Saturday, March 03, 2007

February 12, 2007 - Tobago Cays, Union Island, Petite Martinique and Petit St. Vincent

This morning we woke to darkening skies and increasing winds. As the chop picked up in the anchorage, we decided that it was time to get out of dodge. We were also short on fresh fruits and veggies, so we thought a stop in Union Island was in order.

On the way over, our paper chart kit for the Southern Windwards flew overboard. We turned the boat around to try to recover it, but it sank before we could get back to it. This was actually as close to doing a man overboard drill as we've come. I know, we're bad cruisers. We've both done them, and taught them in sailing dinghies, but neither of us have done one in a boat this size. We learned a few things. From now on, the lazy jib sheet always gets wrapped around the winch a few times and tailed so that it can't slap around and potentially damage something if we have to tack quickly. We also prioritized figuring out how to work the MOB function on our chart plotter.

Without our paper charts, we're down to cruising guides, our chart plotter, and just in case the plotter dies, a disc of C-Map charts for the world that a friend passed along to us. This is actually how we'll navigate for most of the rest of the trip as buying paper charts for everywhere we want to go in the Pacific is prohibitively expensive. I'm going to miss the comfort of having an extra resource to check, but we might as well get used to it now. [Note: the mileage log in the image below doesn't include the Newport to Bermuda portion of our trip - as the plotter wasn't yet operational at that point.]

We pulled into Clifton, the main anchorage, and turned down a mooring ball offer from one of the boat boys. We tried dropping anchor twice, but weren't happy with our options. The harbor was just too crowded. So we headed back out and dropped anchor behind Frigate Island with just three other boats. We enjoyed lunch and a bit of a rest.

After lunch we headed out, with the intent of tucking behind Palm Island, just to windward of Union. The wind was still blowing hard, so when we noticed two crewed charter boats on a similar course alter course and head south we decided that they might know of a better spot to spend the night. We all wound up anchored between Petit St. Vincent, a small island with just a resort on it, and Petite Martinique, which is actually part of Grenada.

According to our cruising guide, Grenada doesn't mind if yachts visit Petite Martinique without clearing into Grenada first. And we'd read in the guide that there was decent provisioning with very good prices in PM. After a trip to the grocery on PM, Sten expressed his frustration with the Chris Doyle's over-enthusiastic descriptions. We understand that he needs to coddle the advertisers in his guide, but he does his readers a disservice by not giving them the straight dope.

So we hit 4 islands in one day. This is a personal record for us.

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