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Reisverslag Sailing in the Caribbean part 1
4 april 2017
Sailing in the Caribbean part 1
Start: 20/ 01/ 2017 17250 nautical mile
End: 01 / 03/ 2017 17841 nautical mile
Trip: 591 nautical mile
This blog is about the cruising and exploring in the Caribbean for first 1,5 month. From Barbados to Antigua. Visiting in between from south to north the Grenadines, St Lucia, Dominica, Guadeloupe. A trip with my snorkeling, visiting parents, captaining, waiting for the coast guard and many more. This blog is a you noticed in English. I have discovered after talking English for so long. My thinking and note taking is in English now. Thanks for reading.
Barbados exploring island
After the check-in an official being allowed in a country on the other side of the big Atlantic ocean, we decided to eat onshore in a restaurant. The first real meat since a long time tasted very good. The diner was even better when we ordered cold Bank beers. Not forget to mention that having access to the WIFI also helped a lot to have a good first evening back on solid ground. Getting reconnected to the people back home. After two weeks only being able to talk with nine other people on-board. Because we arrived a week before the deadline on our end destination we finally had the time for some exploration. The destination before were always in order to get to the next. So a lot of preparation and quickly moving on. We decided to take with all of the crew to hire a taxi driver who could drive us around. Our private driver was on older guy who knew almost everybody on the island. He could also tell us a lot about the history. Driving in his minivan to Gunhill point. One of the look-out post to see if an friend or enemy was approaching the island. To some caves. Were Jonas, Conor, Ida and me did not went in. We decided to take a walk around. Finding for free downhill along beautiful plants and trees hanging along the edge of rocks. Off the official path into a look-a-like rain forest. Driving further to Batsheba on the east coast. The place were surfers riding the big waves. Getting us in a local bar serving bear and delicious home-made food. A softly cooked half chicken covered in spicy sauce. With rice and green beans on the side.
To also see another bay then only Bridgetown we decided to sail further north towards Port St Charles. The marina is expensive and surrounded by apartments for people with money. The swimming pool had a bar, so you did not have to get out to order your beers and rum punches. On the 27th it was my 24th birthday. They had some great surprises. A homemade cheese cake, a golden birthday crown and canned spinach as a present. Great people and place to celebrate your birthday. In the evening, Jonas, Ida, Line and Conor took for 2 Barbados dollar a bus ride of almost 1,5 hour. From the northwest to the south of the island. To a place were every Friday evening a big food festival is organized. On every corner you can order delicious food like fried flying fish. My mom and dad, flew in that day into Barbados. Especially to meet each other after I left to Trogir. They were standing at the bus station waiting for the reunion. The closer we got the more exited I got to meet my parent again. It was really nice to see each other face to face again. Talking about the trip, updating me about back home and talking about the future. That evening they were to tired to stay to long because of the jet lag. But we decided to meet the next day in the harbor in Barbados. Were they also could see the rest of the crew. Spending a couple of days together. Do some sightseeing around the island. Seeing ocean waves breaking on the rocks, skyping with my brother who is in Geneva. It was really good to meet and talk to them and showing the place I called home since Trogir. They brought some valuable presents. 2 times the Dutch magazine Zeilen, a bottle of very fine rum, a snorkeling set, birthday postcards from home and the latest gossips in the family and neighborhood.
On the 1st of February it was again time for a new crew change. Sadly time to say goodbye to people that joined on the ocean crossing. Leaving Karl-Erik, Lars Asp and Ida. New crew joining Michael, Rasmus, Kenneth, Regitze, Marlene and Maria. Lars is temporally leaving for 2 weeks. To have a short holiday and trying to not think about the boat. So I am taking over the command. In cooperation with Lars we gave the instruction talk about how we roll on this boat. I made Conor as my co-captain. He have the sailing experience himself (his own boat and started in Trogir), a calm personality and smart. Before we could sail out there were some last things to fix. On the 3rd of February we pulled up the anchor and set the sails for Port st Charles to arrange the check-out. In the afternoon we parked the boat alongside the fuel dock. Me and Conor went to the customs and immigration to arrange the check-out. But first of all as the captain I was the only one allowed to talk with the officer. Asking questions why did not check out in Bridgetown. After keep smiling and praising the beautiful island I got some papers that I already could fill in. Before to come back tomorrow around lunch time. Then the immigration officer was coming to also check-out another ship. So I thanked the officer and walked back to the boat. To put the boat on anchor just outside the harbor The next morning we parked the boat back at the fuel dock. At 11 am I went back to the custom officer with the filled in papers. Waiting until 12 for the immigration officer arriving for checking the passports. In the end everything was alright and we were free to leave Barbados. But also more then welcome to visit again. Time to fill the boat with duty free diesel and going back to anchor. The plan is to wait for the evening so we can do a night sail towards Port Elizabeth on the Grenadines. So we would arrive after sunrise on the other side.
04/02 till 09/ 02
The night sail was easy. There was a good amount of wind without big waves. So it was an good first sail with the new crew. We arrived in Port Elizabeth in the morning of the 5 February. At that moment we were not the only one who wanted to check-in. We had to wait in the line before it was our turn. This waiting gave us some time to find a ATM to get some local money. So while I guarded our spot Conor went on a hunt for cash. It was an expensive country to check-in. But everything went smooth and we were allowed to stay in the Grenadines. The crew was now allowed to get on shore and watch the super ball. After spending a couple days on anchor in Port Elizabeth we decided to sail further south. The first good looking stop was Mustique. A private island were a lot of rich and famous people have a house. People like the Rolling Stones. As soon as we dropped anchor the harbor master came to us. He wanted to point out that this was a private island and that we had to pay to stay. The price for 3 nights is 200 Eastern Caribbean dollar. That is 70 euro. But for students sailing around being on a budget this was to much. We also did not want to be for 3 days on the island. We wanted to have the freedom to leave whenever we want. So we said goodbye and sailed further towards Charlstown Bay on Canoun. Here we lay on anchor in small bay with a couple of sailing yachts and one big motor yacht. A small town not spoiled by tourist. The snorkeling in the bay was good. A lot of colorful fish, reefs and lobster to see. Conor, Jonas, Rasmus and Kenneth were also trying to catch lobster for diner. After a lot of struggle and dives down the catch of the day were 2 big lobster. Cooked it was a lovely snack. The next day we again pulled up the anchor to get to the next place.
To Chatham Bay on Union Island. Because it was a short trip we took a detour via the Tobago Cays. So we could see them laying in a distance. The Tobago Cays is an group of lagoons protected by sharp reefs. As the new captain I did not dare to go in. The entrance was too small and the wind blowing to hard. So had to see them in the distance. The wind was still blowing during lunch time so I wanted to try to get the boat hove-to. So that the boat is more stable during making and eating lunch. It was the first time to try it on this boat. But after some playing with the sails the boat got in a more or less balanced position. We arrived in Chatham bay before sunset. Sailing in and dropping the sails on the last moment. Everybody was working efficiently on the same time. So in couple of minutes the sails were down and we could motor to the anchorage. Dropping the anchor. A nice bay with only some small bars on the beach. Very quit an peaceful place to stay. We went in to the mountains for a hike. Seeing a hummingbird, walking over pastureland with cows and and a bull on a rope. Land turtles walking on the paths. Playing soccer on the beach. Trying to catch lobster, without success. Great snorkeling over coral reefs and small fishes.
On the 09/02 the plan is to sail to Clifton on the south of the island for the check-out. But before we could go the bartender accused us of stealing his special necklace. Saying that he had called the called the coastguard. Because he had seen us walking in his dingy and the next morning he could not find his necklace. A weird story but also did not to run away for the coast guard if the story was true. After waiting for a hour and nobody coming. We talked with another boat that was accused of stealing. The Danish couple were coming here for some time and knew that this guy is special. Making more stories like this. So we talked with the bartender. We pretended that we called the coastguard and that they did not know about this case. After telling this he turned his opinion around and said that were free to go. Saying that we were honest people etc. After this weird experience we sailed 3 hours behind schedule in to the harbor in Clifton. Checking-out on the small airport went smooth. So again we were free to leave a country. After diner we left for St Lucia.
10/02 Trip to Souffriere, Lucia was rough. With winds from 5 to 25 kts. Getting the full sails out in low winds, then suddenly hard winds. Resulting in quickly reefing. This was a tough experience for the crew. So when the wind blew in the morning from the wrong direction and with to less power they were happy to turn on the engine. Moving an straight course towards safe solid ground. To have a quit lunch we killed the engine. At the same time also the navigation, expect for vhf, stopped working. In the rolling sea I couldn't find out what the problem was. So on visual navigation, the pilot book and the emergency GPS were we able to safely sail in to the harbor of Souffriere. In the morning after the rough sail the dirty water hose in the toilet was loose. So just after waking up on a heeling boat I had to stick my head under the sink. While were were getting closer to the bay a local man came along side. Telling us that he could help us to get a space on a mooring for free and that he could take us on a trip around the island. After picking up the mooring buoy he took me and Conor to shore. Showed were to do the check-in. In the office was nobody but he knew the officer so he called him outside. So we were able to clear the customs just a couple hours after arriving. Filling in all the paperwork. Only having to come back for the immigration in the morning. So all good we went back to the boat. This day was also the 21st birthday of Jonas. Now everything was arranged and settled we finally could celebrate it. With a small picture of a whale as present. Because he really wanted to see a whale. As a cake the ladies baked a tower of pancakes with chocolate in between.
While we were on anchor we could fix the navigation. It was a problem with a to small fuse. We also tried to fix the freshwater pump. We, Conor and me, were able to get it running but it did not turn of. So the pumps keeps running. But we couldn't find the problem. So every time you want to use the water you have to turn on the switch on the control panel. The rest of the crew took a hike onshore and hunting for some WiFi.
On 13/02 we sailed to Rodney Bay, St Lucia. Anchored in the NW side of the bay in front of the beach. Chilling and had a party in the night. The next morning we sailed the boat closer the marina entrance (0900). A big marine with a lot of facilities for repairing and maintaining boats. The check-out was smooth and easy. After lunch we set the sails for Prince Rupert Bay – Dominica. The wind stayed stable until the evening. We were able to sail 7/8 kts. But during the evening the wind is dropping to 3 knots. This stayed until the morning. So drifting and slow sailing during the night. In the morning at 0700 I decide that it is time to turn on the engine. Just to get in to the bay. Arrive in the morning so that we can arrange the customs and having than the day to go onshore. We were not the only boat that came to this bay. It was very crowed. It is like finding a parking spot in a full parking lot. During the trip to Lucia the diesel jerrycans were leaking and dripped on to the beds downstairs. So we also had to find a place to clean the worst laundry. On 15th of April Lars came back from holiday and rejoined the boat. It felt a bit like daddy is coming home while the kids have been playing. It was good to see Lars again. So I can learn more about the boat, electronics and mechanical jobs. The 2 weeks of being the captain was a good experience. I wished that it was longer so I could had more time to grow in the roll. The boat and the crew was still save and alive.
Guadeloupe 18 till 25 Feb
After 3 days in Dominica we sailed further towards Guadeloupe. French territory in the Caribbean. We got a berth in the marina of Bas du Fort for a reasonable price. Being in the marina made working on the to-do-list a lot easier. We had to a lot of laundry, getting new beds for 2 cabins (diesel and fungus), Fixing the freshwater pump, fixing over pressure valve for water heating, fixing the compass lights, doing big food shopping, etc. Being in Guadeloupe feels a bit like home. Paying with Euros, seeing a European flag and shopping in the Carrefour.
Antigua 25 Feb till 01 march
After the loading of the groceries the feeling of being ready is getting bigger and bigger. After 6 days laying in a comfortable harbor we dropping the mooring lines. From Bas du Fort we steering south for the first couple hours. Approaching the south cape while the sun is setting. Stunning red, orange colors that light up the sky behind the mountains of Guadeloupe. In a fresh new night we adjust the course towards north. In the direction of Antigua The island is blocking the waves. Resulting in a easy 7 to 8 knots sailing. A lovely sailing. English harbor becomes visible on the horizon during again a stunning sunrise. A harbor that is discovered and developed by the English navy. Because the bay gives wonderful protection against storms and hurricanes A so called hurricane hole. We are dropping anchor in the lovely bay just in front of the harbor A very tricky anchorage. Not must space, poor holding and a lot of swing. The check in takes a couple of hours. Mainly because of the long line of skippers wanting to check-in and -out. In combination with to less officers to handle all the requests. Again a good lesson in patience and keep smiling. It is an expensive island. Properly caused by the super yachts that are present in big numbers. Super sailing yachts so big that our small vessel can fit easily in their boom alone. On the other side the bay the old walls and fortification is still standing. It gives a nice view over the anchorage on one side and the Caribbean sea on the other side. Every Sunday there is a steel-band playing live music on top of the hill in combination with a barbecue. It was cool to see a steel-band playing some modern songs. After spending there a couple of hours enjoying the view, atmosphere and music we decided to eat some were down the hill and then going back to the boat.
This the short summary of my adventures up till 20th of April 2017. Thanks for reading.
Foto's bij verslag (24)
4 april 2017 08:28 | Door: Harm Albert
Mooi verhaal Bart. Ik zie de tropische verrassingen voor me!
4 april 2017 10:01 | Door: Bart Zanting
Wat een prachtige tocht en mooi verhaal. De volgende keer graag in het Fries ;-)
4 april 2017 10:34 | Door: Jack
Zøals jø zøt hup ikke muh heuleuhmoal aongepøst aøn hut Dansk.
Dun zi ikke døt jø øpœns Engelsks skriebet. Ist Engelsks dun det neie toale in't lønd vun Kierkegaard??????? Da is een baie groete skok vor my is dat, tering dat laatste is Zuid Afrikaans met een Nederlandse tongval.
Well then congratulations with your birthday although is was a while ago.
And live goes on so England is out of the euro zone and Danmark is still in so down with the English and hurray for the Danes en dus is de voorkeur taal vanaf nu weer gewoon Nederlands.
Heel wat meegemaakt op de Europa Ahoy zo te zien en op de foto zie ik beelden alsof ik Kapers en Puriteinen van Vestdijk of Het fregatschip Johanna Maria van Arthur van Schendel lees een sausje Conrad en Slauerhoff erover en het beeld is compleet met z'n klippers en driemasters en alles. Oh sorry geriatrische beuzelarij van mij, ik bedoel natuurlijk alsof je Pirates of the Caribbean aan het kijken bent.
Gaat alles echt zo makkelijk kapot aan boord of is dat om jullie aan het werk te houden. Het doet inderdaad wel denken aan honderd of meer jaar geleden toen echt alles aan boord extra aan slijtage onderhevig was maar ik had me nooit gerealiseerd dat dit anno nu nog altijd zo speelt.
Lees voor de zekerheid dus toch maar dat boek van van Schendel uit 1930.
Destijds was weg ook weg, geen skype geen Wifi ik zou denken dat we het paradijs hebben weggedonderd waar is dat fishermans friend moment nog, die traan op de railing om het gemis van geliefden en bekenden.
Maar we moeten met onze tijd meegaan dus ga op zoek naar de plastic soep en blijf berichten uit de grote zee versturen.
Probeer er ook eens een in een flesje te versturen, ja heeeeeeeel oude muziek van een obscuur bandje uit de jaren tachtig van de vorige eeuw, message in a bottle, the Police maar je pa en ma hebben er zeker op gedanst.
Oh en bij de weg, met ons gaat het goed hoewel ik met een hersenschudding thuis zit opgedaan tijdens het wegkoppen van een skilift. Ga gewoon niet op wintersport als je dit soort dingen wilt doen het verprutst de vakantie een ietsiepietsie. Loes werkt te hard zoals gewoonlijk en de tuin groeit en bloeit als een dolle dus wanneer was jij weer thuis?
Kortom tot een volgende keer en dan graag in het Deens.
Jack en Loes
4 april 2017 15:24 | Door: Heleen
Leuk weer eens wat te lezen van je avonturen. Het is wel een megavakantie zo zeilend in dat gebied maar ook een les in geduld met dat in- en uitchecken. Nooit geweten dat het zo'n uitgebreide toestand kon zijn. Ben benieuwd naar je volgende verslag. Groetjes, Heleen
23 januari 2018 17:22 | Door: Hans
Alweer lang geleden maar wel een prachtig verhaal Bart