A little trip to Carriacou is what we needed!

We need to pull up anchor and go for a sail!

Approximately 10 days ago we had a night from hell, or so it seemed in the middle of the night. We awoke to howling winds, rain and lightning. Mal got up and immediately yelled “get dressed” in a very urgent voice! By the time I got on deck the wind was worse than howling, the rain was coming in horizontally, lightening was cracking and Kool Kat was in Mal-speak, “all over the shop”. By the time we could identify landmarks, we realised we’d dragged half-way across Prickly Bay and were dangerously close to another boat which was acting like a magnet. Mal was fantastic; he immediately put the engines on and tried to keep her into the wind whilst calmly issuing me instructions. We were edging forward but of course the anchor was now under the boat so it was tough going. The rain prevented us from seeing anything clearly, not to mention that some vessels don’t use anchor lights or other forms of lighting, so we were creeping forward whilst trying to avoid any danger. Eventually the rain ceased and the winds lightened. The lightening continued which was a multi-edged sword; we didn’t want it to strike the mast and knock out all our electronics but it lit up the bay so we could identify other boats. We finally anchored back where we’d been earlier and needless to say, we didn’t get much sleep for the rest of the night. The next day we purchased a Rocna 40 kg anchor and haven’t lost a wink of sleep since. The squalls that night were registered at 40-50+ knots so we think we’ve had a miniscule glimpse of what it must be like in a hurricane!

Sailing to Carriacou.

We decided to make a trip to Carriacou to practice our sailing and anchoring and to get some canvas work done on our dinghy cover.

Enjoying a quiet one post-snorkelling.

We headed off last Tuesday and after 4 hours of beautiful sailing stopped at Ile de Ronde. It is a pretty little anchorage on one of the small islands between Grenada and Carriacou inhabited by approximately 30 people. It was so gorgeous that we jumped straight in for a snorkel and a swim and decided to stay the night. There were 3 other cats in the anchorage so it was very peaceful. It’s very tricky at this time of year as we constantly need to monitor the weather. At the moment there is a storm in the Atlantic that is due to pass through the northern Caribbean and should miss us but each day we have to check on it’s status.

The next morning we headed off with only an hour’s sail to our destination of Tyrrel Bay. The bay is more crowded than usual with vessels arriving for the Carriacou Sailing Regatta from 1-4 August. Volleyball mates Dave and Alex on Banyan and Dalynn and Glenn on Amoray also came up along with lots of other vessels from Grenada.

She’s a beaut!

Kool Kat’s previous owners, John and Linda, had purchased a new dinghy which was slightly different to the previous one so the cover had holes for handles, etc in different places. Plus there was some wear and tear to the fabric so we took it to Ully at Andy’s Sails and Canvas and asked her to rejuvenate it. We gave her carte blanche and suggested she let her creativity go wild! As you can see from the photo, we now have a Picasso-like very unique dinghy. We love it thanks Ully!

The winds are playing strange tricks at the moment. When we anchored we were facing east. During the night boats moved to a more north-easterly position and by morning we were facing due north and nudging a mooring ball! By the afternoon everyone was facing west – very unusual in Tyrrel Bay, but by the time we got back from dinner at The Lazy Turtle, we were back to our original easterly aspect. With so much movement, some boats are putting out fenders just in case the boat next door swings around! The storm in the Atlantic was upgraded to Tropical Storm status and given a name, Bertha, but it’s forecasted to pass north of us with a path through Martinique and Puerto Rico. Even so, I’m a little anxious but Mal assures me we are only a 5-hr sail away from Grenada.

Glenn at start of 1st race.

Dave and Alex decided to enter Banyan into the Regatta and invited Glenn and Dalynn and us to join them as crew. The first race was only a two-handed one so they did that alone. It was a circumnavigation of the island and they had gusts of up to 30 knots and down to no wind at all, where the current was actually dragging them backwards! But, they won in their class so the pressure is now on for the crew to perform well in the other races. Unfortunately, with the unpredictably of the winds and Banyan being a monohull, I decided not to race so my crew responsibility is taxi; I pick up and drop off crew to Banyan.

Glenn at the bar, I mean barber!
2-yr old, Andre.
3 Police on shore after firing guns and approaching boat.
Cop with shotgun, other police in background

Whilst Dave and Alex were racing, Glenn, Dalynn, Mal and I walked to L’Esterre beach. We found a little bar called Off The Hook which also doubles as a Barber Shop, naturally! So Glenn got a haircut and then we had lunch a little further along the beach at Sunset Bar. It was a regular sort of day; whilst we were there, two joists split underneath us so we moved tables, I got some cute shots of a gorgeous little boy and then three undercover cops ran past us along the beach firing shots into the air at a boat! Just a regular day in paradise! Dalynn grabbed my arm and tried to get under the table. I stood up and took photos with my iPhone stating it was either a joke or some sort of filming. We then turned around and saw heaps of police; one carrying a shotgun, one wearing rubber gloves, and so on and then realised it was legit! Unfortunately, my photos are a long way away but I’ll include them anyway. The one with Mal and Glenn looking over their shoulders shows police down by a boat and if you look closely, you can see the shotgun the guy with the red top has down his left side. If you look even closer, to the left of the policeman’s head you can see a local in a hammock, just chillin! After a few minutes, the boat was allowed to leave and they really made a show of it; laughing and jeering at the police. None of the locals could really tell us what was going on but one suggested the police had been given a bogus tip-off. Interestingly we saw the same boat later with lots of people on board driving crazily through Tyrrel Bay.

Update: the 2nd race has now occurred and Banyan did very well. Mal loved it. The results haven’t been finalised with handicaps still to be taken into account but they had a great sail. For those of you wondering what I did with my time whilst they raced I tried a new sugar-free recipe (bliss balls), made a batch of yoghurt, cleaned some windows, swept the floor, wrote this blog and read a few more chapters in book 3 or Game of Thrones. Today, Sunday, is a rest day so the six of us are heading to Paradise Beach for some rest and relaxation. The 3rd and final race is Monday, tomorrow, with winds due to be lighter but with rain expected. I’m considering participating but as I’d probably be rail-bait and it looks like rain, I’ll leave my decision until Monday morning. I’ve got my serious drugs ready just in case!

Until next time, lots of love, Sue & Mal. xx

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