been made one of Bristol Rose’s favourite blogs. We had wondered if we’d meet them here too but they’ve shot down to Grenada for insurance reasons.