Thursday, 1 January 2009

The Passage West. "The End Bit"

The Passage West. "The End Bit"

Were Here. Great, just in time for Christmas and New Year!!

The last part of the passage was eventful with changing winds giving fast and slow sailing days, and occasional shipping…. which is always a shock especially when you look up and there's a ship only 2 miles away!!. It always amazes me that the one ship you pass in a week is always on a collision course and avoiding action is usually necessary.

The wind eased for 2 days and we motor sailed for 12 hours before it filled in building to 20kts for the last couple of days. We had decided to head further south to stay with the wind, so as she built we reached up onto course giving us fast sailing conditions.

We actually tried to slow down putting 3 reefs in the main so that we would arrive in daylight, but that didn't really work and we resolved ourselves to arrive early on the morning of the 24th. I had had some concern about crossing onto the plate from the deep Atlantic, but in the event the sea was only a little confused and short lived.

We dropped sails and headed into Prickly bay in a 30Kt squall at 4am local time.
Feeling our way around the crowded anchorage we found a spot and dropped both anchors, relieved to have made land and firmly secured ourselves for a few days…..Time for bed and sleep.

Fishing was great during the last week with 7 Mahi hooked, 4 landed and one Blue Marlin. The Marlin was caught on the rod during one of the quieter days and after landing the 90kg fish, we released her. A truly beautiful animal, but just a baby.

My form continued and I lost fish while Amanda quietly pulled them in on the hand line…oh well, maybe I will do better with the bottom fishing.

The Morning of arrival is always a busy time. There's the dinghy to launch, the engine to put on, rubbish to take ashore, Customs clearance etc, all with the boys clambering to go to the beach. I took the boys to the customs and immigration office while Amanda stayed on board and prepared a lovely lunch of home made bread, clod meats, cheese and pickles, after which we decided to head ashore for a look around and some time on the beach.

We had a great time on the beach sitting under a palm tree, reading, swimming and the boys playing in and out of the water, which they both really appreciated. Its just so much easier when there's a beach for the Boys. They can amuse themselves for hours and need very little service so we can actually spend some time together.

Christmas eve, so we went ashore for happy hour at the local Bar / Restaurant and ended up having a few Carib beers and eating Pizza and spare ribs. We weren't too late and all fell into bed tired, but well fed and watered.

Christmas day and Santa has been!! The boys opened their stockings and we got up slowly and had breakfast of Sausage, eggs and toast. before the present fest.

We all had presents from the grandparents, aunts, uncles and godparents. Amanda and I had decided to buy each other token gifts…..although I think mine to Amanda was slightly more token than the spear gun she bought me….ehum….i will have to find something suitable in the carib…

We spent the best part of a week in Prickly Bay, with the wind at 20kts from the NE, patchy cloud and squalls, but with long sunny spells, and plenty of time on the beach.

On arrival I noticed a boat at the small marina, which had clearly seen some traumatic times and suffered a dismasting. As I looked, I realised I knew this boat "Hornblower" and was owned by a girl called Maiwenn. She had been a friend of some friends in Bequia and we had all hung out together over Easter 2001…happy times.

We spent 3 or 4 evenings with Maiwenn and her friend Graham, catching up on things and hearing about her dismasting on 23rd Dec, as she was sailing single-handed from Trinidad to Bequia.

Things like this just happen, who knows why, mechanical failure of the smallest part can cause catastrophe, but it goes with the territory and what was really lucky was that she was not lost overboard as she cut the rigging away, which nearly happened twice.

Well it looks like its an insurance job for Maiwenn so she has a surveyor in place and has now left "Hornblower" in Grenada and headed up to Antigua to work…..she is a chef on the largest yachts and also an artist (

We all had fun hanging out and early one morning Amanda and Maiwenn went to the local market in St Georges and returned with wonderful and exotic fruit and vegetables after having a laugh with the local traders who all knew Maiwenn.

The wind was changing and decreasing so we planned to head north to Carriacou for a quiet New Year and different beach.

We said our goodbyes and left Prickly bay on 30th motor sailing north.

When in Grenada we bought some really heavy fishing line to make some hand lines. On our way North I made up a new hand line and popped it over the side. I'm not sure what happened but within 2 hours I had wrapped both fishing lines around both propellers and got into a right pickle. We arrived off Sandy Island, Carriacou just before sunset that evening, and I dived the props and cut away the fishing line that was well wrapped around both drives. A welcome quiet night aboard and off to Sandy island in the morning.

A really beautiful day, hot and sunny, just like the brochure……THIS is what I singed up for!!! Desert Island, a few palm trees, warm water and sunshine.

We had the place to ourselves for an hour or so before a few other boats arrived. We headed back to Pegasus for lunch, and after fresh Pumpkin soup, pate and bread we headed off to Paradise beach in Esterre bay, a short dinghy ride.

We had departed Grenada having spent all our money, so we needed an ATM if we were going to have a few beers on New Years Eve. We scouted the beach and found what looked like a bar, although the owner was giving someone a haircut. After establishing that I did not want a haircut and that I was after an ATM, the client in the chair offer me a ride to the ATM in Tyrell bay after his chop.

We had an interesting ride to town…he knew everyone… and after getting some cash and fruit, headed back to the beach, Amanda and the boys.

All day on the beach really does tire the boys out, so we wandered down the beach in the late afternoon and found a restaurant where we all had real Caribbean fried chicken and chips and after a few beers and a little music headed back to Pegasus a hour after sundown.

The boys were straight to bed and Amanda and I enjoyed a drink in the cockpit under a star filled sky reflecting on 2008 and what we had achieved and what we wanted in 2009.

Its amazing how time flies, it was the 18th February 2008 when I picked up Pegasus in the Chesapeake and headed south. Wow, well blink and it'll be a year we've been on board.

We both tried hard to see in the New Year and got to 9pm and had to call it a day. A real Caribbean day, just great.

Today, however, is different. Its windy at 20kts with a swell running, overcast with rain squalls.

Lets hope for more days like yesterday!!!! and soon

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A few Stats for the interested.

A few Stats for the interested.

Our daily mileage from day 11 to day 16.
181nm, 144nm, 141nm, 205nm, 194nm, 200nm

Total crossing time 16 days one hour. 2894 nm Average speed 8.15kts

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