Today was one out of the box!


We had our best day EVER in the Caribbean today, and that’s saying something!

We had chosen today to sail back to Grenada from Tyrrel Bay as the weather gods seemed to suggest it would be the best. So, up with the sparrows this morning and we were ready by 7am. It started out a little windy and we were a bit concerned about the boat in front when pulling up the anchor but all went well and Team Kool Kat were away!

We hadn’t even left the Bay when rain clouds peeped over the horizon. We quickly put up the heady and the main before they were upon us. We had thought we might anchor at Isle de Ronde on the way down to check out the snorkelling but the weather suggested otherwise. We actually stayed ahead of most of it and kept looking out the back at the black clouds from whence we had come, very happy for our early start.

Confetti on west coast of Grenada

The crossing from Carriacou to Grenada was the fastest we have done in KK peaking at 11 knots; we were riding the waves and scooting along. By the time we reached the top of Grenada we were very pleased with ourselves and how good ol’ KK performed.

The trip down the west coast of Grenada was gorgeous; fast and the clouds gathered over the island, not over us – we were bathed in beautiful sunshine. This isn’t the first time I’ve thought the villages on Caribbean islands look like sprinkled confetti. The houses can be a collection of reds, blues, oranges, whites, yellows and my iPhone photo doesn’t do it justice.

Just off the tiny fishing village of Gouyave we spotted a mother humpback whale and her calf. We’d been on the lookout most of the day as she’d been spotted in the region by other yachties a week or so ago so we were thrilled to see they were still here.

With the weather being so beautiful we decided to check out the moorings at Moliniere Point, the home of the Grenada Underwater Sculpture. We weren’t disappointed, visibility was fantastic. It is a Marine Park and we are required to pick up a mooring and pay a fee ($10US) but, unlike Tobago Cays, I don’t think you can stay overnight.

Pipe coral (Google image)
Fan coral (Google image)

We jumped in straight away and snorkeled straight off the back of the boat. We were astounded – we haven’t seen so many fish – schools upon schools and such a huge diversity; barracuda, parrot fish, bright blue littlies, yellow and blue, pale blue, etc,  and the list goes on and on. The coral was good too with lots of fans, pipes and brains! And then we found the sculptures. They aren’t too far down and the photo at right is when they were pretty new and is taken from the website. They are now covered in coral and fish are constantly picking at them making them a ‘living’ sculpture. There are several installations and this is just one. Check out the link above if you are interested in seeing more.

Underwater Sculptures

We snorkeled back to the boat, had lunch and then reluctantly got on our way again but we’ll definitely return. We arrived in Prickly Bay Grenada about 2pm and then had a little Nana-nap. It’s been a big day and it’s 2 for 1 pizza at the Marina tonight so we need to rest up!

We also saw a turtle on our travels just to top off a wonderful day in paradise.

I’ve added a couple more photos that may be of interest: friends (Scott & Paula from Scherzo and Pete and Dee from Wind Lass) and a little boy at Tyrrel Bay.

Love, Sue & Mal. xx

L-R: Scott, Pete, Dee, Paula & Mal

Sitting on the beach wall at Tyrrel Bay

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Heading home to Grenada

We loved our short sojourn (10 days) in Bequia (pronounced Beck-way) and the trips we made to other parts of St Vincent and The Grenadines, but there is something very homely about coming back to Grenada.

This morning in Tyrrel Bay
Tyrrel Bay, Carriacou

 We arrived late yesterday in Tyrrel Bay, on the island of Carriacou in the country of Grenada, and we will spend a few days here in this relaxed little township before sailing down to the main island of Grenada and home.

Cheryl and the children
Participants of Bequia Reader’s Program
I’m fed and I need a sleep!

Before departing Bequia I participated in the Children’s Reading Program held at The Figtree Restaurant under the strict but caring and loving direction of Cheryl, Figtree’s owner. The children learn English at school and some are really advanced. Others have tough challenges in life; two siblings have cataracts and have recently returned from Virginia in the US where they underwent operations. The young boy (7) in my group was thirsty to learn as a new world has opened up for him but his self-esteem is low as he is behind his peers. His younger sister’s (5) operation wasn’t as successful and she will require more ops. All this whilst being brought up by their grandmother in a tiny shack; their mother has moved to Canada and their father isn’t around. I have included a photo of a baby who was there with her Mum waiting for her older brother. These little ones go part-way to helping me cope without seeing my little Autie! I had a great afternoon with these kids.

Deep in concentration

The time we spent in Bequia gave us an opportunity to do some maintenance on Kool Kat, re-stock our provisions and update my sailing knowledge! Bob Almond, you’ll be pleased to hear my anchoring has improved out of sight but one area I have never tackled is driving the dinghy, or tender. Knowing that we’ll be spending the next three or so years on a boat, I definitely want the independence of being able to go ashore when I want to. So, with that in mind, Mal, being the good teacher that he is, threw me in at the deep end one day and told me to take over when we were half way back to the boat. Boy was that an experience! I think learning to drive a dinghy is a good left brain, right brain exercise. Whilst turning the throttle on the tiller and pushing it in the opposite direction to where I want to go, I had to navigate through boats, buoys and swimmers back to Kool Kat. I was so glad to get back safely and without running over anything! I have improved after more practice and even got it up on the plane a few times but there is still room for improvement!

Mal purchasing our cray

We bought two lobsters (live) whilst in Bequia from the local boat boys; at 15EC/lb each one cost us about $19AU. They were so sweet and fresh!

We left Bequia on Monday and had a beautiful 4-hr sail with both the main and the heady up. We arrived at Tobago Cays, had lunch and then went snorkelling. Magic, the visibility was fantastic. We saw a barracuda, needlefish, stingrays, amongst many other tropical fish, and my personal favourite, the trunkfish; very 3-D (photo courtesy of Google). I know some of you won’t believe this, but whilst we were relaxing after our swim, we witnessed a flying stingray! We’re not sure what was chasing it but it was sure moving fast and became airborne twice!

Trunkfish: I love these little guys!

Beach bar at Salt Whistle

We stayed one night but the weather wasn’t as good the next day so we sailed around to Salt Whistle Bay on the island of Mayreau. I was keen to do some geocaching so we popped into the bar first to pick up the wi-fi. Alas, no luck as the bar didn’t have it and I didn’t have the cache’s coordinates. Met a lovely Polish couple over a beer and had a great chat.

Back on the boat we decided it was a bit choppy so we moved to Saline Bay for our overnight stop. Up early the next day and then off to Clifton on Union Island to check out of Immigration and Customs before leaving St Vincent and the Grenadines and entering Grenada. It was raining and wind squalls were coming through during the 1/2 hr crossing from Mayreau Is to Union Is. n was crowded with yachts and the boat boys were at us to pick up a mooring. The squalls were coming through and every time we tried to anchor, it kept dragging. Until suddenly the port engine stopped and we were being buffeted around every which way. We couldn’t move which was thankful given the wind and the close proximity to other boats. Unbeknown to us, we had picked up a mooring: not at the bow but around the port propeller! Just as all this happened a strong 30 knot squall came through with the boat pointing towards other boats and us being held by the mooring rope on the propeller. We put the starboard engine in reverse to alleviate the pressure on the prop. Other boats dragged their anchors during this time and it was chaos all round. After the squall Richard, a Brit from the kite surfing school who also has the same boat as us, came on board and gave me a hand while Mal dived in and freed the propeller. We were then free and off to anchor somewhere else. With the wind and rain, it was difficult to see the sandy bits on the bottom but we tried two more times – each time the anchor dragged and we finally had to accept the offer of a mooring. We have decided Clifton has a mozz on us so it will be moorings for us there in future!

Mopion Island

After finally checking out, we sailed across to Petit St Vincent (PSV) and then Petite Martinique for refuelling. We sailed between two of the smallest Caribbean islands; Mopion and Pinaese. I think this is the island you were looking for Jo Almond; it only has a thatched hut on it and is surrounded by coral reefs. Pinaese is similar – just sand, no vegetation.

We then enjoyed a beautifully relaxing sail down the west coast of Carriacou and arrived at peaceful, spacious Tyrrel Bay. No trouble anchoring here and then straight in the water for a dip and then into the G & T’s. We were exhausted after our horrendous anchoring episode on Union Island and are happy to spend a few days soaking up the carefree atmosphere of Carriacou.

We’ve got Americans, Paula and Scott on Scherzo, coming over for a sundowner or two at 5pm so until next time, lots of love, Sue & Mal. xx

Bob & Jo’s Caribbean Experience


Hello to all the followers of Kool Kat 1. 
Home
Clifton on Union Island

We are writing to you on board this luxury sailing vessel, as the very first guests of the adventurous seafarers Mal and Sue. Currently we are anchored in the azure blue shallow waters of Tobago Cays. Now if you were ever looking for paradise this is it. A 360 degree view reveals small deserted islands which are, of course, covered in white sandy beaches with coconut palms that are protected by a shallow reef. But put on the snorkelling gear and Tobago Cays reveals it’s true magic.

Kinder kids on Mayreau Is
Bob filleting mahi mahi
Getting online onshore
View of Tobago Cays from Mayreau Island

A protected marine sanctuary with a sandy grass covered bottom provides the perfect breeding grounds for green turtles which swim gracefully and in abundance in the crystal clear waters. I don’t know about you but this experience has gone straight to my top 10 amazing experiences. A perfect day topped off by dips in the ocean, a gin and tonic, or two, and a few good laughs. I could go on to explain that the night sky sparkled like diamonds, but I need to leave some magic for you to discover for yourself.

Dinghy concert revellers

Our sailing adventure started as we flew in to Grenada to meet Mal and Sue who kindly gave us a couple of quiet days recovering from jet lag and adjusting to life on the boat. We explored the colourful Island of Grenada, swimming in waterfalls, absorbing the history and mixing with the locals. 

Then it was full swing into the social boatie life, with a dinghy concert to open a sailing regatta. Well what a blast that was. The band performed on a small tug boat, the dinghies rafted up to a floating pontoon with a bar or tied up to each other, the drinks flowed and the sea folk sang along. The music was great and the crowd loved it!
 

Yanni’s Island Bar with Palm Island in backbground

The next day we sailed for six or so hours in not so pleasant conditions; I’m pleased to say no one was sea sick. The reward was the sheltered harbour of beautiful Carriacou. We went ashore and finished the day with a few drinks and a beautiful meal at the Slipway Restaurant. We left the country of Grenada when we sailed out of Carriacou and entered the country of St Vincent & The Grenadines when we arrived at Clifton on Union Island.

Pre-dinner drinks at Yanni’s Island Bar

We have been on board for just over a week now and the gentle rocking and cool breeze as we sleep is providing for the best night sleeps we have had.  In a few days we will leave Mal and Sue to continue our own adventure, but not before sailing to and exploring a few more islands and relaxing or liming as the locals call it. Hang on, did I mention tonight’s BBQ Crayfish dinner on one of the small deserted Islands. 

My advice to you is to book your dates for your very own Caribbean Cruise on Kool Kat 1. We can’t thank Sue and Mal enough for the chance of a lifetime to join them and explore the Caribbean. We are already trying to workout dates for next year.  Jo and Bob .

Postscript from Sue & Mal:
Wednesday 12 March, Bob & Jo caught a charter flight back to Grenada for their early morning flight to Miami Thursday. We are going to miss them as we’ve had such a blast these past few weeks. They are continuing on their fantastic holiday and we are continuing to sail north. Thanks Bob and Jo, you are great crew and we’d love to have you back again. Can’t wait to follow the rest of your journey.
Yesterday (Thursday) we sailed to Bequia – an island we remember fondly from our previous visit. We are pleased to say it is still as beautiful as before and we will now spend a week or so here. Breakfast arrived this morning via one of the boat boys: fresh croissants and baguette! At $2AUS for a fresh croissant delivered to the boat, we’re happy 🙂
Until next time, love Sue & Mal. xox
      

Week Two

Approaching St George’s
Kool Kat’s helm
St George’s harbour
St George’s Carenage

This will be a lot shorter than my previous posts 🙂 Before our guests arrived, we wanted to have a quick trip around to St George’s, the capital of Grenada, to fill up with fuel, see how KK handled and to try the anchorage. So we upped anchor and motored out through Prickly Bay, around the bottom of Grenada and up the coast. We just got out of Prickly Bay and spotted a large turtle which promptly took a dive. Mal played around with the Chart Plotter and the auto pilot and KK handled beautifully so we had a great trip. No sailing yet.

We approached the Grenada Yacht Club to refuel and a small dinghy was already at the wharf looking to fill some gerry cans. The husband had gone looking for someone to assist and his wife looked on ominously as we approached; David and Goliath. We held back a little but she waved us in and quickly hopped out of the dinghy, moved it out of the way and then proceeded to help us with tying up. Debbie and Dan on Ladyhawk are from Delaware and they were absolutely delightful.

Mal talking to Jnr Kofi
Stunning passionfruit

All fueled up we then motored out of the harbour to find a good anchorage. The first attempt saw the anchor drag so we moved in closer to shore, about 15′ of water, and this time the anchor set beautifully. Mal does the anchor and I do the helm which seems to work well. We took Kitty into shore and did some food shopping. We hadn’t been back long when Junior Kofi pulled up alongside selling fruit. We bought pawpaw, tangerines, a couple of mangoes, which unfortunately are at the end of their season, and a dozen or so passionfruit. I was a bit worried as the outside of the passionfruit was very unfamiliar to me but I needn’t have worried, the taste was fabulous.

L-R Hope and Wendy
Chicken Roti overlooking harbour

We returned to Prickly Bay and the next morning I was invited by two American cruisers, Wendy from Merengue and Hope from Starshine, to join them in a girls’ day out; lunch and shopping in St George’s. Sounds good to me so off we went by bus for a day’s shopping and a chicken roti on the Carenage. The girls showed me all the little places they go to and we toured a few local art galleries. Good day out!

Giselle and others
Cordial and cake

Saturday morning I went with Hope and some other cruisers to a private home in the hills of Grenada to participate in the Mt Airy Reading program. This program is run by volunteers and offers extra tuition and practice in reading, writing and maths for young Grenadians, mainly aged from 6-14. We start off holding hands in a very large circle and say The Lord’s Prayer. Unfortunately, we had a few cruisers cancel through sickness so there were less volunteers than is required. This meant I had eight children to work with when the norm is four but we managed. We break into our groups and each student takes a turn at reading out loud and I check their comprehension, assist the poorer students and generally provide an audience for them to practice. Following reading we play games; some wanted to play scrabble and others didn’t. For those who didn’t I set them challenges with their times tables. They were really good at that so I had to pull out all stops and test their long division; that was really stretching my memory! Following this everyone, about 40 students, gather to take turns at reading a story out loud. Then one of the volunteers reads the whole story out loud. Then we celebrated birthdays, medal winners from the recent sports day and sang a song. Then a final prayer holding hands again and it’s time for cordial and cake. I’m exhausted but it’s been fun 🙂

Back in the bus and we’re off home. Mal and I spend the afternoon relaxing and then we’re off to collect Jo and Bob Almond from the airport. Our next post may be a “guest” post!

Until next time, love to everyone, Sue & Mal xx