Sunday, November 27, 2011

Good Days and BAD Days Tobago Cays & Canouan, Grenadines

November 24, 25 & 26  2011 Thursday Thanksgiving Day in the USA, Friday & Saturday

Tobago Cays on the right; Mayreau on the left
On to the Tobago Cays - a place I’ve been so looking forward to getting to for the past six months!  Touted as ‘quite possibly the most beautiful place in the Caribbean” it reminds me of the Bahamas with it’s crystal clear aqua and turquoise waters and coral reefs everywhere...except these Cays have small green, lush mountains and the Bahamas are flat scrub.  The area and tiny islands of Petit Batealu and Petit Rameau, are protected somewhat from the Atlantic Ocean by a large horseshoe shaped reef from which waves are splashing wildly all around us.

So graceful under water!

Our dingy on the beach, swimming with the turtles.  That's Margaret & Andy
The highlight here is to snorkel with the turtles that abound in this Park, which has been fun.  There are many, none of whom seem to mind us being around them, staring and following a respectful distance behind.  They are so graceful as they dive to the bottom, pull a blade or two of sea grass, chomp away and then surface for a breath of air.  I never tire of it.  Andy brought a book to the beach and let me do ‘my thing’ while he patiently waited for me.  He is done in 5 minutes....In the water, see a turtle.  Check.  DONE.  Me, HOURS later, I’m never ready to get out of the water....

Yes, this turtle is missing flippers on his left side!
Feeling very alone out here among the reefs (that is not our boat)
At anchor, north of Baradel and Petit Rameau, here in the Park, we’re leery as we watch the surf break over the reef so close to us and feel the ocean breeze BLOW hard on us. 

Reviewing our security measures, we discussed with Rich & Margaret what we would do if either of us had a problem out here in the middle of no where.  We’d all met the couple who were attacked here a few months back, boarded, beaten badly and robbed in the wee hours of the morning.  Another boater heard the May Day and set up a ruckus on the VHF, which finally scared the guy off.  He has not been caught. 

Two nights here, rocking and rolling big time allowed for only broken sleep.  I’m at the ‘Don’t open ANY cabinet without being very careful!” stage.   Stuff has been slung about inside cabinets - especially in the galley! 

Waking and checking outside with a powerful flashlight at least 3-4 times a night, I, as always, was struck by the beautiful evening BUT at this anchorage, I was more On Alert, Skittish than my normal Oh, It Is So Beautiful I Can’t Sleep for Watching the World.  Kinda spooky out here, nearly alone, on the Atlantic Ocean side of it all and not the leeward Caribbean Sea side.   All the other boats with the exception of 2-3 of us are around the corner anchored on the south side of Baradal....kinda wish we’d moved other there, but oh well...
Margaret, Andy & Sharon hiking in the turtle area
We celebrated Thanksgiving with Margaret & Rich from Dance Aweigh aboard Finally Fun on Thursday evening.  Try as I might for 3 weeks to find a whole chicken I could stuff in anticipation of this day, I never succeeded.  The few I found in Grenada were barely bigger than a Cornish Game Hen, so I passed.  Pork loin, pumpkin squash, green beans, salad and bread and even some cranberry sauce brought over by Margaret and Rich made for a great Caribbean Thanksgiving.   Looking around our table, I realized that of the four of us, only one (me) was a ‘native born’ American...every one else is an immigrant, having been forced to leave their native countries (Poland and Jamaica).   All, however, loving the USA and the freedom it offers.

Dingy coming into the turtle area
Friday evening, joined by Rick and Elizabeth of Sojourn Mariner from our Port Louis Marina days and their son and his wife, we, along with Margaret & Richard of Dance Aweigh, had a Beach BarBQue at Romeo’s strip of beach.  Romeo zips over to your boat before the anchor is even set, telling us about his BBQ and saying that if any other boat boy vendors ask, we are ‘his’. 

Our lobsters and one fish dinner on the grill

Beaching our dinks, bringing our own drinks, plates, forks, etc. we ate The Very Best Lobster I’ve ever eaten in the Caribbean, Florida or the Bahamas!  Grilled perfectly, moist and tasty!

Grilling to Perfection!

Rich & his son loading up!

Sitting on a picnic table, under the shade trees, chomping down on the home cooked vegs, seasoned with ginger and other native spices, grilled sweet bananas, lobster and other goodies, the 8 of us had a great time.

PS   We also talked down the price -- boaters be aware!  Lobster was $100 EC or about $37.

Margaret, shopping on the beach

The view from our picnic table
AND THEN THE BAD DAY   BUMMER!!!!   Our dingy is GONE!

Saturday morning our dingy is GONE!  Nadda, Nowhere To Be Found!  The dink was still attached at 3:30 AM, my last walk about with the flashlight.  One of the boat boys came by to sell us fresh crossaiants at 8 AM...   “Hey mon, didn’t think you were aboard.  Didn’t see your dingy”.....HUH?!!!! Crap.  We are screwed.   We suspect it broke loose during the early morning squall that hit us as the clip on the shackle was forced back in the opposite direction.  A thief would have quickly, quietly cut the line.  Our line was not cut.  

Romeo, from our lobster BarBQue evening the night before, with the help of other boat boys,  circled all over the islands following where the current might have taken it.  He called friends on neighboring larger island of Mayreau and Union where it possibly could have drifted.  We reported the loss to the Mayreau Harbor Patrol and finally pulled anchor some hours later, giving up hope of finding it any time soon, if at all.
The errant dingy back at Finally Fun full of water & sand but OKAY

Amazingly, about 3 hours later, a German boater hailed us on the VHF, having overheard several conversations about the missing dink.  They had found it at Salt Whistle Bay on the island of Mayreau and secured it.

Ten minutes later, after a quick detour on our way to Canouan, we dropped the hook in the Bay in squally rain & wind.  Hailing  the German boat,  I was shocked to hear first thing out of her mouth on the VHF - “We worked hard to secure your dingy.  What is it worth to you?  I expect to be paid.”  We fully expected to pay the boat boys for their time and trouble (and did pay Romeo $40 for his gas and time earlier).   I’d also already dug up a very nice bottle of champagne to give to them.  We would have also said to them, “What do we owe you?  I know you went to trouble to grab the dingy.”  But to be told first thing, PAY ME I felt really betrayed.  Boaters everywhere help boaters - often going way out of their way to do so.  I was dumbfounded.    Andy said, “What do you expect?  What kind of money are you talking here?  What about $100 US?”  She said OK.  Then, we had to figure out how to get to the dink, without swimming for it.  The Germans told us to swim for it.  FYI they had TWO dingys tied to their boat - theirs and OURS.   Don’t think so -- too far to comfortably do so.  Humm, they could have fired up our dingy and brought it over....perhaps... Or come to get us in their dink that was in the water.  No such offers...
Our dingy was found on the other side of these palm trees, on the Atlantic side, washed ashore at Salt Whistle Bay
We finally got the attention of a local in a kayak who took Andy to the German boat who had our dingy.  The husband then was suggesting that the dingy was worth more than $100 and wanted to know how grateful we were....  Andy, once in our dingy and ready to go, said he was very grateful and that his wife set the price....Blown away by the cheapskate buggers.....I could never get the name of their catamaran boat or I’d have it posted big time with the story.  It is a sail ANTARES catamaran, with two couples aboard.  Hope our paths cross once more....
Dink went from horseshoe reef, on Left to island of Mayreau, top Right corner on the West

I wish the dingy could talk.  That must have been a wild ride.  She is a tiny bit beaten up, full of sand from waves washing over her I assume when she beached.  The motor took a moment or two to start, but did, with no more problems.  Raising & securing the dingy was a struggle in the winds, but once done, off to Charlestown Bay in Canouan, still within the Grenadines.

Saturday Night & Sunday, November 26 & 27, 2011

Island of Canouan.  Charlestown Bay on the Left where we anchored.
Lots of places to see in Canouan
 Day and Night from Hell in Charlestown Bay, Canouan, Grenadines. 

The squally weather the night before and the missing dingy started off the 24 hour period.  The German lady demanding money really, really disturbed and irritated me.   A boat boy screwed me big time on the price of some vegs I bought from him and I’m annoyed at both him and me!  I felt obligated to purchase something as he helped me (much to my dismay) stick the snubber into the anchor chain as it swept temporarily over our second anchor.
Tour bus was grassed over....not much use??

Anchorage at Canouan

On the plus side, Margaret and Rich served us dinner aboard Dance Aweigh here in Charlestown Bay -- perfect for bucking up our mood!

Saw several of these land turtles, the island's namesake

Not much is here on this small island of 1,000 residents - 'Can no wan' means Island of Turtles in the Carib Indian language.  There is a fancy resort on the north end, complete with golf course (Canouan Resort Development) and the Tamarind Bay Resort on Charlestown Bay.
Finally Fun is to the left, off the channel market - white hull
Asleep by 9:30 PM, tired from off/on broken sleep over the previous two days, the anchor alarm beeped wildly at 10 PM and several more times throughout the night, keeping us nervous and up/down checking our position.  We enlarged our circle around the anchor as we had a lot of chain out and that helped some....but!   We don’t believe we ever dragged, but the tell tale track on the GPS marking our position is a maze of zig zag lines.  I think the computer again got confused from all the movement, bleating out in frustration.  Then driving rain & wind hit us, forcing us up yet again to close windows and wipe up water in the wee hours.

At 4:00 AM another insistent BEEP BEEP rousing me up yet again from a dead sleep.  Andy, who never hears the BEEPS, must be black and blue from me poking him, “It’s BEEPING AGAIN”.  This time it was the Invertor, Low Battery Warning.   Okay, start the generator to charge it all up, we’ve been through this drill a couple of times this week.   Our battery bank is wearing out.   We plan to purchase new batteries when we get to a big island, such as St. Lucia.

A moment later, Boom.  Everything STOPS.  More wild beeping ensued.  Now WHAT HAPPENED???  Seems the invertor impeller gave it up, spitting off its little rubber wheel tabs.  So fun to change an impeller at 4:15 AM in order to get everything up and running.  We are sitting here (it is now 5 AM) without power of any kind while Andy finishes his repairs in the heat of the engine room.   I’m the morale supporter and gofer...pretty useless.  I sit quietly and out of the way!

During all this aggravation I hear a funny noise from the bow -- metal upon metal sounding.  Inspection revealed that we’d pulled out about another 20’ of chain somehow -- can’t figure out HOW with the snubber on and the metal pin in the windless.  Weird....Another new thing to worry about.  This wind must be something and it is not yet the Christmas Winds.  I learned later that on a windy day, here in Charlestown Bay,  the wind gets ‘held up in the hills & then shoots down from the north in intense gusts’, swinging boats all over the place, in every direction.  NOW I GET IT!

Phew.  It’s now 6 AM - repairs completed, coffee made.  White out, blinding rain and winds.  Gonna be a wonderful day in Paradise.  Wonder WHAT NEXT?

Ah, the weather cleared!  Hiking about on Canouan, with Rich & Margaret,  we dodged more rain drops by standing in doorways and under overhangs, often chatting with locals who were poking about & hanging out at several of the rum shops we passed along the way.    Hot, tired and sweaty, from up and down some very steep hills, but deciding our work out was so worth it as we were thrilled with all the views of the Atlantic Ocean and the reefs surrounding the area.
Goats on the loose all over the island

Bored goats

Atlantic side of Canouan

The darker spots in the water are reefs and coral boating about here in the big boats!
The fancy resort is up ahead to the north, on the Atlantic side

Sooo much 'stuff' around this building!
Rich, Margaret & Andy @ Tamarind Hotel on the Beach

Back near the dingy, we plopped down at the Tamarind Hotel Beach Bar enjoying a freshly made icy fruit slushy.  The BEST ever was the vote from the guys.

Moseying about 500 yards over to the restaurant, we ordered another drink, this time with rum in it and a light snack dinner.  Great food, expensive - but the ambiance was wonderful!


  1. Triple WOW – I am absolutely shocked by the German boater demanding a reward. Really tacky. Reward, ruff weather, failed impeller – the perfect storm! Glad its over - hope you are finally having fun again!!!!!

    Glen & Marie
    M/V Mysti Dream

  2. WOW. I am so sorry to hear of these tribulations you are having!! Well, chalk it up to getting your sea legs back. I am TOTALLY appalled by the German boat and how they treated you two - if Scott and I were there we would have given them a piece of our minds!! Just goes to show, it takes all types. Unreal. I honestly cannot believe cruisers would treat other cruisers in such a way. Asking poor Andy to SWIM over?!?! Hell no! Anyway, we miss you guys and are glad you are on your way again with the dinghy in tact!! Keep in touch and love to Andy!! xoxo