This has been an exciting week for the crew of Wild Horses. Our weather window for moving north early in the week was holding steady so we knew it was a great chance to get some miles under our keel.
Our boat buddies on Caretta, Kemana and Rode Trip were also keen to get going. They had planned to clear into Union Island, St. Vincent & Grenadines (SVG), which is just a few hours north of Grenada. Unfortunately, Wild Horses would need to have a different sail plan. By Sunday, we still hadn’t received our pet permit for SVG.
We finalized our “Plan B” sail plan to, sadly, bypass SVG and split away from our boat buddies. Well, I should say “almost” bypassing SVG. Our new plan was to sail 50 miles to the North Western corner of SVG and “Q flag” for the night before weighing anchor and sailing the final 50 miles to Rodney Bay, St. Lucia. What does “Q flag” mean? Well, it is when you anchor within a country’s territorial waters but you do not clear in. Instead, you leave your yellow Quarantine flag waiving throughout the night. It is a great option if you only have to be in a country for 24 hours (the time limit for Q flagging) and you have no need to go ashore. Absolutely no one can go to shore? Yup. Um, what about Ocean? Well, we have a pee pad set up on our bow for her. At anchor, she will use it if she needs to. Great! We have our plan!
Early Monday morning, Wild Horses, Caretta, Kemana and Rode Trip met outside of the Tyrell Bay Customs & Immigration office promptly at 0800, opening time for clearing out. About 0900, the customs agent arrived, obviously fully embracing “Island Time”. It took us about an hour to clear out and then we were off! All four crews planned to go to a scenic anchorage called Anse La Roche on the North West corner of Carriacou, Grenada for the night. This is a pretty little anchorage that is known for hosting a spectacular beach BBQ. We definitely didn’t want to miss that! Although we had already completed the clearing out process, Grenada allows you 24 hours to leave their territorial waters so stopping at Anse La Roche would be the perfect stop for us and shave an hour off our trip to SVG the next day.
Well, we were happy to have made that decision! Not only did we get to spend more time with our boat buddies but we were treated to an amazing beach BBQ at Tim’s. This is a little beach side set up that provides a five-star family-style BBQ meal. For $100 EC a person ($50 CAD), we had a feast of lobsters, Lambi (aka Conch) stew, BBQ chicken, salad, stuffed potatoes and lots of rice, all served on beautifully laid out tables with lovely tiki lights providing the perfect ambiance. It was an incredible evening! At the end of the evening, we bid farewell to our boat buddies and prepared for our early wake up call to head to SVG the next morning.
At 0615 on Tuesday morning we had weighed anchor and were headed to Chateaubelair, an anchorage on the North Western tip of St. Vincent. We had perfect 25 to 30 knot winds and a very comfortable sea state, all making for a beautiful sail to Chateaubelair and an early arrival time of 1415. On our arrival, the boat boy we were advised to hail (by our boat buddies on Kemana), paddled up to us and helped us choose the best place to anchor and also brought us fresh tomatoes and oranges. Fabulous!
The next morning, Wednesday, we weighed anchor at 0615 and headed straight for St. Lucia. It was another beautiful sailing day as we crossed between SVG and St.Lucia. By the time we had passed the Pitons (the famous mountain range in the south portion of St. Lucia), the wind died and we had to turn on our motor. We were thrilled to find out, via our AIS, that another boat buddy, “Bitty Rose” was just behind us and also headed for Rodney Bay Marina. Fantastic! Once docked, we needed to get to the Customs & Immigration office so we could get ourselves and Ocean cleared into the country. Thankfully, the Government Veterinarian was there waiting for us. Ocean’s veterinary inspection was a quick once over and we were provided her official clearance papers. Yes! Dog, boat and people were officially cleared into St. Lucia.
It was still early afternoon when we finished clearing in so next on the agenda was getting our boat “ship shape”. Our poor Wild Horses has been a bit neglected in the waxing department and all the saltwater had started to take its toll. Anthony and Gaza to the rescue! These are two amazing guys at the marina who do exceptional waxing and detailing work on boats. Better yet, they were available to start working on Wild Horses right away. So far, they have washed and waxed our topsides, polished and de-rusted our all the stainless on the boat, cleaned all of our canvas and cockpit cushions and today they are washing and waxing our whole hull. Oh, and that is after fixing the scratches in our gelcoat from when we were dragged into during Tropical Storm Bret. Wild Horses will be looking shiny and new very soon!
We have been in St. Lucia for five days so far and will likely stay another three or four days. The country is beautiful plus we are enjoying being near good shopping and restaurants. Oh, and since we are at dock, we are loving having our air conditioner to give us a break from the 29 degree Celsius heat. Yes, St. Lucia is feeling like a mini vacation where everything we want is at our fingertips. Soon, however, we will be on the move again. We will likely be in Martinique by the end of the week, just about the time that our buddies will also arrive there.
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Victoria is a hiker, dog-lover, blog writer and planner extraordinaire. Oh, yeah and she is kind of fond of living on a boat.