Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Tobago Cays

The Tobago Cays
12 37.9N 61 21.4W

Paradise! We have just passed a few days in the Tobago Cays, the sun has returned and we were finally at our 3rd attempt able to explore this fabulous spot.

The Cays are a collection of sand islands and a small barrier reef, so the anchorage is sheltered in most conditions. The cays themselves are stunning, the picture postcard Caribbean islands, and as the area is a park the underwater life is superb -clear water, coral and fish life. The small island in the photo is called Petit Tabac and gained fame in the "Pirates Of The Caribbean" movie as the place Jonny Depp is marooned with Keira Knightley - I am sure Pirates sufferred worse fates in reality.

The snorkeling has been superb, there are huge numbers of turtles here and we also saw several nurse sharks slumbering the days away - we have uploaded some photos on the album for you to see.

We are meeting friends in Antigua for Christmas so we will up anchor and head north reasonably quickly, we hope to spend next hurricane season here rather than in Trinidad so the remaining dive and snorkel sites will have to wait.
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Monday, November 24, 2008

Josette Comes To Visit

Bequia, Grenadines
13 00.6N 61 14.6W

Just spent a great week with Josette in the Grenadines despite some truy dreadful wet rainy weather. Poor Josette's week in the tropics to excape Montreal winter had 6 days of rain and wind, plus a northerly ground swell making some of the anchorages untenable.

The Grenadines cover an area about 25 miles long by 10 wide and have lots of great anchorages, clear water and sandy palm strewn beaches. It's very similar to where we were in the Bahamas last year and quite different from the rest of the Antilles.

Despite the bad weather we managed to get plenty of snorkelling in and a few rum cocktails, even if the cards also got more of a work out than normal.

The forecast is for better weather next week so we will head to the Tobago Cays before moving north.
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Saturday, November 15, 2008

A Dingo Ate My Baby!

The Grenadines
12 46.5N 61 21.4W

After something of a fishing drought we were getting desperate so we tried a new trick having been told that spraying WD40 onto the lure attracts fish as it is made from fish oil – old wives tale we thought but it seems to have worked! We were delighted to hear the reel squeal shortly after and know we had a decent fish at last.

The next surprise was that after the initial run we had an easy fight to get it on board despite sailing at good speeds. Then we found out why, shark attack! The back half of the poor thing was gone so it wasn’t able to swim too well. Despite losing a big chunk of the fish we still got a lot of meals out of it and hopefully more to come now we have found yet another use for WD40.
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Friday, November 14, 2008

Tim's 40th & Carriacou

Sandy Island, Carriacou
12 28.9N 61 29.1W

So sadly I finally hit 40 years old, the good news is that I did it in the perfect tropical setting and that while so many of my great friends weren't there, I did have enough to share several beers and a lot of laughter.

Sandy Island is about as near to tropical perfection as you can get, nothing but sand, clear water and palm trees with some great snorkeling and diving all around.
We celebrated my birthday with a beach barbecue on the island, Linda made a fabulous cake for me, and we sat round the fire having a drink or two and reflecting on a life well lived to date.

We stayed here for nearly a week taking full advantage of the superb calm weather, after a lovely sail up from Grenada. We finally got our dive gear wet again and best of all didn't have to fix anything for a few days.

Sadly that all changed when we went to Clifton to clear customs for St Vincent, as we dropped the anchor among coral reefs in a tight spot and 2o knots of wind, the gear box packed up, or more accurately reverse did! We managed to get the anchor down and after investigations discovered that the 6" long metal dip stick that is supposed to be welded to the inside of the oil cap is no longer there ie it has fallen into the depths of the gear box! Getting it out involves dismantling half the boat and removing the engine so we decided to manage with sails and no reverse for a week or two. However a vigorous sail seems to have dropped the offending metal into the sump and the gears now work as before - sadly we still need to get it out we think as a long term fix!

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Saturday, November 1, 2008

Repairs Again!

Clarks Court Bay, Grenada
12 00.5N 61 44.1W

A frustrating and expensive week!

First thing Monday our outboard starter locked up and after a bit of an investigation I decided it was beyond me (well actually after the loud boing and bits of spring flew out of it), so off to the Yamaha dealer to get that fixed. Then the water maker pump began leaking, so order a new part freighted in from the USA, strip the pump down and rebuild it. Next the generator water pump gave up, replace that and then during a routine trip up the mast I find the real credit cruncher!

When we were in Trinidad we had a horrendous day of rolling in the marina and our rig had hit another one a few times (this is a video taken that day at the marina opposite the one we were in, we had even less shelter than these boats it was absolute hell!

I finally went up the rig to check the damage expecting to find none. Instead the main cap shroud had a nice gouge out of it and required replacing (not bad damage but not what I want to trust to hold up our 68' mast in a blow). So yesterday it was back up the mast, remove the stay, take it to the riggers to get a replacement made and then up the mast again to reinstall it. Typically the anchorage got rolly for the first time in a week while I was up the rig, so a few bruises and aches today - BUT a nice new shiny stay and a lovely big credit card bill!
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