So we are back in Martinique again after the one week shake down cruise. The crew now know how to set the wind vane, run the engine, light the cooker and many of the other 1000 things you need to know in order to sail a yacht all the way back to Sweden.
We had a good and quick sail. Along the coasts of St Vincent and St Lucia, we must have had a helping current; the speed was very good. Only when we came to the channel between St Lucia and Martinique, we had a opposing current…
Anyway, since the crew will want to provision, we anchored close to the supermarkets.
On the way in to Le Marin, we saw a boat beached on the reef. It must have happened quite recently and there was someone in the cockpit, waiting for help, which hopefully was on its way.
Outside the big horse shoe reef of Tobago Cays, there is a smaller horsehoe reef with a small island – Petit tabac. We passed a catamaran anchored in the bay entrance, and achored on 3 m depth.
The island has a lot of coco nut palm trees and some guys from the UK were trying to get some and to open them on the beach. The beach has soft, rather course white sand and the reef not far away. We did some snorkeling and then raised the anchor to move to Canouan before sunset.
Canouan was a disapointment. The bay is nice and not very crowded. Why was evident when we came into town. Charlestown is a small village with many run down houses. The few nice ones did not compensate, so this is not a place to spend a long time…
Tobago cays are one of the few places in the carribean area that I really wanted to visit. We moved from Mayreau to an anchor position just inside the horse shoe reef:
The water colour is just unbelievable. However, the reef was a disapointment. Most of the reef is dead and brown. There are a few live corall spots and some colorfull fish, but most is a dull brown.
After the first snorkeling event and some refreshments, we went to dive in an area for turtles. Indeed, there was a lot of turtles. Wherever you looked, there was two or three… We also say a manta ray swimming slowly along the bottom.
For the night, we moved to a place behind one of the small, deserted islands:
Tobago cays lie some 25 miles south of Bequia, so there is a 5 hour sail to get there. We got under way just before 12, and had a good sail (some rough seawhen the Atlantic came through the channels though…).
However, when we came close to the cays, the sun was low, so we were hesitant to go in between the corall heads. We decided to go to Mayreau instead. We dropped the anchor in Salt Wistle bay:
The bay is small and has a beautiful beach, lined with palm trees. There are some bungalows behind the trees, but these are not seen from the water.
When my crew had arrived, we spent the first morning to bying supplies for a week and then checking out of Martinique. We tried to stow all the luggage as best we could and, after refuelling, we set sail for Bequia (thus bypassing both St Lucia and St Vincent).
A stop outside the harbour allowed a quick dive into the sea and then we were off. The wind was SE as usual, so the course was on the wind. The speed was not great, but the sea was not very rough, so it was a good sail.
The french Marines came with a low flying helicopter to check us out on the way. After sunset the wind died down so we started the engine and used that for most of the night. It was a beautiful night with warm air and lots of stars. There were also a lot of other boats out, so vigilance and a good look at the radar screen was needed.
The going was good during the night so by daybreak we were approaching Bequia. The crew saw a whale jumping. We took a mooring in the harbour:
Clearing in into St Vincent and the Grenadines was a lot of paperwork and some fees… but then we went to the fruit market and bought a big bag full of different fruit (expensive, but…)
I have decided not to sail the boat back to Seden. In order to get the boat back, I have investigated a lot of different alternatives… (Selling it in the carribean area, Shipping it back, hiring a crew and trading cruising time for delivery).
For the last alternative, I found a crew that are willing to sail the boat back to Sweden in return for some time to cruise the carribean.
In order for them to learn the boat, we will sail together for a week before I fly home.
The crew has started their own blog for the trip. Check it out at: http://www.loveforsail.se/
They arrived in Martinique on March 10. I was able to get a place in the marina, so we could load the luggage directly onto the boat and did not have to use the dinghy.
It was difficult to get a place and the marine was a difficult to communicate with. I got no confirmation, but was tolt to check on VHF now and then. Finally, I got the place just an hour before I hade to go to the airport. The marina people helped me to moor and I had time for a quick wash off of the boat with fresh water, before getting into the rented car.