Update from Carriacou...
John and Susie Blair.
Sun 20 Jan 2013 17:52
Now where were we?, oh yes, the Tobago Cays. Well we left there and had a
lovely two and a half hour downwind sail passing to windward of Palm Island
and Union Island to Carriacou, 14 miles to the south. Carriacou is a Carib
word meaning 'Island of reefs' though navigating the leeward side was easy
enough and we were tempted to anchor off some of the gorgeous small islands
as we made our way towards Tyrrel Bay.
We arrived as the sun was setting and anchored with ease amongst the other
cruising yachts. I lit the BBQ immediately and we soon had lovely spare ribs
and chicken with skewered peppers and onions on the go! We washed that down
with a glass of Chardonnay and turned in for an early night excited about
our new landfall which neither of us had visited before.
Next morning we awoke to the usual 'cock-a-doodle-do' and well rested,
Susie and I were keen to do stuff before it got too hot, tidy our ship,
prepare dinghy to go ashore, catch up with emails (v.good internet reception
onboard) etc. As we passed a neighbouring boat with a red Ensign we stopped
to chat with the skipper and he clued us up on a few interesting facts about
the area, he was waiting for his partner to arrive and we said we'd meet up
again for more chat. We took a stroll along the shore of this quiet, sleepy
little bay with it's clear shallow waters. Businesses line the beachfront
road separates them from the sea, according to the Doyle guide, a year or
two back hurricane Lenny caused devastation here and massive seas washed the
road away taking many properties with it, a sea wall has now been built. We
decided to catch a local bus to the main town of Hillsborough about four
miles away to investigate further.
A charming little town, Hillsborough is built right on the beach, as you
walk down the high street you catch glimpses of the sea between the
buildings. According to 'Doyle's Cruising Guide' the island has over 100 rum
shops but just one petrol station! There are plenty of small supermarkets
here and the name 'Bullen' crops up frequently. My mate Steve Sula lived
here on the island for a few years with his young family and he said to ask
for 'Cou-ee Bullen' when on the island as they were friends from 15+ years
back so when we were picking up some groceries I asked and was given
directions to his home down the street. We did pass by and Knocked but there
was nobody home...shame. Someone said we may see him about on his bike so we
kept an eye out and as we were just about to take the bus back to Tyrrel Bay
he appeared! He was looking for us as it turns out as he'd been told someone
was asking for him. We sat at his mates bar at the waters edge and ordering
a round of beers he announced that it was his 60th Birthday the next day,
well I told him that it was my 50th the day after that and Steve's 50th last
week! Anyhow, we had a good old natter as he reflected on memories of
himself and Steve from years back messing around on boats in Tyrrel Bay.
Taking the local bus (Minibus) is always a great way to see the interior of
an island and knowing this Susie and myself decided to take a tour around
the island this way the next day. That evening was spent in the company of
the skipper we'd met earlier who was from Scarborough and his partner from
Bar Harbour, which is on tiny Mount Desert Island off the coast of Maine (Me
and Steve stopped off in Bar Harbour while bringing Chelone back from the
USA five years ago but that's another story!).
So we did the bus tour (£0.75 each way) and sampled more of Carriacou's
enchanting countryside. The inhabitants live by farming, fishing and
seafaring and driving along I must say all was of interest...the quirky
little dwellings, tilled allotments and banana groves to wild Papaya and
Mango trees hanging with fruit. Up hills and across valleys, through hamlet
after hamlet we headed to the area called 'Windward' where the tradition of
boatbuilding continues to this day.
Finally, I should mention that Tyrrel Bay (Itself a submerged volcano rim)
has a Mangrove swamp complete with Oysters...see photos.
How much more I waffle on here I'm not sure, ha! We checked out the
boatbuilding, saw more of the island and Hillsborough then decided to weigh
anchor for Mustique.....see next post! TTFN.