Off The Hook

Date: 5 May 2019

Location:  Anchored Buccoo Bay, Tobago  LAT 11° 10.826  LON 060° 48.608

Weather: Mostly Sunny, Mid 80’s, Winds E 20 -25 Knots

While swinging peacefully at anchor in Young’s Cut on the southern tip of St Vincent waiting for The Admiral come aboard, Captain Brian and TreeBeard decide to get their blood pumping a little and venture up to the North shore and challenge “La Soufrière Volcano”. Still considered “active” with a pinch of steam leeching out of the lava dome although the last eruption was 40 years ago in 1979.  A vertical of about 3,800 feet over 3 ½ miles to the summit has The Captain puffing a little bit as they attack the slope. They pass thru distinct changes in the landscape on the way up to the crater passing thru a thick, wet rain forest that engulfs before approaching the carter. The jungle gives way to an open area of wind sweep, low scrub bushes then the path turns rocky and steeper. The scenery and good weather made the hike enjoyable and interesting.  Returning to PAWS in the late afternoon they join Deck Swab Mike for a Burger and some Rum at Blue Lagoon Marina and celebrate another sunset.

Meanwhile, Back at The Cut, Deck Swab Mike got a surprise from Nancy “Commander” Ashcraft who decided to join our Crew while The Admiral is aboard. Her travel saga worked out a little better than The Admirals but required an overnight flight and extended layover times as well. Charles Tango provides the airport rides and Sea Tigger brings the new crew out to PAWS. The Commander completely surprises Deck Swab when she boards. She quickly gets settled and is in the water in record time determined to enjoy her vacation to the fullest.

The Admiral arrives with tales of her experience from Charleston to St. Vincent. Limited flights and changes to airline schedules made it a bit of an adventure requiring an overnight stay in Barbados. The views as they crossed over Eleuthera in the Bahamas made the delays tolerable. Ironically, this was the same area we sailed over back in January, 2018. She says the endless long white sandbars stretching across the blue waters were breathtaking – however, I distinctly remember that is NOT what she said about those very same sandbars when we were stuck on one for 8 hours waiting for the tide to rise.

Consolidating down to 2 bags in Barbados, The Admiral shares a ride with Boat Captain Clyde to the airport for the short hop to St Vincent.  The LAIT agent eyes her Passport and One-Way Flight ticket and asks for a copy PAWS Boat Documentation. Seems The Captain screwed up and did not provide copy but she prevails using her return flight ticket from Grenada as evidence she isn’t going to stay forever. Once cleared, she’s on a mission for coffee finding an Italian Coffee bar and a piece of homemade apple cinnamon bread. Magically her day starts to look better. Arriving in St Vincent she gets to do the Immigration and Customs dance one last time before finding The Captain and Charlie Tango waiting to take her to PAWS!

A quick lunch before we weigh anchor for the short sail to Bequia where we grab a mooring and Commander Nancy and Captain take Sea Tigger to make a grocery run. On board, The Admiral’s Type A kicks in as she leaps into action with her white gloves cleaning the remaining dust and clutter in the Master Berth that somehow was overlooked during The Captains earlier efforts. With clean sheets and fresh pillows on the berth she can now get a good night’s sleep.

Meanwhile, Deck Swab and TreeBeard zero in on the floating boat bar moored about 30 meters away. The Captain and The Commander return to Paws and grab The Admiral to go scout the shoreline for a place for dinner. Wandering along the sidewalk that circles the Bay are a dozen restaurants. Maybe it was the décor or more likely it was the conch fritter appetizers that caught The Admiral’s attention but they decide on Mac’s Pizza.  The fritters were followed by a couple of large “Meat Pizza’s” to make The Captain happy.

Up early to enjoy the beautiful sunshine and soft breezes with Coffee brewing, the crew enjoys a quiet morning. They are greeted by the local “bread boat” and despite The Captains STRICT rule, The Admiral decides some “Banana Bread” would be nice and further decides to keep the transgression a secret by rationalizing to herself that “what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him”. She enjoys the contraband with fresh fruit while I trembles in fear for what is to come.

After breakfast, snorkeling gear is gathered up and the crew launches Sea Tigger to explore Devil’s Table Reef off the NW point of the bay. They report seeing colorful fish and are happy to get some morning exercise. Back to PAWS for a light lunch and afternoon siesta before heading to shore for a walk and a cool drink at the “almost famous”  Whalebone Bar. The décor inspires The Captain to get a Whale Tooth necklace from a local vendor.

Slipping the mooring early, we enjoy a downwind sail in Charlestown Bay, Canouan. With the anchor dropped, The Commander and The Admiral team up to fix egg sandwiches with bacon and cheese for brunch making the crew very happy. Afterward stuffing his belly, “someone” (no names here – but starts with a C and ends with N with a aptai in the middle) thinks that a swim to shore for exercise would be fun. He will remember to put on fins the next time he has such a great idea. Twenty or so minutes later, he crawls up on shore and finds a chair under the shade to recover. My crew enjoyed a day of relaxing on the beach with Pain Killers. Sea Tigger rescues them for the return the trip back to PAWS.

TreeBeard serves as our French Chef for the evening whipping up curry eggplant with chicken, peppers, onions cooked with coconut milk served over rice. Fresh fruit with ice cream for dessert.

The Crew wakes to another beautiful morning and soon The Admiral has coffee waiting on deck. Deck Swab takes a turn in the Galley, whipping up pancakes and bacon before our sail south. Time constraints require we bypass the Tobago Cays and head directly to Sandy Island passing between Mayreau and the Cays.  The first part of the sail was sunny with light winds but just as we arrived abeam Union Island “The CURSE of the BANANA”, teaming up with Mother Nature, decides it’s time for a lesson to remind all aboard who is really in charge. The Rain comes down and the Winds howl.  I’m happy to say The Captain and TreeBeard handled it well reefing quickly to reduce my sail and ease out my main sheet to depower bringing PAWS and the Crew thru safely. My AIS worked overtime allowing us to avoid getting tangled up with “M/V Sea Spray” that was using its Romulan Cloaking Device (a.k.a. – blinding rain) on this IFR sailing day! She obviously saw us on her AIS as well as we both made slight course deviations to Starboard before she emerged like a Ghost Ship out of the curtain of water about 50 meters off our bow. As we passed each other the Captains shared a salute.  Hopefully that will be sufficient restitution for The Admirals early transgressions.

After the storm passes, The Captain offers Deck Swab a chance to redeem himself at the helm and has him steer us into the Lee of Sandy Island. Rounding up in the wind to take a mooring just off the beach. Some sandwiches for lunch then Commander Nancy, Deck Swab and TreeBeard take to the water for some snorkeling on a nearby reef at the E end of the spit while Captain and Admiral perform a few boat chores. In the evening, we marveled at the awesome Sunset made more spectacular by the storm clouds that had moved off to the west and are now on the horizon.

The morning brings a true southern breakfast featuring eggs, bacon and grits (with cheese) on deck overlooking the Bay followed by a swim over the reef to the beach for some exploration. A large school of cuddle fish escort the crew along with a couple of large Parrot fish and hundreds of colorful reef fish that darted around the coral. No beach barbecue today so PAWS galley was open for lunch. Boat life many times requires you to use what you have on board and The Admiral never ceases to amaze offering up Chicken, pasta and avocado salad. After lunch, Sea Tigger gets a new prop for her outboard engine as the original prop sheered its rubber shaft hub which causes it to spin free at higher RPM under heavy loads – maybe an aftershock from “The CURSE of the BANANA”????

Supper was enjoyed on shore across the Bay at “Off The Hook Beach Bar and Grille”. Chicken wings appetizers, grilled fish, salad, and fried potatoes made for a delicious meal all while relaxing on the beach watching the Sunset. The crew enjoyed talking with a young backpacking couple from Germany working their way thru the Islands. While sipping on Rum they were also entertained by some charter folks with children from the UK. Water, sand and sun can work up an appetite and produce some active kids.

“The CURSE of The BANANA” had one final memorable message for The Crew making the trip back to PAWS after dark on Sea Tigger. Deck Swab, The Commander and The Admiral loaded in Sea Tigger as Captain and TreeBeard shoved her off the beach against the waves. During the ride back, the evening showers sprang to life and the wind picked up. Waves made their way over the bow of Sea Tigger and the rain came down. No real danger, but certainly made for a damp ride. Felt like The Gordan Fishermen, minus his Yellow Rain Gear! Once they got home, a warm fresh water shower was a nice luxury.

An early morning sail back to St. George Harbour, Grenada required Coffee on deck at 0500. We slipped the mooring and the Winds cooperated. Had a few light passing showers along the way arriving around 1230 with plans to meet friends at Umbrella’s restaurant on Grand Anse Beach for lunch.

It was a short ride to shore, but due to the swell they had to anchor Sea Tigger out and swim in. Lucky for them, the restaurant has a shower to wash off the sand and salt. They met our friends M&M, and munched on conch fritters, salads and sandwiches. The Pain Killers deserved a mention as well. The Captain mentioned his plan to remain at anchor for the evening, but The Admiral pulled rank and “suggested” we get a berth in the Marina for the evening so crew departure on Tuesday morning would be a little easier. Sometimes (ok – most times), The Admiral has good ideas. After spending the afternoon on the beach, the crew walked ½ mile down the shoreline to a hotel dock to get into Sea Tigger without having to swim and crawl over the sides into the dinghy. TreeBread made the sacrifice to swim out and take her over to the dock so the more experienced (i.e. – older, out of shape) crew members could board a bit easier! Back to PAWS, we weighed anchor and headed into to the marina.

This time the crew managed to secure me at the dock without scraping up my skin.  Stephanie and Tim from “S/V Endless Pleasure” hailed us and recommended joining them at Patrick’s located just outside the marina on the main road for a last meal. The evening was truly a true taste of Grenada, “Tapas” served family style. If you think only a spoonful from a platter won’t fill you up, you are mistaken. At least not if it’s a spoonful from 10 different platters which is then topped off with fruit cake, whip cream and “Under the Table Spiced Rum” for dessert.  They tell me everyone was filled to the brim. The party of 9 truly enjoyed the festive evening. After pictures, Commander Nancy, Deck Swab Mike and Admiral Joyce, bid M&M a final farewell before an evening walk back to PAWS then it’s lights out with full stomachs!

Up with the sun and their last coffee in my cockpit before the crew departs for home.

The Captain gathers everyone’s passport and my Boat Papers to clear in/out of Grenada. Easy stroll down the dock to PAWS to get bags packed and crew was ready for departure. Stephanie arranged for “Yellow” to transport them to airport. The pictures says it all.

A fun week that ended too soon. The Commander and Admiral must return to the working world of the hospital and Deck Swab must return to whatever it is that Deck Swab does. Thankful for sunny skies, fair winds, and a wonderful new engine, PAWS had another great adventure.

After The Admiral’s departure, Paws heads back out to anchor in St Georges Bay off Grande Anse Beach plans are made for our next move.  Finally received word from the Rigger that the section of Forestay we’ve been waiting on has finally arrived so the short term plan is over to Clarkes Court and the boatyard. The Stay was slightly damaged back in mid November when we hauled out and although The Captain was unaware of the damage at first, he noticed a dented section during our time in the Yard. He asked me about it and I mentioned that yard crew bumped it against the cross beam of The Big Blue Crawler. It didn’t hurt real bad but The Captain and Yard Manager discussed it and decided to have a new section fitted.

We motor around the southwest point of the island and leaving Seringapatam Shoals to Port. While at the dock, we also planned to have the strata glass in the dodger replaced and a few zippers and seams re-stitched. The Yamster is also due to receive her 50 hour checkup and warranty certification. The short trip starts out with a bit of rain and the E wind smacks us in the face as we round the point but we fight thru it and arrive around noon only to find the dock we were scheduled to tie on is unavailable. The yard is hauling out a 230 ton barge with The Big Blue Crawler that is only rated for 210 tons.  We stand off to wait for things to settle down. The Crawler shows her muscle and eventually gets the big boy up and out. The Captain maneuvers me into place and gets me tied up for the work to begin. The Rigger gets started but no surprise, there are several unforeseen issues and challenges getting things done so it looks like we will be here overnight.

Early afternoon the following day the Forestay section is replaced, the Yankee is hanked on and the The Yamster has her fluids changed and is checked out. We are more than ready to depart Clarkes Bay. Captain fires up the engine and instruments and quickly notes one last challenge to overcome. Despite the Dock Master’s repeated assurances that there was a minimum 3 meters (a little under 10 feet) at the dock at low tide, PAWS finds her 8 ½ foot keel in the muck. Departure is delayed as we wait for the Moon and Mother Nature to do their thing and bring us a little more water.

The wait is not too bad and soon the Tide does what the Tide does and we are free from the clutches of the mud ready to engage the Hyper Drive to escape the Black Hole of Clarkes Court Bay (hopefully for the last time). We joyfully head back over to St Georges Harbour where the water is cleaner and the scenery is better to wait for the canvas work to come back before heading south.

My crew joins our friends Tim and Steph from Catermaran “S/V Endless Pleasure” and tender over to Morne Rouge Beach, a “locals” beach away from the tourists and crowds. Captain was able to find himself a nice shady spot under a tree with a lounge chair. Later in the morning they are joined by Janet and Larry on “S/V J-Lynn” and munch on Fish Tacos at La Plywood Beach Bar (low overhead at this place according to The Captain) and then everyone piles on “S/V Endless Pleasure” to watch the latest episode of Game Of Thrones.

TreeBeard is low profile today. Seems he had a few too many beers and a little more Rum than his skinny frame can handle and spends the day in his bunk while The Captain did some boat chores.

“S/V Endless Pleasure” departs today for St Vincent to meet their next charter flying in from the US as my crew catches up with Janet and Larry for a repeat at La Playwood for more Fish Tacos and Double Cheeseburgers. Plans are made to relocate to Prickly Bay in the morning to meet the canvas dude and make the final preparations to head south. A short sail and we drop anchor off SGU University Club near “S/V J-Lynn” to make use of their pool. The Club has housing and a conference center for visiting and short term faculty working at the Veterinarian and Medical Schools here on the Islands. First class place for the folks to stay.

Canvas dude delivers repaired Dodger canvas and crew reinstalls it in the cockpit. I’m starting to feel whole again and can now keep the rain from coming down the companionway. In the evening my Crew heads over to Prickly Bay Marina (basically a dingy dock) for some “Live” music at the Tiki Bar consisting of a steel drum act and then a three member band of local talent.

For a change of scenery, and to position ourselves to allow Sea Tigger to take Captain to Customs and Immigration for departure check out, we relocate to Secret Harbour along with “S/V J-Lynn”.  Entering the harbour requires careful maneuvering thru the reefs to keep my new painted keel from getting scrapped up but once in provides great protection.

On Easter Sunday, Sea Tigger takes my crew over to Whisper Cove for a final Sunday Brunch with M&M, Janet and Larry and then to La Phare Bleu to enjoy the pool and finally Hog Island for the afternoon band party. The evening is spent at the local bowling alley in town to catch the weekly installment of Game of Thrones on the big screen. Captain tells me it turned out to be a disappointment as the sound was very poor. Says he will need to re-watch that episode. Back at the Secret Harbour Marina, the Captain meets up with two new crew he has been talking with that are joining us for points south. Anastasia and Danila (sic) bring some more international flavor to the crew. Both were born and raised in Russia and are backpacking along with sailing around the world.

Up this morning the Captain decides to give the new crew members a day to get adjusted and settled in before departing.  They enjoy the pool at the University Club, pick up a few provisions from a local store and clear out at Customs. The evening finds all my crew over on “S/V J-Lynn” for a rousing game of Mexican Dominoes and a nice meal.  Setting sail for Trinidad is on the schedule for the morning.

Joyce & Brian Clark

S/V Pawsitive Latitude



One thought on “Off The Hook

  1. Good ship log. Happy Birthday Capt Clark, Brian. FYI ran into Jonny Simpson your old elec mate and we did a sail together way back when. Hi to all. Rick

    Sent from my iPad


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