31 August 2011

Mustique to Grenada: 30/08/11 – 02/09/11

We still have the car for a few hours so Terry and Alice go out early to explore further.  As soon as they are back, we let go of the mooring ball and leave for Mayreau again.

Having managed to buy some salad stuff and frozen ham (yes, frozen!) we have lunch at sea, arriving once again into Saline Bay in the middle of the afternoon and while Ann decides to stay on board the rest of us go ashore.  It’s a whole lot quieter than when most of the WARC fleet were here back in April!

 P1090082 Photo:  From the dock, Saline Bay, Mayreau

P1090083 Photo:  From halfway up the hill, the view of Saline Bay

Of course, the bloody hill up to the village is just as steep as it was the last time we were here and half way up Terry and I stop to admire the view and catch our breath (only not in that order) while Alice and Mike stride on ahead.

We stop at Righteous and de Youths, the bar owned by Robert Righteous, a character if ever there was one.  He is an engaging man, worldly in his outlook and proud of his island.  Although not educated in a scholarly way, he says his education comes from his clientele although they didn’t teach him much in the way of maths as we find out when we get our bill.

P1090085 Photo:  Righteous and de Youths bar and restaurant

Today he is very jolly.  Whether it’s the rum or the sweetly scented cigarettes around that are the cause is probably irrelevant.  He decides that Alice and I will accompany him musically (and error of judgement on his part I have to say).  He hands Alice a drum which she immediately hands to me.  He is not to be thwarted though, and another one comes out of the back room and is thrust at her.  We play a few … um … tunes … and he is kind enough to not laugh.

P1090090 Photo:  Jamming – of a fashion!

Alice and I excuse ourselves and walk the rest of the way up the hill to the church.  Already the light is fading and the reefs around the Tobago Cays are losing their colour.  A dog joins us and accompanies us back down the hill, much to Alice’s discomfort.

P1090086 Photo:  Alice and I find a friend

The sun is rapidly setting as we get back into the dinghy.  We have no torch and Ann hasn’t managed to switch the outside lights on but as there are only three yachts in the anchorage, we manage to find our way back without mishap.

P1090092 Photo:  Mike and Terry stroll along the dock to the dinghy

On Wednesday we motor over to Union Island and anchor in front of Happy Island.  Mike goes ashore to check us out for tomorrow (God this is getting monotonous now) and Ann and I have a wander around.  Low season means that many of the restaurants and shops are shut but we find that Bougainvilla is open for business and after having a rather nice cocktail there, we book a table for the evening.

 P1090099 Photo:  Happy Island, Clifton Harbour, Union Island

P1090102 P1090100 Photos:  The shark pool in front of the Anchorage Yacht Club … and its inhabitants

We have a lovely meal in the evening and even manage to fit in the Gavin and Stacy Christmas Special.

The next day, having checked out of the Grenadines, we now have to check into Grenadian territory by going to Carriacou.  Once the boring bit is done, we have a great sail down to Grenada.  The sea is smooth but the wind just right and we romp along at 8 knots.  Of course all good things must come to an end and almost as soon as we are in the lee of Grenada, the wind dies and we end up motoring.

P1090115 Photo:  A laden freighter leaves St George’s as we arrive

We put down the anchor and stay overnight in the anchorage outside St Georges.  I have heard from Jutta and she and Jochem, and of course, Chessie, their boat, are in Port Louis marina having work done and we arrange to see them tomorrow morning.

Terry gets the second part of his haircut and despite his protestations, I finally deal with his eyebrows.  This causes Ann to have to sweep the decks although she is happy to do this in exchange for the ending of the owl-like expression that Terry’s brows have been creating.  The jury is out over the growing of some of his other face fuzz – Ann likes it and the rest of us vary in opinion from it being OK to … dickhead!

On Friday morning we go over to Chessie.  Poor Jutta and Jochem are in the midst of a whole list of work and I count five workmen all busily at work on the outside and down below.  We stop for a ‘little drink’ of course!

P1090117 Photo:  Terry, Jutta, Ann and Jochem aboard Chessie

We take the dinghy over to the supermarket and Mike stays on the dock with it, along with Joshua, a little local lad with a nice line in patter.  Making no pretence of ‘looking after the dinghy, mister’, he just asks Mike for money.  Mike says his wife has it all.  So he waits for us to come back and tells Ann that he lives alone and has no parents following it up with a request to go and live with her.  Even though we know we shouldn’t, we give him a couple of dollars and as our dinghy pulls away from the dock, we see him scampering across the main road to spend it in the shop.

It’s a much nicer day than when we left St George’s, so we take a ride around the Carenage again.

P1090121 Photo:  Ann and Mike

P1090122 Photo:  The Carenage, St George’s

We pull the anchor up and head around the south side of the island to Clarkes Court Bay where we will spend the last night of the Roses’ holiday at the marina.

All week it has been so humid it has been almost unbearable.  We have been lucky in that the only rain, apart from a few showers, has been at night.  In the marina, it’s only mid afternoon, but attached to shore power, we have the air conditioning on full blast while they pack.

We have arranged for Rock, the taxi driver from the beginning of the week, to pick us up and take us to the restaurant he owns and runs with his wife, Joan, called the Little Dipper.  Although it is only a relatively short ride across the bay in the dinghy, you never know what the weather can whip up at short notice, and by going in a taxi, it means that Mike can have a drink.

By the time we arrive, the sun is almost set, but there is still a lovely view over the bay.

P1090128 Photo:  View from the Little Dipper

While Ann orders chicken, the rest of us order the local lobster – and it is delicious.  It is served with local vegetables and we have fried breadfruit with Joan’s special spicy sauce to start.  Yum.  It’s really good value too and I thoroughly recommend anyone visit.  I know Mike and I will go again.

P1090133 Photo:  Terry and Alice

P1090138 Photo:  Mike and I

There’s a bit of a flap at the end when we realise that the restaurant doesn’t take plastic but Terry manages to cobble enough together to pay for the meal.  He’ll have to go to an ATM for the money for the taxi but as Rock is picking them up at 5 am tomorrow to take them to the airport, this is no problem.

There’s no real time to watch the last three episodes of the final series of Gavin and Stacey but Terry is placated by Mike putting it on a hard disk for him.  Given that they have 7 hours to waste at New York, this might just come in handy!!!

29 August 2011

A Day in Mustique: 29/08/11

Ann and Terry go with Mike early in the morning to shore; Ann to buy croissants and Mike and Terry to arrange a hire car.  Like most people, we hire a mule, basically a large golf cart.

We all pile into the dinghy, once again forgetting the sensible order of things and letting Terry get in last.  Already being in the dinghy when he descends can be dangerous as it shoots 3 feet up in the air.  One day, if we forget to cling on as he gets in, we will be catapulted into the sea!

Unfortunately the ‘car’ hire people had forgotten to tell us that they have to take the driver to the airport to get the car and complete the transaction so we wait at Basil’s bar for Terry to come back.  Mike wants a Mustique t-shirt but unfortunately the selection in Basil’s has gone downhill somewhat in my opinion since we were last here and they now look like they have been designed by children.  Yuk!

P1090029 Photo:  The back end of Basil’s Bar

P1090034 Photo:  Mike and I on the prettier side of Basil’s Bar

P1090037 Photo:  Alice on Britannia Bay beach

Eventually we are sorted and start our drive around the island.  Mustique is completely different to the rest of the Caribbean islands.  It is owned by the Mustique Company, which in turn is owned by the island's home owners.  The island has approximately 100 private villas, many of which are rented out through the Mustique Company.  It is beautifully tended and the whole island has almost a surreal feel about it.  Behind high hedges, fences and down long drives, hide sumptuous villas, although some are open to the lovely beaches (none of which are private).  I have never seen so much proper grass in the Caribbean.  Well, when I say proper, if you walk on it, it has the feel of astroturf – a thick, glossy and definitely ‘unreal’ feel to it, but real it is.

P1090046 Photo:  Our mule taking a rest with green grass verges

P1090048 Photo:  Ann gazes across to houses owned by Bryan Adams and Mick Jagger

2011-08-29IMG_0978-crop Photo:  Ooh look … another coconut - amazing

P1090060 Photo:  One of the ‘main’ roads – complete with speed bumps

We have a map which leaves a lot to be desired but we manage to find our way to Firefly, the restaurant we have visited before, only to find that it is shut until October.  That will probably save us some money!

There are more tortoises walking along the road than people, and we make frequent stops to move them into the vegetation at the side and remove them from the water culverts that side most of the steeper roads.  We find one poor tortoise with his nose stuck against the concrete side of the culvert, not sure which way to try to go.

P1090039 P1090073 Photos:  Operation ‘anti road kill’

After a drink at Basil’s and lunch back on the boat, Alice and Mike decide they have seen enough of Mustique and opt for sleeping and reading.  Terry, Ann and I go back for seconds though, and explore the wilder side on the Atlantic coast.  Having spotted this deserted beach from high up on the hillside, we eventually manage to find our way down to it (despite the crap map).  I am sure that normally it is even more beautiful but there is that bloody weed everywhere, stinking he place up, the same weed that has been washed up on seemingly every beach up and down the Caribbean.  The sand down near the waterline is like quicksand and we sink almost to mid calf before going back a few feet to make sure we don’t sink any further.  It’s weird stuff!  There are signs along the beach warning not to swim.  Looking at the turbulence in the water, there must be some very strong currents here – I’m certainly not tempted!

P1090075 P1090079 Photos:  A walk on the wild side – Macaroni Bay

We enjoy our tour although we probably have seen more than we should have, having gone down countless drives which do not say ‘private’ and ending up at some staggeringly beautiful homes before having to turn around and make our way back.

P1090064 Photo:  The southern end of Britannia Bay

Terry treats us to ice cream from Ali’s Cafe, where we are served by the surliest person we have met in the Grenadines.  Service is not given with a smile, and after giving us our ice creams, she stomps off down the street, leaving the next customers waiting at the cafe.  She does return, serves them just as miserably as she did us then stomps off again.  The third set of customers don’t bother waiting.  I don’t blame them (although the ice cream is worth waiting for!).

2011-08-29IMG_1016 Photo:  Picturesque boutiques on Mustique

Back at Basil’s Bar, we wait for Mike to pick us up in the dinghy.  This takes a while as Mike and I have a communication problem between the handheld VHF and the one on the boat.

2011-08-29IMG_1024 Photo:  “Come in, Skiplah …”

The evening passes in the customary way although Terry does get his haircut part 1 – part 2 and the eyebrows will have to wait for another day!

The Tobago Cays to Mustique: 28/08/11

We get up early and motor over to Petit Tabac, the location for the scene from Pirates of the Caribbean where Johnny Depp is marooned by his crew and Keira Knightly blows up his stash of rum.

Again, alone on this island, we wander around.  It is idyllic.  Truly beautiful.

P1080986 P1080982 P1080983 P1080996 P1090001 P1090009 P1090014 Photos:  Petit Tabac in all its morning glory

P1090011 Photo:  Terry discovers the delights of exfoliating with sand – but exfoliating what?

We watch as other boats arrive in front of the island then disappear as there is only really room for one boat to be anchored – the reef doesn’t allow much room for manoeuvre here.  After a couple of hours though, we leave and make room for others.

We sail the 19 miles to Mustique but unfortunately arrive there when all the mooring staff are at lunch – they normally come out to help you tie up to a mooring ball as they are not the type with a floating ‘eye’ or one that pulls up through the centre of the ball.  I try to hook it with the boat hook and pull the mooring ball up but end up having to let go of the hook (which thankfully stays attached to the ball and floats) so Terry has to jump into the water and wait for us to throw him the lines so that he can thread them through.  He has to pass us the mooring hook back so that we can lean over and take the lines back to the boat while Mike tries his best not to mow him down with Jeannius as from back in the cockpit, he can’t see what’s going on.  Anyway, we successfully tie up without killing Terry and he has just got back on the boat when one of the staff turns up for the EC$200 mooring fee.  This covers 3 nights whether you want them or not so isn’t as excessive as it first seems (unless you do only want to stay the one night of course).

There’s a bit of lounging around, snoozing and reading in the afternoon.  In the distance a squall pass through but leaves us alone.

P1090016 Photo:  A passing squall

P1090017 Photo:  Come on, Mike, that was just one girlie Pina Colada

Dinner on board is followed by more Gavin and Stacy, this now being our usual evening routine, then we are rocked gently to sleep in an anchorage that can be unbelievably rolly, but tonight is behaving itself.

P1090021 Photo:  The sun sets behind a series of squall crossing the horizon

27 August 2011

A day in the Tobago Cays: 27/08/11

We get up disgustingly early and just go around the corner of Mayreau to the Tobago Cays.  Motoring, we are there in about half an hour.  Just as we enter this beautiful cluster of idyllic deserted islands, Mike has a David Kingsley wildlife moment, shouting at us about an enormous turtle he has just seen.  Just as David’s huge ray turned out to be his Hugo Boss towel which had flown off the boat and was moving around on the sea bed, Mike’s turtle turns out to be a load of floating weed with two beer cans attached to it.  Jacques Cousteau must be turning in his grave!

We anchor in the middle of the Cays and immediately get our stuff together so that we can so swimming with the turtles before the crowds appear.  At first we don’t see any and I quickly give up as my mask is leaking and I’m a bit of a wuss.


Photo:  Driftwood (well a tree trunk) on Baradel

Mike, Terry and Alice continue though and are rewarded with lots of sightings.  Ann and I go for a walk up the hill on Baradel.  The last time I was here, Matt made me climb all the way up and over to the other side with me whingeing all the way because my feet hurt.  Again I have no shoes on so I only walk far enough to admire and photograph the views.  And what views they are.  The reefs are clear from my vantage point and they look beautiful.  A band of dark clouds move across the sky and it makes for the most amazing light.  In the distance there are some rain clouds and I watch as a water spout gradually forms, moving across between the islands about a mile away.  It’s incredible although when she sees it, Alice shoots out of the water – I’ve never seen her move so fast!

P1080919 Photo:  Jeannius and the waterspout

P1080929  P1080930 P1080931 Photos:  Views from Baradel

Terry lends me his mask and Alice goes with me back into the water to look for the turtles again.  We see lots and they glide gracefully just a few feet away, aware of our presence but unperturbed by it.  It’s a fantastic experience until a dinghy full of noisy tourists arrive and all the splashing and noise frightens the turtles away.

We take the dinghy over to Petit Bateau and have a walk along the beach.  The sun is now so strong that I wrap my wet t-shirt around my face and shoulders, worried about getting burned.  Again, we are the only people on the beach.

P1080947 P1080951 Photos:  The deserted beach on the island of Petit Bateau

P1080943P1080944 P1080945 Photos:  Proof that I get in the water – and even get my hair wet!

P1080952 Photo:  Uprooted palm tree on this pristine beach

P1080961 Photo:  Ann finds a coconut but it’s obviously too heavy to carry!

2011-08-27IMG_2718 Photo:  Oops … yoga is difficult on a surface that moves!

2011-08-27IMG_2714 Photo:  Ann and I attempting to keep the sun away end up looking like a couple of old crones!

By nightfall, most of the boats have gone again and we have the anchorage almost to ourselves.  We start watching the first series of Gavin and Stacy as Terry hasn’t seen any of them before and after one episode we have another convert.  Terry thinks it’s lush!

We all say ‘goodnight, skiplah’ but Mike is not amused!