01 March 2009

Hog Island, Grenada

Anchored at Hog Island
Clarkes Court Bay
Grenada Islands
Caribbean Sea
368 miles from SV Christa
(Click On Photo To Enlarge)

Sandpiper is anchored off the north end of Hog Island in Clarkes Court Bay, off the southern end of Grenada. We left St David's Bay five days ago after the Classic Boat Regatta concluded. It was a rough three mile motor sail to where we dropped the hook in front of Clarkes Court Bay Marina. We were hoping they would let us use their showers, but with no luck as the facilities are for marina residents only. After we filled ourselves full of burgers at their "Cruiser Burger Night", which they have every Wednesday, we moved up to where we are presently anchored.

We are off the north end of Hog Island. Hog Island is where most the boats from the Classic Yacht Regatta had anchored just a quarter mile away from the marina. Since we had been drinking lots of rum with this lot of crusty sailors for the last week we decided to have one last big hurrah before all the boats headed off in different directions. Seeing as there were 8 people from five other boats getting together, and there was no way all these people would fit on one boat, we decided to make a 'Buxom II Sandwich'. Sandpiper dropped her anchor off Buxom's port bow, then backed down till just off her side making her mooring lines securely along Buxom's port side.

Phil on S/V Blues Traveler had planned on leaving that morning. But after we stuffed a few beers in him we were able to convinced him that it would be more fun to stay one more night made off to Buxom's starboard side. This is the first time we have rafted up Sandpiper overnight and we were a bit unsure how we were going to ride with the wind ripping thru the anchorage and how we would swing with the other boats around us. After a few rum cocktails no one on our boats seemed to care anymore. That is except for the gnarly looking naked Austrian man on the boat off Piper's port side standing on his bow with his hands on his hips hoping we would notice him.

Once the boats were secure then Jack, a crusty single-hander, paddled over along with friends Matt and Sue, where much rum, wine, and food was consumed. This was good for the Piper as we are hauling the boat out on Monday and have to eat everything in the freezer before we are hauled out of the water. Sandpiper's fridge is keel cooled, so we will have to shut it down. 

Everyone brought a bit of everything, and Team Sandpiper BBQ'd up a large bag of Wahoo that we had caught on our Atlantic Crossing from Cape Verde to Barbados. Sandpiper has earned quite a reputation amongst the boats that were participating in the Classic Yacht Regatta because we are the only boat around that has come as far as we have. And this is among some really salty boats.

Just a 'salty' break down of these boats and their crew that took part on last weeks Classic Yacht Regatta:

S/V Buxom - a 1939 gaff rigged Tahiti Ketch who is skippered by 29 year old Colin and 25 year old firstmate Lindsey. They work in St Johns in the Virgin Islands while living aboard on a mooring. They are both on a short vacation from their jobs so they could come down to Grenada for the Classic Yacht Regatta to race Buxom II. Their boat is so salty that the only electronic items they have aboard is a VHF radio, a hand held GPS and one reading light. They have no fenders as they have not been on a marina in over 2 years. They hand steered all the way down and have to wear swimming suits when they are on the helm because there are always waves coming over their low stern.

I got to sail on Buxom II during the Regatta. When we saw a boat on the horizon that we could not identify, Cap't Colin whips out an old nautical brass telescope. I said to him "You have to be kidding me..." He then told me that last summer, while grinding on his boat, a metal sliver got in his eye and he almost lost sight in one eye. "Great.", I said. "The eye patch would have completed you."

I found out later that they had contemplated buying a washboard to do laundry but were afraid to tell me as I was always slack jawed whenever they told me about how they do things on their boat. This morning they headed out of the harbor tacking back and forth because their engine only runs for about 15 minutes at a time before shutting itself down. So they have to sail in and out of port. That is salty!!

Then there's Phil aboard S/V Blues Traveler, a 50 year old 34 foot ketch. He sailed down from St Lucia where he her. His boat has been completely refurbished during the last year and there is not a single blemish anywhere. Phil sailed down for the Classic Regatta and entered his boat. Technically his boat was old enough to enter. But the Regatta was only open for wooden hulled boats. So they allowed Phil race along with them and he won the best dressed award for wearing a nice French beret. If he won this for just wearing a beret then you can only imagine how all the other crusty sailors were dressed.

Phil has been in the Caribbean for over 20 years on several different boats. When not sailing his boat around he is a skipper on mega yachts traveling all over the world.

Then there's Jack aboard his 40 foot 1970's ketch. He has been sailing all over the world for the last 30 years. Jack is just as salty as his boat and loves his rum. Turns out he is great friends with Edward Hamilton who wrote the book 'Rums of the Caribbean' that I have been using as a guide for the 'Rum Report' on our passage thru these islands. Ed Hamilton is the self proclaimed 'Minister of Rum' and Jack is the self appointed 'Ambassador of Rum'. Jack had a good story about his trying to get his sailing dinghy back to his boat after a night together with the Minister of Rum.

Jack leaves on Monday for Trinidad.

Then there's Matt, Sue, and dog Cappy on S/V Luludo, a 47 foot early 1900's British built ketch they purchased in Florida over 20 years ago. They have been sailing while hand steering around the Caribbean working odd jobs along the way since. This is another classic boat with very few luxury items, such as self steering or depth finder. They have lived here for the last year working. They were even here when Hurricane Ivan blew though here devastating most of the island. For Hurricane Ivan they hauled the boat out the night of the hurrican and rode out the storm in a hotel room. But they have ridden out 2 other hurricanes while at anchor.

They were going to sail in the Classic Regatta. But upon seeing the 25+ knot winds they decided to crew on other boats as they did not want to damage their floating home. A wise move as the boat I was racing on Sunday, a 50 foot classic ketch, sprung a few of her hull planks and we had water right up the flywheel on the engine. The bilge pump was running full bore  when we crossed the finish line. Luckily the owner of the boat works at the boat yard and had his boat hauled out of the water as soon as we got back into the harbor.

So that is it for the Salty Sailor Wrap-up. With everyone heading off in different directions Sandpiper is moving 2 miles to the west tomorrow to Prickly Bay where we are planning on having the Piper hauled out to make her bottom pretty again.

More later from the nutmeg island,
Tom and Amy

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