Fakarava Atoll- here we are…only two ways in or out

IMG_4879

32 mile atoll is entered “Only” on low or high tide. Narrow North and South passes entered/ exited on nothing less than: tidal, wind and swell information could be hazardous!

Crazy amount of sharks

Stunning island, pristine anchorages and fabulous diving

IMG_4948.JPG

Local cutie

IMG_2442Adrien learning some sewing skills

IMG_2495.JPG

It’s A Small World! Martin ran into an old sailing buddy he knew in Miami; they hadn’t seen each other in 12 years. “French Jerome” and Martin have a lot of history

DCIM100GOPROGOPR3655.JPG

Anchors up headed to Tahiti

 

 

 

blog map

Part I: Getting there
We left Panama on March 23rd after preparing and provisioning Shenemere for the longest passage we will make from North America. As Jimmy Cornell says it really is a “plan for the worst, hope for the best” sort of passage. We were planning for 30-40 days at sea and we happily completed the passage in 31 days. It was a sailing event and we had to work for most of the miles. Goofy variable winds ranging from 1- 25 knots, swells from “pond flat” to 2 meters, close hauled, close reach, beam reach, broad reach and running (we had it all)!
We kept busy working the constantly changing sail configurations. It was a lot of up and down work on deck. We would pole out the jib for a downwind tack only to have to haul the cruising spinnaker out, reef and unreef the main while always trimming the sails. Chafe, is a killer. We had to keep checking and protecting against chafe where the lines would rub.
It was fabulous sailing until we hit the “doldrums” 7 days out from Gambier. We took the opportunity to replenish our fresh water supplies by making water with our Rainmaker and Adrien and Pierre took a few swims while we bobbed around. Normally we would tick over the engine however, we were leaking coolant in the coolant header tank and wanted to conserve what was left of the tank to be able to safely motor into the pass.
Also, we had to keep a vigilant eye out for squalls and for the random fishing boat. As usual it happened at night; we found ourselves surrounded by a group of Asian long-liner fishing boats.

blog fishing boats

A.K.A. Fishing Vessel “Net Hung Lo”

blog Equator PictureOur Equator Crossing Party: Neptune, Pirate, Mermaid and Sailor Celebrate 

blog birds

Air B&B

These birds stayed with us for a few days catching fish in the morning and lazing carefree during the days

I gave them a poor guest rating because they left poop on the deck
blog-speed.jpg

31 days at sea moving, leaning, lurching and pounding sometimes made basic tasks Herculean events

DCIM100GOPROGOPR3370.JPG

Gambier was a sight to beholden!

Part II: Apprehension
As we approach Gambier I wonder how the years will affect my memories this remote atoll Martin and I sailed into 21 years ago on Topaz by way of Easter Island and Pitcairn Island.
1998:
Back in the day it was just the two of us on a 33 ft sailboat. No refrigeration, only paper charts for navigation and just enough money for the Pacific sailing season and to get to New Zealand. Night watches stargazing contemplating our insignificance in the universe and dreaming of the future.
2019:
Now it is us plus my daughter and Pierre our French crew on a 51 ft boat. Refrigeration is great because we can keep the 30 lb. tunas we caught along the way. We have electronic charts but still mull over the paper charts. We still worry about money. Marvel at the enormity of the night sky while reflecting more on the past.

Part III: GAMBIER

blog-mt-duff-3.jpg

Gambier is the stuff that dreams are made of…unique place, with the combination of turquoise waters, healthy reefs, colorful hills and mountains and pretty beaches.

That was day one. And all I can say about the next 7 days is I am so grateful we were in a secure lagoon comfortably on anchor because the weather deteriorated… strong winds and cold rain for a week. Other boats were not so fortunate and got stuck out at sea in 4 meter swells.

blog cyclone

It was a rough couple of days as a low pressure system went past

blog-cyclone-4.jpg

Pierre and Adrien staying positive

In 1998 Gambier had just opened up from being a “Restricted Nuclear Testing Area” and only 7-10 boats visited the island. We were told that this year the island will be visited by over 100 boats. The population has doubled from its original 700 inhabitants.
The capital Rikitea offers many great hikes with amazing views and you can follow a paved road around most of the island. The people are friendly and gave us fruits when we asked for bananas and breadfruit from their yards.

Gambier benefits greatly from all the French subsidies. Unsubsidized food is painfully expensive.

                         Tobasco: $9.80            Bag of chips: $$7.50         Mayo: $$$14.50

 

There are a few shops in the village with a variety of merchandise but not much in the way of fruits or vegetables.
We managed to collect for free Pamplemousse (massive grapefruit), bananas, breadfruit (cooked tastes like potatoes) and were given a few eggplants.

blog-food-5-e1558048663444.jpg

The most important part of each day started at 4:00-5:00 AM when the local baker opened his doors to distribute fresh baguettes $.70 each and chocolate croissants on the weekend. If you arrived after 5:30 AM you would be “Pain” less.
I used 9 bags of flour baking my way across 4031 mile passage so, I made sure “someone” was up and ashore in the morning to get the bread. When we were ready to leave Gambier I tried to find flour to replenish my provisions and they didn’t sell it and there wasn’t any processed bread in the shops either so the baker is really the mayor of this village.

The supply ship visits the island on an irregular schedule; no one quite sure when it would be back. So, when the ship came in we made a plan to split the purchase of a barrel of diesel with Elizabeth and Garth on Irwinish and shared the work of decanting the 200 liters into 10 jerrycans and transporting back to the boats

blog fritzMartin and Fritz united after 21 years

Fritz the German lives in the blue house at the northern end of the anchorage. He came to Gambier 30 years ago after spending 15 years in the French Foreign Legion. He tells us he is French but his heart will always be German. Fritz has 6 Polynesian daughters with names like Marie, Alise and Heldagard. He now runs an open house for yachties. Fritz operates the only “bar” in Rikitea (his fridge) and when we visited him back in 1998 he was playing German “schlager” music full volume and non-stop and welcomed us into his home for dinner, supplied us with water and hot showers.
When we visited Fritz this time he was so excited to have the company. Now Fritz is 79 years old and likes to receive visitors in the morning to share his rum and coffee.
He was really happy for the visit and before we left he insisted on giving us German sausages, bacon, breadfruit, grapefruit and bananas; we are very grateful again for his hospitality

IMG_2371
Fritz has been keeping a log of all the yachties that have ever visited him; he pulled out the original log book and there we were on the 2nd page!

IMG_4738My memory of the Cathedral was a bit more glamorous however no less impressive this time.

I attended the Sunday morning service to take in the sights and “record” the magical Polynesian music…and pray

The Cathedral stands as a monument to a shameful time in history when Honore Laval, a Jesuit priest in 1834 converted and dominated Maputeoa. He set stringent rules and forced the locals to erect the coral stone church. In the process he caused the death of over 5,000 people, eliminated the will of the people to survive and destroyed an entire culture!
Oyster Farming is the primary income on Gambier

We didn’t get to visit an oyster farm this time however, we did visit a local artist carving oyster shells and pearls. Stunning

Local Holiday / Fitness Day Event included “sports competitions” ping-pong, Petanque, volleyball, relay race and a tug of war with canoes

blog mt duff 4

Martin, Adrien, Pierre and Garth hiked up Mount Duff, also called Auorotini in the Mangarevan language- Elevation 441 meters of steep mud trails and strong winds

blog mt duff 2

Ile Mangareva-Gambier

blog statue.JPGNewly erected statue in town

blog at olympics

Now off to Fakarava in the Tuamotu island group 740 miles NW

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shelter Bay’s Marina was the only game on the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal to get canal clearance papers, have the boat measured and take on our crew and provisions. The marina’s anchorage was extremely rough for 5 days; we all felt a bit seasick in the anchorage. We decided to take a break from Shelter Bay’s “rolly” anchorage and headed East for a few days to Portobelo

A few hours sail East to Portobelo  home to ancient Spanish forts and the final resting place of Sir Francis Drake

See the source image

 

 

So much history and exploration opportunities: ‘more forts”, kayaking and hiking

portobello fort 3

Shenemere would have been a direct hit

Much of the outermost fortress was dismantled to build the Panama Canal and many of the larger stones were used in the construction of the Panama Canal-  Locks

legend is that after Francis Drake died of dysentery in 1596, he was buried at sea in a lead coffin near Portobelo Bay

The colorful side of Portobelo

IMG_4284$3.00 bus ride to Colon

Elizabeth’s keen eye found this local bar serving micro- brews

IMG_4327

All smiles as we explore the mangrove channels of Portobelo in search of the fresh water river

Back to Shelter Bay #Marinacomforts #pool #docks #socialhours #easy

elizabeth

Gotta love this…Elizabeth with the “Ship Faced” cozy for her Guinness 🙂

IMG_4352_Moment

Potluck Dinner at Shelter Bay Marina. Julie, Martin and Ingrid flew into Panama to assist with the Panama Canal transit (4 line handlers are required for each boat): Julie and Martin on S/V Shenemere and Ingrid (flew in from Vancouver) , Helen and Michael (all the way from Ireland) on S/V Irwinish

Panama Canal

20 years ago Martin and I transited the Panama Canal on Topaz. This picture is our attempt to recreate the memory on Shenemere 

IMG_4400Real close

ship in cannel lol

Too close…image from social media of what not to do!

 

 

 

 

So many ships that simply seemed too close

Proost!! to the line handles… Fantastic Job Pierre, Martin and Julie!

Martin driving the two boats through the canal and Shenemere as seen from the next lockpacific side

We made it to the Pacific side!

Panama Canal Time lapsed video of our two-day transit

Rising 85 feet above the surface of one ocean, and then descending again to be gently floated on another one. 3 sets of locks on the first day. We stayed the night moored to a bouy in the Gatun Lake and transit the lake the next day to complete the second set of locks where we ultimately popped out on the Pacific side

 

 

Time lapsed video of the entire two-day canal transit condensed down to a few minute

the after party

Canal Transit after party around Balboa Yacht Club: Michael, Helen, Elizabeth, Pierre, Adrien, Susan, Ingrid, Julie, Dutchboy, Garth and Martin

casa de Proost

Casa de Proost celebration in Panama Cities Old Town “Casco Viejo” the historic district of Panama City settled in 1673 and has seen a recent surge in development

Julie and Martins Air B&B was a 5 star apartment nestled between the old and the newly “gentrified”casa de Proost 2

No we did not sink!

‘Casco Viejo” the historic district of Panama City

Soon after the French launched the construction of the Panama Canal in 1881, its workers started dying from malaria and yellow fever. Within eight years, over 20,000 Frenchmen had perished. This obelisk is a monument to them.

The famous San Francisco de Asís Church is impressive and the local fish market is a must see if you visit Panama. Viva Panama!

On the Pacific side

French Polynesia here we come 🙂

 

 

girls-night.jpg

Sailor Girls Night in Bocas Del Toro on Shenemere making epoxy jewelry

Adrien was featured in a local Bocas Del Toro Commercial

Adrien was featured in local Bocas Del Toro commercial – payment = free scooters for her and her friends for the day

Rudder put back with a new bushing. Thanks to the many who helped lift, carry, drag this massive 300 lb rudder and strategically get it back in place while we were in the water!

Major scare*** I was in the water and the weighted down rudder was “temporarily lost” as the boat shifted.  It was found after a 911 cry went out to all involved in the operation; the rudder hadn’t gone far but it had sunk to the bottom and the visibility was poor

Finally, with the rudder in place we set sail to experience the more remote parts of Panama as we make our way to the Panama Canal.

EVERYONE WAS SAD TO LEAVE BOCAS…WE LOVE BOCAS DEL TORO

#1 Bahia Azul

Dove bay 1Next stop Bahia Azul a remote anchorage with only a small local village (curious locals included) and good surfing for the boys…

Shenemere and Irwinish in Bahia Azul “Solamente”

IMG_1730 (1)Pristine Beach lives up to its name

surf in dove bay_Moment(5)

Martin surfing Bahia Azul

Garth surfing at Bahia Azul

IMG_1734

Elizabeth picked up a “boyfriend” on her morning kayak excursion

Martin’s Panama Drone Video of Laguna de Bluefield

#2 Escudo de Veraguas

adrien surfing 3-blog

Adrien on a sweet beach break off of the remote island of Escudo de Veraguas

IMG_1746

A few local Guaymi Indians live here and are known for their skilled skin diving

#3 Rio Chagres- tropical river surrounded by virgin rainforest…silence except for the sounds of wild birds and monkeys

On our way to the Panama Canal we stopped for a few days at Rio Chagres jungle.

I highly recommend this detour… we saw the howler monkey, a capuchin monkey, a tree full of toucans 

Martins Amazing early morning Rio Chagres drone video****

drone Rio video_Moment

Shenemere in the Jungle…morning reflections

Asta Luago Amigos!

Why the crew of Shenemere loves Panama…

surf 1

We arrived during the main surfing season: December – February when Northeast storms deliver waves in the 4 – 15  foot range

Martin, Pierre and Garth are religious about their “Daily” 15 minute dingy ride at 5:30 AM to catch the first waves at sunrise, before the masses of other surfers arrive.

Usually they can surf about 3-4 hours before it gets too crowded

Pierre catching waves in Bocas del Toro

panama map_li

Bocas del Toro is a popular location for expatriates, surfers and sailors

Bocas Marina is a great cruiser’s hangout

We anchored off the Marina however, we still get to (pay for use) of The Bocas Marina’s  internet, showers, laundry, fuel and restaurant & bar facilities

Bocas Marina has helpful staff and a fascinating assortment of cruisers passing through to the Panama canal or the “salty dogs” that have sailed the Caribbean or have  a circumnavigation under their belt and now call Bocas “VELCRO HARBOR”

Our son Justin is in Florida and started the Commercial Diving Academy for a 6 months rigorous underwater diving course in Jacksonville, Florida…

cda.jpg

That is Justin as a baby and he continued with his love for the sea all through adolescents… snorkeling, fishing, surfing, spear fishing and his first job as a Miami Dade Life Guard at Matheson Hammocks

Follow your Passion, You can’t go wrong
By S.Koning

img_1590-e1548199841821.jpg

Back in Bocas del Toro Shenemere’s rudder was removed so the “upper rudder bushing” could be sent back to the states to be fixed

img_e1381

Martin enjoying the “play(a) on words” … he grew up on Bluff Beach, South Africa

img_1563.jpg

Elizabeth, Garth, Pierre, Adrien, Martin and Susan hiked to The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute of Bocas del Toro

The Day Trippers/ “Do-ers” that I have nicked named Elizabeth and Garth on S/V Irwinish are always planning outings:

Thank you Elizabeth!!!

In the span of a few days the “Do-ers” planned a hike, cycle and sail to: The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, La Gruta, The Plastic Village, Green Acres Chocolate Farm and finished at the Drunken Monkey Bar /Farmers Market

sloth.jpgThe Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute of Bocas del Toro; we saw a Sloth and Howler Monkeys; and an insightful tour of the impact these research studies are doing for environment conservation

Plastic Bottle Village

Martin, Elizabeth and Garth  at a Village made out of plastic bottles

After collecting more than a million plastic bottles, Robert Bezeau made an unconventional decision — to build an entire village out of plastic bottles

Since 1978, humans contributed “Unconsciously???” to spread plastic bottles over the oceans, beaches, cities and lands…

We don’t need a new planet, we need to clean our own planet
And with all this Jungleness…there are these…

img_e1489

Yes, we have bats onboard!!!!

Fruit bats: without bananas onboard they are less frequent 

La Gruta Cave in Colonia Santeña, a small village of cattle farmers 7km northwest of Bocas town

img_1606.jpg

Garth, Elizabeth, Martin and Susan cycled the 7 km uphill for this remote cave adventure

Elizabeth and Garth in the cave with all these thousands of bats pictured!

The cave entrance marked by a small shrine to the Virgin Mary

Merry Christmas from Panama!

iucw8104

Adrien at the Boca Marina’s Christmas party

Happy Birthday Pierre

img_4130.jpg

Our Adventure to Green Acres Chocolate Farm on S/V Irwinish

img_1662

The adventure began with a beautiful day sail on the bay aboard S/V Irwinish for our first overnight outing on another persons boat…in this case our friends Elizabeth and Garth to the Green Acres Chocolate Farm

Beautiful Dolphin Bay 

Lush botanical gardens as we approached Green Acres Chocolate Farm

Robert the owner showed us indigenous trees and medicinal plants and explain how many traditional Indians use these plants today

I was a bit worried about a 3 hour tour (I suffer from SAS-short attention situational) however, I wasn’t disappointed.

We did tour a plantation of cacao trees and got to open a pod straight from the tree and I learned so much about cacao, and the farming of chocolate…harvesting, fermentation and drying of the seeds and how they miraculously turn this unassuming seed into chocolate! Wildlife, plants, flowers and traditional Indian folklore made for a very entertaining tour

 

Green Acres Chocolate Farm

@DrunkenMonkeyPanama

drunken monkey 2

Every other Monday the Drunken Monkey has a “gathering” and Farmers Market in the remote mangrove homestead of CJ and Jess at Colibri Verde -Bocas del Toro, Panama 

Something out of Dilverance… this outpost that encourages an odd mixing of locals, expatriates and sailors to boat over to this remote location for a “Farmers Market” ( maybe an excuse) like one is needed to party on a Monday morning…seriously it starts at 9:00 AM and was finished at Noon!

UPDATE: The Upper Rudder Bushing has come in so, we are back to work getting Shenemere ready for the Panama Canal transit and on to the South Pacific, Gambier

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

San andres map

900 mile passage from Bonaire to San Andres, Columbia (off the coast of Nicaragua) was expected to take 8 days however we managed to do it in 5 days. Consistent winds of 25-30 knots propelling us at sustained speeds of 8-10 knots with top speeds of 15 knots stressed Shenemere and it’s parts. Crew was Phenomenal !

  • Broken block on the boom- would have been disastrous if it had not been noticed and changed…the line was almost chafed through
  • Main halyard chafed essentially the line that holds the mainsail up the mast was being chafed to it’s core…would have been debilitating
  • Bracket that holds the lines to steer the Monitor wind vane was ripped from its mount

san andres 1.14_1

Pierre on deck. Where is your harness?!%#@ #youngmen

We caught two nice Mahi Mahi on this trip; too much to eat so I pulled out the food vacu- sealer and presto…fresh fish right into deep freeze for later

900 miles in less than 4 minutes…

dolphin video Done_1Bonus must see video*** Dolphins loved to play in our wake and we never tired of watching

san andres 1.22

san andres 1.25

Welcome to Columbia where armed military just pull up along your boat and jump on…not even with a “Buenos Dias”

 

san andres 1.42

 

Cheers to sailors short-term memory!

 

 

 

 

San Andrés island sits 700km from the Colombian coast, a pearl in the ocean that combines the influence of Englishmen, Africans, Spaniards and Pirates in a culture full of flavors and reggae smells:)

A very touristic island; diving, kite boarding, para-sailing, snorkeling and boating was happening all the time and we were anchored literally in the middle of the action…day and night (Cha Cha Cha and the Macarena not so great at 3 AM).

Water is pristine and I had luck with my underwater medal detector on our day at the beach. I found a small gold/diamond earring…maybe it is tiny?

 

I coaxed Martin to take one day off from the most consuming boat repairs. Beer, in the shade, with loved ones, on a Columbian island… Priceless

IMG_1183

This is a note to myself*** to once again remind me when you order fish in Latin Countries you are 98% guaranteed it will be served to you like this

san andres 1.41

Pierre at the top of the mast fixing the chafed halyard. Muchos Gracias!

“Shenemere… nice from far, far from nice”                               MKoning

san andres 1.26

Luego 🙂

Bonaire or Bust

450 mile downwind passage from Martinique to Bonaire. We were so excited to dust the Whisker Pole off and pole out “wing on wing”.

Everything was going great for the first 12 hours until at 11 PM we jibed and bent the whisker pole…Aghhhh!

img_0976.jpg

It’s a choice:  laugh or cry

 

img_3736-e1542312375803.jpg

Adrien and Pierre

 

 

At Little Havana’s grabbing a cold drink and internet…wi-fi password “Sugar Man” after our favorite album Searching for Sugar Man

ULMC8551

Adrien and Pierre explored the island on a scooter and we all enjoyed diving on the spectacular reefs

IMG_0982 (1)

Mooring Shenemere in 20 ft,  just a few feet from a 80 ft drop off to spectacular reefs

 

dive-1-1.jpg

Martin and Pierre maximizing their freediving skills…getting to 65 feet

 

 

1.0 pierees boat good

Adrien heading out to Martinique with Pierre and his family for a few weeks until we meet up with them again…Bon Voyage

Tabago Cay:

 

 

 

DCIM100GOPROGOPR2029.JPG
Shenemere at Tabago Cay. Usually a packed mooring field we lucked out and had it to ourselves

 

DCIM100GOPROG0022084.JPG
Tabago Cay to ourselves

1.6 susan in TC

1.7 turtle BEST_Moment

Turtles Everywhere!

1.7 VC 2 shark_Moment(2)

And Blacktip sharks…everywhere!

 

Turtles, sharks and rays abound in the Tabago Cay Marine Park

DCIM100GOPROGOPR2151.JPG
Sailing at an angle on our way to Bequia

 

Bequia’s local Green Bar for wi-fi and roti’s in the afternoon and the local Bread Man for fresh pastry delivery

1.11 food and drunks bequia_LI

We were in Bequia during the “off season” but can only imagine mid November to March that all the local restaurants and bars will be hopping! Marie’s and Mac’s were the only places open during our stay. We liked having the town to explore ourselves and it made it easier to connect with some of the few cruisers that were in the anchorage

Only in Bequia- The famous Raphael “Scocony” Holder’s personal concert 

 

Bequia “Island of the Clouds” living up to it’s name!

 

DCIM100GOPROG0022167.JPG

This was our view during our four day stay in Bequia. 20-30 knot gusts of wind howling down the hilltops caused a couple of the chartered catarmans to lose their holding

What Happens when you are ejected from your dingy underway and don’t have a “safety kill switch” tethered to you:

Thank goodness the young women on this 30 hp dingy was able to swim away before the dingy ran her over. She actually swam to our boat while after at least 45 minutes local cruisers managed to jump inside the dingy and regain control

Note: always wear a tethered kill switch when operating your dingy

1-24-petite-anse-town-pic.jpg

Martinique = Gorgeous French island, amazing snorkeling,  food and sights

 

1.30

St. Anne, Martinique

Collision in the Anchorage was very close to hitting us!

1.20 le big mac

Le Big Mac was a “le’t down…we prefer the fresh baguettes and ripe cheeses any day

1.25 adrien and pierre on SUP

Pierre and Adrien reunited with us in Martinique for the next leg of our adventure…Bonaire

Beautiful sightseeing in the small villages along the coast of Martinique. Adrien and Pierre hiked through the National Park

1.2 sunrise union

We have been very busy getting ready. Replaced alternator belt, changed the oil, made water, serviced 4 wenches, sealed a hatch, provisioned, laundry and sewed a new shade awning for the aft cockpit… ready for our passage to Bonaire

Fort George

I often equate forts in the Caribbean to castles in Europe…once you’ve seen One they all “tend to” look the same.

However, we did take the day to venture to St. Georges and check out Fort George and we weren’t disappointed.
The oldest structure in the country was completed in 1705. There are old tunnels and narrow staircases and the ramparts evoke a feeling of the past. There is a stunning view of the capital, the Carenage, harbor and the lagoon. Something unique about this fort is the historic significance of the assignation of Prime Minister Maurice Bishop and the US/ Caribbean intervention in 1983 that is a vivid memory for many adult Grenadians.

adrien and pierre with guide-good

Adrien, Pierre and goofy tour guide at Fort George

Back to Carriacou

We really enjoyed the diving in Carriacou and I liked the convenience of the brand-new grocery store so, we set sail again from Grenada back to one of our favorite spots to work on some boat projects

DJI_0010.JPG

First Drone Pictures taken on the Mavic Air- Aerial footage of Tyrell Bay, Carriacou

 

diesal-tank-gauge.jpg

In the process of cleaning out the diesel tank we realized the tank isn’t a 74-gallon capacity but only holds 55 gallons. This was a frightening realization considering our estimates for motoring underway would be diminished by almost 20 hours.
Martin installed a new fuel gauge, so we always know exactly how much fuel we have.

gopr1562-1.jpg

Arts and Crafts! I am having so much fun making epoxy jewelry. This was the first experiment with boat epoxy and food coloring using all kinds of material including old beads, fabric, wax, plumbers silver solder, paper, cut outs from Caribbean paper dollars, shells, coral, sand…it is limitless the materials you can use to create your own handmade art.
I am working on getting some fellow cruisers to join me on board for a jewelry making afternoon. I can’t wait!

Hillsbrough, Carriacou Day Trip

sylvi and me in car to Hillsborough

Sylvie from S/V Maitre D wanted to visit the “main” town of Hillsborough before the pending tropical storm Kirk’s arrival; just in case we had to pull up the anchor and head south. We do not necessarily pay attention to the days of the week so when we went to get a taxi to town we found out it was Sunday and the taxis weren’t operating. Charlie a local with his cousins in tow gave us a lift to town.

Kids were super cute (which one do you think is a bit more mischievous?)

sylvia-in-ale-1.jpg

Sylvie the artist from Quebec finding art in Hillsbrough

I can’t stress enough how delightful I find the Grenadians to be; the friendliest in the Caribbean but not a false fake friendly to get your tourist dollar, its genuine. It’s a greeting from everyone you pass even the kids; good morning, afternoon and evening. They are helpful when you ask for directions and will go out of their way to draw a map or even walk you to your destination, this has happened to me several times.
I was a bit worried about getting back to Tyrell Bay on a Sunday afternoon when the taxis weren’t running. However, we didn’t have anything to worry about. The second car that passed picked us up.

George the island’s Postman picked us up and ended up driving us to the limited scenic spots on the island: The highest point where the hospital is (you do not want to get sick on this island), historic tower, cemetery and the elementary and primary schools where kids ferry to each day from the surrounding islands and finally his dad’s surfside beach bar just in time for a magical sunset. A perfect Day!

top of mtn cannon 1Sylvie embracing the moment at the top of Carriacou

tibo-cementary-best-1.jpg

Tibo Cemetery is being overtaken by the sea

img_3475.jpg

Beach Bar with locals strumming guitar, sailors with their young children playing on the beach just in time to catch an amazing sunset…

sunset-sailboat.jpg

img_3491.png

Enough said…we headed to the mangroves!
After two failed attempts to secure ourselves (first attempt the anchor didn’t set and the second spot the rudder was aground) we managed to tuck in-between a Dutchman and Spaniard and hunkered down for the next three days

MANGROVE for KIRK.jpg

That is Shenemere safe and sound on the right with the white hull and blue sail covers 🙂

Thank goodness tropical storm Kirk went North so we only got some rain and some bats flying through the boat at night

Maitree D

S/V Maitre D- Sylvie (Quebec) and Justin (College Station, Texas) we sailed with Maitre D on and off from Dominican Republic and today they head North to St. Thomas as we are preparing to head in the “general” direction of the Panama Canal.

We love these two. Fair winds

Off to Sandy Island- Marine Park

g0011805.jpg

Gorgeous! Surrounded by white sands, this tiny island has the most spectacular coral reef, the home to shoals of variegated tropical fish in crystal clear turquoise water. We snorkeled to the delightful sightings of rays, puffer fish, lobster and a plethora brightly colored reef fish. This is a protected marine habitat, so we had to practice our mooring skills…thankful to Pierre (who was sick with the flu) who helped us get the mooring ball on the first attempt; a first for us on Shenemere! This beautiful island has been used as the backdrop for television and magazine advertisements

 

I would highly recommend a stop at Sandy Island

Flags

Flying all our flags

 

 

 

 

 

 

DCIM100GOPROGOPR1394.JPG

Adrien taking the plunge

Picturesque waterfall surrounded by ferns & other greenery, with a small deliciously cold pool at its base. A great outing that turned adventurous when the radiator on Mandy’s car split/ cracked wide open while we were at the highest and most rural area snap dab in the middle of Grenada on a Sunday afternoon. Thank goodness a nice off duty taxi driver offered us a lift back to Mandy’s house where we spent the afternoon on her porch discussing the logistics and costs around how to best get the car fixed.

gopr1391.jpg

Susan and Martin at Annandale Falls 

DCIM100GOPROGOPR1395.JPG

Adrien, Susan and Leslie at the Falls

 

Oasis Floating Bar – Grand Opening

DCIM100GOPROGOPR1108.JPG

Oasis floating bar in Secret Harbor

oasis-bar-2-e1536892725360.jpgA new floating bar opened up in Secret Harbor just a few boats away from us. I thought we could take just one day off during the week because we already have a very busy social schedule for most every day of the week…oh well such is Salt Life
Tuesday: Taffy’s live music and delicious fish and chips

Wednesday: Beach Volleyball in the afternoon and Bingo at Prickly Bay

Thursday: Nimrod’s has an outdoor deck for the cruisers to get together and jam. There is an interesting array of talent and most nights there is a saxophone player and an interesting “old salty dog” of a sailor that sings his own lyrics…entertaining sailing-drinking songs

Friday: Oasis Floating Bar is the newest watering hole

Sunday: Hog Island beach party with a live local band and the most delicious BBQ for only $20 EC/ $7.50

DCIM100GOPROGOPR1369.JPG

Hog Island Beach party on Sunday’s is always fun with a collection of locals, cruisers and students from the medical school enjoying local music and great food

In addition to our regular schedule; each month the cruisers from the surrounding bays organize a floating concert. A floating stage is erected with live music and the cruisers just raft up to it; this last month there were over 75 dingys rafted up.

I enjoy the “full moon drift” in our bay. Everyone brings a snack and we all raft up together under the full moon “drifting” and passing the food around from boat to boat. Great fun meeting new people; the strangers that you tie up to become fast friends by the end of the night.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR1103.JPG

Our Designated Driver!

gopr1506.jpg

It’s not all fun. We have a project to do most every day from routine maintenance to Martin spending time up the mast fixing the deck lights. He’s terrified of heights but the new heavy duty bosun’s chair was a big help

gopr1498.jpg

Pierre our newest crew member and Adrien out to lunch

Carriacou Island

Carriacou is an island belonging to Grenada and 50 miles from Secret Harbor. It was a day sail for us and did not disappoint. Beautiful coral reefs and clear shallow waters. We anchored in Tyrell Bay with gin clear waters and the highlight a brand new “real” grocery store like back home. We loaded up on the things we were craving…tortilla chips and salsa, ice cream, wide selection of cheeses and a nice selection of meats (we didn’t need any meat because we caught a massive Mahi Mahi on the way over). A more international crowd of cruisers; the Europeans congregate in this bay which was great for our French crew member Pierre to be able to speak with his fellow countrymen. A unique bay with boats built using traditional methods developed in the 1800s dotting the shore; I would highly recommend stopping here.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR1443.JPG

Catch of the day!

 

DCIM100GOPROGOPR1496.JPG

Pierre and Ian on the sail to Carriacou Island

Ian’s Visit to Grenada

DCIM100GOPROGOPR1503.JPG

This is how Ian spent his days exploring the island

DCIM100GOPROGOPR1499.JPG

Great afternoon at the beach and Umbrella’s famous beachside restaurant with Ian and Pierre and all of us ordering a huge lunch

susan and Ian

Susan and Ian…Ian’s visit went by way too fast

Surfs Up!

Martin with sailboat

Hip high surf in Prickly Bay was worth the long walk and Martin demonstrates he’s still got it…check out the smile on his face 🙂

martin-surf-best.jpg

Woot Woot!

adrien surf

Adrien the Surfer Girl

p4-best.jpg

Pierre’s second time surfing…he’s a natural

 

 

%d bloggers like this: