Sunday, March 28, 2010


After three lovely months in Grenada, it was time to move. We started with a short passage to get the feel of sailing again – 9-1/2 miles around the corner to take ‘Beach House’ to the beach for one last celebratory lunch. Morne Rouge Bay was our destination, one mile south of St. George’s on the west coast of Grenada.
The restaurant was hidden on the beach in the greenery
to the left of the hill.
We put the dinghy in the parking lot …...
…… and walked through the palms to the restaurant.
What a lovely setting to say “goodbye for now“ to Grenada.

During an excellent lunch featuring fresh local fish, we kept an eye on ‘Beach House’ at anchor in the distance ……
……then walked through the grounds to check out the land approach to the restaurant.
Looks like Grenada and ‘Beach House’ were meant to be together.
We will be back.

Doing the customs and immigration dance out of the Grenada Grenadines and then checking into the St. Vincent Grenadines was a breeze - another country, another flag. Time to play tourist.

First stop was Union Island, whose craggy, upright elevations have earned it the nickname “Little Tahiti”. The main town of Clifton is the centre of yachting in the southern Grenadines.

The anchorage is beautiful with its dazzling display
of blues and greens.
Clifton Harbour is protected by Newlands Reef to the left and there’s a smaller reef to the right in the middle of the anchorage.

We visited Union Island last year,
but this time Castello Paradise beckoned.
The entrance looked intriguing – kitschy shopping and perhaps a bar?
What started as a little “alley” off the main street meandered up through multiple path ways.
Each turn brought a new level and more to see.
In the biggest bar and restaurant area, we found Jutta Hartmann, the owner and artist whose work covers every surface.
A sign said ‘No cameras.’. Oops. Too late.

After exploring Castello’s, the blog photographer rested
in the main square ......
…… before we did the climb up to Fort Murray.

It’s hard to judge how far we walked to get to the top of Fort Hill.
Most of the climb was on gravelly roads with just enough steady incline for a decent workout.

All that’s left of Fort Murray is a foundation wall ……
…… and a cannon or two.

We walked the overgrown paths on the summit ......
…… and found this unexpectedly beautiful iron sculpture.

Fort Hill isn’t the highest elevation on Union Island, but the views are spectacular. Here’s another high shot of Clifton Harbour with a couple of islands labelled.
It was time for a sundowner on Happy Island ……
…… which is conveniently located in our anchorage.

Meet Jaunti. 
In 2001, he spent the year dumping boatloads of sand, conch shells, coconut trees and palm fronds into an area of water just inside part of Newland Reef to create his own island. Over the years, Happy Island has grown, and Jaunti let us photograph his pictures of the early days.

Today Happy Island hosts charter groups and cruisers for a daily happy hour and a barbeque meal by reservation. Jaunti has been a local force in cleaning up Union Island for tourism – the only downside is the tourist prices that followed.

Next island was Mayreau, small at less than 3 square kilometers, but boasting two protected anchorages. We anchored in Saline Bay and walked the few miles up over the hill to check out Saltwhistle Bay – a very pretty but very crowded anchorage.

The beach here at Saltwhistle Bay is much photographed and recently graced the cover of a travel magazine.

On the walk back to Saline Bay, we stopped at Mayreau’s tiny Catholic church at the top of the hill.
The door was wide open, the way churches used to be.
Behind the church, the view overlooking the Tobago Cays is beautiful.
The Tobago Cays, a group of small deserted islands, is a national park.
The anchorage is protected by Horseshoe Reef to windward.
Next stop across the Atlantic - Africa.

Canouan is the island in this area that has seen the most changes recently. In the late 90s, Italian developers bought over half the island and built a fancy resort complex with a golf course and a casino. We didn’t go to that end of Canouan.
We explored the local half of the island.
The influx of money has started to transform the area, with many new homes being built by locals.
And there’s always a local market.
Everyone needs fresh tomatoes and bananas.

We stopped to take a picture of the sign
outside the Canouan Sailing Club.
Just what is “intoxicated liquor”?

Carlos heard us and came out to say hello.
He was friendly but shy, turning away every time Geoff raised the camera. He was doing some fiberglass work on a few local boats ……
…… getting them ready to race in Bequia next week
at the Easter Regatta.

How perfect, because at noon Friday, we arrived in Bequia, our island in the sun for the next couple of weeks. We’re looking forward to meeting up with some old friends here and we’ll keep an eye out for Carlos and his Canouan racing mates.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


In 2002, Pat and I headed for the Bahamas from Toronto aboard our Nauticat 36 “Tawee”. In the mouth of the Alligator River in North Carolina, we saw a boat named ‘Blame it on Buffett’. Plainly obvious that they got their cruising urge from Jimmy. Well, my sailing roots have a different beginning, but we  resisted  calling  our  boat  ‘Blame  it  on  Bob’.
In 1965, I was fresh out of tech school and working at channel 10 in Sydney. This is where I met Bob Gilchrist, a Canadian working his way around the world. Five years later, on  my  world tour, I  was  in Toronto  and  later  that year we were both working at the  Big  Bright  Nine,  CFTO-TV..

Meet Old Bob….
Oops, wrong ‘Old Bob’.

So let’s make that a younger Bob.
This was back then. You don’t want to see him now…..he’s an old fart!

In 1970, Bob had a Northern 25 sloop that he kept at Queen City Yacht Club at the Toronto Islands.
He was always invited people out sailing.
And we came, no matter what the weather, and because we all had hair.
Some days it would be a crowd.
Some days not so much.

This is Vickie – Mrs. Gilchrist – doing her duties as figurehead.
Thanks to Vickie (aka Killer Kobelski) for digging through Bob’s albums and scanning these old photographs.

Somehow I became the defacto crew and helped at Queen City Yacht Club with launch, haulout and all the preparation involved which taught me a lot about boats.
Here’s Bob and me on ‘Anoway’ in her cradle at QCYC, Toronto. The pose is a little unnatural - as you can see our hands aren’t holding any liquid refreshment.

We did all manner of foolish things around Lake Ontario and somehow managed to live through it all to tell the stories.

Bob had two Northern 25s and in 1976 bought the 29 foot version. He named it ‘Cadieux’, after an imaginary childhood friend. But, there was nothing imaginary about this boat. It really sailed!
That’s me on the right with the hair and Bob in the bib overalls as we launch Cadieux at THSC for another Lake Ontario sailing season.

All in all I sailed with Bob for about 16 years and during that time I had a Laser and a DS16, both very small craft.

In 1988, Pat and I bought our first keel boat. ‘Quinkin’ was a Gilbert 30+, one of a “limited edition” of nine.
Bob took this picture on ‘Quinkin’ of me with John McNally (Mac) and Chris Cummerford (Cuddles). Sadly, both have passed away, but both sailed with Bob on Lake Ontario and both bought keel boats as a result. They left many fond memories in their wakes and at their wakes.

Pat grew to enjoy the sailing life and the white wine days. Red wine days were not to her liking, although, as she has observed, we can only control the weather we leave in, not what the weather later becomes.
Our current Caribbean cruising was made possible by Pat’s organizational skills and perseverance, but if it weren’t for Bob inviting me sailing in 1971 the dream wouldn’t have developed and we wouldn’t be here.

Bob’s just a few years older than me.
Thanks Bob for kick starting it all and for some great sailing memories.

Happy Birthday.......…this one’s for you mate!