Weeks ago, a gang of semi-inebriated cruisers, rums and beers in hand, decided we should take a trip out of Grenada. The idea was to head up to Carriacou – the island with over a hundred rum shops and only one gas station - then further up to the Grenadines.
And finally on Tuesday, three boats and their crews lifted anchor from southern Grenada and headed to sea.
For JW and I, this was the maiden voyage away from Grenada’s shores, since we picked up Shiloh in April. And, we had crew!
I have belaboured this – but I will say again that we have met a disproportionate number of amazing people since we arrived in the Caribbean, and this group is no exception. Our crew is Leslie, who has her own Cat, but who’s husband is a helicopter pilot and is away on a contract. She naively accepted the offer to join the gang aboard Shiloh. She may not have believed me when I told her of my complete lack of experience.
Needless to say, she’s been a godsend as far as her sailing experience goes, and it has come in handy a few times. She’s also a great cook and she plays Scrabble! Basically she rocks.
And so we headed off, three cats in a row, out into the lumpy bumpy seas.
|SV Chaotic Harmony embarking on the journey|
|One of our 'fleet' SV Avatar arriving at Tyrrell Bay|
We played with our sails, tried the jib first and then the main, but had to motor as well, since the wind was not cooperating, and was hitting us straight on the nose the whole way. (I realise this all sounds like I know what I’m talking about or at least the lingo, which is great. The truth is that I obeyed a few orders about which rope to pull or loosen, and watched the sails go up or down. Still not sure how it all works with the wind and angles and sails… But it seems I have actually picked up some of the terms of the trade!)
The whole journey took just less than 8 hours, and we spent that time doing sail adjustments, listening to music, reading, holding on through the bigger waves and basically enjoying the ocean, the sun and the huge cloud patches around and above us.
|Our first evening - sunset on the beach with rum punches!|
We’re three days in now, and Tyrrell Bay in Carriacou has been a great host, despite 30 knot winds and a bit of rain. We’ve had barbeques on the beach and on our boats, and we took a group walk up through her lush forests, and glimpsed the windward side of the island, with it’s crashing waves, from high above. Of course this was followed by an impromptu beer party on the beach.
|A view of Shiloh in the centre of the bay, from Slipway restaurant on the beach - Tyrrell Bay|
We toured the mangroves, a waterway lined with thick salt water trees, whose stems are laden with oysters. The shallow inlet apparently holds over 200 boats during hurricanes. As we calmly motored through, it seemed surreal that a place like this could be the home to so many huge boats, tied up close to the oyster clumped roots, bashing about in waves and wind, waiting out mother nature’s most ruthless storms.
|A look at the mangroves up close|
|A view of the mangroves from our hike up the hill|
|A Carriacou school girl we met on our walk|
|Simon a local entrepreneur (who charged us a hefty amount to fill our water jugs), on his boat|
We are planning to move to Sandy Island and White Island (each less than an hour sail) and then back to Carriacou’s capital Hillsborough to ‘check out’ of the country before heading to Union Island and beyond.
But the wind has other ideas for now. And so we play Scrabble, test the famous (or infamous) pizza at the Lazy Turtle on the beach, do some laundry, swim around with eels, lobsters and sea urchins, and perhaps check out one or two of the 135 or so rum shops.
Still haven’t seen the one gas station.