Welcome to the blog of the sailing yacht Sea Bunny.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Closed the loop!!!

Arrived Union Island (St Vincent & the Grenadines)
Sea Bunny arrived in the approaches to Clifton Harbour on Union Island at 1330 on 20 January 2017, crossing her track from 22 January 2002 when she left Clifton turning right, westbound for the ABCs, Panama and the Pacific. Crossing your outbound track defines the completion of a circumnavigation. This one therefore took us 14 years, 364 days and 5 hours.
Last time it was a bit nerve racking navigating the reef in the harbour from paper chart at the chart table; now with large chart plotter in the cockpit it was easier. But the number one eyeball still held good.
Finding your way around is easy!
A celebration drink of the diminishing stock of South African MCC (M├ęthode Cap Classique - Champagne) was followed by a delicious meal of mahi-mahi ashore.
Plenty of fresh produce
We couldn't really remember much of our previous visit but found Union Island to be charming with lots of restaurants, small supermarkets and a market square, for the tourists, with stalls selling fresh fruit and veg - at a price! - as most is shipped in from the US.
Apparently the first arrivals on the island were around 5400 BC.
Leave room for the ferry!
While we were ashore for our evening meal the ferry from St Vincent came in, slowly and with searchlight blazing, turned and berthed stern-to a fairly narrow jetty. When it left next morning we saw that it had dropped an anchor to hold her bow in place. We could also see that anchoring in the place where Chris Doyle places an anchor sign in his Windward Islands pilot book would be unwise - as it's directly on the ferry's path. We were anchored further off the channel - about 50 m off her track.
Dressed overall in celebration
On leaving the harbour this time we turned  to port back to the Tobago Cays, anchoring with only Horseshoe Reef between Sea Bunny and the swells of the open Atlantic Ocean. In 2002 it was windy and swelly here but on this visit it is calm and beautiful but just as crowded.
After an attempt to adjust the outboard engine for the dinghy Sea Bunny was dressed overall in celebration of our circumnavigation.
Green turtle grazing
We went snorkelling to find turtles in cold 27 degree water.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Grenada and Carriacou

Thursday 29 December saw us leaving Trinidad for the overnight passage to Prickly Bay on the south of Grenada. A fairly uncomfortable passage with the wind fine on the starboard bow and a lumpy sea. There was enough wind to enable good boat speed, which meant we had to slow down for several hours in torrential rain so as to arrive in daylight  - not very comfortable.

2017 was seen in at the Tiki Bar at the Prickly Bay Marina complete with steel band and all drinks included.

After drying out from the passage we begain a sojurn of the sheltered quiet anchorages first in the next inlet to the east - Secret Harbour then to Hog Island anchorage. Several of the deep inlets on the south coast are connected by dinghy passages, so one can move between them without venturing out into the swell. This we did to attend a dinghy raft up concert on wet Sunday afternoon.

The Carenage
Next stop was St George's, the capital of Grenada. The anchorage outside is a bit rolly because of the northern swell at present but OK and a short dinghy ride to the dinghy docks outside the Island water World Chandlery and the Foodland  supermarket in the shelter of the Lagoon. The old part of the town, surrounding the inner harbour - The Carenage - is picturesque.
The Carenage and Fort George
We are told - by Grenadians - that it is the most scenic in the eastern Caribbean.

Cruise ship - St George's in the background
St George's features on the itinerary of many Caribbean cruise ships with one or two at the cruise ship dock every couple of days.

The larger ships dwarf the town but there are some smaller ones sporting masts and even sails.
Cruise ships departing
They generally arrive during the night and leave in the evening.
From St George's we did an island tour but before that as she hadn't fallen for the last 30 year Susan missed the jetty. Having returned to Sea Bunny to change and attend to the vast number of coral grazes she managed to get ashore the second time.

The tour, with an excellent guide, Dexter from Henry's Safari Tours,, took in the NW coast around to Sauteurs, where the last indigenous Carib warriors leaped to their deaths over a cliff rather than be subjugated by the French.
Chocolate tree
On the way we visited a nutmeg packing facility (1.5 M lb - about 680 tonnes - exported annually) and a chocolate factory. When the chocolate pod id broken open the beans are surrounded by juicy white flesh - which is very tasty. While trying it is important not to try to bite on the bean itself - it is certainly not pleasant tasting before it has been dried and roasted.
Chocolate beans drying in the sun
Original water-wheel
The River Antoine rum distillery, dating from 1785, still uses the original overshot water wheel for power to crush the sugar cane.
Cane crusher - water powered

Vats for concentrating the cane liquor
Most of the energy for concentrating the cane liquor comes from burning the residual cane after the juice has been extracted. From the large amounts of spent cane around it appears that there is more than is needed. We didn't ask about the risk of spontaneous combustion in the huge piles. The actual distillation uses wood as fuel, presumable because more intense heat is needed.

High tech it isn't; the contrast with the Bundaberg distillery in Queensland is striking but the product is pretty good and the carbon footprint must be low!
The lower crater lake
As a volcanic island Grenada has crater lakes, one fairly close to sea level and one in the highlands. Both are quiet and scenic.
The upper crater lake
Halifax harbour
There are also nearly deserted beaches. And quiet anchorages, although the quietness of Halifax Harbour probably owes a lot to the smouldering rubbish tip.
Some recycling of rubbish to beautify does, however, take place.

Hillsborough the main (only) town on Carriacou
Carriacou is only a hop and skip away and a charming island. Drier then Grenada and, apparently, with much less usage of marijuana. Very little grown here so supply vessels make a regular run. In the north the wooden boat building trade is now dying out.  Sea Bunny is anchored from the northerly swell in Tyrell Bay while the GRP on deck was cut and polished for the first time in a couple of years and the gen set exhaust  was welded.

View across to Petite Martinique & Petit St Vincent

A 2-3 hour island tour enabled us to see most of the island and views to other islands of the Grenadines, including Union Island (St Vincent) which is where Sea Bunny will cross her outbound track from 2001 and complete her circumnavigation..

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Christmas in Trinidad

Powerboats, where Sea Bunny was repaired, was our main base for December. Putting the mast up was quick compared to having to refix every line on her except the outhaul. The teak bathing platform benefited from a hundred new screws and freshly sanded planks before being lowered into place.
The happy staff and facilities were second to none, included cherry picker to take you off the boat; and we highly recommend them.  So it was a busy, busy time between Sea Bunny and the chandlery Budget Marine.  Our breaks were to markets and supermarkets to restock via local taxi which delivered us back to Sea Bunny.
Caribbean choirs with steel bands are famous so a group of us, dressed in our finery, attended a excellent  "Christmas Calabash" concert by the local Lydons Choir, The male voices sounded like melted chocolate making a delicious evening.

Mark 1 chandelier
As time ticked on and northerly winds and high seas persisted Sea Bunny remained in Trinidad for Christmas, enjoying a yachty's BBQ lunch at Crews Inn. Susan has asked for a chandelier for the new home so Santa made one out of tinsel and lights. It was not exactly what she had in mind - gave her ideas though!

On boxing Day Bill called on the VHF offering a lift to the Caroni Swamp Bird Sanctuary- we jumped at it.

This involved a boat trip down a canalised channel to the main lakes forming the wetlands.

Scarlet ibis
The highlight would be to view the roosting at sun set of thousands of the national bird of Trinidad - the scarlet ibis. Wow what a sight to witness literally thousands of scarlet ibis and great egrets coming in to roost on one of the islands in the lake.

Egrets heading for the roost site

Part of the roosting site

Bats observed by the channel