CHRISTMAS & NEW YEAR IN THE CARRIBEAN
We hope everyone had a great Christmas and wish you all a happy new year.
This year we had our first Christmas with Emily in four years although we had to celebrate it on the 23rd the day before she flew back to Switzerland.
We anchored around the corner from Rodney Bay marina and had a lovely lunch, with all the trimmings and then followed with one or two rum punches. New Years Eve (or Old Years Night as they call it here), for the first time that we can remember, was spent on our own anchored in a group of small deserted islands protected from the sea by a horseshoe reef called Tobago Cays. It has beautiful beaches and clear blue water with lots of fish life, and the whole area is within a national park. We were able to snorkel several times a day seeing lots of turtles feeding on the grass sea bed and a huge variety of reef fish around the shallow coral reef.
The sailing here is amazing – the wind is constantly blowing from the east/ northeast from 15 to 25 knots which makes for fast reaching sailing, although it is always advisable to have a reef in the main as you tend to get the usual unpredictable wind increases around some islands and the occasional squall. We try and pre-empt the squalls by checking the radar which gives us enough time to batten down as you can get wind speeds up to 60 knots. The distance from each island is 20 to 30 miles so we can have a leisurely breakfast before starting off on a 3 to 4 hour sail getting to our destination by lunch time.
The conditions are ideal for catamarans; thus there are more cats than mono’s.From Tobago Cays we started heading north again to the lush tropical island of St Vincent which tends to be famous in the 80’s for its money laundering and drug trade. It seems only fitting that The Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed on the island in Wallilabou Bay. There are still many of the film props still in place.
After a brief stop in St Lucia to catch up with our mate Vision and to buy a few parts for the boat we have continued north back to Martinique to meet our Norwegian friends, Gunner and Torve from the Blue Water Rally. They are over here for a couple weeks holiday with some of their other boat friends. Martinique is under the French flag so were able to source a great supermarket with fabulous cheeses and wines at quite a reasonable price, which seems to be missing in the poorer ex British colonies that have limited choice and poor quality.