It’s Downhill from Here

It’s Downhill from Here –  French Guyana to Salvador – June / July 2019

Captain’s Log:   25 July 2019

Location:  Nautico Da Bahia Marina, Salvador, Brazil  LAT 12 56.35 S   LON 38 30.94 W

Weather: Sunny mid 70’s, Breezy

It’s early morning 8 June as Paws makes her approach across the shallow silt filled delta at the entrance to the Maroni. Fortunately, the rising Sun is off the stern making forward visibility good.  The tidal river separates the Dutch Colony of Suriname and French inhabitants of French Guyana. Captain Brian fearlessly navigates through what he tells me are hundreds fishing nets strung up randomly with wooden poles. I’m thinking that this is not going to turn out good – one slip up and we will find ourselves stuck keel deep in the mud with a rope strangling my prop and a hole in my belly.  The water is the color and consistency of chocolate milk swirling around in a blender as the flood tide fights the outgoing flow of the river.  It’s like working thru a swamp filled with Cypress Knees.  What makes things a little more surreal is that we are still more than 20 miles offshore and cannot see the low lying coast at this point.  Turns out we survive and after sailing about 40 miles up the creek without a paddle, we arrive at an anchorage just W of an old wreck. The sunken ship is easily mistaken for a Tropical Island – it is totally covered by a mass of trees and vegetation. My long lost cousin, now reduced to a “Hazard to Navigation” according to the charts, once carried an assortment of French Political Prisoners and other misfits to these shores to live out a life of hard labor.  We anchor out for a few days before sailing south stopping at the infamous Devils Island Penal Colony (those French sure like their jails).  The current swirls around a bit making it a little challenging to secure Paws but once my hook is down and the chain snubber deployed,  Sea Tigger takes the crew to the ferry dock. She drops them off just ahead of the boat load of tourists arriving for day from Cayenne located about 25 miles to the W on the mainland. This is the island featured in the 1973 movie “Papillon”. The ruins of the cell blocks (maybe 6 x 10 feet) and guard barracks are still there but the island could now just as easily be a hideout for The Rich and Famous with amazing views from the Hill tops and beautiful clear water around the three islands that form the anchorage.  They spend the day wandering about, playing with the resident monkeys, peacocks, tropical birds and checking out the museum before coming back to Paws and continuing down the coast to Degrad Des Cannes.

My crew “launches” ashore to tour the nearby European Space Center (aka Guyana Space Center) which is utilized by several nations to send up unmanned communication and weather satellites as well as cargo to resupply the International Space Station (ISS).  The Space Port is strategically located near the equator allowing the vehicles to achieve orbit using less fuel (which equals more Payload) making it more cost effective.  Being along the coast also offers a measure of safety as the lower stages of the rockets fall into open water.  There is an upcoming launch scheduled in a few days but “on site” viewing opportunities are sold out so my crew makes the best of it by watching the rocket soar into orbit from out on the open sea as we work southward towards Brazil and the mighty Amazon River Basin.

About 25 miles offshore from the mouth of the Amazon, we spot the outbound flow of boiling and churning brackish water as it pours out of the river where it tries to mix with the saltwater of the Atlantic Ocean.  The flow rate is 209,000 cubic meters/second or 7,400,000 cubic feet/second (another way of looking at it is that’s about 56 million gallons every second). When we arrive at collision point between the flow from the river and the relatively calm ocean water, we get shoved around a bit by the eastward setting current which has to be accounted for by The Captain as we work to the SW under sail.

A few miles further on, we shed our Pollywog Status and King Neptune accepts my crew, anointing them Shellbacks when we cross the Equator on 21 June, 2343 GMT.  It Was A Dark and Stormy Night as we enter the river en-route to Belem, Brazil and with only The Captain and TreeBeard on board, the decision is made to delay the formal ceremony until we cross the Equator again in the Pacific heading North. Yep – I know that’s sorta like cheating but as the Portuguese say “ e’ vida ” .

We enjoy the sail up river arriving at an anchorage just off a small island accessible only by water. We see a few fancy homes on the north shore but the Island is mainly a weekend retreat with hostel type accommodations and beachfront activities for the local city dwellers from Belem.  Each of the small hotels has a small beach bar/restaurant set up with plastic chairs and tables that are just calling for my crew to venture ashore.   Just as Sea Tigger volunteers to take them in several Boto’s (Pink Amazon River Dolphins) surrounded me playing and slashing around my hull welcoming and inviting us to take advantage of the beach and to try out a burger and the bar.   The next morning we continue up stream, drifting by the Old City Wharf and pass a dozen or so River Cruise Barges – basically floating 3 story campsites. Some of the Barges seem pretty nice and others make me wonder if they will still be floating the next day. They feature as many hammocks as can stuffed on their open decks, a common area for mealtime and a viewing platform up top for taking in the sites.  My Barge Brothers run tourists up and down the river on 7 to 10 day “Amazon Rainforest River Cruises” stopping at villages and small settlements along the way. The Captain was tempted but in the end decides he had enough jungle for the time being in Suriname and French Guyana.   He takes me a little further upriver and we hook onto a mooring in front of the “Belem Yacht Club” which sports a small floating dock with a snack bar along with a dry storage facility a few boats. Located about 50 meters in front of the Club is a floating fuel pontoon which makes filling me up pretty convenient.  Certainly much easier than multiple trips hauling jerry cans to a nearby fuel station in a pickup truck and then out to Paws on Sea Tigger as the Captain has done the last several refueling sessions.   We spend several days in Belem with me swinging back and forth with the tide change while they enjoy the town and the sites.    Sometimes life doesn’t seem quite fair; they go sightseeing, feast on Tambaqui filets and stroll thru “Mercardo Ver-o-Peso”  – billed as the largest Open Air Market in the Southern Hemisphere – while I get to live in fear as beer infused locals speed by in their motor boats rocking me around with their wakes.    The Captain remarked that while it’s not quite Cairo’s famous Khan el-Khalili, the market here was certainly worth the visit with its endless rows of tents packed with jewelry, pottery, sandals, clothes and “stuff”.  He tells me the sights and smells of the seafood and produce areas were stimulating – maybe even to the point of being a little overwhelming.

The Island of Lencois and its spectacular sand dunes mark our next destination. The huge white dunes, strangely absent of any vegetation, can be seen from 15 miles away. We sail around to the S end of the island before turning in to find anchorage.  Clearing the point, we come upon a couple of fishing trawlers working feverishly to salvage one of my brethren that has gotten herself in a bit of trouble and is laying on her side half under water. They pull and tug at her as well as try floating her with inflation bags but to my chagrin, their efforts are not successful.  It appears Poseidon has claimed another Subject for His watery Kingdom.   We continue on towards the protected anchorage on the back side of the island just off a small village but the approach is too shallow so we stand off in deeper water. Sea Tigger once again does what she does best – takes the crew for a nice ride to shore so they can explore and climb the dunes. They spend the afternoon hiking and enjoying Rum with the locals at the one and only bar) in town. Life in this small fishing village is pretty simple and basic. Power is supplied by three large wind generators and water is hand pumped out of a common well.  The houses are constructed of wood planks, sheets of corrugated steel or whatever other materials are available. The streets are sand and the villagers get around by foot or boat – but with that simplicity seems to come contentment.  The people are friendly, unrushed and generally seem happy.  Maybe there’s something to this.

We depart for Tutoia a few days sail downhill. The approach to the harbour is not buoyed but there is a channel indicated on the charts.  There are notes indicating “shifting sandbanks” and sure enough we find one of those on the way in and bump bottom in a following swell.  From what Captain Brian can see from the swim platform, it appears I might have some damage to the lower section of my rudder. I tell him it doesn’t hurt too bad and the steering seems OK so we continue on with the intent to take a closer look when we reach the anchorage in town.  Enlisting the assistance of a passing fishing boat to guide us in the rest of the way and relying on his local knowledge, we arrive without further trouble.    The timing seems perfect as the town folks are busy setting up for a festival/carnival and to make it even better, we are able to tie up at the town dock right in the center of the activities.  The Captain never quite figures out exactly what is being celebrated but best he make out using his “extremely limited” Spanglish and Google Translate on his I-Phone, it’s a local holiday honoring the culture of the original indigenous people.  Costumed dancers, singers and performers entertain the crowd well into the evening.  We end up staying several days to explore and top off my fuel tanks.  The Captain also investigates my rudder issue a little more and determines that there is, in fact, a small section of my rudder that has broken off at the back bottom edge but decides it can wait until he is able to pull me out of the water.

We make several more quick stops as we work down the coast including Fortenzela where we take a berth at Marina Park Hotel and welcome aboard Paula and Art Mitchell. Despite being a Crimson Tide fan and calling California home, Art turns out to be a fellow Salty Sea Dog and they are a fun loving couple ready for some adventure and new challenges. Currently live in La Mesa but Paula is from Brazil and they spend several months a year here down this way.

The original thought was to sail about 250 miles E to Fernando de Noronha off the coast of Brazil but the prevailing 18 – 20 knot ESE wind makes them reconsider and we decide instead to continue “round the point” at Natal to head SW towards Rio.

Paula is a great asset as galley slave, tour guide, interpreter, nurse, yoga instructor, logistics coordinator and quartermaster all wrapped up into one.  That frees up Art and The Captain to enjoy naps, occasionally trim the sails and make sure the autopilot is doing its job – it’s a rough life.   We enjoy stops at Natal, Olinda, Marau, Recife and Maceio.  A couple of memorable excursions are:

Renting 4-wheelers and trying their best to get lost in the backcountry around Marau and visiting a “medieval” Castle in Recife which The Captain gives his coveted “5 Seashell” rating calling the place a “must see”.  A real life “Game of Thrones” if there ever was one.

We arrive in Salavdor de Bahia in late July looking forward to spending a few days relaxing and exploring.  Rounding the Lighthouse off the NE point of Bay of All Saints, we come bow to face with Fort Sao Marcelo still proudly defending the natural deep water port and a towering vertical granite rock wall ( reaching skyward some 1,186 meters – 3,891 feet above sea level ) with the “Old City” strategically situated on top overlooking the harbour. It’s an equally majestic view whether looking up from my deck or down from the top of the cliffs.  The city, established in 1549 by the Portuguese, is a great place to experience the culture, distinctive foods, folkways and history of this part of Brazil.  After securing a slip at the marina for safe keeping, the crew takes their time strolling the cobblestone roads, enjoying street performers, roving bands, cafes, outdoor restaurants, museums, churches and parks. Salvador has a large concentration of Mulatto’s  – descendants of the Muslim/African slaves brought in during Colonial times and my crew is able to attended a Candomblé service which was described by The Captain as “an interesting” cultural learning experience. Fortunately they did not see any of the traditional animal sacrifice rituals being performed.

The Captain invites Paula to give a “crew view” of the trip and below are some of her thoughts.

My Sailing Adventure

I just returned from a Sailing Cruise Adventure along the NE coast of Brazil. I knew this was something Art wanted to do and that the older we got, the less we would enjoy such an adventure.

I’ve sailed a few times with Art and friends off the coast of San Diego and enjoy sailing but don’t know anything about how a sailing boat works. Maybe because of that I had no expectations at all. Many lessons were learned. When you face things without expectations, then you don’t compare, you don’t judge. You play along, decide, act, consider the options as things happen.

What a marvelous way of living. Why couldn’t l always live like that?

The first days were a bit hard on me. Bad weather, big waves, the captain hurt, microwave plate broken, fruits smashed against the wall, no bath, little sleep…tired. Twice I couldn’t walk because my arms were too tired to hold myself in balance.

The days went by. We visited the most important cities of the NE coast. I always wanted to show Art that part of the country. The rich food, happy and friendly people, beautiful beaches, contagious music, history, culture.

When I left the boat to pursue a job opportunity, I knew I was going to miss the part of the trip I would enjoy more. The empty beaches, little villages, places I have never been to in those areas….the whales swimming with the boat.

Brian, the captain, is a huge man. Not only in size but in wisdom and technical knowledge. Even when we couldn’t find the boat, going back under heavy rain at night, he taught me something. Never in my whole life anyone had accused me of liking to be micro managed! I laughed.

Art worked hard, learned a lot, helped everyone, supported me, kept us safe. So strong. Every time things got tough and I considered leaving the boat – next time we anchored – he made me change my mind, because I knew I could trust him. I am so proud of him.

People say your problems go with you wherever you go. So, traveling doesn’t change your life much. I agreed with that before this adventure. Now I know that if you throw yourself into new experiences without expectations, you change for the better.


Joyce and Brian Clark

S/V Pawsitive Latitude

WhatsApp +1 239 898 7646

Back on Track

Date: 6 June 2019

Location:  On a mooring, Domberg, Suriname  LAT 05° 42.533 N   LON 055° 04.545 W

Weather: Overcast and Humid, Upper 80’s, Winds Light with occasional Squall

We dropped the ball early morning of 23 April and aim the pointy end S by SE – destination Trinidad.  My new Russian crew settles in and seems to enjoy the overnight trip.  We raise Monos Island at the NW end of Trinidad just as the horizon starts to show thru the mist and haze. Venezuela is barely visible off to the W. It’s a destination that will have to wait until the political winds are a bit more stable. The Captain has the crew ease my sails as we make for the marina in Chaguaramas primed and ready for the Immigration and Customs offices to open.

The group is planning a few days lazing around the pool and enjoying a bit of sightseeing while I am stuck at the dock – coincidentally next to a boat crewed by (4) Russians. The Comrades have made friends and score an invite to an evening Bar-B-Que at the pool grill.  We pick up one more crew member for the leg to Suriname, Senor Pedro arrives from Brazil looking to get in a few weeks with us.

An early departure and a short sail along the N coast brings us to Maracas Bay where we stage for the crossing to Tobago.  My crew hits the beach in Sea Tigger and meets Videl and Judith, a super nice local couple working on their Beach Bar/Restaurant that’s scheduled to “officially” open early June. Judith offers to whip up a pre-opening meal – fried bread, callaloo soup, local fish and veggies. She includes Iced tea with orange peelings and native plant leaves for flavor. Vidal is building the place himself and my captain reports you can sense his excitement to get things up and running.

The sail from to Trinny to Tobago has Pedro wondering if this sailing life is for him.  A NW wind against a W setting current between islands (~3kts) creates a bit of a chop on the water. Our original destination was Scarborough (Port of Entry) but Captain Brian makes a command decision to veer slightly N for Milford Bay (aka Sandy Bay) so we could arrive before dark.  Turns out that’s one of his better decisions as we met Mark (from South Africa) and Sandra (from Brazil) heading N on “S/V Cielo”, a 32ft plywood hull “Junk rigged” boat. They had just arrived from Brazil so we were able to gain some first hand info on anchorages located along our future route.

In the morning, Captain and crew head inland to visit Scarborough. Although the islands of Trinidad and Tobago are “one” country, the bureaucrats have to justify their existence. Cruisers are required to slog thru the process when traveling between the islands. The evening was spent enjoying a Steel drum gig in the nearby town of Buccoo.

A quick sail around the reef to Buccoo Bay to do a little snorkeling proved to be a bit of a disappointment. The report is murky water, damaged coral and a general lack of fish. They try the NE end of bay and find it is a little better with clearer water and healthy coral growing among scattered boulders but still no critters. There was a small island off the point covered with nesting Terns.

The sail up the coast to Plymouth was enjoyable, full sails rolled out as we top 7 ½ kts finally dropping anchor in 16 feet of clear water.  A look around town, afternoon at Rex Resort and watching baby leatherback turtles come out of their nests on beach make a memory. My crew ended the evening with supper on board and a rockin’ game of Mexcian Dominos with Mark and Sandra.

Englishman Bay was the next playground as a Pod of Dolphins playing at my bow escorted us northward. Captain and Treebeard helped the local fishermen pull their seine net up on the beach for a small haul of bait fish that they sell to a couple of fishing vessels anchored next to us. Crepes, snorkeling, then lunch at Eula’s beach restaurant make the day as S/V Cielo anchored next to us in the afternoon. Mark indulged the crew with his tasty secret homemade rum punch.

We went onward to Bloody Bay and wandered thru the “village”. Besides the cool name, the great snapper supper by the beach was the highlight.

Some exercise was on the agenda (The Admiral would be proud of the Captain), my crew arranged a taxi at 0500 to take them up Gilpin Mountain. It turned out to be an empty Park Ranger Station but they met a local that pointed them in the right direction where they eventually found the trail head. They report a nice hike back down thru the rain forest with hummingbirds and parakeets keeping them company. They came out at the bottom about two kilometers from me.  I welcomed them back and we made the short sail to Pirates’ Bay near Charlottesville where the crew went thru the government rituals.

Headed around the NE point the next morning with a quick overnight stop in Tyrrel’s Bay for the night. The confluence of several strong currents caused by the tide and small islands made the waters swirl and twirl making for an interesting approach.  The seas were flat and there was plenty of depth but it would not be the place to hop in the water for a swim.  The crew celebrated their last night in the Caribbean at a local beach restaurant.

The passage south toward Guyana found us dragging a couple lures in the water and we were rewarded with a couple small tuna. Hooked a sailfish but Treebeard threw the hook after a 5 minute fight. He claims it was a monster and he’s sticking to it.

Arriving off the coast of Guyana we enter the Essequibo River after dodging literally hundreds of staked and drifting fishing nets to anchor next to Fort Island. They toured the village and the Fort before relocating to Baboon Island for the night. Sea Tigger took them exploring the area around the island but no Baboons sited.

The Captain had a challenge trying to remove the rudder pin from Zig (the port side windvane) which left spending the better part of an hour drilling, bashing and twisting it. I wonder how the Captain ever got it installed in the first place. We woke up the next  morning to find a pair of Swallows set up house keeping in boom, guess it looked like a comfy place, not so great for my clean deck.  We took advantage of the 4 knot current to drift up the river for about an hour before cranking up The Yamster to maneuver around some sand bars. The “bad news” is we snagged one of the drift nets and got pushed up on a mudbank. The “good news” is the tide was rising (almost 8 foot high change in depth) so we were soon floating off.  The local fishermen came by and cut the net on both sides of the boat and motored off leaving us to work the remaining mess off the prop. We dropped anchor near the mining town of Bartica where the crew took a River swim and ended the day with a game of Mexican Dominos.

The crew took advantage to stock up on fruits and veggies at local market in town while waiting for the tide to motor about 5 miles up river to Baganara Island Resort. Anchored off the beach in 20ft over a sandy bottom. The Captain had heard good things about the Resort but found it deserted except for the security guard and a couple of maintenance workers, must be off season. While making water later in the evening we had to question the water maker gauge when it indicated less than 5 ppm of particulates in the water coming thru the filters. Fresh water makes for pure water.

Motored back to Bartica on high tide to fuel up and clear out. One of the few times in our travels that the customs folks decided to come on board for an inspection. We stopped off at Parika at the river entrance where Daniel and Ana (Russian crew) depart to work their way south by land. Plans are made to meet up again in the southern part of Brazil in a couple months.

On the way south while motor sailing towards Suriname, The Yamster suddenly gets real quiet. Seems the fuel filters were working overtime trapping the bits and pieces of the dead dinosaurs and The Captain messed up by not checking them as often as he should. Yamster has been running great but won’t do her thing without clean fuel to drink. A change of the fuel filters, a flip of the fuel pump switch to bleed the air and prime the fuel line and she comes back to life allowing us to continue onward.

Five dolphins play at my bow under the unfurled Yankee as we motorsail at 1700 RPM cruising at 7.5kts in a 15 knot E wind. We soon reach the Safe Water Buoy marking the entrance of Suriname River but choose to keep the sails out as we turn into the channel behind “S/V Vivente”. We raise her on VHF to advise our intentions to overtake her to Port and soon slide past her and “S/V Jillybillie”, a  Dehler 38, in the channel as we approach the estuary. Sails stay up until we reach the first Channel buoy before we furl them and motor to Domburg to pick up a mooring. About an hour later, just before dark, we are joined by the two other cruisers.

Evening was spent at the Yacht Club bar and a great dinner at Indonesian restaurant opposite the club with new friends Steve & Helena (UK) on “S/V Amalia of London”, Judith & Patrick (NL) “S/V Vivente and “S/V Jillibillie” being single handed by Captain Merl (NL).  Steve and Helena built and operate the website NOFOREIGNLAND, which is a site to keep track of fellow yachties and to share information about places to visit.

The trip to Paramaribo for immigration is tolerable only because we were told of an outstanding butcher shop where the freezer could be filled with some great cuts of meat.  Senor Pedro walks the plank in Domberg to return to Brazil and his family. The Captain decides to spend several days here and leave me to fend for myself as he and Treebeard head inland for an adventure.  They rent a car and drive to where the “paved road” ends and the “water road” begins at the small town of Adjoni on the NW shore of Lake Brokopondo. They meet local guide Alberto who takes them in his motorized dugout canoe up the Suriname River Highway deeper into the jungle to Isadou Island “Lodge” just beyond the forgotten village of Jaw Jaw.  Several “lodges” and small (very small) settlements dot the shoreline and all commerce and supplies are delivered via the river.  No roads and only small generator supply power a few hours each day.  The kids that live in the scattered huts along the river take the “school bus canoes” to a central location near Adjoni.

There is civilization about but they definitely got the Jungle Experience. A “walk in the park” away from the lodge featured thick jungle cover, huge “skeleton” spiders in Maripa palm trees, mango-eating bats and frogs/toads, monkeys, lizards, huge butterflies, several birds and a nice Boa.  Several Caymans were seen at night during an evening boat ride thru the swap using high powered flashlights. No Jaguars were spotted but my crew suspect a Jaguar or two had eyes on them.

They spent several nights in the jungle with their hammocks to get their “fix” before heading back to Domberg and the relative comfort of their berths on board.

After noticing my boom resting on the hard top, The Captain finds my Backstay and Boom Vang hydraulic system decided that it hadn’t had enough love lately.  Seems the Pressure relief valve need some relief and attention. Turns out the seals in the Boom Vang Cylinder have worn out and no longer would maintain pressure required to support the weight of the Boom.  Temporary repairs where made and a search for a source of replacement seals was on.  They are located and ordered (from overseas of course) but a permanent fix would need to wait. The afternoon brought a nice Squall with 40kts wind gusts and a moving wall of rain. Welcome to the tropics.

We were joined by S/V Vivente as we moved upriver to Waterland Resort for a change in scenery. Nice place where we were able to take on fuel, fill the propane, water tanks and work on the generator.  My crew enjoyed talking to some new folks and watched the clubs pet Sloth and her cub s-l-o-o-o-w-l-y climbing down tree. Checked out at Paramaribo on 6 June to continue our trek heading for French Guyana. Departed on the ebbing tide in a nice downpour.

Joyce & Brian Clark

S/V Pawsitive Latitude

WhatsApp +1-239-898-7646

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




Date:   31 March 2019

Location:  Anchored in Young Island Cut, St Vincent  LAT 13° 07.958  LON 061° 12.128

Weather: Mostly Cloudy with Drizzle, Upper 80’s, Winds ENE 15 – 20 Knots

Early March finds us in Trinidad at Crews Inn Marina in Chaguaramus, as the country is getting primed for Carnival. Paws had a great night crossing thru Gulf of Paria passing just W of the Hibiscus Offshore Oil Platform between Grenada to Trinidad.  There had been some reports of trouble from Venezuelan thugs (won’t honor them by calling them “pirates”) but we saw no suspicious activity. Raised Trinidad early in the morning and slipped past Bocas Del Dragon entering the busy port. Cuda and Mindy Caplinskas from “S/V Viviann” have come aboard looking forward to experience the festivities this coming week.

Captain Brian eases me between the floating buoys at the Marina and after securing me to the floating dock, they head off to do the Customs and Immigration dance (where they still use Carbon Paper to copy the forms). When the bureaucracy was complete, they head for the resort pool. Supper on shore at the resort restaurant and chilling in the evening rounds out the day as they will need their rest.

The Captain rings the Ships Bell rousting The Crew out of their bunks at 0200 the next morning – the only time my Captain can recall getting OUT of bed to go TO a party. After splashing some water on their faces they are off to check out “J’ouvert”. The local SSCA Cruising Station Rep – Jesse James, arranges a van to take my crew and 6 other folks staying at the Resort to the muster point in Port of Spain about 30 minutes away. They arrived at 0300 and were treated to a bowl of hot fish chowder and an open bar to get everyone in the mood. Things soon get rolling – the paint starts flying, the alcohol starts flowing and the Soca (loosely called music) starts blaring. Semi trucks stacked high with huge speakers that must have been scrounged up and left over from an old Led Zeppelin concert along with million megawatt amplifiers pump out the noise and lead the crowds thru the streets as they dance. The party wraps up about 0900 in the morning at a city park where water tankers spray everyone down washing the paint and grime off.

Not to miss the “Total Experience”, the Party Animals are up early again the next morning at 0600 and flag down a “Maxi Taxi” (mini bus) to head back to Port of Spain for “Carnival”. The Parade and Floats start down the streets bright and early. Colorful exotic costumes, Steel Drum Bands and more Soca noise blasts away (yes – The Captain is getting old). Plenty of street vendors to keep everyone fed and full of beer. For the most part, my Crew were spectators enjoying the scenery and (most) of the music.  The Festivities continue the entire day and late into the evening. My crew gave up about dark and made their way back home tired and happy.

Back on the Ranch, I’m corralled in the Marina and my stall is under the shadow of an impressive 92’ Paragon located in the slip next to us. The Crew enjoyed getting to know Mike “Oil Man” Finley on “M/V Seas to See”, hailing from Houston, TX.  “Oil Man” was full of great stories and jokes (Irish right!?) about his past boats and adventures in the oil industry and finance business. Handling the reins is Captain Ace who keep things operating and the ship headed in the right direction. Ace is a Licensed Commercial Ship Captain giving the “private” world a try.

While here in Trinny, we once again welcome back Deck Swab Mike “I’m on a Diet – Honest” Ashcraft.  The master plan is to work back to Grenada and pick up The Admiral. However, before departing, the Crew decides to check out The Caroni Bird Sanctuary and came away very impressed. The tour started out a little weak as they were wondering what they got themselves into as they boarded a small wooden boat with 12 other folks and the Tour Guide started pointing out fiddler crabs in the mud along the bank of a ditch. Just about the time the Captain was thinking Mutiny might be in order, things improved when they spotted some nice snakes hanging in the overhead Mangrove Canopy along with a couple of small “silky anteaters” (actually termite eaters) and a variety of birds. Eventually they entered a large open estuary dotted with mangrove islands and some beautiful scenery. As sunset approached, they spotted dozens of Flamingos wading in the shallow water but more impressive were the hundreds of Scarlet Ibis coming back to roost in the Mangroves. The birds are almost fluorescent red in color.  As with Flamingos, the brilliant red color of the Scarlet Ibis comes from carotene in the crustaceans they feed on.

Enjoyed our time in Trinidad but time to move on. Departed early morning sailing back to Grenada and marooned Cuda and Milda into the “abyss” that is Clarkes Court Boatyard so they can get back to the endless joy and satisfaction that comes with slaving away so they can get their house back in the water.  In Grenada, we Pipe on Board our newest crew member Jean “Treebeard” Echard. Treebeard is an experienced sailor and world traveler having spent 5 years in Australia and New Zealand. He joins us after recently completing an Atlantic Crossing from France via the Canaries, Cape Verdi, Martinique and finally Grenada.  He looks forward to PAWS trek south.

The Captain starts him out easy as they spend the day filling their bellies at the Sunday Brunch at Whisper Cove Marina, a swim at Le Phare Bleu pool and finally the BBQ on Hog Island. Treebeard can be heard commenting that maybe he’s going to like this cruise.

The Captain decides it’s best to have The Admiral fly to St Vincent so we depart Clarkes Court Bay staging in St George for the evening on our trip north.  Sea Tigger takes the crew into Port Louis Marina for a shopping excursion and find “M/V Seas to See” lashed to the docks. They join Oil Man for a drink and enjoy hearing some more of his lies (I mean stories).  We depart the next morning for a quick, easy sail to Gouyave, a small fishing village on the NW coast of Grenada, where we anchor just outside a Marine Park and Fish Sanctuary indicated with yellow buoys so The Captain and Treebeard can jump in for a little snorkeling. The exposed anchorage is a little rolly but we stay for a couple days. The crew hears about a great fish market in town and head in to check it out.  The swells wash up and break on the sand and rock beach so they drop Sea Tigger’s anchor about 15 meters off in waist deep water wading in to explore.  Fresh Tuna and Mahi are at the Fisherman Co-Op so fish is “What’s for Dinner”. Returning to Sea Tigger in the afternoon, Deck Swab puts on a show for the locals as he does his best to climb over the side of the dinghy in the waist deep water. He receives cheers and a round of applause for his efforts. Later in the evening, The Captain and 1st Mate TreeBeard return to shore for the Friday Night Fish Fry under open air tents. Selection of todays catch, cooked several different ways, with plenty of Mac & Cheese, breadfruit, corn cakes, salad, and several things The Captain wasn’t exactly sure of they were.

The next day starts a little shaky as we prep to depart Gouyave. Deck Swab shows off his (limited) Helmsman experience by putting The Yamster in Reverse instead of Forward as requested and proceeds to swallow up the Sea Tigger’s painter wrapping it around the prop shaft. Before The Captain could scramble to the helm station, Sea Tigger is sucked against PAWS port hull and her bow partially wedged under my belly. First Mate TreeBeard volunteers to grab his mask and fins and take the plunge to investigate. He ended up having cut loose the a short section of her painter to free her from the clutches of The Yamster. After things get settled, we start N stopping at Sandy Island and after a spirited and sometime damp three hour upwind motor sail, we snag a mooring as a light shower approaches from the E. The place is a postcard picture perfect anchorage with a white sand beach and swaying Palm Trees.

The day ends much better as we find our discover “M/V Seas to See” in the anchorage hailing us with an invitation to come aboard for a fantastic supper complete with Mahi, Tuna, Red Beans and Rice, Salad, desert, of course, shots of Irish Whiskey. Oil Man and Captain Ace went all out to feed my Motley Crew.

After breakfast, Treebeard and Deck Swab take Sea Tigger to beach to scrub some of the bottom paint donated from PAWS hull the previous day. Her canvas cover being a little black around the bow. They also take the opportunity to do a little snorkeling and see “gazillions” (Deck Swab’s word of the day) of small fish right off beach. Later that evening Captain and TreeBeard head in for a beach BBQ of Ribs and Chicken put on by some local boat boys. Worn out from the days work, Deck Swab remains on board missing a great meal.

On a darker note: word reaches us about some recent “unrest” just to the south a few miles offshore of Trinidad. The political instability in Venezuela continues to effect the region. Seems a few “thugs” make a attempt on a cruising vessel. Link to the story:

No crew was hurt but the brave and gallant boat ended up taking a couple of slugs in her broadside protecting her Crew. She has been brought into St George Harbour in Grenada to be patched up and nursed back to health as the investigation continues.

From Sandy Island , we motor around Jack Iron Point entering Tyrell Bay meeting up with Erik and Barbara on “S/V  Sudamon”, friends we originally met in Puerto Rico last year.  They have her on the hard at the new boatyard for some repairs so they join my crew for a short walk along the shore front for dinner at “The Lazy Turtle” on the N end of the Bay. Pizza and good conversation take them late into the evening.

As the new day finds Sea Tigger skipping across the harbour taking the crew in to check out with Customs and dropped off a couple weeks worth of smelly laundry, they passed by one of the more interesting uses for one of my brothers. A Trimaran moored in the harbour is decked out as a complete Welding and Metal working platform. No doubt he has plenty of business.

After clearing out, my crew joins Erik and Barbara at Gallery Café for breakfast and to say goodbye before heading over to check on the wash. It’s seems it’s taking a little longer than Sea Tigger likes and she lets the Crew know she is ready to get moving by leaving the beach on her own – seems they forgot a basic fact of nature and failed to account for the rising tide when pulling her up on shore. The Captain gets to enjoy a swim in the harbour to retrieve her and we’re off to Petite Martinique. The 2019 Guidebook boasts that this little island has the “Best fuel dock in Grenadines”. The marketing guy for the publication must be an former Used Car Salesman. No response on the VHF, no dock hand to assist with lines, the dock is in major disrepair, it’s exposed and aligned perpendicular to a strong E wind that pushes and pins boats against the pilings and there is a decent chop on top of it all. Several local boats are tied up to the pier leaving a tight space for The Captain to work me in. We come in safely but the boards leave me with a scrape in my starboard hull from battling with a piling. Then, of course, we find the place is O.O.F. (Out Of Fuel) for at least another 2 or 3 days – maybe they could have mentioned that when we called in on the phone 30 minutes earlier advising our arrival and requesting fuel?  We wait for the wind to settle in the evening before departing and sail a few miles north across to Petite St Vincent and anchor for the evening licking our wounds.

We enjoy the sail N between the small islands of Mayreau and Tobago Cays Park to the channel between Petit Rameau and Petit Bateau to find none other than “M/V Seas to See” swinging on her hook. We position ourselves 30 meters downwind and give her a call on the VHF. Snorkeling in the afternoon rewards the crew with a large stingray and bigger turtle. There are several “boatboys” working the area and offering everything from propane to lobsters. They all of course want my crew to come to their Beach BBQ but The Captain politely declines.

The next morning, TreeBeard and a crewmember from “M/V Seas to See” take off for some snorkeling along Petit Bateau. After several hours, Captain Brian and Captain Ace hop in “T/T Seas to See” venture out to check if they have been eaten by the turtles. The search takes them around the E side of the Cays and over to Baradal reef where the sea turtle farm is and a netted refuge is located. They discovered their wayward crew relaxing on the shore of Petit Bateau. They reported lots of stingrays and puffer fish just off the beach near the BBQ grills, probably feeding on all the fish and lobster waste from the BBQ’s. They also reported sighting two small reef sharks patrolling the area. Dozens of cruising boats are moored behind the reef where there is great wind but flat seas.

After a pleasant sail N to Canouan we drop anchor just off Tamarind Resort. The crew takes Sea Tigger to the dock and rewards themselves with Pain Killers at the Tiki Hut on the beach. There good but certainly don’t compare to The Admiral’s PK’s.  The Moorings Yacht Charters had a base here many (many) years ago when the Captain and Admiral chartered a boat out of here. The base has since closed and relocated to Ft George in Grenada.  Snorkeling along rocks N of the resort, they see hundreds of baby lobsters all competing for whatever hole in the rocks might be available.

Looking for adventure, the crew hunts up a golf cart rental place to take a tour of the island. They ride over to a fancy new resort community and marina for the Rich and Famous on the south side of the island overlooking the ocean and Tobago Cays off in the distance. The place is still under construction but the guard allows them to enter and ride around to check the place out. The self guided tour continues around the island and over the hills as the crew manages to defy death again when brakes fail them on steep downhill run, Deck Swab shows his Golf Cart driving skills (fortunately they are better than his Helmsman skills) and manages not to run off the road and crash into the ditch at the bottom. On the way back to PAWS the crew stops off at the local framers market in the town center to mingle and talk to the locals while picking up a few veggies and fruits.

As we sail into the bay in Bequia, the welcoming committee is a young French girl skinny dipping off the back of the boat just in front of us. TreeBeard casually mentions that it’s “Another great day in the Grenadines” as he offers to go forward to look for coral heads as we anchor and then jumps in to check that its holding.  The Captain SAYS he didn’t notice her until after we dropped anchor or he would have found another spot – I’m not 100% sure I believe him but who am I to say.

We spend a few days here taking advantage of the snorkeling off the NW point of the harbour at Devil’s Table and exploring the town. Bequia is definitely a cruiser destination with numerous restaurants, bars and shops all along the shore. There are boat boys (and girls) that run water taxi services, handle laundry, fill propane and scuba tanks, take trash and sell ice, fish, water and souvenirs. All very pleasant and helpful.   The crew took advantage of the floating bar in the harbour on a couple of occasions for Sunset parties with Rum and Beer.

Captain and TreeBeard try out the local transportation options and take a bus/taxi ride across the island to Friendship Bay, Paget Farm, Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary and MoonHole. They watched local Whalers return empty handed after chasing a whale they spotted earlier. Although Humpback Whales are an endangered species. The residents of this island are still allowed to take up to 4 per year. However, the methods are restricted to “the old ways”. Only sailing vessels are allowed and they must be taken by hand thrown harpoons. Not the easiest way to harvest a whale.

The visit to MoonHole was particularly interesting. Located out on the SW point of the Bay, it is a large compound that was carved out of the rock and constructed using coral and local stone.  Wandering around the grounds, they were impressed with the effort and dreams that went into the place. The Sea, as she always will, has reclaimed most of the structure but there are still a few rooms remaining on the leeward side that are in use as a exclusive resort.

The island suddenly comes alive when word spreads that a whale has been brought in – the first one in 2 years. The processing station is over in Friendship Bay and the celebration is on. My crew kept their distance but got some good pictures.

We depart for the last leg to St Vincent and The Captain deploys my new Hydrovane self steering wind vanes – “Zig and Zag”.  The idea is that the main and foresail are trimmed to balance the boat and eliminate weather helm so I maintain a constant heading without pressure on the steering quadrant or main rudder. My wheel is then secured in placed letting “Zig and Zag” take over using the wind angle and trimming rudders like trim tabs on an airplane to keep me on course. If the wind angle changes the vanes can be adjusted to compensate and maintain the desired heading. If the wind increases, the sail trim can be adjusted or a reef put in to keep me balanced. The sail to St Vincent was a close haul and “Zig and Zag” worked as advertised.  They will typically be used on longer runs and will get a real workout on the passage to from Tobago to Guyana in mid May.

We raise Young’s Cut on the southern end of St Vincent and settle in looking forward to The Admiral’s arrival in a few days.

Joyce & Brian Clark

S/V Pawsitive Latitude