Pictures/Journal - page 4

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  Tobago Cays


St.Lucia,The Pitons

Enjoying Piton beer






Salt Whistle Bay


Along the coast


St. George's outer harbor


St. George's Lagoon on left



WINDWARD ISLANDS, cont'd. (including St. Lucia, Bequia, Mayreau, Grenada, Carriacou, Tobago Cays) JULY 9 - AUGUST 22, 2003:   

We left Rodney Bay, St. Lucia, and headed south, staying one night at The Pitons, St. Lucia.  The Pitons are 2 steep and rather pointed mountains, thus the name, with a small, luscious bay nestled in between them.  It's an absolutely beautiful anchorage, and we plan on returning next year and doing some land exploration at that time.  It is a marine park and whether you anchor or pick up a mooring ball, there is a sizeable park fee for a 2 night stay, thus discouraging boats from overstaying their visit.  The pictures I took do not do it any justice.  Incidentally, for the beer aficionados, the local beer here is called Piton.

We had a sporting sail past St. Vincent.  St. Vincent is a very pretty, desirable island.  Unfortunately, it has the reputation among cruisers as a country of high theft and assaults, so few cruisers venture there; those that do go in groups. 

Next stop for a few days was Admiralty Bay, Bequia (pronounced beck-way) in the Grenadines.  Having been there many years before, we along with Sunrise had to hit Mac's Pizzeria for a fantastic pizza with a view.  It seems that pizza is a popular eating-out item, and we have had quite a few excellent pizzas along the way - good enough to rival even Star Pizza in Houston.  As we leave Bequia, we pass Moonhole which is a "housing development".  An American architect built houses out of the natural rock with big arches and patios, no straight lines, no glass windows, no electricity.  His original house was built under a natural arch known as Moonhole.  It was abandoned when a huge boulder fell from the ceiling and crushed the bed.  Ouch.

Next we head to Salt Whistle Bay, Mayreau.  Having visited here many years ago by charter boat we have very fond memories.  This beautiful bay has a sweeping half moon beach, with a low lying section that gives an unobstructed view out to sea.  Ashore, you expect to see the Mad Hatter running around this whimsical-looking woodlands.  The dining area is set out among the trees and each table is built of stone with a thatched roof.  Unfortunately, as we pulled into the crowded anchorage, there were a few Puerto Rican type boats partying with loud music and a bunch of kids.  Thankfully, it subsided at dusk.

We make an afternoon stop at Union Island to clear out of the Grenadines, and then head to Tyrrel Bay, Carriacou (we will return in a few weeks for the Carriacou Regatta Week) for a night.  Carriacou island is part of Grenada. 


We then head to Grenada.  On the way, we divert our course around Kick 'em Jenny, the world's most active and studied submarine volcano.  It has erupted 12 times since 1939, most recently in 1988 and 1989.  Even during times of inactivity, it is required (not enforced) that all boats give it a clearance of 1.5 km.  This is because submarine volcanoes release large quantities of gas bubbles into the water, even in quiet times between eruptions.  This can lower the density of the seawater above the vent.  This is very dangerous to shipping/boating traffic, because boats entering a zone of lowered water density will lose buoyancy and may sink!!! 

We arrive at St. George's, Grenada and anchor in the Lagoon.  We have made our destination with several days to spare before Jana's arrival!  We have traveled over 3,000 miles in 4 1/2 months!  We straighten up the boat, buy groceries, do laundry and clear out the aft cabin for her.  Q: So where do we now put the many cases of beer and several cases of wine that we bought cheap and have in reserve?  A: In the salon under/next to the table.

Jana arrives in Grenada after 18 hours of travel.  There are many nice bays on the south side of Grenada that are big cruiser hangouts during hurricane season.  We are at True Blue Bay (few cruisers, great bar & restaurant) initially, move to Mt. Hartman Bay, then to Clarkes Court Bay and back to True Blue Bay for her departure.  We meet many cruisers that we have subsequently met up with again.  Jana has written her guest commentary while traveling aboard ARGO - it follows:

              Charter party schooner outside St. George's




The beach walk

Buying vegetables from street vendor

Moonhole rock house

Flamboyant trees are everywhere


True Blue Bay, ARGO near

Mt. Hartman /Secret Harbor, ARGO in center

Mt. Hartman; cool 3-story house built into side of hill

Jana's Guest Commentary while traveling aboard ARGO in Grenada, July 2003:

I loved being the first guest aboard ARGO!  I had such a fabulous time exploring Grenada with my Dad & Deborah.  It took me almost no time to adjust to the cruiser’s way of life.  I actually survived life without my watch, cell phone, or car!  (Luckily, a local internet café was available so I could keep in touch via email—I didn’t say I could do without ALL common luxuries!)  The island was beautiful, and the most enjoyable day we had on Grenada was the 12-hour tour of the island.  I am quite positive that we visited every inch of the island that day with our guide, Dexter.  Another couple, Jeff & Wendy, joined us for the adventure.  We saw most everything that the island had to offer: the rainforest, the waterfalls, the spice plantation, the nutmeg processing plant, and more.  Dexter filled us in on the island’s history, which was quite interesting.  (If his gig as tour guide doesn’t work out for him, I suspect he’d be a pretty good history teacher.)  We also did local cruiser things, like the Sunday BBQ at Hog Island and, most importantly, dominoes!  (I might just add in here that I am still the undefeated champion of dominoes.  I welcome any challengers!)  We had some great meals too, both out at local restaurants and onboard ARGO.  Chef Steven could have his own show on the Food Network!  Overall, I had a wonderful time and was very sad to see it end.  Every now and then while I am at work, I glance at the clock on my computer and think, jealously, “I wonder what ARGO is up to right now”.  The best part of it, though, is that I have a small glimpse into Dad & Deborah’s life as cruisers and can appreciate the love of it.  I’m not sure I could ever commit my life to cruising, but I sure could commit myself to a nice vacation every year!  I hope all of you can make it to a beautiful part of the world to meet up with ARGO very soon.  I know I am counting the days until I can visit again!


 Hundreds of drying racks for nutmegs  Nutmegs sorted by hand  Nutmeg & mace*, cocoa, vanilla, cinnamon, bay  Cocoa growing  Concord Falls, Carib beer in hand

  *  Did you know?    Nutmeg grows like a pecan on a tree.  The outer soft shell is used in jams and jellies.  The next layer is a red, vein-looking, plastic-like cover which is the spice mace.  Under that is a hard shell which is used on walkways as an alternative to bark or gravel.  Inside this shell is the actual nutmeg.  Both nutmegs and mace are sorted as to quality, dried and then sold whole or ground.  We grate nutmeg over rum drinks, vegetables, soups, sauces, etc.  Try it for that "secret" ingredient sometime. 

Grenada, cont'd.

St. George's inner harbor

Lunch at Nutmeg's, St. George's inner harbor

View from Fort George

View of inner harbor from Fort George

Grenada, cont'd.

Lover Boy, a Mona monkey, eating a mango (cute!) in Grand Etang rainforest

Jana doing her laundry in the Wonder Wash (doubles as a salad spinner or party drink mixer - only kidding)




Wood work boats


Bob (Sunrise) with Regatta Beauty finalists







Tobago Cays


Our fantastic anchorage.  Note all the reefs close by for snorkeling










Sunrise (Bob & Susan on deck) flying spinnaker en route to Grenada

Continuing with Jana's description of our 12-hour tour, I'd like to add that our tour also included:  Sliding down a mud slide to see another waterfall; an "old world" rum factory (the putrid-looking sludge they skimmed off was enough to turn your stomach and the totally clear by-product was something you didn't want to smoke around!); racing down the old airport runway (the driver turns onto the tarmac and hits the pedal to the metal for the full length - yee-haa, I almost peed in my pants); meeting Dexter's (our guide) dad; going by Dexter's mom's house but didn't meet her because Wheel of Fortune was on and it's her favorite show; and then went to the "bar" in Dexter's neighborhood which actually was the front room of his friend's house and happens also to be The Kite Store where we hung out with his friends and drank beer and watched Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy (islanders love these game shows!).   Had a "private" lunch at a wonderful restaurant, Helvellyn, on north coast high up overlooking other islands and got a very close up look at a Mona monkey eating a mango in the rainforest. 

     Helvellyn for lunch; looking north at Carriacou



After Jana's departure, we headed back up north to Tyrrel Bay, Carriacou, for the big Carriacou Regatta Week.  There we rendezvoused with Sunrise (Bob & Susan), met up with many boats we had previously met, and met a whole bunch of new boats we had heard of through others or on the radio (like Parrothead and Rumrunner - aren't these great boat names!!!).  It started off with a big BBQ party, with name tags/boat cards pinned to shirt - hey, this is a good thing.  The focal races are the local "work boats" -  colorfully painted wood sailboats used by locals to fish - and race.  The smaller boats start from the beach; larger ones from anchors.  Sand bags are used for ballast, and dumped overboard on the last leg.  Race starts are not for the weak of heart here:  Premature crossing of the "start line" that would have had us crying foul back home; guys hanging on the stern trying to climb on after pushing the boat off the beach at the start; numerous near collisions requiring fending off (no cussing heard as they take it all in stride); dodging water taxis, stupid-ass charter boats ( I can say that now) and miscellaneous boats lollygagging in the middle of the race course (come on people, don't you know there is a race on?!); a few near misses of the trapeze guys hanging off the side almost getting smashed into the committee boat at the finish line, etc.   It was quite comical at times.  Big festival day included the greasy pole contest - watching them "position" the big telephone pole and grease it up on the dock was quite entertaining in itself - boys run out on a horizontal greased pole and attempt to nab the two "prizes" hanging from the end of it.  Most don't make it even to the end - in the drink they go.  Harder than you think.  Cruisers also have their own races, but we preferred to watch the local activities instead of racing.  Not that we would ever race our home, but I'm sure we would win.  Oh yeh, we had wonderful pizza several times at the Turtle Dove (now run by 2 Italian women) - hey TASS, remember LeRoy?. 

Work boats preparing for beach start ... ... and they're off ... ... oops, "Watch out!" "Fend off!" ...


Having missed the Tobago Cays [back to July 2004] on the way down, we next head over (north) there with Sunrise.  Tobago Cays is a cruiser's dream:  Anchor in clear, shallow turquoise water just inside of huge Horseshoe Reef providing protection, so as you look out from your boat, all you see is water.  A few small, but tall, islands (uninhabited, so you must be totally self-sufficient here) with lovely white beaches for exploring, playing and picture taking.  The snorkeling here is excellent with shallow reefs all around with lots of pretty fish and corals, and so we snorkeled for a few hours each day.  With a group, I reluctantly snorkeled the "Shark Pit", being told that the nurse sharks usually sleep on the bottom under coral at mid day.  We saw one nurse shark (friendly) swimming past and that was it.  Whew!  Another day we saw a big huge sting ray, that was totally obsessed with feeding on something on the bottom, even when one brave sole in the group disturbed him, he returned to his exact previous location.  Having had a large salt water aquarium in Houston, we see so many fish and invertebrates that we have known and loved ... and owned.  It really gets me how they are in such large abundance here ... and to think how much we paid for them back home ...  

Tobago Cays is the very first stop for many of the stupid-ass charter boats coming out of Canouan.  Typical cruiser response as a bareboat charter boat prepares to drop his anchor on top of your anchor is:  1) go on deck, "survey" situation and put hands on hips in disapproval,  2) get on the VHF radio (ch. 16) and complain to other cruisers hoping the offending boat will hear you and get the hint,  3) yell out "you're too close, you're too close" and wave them away,  4) try the "universal" hand signal that your mother doesn't like you using,  5) get in your dinghy and pay them a visit.  If it's a French boat, you're screwed - they pretend not to know English.

Tobago Cays gave us a chance to use our custom swim/bathing platform that "brother" Kent designed specially for Deborah.  It attaches to our regular boat ladder and allows for easy access to the water, and provides a platform for snorkeling items and bathing.  I love it - thanks Kent!

Hemisphere Dancer, Jimmy Buffett's blue seaplane ("flying boat") with a palm tree painted on the tail, flew over the Tobago Cays several days.  Deborah and Susan (Sunrise) were mulling over the idea of flashing Jimmy to entice him to land, but decided the beach next to us with all the topless French and Italian girls made it pointless.  He had also flown over Carriacou during Regatta and has made appearances in the past, but not this time. 

After about a week in Tobago Cays, we head south once again, stopping for a night in Carriacou (pizza at Turtle Dove a must), then Grenada to St. George's Lagoon, True Blue and now Prickly Bay.  It's nice going back to a place we've been before as we're already familiar with the navigation and anchoring issues and don't have to pour over the Cruising Guide and charts as thoroughly.  We will stay in Grenada for a few weeks, then head down to Venezuela and/or it's offshore islands (e.g., Margarita) and/or Trinidad and/or Tobago.

Grenada, cont'd.

With "guide" through the mudslide to waterfall; holding up fallen nutmegs

Little Dipper restaurant at Clarkes Court Bay (only 4 tables, with view of ARGO)



New form of boat propulsion


Inside of above boat; note joints are natural tree branches






Tobago Cays



Sunrise (center with blue awning), ARGO (to right behind catamaran)






Shampooing on Kent's invention


Jimmy Buffett's Hemisphere Dancer flying overhead





Land transportation around the islands in the beginning was by taxi, which can be relatively expensive.  While in Rodney Bay, St. Lucia we had our first experience using public transportation - the bus.  We took a bus to Castries, the "city" to check out the market.  Since then, we have used buses extensively in Carriacou and Grenada.  The bus is basically what you would think of back home as the family van, a bit longer though.  It has five rows of seats and has a capacity limit (not enforced) of 18 people.  OK, try five rows times 4 per row and you get 20 people.  We've been there done that.  Had a friend who said they packed 24 in the bus - they were literally sitting on peoples' laps.  Mind you, these rows are packed in tighter than an airplane, with 3 tiny "jump" seats, and some of the ladies down here are substantially sized.  Imagine a cartoon where the jammed-in bus occupants are hanging out the window as the bus careens around a corner on 2 wheels.  That's it!  

Buses are made up of a driver, and a conductor who is a guy riding "shotgun" style.  The latter solicits riders while under way, opens/closes the door, herds people to the way back of the bus, and collects money.  The driver drives.  And does he ever.  In all islands, they drive very fast, and by U.S. standards would be considered reckless and unsafe.  It's like Mr. Toad's Wild Ride at Disney Land on these hilly islands, and I swear side view mirrors miss each other by millimeters.  You don't dare stick your arm, or worse yet, your head, out the window for the very real fear of losing it.  I've even seen signs telling you not to do that - duh.  But we have never seen an accident, fender bender or injury ... nor been hit, but it's been close a thousand times.  In fact, the vehicles (buses, taxis and private) don't have scrapes or dents and are in great shape on the outside.  (The inside of the buses may be decorated with mod vinyl wallpaper and show more wear.)  All taxis and buses have names which are written in 6 inch letters at the top of the windshield.  They have names like Instructor, King Elvis, Perseverance, Defender, Wild Ride, Just T'n T - kind of like boat names, you wonder where they come up with some of them.  You must be very careful walking along streets and roads, keeping in mind that they are driving on the "wrong", i.e. left, side of the road, and zoom by you very closely.  Watch those toes. 

Buses are cheap and provide the primary transportation as most locals do not own cars.  We have paid anywhere from approx. US$0.60 to $1.00 per person one way.  They pick you up walking down the street, and will drop off pretty much wherever you want.  And yes, you are riding with the locals *, which in itself is quite an experience.  But you can't beat it for these reasons. 

*  On most islands, even English-speaking islands, the locals have their own language, some of it kind of a French patois or Creole, that you cannot understand at all.

The Market - each city or town has their own.  The market is typically huge, with both indoor and outdoor crude booths, or vendor stands.  They sell all sorts of local fresh fruits and vegetables, clothing, flowers and particularly in Grenada, "the Spice Island", a large variety of local spices ... and watch batteries (yep, finally was able to get one replaced after much searching up island).  There usually is a section selling fresh fish that they cut up on the spot.  What is interesting is that there are maybe a hundred vendors selling the exact same stuff.  With that much competition within a few blocks, how in the world can anybody make a living.  In that case I'd say location location location has a lot to do with it.  We generally buy fruits and vegetables at these markets ... and the watch battery ... and laundry bags used by locals.


GRENADA, cont'd., AUGUST 23 - OCTOBER 4:  Not much new.  We are still in Grenada, spending most of our time so far anchored at Prickly Bay.  Prickly Bay offers an open air restaurant and Tiki Bar with live music (big cruiser hangout), good marine store, nice internet lounge, mini-market, laundry service, within easy walking distance to other bays and bars, etc., and it has the easiest access into town via local bus.  We have been doing (but not overdoing) boat projects, took a tour of St. George's University and Medical School (very impressive facilities, not to mention the unbelievable view out over 2 bays and the sea), assisting with the HAM license exam for 30 prospective hamsters, participating in a sailboat race around SW Grenada (on a friend's boat), doing happy hours on boats or bars, and doing several interesting hikes with a fellow cruiser (Polyphonic) who always guarantees an adventure. 

We also became members of the Grenada Hash House Harriers, doing the Hash runs/walks through the countryside. All over the world there are chapters of Hash House Harriers. The motto is "drinkers with a running problem".  Every other Saturday they gather at some different/secret place that the Hash Master has laid out with a trail to follow through the woods.  He drops confetti to mark the trail and some false trails. You have to keep looking for the correct route otherwise you could be lost in the woods.  We walk it in about 2 hours and the finish is always at a different local bar where you drink beer and initiate the newcomers.  Check out .

We most recently traveled the entire island (again) by local buses (picture top right).  We toured the Grenada Chocolate Company factory - the only small scale chocolate factory in the world that grows their own cocoa beans (soon to be certified organic) and  does everything themselves.  At left, Edmund with the cocoa bean crusher.  The factory is 100% solar powered, and hand-made machinery runs on 24-volt power, while 2 ladies, lower right, wrap all chocolates by hand.  No, not like Lucy and Ethyl in the candy factory - this is very low production at island speed!  It was founded/owned/run by a cruiser who lives in the rain forest, had a desire to help the local economy, and who used his engineering skills to "make" the machinery.  This fine dark chocolate rivals that of European chocolates.  Chocoholics might want to check out  They ship in the U.S.

Haven't taken the camera along much lately so don't have too many new pictures, other than the 377 ft. mega yacht that anchored in Prickly Bay - our new best friends.  We told them everyone in the anchorage had already hosted a happy hour so it was their turn.  Those Brits don't have much of a sense of humor.  Incidentally, the transom folds down to reveal dual ramps for unloading their tenders and a dual dinghy dock.

Down here, there are many Brits (they have big sailboats), Germans and Belgiums (both easy to identify 'cuz they don't like to wear clothes onboard).  Some French (can spot them because most have aluminum boats), but not as many as we had been seeing up island.  Americans are not as numerous down here, but still a good constituency.  And, we have met a surprising number of Canadians along the way.

We are sailing to Los Testigos sometime next week along with Sunrise and Merlin (Tim).  This is a remote island off Venezuela where there are no stores and only about 150 people who fish.  May stay there about a week and then to Margarita to provision before heading to Blanquilla.  May not go to the mainland of Venezuela this year.


  Salt Whistle Bay, Mayreau, The Grenadines


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