Monday, we took a trip into Hillsborough to stock up on food and to look up ‘Tanty Sholley’ and pass on Jackie’s love and best wishes. Tanty Sholley owns a small bar in a back street and when Jackie visited Carriacou a few years ago, she spent some time with her.

Tanty Sholley's 'The Back Inn'

Tanty Sholley’s ‘The Back Inn’

Tanty is a retired caterer who lived in London and worked for The Met., before retiring with her husband, back to their home island. Sadly, her husband passed away shortly after setting up the bar. After a drink on the house and a tour of her banana ‘plantation’ (garden) that runs down the side and back of the building, we said goodbye with big hugs and warm memories of a very generous spirit.

Tanty Sholley

Tanty Sholley

On Tuesday, we checked out at customs, intending to set off for Union Island, but the time slipped away and we decided to relax and go in the morning. Relaxing for me meant 2 hours in the water scrubbing the bottom of the boat with a scraper tied to a pole!! Quite a few large crustaceans had set up home since we relaunched in October!

We set off early (for us!) on Wednesday morning and had a good sail up the coast. When we hit open water the wind was, naturally, blowing at 20 to 25 knots ‘bang on the nose’………I’ve always thought that would be a great name for a sailing yacht!
We sailed for as long as we could and then pushed our way, slowly, towards the main harbour with the engine and mainsail.

Bashing into it on the approach to Union Island.

Bashing into it on the approach to Union Island.

Although we had a clean bottom, the propeller and shaft were still encrusted with barnacles and beasties and, despite several failed efforts, it appears that I have too much bouancy and too little confidence to dive down and scrape the prop clean. This meant that heading into the wind and tide, we could only just make 3 to 5 knots.

We arrived at Clifton harbour at midday, but after three failed attempts to anchor, we finally moored at 1400! There is a reef that protects the harbour from swells, but not the wind, and this means that the sand is not uniformally deep over the tail edge of the reef and with 25+ knots of wind bearing down on us, the anchor was dragging. After gilling around and dragging for the third time, we decided to accept a persistent, and rather rude, boat boy’s buoy.

Our mooring........as close as we ever want to be to a reef!

Our mooring……..as close as we ever want to be to a reef!

Generally we don’t trust ground tackle, unless we can see the bottom and check the state of the mooring block and the chain and rope attached to it, but it was the lesser of two evils, so we finally accepted the boat boy’s offer and his abuse!

When we first told him we were not interested in his buoy, because we are a heavy boat and prefer to anchor, he shouted, ‘You British are the worst. You don’t want to spend money!’…….this clearly did not endear him to either Captain or First Mate! We knew we were being ripped off and haggled the price down from 80EC to 60EC for the night.

Having lowered the dinghy and motor, we headed for shore and Clifton airport, where Customs and Immigration have their offices.

Clifton Airport.......the planes come n over this fence!

Clifton Airport…….the planes come n over this fence!

Union Island, is the southernmost of the St Vincent and Grenadine islands and having checked in, we are free to sail to all the other islands on our way up to St Vincent.

Clifton is a small village, rather than a town. It has a series of eateries that have their own docks (and aquariums!), along the harbour front.

One of the restaurant dinghy docks.

One of the restaurant dinghy docks.

Lobsters kept fresh for dinner.

Lobsters kept fresh for dinner.

There is a Main Street with a bank, an ATM and numerous small mini markets, each one quaintly signposted.

The one signpost in the village.

The one signpost in the village.

In the centre is the village ‘green’ that reminded us both of a Butlin’s themed centre piece.

The 'Butlin's' square!

The ‘Butlin’s’ square!

A few of the fruit and veg stalls were open and we stocked up with fruit for our morning ‘healthy smoothies!

When we were preparing to leave on Tuesday morning, ‘Mr Charming’ appeared, as if by magic, and offered us a new rate of 40EC! Unfortunately for him, his customers had had a restless night, worrying about the mooring and were in no mood to stay tethered to a dodgy guy’s potentially dodgy buoy with the boat veering and swinging, like Piglet on a windy day!  ………… Fine for the Kite Surfers, but not for us.

Kite surfer enjoying the wind.

Kite surfer enjoying the wind.

Once our sluggish propeller had negotiated our way clear of the other boats in the anchorage, we put up our jib and had a good downwind run to the end of the island, just 2 miles away! We were making for Chatham Bay where we thought we would be more sheltered from the north easterly wind. After another two failed attempts to get the hook to hold, we are safely anchored behind ‘Mount Olympus’. It is more sheltered, but the wind seems to get held up in the hills and then comes hurtling down into the bay.

Chatham Bay beach.

Chatham Bay beach.

Chatham Bay is only comfortably accessed from the sea. There is a dirt and boulder track that leads down from the road to the south end of the beach, where the Chatham Bay Resort is slowly coming into being. At present there is a restaurant, bar and small swimming pool………the accommodation has yet to be built.
Cruise ships anchor off in the bay and their passengers come ashore to ‘walk the beach’.

The four masted cruise liner anchored in the bay.

The four masted cruise liner anchored in the bay.

Another sailing cruise ship that stopped for the day.

Another sailing cruise ship that stopped for the day.

There are three or four other bar/restaurant/shacks along the back of the beach and some Fishermen’s sheds/houses. The buildings and fare are simple, but the welcome is warm. We went to Vanessa’s bar on the first day

Vanessa's place on the beach.

Vanessa’s place on the beach.

……and she didn’t have change, so she sent her husband off to the other bars to see if they could break a 20. We continued along the beach and when we returned she beckoned us to say that she still didn’t have change. ‘Not to worry’, we said, ‘We’ll trade it for another drink tomorrow.’

Tomorrow came and we set off up the track to the top of Mount Olympus in search of the road into the nearest village of Ashton.

Reaching the summit of Mount Olympus!

Reaching the summit of Mount Olympus!

The climb was quite a challenge for Captain Courageous and when we got to the top, the road proved to be devoid of traffic………….except for Vanessa and her family, going the wrong way, who stopped when she saw us to remind us she owed us $7! ………so we walked for half an hour, down into the village

Tobago Cays from the hilltop.

Tobago Cays from the hilltop.

Ashton village below.

Ashton village below.

We stopped for a quick bite and a drink, before grabbing at what might have been our one and only chance of a lift back to Chatham Bay ……..in the back of a pick up truck.
We walked down to the beach through some woods and came across a tortoise that had waddled in to and old copper and was wallowing in mud, unable to climb out. Needless to say ‘Hayward’s International Rescue’ swung into action and we left a contented customer munching leaves in the shade.

The tortoise we rescued!

The tortoise we rescued!

On Sunday morning, we popped our heads up to see what all the shouting was about, that was getting closer and closer to the boat. It turned out to be the local fishermen taking advantage of a gap in the moored boats to do a spot of fishing!

Local fishermen setting their net.

Local fishermen setting their net.

Once they have rowed round in a circle to meet up with start of the net, they start to haul in.

Hauling in the net.

Hauling in the net.

Sadly they went home empty handed……too much noise from engines apparently. We heard all about the fishing from one of fishermen who was dropped off at our boat on Sunday afternoon on his way out to do some speargun fishing on the rocks around the headland. We had just mentioned to another guy trying to sell us fish, that we had bought some already and didn’t need any, but what we did need was to get someone to clean our prop. No sooner said than ‘Hey Presto’ there was Desmond!

He proceeded to dive down in the twilight and did a good job scraping the barnacles off the prop.
On Monday the winds abated a little and we decided that rather than sit out the forecast for stronger winds in isolated Chatham Bay, we would up anchor and head for the busier harbour of Port Elizabeth in Bequia. Hopefully, when the winds drop a bit, we’ll be able to sail back down to the Tobago Cays to snorkel on the famous reefs and swim with the turtles.
The sail up to Bequia was close hauled into the wind with short choppy seas, but enjoyable. The clean prop pushed us around the anchorage with no problem.

Approaching Bequia.

Approaching Bequia.

As we started to enter Admiralty Bay, the rain that had been threatening, clipped us with its tail end.
After three goes at setting the anchor, we are now firmly dug in in the north of the bay. Lots to see and do in the next few days. We did a quick foray ashore yesterday and ate lunch in ‘Coco’s Place’

Tuesday's lunch spot overlooking our anchorage.

Tuesday’s lunch spot overlooking our anchorage.

…….and a very nice place it seems to be!

You must be logged in to leave a reply.