X-Mass and new year in the Grenadines



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The Coconuts left Antigua as planned and set sail south to the Grenadines.

Starting up our website again after our life in Antigua has been a slow process. There has been technical difficulties (never upgrade your FrontPage to 2003 version!) and there has been the human factor. But here we are.

The day did arrive that we had to sail south. We had told everyone that we would sail off the 17 th and we did. But that was after a party at the local pizza place (Pago Poco, where many dear friends came to say goodbye on two and four legs. It was a very nice evening and a great way to close our chapter in Antigua. We had Pizza, and beer and laughs. The kids ran around and the adults had a good chat.

In the middle of the night I woke up and ran upstairs to find Tom and Luke off loading a HUGE present to the kids. It was their old dinghy, a small 2 meter tender that the kids absolutely loved. The story is quite funny in that Tom had for some time hinted that the kids could use his old dingy as he was getting a new one. But then one night the ideas had changed. They where to cut out holes in the bottom of the dinghy and wear it as a costume at a party. I was very upset. What a waste of a good dinghy! But of cause they where just pulling my leg.

The Blatters came to escort us out in their dinghy at 0830. We all think it was to make sure we did actually leave. Guess they have seen too many of us get stuck and never head out of the harbour.   Agnes, Camilla's riding teacher from the stables also came over with a lock of Prince's hair for Camilla. She misses the horse terribly, and it was a great and treasured gift. What a fantastic year it has been for us and we will take many fond memories of all the wonderful people we have met in Antigua.

       The Blatters saying goodbye

The sail south was one of the nicest we ever had to/from Guadeloupe. 15- 18 knots gusting 25. We bypassed Jasper and family onboard"Evrika" as they headed north. The last two hours was all showers though. A wall of rain met us as we approached the island. I could hardly see the bow of Coconut 8 meter away.! Arriving in Deshais the river was brown from all the rain and it gradually filled the whole bay as we where watching.  We dropped anchor at 1520 and no Customs official is to be found anywhere! A rather typical situation in the French islands. They are the only islands with proper infrastructure, medical aid and a social system, but do not seem to worry too much about illegal immigrants. The poorer neighbouring islands on the other hand that do not have much to offer and only a fraction of the population guard their turf jealously. Sometimes you are made to feel like a criminal by the immigration officers for wanting to spend your holiday and money on their island.

Kids getting into cruising mode

Camilla and Colin quickly got into sailing life again. Remarkably so but as you can see some special adaptations where made. The cockpit coaming was turned into a saddle and every wave a jump. Colin was positively eager to get going and to start exploring new lands. Poor Camilla did miss her horse Prince terribly but bravely ventured on.

After Guadelope we stopepd in Martinique to shop and then on to St Lucia. THe ARC was just about to finish ,so we thought we should have a look. We sailed into Rodney Bay at the same time as one of the participants made it across the finish line. What an atmosphere there was in Rodney Bay! The marina was full of boats and people. You could feel the excitement. We anchored off the marina and went ashore and five minutes later the kids were both busy playing with kids from the ARC, and Les and I chatting with some of the parents. Sailabout, a Norwegian boat was there with their daughter onboard, Madelene. Camilla used to play football with her. We also met the New Zealanders on Hullabaloo who we had met in Holland in 2005.  It was great to be there and to meet everyone.

       From ST Lucia, a truly beautiful island

Our next stop was Marigot Bay where Trond had a meeting with the lady who owns the resort. She wants to do Leadership development and personal develoment programs at the resort and we looked at how we could do something together.  Then we headed for the Pitons, two sugar scoop shaped giants towering above the water. This part of the island is volcanic as well and the smell of sulphor is everywhere. In the old days there used to be a single mad elephant on the beach. He was left behind by a circus touring the islands and rather mean. Now a Hilton Hotel is occupying the beach.

Bequia x-mass house

Bequia  has become the place to be for x-mass.  Especially for all the Norwegian boats as Marianne, who lives on the island, invites everyone to her home for a  x-mass party. I had never in my life thought so many of my fellow countrymen would be in the Caribbean at one time. There where approximately 200 of us in Bequia which is a rather small island with one harbour! The Sailabouts where there so Camilla got to spend some time with her friend Madelene which was great. At x-mass eve the Norwegian contingency organised a BBQ on the beach but we opted out. The kids wanted a family x-mass dinner. So we atet, opened presents and played games together.

X-mass evening

Camilla and her friend Madelene

On X-mass day the Firefly lot sailed into the bay. It was great to see them again. We got together a few cruising boats and had an informal christmas BBQon the beach that afernoon. We all had a great time. Then it was time for an island tour. We did the fort, the beach and the turtle sanctuary. The kids liked the turtles but loved the resident dogs. I was more facinated by the satelite that washed ashore. The writing on it's side was Egyptian we belive. Another oddity of interest is that most ships in this area seem to be of Nrwegian origin. Under the paint is clearly visible Norwegian ships names and registration ports. So if you ever wondered what happened to your favourite ferry in Hardanger Fjord, it is here!

Dogs and goats in Bequia bar. The harbour in Bequia filled with old Norwegian ships

  Turtles to touch and see

After Bequia we headed south into the Grenadines. It was windy and rolly and quite a disappointment. Not because of the customary x-mass winds, but it was crowded. Where we used to sail into an anchorage to find 5 or maybe 10 boats where now 10 times that many! There where bays we could not get into because there was no anchoring space available! Also many of the baots are Moorings charter catamarans. They tend to anchor close to the beach and are so wide and tall that if anchored behind them you cant see a thing. We did however visit Canouan and climbed to the top of the hill to find an old fort and two wild tortoises. Then we enjoyed the fabulous beach in Saline Bay on Mayreau. Colin and Camilla managed to swim all the way from the beach and out to the boat. Here is a picture to illustrate:

  The distance swam by the kids

After rolling around in the anchorages we decided to head for Tyrrel Bay in the south end of Carriacou. That meant going from one country to another so we sailed for Union Island to check out of St Vincent & The Grenadines. Union has never been a favourite of ours so we aimed at doing a quick stop. The winds where a brisk 25 gusting 30 in the anchorage and a bareboat ended up in trouble. It was drifting on to a catamaran and in danger of being pinned to it's bow. So before setting sail we boarded the Moorings boat and helped the family out. Their anchor was stuck on another boat and the windlass did not work. They were very close. In that kind of wind that is not fun.

Checking in at Hillsbourough was easy and pleasant. The locals here are very friendly. The friendliest we have met so far in the caribbean. We remember fondly spending time in Tyrrel Bay  in the early 90's. It is a large bay and maybe another handfull of boats would be anchored out. But not now! The bay was full and we counted nearly 100 boats plus commercial ships in the bay. It did not look good but then we went ashore and met Ted and his three kids. Camilla and Colin had a great time and more and more kids joined from the other boats. New years eve Firefly arrived and we where 14 kids pluss adults on the beach. It was great fun. Early new years day we all met on the beach and Ted led us up to the highest mountain in Carriacou (1000 feet/300meters). The views where spectacular, the scenery wonderful and with great company it was a day to remember. Even 4 year old Thomas from Firefly managed the walk even though it was VERY steep in places.

         Exploring Carriocou beach front

Ted and family, Josh, Zak and Maya

    About to go hiking









This site was last updated 03/13/07