Saturday, 9 February 2019

Christmas Day in Paradise

We enjoyed Grenada, but the next island was calling so it was time to move on and off we sailed further north to a island called Carriacou.
It was a great sail and everyone really enjoyed the peace and quite with only the water lapping against the boat and the odd seabird flying past us all the way to our next anchorage in Tyrral Bay in Carriacou.



Once again the anchor dug in perfectly and as it was very busy with lots of yachts around so we stayed away from the crowds and anchored at the back out of the road. After we were happy the anchor was secure, we headed ashore for a quick look around and get our barring's. We felt at ease straight away and as the sun started to set we went back to the boat to make plans for the next day.


We were all sleeping like logs, but we were still up at 6.30am so excited to explore the island and see what it had to offer. Bags packed and off we went....

Today we decided just to have a walk, have a look around and hopefully if we got our direction correct, we will find a beach to cool down in. It was a long walk and the kids never whinged once which is amazing and when we arrived at the beach it was just so picturesque it was unbelievable. I think one of the reasons I say this is because we are in the sun and you could see all the different colours in the water, which stood out like a sore thumb. Yes, Seahouses is amazing with its beautiful beaches that stretch for miles and miles and I'm very lucky to live there but there is something about adding a bit of sunshine to it and Joan, myself and the kids were loving it. 

So far during the time I have been here, the one thing I have noticed that is amazing and I wished more people in our country were like this is friendly. People from our area are friendly but these people go out of their way to make you feel at home and that goes for all ages too. Kids are just great and make friends everywhere they go and there is something that just puts a smile on your face to see it. 

Our kids played for hours and hours with the locals and they had so much fun doing so, and it warms your heart to see them having so much fun building a castle in the water and wondering why it keeps on getting washed away but and so much better than them playing on a Play Station or a X-Box. 



After a lovely day we walked all the way back to the boat and once again not a whinge or a moan from the kids about how far it was, but they just got on with it. We both thought that these must not be our kids as they were laughing and giggling and are not having a go at each other, but we kept our lips sealed as it would never last.

The next day we were all up again bright and early and ready for the next adventure which was to the town of Hillsborough. We tied the dingy up for the day and took a very steep walk up a hill to get a small mini bus to the town. I must admit it was me who was the first one to whinge about the hill, but I was the first one there and as the others approached, they all have a whinge. I just knew it would not last, but I did not think I would be the first and the kids still remind me now.



The bus arrived and it took the long route to Hillsborough picking up as many people as he could along the way, but it was interesting seeing how other people lived and the style of their homes. Once we arrived it was hustle and bustle, then we realised it was the holidays and people were stocking up on food and getting last minute Christmas presents. It was really weird as one street was buzzing and then the next street there was not a soul. We did not know why but we figured that one area must be the in place and not the other.





We still enjoyed it and after a good look around it was time to go but this time I wanted to go to the hospital where Kim was rushed to and say thank you to the doctors and nurses who had helped Kim in her time of need, so back into the mini bus which took us to the top of a hill in the middle of the island.

I know what you are thinking, “why did they put a hospital on top of a hill in the middle of nowhere”, Well it was windy up there and this helps with all the bugs as it was so windy it would keep them all away.







I never saw the doctor, but the nurses were so pleased that I had dropped in to see them and when I told them the good news, they were so thrilled they said they would let the doctor know. I did not have to go to see them, but I was so pleased for a couple of reasons. One was the look on their faces and the other was the absolute stunning views form the top of the hill. After enjoying the scenery, we once again walked all the way back the Hillsborough where we got the mini bus to take us back the Paradise Beach to finish the day off with a swim and relax. After a good swim we walked back and watched the sun go down and then realised that it was Christmas Day tomorrow so we better get to bed early as Santa would not come.








Christmas Day was just lovely really. No mad panic to get the food ready for lunch or anything like that but just get out of bed, open our stockings as Santa was leaving the presents at home and enjoy the best breakfast ever in a beautiful part of the world. What more could I wish for? Well I did ask Santa for a yacht of my own, but you know as well as I do, he’s not that good so I got the next best thing and that was an American style blueberry pancake with lashings and lashings of maple syrup, and I can tell you it was just perfect. 



With our tummy’s full we were all excited for the rest of the day, so we all jumped into the dingy and went over to another yacht which was anchored beside us. Merry Christmas we all shout, are you ready for a swim? The couple were just as excited as us and they jumped into their dingy and we all sped of to Sandy Island. 


We met this couple a few days earlier were called Shelly and Rod and they came to the boat thinking we were Simon, Kim and Sienna but then were shocked that it was not us. We all had a good laugh and when we explained what had happened, we became good friends. They were such a lovely couple that they invited us to join them for Christmas dinner which was amazing, so we all had a great day swimming and snorkelling with thousands of fish, turtles and we even saw a shark. What I thought was a great day was topped of my Shelly’s lovely dinner, followed with a devilishly good chocolate dessert. Oh, I was in haven…



The next day it was time to move again and this time it was to Union Island.


Friday, 1 February 2019

Here we go

The day had come for our first sail, but it was not going to be a long one as I was not sure what the kids and Joan would be like and I looked a little bit naughty out there too.
So first things first and that was to have a good hearty breakfast before we set off.  You cant go to sea on an empty stomach as if anyone were to be sick then they had something to bring up. Once we were all feed we had to go through the check list of things to do before we sail and it goes a little something this.....

1. Checked that all the windows were shut as the last thing we want is for a wave to come in and soak everything with seawater.
2. Anything that can fall of the sides, shelves etc, must be secured down or put onto on floor so it does not get broken or break anything else.
3. Engine has to be checked to see water levels and oil levels are okay.
4. Once the engine checks are done, we start the engine and give the it visual check to make sure nothing is wrong.
5. Plan a route on the chart to make sure we get there safe and sound.
6. You are not allowed outside the cockpit when we are sailing as I don't want anyone falling over.

After all the jobs were done we started the engine, pulled up the anchor and off we went, out into the open waters. The look on their faces was a treat as some were smiling from ear to ear, another was nervous and the other did not give a monkeys.... Its funny how people differ from one to another.

Once we were out it started to turn a bit rough but we only had this for an hour until we got around the corner into settled waters.
We did not sail on this occasion, but our time will come for that, and in the mean time we were just going the steam to our next destination which was only 2 hours away.

The seas were not the best but everyone seemed to enjoy the trip and as you look at land from a different angle the time seems to fly by and before you know it we had arrived in St George's. We slowly steamed closer to where I wanted to be and Joan go the anchor ready to drop.
This was the first time for Joan to anchor and she was a little bit nervous which was expected, but she did a great job and the anchor dug in straight away. I jumped into the water and dived down to check that it was ok. It was dug in perfect so we had no worries about leaving the boat, so off we went to have some lunch and then to buy so food to last the next 3 weeks. After we had stocked up the fridge and freezer we decided to go for a snorkel.



I had heard about this little place to go snorkelling which was supposed to be really good and it was not far away so we started the dingy and set off.

Once we arrived, tied the dingy off, put our masks, snorkel and fins on we ready to explore and all I can say was that it was amazing, so much so that we went again the following day. We had to watch Archie bit as he had never been snorkelling and he was not the best swimmer but after an hour or so he was doing absolutely amazing and before you know it he was diving all the way down to the bottom and loving every minute of it too.

I was desperate to see everyone's face as I had not told them about the underwater sculptors that had been placed there on purpose by a British man called Jason Taylor. I only told them it was fish and coral but their excitement when they first spotted a man on a bicycle  at the bottom of the seabed was so much fun. I told them they had to spot as many things as possible and later they had to draw and write about what they had seen.

The only thing that I did not like about the sculptures was that I wished I had seen them when they were first placed on the bottom as it would have been amazing to see. Lots of them were broken or had moved during a storm which was such a pity but I still really enjoyed it.

I later found out it was the worlds first underwater sculpture park and it was Taylors aim to engage local and non local people with the underwater environment that surrounds them using his works about life around them so installed concrete figures onto the seabed. Some of them were amazing and showed life how it was. So if you ever in Grenada go and have a look at this place as its well worth it.






If this was the start of things to come then I was really going to enjoy this trip and so was everyone else.

OVER AND OUT


Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Bye to the Browns and hello to the Douglas's

As Kim, Simon and Sienna gathered their clothes together ready for the flight back to the UK, they realised that they did not have any winter clothes onboard the boat. They looked at each other and said "its going to be freezing". I could not help myself and said, I have a warm woollen hat if you want to fight over it. I can not repeat what Simon said but it had an off in it, so I gave it to Kim.... Oh its like that is it, said Simon . Yep, I said, as Kim told me she loves me, and I never heard your name being mentioned so there...Ha ha.

Its funny how someone can be really ill and we still manage to take the micky. Never mind they will soon be on their way to the airport and I will have their beautiful boat to myself. Well for a few days anyway, as Joan and the kids were coming over for 3 weeks in a few days time.

I was a bit annoyed really as I was really looking forward to introducing my family to Kim, Simon and Sienna and they were looking forward to it as well but at the end of the day Kim needed to get home and see what the doctors have to say, so it is what it is. I suppose things in this world happen for a reason and it was meant to be, so hopefully both families will meet each other one day.

I waved goodbye and wished them well, then hopped into the dingy and headed back to the boat, and as sat in the cockpit to watched the sun go down another vessel gave me a shout over the vhf radio. Britican, Britican this is Morrame over. (A great name for a yacht which was play on words meaning more of him). I replied Britican go up one channel. It was Randy a lovely bloke from Canada, he said, "Well whats it like to be the owner of a mega yacht"? So far so good, I said, but I could not believe that they have gone and they have left me to look after this beautiful yacht and not only that, they have told me to take my family sailing too. How awesome is that. He just laughed and, said I will love it. We chatted for a while and as the sun went down we said good night and went to bed.

I had a few days before my family arrived so I decided to get a few jobs done before they got here. One of those jobs was sanding down the steps that lead to the saloon. I knew it would create a lot of dust and it was the perfect time to do it while the boat was empty, so I was on a mission to get it done while I had my chance. I also sanded a few other bits where it was worn back to the wood, which turned out really good. So with all the jobs done, I cleaned down the mess and made it look clean and tidy ready for my family to arrive.



The day had arrived and they were supposed to be here about 6pm, but the plane was delayed and they did not arrive until 11pm but it was well worth the wait, as I received the biggest cuddles ever.

They all looked tired but the novelty of getting into a dingy to travel the last leg to what was going to be there home for the next 3 weeks woke them up just enough to enjoy it. Once they were on the boat and I showed them where they were sleeping they all crashed until 7am the next day.

Having my family on the boat was amazing feeling and knowing that we had 3 weeks to go sailing, exploring, swimming etc was going to be great and I could not wait.
Before we left to go sailing we had to help Randy with his boat and after we did that we had a look around the boat yard and had some lunch. The next day we went to a island called Hogs Island to go exploring which was really fun and after that back to the boat for some well deserved rest before we set sail.



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OVER AND OUT


Friday, 11 January 2019

Sandy Island, Medical Emergency

So I have been here a few weeks now and we have got lots of jobs done. One of the biggest reasons for so many jobs is that Kim and Simon on Britican have decided to invite people onboard so they need the boat to be coded by the RYA to take 12 paying passengers onboard. They will only take 8 people as the boat, even though she a big boat at 56ft it does not have the space for so many people at once, so 8 is more than enough.
I was only here one day when the man came to inspect the boat and since I have had my boats coded like this at home, it was really straight forward. After about 4 hours inspecting the boat he was very happy and only had a few things he wanted us to do which was done straight away, photographed and sent over to him. Simon was also waiting a few other things to arrive and when they did we would be ready to go.

After everything was sorted Kim and Simon wanted to get me sailing but the first sail was just a few hours away which was fine by me as we needed to sign out of the country, get some groceries, and we also gabbed some fuel too.

SANDY ISLAND


KIM JUST ABOUT TO GET THE ANCHOR BALL


ALL ANCHORED 

After all those jobs were done we were off again and this time it was to a place called Sandy Island which was about 5 hours further north. It was a lovely sail and we arrived at a beautiful destination, grabbed a mooring ball (fixed anchor) and relaxed. Well we did not relax for long as I went into my bedroom and it was very smelly and we found water on the shelf. I proceeded to take the wall down, which is just velcro, and we found the problem straight away. One of the bolts were leaking and as we hit thee waves it was coming in. It was nothing to worry about but it still needed to be fixed.

While Simon and myself fixed the water leak, Kim was sewing a cover for the main sail. She shouted me to see if I had finished as she would love it if I could do a little bit of filming for her blog. I picked up the camera and started o film when she said, I feel a bit funny. Don't feel funny now I'm trying to film you. She giggled, sat back and said my heart is racing. I mean really racing. The look on her face said a thousand things, but within a minute or so she said she felt ok now. "I laughed and said typical women, now lets get on with this filming"

Simon came in to help and while I was filming the expressions on his face were so funny I started to film him instead. The second I started to take the micky out of Simon, Kim took a turn for the worst. Her heart was going even faster then before and started to lose the feeling in her arms and legs.
All of a sudden it had gone a bit Pete Tong so Simon called for a ambulance to come, but the  only problem with that was that we were on the boat.

Simon shouted to me to start the dingy and he managed to get Kim into the dingy were we sped off to the closet beach where the ambulance would pick them her up. When we arrived to the beach we got Kim out of the dingy and onto a bench while we waited. It was at that moment that I knew, it was very serious as she started to say that she loved me.... You love me? Don't be silly women, I said, you don't love me its Simon you love. No its you I love....and Sienna of course...

The ambulance arrived and off she went to the hospital... There was not a lot I could do now so, myself and Sienna went back to the boat where we waited for a call from Simon to let us know what's happening.

Within half an hour we got a call saying that they were going to fly to Grenada as this hospital does not have the means to look after her, so could I bring some clothes, mobiles, chargers and anything else we could think off and meet us at the airport.

Myself and Sienna gathered everything together, jumped back into the dingy and sped off to the beach. When we arrived Simon called again to say that he was waiting for confirmation of the flight down the Grenada so could we wait at the beach until everything was good to go. After a little wait we got the go ahead to be a the airport which was only minutes away. Once we started to walk to the airport we were given the wrong directions and told to go the other way. We quickly turned and went the right way, when we heard to siren from the ambulance, so we started to run. When we got closer the gate was open and we just entered but it was not until we saw the runway that we realised it was the wrong way. Stuff it said to Sienna, we are here now, but then all of a sudden the plane landed, so we ran across the runway to where Kim and Simon we waiting.

Yes, I know what you are thinking, but I was thinking about Kim, as I could not let her go without a change of knickers. Ha Ha. After that, I got a real dressing down by some lady but it was done now and there was nothingshe could do about it. Well there was, but in this situation I think she just let me off with a dirty look. As I turned around I saw Kim lying in the ambulance looking at me spaced out so I gave her a kiss on the forehead and Simon a cuddle and I just blurted out that I would see them in Grenada.

What was I thinking, I have never sailed on my own before and with a little girl too. Surely it must be me that needed to go to hospital for saying such a stupid thing, but to my amazement Simon said that would be great thank you.
To be honest I don't think anyone was thinking, but we just got on with it.

Once we arrived back at the boat, I sat Sienna down to explain what we were going to do tomorrow and that was sail on our own back to Grenada. I also told a little white lie and said that her Mam was going to be ok, but deep down I knew it was not good. She was amazing really and I said we can do it and I will see your mammy tomorrow. She smiled and gave me a high five.

The next day we left about 9am and sailed all the way down to Grenada. We tried with the main sail but it got jammed so we gave up and I just put the head sail up and off we went. It was amazing really and we both really enjoyed the sail down.
After about 2 hours of sailing we got a call from Simon saying that Kim was going to be okay but she had to go back to the UK for more tests to find out what happened. What a relief and the look on Sienna's face said it all.
When we  eventually arrived at St George's and anchored perfectly for the first time, we both jumped into the dingy and went to see Simon.


SAILING DOWN TO GRENADA



ST GEORGE'S HOSPITAL OVER LOOKING BAY WHERE THE BOAT WAS ANCHORED


KIM IN HER HOSPITAL BED

Seeing Simon again was just lovely and he embarrassed me like I was his best friend. You could see he wanted to talk but he looked shattered and was desperate for a shower, so he jumped into the dingy and went to the boat. While Simon was away myself and Sienna, stayed in the restaurant, and treated ourselves to a well deserved brownie and ice cream which was just perfect. Once Simon returned he explained that her heart was doing 233 beats a minute and did this for 2 hours, no wonder she was frightened and when I read her blog later I did not realise how bad it was. Yes I had a feeling it was bad but I tried to blank it out and stay calm for Sienna's sake and it worked to. She is only  8 and the last thing I wanted to do was to put the fear of death into to her. Pardon the pun, but she was with me now and that was scary enough.

Anyway, Kim was in good hands in the hospital and we could see her soon, so all I wanted now was for her to fly back home, get sorted and come back as my family were joining for Christmas and we were all excited to meet each other.

Once Kim was discharged from hospital she came back onto the boat where she could get a good nights sleep and relax. The next day Simon said that they had to fly home on the 14th Dec to see the doctors but they weren't sure when they could come back until they find out more information. I was so disappointed as I desperately wanted them to meet my family but her health was more important than seeing them.

As we were having dinner later that evening, Kim and Simon started to chat about what was going to happen when they were away, and I was expecting them to say that they had booked the boat into the marina and it would stay there until we get back, but to my surprise they told me to take my family and the boat and go sailing. Holy Sh** I was not expecting them to say that. This is their home, their pride and joy and they were going to give it to some northern bloke who has never sailed before, they must be crackers. It has be those pills Kim is on, she can't be saying the that surely, but she was and they both meant it too. It was at that time when my arse started to twitch and I got a cold sweat. I think I need to and have a lay down and compose myself. I looked at both of them and said, "Are you sure". If we did not trust you then we would have it booked into a marina by now, so take your family and enjoy the trip....


If you want to read about the episode try Kim's Blog   and she will give you her side of the story. Until the next blog, thank you for reading and I do hope you are enjoying it.


OVER AND OUT


















Thursday, 3 January 2019

Adventure Begins Again.

If you can remember in an old blog post, I was lucky enough to be invited onto a yacht called Britican, to sail from Charleston to the Bahamas about this time last year. Well the same family has invited me back onboard their 56ft Oyster mono hull. Yes I know I'm used to catamarans but this is an opportunity not to be missed, so I grabbed it with both hands and said Yes.

So here I am, back onboard and it is like I have never been away, but this time instead of the cold weather on my previous sail, I'm in the beautiful sunshine of Grenada in the Caribbean in a little place called Whisper Cove.
What a lovely name and there is loads of yachts around too, as they are all running (sailing) scared of the hurricanes from last year and Grenada is out of the hurricane zone. When you here the stories and the damage they did it sends shivers down your spine and some islands are know where being fixed either. Never mind that's another story for another time

So as I write this article I'm sitting near the stern of the boat watching the sun go down and its about half an hour until sunset and its 25 degrees. Sorry if you fell like I should not mention the weather since its so rubbish back home, but what the hell I've worked hard for it. Anyway, this time I'm here to learn a bit more and get some jobs done before we start sailing again and as I watch the sun go down I wonder if its going to be as good as it was last year.





Deep down I know it will be, but sometimes I question myself if you have done the right thing as you may know yourself when you go on holiday its amazing, but when you go back its never as good as the first time. I should not question myself really as I'm on the same boat with a lovely family, and I'm in a different place and hopefully we will get sailing soon which itself will be amazing and hopefully this time I will get to do some sailing myself.

Anyway at the moment I'm based in a little place in the south end of Grenada called Clarkes Court Bay and we are anchored near Whisper Cove. Its actually a large sheltered bay offering lots of anchoring in different spots with some being more sheltered than other spots. Our spot is a little bit windy but I prefer that as its keeps the mosquitos away and it provides a lovely breeze through the boat.
In the old days, big sailing ships would anchor here to take on rum that was brought down the river to the head of the bay by a small boat. It is also known for its drink too as there is an old brewery here, which has been running for over 200 years. I will go and have a look soon but sadly I don't drink so I will not be sampling the menu and its probably a good thing as I don't think I would be able to get back to the boat.

There is lots little places to eat and drink and there is a really big boatyard to have a wander around. Some of the yachts are out of this world but they are owned by money men or women and I can only dream of winning the lottery to get anything close to what they have. I don't think I would really like it to be honest. Some of the smaller yachts are very appealing but for the moment its nice to look.

What I have noticed that the yachting community is very close and they will do anything to help each other out. Every morning at 7.30am there is a person on the radio telling everyone about the weather, whats on, shopping trips, nights out etc and its amazing to see how many join them too. There is also a small group of kids who do home schooling in the morning and then they jump into the dinghy's and go to play on the beaches or go exploring. They learn so much more than some kids do and they are so polite too. I suppose that's the yachting community for you and its refreshing to see young children respecting there elders.

So over the next few weeks I will be bringing you some stories about my adventure so please join me and I hope you enjoy what you read and if there is anything you would like to know please just ask.