5th August to 26th September 2019
We came here pretty much just to replace our dinghy, intending to leave back to the Grenadines after a couple of days. Anchored close to Pandy Beach, where the holding is sketchy, we dragged about 20m over the first few days – the anchor was about 2/3rds buried but below the shallow sand there’s a sheet of rock, which is why the holding is not excellent, but after that 20m it found a deeper patch of sand and we were secure the rest of our stay.
Anyway, Charlie kayaked to the beach to complete customs. Then the next day, after a few wattsapp messages and a VHF call, another cruiser sent her husband to take Charlotte to Island WaterWorld in their dinghy. She returned, after a couple of hours indecision, with a beautiful new dinghy which we vowed to keep impeccably clean and look after perfectly forever. Two days later it was covered with sand, toys were strewn across the floor and clean, it was not. As normal.
We were by then settled in, and the kids were enjoying both the beach and the opportunity to play with plenty of other kids. There are some local families who live just off the small beach we were anchored next to, and plenty of other boat-kids around. Given Arthur was being unusually sociable and seemed to enjoy having other people around, we decided to stick around a little longer and take advantage of that. A little longer ended up being nearly eight weeks.
We did too much to write about, and didn’t keep notes as we went, and will never get around to catching up. But anyway…
Our first “tropical storm” (or in Northern European – damp conditions with a breeze) passed by with no problems of note. Somehow a couple of other boats were dragging in 25 knots (+ gusts) with a half-meter swell. And much panic was seen on Instagram and other “social media”. But anyway, we had a nice boat day, considered swimming in the worst of it to see if Arthur was comfortable getting to the stern if he fell in – but the water was dirty so we didn’t. And filled the tanks with rainwater – I collected from the solar panels while the kids had their “water mill” (sheets and stuff) in full operation. Good day.
There’s a very good bus network on the island – on one day Charlotte and the boys joined a couple of other families and did a full circuit of the island by bus to visit some mud baths and another town (while I got most of my week’s work done). We also had a couple of nice walks through the rainforest with fellow boat-families – including a three hour wander around Grand Etang Lake (bring some decent shoes, and clothes you don’t mind getting dirty) and a swim under the nearby waterfalls (Seven Sisters, although we only got to the first two). Spent a full day at the Belmonster, I mean Belmont Estate – chocolate growing and a real live chocolate factory. Yes, yummy, but more importantly machines. And goats. And a swing. And a lovely three course lunch.
And just to make bus journeys more fun, Hector gets motion sick – Charlotte got somewhat covered twice, and had a towel ready the third time. And the kids remembered a book called “Fix it Duck” in which there’s a line “slow down on the bends, called sheep from the back”. Which they repeated, a few dozen/hundred times, on each and every bend, at a volume that ensured everyone could hear over the Soca music blaring from the speakers. Fun fun fun.
Our new batteries are making me 😊. Even with a few days of (by Caribbean standards) cloudy conditions, we’re good. We had to run the engine a couple of times to recharge a little and top up the dinghy battery, though. Once we have the additional solar panels on our hard-top that’ll be installed in St Lucia I think there will be enough to cover basic needs even on relatively shady days here. Charlotte made an awesome boat-cover made of Coolaroo – it measures about 6.5m by 4m and provides a huge amount of shade (including over all of the saloon windows). The deck temperature is about 15 degrees (Celsius) lower under the cover than in the Sun, which explains why it is now so much cooler inside.