Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Northbound, we made quick stops at the French islands. There would be no wine, no cheese, no expresso and pastries and no chocolate. How sad. The French islands have been on strike for over a month now so they are depleted of many things including yummy French food, fuel, transportation, etc.

In the meantime, however, there are many other wonderful places to visit and shop.

Here is the southern end of St. Lucia, known as the Pitons. The Pitons are beautiful and have a rich history. The island was fought over and changed hands 14 times between the French and English. The early Indians revered and worshipped the Pitons and runaway slaves found safe sanctuary in these 3000 foot tall volcanic peaks.

You can pickup a mooring ball or if you are a big yacht like the Phoenix, you can get special permission to anchor. You can book your charter on this gorgeous boat for a mere $500,000.00 per week. Go ahead and invite 10 of your best friends along. You will be spoiled by the 12 crew members that will look after your every whim and desire.

On shore you can be dazzled by the Jalousie Plantation resort. They have a great restaurant, beautiful beaches, villas with private plunge pools and a great rainforest hiking trail

But most of all we love sitting on the boat and watching the sights. The beautiful sunsets

cruise ships passing by for a lookAnd the snorkeling is not bad either

At the northern end of St. Lucia is Rodney Bay. This is one of the many playgrounds of the boating world. It has a great marina, lots of restaurants, great markets and a great old English Fort on Pigeon Island. Pigeon Island was used as an outpost to watch the French on neighboring Martinique Island. It is now a great hiking adventure with great views and a nice breeze.

There are plenty of relics to see

Old soldier barracks are still standing and undergoing restoration.....sort of.

It is easy to see what an advantage the English had over their enemies with this view. The old guns are still pointed at the harbor entrance....imagine pushing this gun around!

Captain Clean wishes you peace and a nice day

Next stop was Antigua, another playground of yachtsman. Here you see (in the background)the Maltese Falcon leaving the anchorage. The three masts are all electronically controlled from inside the boat. Sail raising, lowering and all manuvering is via electronic controls. You can have one built for about $100 Million!

Should you still be thinking about a charter, the Ilona from Sydney Australia is available. It even has a helicopter below the decks for any urgent business you may need to attend to.

Antigua is all about racing. The power yachts are here to watch and enjoy but the sailboats are here to perform. They are primped and cared for by their crews. Their decks, hulls and rigging are spit shined and polished.

Lucky for us a race, the RORC 600 was scheduled during our stay. Race day saw tradewinds of 20-25 knots. And then the squall arrived. Sails were reefed, sails went down and then back up. The trimaran, Guadaloupe, is almost airborne here. It eventually is the first boat to finish the race. Traveling at top speeds of 24 knots with an average of 15 knots overall, it finished the 600 miles in 40 hours. I am sure it was a wet ride.

Leopard is the large boat. She was the second boat to finish, first monohull, with a time of approximately 44 hours. The crew spent alot of time sitting on the weather rail during this race.

Afterwards we hiked over the hills and back to our small safe sancturary, Fine Line.

Next stop is Barbuda, a new destination for us.

Anne and Steve

S/V Fine Line

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Union Island

The southern Caribbean is great sailing. Not only is the water beautiful, the islands are close together so sailing from one island to the next is easily done in a day.

The navigation may be easy but knowing what islands belong to what countries can be a bit tricky. You can't just come and go as you please, you must check into a new country and check out before you depart. We checked out of Carriacou at the island's main town of Hillsbourgh and sailed a short 10 miles to Union Island, St. Vincent. The wind was howling and the seas were nasty. So much for easy sailing. There was salt all over the boat and all over us.

A quick shower for the boat and the crew and then off to check in to another country. Afterwards, being weary and thirsty, we hiked up 50 steps to the Pelican Bar to enjoy a cold beer and good company.

Enjoying the local beer "Piton" with Peter and Eileen.

Hanging out in the bars you can always hear some good stories. Michael, in yellow, moved down from New York to run the bar here. He has a lease on the property and lives in a cute little bungalow next door. What's not to like about that?After a few days of rain and wind we moved around to Chatham Bay, still in Union Island. No need to hurry. We found a great spot right next to the beach.
And then we were of to another great hike with Peter and Eileen.

The winds here come over the hills and howl down into the anchorage. We recorded winds up to 33 knots one evening. See the wind come across the bay? See Fine Line?

The view from the top of the island is great. Almost 360 degrees of beauty.

Crystal clear water and spectacular reefs makes this small group of islands very popular with snorkeling and diving enthusiasts.

The east side of Union Island

The south east looking toward Palm Island

And Mayreau to the north east with Tobago Cays in the distance.

While we were gone this beautiful cruise ship dropped anchor. They are on a 7 day cruise with 200 passengers. Looks like fun.
A little R & R at the end of the day. Cheers.
Leaving Union Island we stopped for a few days in Bequia and then headed further north to St. Vincent. St. Vincent is green, lush and beautiful. It is, however, not a favorite stop for boaters. When you stop here, expect to get hustled. Here we are getting hustled by Garfield. "Just like the cat" he told us. He also claims to be 60 years old have five kids, the youngest is 4. I know you are thinking he looks pretty good for a 60 year old man but so would you if you made your living rowing around on a paddle board selling produce out of a small bag.
You have to buy something because he does not leave until you do. Once you buy something, usually a not-so-good grapefruit or a few over-the -hill mangoes, the next guy comes over. And so it goes until you hurry up and leave the next day. Adios. So why do we come here?? We got hustled here last year. Aint got no good answer for dat mon.

Next stop is St. Lucia. See you there.

Anne and Steve

S/V Fine Line

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Hiking In Carriacou

We had to make a run for it. Grenada is so great and if we thought about it too long we would stay another month. So which way now?? South, west or back north?
Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Some people travel south from Grenada, visiting Tobago and Trinidad. Some very adventurous people head all the way to the Delta del Orinoco in Venezuela or even further to Guyana.
No, not for us.

Some boaters head west, skirting the out-islands of Venezuela and then on to Bonaire, Curacao and Aruba. From there you can head to Columbia, Panama, up alongside of Central America or through the canal and places far away.
No, not us this time.

We decided to go hiking. You see, we came south along many beautiful islands during the heat of the summer. We swam in the beautiful waters but we missed the beauty ashore. So the decision was easy. We'll sight-see in the cool of the winter months. High of 86 degrees to low of 74 degrees. A real chilly winter.

First stop was Carriacou. Carriacou is very quaint. It even has a yacht club.

Want to BBQ? No problems Mon, all set to go.
Cozy picnic area

There are plenty of steep hills....good exercise

Can't beat the view of Tyrrel Bay. Fine Line is anchored down there somewhere? You never know what you might run into at the end of the road. He was happy to see us until he realized we did not bring "piggy provisions". Good thing he was tied to a tree.A day later we ran into good friends Peter and Eileen from a boat named Appleseeds. Peter and Eileen live in Vancouver Canada. They are alot of fun and love to hike. PERFECT!

We began at the local elementary school. The islands receive aide from many countries including the US.

Down the road we met some more "kids".
The babies are hard to resist. This is "brave Eileen" petting the cuties.The island has great signs. Here we are at the junction of 6 roads. Where do we go from here?
No matter which route you take, fear not, you will find a Rum Shop. Cheers.Peter and Eileen took the lead and soon we were at The Cowfoot Bar and Restaurant. Just as it began to rain.
Perfect timing, let's have lunch.
The people on this island are very friendly. Jeff and Theresa own the Cowfoot restaurant. Where did the name Cowfoot come from?? It was simply a name a grandchild suggested after watching some cows graze on the hillside across the street. Easy.Amongst the beauty of the landscape you find some different treasures. This abandoned van may be an eyesore but it is in the process of becoming a big potted planter. Is this the stairway to heaven?
Just south of Carriacou is Saline Island. A small quiet paradise.Where you can take long strolls on the beach. looking for treasures. It looks uninhabited butThere is this nice boarded up house
A grave belonging to Johnny who died 50 years ago
And these ruins. What does it mean?Not sure but it was as fun visit.

Next stop is Union Island, St. Vincent. See you there.

Anne and Steve

S/V Fine Line

S/V Fine Line