The Sail to Grenada
Didnt' have much time to update yesterday so writing a bit more today. We left pigeon island in Guadeloupe at 7:30 on Sunday and were sailing within a couple of miles of leaving. We were glad to have some breeze as there has been none at all for the past week, we were having to beat upwind though (like usual!) and when we left the lee of Guadeloupe it was quite bouncy - we were hoping we weren't going to have that for the next 250 miles to Grenada.
Going past Dominica the wind died right down - even thirty miles off the coast the mountains of the island shadow the wind (we had hoped we were far enough off to not be affected) A couple of hours motoring saw us clear Dominica and we were off again sailing - at least the wind had turned a little so we had it on the beam which makes for a much better ride. We passed Martinique and St Lucia 50 miles off and you could see the lights on the horizon - lots of shipping around Martinique for Adam's night time watch, however - we have now fitted a booster to our AIS so we can see ships from about 24 miles away on our chart which is good. Surprisingly only saw one other yacht.
The first night is the most difficult as you haven't really got into the sleep pattern and we probably only managed a couple of hours sleep each. The next day saw us sail past St Vincent and the Grenadines (Mustique, Bequia, Union etc) - if we weren't 30 odd miles west it would have been tempting to stop as we haven't had a chance to do them this year - however, we contintued on to Grenada which was just showing lights in the distance by 1 in the morning on the second night. We reefed the sails down overnight to make it easier on watch and the wind was varying between about 15 and 25 knots but we made good time - I woke up from my second sleep at 5am on Tuesday (much better sleeping on the second nights sail) and was surprised to find out we had made it to Grenada and were just 2 miles off the coast and 10 miles from George Town. Adam dived off to bed and the wind died - I didn't want to wake him up with the engine so made a valiant effort for the next 2 hours to sail (or actually float) in the right direction holding onto the main sheet to stop it banging about when it lost the wind. Gave up in the end and motored the last 5 miles into the anchorage at Georgetown - we were anchored and back to bed for a bit more sleep by 8am.
It's strange how your sense of distance changes though after the past year - before we went away I would have thought that was a very long way to come, now it's just a couple of days sail. Glad we got in yesterday though as the winds are much stronger today.
Most of yesterday seemed to be taken up with clearing customs, getting a few bits of shopping in and getting fuel etc for the dinghy. Grenada don't win the prize for the most forms to be filled in and the longest time spent hanging around but they are a close second. The best form we had to do was an 'environmental health form where we had to state how many people had died during the passage to Grenada and if this number of dead was more than expected (I think it's really for cruise ships where they expect to lose a few every trip!) By 4pm passports had been stamped and ships papers checked and we were 'legal' here.
Grenada looks nice - we're back to getting rained on pretty regularly but the hillsides are lush and green, similar to St Lucia. George Town looks to be the prettiest of all the main towns in the islands (with the exception of Gustavia on St Barts - but that is a much smaller island so is more of a village) - the buildings are dotted on the hillsides around the port and there is a lot of greenery between with the mountains behind shrouded in cloud. (Trig - we agree with you - it looks very much like Funchal in Madeira here!). Under the boat we have a shoal of St Major fish - which all dart out in a frenzy if you scrape dinner plates overboard.
Home made pizza for tea and an early night!