Part 3 – Antigua to Grenada via the Grenadines
It was then off to the south again, stopping briefly at Deshaies Guadeloupe, where we saw the start of the 42 nm Guadeloupe to Antigua Race. Sadly this year there were only 8 entrants compared to 25 in 2009 – perhaps crews flying out from Europe fell victim to the Icelandic volcanic ash?
Les Saintes was our stop for a few days where we enjoyed swimming and snorkelling again. We fled from there to Dominica earlier than planned – a good move because we just missed torrential downpours that engulfed the islands – stayed in Prince Rupert Bay overnight and then had a superb daysail to Grande Anse d’Arlet in Martinique, where Chris was welcomed back for the next two weeks to Grenada.
Caraibe Grement in Marin did a sterling job in repairing our windlass that had been causing us increasing problems in lowering the anchor over the past few weeks. New bearings, seals and rebuild did the trick! Needless to say, we got other miscellaneous work done at the same time.
Chris had complained of an irritated eye which Elaine correctly diagnosed as conjunctivitis, but was failed to be treated effectively in Marin hospital, and only on reaching St Lucia with a trip on Sunday to the private hospital in Castries did Chris begin to benefit from the right treatment. He really suffered but pumped full of antibiotics gradually began feeling better though his right eye was closed for much of the time. By the time we reached Grenada he was fortunately fighting fit again.
Our next stop was the anchorage at Pigeon Island on St Lucia where we managed to locate our next Geocache at sunset right at the top of the hill!
From St Lucia we sailed straight for Bequia, setting off at about 10 am, passing the majestic Pitons again at Soufriere, and then choosing the windward (eastern) side of St Vincent which we cleared in good time before gibing a couple of times and arriving at Admiralty Bay well after dark. This was the first night entry that we have completed in the Caribbean, but we were familiar with the approach having visited twice before.
So we felt it was high time to explore the largest of the Grenadine islands and take a taxi tour, but overall were disappointed as it was not as picturesque as we had imagined. Having said that, the view from the vantage point overlooking Admiralty Bay and Port Elizabeth was stunning in the sunshine.
Most of the roads are really suffering from lack of repair, and rightly or wrongly, one gets the impression of a government doing little to help its people, who seem to be poor by our standards. But all was not lost because Chris managed another two Geocaches, and if we hadn’t gone on tour we wouldn’t have known!
After a brief stop in the fantastic Tobago Cays, which Chris hadn’t visited before, and clearing out at Clifton, Union Island, we were also into new territory – Grenada.
Part of Grenada, our first stop was Hillsborough on the island of Carriacou, where we cleared in and then headed a mile west to anchor off Sandy Island, which is exactly that! A beautiful strip of sand, uninhabited, dotted with a few palms and surrounded by turquoise waters. A great snorkelling destination though unfortunately hurricane Ivan damaged much of the coral and stripped away most of the vegetation. On the other hand it lifted up huge coral pavements onto the shore on the windward side, which has protected the island from further erosion.
We made further overnight stop in Tyrell Bay, which is not as picturesque as we had envisaged, but we enjoyed a simple meal ashore overlooking the bay, so giving Elaine a break from the galley, and it also shaved a few miles off the passage to Grenada.
And so on to anchor at Prickly Bay in Grenada. Having learnt from our windward passage off St Vincent en route to Bequia, we repeated the strategy for Grenada. Benefiting from a constant trade wind as opposed to wind shadow from the hills and mountains makes a huge difference. After an excellent meal ashore on arrival to say goodbye to Chris, he departed for Miami, only to have his flight delayed by 24 hours, and finished up staying in a 5 star hotel, in Grand Anse Bay where we joined him the next afternoon for a swim in the pool.