We were sad to leave Bequia so soon, but Steve on Slow Flight as well as Dave and I have to be getting to Grenada. Steve is hauling out in Trinidad, but wants to spend most of his remaining time hanging with friends in Grenada. We waited until 7AM to leave the anchorage, hoping we would still be close enough to hear Cheryl on the net at 8AM. However, by 7:30 we knew we’d made a mistake. We were already about 3 miles away and on the other side of the mountains. At 8:00, we heard her come on, but it was too static-filled to understand her. What a shame! We are making a short jaunt to Tobago Keys. We should be anchored by noon. There is supposed to be great snorkeling and birds and iguanas up on the islands.
The sailing was good, with a beam to broad reach (wind on the side or back corner instead of our normal wind on the bow) helping us set a new speed record for the boat. Steve called us on the VHF and said, “I see you guys are making 9 knots.” No! That must be a mistake. We have hit 8.6 a few times but only very briefly. I checked with Dave and he verified it. Wow! I didn’t know the boat could go that fast. Even back in Turks and Caicos when we had the wind and waves to our back, we only went 8.4 knots. One knot equals 1.15 miles per hour, so it may not sound like much. But when your average speed is 6 knots and you are going 9 knots, it shaves a lot of time off the trip. Even Gizmo was enjoying the sail. By just 10AM we were approaching Tobago Keys! The wind started hitting 24 knots, so Dave and I reefed the jib (furled it in part way to make the sail area less) to keep from losing another block and we were still making great time. The wind concerned us, though. We only wanted to spend one night at Tobago Keys, then had to get out to go check out of St Vincent and the Grenadines and seek shelter at Carriacou, Grenada for the forecasted stormy weather coming. Was it coming early? There are a lot of clouds. We called up Steve and expressed our concerns and asked if he would mind just going straight to Carriacou. Well, of course, the nicest most easygoing guy ever says, “No, not at all. Lets go.” Too bad that wasn’t our original plan. We could have checked out in Bequia, but now we have to stop at Union Island, a not so nice place.
Along the way, Steve had left first but we were slowly catching up to him. Dave taunted Steve about how we should pass him, which Steve took at as a challenge and the race was on. Steve made a great effort, but when the wind really picked up, we flew by. We win with a beam or broad reach. This is when catamarans perform their best – not so much when heading into the wind. We arrived at Union Island and dropped anchor. Dave backed on it to make sure it was set, but we were dragging. We had to raise anchor and try again. But the windlass bogged down and turned in slow motion. Something was wrong! I signaled to Dave to go forward to break the anchor loose – maybe we were dug in after all. Dave jams us forward but the windlass is still bogged down. Huh! I go back to the cockpit, tell him I’m concerned about the health of the windlass (a very expensive piece of equipment) and take over so he can go check it out. After a few tries, he can’t see what is wrong either. I radio Steve to let him know our problem and he jumps in his dinghy to see if he can help. Slowly, inch by inch, the windlass brings up the anchor and I start to see something. OMG! We brought up a boulder. Steve sees it and says bring it up by the surface and I’ll try to shake it off. Inch by inch it comes up – I am resting the windlass constantly to avoid burning it out. When it gets near the surface, we can see it is a huge piece of dead coral – and I mean HUGE. Steve starts shaking the chain, but is appears to be wedged into the coral. At last it shakes free. We raise the anchor and the windlass works great, happy as can be. After this, we decided paying a boat boy (I still dislike that term) $20EC (about US$7) for a mooring ball for an hour or so is not such a bad idea. But we don’t want to leave Steve. He says, he is not comfortable with his anchoring either, it feels like it is bouncing along the bottom. Done. We’re outta here!
We picked up a ball each and the guys went to customs and immigration. Dave left me on the boat, because it is supposed to be a rough place. They come back a little over an hour later and we set off. Dave says that was the best US$7 bucks we’ve spent. If we tried again and fried our windlass, it would have cost more like US$2,000! The guys decided to take it easy the 11 miles or so to Carriacou and sail on jib only. We left the anchorage about side by side, but soon Steve pulled away. We never caught back up and he maintained ¼ to ½ mile lead on us. When it comes to jib racing, Steve and his Island Packet wins against our heavy, double the drag catamaran. Our mainsail is huge and creates most of our sailing power. Three miles out, Steve called on the VHF and said, “This is getting painful.” We were only going 3-4 knots. “Yeah, it’s slow, but it’s so comfortable and we’re happy with it since we’re not in a hurry.” Steve agreed it was nice not to be stressing the rigging and dealing with choppy seas. The ride was very smooth, so we continued by jib at a snail’s pace. Wildcat heard us on the radio and shouted out, “Hey! You guys underway?” WOW! We thought they’d be long gone by now. I told them we were nearing Tyrell Bay, Carriacou, and they said they changed their plans and were going to stay a few more days, leaving after the weather. Besides, Port Louis Marina in Grenada wanted to charge a fortune for docking and George’s response was, “Well screw you very much.” What an unexpected joy for them to be in Carriacou! Hooray! We rounded the corner into Tyrell Bay and there we saw the familiar Big Blue Barge. It’s almost like coming home.
Too late to check into the country, our first order of business on Carriacou was to eat. We were all starving after an unexpectedly full day of sailing. Steve came across some friends on Turning Points from three years ago and invited them to join us. We went to the Lazy Turtle for some incredible pizza and good conversation. When you get cruisers together, the stories start flying, and before you know it your meal has turned into a four-hour visit. We had to find our boats in a “sea of stars” (what it looks like with all the anchor lights glowing) in the dark. We went the wrong way and took a tour of the anchorage, but finally found our boats. We dropped off Steve and returned to Livin’ Life. It is a beautiful evening but we are bushed. Good night.