Grenada to Carriacou to St Lucia

Sat 2 Apr 2016 12:55
February 14, 2016
I am sitting in the cockpit, alone, with the VHF for company, heading north. How did life lead me to be heading to St Lucia today? We had sailed north from St George’s Grenada and made it to Tyrell Bay in Carriacou. I had hoped to spend the next day moored new Sandy Island for beach, swimming and snorkelling. But when Vlad went to check the engine, the belt that allows the alternator to change our house batteries was shredded. So that needed to be fixed. Vlad retrieved the spares from under the forward bunk, and found two spares, but when he tried to fit one of them, it seemed too small. It was labelled 1220. We pieced the numbers on the destroyed belt together, and found 1280PK. Hmmmm. Then Vlad measured the spare belt and it was 122 cm( or 1220mm) and we came to the conclusion that the spares we had weren't what we needed. The issue that this creates, is that if our generator doesn't work( and Vlad had changed the oil and impeller on it last week and found that the previous installation of the fuel filter by a professional was faulty…..) we have no way to generate electricity and recharge our batteries. This can result in no working navigation, winches, pumps, and could destroy all our batteries….A quick look at the internet, and we found Grenada Marine was the Yanmar rep, but they weren't open on the weekends ( it was Saturday at 1 pm by this time). We dinghied Into Carriacou Marine in Tyrell Bay, and no luck, but Budget Marine in Grenada does help them with supplies and were open until 2 pm. The lady at the minimart attached to the chandlery gave us the number, and Budget looked for the part for us, and would have sent it up on Monday, but no luck, not in stock! So there needed to be a decision: do we go back to Grenada and risk not finding the part, and have to get to St Lucia from there, or do a long sail up to St Lucia on Sunday, so as to get the part we need, either in Rodney Bay, or if not there, to le Marin in Martinique. At least in St Lucia and Martinique, there are marinas that can accommodate us and where we can plug in and recharge batteries as a backup. That isn't the case from St Georges all the way up to Marigot Bay in St Lucia. We decided St. Lucia was the safer bet, so we scrambled back to the boat on the dinghy at high speed, grabbed the boat papers and passports, and booted it straight back to the Customs and Immigration that were closing in 18 minutes at 2 pm! It all worked out, as I had checked in using SailClear, and $20EC later, without even filling out a form( just signed and dated three copies of SailClear form) we were legally checked out and ready to set sail early the next morning.

At around 4 am we picked up the anchor and headed to St Lucia, in the dark. I went back to bed, and Vlad kept watch until 9 am, and I spent most of the day reading my book, reading to the kids, and marvelling at what a great sailing day it was. The winds were 15-20 knots, the sea state was excellent, with relatively little swell, and it was sunny with a warm wind. Vlad, ever the fisherman these days, caught two tuna, one a small albacore or black fin, perfect for sushi, and a skipjack, larger that the first, and good for frying(the only way Pavel will eat it). As the late afternoon faded, we passed by the Pitons in the south of St Lucia heading towards Rodney Bay. We arrived at around 7 pm, in the dark. Our first night arrival (we are one of those cruisers now!!!) went well except for the children getting into trouble just at the worst possible time, yet again. Had dinner and an early night.