The Beginning of our Route Northward

Trip Start Dec 09, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Grenadines/St Vincent  , Grenadines,
Monday, January 24, 2011

On January 19 we left Prickly Bay, rounded the SW point of Grenada and turned right - marking the start of our long trip back north. But this day we were taking just a short step, with destination Dragon Bay, near Moliniere Point on the west coast, just a couple miles north of St. George's.  At Moliniere Point is a fascinating, recently created, underwater sculpture gallery viewable by snorkelers and divers.  We went by dinghy from our mooring ball in Dragon Bay the short distance to the area of the gallery and tied the dinghy to an available dive mooring.  The water proved to be fairly cloudy, so visibility was limited and we swam off to scout for the sculptures.  We finally figured out that they seemed to be centered most in sandy areas not far from each of the placed dive mooring balls. The sculptures are of several forms, usually made of carved stone, concrete or metals, and are predominately human forms or likenesses.  One highlight is a circle of standing, full size people, consisting of some 24 individuals, standing on the sand bottom and holding hands looking outward from the circle—quite the amazing sight in 20 feet of water!  We had a fun time trying to find all the other sculptures (there is no chart for this activity!) and we knew there were several dozen in all that could be found.

The next day we departed Dragon Bay and the island of Grenada for Carriacou (which belongs to Grenada).  We left just after dawn for an approximate 30-mile sail (if we could go the straight line route).  Because the wind was from the NE this meant we needed to sail upwind the entire distance--lengthened by having to zigzag tacking back and forth.  We encountered a few squalls along the way (aka morning showers).  The good news is that it did stop raining once we cleared the north coast of Grenada!  The wind was 20-25 kts and the seas were lumpy so it was a long slog.  Nonetheless, we resisted the temptation to douse the sails and just motor into the wind.  Since we profess to be sailors, we held out for sailing (isn't that what we came to these islands to do and what our boat is supposed to excel at???), which resulted in us going quite a bit west from the straight line route before tacking back to the east.  This caused us to enter the exclusion zone and pass almost directly over the submerged active volcano in the area known as "Kick 'em Jenny".  Fortunately, she's in a quiet period with the exclusion zones basically irrelevant, allowing us to pass safely, and we arrived at Hillsborough, Carriacou just after noon to clear out with Grenada Customs and Immigration.  We spent the night near Hillsborough harbor on a mooring ball beside a small, uninhabited sandy island called - Sandy Island.  Lovely, despite the soon-to-arrive rain.  No rain, no rainbows! 

It is still too early in the season yet for the trade winds to shift a little south of east to permit easier "northing".  We are still getting northerly-influenced winds from weather activity in the north Atlantic and Canadian Maritimes.  Pas de Deux 's design emphasizes upwind capability and we’ve seen few boats willing to move north with us.  Sailing upwind is slower and harder work and we cannot imagine trying to do it in some other boats, which may explain why we haven’t see many others moving with us.  The following day we departed to sail upwind yet again.  Our first leg would be a shorter distance to Clifton, Union Island, St. Vincent and The Grenadines (SVG) to clear back into that country.  Then we would continue northward via the Tobago Cays once again for a few more days of snorkeling.

Enroute to Clifton we were hailed on the VHF radio by friends Hank and Seale on sistership S/V FLASH, who suspected we were probably heading north from Grenada by now.  Not only were they right about our itinerary but coincidently they were at anchor in Clifton Harbor, our destination!  Upon arrival around 1000 we anchored near FLASH and joined Hank and Seale ashore after we navigated the customs formalities.  It was a fun and pleasant reunion - but a short one as we continued on to the Tobago Cays that afternoon as planned.  This was a short motor directly upwind (too many reefs to consider tacking the course back and forth).  We anchored in the Cays near our previous spot here in early January to re-visit the beautiful patch reefs we had seen.  There were even fewer boats this time, but rougher weather conditions.  We jumped in the water after arrival but the water was so stirred up that we gave it up for the day.  The following early morning saw a couple of significant 30-knot squalls and we could see more coming.  The entire day proved to be a washout.  Good thing Donna had bargained the harbor patrol down to giving a night free for the purchase of two! 

The third day we got a break in the weather with conditions calming enough to clear the water and allow for snorkeling.  Hank and Seale had decided to make their way up from Clifton to spend the day at the Cays and we made plans to link up for the “slow current” time of day to take a trip to the outer reef where we could drift the dinghy and take turns snorkeling the wall of the reef.  On this outer edge of the reef, the deep drop-off offers a wall of rock and coral formations amongst which swim many large schools of fish.  This looked to be prime scuba diving territory and visibility was very good all the way to the bottom of the reef wall, probably 75 feet down, and continuing down from there….

After snorkeling the wall, Donna swam through the dinghy cut with Dave following in the dinghy so that she could take a look at the reef’s pass-thru.  Then she climbed aboard and we set out to anchor in sand at a couple other positions where we could snorkel more patch reefs inside the horseshoe reef.  Dave was exhausted at a point so Donna jumped one more time in the water to explore what appeared to be a couple more reefs but turned out to be large patches of a tough grass-like plant.  Here she was able to watch a very large ray snuggle into the grasses from time to time as it swam about.  She rejoined Dave in the dinghy to head back finally to the boat for a long-deserved rest.

On January 24th we departed the Tobago Cays for another upwind sail to the private island of Mustique, holiday home to the rich and famous.  We hope to catch some of the annual Mustique Jazz and Blues festival held at the famous Basil’s Bar.  Our route departing the Cays took us along the shores of Petit Tabac, the smallest and easternmost Cay where Captain Jack Sparrow (aka Johnny Depp of Pirates of the Caribbean fame) was marooned.
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