Thursday, February 15, 2018

Grenadines to St Lucia

It’s been a while since I have posted but not a lot has happened.  It has been windy, very windy.  We are having what Chris Parker, our weather expert, considers an unusual weather pattern.  Basically a number of things are happening causing the prevailing winds to be from the northeast and blowing consistently in the 20’s and into the 30’s at times.  This means we just find a good harbor and hunker down.

We left Bequai hoping for a less crowded harbor at the island of Mayreau.  We ended up staying there four days while the wind blew.  We did make it ashore a couple of times but it is a small island and doesn’t take too long to see it all.  The winds were supposed to drop for a couple of days and we were rolling side to side almost constantly so we moved to the other side of the island and anchored in what is called the Tobago Cays which is part of a National Park.  It is a group of small islands with a reef protecting them from the ocean swell.  We were not the only ones that thought this was a good idea; there were a lot of boats there.  We chose our spot to anchor and settled in.  There were a number of boat coming and going on a regular basis, everything from small boats in the 30 foot range up to several mega yachts.  We were down by a section favored by wind surfers so we had several groups on day charters that would come out, anchor by us, spend the day windsurfing then go back to wherever they were staying and another group arriving the next morning.  My hip was still not feeling well so I stayed on the boat watching the neighbors and reading while Cori took the kayak to shore to see what there was to see: iguanas and a hike up to an overlook for a great view.  We had paid for two nights so we tried to take advantage of a weather window to move further north.  We stopped at Union Island to check out with Immigration and Customs then motored back to the anchorage in Mayreau to get in the lee of the island and raise the sails.  We choose to use just the main with two reefs and a full headsail.  This reduced the amount of sail we had up to compensate for the winds in the low 20’s.  We set a course pointing as close to the direction of the wind we could and set sail for an overnight trip.  The super-moon had been full two nights before so we had a very bright moon to keep us company, along with several cruise ships and various other maritime traffic.  What I did not notice was that the winds were shifting slightly and the current was pushing us more to the northwest.  In the morning were off of the island of St Lucia but were about 30 miles offshore.  We tacked and as we started to get into the lee of the island our speed was dropping.  We choose not to enter a harbor at night so it was time to fire up the motor and motor in.  The engine ran perfectly, we may have solved the problem.  After about five hours of motoring we entered Marigot Bay.  There is an anchorage area as you come in and then an opening that lets you into the inner harbor.  The inner harbor is filled with mooring balls, a marina and a resort along with a number of small bars and restaurants.  We choose to take a mooring from the marina- $30 US per day – and settled in for our first night without rocking and rolling.  It was bliss.  We booked for two nights but since the winds were still howling out in the anchorage we decided to stay several more.  The fact that we also had limited privileges at the resort didn’t hurt either.  We spent several days hanging out at their pool.  Our next problem was that along with the winds we got several short rain squalls each day.  This limited how much the solar panels were able to put out and the protection from the wind canceled out our new wind generator.  The boats were so close together that I didn’t want to ruin someone’s vacation by running my generator in the cockpit so our batteries were very low.  It was time to move out to the anchorage.  We have friends, Phillip and Theresa on Sea-Ya that were out in the anchorage so we moved out and anchored by them.  We had met them when we were in the Bahamas.  Now we were able to run the generator and make water without bothering any one.  On a side note we were able to watch the Superbowl at a close-by bar/restaurant called Doolittle’s.  It is named after the movie Dr. Doolittle that was filmed at the beach next to it.

We have been hanging out here in the anchorage while the wind blows.  We had several days of rain, more than just squalls and Cori was able to collect a half a tank of water with her rain-catcher.  The wind still has not let up.  One of the boats decided to make a run up to Rodney Bay which is about seven miles up the coast where the majority of the cruisers were waiting out the weather and after about four miles he turned back saying it was the worst conditions he had ever been in.  So we wait.  It isn’t as bad as it sounds, we are still able to go ashore, usually in the morning before the wind kicks up and we are getting to know most of the boat boys that come around selling fruit or whatever they have to sell.

The winds are forecast to drop in the next couple of days but then fire up again for another week.  We need to make the decision whether to stay put or move up to Rodney Bay and join the others.  There are advantages either way.

That’s it for now, as I said, not much has happened.