The Voyage of Vagus V
Year 1
Tobago Cays, The Grenadines
Start Date: March 15th, 2005 Location: Tobago Cays, The Grenadines
End Date: March 15th, 2005
Cruising Again

After our launch, we settled into life at anchor in Prickly Bay. It was now time to get Vagus ready to go Cruising. There were a lot of boats in the anchorage in the same situation. Many of them were waiting for parts to be made or shipped in, and many were waiting for a new mast. Masts were in short supply and some people did not expect to get their mast until the fall. So all in all, we were lucky as we were able to get our major repairs done in four months. Our days were spent going to the automatic cash withdrawal unit at the local bank to withdraw our daily maximum in $EC, then going to the riggers to pay part of our bill in cash. They offered a discount for cash and as our insurance has still not come through, we were trying to minimize costs. I also got to send Karen up to the top of the mast to retrieve a jammed halyard (I jammed it). We first had to wait until the roll in the bay settled down. Early one morning, the bay was calm enough and Karen volunteered. She enjoyed hanging around 50 feet above the water. I think that was because that was the farthest she could get away from me on a 36 foot boat. We spent several days with the engine apart as I tried to get cooling water to come out the exhaust end. Water coming out the exhaust is very important to prevent overheating of the engine - no water is a bad sign. After several attempts - you never get it on the first one - I found the problem and the engine happily gurgled away after starting. We then did a fuel run to top up our diesel tank. This exercise involved getting a few cruisers together, ferrying our empty containers by dinghy to the nearby dock, and hiring a taxi to take us to the local gas station so we could fill our fuel containers. Nothing is simple. We also arranged airline tickets for our trek home and Haul-out for Vagus in Trinidad. We have discovered it is much cheaper and more convenient to fly out of Trinidad to Toronto so have decided to store Vagus in Trinidad this year. While in Prickly we saw many huge and interesting boats come to anchor in the outer part of the Bay. One was a magnificent sailboat called Endeavor - a very large J Boat that was originally built in the 1920's, extensively rebuilt a few years ago and is a beautiful classic design. The mast was 184 feet high and the mainsail dwarfed all the other sails in the anchorage. Karen said she wouldn't volunteer to go up THAT mast. It was something to see in person. As well, our British friends made a concerted effort to get me to pronounce my "t's". I believe that I can now saw "wah Ter" with the best of them. We got together with some friends, hired a taxi and went to the Aquarium restaurant for lunch and a snorkel on the reef in front of the restaurant. It was a great afternoon. We had by that time completed our "must do" list and were getting ready to leave. The weather was looking good so we called into the local VHF Net on Friday morning to say goodbye to all the people that we had met. A number of people showed up at De Big Fish that night to wish us well. It was amazing that we had been four months in Grenada. During that time we made many friends and got to know the island and some of the people. It was hard to say good bye but it was time to move on. We plan to return.

Saturday morning found us raising anchor and heading into the wind and waves. We rounded the bottom, western corner of Grenada, raised all our sails, turned off the motor and headed North. Although we were quite anxious at actually moving the boat (hopefully everything was working), we had a great sail. Princess One-tack was on board so we managed to sail from the bottom of Grenada to Tyrrel Bay in Carriacou (about 40 miles) on one tack - all at near hull speed. We even managed to miss the underwater volcano at the top of Grenada. There is a 1.5 kilometer exclusion zone around the volcano as it has been known to burp. Sailing in the lee of the island was beautiful as the winds were fresh and there were no waves. It was a bit rough after leaving the protection of the island of Grenada, but Vagus did well. We were still looking for our sea legs.

We pulled into Carriacou about 1400 and anchored in a Tyrrel Bay. It was nice to see homes with roofs on - not blue tarps. Carriacou had high winds when Ivan came through but did not experience the degree of damage that occurred in Grenada. Carriacou is still part of the nation of Grenada and is a nice, laid-back, little island. Many cruisers make this their home base. It is an island known for having a hundred rum shops and only one gas station. We did a little exploring on foot (we found the gas station but did not frequent the rum shops) and visited the Carriacou Yacht Club. Karen insisted I buy a yacht club ball cap as my present cap had been through too many boat projects and was looking a little disreputable. I thought that I was fitting right into the cruiser scene (I believe she said that was the problem). We took the local bus into Hillsborough - the main town in Carriacou - and walked the town. We had lunch at a restaurant by the beach and checked the stores for fresh produce. Produce was in short supply as it seems they bring it over from Grenada. We weren't able to get much while in Grenada and had been hoping for better luck in Carriacou! We did manage to get some local lettuce but that was all. While in Hillsborough we checked out of Grenada for the next day. This greatly simplified our leaving the next morning.

So after four days in Carriacou we went to Clifton,Union Island, to check in to the Island Nation of St. Vincent and The Grenadines. We were heading North and the wind was heading South so we motor sailed. We anchored in Clifton Harbour, put the motor on the dinghy, went to shore, walked to the airport, cleared through Customs and Immigration, went back to the boat, took the motor off the dinghy (we do not pull the dinghy with the motor on), had lunch, raised anchor and were on our way after a 1 hour stop over. From Clifton we motored up to Salt Whistle Bay in the island of Mayreau. This anchorage is picture-perfect. We looked out a long, curved sandy beach shaded by palm trees. The trade winds blew through the palms keeping the anchorage cool. It was a lovely bay and we stayed 4 nights. We wandered the beach trails (there is a $500/night resort hidden in the palms) and walked uphill to the town. We had a fantastic view from the top of the hill of the Tobago Cays and the surrounding islands. At the town, the people were very friendly. We bought fresh-baked bread at a local restaurant. It was so fresh we had to wait for it to come out of the oven. During that time we got the low-down on the island from Carlton, a local boy home from school in St. Vincent. We got to sample lobster from Joseph, a local boat vendor. Joseph came by our boat with a huge catch of lobster still wriggling and we took him up on his offer of barbecuing a lobster for us. Later that day, he showed up at our boat with barbecued lobster ready to go. It was beautifully done and enough for two nights dinner. The only draw back in the anchorage was that it was close to the Moorings charter base in Canouan and a "must stop" for the charterers. The bay is small so it filled with a late afternoon rush of charter boats and boats were anchored close. Generally the charterers did a good job of anchoring; it was just that the charter boats were so big and the anchorage so small. The typical charter boats seem to be in the 45 foot range with Cat boats going up to 57 feet. When several of these catamaran's come in, they take up a big area. These also look huge when beside you.

On Monday, March 14th, we decided to go to the Tobago Cays. The Cays are only about 4 miles from Mayreau. So after a leisurely breakfast, we raised anchor at 1000 and motored over. By leaving at this time, the sun was overhead when we reached the Cays so we could see the reefs and water depth. The Cays are another "must stop" and are basically a few small islands surrounded by a large horseshoe reef. You anchor in sand behind the reef and look out at the Atlantic - the next land mass is Africa. The reef stops the Atlantic waves but you get the full force of the trade winds. The winds are great for our wind generator and and we have been running our water maker to fill our tanks since we got here. The best description of the Cays is it is like swimming in an aquarium. The water is crystal clear (same as the Bahamas), and the fish life and reefs are abundant. There are many moorings for our dinghy so we can snorkel different reef areas. The islands have sandy beaches and hiking trials to explore. We had a 5 foot barracuda take up station below our boat yesterday afternoon. He liked the shade below Vagus and hovered beneath the boat. However I think our afternoon swim put him off and he moved on - perhaps for dinner. So we are busy studying our fish books and are off on a fish identification challenge. With so many fish, it is hard to remember which ones we have seen when we get back to the boat. So each time we snorkel Karen and I pick a fish from the book, read about it's behaviour, and go find one or more to observe. We will let you know when we find Nemo!

Copyright © 2003-2005 Jim and Karen Lait
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