23
Oct
09

1996 – Carriacou – U.S.A -Bahamas

After leaving Carriacou we decided to just spend 2 or 3 days at each island, do some exploring and go to a couple of restaurants.  At this time of the year the wind is always blowing 20 – 30 knots with squalls and lousy seas.

Mayreau Island

Mayreau Island

Bequia Market

Bequia Market

Our first stop was Mayreau, and then we went to Bequia Island, to the Port Elizabeth anchorage.

 018  Bequia   Frangipangi  Hotel-Rest.

 From the dinghy dock we walked on a path, admiring the small restaurants, hotels and shops, ‘gingerbread’ buildings, to the town.

I took the ferry from Bequia to St Vincent as I wanted to see the Botanical Gardens, the oldest garden in the Western Hemisphere.  The ferry took 1 hr to the Capital “Kingstown”.   We left Bequia on the 6th Jan for St Vincent  to overnight in Cumberland Bay, where a ‘boat boy’ named Joseph showed us where to anchor in this very deep bay.  He took our stern line and tied it to a tree on the beach.  Joseph brought us oranges and a coconut, caught fish and cooked it for us.  It turned out to be the best anchorage, and well protected.    We swam ashore and walked along the river which flows into the bay and had a lovely freshwater ‘bath’.

025  Cumberland Bay   Stern Too  Deep water

Dave got up at midnight, swam ashore for the line, and we left at 1a.m for St Lucia, 57 miles, we motored to the north end of St Vincent, and there the wind was blowing 30 knots, an  uncomfortable sail to St Lucia.  We  tacked up the coast to Rodney Bay, and anchored overnight and left the following morning for Martinique, where Sheena would be allowed ashore again.

With 2 Reefs in the main and full Genoa, we enjoyed our first REACH, what a pleasure, and anchored off Fort de France.  Stayed there 2 days, then motored to a bay 3 miles down the coast, to Grand Anse D’Arlet, a picturesque fishing village, and stayed 3 days, then returned to Fort de France, and visited the Botanical Garden and the Fort. 

034  Grand Anse

Grand Anse d’Arlet

St. Pierre – Martinique

We sailed along the coast,  to the Northern end to St Pierre, which lies at the foot of Mt Pelee volcano.  St Pierre was the main town with 30,000 people, but in 1902 the volcano erupted, and everyone was killed, wiping out the entire town.  There was only one survivor who was in prison at the time.  The ruins have been left; and new buildings are just added on to the old structures.

 

On the 15th,   we motor sailed 45 miles, in rain & light wind to Rosseau, Dominica.   The boat-boys once again showed us where to drop anchor and took our stern line.   The following day turned out very windy and raining on and off.  We got a bus to Laudat, and walked to the fresh water lake, 2500ft, and sheltered behind a tool shed for an hour to get out of the wind and rain, and decided it wouldn’t clear, so we walked back down to Trafalgar  town, and then climbed up again to Trafalgar Falls, and once again the rain was pouring down.  It rained for the following 4 days, so much for “Sunny Caribbean’.  We checked-out and sailed to Prince Rupert Bay, Portsmouth, the 2nd town of Dominica, 18 miles from Roseau.

Next stop was Les Saintes Island, dropped anchor and for the first time we dragged, so we left for Guadeloupe, and stayed overnight, and continued on to Deshais, pronounced (Day-hay), 23 miles, at the north end of Guadeloupe.  A deep, protected bay surrounded by hills. I took Sheena for a walk up the hill to a river, and found a rock pool where we enjoyed a fresh water swim, cold and refreshing.

045  Des Haies  River Sheena

We left on the 25th for St Kitts Island, to Majors Bay, no houses just green hills, and soon after anchoring we were inundated with flies, we sprayed and swatted flies till evening.  There were cattle and goats in the hills.  Up early the following morning, but the flies had already arrived, so we left for Statia Island 28 miles, with full Genoa and 2 reefs in the main, enjoyable sailing and anchored in ‘Oranje Baai’ .

056  Statia  Hike  Sheena

With Sheena, we walked through the small town, up to the extinct Volcano named ‘Quill’, 2,000ft. Steep climb, one can walk down into the crater, which is a lush tropical forest with Tree ferns, giant Elephant Ears.  The ‘Mazinga track’ which we walked on, goes around the top of the crater, where one can see Saba Island, St. Kitts and Nevis Islands in the distance.  We also went to the Oranje Fort built in 1629

30th Jan, we sailed to St Maarten and once we got round to the windward side of Statia, we got the full blast of the 35 knots and gusting.   We had 3 reefs in the main and half Genoa, and the swells were from all directions and very uncomfortable, the deck was awash.  We had a quick very wet sail across to Great Bay anchorage in St Maarten, and 11,000 miles on the clock.

Philipsburg- St  Maarten

 Front Street and Back street is the main tourist shopping areas, jewelry shops, boutiques, restaurants, all duty free shopping.005  Front Street  Philipsburg

St Maarten is also a small island, 37 sq. Miles, divided in two, the Dutch side where we were, and the French side, St Martin.  We went by bus to the lagoon and saw the devastation caused by Hurricane Lewis. We stayed in Great Bay for 23 days, then motored to Simpson Bay and anchored inside the reef.   St Maarten is a party island, and we went to “Lagoonies” a few times as they had live music and a big gathering of other yachties.    They held the Heineken yacht race; there were about 250 yachts anchored and a party every night.  On the 1st March an  Aircraft carrier, ‘The Enterprise’ arrived with 5,000 guys on board.

   There are 3 hotels round Simpson Bay, we were anchored off the ‘Pelican Reef Hotel’ –and every night of the week we heard live music from the hotels.

  On the 15th April the carnival started and went on for 2 weeks, live shows every-night, and we went to Philipsburg to watch the carnival parade down Front Street.

Enjoyed a few evenings with Sharon and

Dave and I went to Marigot, on the French side to Grand Casse, and walked up the highest hill 1,500ft in St Maarten, named Peak Paradise.

    It was a steep climb with good views of St Maarten, also St Barts and Anguilla in the distance.

Dave bought a GPS here as the Satnav only gave about 2 fixes a day.  After spending 4 months in St Maarten, a few farewells,  we left on the 29th May for the Virgins, 82 miles and went to Tortola Island – Sopers Hole, and picked up a mooring.

001  VIRGEN ISLANDS  1996 Sopers Hole Tortola BVI

We went ashore to check-in and left the following morning for Cane Gardens Bay.  Walked up the highest hill, 1700 ft. and  the view was spectacular.

 The B.V.I., is an archipelago of some 40 islands, islets, rocks and cays, and we visited Leverick Bay, Trellis Bay – Beef Island, and Virgin Gorda  the “Baths” where one has to pick up a mooring and only allowed for daytime stops.  Fabulous rock formations and crystal clear pools.

 

Sailed to Cooper Island, Salt Island, where the film ‘The Deep’ was made, then to Norman Island   to the Bite Anchorage and anchored just inside the bay.  In the morning when all the charter boats left we moved to the N.East corner of the bay and stayed 3 days, then sailed back to Road Harbour.  We enjoyed our time in the British Virgin Islands.

Sopers Hole

Road Town -Squall

Botanical Gardens

Downwind sail to St John island U.S. Virgins, to Cruz Bay, a small crowded bay, so we went back up the coast to Caneel Bay & anchored off  Honeymoon beach, very pretty & peaceful.   The following morning we went by dinghy to Cruz Bay to check -in and walked round the town.

Cruz Bay – St John

We went to Trunk Bay by dinghy where we snorkeled along the underwater trail.  Most of St John is a protected nature reserve.

Loved the St John Island

We left St John on Saturday 2nd June, with full main & Genoa, in a light east wind.   The first 7 days we had lovely clear very hot days.  We changed our night shift, I did from 7-12 and Dave from 12-6, this seemed to work well.  We dropped the main, left the No. 2 Genoa up and then also put the No. 1 Genoa out, flat sea and the boat sailed well.  The 3rd day out we caught about a 15lb Dorado, we poured a little alcohol on the fish and this kills the fish and makes it easier to get on board  and not so messy, so we had delicious fish for  days and Sheena had her fair share.

003  Dorado

Sheena doesn’t enjoy moving especially from anchorage to anchorage, but once she realizes it’s a long trip, by the 2nd day she settles into a routine.  A school of Dolphins swam with us for about an hour; Sheena was rather tired after running up and down the deck barking at them.   On the 8th day at 4 in the morning the wind started blowing, we had no sail up and within a short time the wind was blowing about 30 knots, just seemed to increase.    We only had a chart for Savannah where we planned to go, but these winds weren’t playing the game.   After a squall, no wind, sat and waited, sails flapping & then the next squall, the main track block broke, and once again the boom went walk about, the boom was tied down one side, but still got a pendulum effect and Dave repaired the block.  The sea was a mess and big swells, about 5mtr & we were surfing down at 10-12 knots.

010  Many Squalls

Dave now plotted a course for Myrtle Beach. We heard Hurricane Bertha was on the way to St Maarten and Virgin Islands.  The radio in the cockpit gave updates of weather, and we still had 120 miles to go. On the 15th day the bolt on the main block sheared off and the boom went swinging again, Dave managed to get a rope through the shackle and tied it off and then got another thick rope and tied the boom on the opposite side as well. By now we were pushed further north and Dave plotted a course for Chesapeake Bay.  The afternoon of the 16th day we saw the first marker buoy to the entrance of the channel, no wind and very hot and hazy, the temperature was in the 90’s and the humidity was also about 90%.  I don’t know how Columbus discovered America as the land is so flat,  he must have run aground.   By this stage we both said we had, had enough of sailing.!!!

013  Air Craft Carrier

From the entrance we were welcomed by hundreds of flies and horse flies so the swatter worked overtime.  With no charts, we continued up the channel, ships going up and down and an aircraft carrier came past.  We motored to marker no.16 and Dave called the Coast guard,  and they asked where we were from and our last port of call, half hour later they came back and asked more questions and Dave said we had a chart for Savannah, but the bad weather pushed us north and we didn’t have charts for the Chesapeake, and all we wanted to know was where we could anchor.   It was about 3.30pm and they said they would send a Coast Guard vessel to us, and half hour later one arrived with five people on board, very serious looking, as they had just returned form a drug check and had a Dalmatian dog on board.   When they saw Sheena they were all smiles and the captain came back to us and said, “as long as we can keep the dogs apart everything should be O.K”.   We followed them for about 15 miles, and they showed us where to anchor, between a lot of crab pots opposite the Willoughby Marina.

 

0004   Willowby - Hampton Hotel

 0003  Sunset - Bertha Hurricane on way

Hurricane Bertha was now over the Carolinas and heading north.  A warning was sent out for the East Coast to Virginia.   The following day we called the Coast Guard to contact customs for us, and they told us to go alongside in the marina.   After all the formalities were over, Dave got a lift downtown; about 15 miles and bought a chart kit for the Chesapeake, also bought a cruising permit for the East Coast of America, valid for 1 year. Then to the supermarket, we bought huge T-bones, nice after canned boat food.

The yachties here were all preparing to go up the James River.   The following morning we got fuel, and left for the James River, and  just before the channel we ran aground, we reversed and got under way again.   The James River is about 5 miles wide and we motored 40 miles up the river and anchored off Hog Island, at the Nuclear Power station.  There was only 1 other yacht anchored there.  Hurricane Bertha was off Cape Fear and the following day by 6pm, the wind started blowing and increased to about 60 knots with plenty of rain.  We had tied everything down on deck etc, and the river was quite wild.  The following morning it was still blowing 30 knots and 6ft swells,  spray over the deck,  our cockpit radio got wet so that was the end of music outside and I really missed it.  It blew for the following 2 days, very hot and hazy again, so we took Sheena to the small beach, no Jelly fish in river, (one can’t swim in the Chesapeake in the summer as there are hundreds of Jelly fish) and the water was about 30deg. because of the nuclear plant.  We motored further up the James River to Jamestown, and anchored just off the channel and Dave went ashore to buy some fresh food, and then went back to the nuclear anchorage.  Wednesday we headed back to Willoughby, passed the ship graveyard, about 100 ships also a big Navel Ship building area.

James River – Ships Graveyard

We stayed a day in Willoughby where Dave tried to drill the old bolt out of the main block, as it had sheared off.  He drilled new holes and fitted new bolts.   On the 21st we left for the York River, maneuvered around Crab pots to the main shipping channel.

   We motored to York Town and anchored off the Battlefield.  There was a bad vibration in the cockpit and we were quite worried, had to reduce speed to 1,500 revs.  Dave loosened the coupling on the drive shaft and found the rubber shock-absorbers were totally worn away and one of 4 lugs had sheared off.   Dave took me to York Town and he went across the river to Gloucester Point marina and chandlery.  I walked to the visitors centre, and the battlefield.    Dave on the other side couldn’t get spares so he made some temporary rubber washers and put it together again.

 

               We walked round York Town, went to Nelson House, (1738-89) Thomas Nelson Jnr was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.   The grandfather came from England in 1705.

The battlefield is where the British were defeated after which the negotiations at this historic site led to the end of the 1781 siege of Yorktown and the end of the  American Revolution.

The 24th we left for Piankatank River, 28 miles, to Fishing Bay, and the  following day motored to Wicomico River, to Reedville 18 miles,  past a fish factory, a very smelly town where we met friends we last saw in St Eustatius.

0017

Calvert – Solomons

On the 27th we left early for Patuxent River -Solomons Island 35 miles, then to Galesville 28 miles, past the Potomac River and anchored near the yacht club. They welcomed us, free shower, use of the swimming pool, and free dockage, but we stayed at anchor.  They gave us their yacht club burgee and we gave them our False Bay Burgee.  We stayed a couple of days, then motored 15 miles to Annapolis, to Spa Creek and anchored opposite the Truxton Park.

Annapolis!!

 

We walked Sheena round the park everyday, 8 acres of trees.  Went to explore the town of Annapolis, and the Naval Academy, which is on 338 acres.

 We visited the Museum, has the world’s finest collection of warship models from the 17th – 19th century. The craftsmanship is outstanding; Dave could’ve spent the day there.  Some of the hundreds of models are displayed in antique cases built for exhibition.  The bone models displayed were carved from the bones of beef rations allowed to French prisoners of war in England, absolutely beautiful.

 On Monday evenings, about 20 yachties got together for a barbeque.   About 14 of us walked to Quiet Water Park, where they had a Dixieland Jazz band and country music evening.  We drove to Washington, 60 miles, to the Mall area where we visited the Washington Monument which was opened in 1888, an elevator takes one up to the 500 foot level with a good view of Washington, then we walked to the White House, and  to the National Museum of American History, and the U.S. Capitol building.

After lunch we went to the National Museum of Natural History, and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

The Capitol Building and views to the Mall!!

Thank goodness Hurricane Edward went North out to sea, and Hurricane Fran, brought some wind and heavy rains.  A family here invited us to a barbeque, and as a starter we had Chesapeake blue Crabs, (1st time) chicken barbeque, and Blueberries and ice cream.   The weather was starting to get cold, but we wanted to go to the boat show which started on 10th October – 14th.   We also went by train to Baltimore, a beautiful warm day with clear blue sky, and walked round the waterfront, and downtown to a large market.

 On the 16th, we had a pleasant surprise, a yacht anchored a short distance from us, was Sue and Ulli on ‘Misty Pearl’ who left Simonstown 5 years ago, they had now just returned from Maine and New York, and were also going down to Florida.  The locals call it (‘The Snowbird Run).  We started to get the boat ready, Dave checked batteries, engine etc. found screws out of roller furler again.  We bought a second anchor, a 35lb Danforth and on the 23rd October we left Spa Creek, and picked up a mooring at the waterfront and Sue and Ullie did the same and we went to Pussers Pub for happy hour, had a great evening.  The following few days we did overnight stops on the Eastern shore off St James Island, Solomon’s, Patuxent River, to Little Wicomico River,  Piankatank river Fishing bay, Poquoson River a very rolly anchorage.  Wind swung to the North and sailed to Willoughby and spent 2 nights there, did laundry, groceries and filled the tanks.   On 31st October, we went down the Elizabeth River, passed Hampton Roads, Portsmouth and anchored off Norfolk, a very busy shipping area.  We walked round the waterfront, and stayed 2 nights.   On 3rd Nov. started  the Intercoastal Waterway to Beaufort, 200 miles.  5 bridges, 1 fixed bridge 65’, to a Loch, and a short distance to Great Bridge Town, to a long dock where we could stay for 24 hours.

034  Great Bridge - Stay alongside overnight  Misty Pearl  Sue & Ulie

Great Bridge

040  Swing Bridge

Sue went with us to buy some groceries, they then continued and we stayed overnight.  Following morning we had ice on the deck -6deg.    This part of the I.C.W. with overnight stops at Pungo Ferry, and Broad Creek, consisted of narrow channels, and about 10 swing and lift bridges.

 Had to continually watch markers and stay in the middle of the channel or run aground, quite tiring and boring.   Then we crossed the Albermarle Sound, to the Alligator River 37 miles, and went to the marina for fuel then 40 miles to the Pungo River, which starts with the Alligator canal, 90′ wide and 20 Miles long, and anchored 2.5miles up the Pungo River and stayed 3 nights.  A cold front came over blowing 35 knots, and thunderstorms.

Intercoastal Waterway

036  Run Aground at Marker

Ran Aground – Marker

 Leaving the river I went too close to the marker and ran aground.  We crossed the Pamlico Sound to the South River 41 miles, then to Beaufort, 24 miles, and going down the channel to the town anchorage, we ran well aground.  The yacht dug in a lay over, but we managed to reverse off and now qualified with 5 groundings.
037  Beaufort North Carolina -  Kamytoo Nov. 1996

Beaufort – North Carolina

The town anchorage was 4m deep, the channel had to be kept clear for fishing boats, so not much space as the boats swung with strong current, and used our second anchor for the first time.

On Nov. 13, there was a 10-15 knot N.East wind, and we left for Palm Beach Florida 550 miles, nice sailing conditions.  Overnight, the wind increased to 20-25knots, and by the following night 35 – 45knots, 16ft swells plus, very close and steep, uncomfortable…  We tried to stay 40 miles offshore, just outside the gulf stream, the waves were breaking on deck, and Dave was tired as he was at the helm for hours, so he furled the small piece of Genoa, and put out a sea anchor.  We were pooped 8 times, and one wave snapped the cockpit table in half.    This front lasted about 48hrs and when the winds dropped to about 30 knots we continued sailing,  the wind swung to the S.West and for the following 48hrs we had wonderful sailing conditions.   We arrived off the entrance to Palm Beach at 7pm, quite a narrow and rough entrance, and anchored off Peanut Island.

044  Clear Bridge

The following day we motored 3 miles down the channel to another anchorage in Old Port Cove, Lake Worth, where we stayed for 2 weeks.

There were about 30 yachts waiting for  a weather  window.  We left Lake Worth with 5 other yachts, in a 15 knots South Wester for Grand Bahamas, 85 miles.   Sailed to Lucayen Marina, swimming pool, hot showers, and laundry.  Customs and immigration were contacted and came on board, very friendly people.  Dave noticed the toggle on the forestay was split on one side, and the yacht “Shannandoa” had a spare toggle which he gave to Dave.

001  Bahamas Entrance to Lakayan Marina - Grand Bahama

The Bahamas consists of some 700 islands and 2500 small islets and cays.   The marina had a ferry service to cross the waterway to the town of Lucayan, where we walked round the shops, and  went by bus to Freeport, to the international Market.

002  Lakayan Market - Bahamas - Grand Bahama

Lakayan Market

 
006  Freeport Market

Freeport Market

 

We stayed 4 days, and headed for the Berry Islands, 70 miles.   We anchored in Great Stirrup Cay, off Goat Island and stayed 2 nights, and then went 20 miles to Cabbage Cay, and 38 miles to Nassau.  We walked over the 70ft bridge to Paradise Island, to the Atlantis Hotel and Casino, a fabulous complex.  There are  waterfalls, underground grottos, lagoons, salt and freshwater swimming pools, and an aquarium in a glass tunnel walkway.

010  At Anchor - Nassau Bahamas

Nassau

 We spent 9 days in Nassau, and left on 23 Dec. for the Exuma Cays, with  “Ectasea”  Ron and Tara, and Kamytoo’  Wendy and  Loran.  There was a very strong current going East under the bridge to the start of the Exuma Cays, had to dodge coral reefs, doing 7-8 knots, but with clear skies we could easily see the coral heads and anchored off Highbourne Cay, a private island, lovely long beach and crystal clear water.  Following day we left for Hawksbill Cay. 

 

After a lovely evening with our friends, they left the following day and we had this uninhabited island to ourselves and stayed another 2 days, then left for Staniel Cay, 32 miles in wonderful day sailing conditions.  Staniel Cay has 2 lovely bays, the one off the town was too shallow for us to anchor in, also this was where the movie ‘Thunderball’ was filmed. The cave in the movie was a good snorkelling spot, as  the locals fed the fish so there was an abundance of fish.  Stayed 4 days then went to Galliot Cut, then 35 miles to Great Exuma, off the entrance we motored 8 miles according to way points to the anchorage off George Town.

022  Hamburger Beach  George Town

Hamburger Beach – Georgetown

 Made a few trips  ashore to fill our water tanks, then went across the channel, and anchored off Hamburger Beach.  We spent 5 days there, had perfect weather, climbed the hill and went over to the North side and walked along the beach which was a few miles long, Sheena really enjoyed it here, lots of exercise.   Did some hand line fishing.

Sheena helping with helming!!!

//

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