Travelling South to Grenada from Rodney Bay St Lucia

Mon 13 May 2013 04:13
12:27.377N 061:29.217W
On Tuesday April 23 we left Rodney Bay Marina. As we had checked out of St Lucia we were eligible to buy duty free fuel and so we stopped off at the fuel berth to top up (only a few cents off a gallon but it all adds up). All was going well until I stupidly allowed the tank to fill too quickly and we suddenly had a blow back of diesel which sprayed right up in the air and blew all over both of us and down the side of the boat - more haste less speed and all that!  We spent the next hour or so clearing up the mess but we had a definite "Eau de Diesel" smell on us and the boat for the next day or two.  Somewhat chastened we headed down the coast to Marigot Bay which we had visited on our way North and picked up a buoy for the night.
                                                               Our kind of house - view from the cockpit at Marigot Bay!
By seven o'clock the next morning we were on our way to Bequia. It was a grey day with quite a lot of rain and drizzle but we had a decent breeze for much of the trip and dropped anchor at ten past six, 66 miles on in Port Elizabeth. We spent the next couple of days at anchor but unfortunately the weather was very unsettled with quite heavy rain at times. A good opportunity to catch up on reading, listmaking and a few jobs.
On Saturday we headed on south the 25 miles to Tobago Cays. These are a group of five small deserted islands protected from the Atlantic by a coral reef which wraps around the Islands forming a natural breakwater. You anchor in relatively calm turquoise water watching the waves breaking on the reef outside and hearing the surf rumbling. The colours are fantastic with the water, reef and islands giving a kaleidoscope of gold, brown, blue and green.  At night it is very dark and atmospheric if not a bit scary!
                                                                             Tobago Cays on a sunny day
As we dropped anchor one of the boat boys came alongside and offered to cook us a lobster dinner on the beach. He had an impressive looking lobster in the boat and we said if he would guarantee us that lobster we were a yes. He had told us that there was beer available ashore but if we wanted to bring our own wine or spirits that was OK. That suited us fine and just before dark Michael collected us and our wine and ferried us to the barbecue area. We soon met up with another couple, Stuart and Wendy Dalrymple from Arkansas who were great company and we shared a table. Michael was true to his word and served us a superb lobster dinner, complete with garlic potatoes, rice, salad etc. etc. with fresh tropical fruit to follow. Needless to say it was a memorable evening - after Michael dropped us back aboard he then had a 25 minute trip in his open boat, in the pitch dark across a reef strewn channel to his home on Union Island. Rather him than us!
                                                                                  Anyone for lobster?
Next day was snorkelling day, so we hired a boat boy to take us out to Horseshoe Reef. Although it was a bit choppy we had some good snorkelling and saw some beautiful fish with wonderful iridescent colours. The coral was badly damaged by a hurricane a few years ago but is now slowly recovering. On the way back to Petronella we stopped off at Baradel which is a small island which has a special area set aside where you can swim with the Turtles and watch them feed on the grassy sea weed growing on the sandy bottom. We swam around following one as he grazed on the weed and he didn't seem the least bit put out by as watching him have his lunch.
The following morning was very overcast with rain squalls coming through which suddenly reduced the visibility. As we had a fairly difficult channel to follow through the reefs we decided to err on the side of caution by waiting a few hours for the weather to clear before setting off on the five mile trip to Clifton on Union Island.  
                                                                          Tobago Cays on a squally day!
On arriving in Clifton we were greeted by one of the boat boys who led us to his 'excellent mooring'.  We had intended to only stop to clear out of St Vincent and the Grenadines but having snorkeled to check the mooring and with the weather vastly improving we decided to stay overnight. 
                                                                         On arrival in Clifton, Union Island
                                                                    1 hour later - perhaps we will stay!
Our boat boy 'Skipper' turned out to be quite a character and as he ferried us ashore a few times we got to know him quite well. 
                                                                               Our 'boat boy' Skipper
We liked Clifton - it was a lively, colourful little town which seemed surprisingly prosperous and we were pleased that we had decided to tarry a while.
                                                                             Downtown Clifton
                                                                        Clifton Fruit & Veg Market
                                           Never did make it to the Yummy Stuff Bakery Cafe - maybe next year
                                                                  Foreshore at Clifton, Union Island
                                    Its OK to swim with the turtles but not the sharks - hotel feature at Clifton!
Tuesday 30 April saw us on passage to Tyrrel Bay on Carriacou. It was only a ten mile trip so we gently doddled along with just our yankee up and made the most of it, conscious of it being one of our last sails of this season. We finally dropped anchor at four o'clock and there we stayed for the next four days!
Grenada beckoned so on Sunday we returned to Port Louis Marina at St Georges where we had started out from from nearly three months ago. The last week has gone really quickly but at least we have managed to get started on the job list in readiness for laying up Petronella for the hurricane season.  Early tomorrow morning we will leave Port Louis and head round to Prickly Bay in order to be lifted out at the yard of Spice Island Marine.  Well our first season in the Caribbean is nearly over but what a 6 months we have had since we left the UK - can't wait till next season!!!