Wednesday, October 27, 2010


We expected to sail up to Union on Momday but it was Independence Day for Grenada and a public holiday so we knew that checking out was going to be a problem.

So we had a lazy Monday and sailed around to Hillsborough, checked out and made the short hop up to Union Island on Tuesday. Enroute we checked the cruising guide and found out that Independence day for Union Island and the rest of the Grenadines was Wednesday. So we rushed around checking in and doing some shopping before everything shut down when we got here.

I went to collect some mail I have been waiting on only to find the mail handling operation I was relying on and had contacted in advance has gone on

BLOODY HOLIDAY Arghhhhhhhhhhhh.

Gisela says she likes it here as it is much cleaner and neater than Carriacou. Also we were mosquito free and have not been bothered by no-seeums for the last two nights.

However she did wonder how this German petrol pump made it here.

Exploring today we came across this shark pool which gives visitors a chance of dining sourrounded by sharks. The hotel does not mention that they are nurse sharks who might give you a nasty suck at worse.

We also dinghied around the anchorage

and saw a reminder of the need to be cautious about accepting the offers of moorings even at reduced rates.

This little island with its wind generator, solar panels, TV and Wifi aerials is one mans dream. He built it on the reef that protects Clifton harbour where we are anchored, mostly out of conch shells which were lying in untidy heaps on the beaches next to boat landings and other recycled materials.

We are off to Petit Martinique to stock up on wine tomorrow and will explore this little island which is supposed to be free of tourism, well at least cruise ship tourism.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Snorkeling and exploring the mangroves

It was good to get back in the water and to snorkel over a couple of the wrecks in Tyrrel Bay.

We also went and had a look in the mangroves where we came across a couple of decaying dreams, one beyond hope and one = well it might just be resurrected.

There was also a couple that had been derelict for so long they had trees growing from their decks.

We are off to Union Island tomorrow and then Mayreau, Tobago Cays and on to Bequia. It is unlikely that we will find a wifi connection until we get to Bequia next weekend.

Saturday, October 23, 2010














The pilot guide written by Chris Doyle describes Tyrrel Bay Boatyard as an “Excellent small boatyard”.

Well they got us hauled out and splashed back in safely and the yard workers were very helpful and we did get everything done but the toilets were unuseable, there was only one shower to serve the yard and it did not have either a light or a lock. Neither of us even went into the loos they were so disgusting.

Where they parked our boat for us to work on had been used as midden by the local goat population so the ant population was mega. When we arrived the ants who had been eating goat poo for months suddenly got a taste for seafood and all the other food goodies we had onboard. On the second morning we got up to find a crazy ants everywhere on the boat. They were using the tube from the centreboard trunk to get up on deck, their own version of a stairway to heaven, then had found their way to the companionway and down below.

The tanker driver who makes the water deliveries was refusing to go near the water tanks due to their dangerous state so water was rationed until danger money was negotiated.

We had thought that we would eat in the yacht club next door but the cook was on holiday and the replacement cook couldn't cook.

However the view was still pretty good as was the ice cream !

The crazy French single hander parked behind us started dry sanding his [poisonous] antifouling and we got covered in his dust.

Gisela and I got close to having official sense of humour failures at this point.
But conditions were so awful and as maintenance was strictly CATASTROPHE ONLY that every one who worked there was used to helping people out.

One night we finished late and Gisela had had her shower while I guarded the door then as she went to walk back in the dark only to find an anonymous torch bearer lighting her way back to Elephants Child and the ladder which was our own stairway to heaven – well mosquito netting covered hatches and good fans made it heaven compared to the alternative.

However we enjoyed our mad Frenchman singing songs to his boat as he worked.

We enjoyed watching the local boat, an island trader built on the beach in Petit St Vincent 14 years ago, having some rot dealt with and when they found it to be worse than they thought they just dug it out and ordered some more planks. They just got on with it.

We enjoyed watching Alwyn Enoe and his sons working on Genesis the Carriacou Sloop which has lead the revival in building and racing these decked sailing boats. They lengthened the stern and repaired the rudder. Watching Alwyn use an axe to shape a plank to fit the damaged rudder was an education.

We enjoyed watching the roosters squabbling away and chasing their hens, one of whom a sprightly white young lady had made her escape under something painted a vivid blue as the tips of her tail feathers were a vivid blue

But we really enjoyed watching our hard work slip back into the water, filling our water tanks and being able to get back out to anchor in the bay with a sight of the sunset.

We still have ants to deal with but compared to the rest “pah and double pah!”

OH YES About that rooster?

Anyone seen a rooster??

Chicken soup or Coq au Vin Hmmm both should taste good.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Boat yard boat yard I see no boat yard.

Well we are out and on the hard. The haulout was carried out smoothly and although I was provided them with pictures of the underwater hull layout I was reassured to see the lift driver go into the water t check that the slings were safely positioned.

However it is always a high anxiety moment when you see your home suspended on high.

I was glad to see that they had got around to changing the tyres on the boat lift, I paid a visit to suss out the yard earlier and the tyres were in tatters and shreds, ready to blow out.

We have a crazy Frenchman just behind us and he spent the afternoon dry sanding his [ poisonous ] antifouling without a mask. It is little wonder he was coughing his guts out waiting for the shower this evening.

We have water on the boat and have elected to use the boat toilet and holding tank, even I would draw the line at the yard toilets which are truly disgusting! But the yard shower is useable and as Gisela says it is nice not to have to worry about the water.

We had hoped to top up our tanks on leaving but the holder for the tanks is so rusted that it is collapsing and the water tanker driver is refusing to go near them never mind climb and put the hose in.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Well we are supposed to get hauled tomorrow for our bottom job but who knows, it is the Caribbean.

So before we get busy in the boatyard we took a little sail to find some clean water and a quiet corner to enjoy some beach time.

If you ever wanted a picture postcard strip of sand this is it. Just around the corner from Tyrrel Bay and now in a protected marine park Sandy Island is a little cay that comes and goes with the big swells generated by close Caribbean hurricane. At the moment it is there but the outer edge is a line of coral fragments thrown up by hurricane Lenny.

We sailed around and anchored just outside the park, partially as a protest against the introduction of compulsory mooring buoys but also because I am a cheapskate.

Soon we were walking the beach

taking nothing but pictures

leaving nothing but footprints

killing nothing but time

A snorkel over the reef was next and we did a drift job holding on to the dinghy as the current was strong.

I guess this tree on the next uninhabited island shows which way the wind blows in this corner of paradise. After a great day out we sailed back to Tyrrel bay and dropped the hook in time to enjoy a splendid sunset.

We can not help but feel a little smug as we sit in the warmth of a Caribbean evening on the nearly free wifi and read of the artic plunge that is bringing the possibility of near zero temps and perhaps even snow to the UK and Germany.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


We set off today to visit Hillsborough the capital city of Carriacou. I needed to get an extension to both the boat and my own papers. We also wanted to visit the village of Windward.

As early as 1830's the landowners on Carriacou were upset about the ever rising cost of getting their goods to market, in particular to Grenada. So they they decided to just build their own boats and brought in ship wrights from Scotland to teach them how to do this on the beach at the village of Windward..

This started a tradition of boat building on Carriacou that continues to this day. It also explains the preponderance of  McLawrence's, McFarlane, McIntosh's and other Scottish names in the village of Windward because as many a lass now knows the Scots are a lusty lot!

From 1830-1970 more boats were built on Carriacou than any of the other islands of the Lesser Antilles.

But when I was out cruising here in the 1990s the traditions of building on the beach with simple hand tools was just about dead although I was lucky enough to meet and watch the last master shipwright to build on the beach in Tyrrel Bay and took part in that amazing jamboree that is a Carriacou launch party.

But in 2003 Alexis Andrews commissioned Alwyn Enoe and his sons to build him a new Carriacou Sloop in Windward. For 18 months, they laboured on the vessel working on the beach, just as it had always been done and just like this one which we photographed today which is waiting for Alwyn to return and start planking or “boarding her up” as they say in Carriacou.

In March, 2005 Genesis was launched; the first beach built Carriacou sloop for more than 10 years.

Why am I rabbiting on about this, well I am in love the romance of the old working boats built with simple tools and sailed by those who wrested a living from or on the sea. Here in the West Indies locally built boats are still carrying freight mostly with engines nowadays but the tradition of building fast sail boats is alive and well, not to outrun the 'revenooers' any more but to beat the competition and earn the glory of being first past the post.

In Antigua in April we saw many of the Island boats being raced and in the Carriacou regatta this summer I saw just how far they would go to win. One boat was having its engine and propshaft removed and the hole faired over just for the race. Another was having a giant bowsprit fitted to carry a huge spinnaker borrowed from a passing cruising sailboat.

Genesis lost to Glacier and the owner was not too happy. So what controls boat speed? Well waterline length matters so what do you do.
In Carriacou you just add more waterline. Gisela and I were in the Tyrrel Bay boatyard checking that we can finally get a haulout date when we saw that Genesis was there on the hard, having it's stern extended and I was able to talk to Alwyn Enoe
about the traditions of boatbuilding in Carriacou and how his sons are learning the boatbuilding skills but today the tools are not just an axe and an adze anymore but a chainsaw is useful as well as some big disc sanders to speed thing along. Epoxy is being used to finish the seams not tar and I am sure carbon fibre will be on the agenda soon.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Grenada to Carriacou

This can be a bit of a miserable trip, Often you need to motor up the west side of Grenada and then across the top past this perfect volacanic cone, to get some Easting before setting off on a hard beat up past Kick em Jenny and Diamond Rock where the waves are just the right pitch to stop your forward progress and knock you to leeward. You finished up well downwind of Tyrell bay due to the westerly current which can be up to 3 knots and either needed an hour or two of tacking upwind or many would just turn on the iron topsail and bash upwind taking an hour or so to make harbor.

We had waited for a favorable wind but I was still expecting to motor sail most of the way. However we had a great sail up the west coast of Grenada only needing the engine for fifteen minutes or so at the top end as I had got to close to shore and we were back winded. Then the current setting us to the West was not to bad and the wind was so far south that we were beam reaching most of the time so Elephants Child was flying .

I had a reef in and some of the genny rolled away but we were still making 8 to 9 knots over the ground seemingly effortlessly.

We made Tyrell bay in a single easy tack and were anchored and swimming by 3 pm.

We hope to get the boat hauled out here for a quick bottom job. The yard is liveaboard friendly but is running behind schedule as they have some wooden boats who need dry conditions before they can put a brush to boat.


Before we left Grenada my 'satiable curiosity got the better of me and we dinked across to our neighbour who is cruising on an old wooden boat with a US flag at the stern. However the design of the stern was unusual and that coupled with the line of the bow made me wonder if it was an old British working boat, a Morecambe Bay prawner. We talked to Matt and Sue with many interjections from their very talkative dog and yes it was indeed a British boat and very probably a working Morecambe Bay prawner built around a 100+ years ago. Built originally without an engine it now has a wing unit and a cruising interior. They acquired her for a song or so 20 years ago knowing nothing of her history then and have sailed her ever since.