TRINIDAD

Our sail from Union Island in the Grenadines to Trinidad was a overnight sail with fair winds and current in our favor and kind seas.   Bella Luna was a race horse so we had to reduce sail twice to slow her down as we did not want to arrive Trinidad in the dark.   
 
As we approached, we had a gorgeous sunrise with brilliant colors and greetings from some playful dolphins.  
 
Going through a narrow cut between the islands it was lush but warm and humid even at 0630.    Trinidad, in our opinion, certainly has a different feel to it than the  Caribbean islands to the north. 
 
After a long walk to Customs and Immigration,  their “dress code” of long pants and a shirt with sleeves, in addition to this very hot/humid climate, we experienced a new level of perspiration!  
 
The ATM that is within a short walk from the boat yard was robbed, they actually tried to steal the whole machine.   So this meant a taxi adventure  to a Mall for the next closest machine.    Auhhhh……    being in a air-conditioned place for a few hours was such a relief.     
 

After a week of getting up at 0600 to start work on the boat before the sun got to hot, Bella is now ready to be lifted out of the water where she will stay.

Dock at Peake Yachting

    The last hurricane on Trinidad was 1932 and we have all our toes and fingers crossed that this season will continue with the normal weather pattern and another season of avoiding the Caribbean  hurricanes. 

 
More than keeping our fingers crossed we had to order additional straps and a metal cradle to meet the requirments from the insurance company.

Drilling for additional straps

 

Bella in her cradle + 4 straps either side.

We also hired Dwayne Schuffler to look after Bella in our absence. Dwayne has been very good  keeping us informed how Bella is doing. 

Dwayne will look after Bella while on the hard

WINDWARD ISLANDS

In mid January we returned to Sweden and endured the snow and cold, returning to Grenada in March.    We left the boat at the  marina in  Mt. Hartman Bay (Secret Harbor).   As the weather proved to be a bit unusual during the time we were away the boat was very protected from the high winds and major swells.    We were very pleased with Secret Harbor Marina.    The setting of the marina is lovely and serene with a nice restaurant/bar, pool,  and volleyball court . 

Secret Cove Marina

Vegetables market in Secret Cove

It is also a short walk over to Prickly Bay.    We sailed around to Prickly Bay as our Australia friends, Craig and Julie, were returning to their boat and we had a good time with them but sadly waved goodbye as they now are sailing back home.

Lunch with Craig & Julie in Prickly Bay

   

 

We sailed north to Tyrrel Bay Carriacou, which is part of Grenada.   Here we unexpectedly met our Finnish friends, Veikko and Hanna that we first met in Las Palmas.   We  spent the long Easter Weekend.   Carriacou is a very quiet, laid back island with  friendly people and a nice small boat yard where some keep their boats during the hurricane season.     We did some long walks on the island as there are several beautiful beaches.      After clearing out with customs and immigration we departed for the Grenadine Islands.  

Tyrrel Bay

Hurricane hole in the mangroves

Hurricane hole in Tyrrel Bay

Hillsborough

 
A short sail to Canouan, which many sailors avoid because they feel it is unsafe, but we certainly did not feel that.  The bay is big with plenty of room for anchoring.  Good holding.     Clearing in with customs and immigrations  for the Grenadines went fast and smooth and everyone was very friendly.       The village does not offer much for provisions other than fruit and vegetables but Tamarind Beach Hotel has a wonderful Italian deli /shop with many speciality items and a very nice restaurant/bar with yummy stone oven pizza.   Their menu offers several very interesting dishes.    We can highly recommend this and it is definitely worth the stay at this island.
 

Bequia is where we spent 10 days and it was the most social stay we have ever experienced.   We met friends we had not seen since leaving our jobs in Sweden, reconnected with our British friend, Liz and her family,  and made several new friends. 

Bequia waterfront

    There is a sail/canvas shop that is very good so we had some covers made for our dingy and met other sailors while on the beach who were also getting covers. 

Our new dinghy chaps

  Bequia feels very much like the “old Caribbean” and by that I mean although it is a VERY popular place for sailors, the people and the island have not fallen into the big touristic flashy resorts.   They have beautiful quaint resorts, plantation houses, very nice cafes, many good restaurants, good provisioning, arts, boat chandlery and helpful service people.   We had a problem with out outboard propeller and a mechanic  was able to make us a temporary fix that will hold us until we receive a new propeller.    Within only a few days of being there, it felt like home.    A beautiful island and beautiful people.

Sailing is a big sport among the locals in Bequia

Fish market in Bequia

 

 

Tobago Cays offers a group of small uninhabited islands protected from the sea by a large horseshoe reef.     This is the place to snorkel or dive, watch turtles swim by the boat or just sit and enjoy the vivid turquoise color of the water.    Very sad that the coral is not as large and vivid as it was 20+ years ago but still a lot of colourful fish. 

Tobago Cays

Mayflower in Tobago Cays

Party on Mayflower, Roland, Mayelin and Bosse

 

 

Union Island, our last stop in the Windward Islands for this season.   Here is where we are required to clear out of the Grenadines.    We are anchored in Clifton Harbor behind a reef watching the Kitesurfers.    From here we sail direct to Trinidad.

Clifton Harbour

Kite surfing in Clifton

GRENADA “The Spice Island”
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This lush and fertile island is home to approximately 102,000 Grenadians.  Columbus discovered the island on his third trip in 1498 and baptized it Concepcion.    Later the Spanish sailors gave the island the name it has today.

one of many beautiful waterfalls on the island

Jumping off the cliff in to the pool.

    The French arrived in 1650 and bargained for the island with trinkets and alcohol.  Later the Caribs knew they had been cheated and fought back.  The French hung on and by 1651 surrounded the Caribs to a high cliff on the north coast.    The Caribs chose to jump instead of surrender.

The last Caribbean native indians jumped over the hill to escape the French.

   

The island is beautiful and the soil is fertile for agriculture. There are several daily markets in which to buy local produce, locally raised organic chickens and pork. The supermarkets also have local items along with imported goods.   After the devastating hurricane “Ivan” in 2004, they started producing dark Chocolate.

Walking around in chocolate beans all day long.

Chocolate fruit

Vickie enjoying chocolate in St. Georges.

There are several buses (mini vans holding about 12-15 people running all through the day. You can wave to them along the street and they will stop for you anywhere, plus the designated bus stops. Along with the driver, each van has a spotter so he can look for people on side streets who may need a ride. Very inexpensive (2.50 ECD) good service and fun to ride  them with the music playing.

Local bus transport

For us, what makes this island very special is the people. Extremely friendly and helpful which one does not always find in a touristy area. Money fell out of Roland pocket twice and both times a person saw it happen and ran after him to give it back. One woman looked for him 20 minutes in the grocery store to return his wallet. As can be the case with other caribbean islands, we have never felt unease or nervous here. It is understandable why so many cruisers return to Grenada again and again.

Roland & Joseph who did find my 100 USD bill.

There is a good cruiser net on VHF 66 every morning full of information on events, special market buses from different anchoring coves, boat repairs, etc. People announce their arrival or departure; a fun news source to listen to in the morning while preparing breakfast and a nice contrast instead of  world news.   We spent most time in Prickly Bay and they have daily events and good wi-fi in the restaurant/bar.

Grenada also produces rum and is the second largest exporter of Nutmeg.

Rum distillery. If not 75 % alcohol it is considered a failure.