The Beginning of our Route Northward
Trip Start Dec 09, 2006
217Trip End Ongoing
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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
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
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
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.