Sunday, June 29, 2008

Cricket & Chilling In Grenada

Prickly Bay, Grenada
12 00.0N 61 44.6W

We have spent a great 10 days in Grenada - another fabulous sail beam reaching at speed to get here, and then a lovely anchorage to stay in once arrived.

Grenada is wonderful, the people perhaps the friendliest yet. and St Georges the capital full of interesting life to watch go by. If we stay with the boat we have all the marine facilities we need, or we can get a $1 bus into town and go to the markets for fresh fish, meat and vegetables. Further inland we have superb hiking in the rain forest, or if we want a day on the beach we can have that too.

We did a fabulous walk up in the hills a few days ago, hiking through an old plantation and rainforest to some falls, where after yet more walking and scrambling we were able to dip in for a cooling swim.

We have also had a great day out at the one day cricket - the cricket itself was tedious but our fellow fans in the Posse Stand danced, sang and drummed the day away and more than made up for it! It was the cliched West Indies crowd in all its glory and we (yes we!) are looking forward to the England tour next year.

We are off to Trinidad overnight tonight where we will be spending hurricane season.
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Monday, June 16, 2008

Laying Back In Bequia

Bequia, Grenadines
13 00.1N 61 14.6W

Our migration south continues and with hurricane season fast approaching we have been going at quite a pace, and we are now in our 4th country of June!

All this sailing is quite tiring though and one has to rest from time to time, and there are few places better for that than Bequia, as this local fisherman clearly demonstrates.

As we will be coming back to visit these islands next year we have carefully chosen which paradises to enjoy on the way. We sailed straight past the main island of St Vincent without stopping. There have been several recent "pirate" attacks in Chateaubelair, an otherwise perfect anchorage located mid island with access to all the best walks on the island, so we decided to let the authorities settle the crisis before visiting.

Bequia is the northernmost and largest island of the Grenadines, and has everything to offer - a safe and calm anchorage, clear turquoise water to swim in, a beautiful beach, a colourful fruit & veg market tended by cool Rastafarian dudes, a pub showing Euro 2008 football, WIFI on the boat, what else does a cruiser need?

Not sure where the week went but Tim's guitar playing is getting better and Linda has added a few local fruit/vegetables to her favorite recipes so it was not all sunshine, swimming and sundowners!

Next stop Grenada, the islands of spices.
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Monday, June 9, 2008

The Pitons, St Lucia

The Pitons, St Lucia
13 51.3N 61 04.0W

Another excellent sail sees us on our way from Martinique to St Lucia. We have a last trip ashore in the morning to stock up on pain chocolat and baguettes as we are leaving the French West Indies now and won't be back for 6 months or so. Part of us is excited at real local cuisine, and quite a lot of us isn't!

The sail is perfect, one of the problems we have encountered so far sailing in the Caribbean is that the passages between islands are fast and great sailing but as soon as you get behind the islands, you lose the wind because of the huge mountain ranges, and have to motor to the anchorage. For no reason that I can see this didn't happen with St Lucia and we manage to sail right down to the anchorage at the Pitons.

As we sail in the view is truly spectacular, and in combination with great sailing on flat water gives us one of those wow moments.We pick up a mooring right under the cliffs and perilously close to a coral reef, that makes for great snorkeling but a nervous nights sleep.

Sadly the need to get south means we will miss St Lucia this season, and carry straight on through to the Grenadines tomorrow, but barring a St Pierre style volcanic event it should be here next year!
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Sunday, June 8, 2008

HMS Diamond Rock

South Coast Of Martinique
14 27.0N 61 02.7W

Strange lumps of rock in the Caribbean part 2!

Following on from Redonda here's Diamond Rock, a British Naval War Ship. Paraphrased Wikipedia entry below.

In 1804 Commodore Sir Samuel Hood, aboard HMS Centaur and aided by calm weather, was able to run lines ashore and hoist five cannons to the summit of the Rock. Fortifications were hastily built, and the position supplied with food and water for a garrison of twenty men under the command of Lieutenant Maurice, Hood's 1st lieutenant. The Royal Navy garrisoned island was officially commissioned as a Man-of-war HMS The Fort Diamond.

For 17 months the newly commissioned ship harassed the French fleet on it's way to and from Fort De France, and then on his voyage to Martinique in 1805, Admiral Villeneuve was ordered by Napoleon to recapture Diamond Rock. A French-Spanish combined naval force of sixteen ships attacked the garrison on Diamond Rock. The garrison's stone water cistern had cracked, due to an earth tremor, so they were without water and short of food. After a fierce bombardment, they surrendered to the superior force on June 3rd, 1805.

A more romantic version is that the French floated barrels of rum ashore and then captured the rock from the drunk garrison!
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Sunday, June 1, 2008


Sainte Pierre, Martinique
14 44.5N 61 10.7W

As you can see from the photo we are anchored under a stunning volcano off a quaint little town of about 5,000 inhabitants. After exploring ashore we found out the incredible story of this place and the 1902 eruption of Mt Pelee the volcano.

On 7th May 1902 St Pierre was a city of 30,000 inhabitants, with a cathedral, an 800 seat theatre, wide boulevards etc etc. It was the largest city in the French West Indies and known as the Paris Of The Caribbean.

By 8am on the 8th of May, all but one person was dead and the town completely destroyed, after the side of Mt Pelee exploded and a cloud of superheated toxic gas swept over the town with a force equivalent to 40 Hiroshima bombs.

The only survivor was a prisoner in solitary confinement at the town gaol, which is sighted under a cliff and one of the few buildings not completely destroyed. He was found 4 days later by rescuers and later toured with PT Barnum as a sideshow displaying his burns.

The town museum has a few artifacts from the explosion, most notably the molten and bent remains of the cathedral bell, the harbour has the wrecks of about 20 ships that were in harbour on the day of the explosion, and a few stairways and the foundations of the theatre remain in town - that's it, everything else vanished.

If you want to see a photo of the town post explosion take a look at
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