Yacht Fathom - Setting off from England in May 2016 on a single-handed voyage somewhere a bit warmer

Carriacou & Grenada

The sail from Union Island to Carriacou on the 5th January was a cracker with 15 knots of wind from astern and a low swell. Carriacou is a dependency of Grenada and the largest island in the Grenada group at 7 miles long and 3 miles wide. As I sailed into the anchorage at Tyrell Bay I was met by Erik from Harry Z with the instruction to meet him and Britt at the Lazy Turtle restaurant in one hour for beers and pizza. Perfect! Nice to have a proper catch up with them and in the evening they invited me aboard for home cooked pie, a rare treat.

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Tyrell Bay sunset

The following day Harry Z was booked to come out of the water at the local yard so I lent a hand. Once the boat was ashore I was given a boiler suit, face mask and a continual stream of beers in exchange for my help sanding the hull. Seemed like a reasonable deal to me. That evening it was good to see French friends Marjo and Clément from Passmoilcric. The only trouble is I continue to struggle to pronounce their boat name and it is highly embarrassing calling them up on the VHF when I know others are listening. We went and had dinner at a bar overlooking the bay and were treated to some local music, a band playing a mix of blues and reggae. A band of very active squall clouds then came over. I have never ever seen rain as heavy and in the 30 knot winds it was blowing horizontally into the bar soaking everyone. The dinghy ride back to the boat was refreshing to say the least.

The next few days were fairly relaxed. I picked up some fresh food from the little village on the edge of the anchorage and lent a hand with the antifouling on Harry Z.  For a change I was quite happy to stay around the boat and didn’t feel a need to explore the local area so much. One evening we were treated to an exceptional sunset, even by Caribbean standards, with a deep red glow engulfing the sky for several minutes.

By the 9th January I was ready for a change of scenery and looking forward to visiting the main island of Grenada. Fathom departed the anchorage at Tyrell Bay just after 8am and arrived at St Georges, the capital of Grenada, at 16.15 after another pleasant sail.  Fathom had been either at sea or at anchor since leaving Lanzarote at the beginning of November and I was keen to give her a fresh water scrub down and also needed to do quite a bit of food shopping. So decided to moor up on a pontoon at the Grenada Yacht Club for a few days. My neighbour on the pontoon was a German solo sailor who at the age of 21 had cycled from his family home in Frankfurt to the Med and bought a yacht after becoming disillusioned with city life. 45 years on he was still sailing on the same trip! One evening while sitting on the yacht club balcony we watched a large superyacht run aground by missing one of the channel buoys and cutting the corner. Rather embarrassing for the Captain as apparently the Owner was onboard.

St George’s is a pretty town with the brightly painted buildings around the harbour front sitting beneath the steep hillside of an old volcanic crater. I made the most of having an excellent chandlers close-by and found a few spares I needed. The local supermarkets were also very good but food in the Caribbean is expensive. For example one apple is typically more than one USD (80 pence). If only it was possible to live on Bananas and Rum the wallet wouldn’t take such a hit.

After a few days it was time to head to the south of the island where there are many bays and anchorages. As I was approaching the channel that threads through the reef on the way to Woburn I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw ‘Venture Lady, the larger sister of Fathom I had last seen mid Atlantic. They were heading the opposite way to me but after a quick chat on the VHF decided it was definitely time to have that cold beer we had been talking about for months so proceeded together and anchored off Woburn. Very nice to meet Andy and Alison at last.

The next week or so was incredibly social. There is an excellent cruising community on the south of Grenada with events happening every day. A very good radio net runs every morning with new arrivals made to feel welcome. Plenty of English about many are enjoying the lifestyle and have not moved for a while by the look of it. I enjoyed meeting the various characters and listening to the live music performed by Country Dave, Paul and Andy etc. Other highlights included the Full Moon Party which was located about 100m from where Fathom was anchored and the hash. The hash is an event the organiser describe as being for “drinkers with a running problem”. It involves running or walking along a route identified by shredded paper and every week is in a different area of Grenada. I went along on the Saturday and it was quite hard work after sitting on a boat and not using my legs for a while. Up and down steep hillsides in the jungle, across rivers and along beaches. On the way back to the anchorage the minibus I was on stopped at several rum shacks which is all part of the ‘event’.

I was having a great time in Grenada with fun people and plenty going on. I must have been having a good time because I only took five photos during my whole time on the island! I knew I had to make a decision on what to do next. There were three realistic choices to consider. I could stay in Grenada and have a good time waiting out the hurricane season there, head north up the island chain and back to Europe in the summer or chase the sun westwards. After considering all the options I knew what I wanted to do..

Posted on 31 Jan in: Caribbean (No Comments)

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