Tuesday, 5 April 2016

The Adventure Begins.

With most of the main jobs completed, it was time to head north. Truth be told, we both had itchy feet and were keen to start sailing, although Sarah was rather anxious about the winds, as she still gets very seasick. Her courage must have been in good supply as she suggested that we check out of Grenada in Prickly Bay and head straight for Union in the Grenadines. A longer sail than going via Carriacou. Although, she did put in the codicil that she wanted to anchor in Chatham Bay not the usual Clifton, as she wanted the larger, easier to anchor and more sheltered bay.
At 8am Darrell was waiting for Customs to open, well for the officer to turn up, he did just before 9, so all the formalities could be completed. As we were making the final preparations a yacht tried to anchor next to us but kept dragging, so as we left he took our spot and had solid holding, rather lucky as he was leaving the boat for three months as he headed off to do some work in Canada.
The sail thankfully was straightforward, with no dramas, apart from the lazy Genoa sheet coming undone as we furled her. Darrell needs to brush up on his knot tying! We even managed to get anchored before it got dark, as we averaged over 7 knots. Chatham was busy. Last time we had been in there had been three boats in total, this time, 15 yachts, 3 motor cruisers and a cruise ship, all be it a smaller one that pretends to use sails.
That night the wind picked up and we were veering 120 degrees around the anchor, and there was some re anchoring going on during the evening and early morningamongst the other yachts. Due to the choice of this bay, it meant an early walk over to customs the next day. Luckily, we had the offer of trail guide Alex to show us the way and explain the history of the island. So we set off at a great pace up the side of a steep tree covered hill trying to keep up with our guide. We walked across to the second village on the island, Ashton, where Alex was building his home. He proudly showed us how far he had got and we gave a donation for some more cement so he could continue his labour of love. We then continued to Clifton, the walk took about an hour and a half, and found that Customs had moved from the airport to their proper office on the quayside. So Darrell quickly completed the formalities and Alex sorted out us a bus to get back to Chatham. On the journey, the bus stopped by the local primary school to pick up 12 preschool pupils and their member of staff to return them to the preschool building. Squeezing them in four to a seat and on people's laps, health and safety is slightly different out here! 

Due to the high winds we stayed in Chatham for three nights, chilling, snorkelling and exploring, before we headed out for a night in Tobago Cays. The beauty of which is always a tonic for the soul.
The next day we sailed to Bequia and went to customs to sign out. Much to Darrell's surprise no money was asked for. Last time we cleared out here we had had to pay 56 EC for immigration and 65 EC for customs, but it turns out that they had been for overtime as it had been a weekend. As this was a Friday no money was required. Obviously, Darrell will be better organised so we don't clear out at a weekend, unless it is a French island!
Next morning bright and early we set out on the 72 mile sail north to Rodney Bay, St Lucia. Resisting the temptation of Capella at Marigot Bay much to Sarah's disappointment. No time to stop and watch fishes on this trip! Thankfully, we were anchored and drinking a cuppa by the time the sunset. Next morning we went into the marina as we needed to do a few more jobs and get some more new batteries to replace those for the bow thruster and windlass. Luckily they were in stock and Darrell fitted them without any problems. Strangely, the old batteries disappeared very quickly, in fact Darrell had offers as he was taking them across to be tested, even though one had lost a terminal!

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