March 24 – April 11 2021; 6821 nm and 752 days after departure from La Rochelle.
Probably not, but for us it felt a little like it. Surly there will be even more stunning places but for a start we were flashed. We spent some amazing days at Saline island, a cute little islet between Grenada and Carriacou. (The latter is the sister island of Grenada.) Google says, it is owned by the John family (who ever that is) and (if correct) it is for sale?! However that is not the reason why we like it there so much. More the fact, that the water in this shallow lagoon is stunning. It’s varying shades of blue and its numerous fish gave us the feeling of living in or above an aquarium. It is so damn beautiful! And my absolute favourite was of course, that I was able to swim and snorkel with turtles. Since we left La Rochelle, we were waiting for a surrounding like this. So yes it was a bit like the beginning of Paradise!
Yesterday, Saturday, in spite of our amazing surrounding we still decided to move around the corner to Tyrell Bay at Carriacou. The weather looked a bit hazy, our friends were already waiting, our laundry pile was screaming for a washing machine and our galley was asking for some fresh groceries. Lots of reasons to get moving. We said: “See you soon.” to our turtles friends and sailed over the three miles to Tyrell bay.
In the last weeks the local news were reporting about the possibility of an eruption of the volcano La Soufriere at the close by island St Vincent. In fact the experts were monitoring its activity already since December and warning about it. Btw. that was the reason we didn’t choose St. Vincent as a first destination to sail to after our crossing. It was our original plan but then we preferred Grenada, which seemed to be a good decision looking back. Friday, after the government ordered thousands to evacuate there homes, an explosive eruption rocked La Soufriere volcano on the eastern Caribbean island. Experts said the ash column rose more than 6 km high and that the ash was headed northeast into the Atlantic Ocean. However, heavy ash fall was reported in communities around the volcano and beyond but we, being south of St. Vincent island, did not expect the ash to reach us. Wishful thinking! What we thought was haze was already the approaching ash.
So late morning we arrived in Tyrell bay and after a short chat with our neighbours we went ashore to have a look around the little village. After buying some groceries in an amazingly well equipped supermarket we were already tired. Too much sudden walking😉. Our bellies were asking for some food so we were looking for a place to eat. Frogs restaurant sounded good to us and funny as it was it turned out to be a french restaurant. “Restaurant” might blur the imagination, it’s a bar with Caribbean like furniture, a sofa corner and some tables. Even though the nice talkative French owner didn’t have much to offer to eat at this time of the day when we asked for food, he still managed to serve us a brilliant omelet – oh dear – we do miss the french cuisine!
French food… and I’m deviating from the subject! Well, around five-ish after a restful nap from our very exhausting afternoon we had a date with Shell, James, Nick and the Dutch couple Marieke and Ronald, which we met in Woburn bay the first day we arrived there. It was a fun gathering at the “Crazy Corner” where we had a lot of happy hour drinks and the menu of the day. A lobster related dish. Lobster soup and the main dish was supposed to be lobster with salad which turned out to be salad with a tiny little bit of lobster. Still, it was very delicious but the description could have been a little less confusing. Am I deviating again? Anyhow, the Dutch guys already spent some time in the bay so they knew all the nice bars and took us to the “Barracudas bar” where live music was played on a Saturday night. A fun time with more sailor buddies and pretty cool music. When we had enough to drink and the (life) music stopped we headed back to the dinghies.
While walking we did not yet realise the strange air, but when we got back to the ribs we saw the mess. The dinghies were covered in ash, awful. The ride back to Altimate was disgusting! Our eyes were burning from the dirt and we could actually see the ash falling through the lights of our torches. In Las Palmas in February 2020 we already had the pleasure of experiencing one of the worst Calima sand winds, coming from the Sahara. So we could imagine how Altimate would look like in the morning and that it meant a lot of cleaning for the next couple of weeks. The only difference for us was the colour of the dust, black instead of red and not having a nice water hose to easily clean the boat. A free exercise lifting up hundreds of buckets of water. The big difference for a lot of people in St Vincent is that a lot of them not only lost their homes but also probably their living. Hopefully it won’t turn out as bad as it sounded until now.
But what did we do before our little Paradise feeling and the lovely ash happening? Well, I had a nice very late German like birthday breakfast in Halifax Harbour with turtles welcoming us and SV Carina joining my “Spätstück”. I even had a surprise birthday visit the next day with a delicious cake made by Shell including brought along dishes and drinks and Nick. That was such a nice idea! I didn’t need to do anything but enjoying the company of friends and food. Awesome! Halifax is a beautiful quiet anchorage (most of the time) a couple of miles north of St George’s. Most of the time we were the only boats anchoring there and only some small fishing boats were sometimes joining us to hunt in the bay. With the three boats of us we decided to spent Easter together so in the end we stayed until easter Monday and then headed all together to Ronde Island. A private island between Grenada and Carriacou. We spent two nights in this gorgeous bay and then headed off to our little paradise. The other two boats went directly to Tyrell bay so for a short time we said bye bye.
We just had a nice interruption from boat cleaning and blog writing. Marieke and Ronald visited us for a nice afternoon chat, I can tell you boat life is hard! Hopefully the volcano will stop its activities soon and the ash is disappearing.