Sunday, July 12, 2009

On Our Way South and Arrival in Trinidad

We left St Maarten on a sunny Sunday morning with the promise of a NE/E wind to head for Ile De Sainte. We rounded the headland and Mike put out his fishing line, as he lifted it and put it in the rod holder there was a bang as it got caught in the new wind generator! At the same time a squall hit us so we sat extricating and rolling in fishing line while 28 knots of wind blew and we still had all the sails fully out!

Unfortunately the forecast was wrong again and we had a SE wind so had to tack. Not a problem except our autohelm decided to go on strike at 3am so that we had to hand steer. The morning was brightened up by Mike catching a 9 1/2lb blackfin tuna at the southern end of Nevis which unfortunately made the cockpit look as if there had been a massacre!

Late afternoon the wind died completely so we decided to motor into Deshaises on the north end of Guadeloupe getting in around 10pm. After recovering for a day we did the relatively short sail to the Saintes with the autopilot working. We spent a few days socialising with 2 couples on catamarans, one of whom we had met in St Maarten, before moving to Terre En Basse, another island in the Saintes.

After a rolly night, we decided to continue south to Bequia. We were ready to leave at 6.30am and started to raise the anchor but it was stuck. It's chain was attached to a lump of concrete about 6ft square and a foot thick with a steel post and lots of rope and chain on it.

We think it must have been part of a harbour wall at some time. We managed to lift it slightly and motored into shallower water about 10ft deep. Fortunately a nice French fisherman came to our rescue and after he and Mike free dived on it for 4 hours we were free. We finally started our journey at 10.30am!

4 hours into the trip our autohelm stopped working again so back to hand steering. Then later in the afternoon our genoa came down, the halyard splice had broken. I started to cook tea and found we had weevils in the pasta, what else could go wrong!
Apart from that, it was a great sail and we got to Bequia in 30 hours.

In true Bequia style it took us 5 attempts to get our anchor to set. After the sail we had an early night to be woken at 4.30 by the boat touching the bottom so it was re-anchoring time again! After that we did not do very much just had a relaxing time and met up with another couple we had previously met in St Maarten.

We left Bequia and had a terrific sail to the Tobago Cays (working autopilot!) hoping to get some good snorkeling. BUT we could not snorkel there as the sea was too rough and the night was rougher even than if we were sailing! So we left early morning for Union Island. We had an exciting time with a number of squalls going through and up to 40 knots of wind. A good forecast was planned for Monday so that was when we decided to leave for Trinidad.


We left for Trinidad Monday lunch time as planned and had a great sail with lots of phosphorescence and a lovely starry night and smooth sea. We were doing so well that we had to heave to while having tea and reduce sail to slow us down. Otherwise, we would have arrived in the dark. The autohelm was still not working so the wind vane steering came into its own and did a great job except when the wind went below 10 knots.

We anchored in Chaguaramas and recovered for the day before moving to Crews Inn marina where we spent 2 days washing the boat and sails! Then we were lifted and are now busy preparing the bottom for anti fouling, changing the cutlass bearing and generally getting the boat ready to leave for a while.

Its very tiring and we are both looking forward to a rest and a holiday when we get home. Our flight home leaves Thursday morning so time is running out. Still, what doesn't get done will wait until we get back!!!!

We have also made time to have some fun and had a great time watching the giant leather back turtles nesting. Our night vision monocle was great as you can not have any lights other than the 10 minutes when they are laying when you are also allowed to touch them. We have also had nights out with friends we met in Crews Inn and a couple we met in Antigua. Still, this makes the 6.30 am starts even harder.

So, we will pause the blog for a bit until we return to Trinidad in August.

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