A short afternoon sail brought us
into the anchorage off Clifton, on Union Island. A little different to the Clifton in Bristol.
The second town on Union
Island is called Ashton and is
apparently the same distance away from Clifton as
it is in Bristol!
This was a windy anchorage and we
anchored right on the edge of a shoal in 2.5 metres. We dropped back into deeper water and at
some point in the afternoon the anchor obviously dragged off the ledge and
re-set itself in deeper water – an interesting lesson for us. We re-anchored with more scope on a more
Clifton anchorage, Union Island
Talking of wind, we are flush with
power. I was getting paranoid that
our wind generator wasn’t producing it’s designed power but in places like this,
it is regularly putting in 10A+ and combined with the solar panels, we have more
than we need. I turned the fridge
up so it is freezing the beers to use up some of the power. If only it were always like this. I think if I did this again, I would go
for the same wind generator and have at least 200W of solar panels, mounted on
the guardrails on hinges.
The other thing that keeps us from
being totally self-sufficient is water.
In the Caribbean you always pay for
water, and because you aren’t in marinas every night, it usually requires a bit
of effort and time to fill your tanks.
Here in Clifton, there are a couple of rickety wooden
jetties where you can go alongside and fill your tanks. It isn’t particularly
expensive but it is a hassle.
Back on Bequia, I rigged up Mark 1
of my water-catchment system, in an effort to catch some of the rainwater that
we periodically get. When it rains,
it pours here, so it is worth trying to catch some of it. The day before we left England, Dad and Sarah sewed together
an awning out of an old genoa and it hadn’t been used up to now. But we worked out that we could rig up a
funnel with some hose at one end of it and when it rained, we would catch some
of this water.
Typically, we’d normally get the
awning up and the funnel in place just as it stopped raining but on one occasion
we managed to fill all our jerry cans and the big pink bucket that the kids use
for a bath – about 120 litres within half an hour!
The girls have been quite
badly-behaved these last few days.
I think it is a mix of colds/coughs brought back from the
UK, and their being unsettled due to
moving on every couple of days, which is reinforced by the regular goodbyes and
reunions with other kids. They also
miss being in a marina (or ramina as Millie insists on calling it) where they
can get off the boat and run around a lot more easily.
So we took them on a good walk in
found a nice quiet road for them to run up and down on. They decided to hold a
sports day and wanted to do races up and down the hill, to the bemusement of the
goats and chickens looking on.
The girls ashore, Clifton
Clifton is a ramshackle place which is well
set-up for cruisers, with various jetties built for yachts and dinghies and lots
of restaurants and “supermarkets”.
However it is still pretty 3rd world and is all the more
charming for it. The supermarkets
remind me of ones I remember seeing in Africa,
where there was nothing super about it – a small dirty room with a small
selection of out-of-date goods on the shelves. It’s not quite as bad as that but it’s
not exactly Tesco.
The vegetable market consists of a
number of brightly-painted stalls set round a small grassy field. You can get most fruit and veg here as
many items are either grown locally or imported from the US. We tried a sweetsop, which is a large
fleshy fruit which tasted a bit like fizzy sweets but had the texture of raw
chicken. We came to the conclusion
that if it isn’t a popular, well-known fruit, there’s usually a good reason for
I went to Customs & Immigration
to check out – Carriacou, where we are heading next, is part of
Grenada. There was a chap from another yacht in
front of me, and the immigration lady charged him a fee. He paid and left, and then it was my
turn. She was very friendly and
courteous and when all the papers had been completed I asked her if I needed to
pay a fee. She said no, so I asked
her why the other chap had had to pay one.
It turns out that because he had told her that he was leaving Clifton at 0700 the next
day, he was charged an overtime fee – because 0700 was outside office
hours! So they charge you based on
what time you say you are leaving – not what time it actually is when you do the