Joe and the Volcano

Thursday morning and we are up bright and early – and realise that many of the boats have left the anchorage at first light. So we picked up the anchor – again – to move further in towards the beach into shallower water. Also gets us out of the way if loads of boats turn up later in the day….

After a hearty breakfast we head into the dock to meet our fellow cruisers and Joe, our tour guide. Joe is very friendly and wants to tell us his story…..and, unlike other guides on the island, he has a wealth of materials to show us on his iPad to make the whole thing come alive.


Driving away from Little Bay – on relatively new hairpin roads – we enjoy views of the bay and Morphie. On the way we wondered why the traffic had stopped – and it was to let a huge iguana cross the road. Very funny!

Morphie relieved they've all gone home!

Little Bay anchorage New roads Hairpin bends Large Iguana

The first stop is the new Cultural Centre which opened in 2007. This was thanks to the efforts of Sir George Martin (former EMI record producer). Sir George Martin owns the prestigious AIR Studios on Montserrat (which were wrecked by Hurricane Hugo and never reopened and are now within the volcano exclusion zone) and produced many hits here with stars such as Dire Straights, Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, The Police, Elton John, The Rolling Stones, Sting, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins to name but a few. He still owns property here and visits the island annually.

Cultural Centre Montserrat Cultural Centre

After initial volcanic activity in 1995 and the tragedy in June 1997 when the pyroclastic flows killed 29 people, Sir George decided to give something back to Montserrat. So he organised a major fund raising event Music for Montserrat in September 1997 at the Royal Albert Hall featuring many of the AIR Studios stars performing free of charge. The funds raised built this new Cultural Centre which has a ‘helping hands’ wall…. featuring handprints of some of the stars, along with a few golden discs from local heroes such as Arrow – of Feeling Hot Hot Hot fame…..

Arrow Sting hands

Moving on we realised that most of the new buildings we had seen were Government related – new jail, new police station, fire station etc – to replace the loss of these facilities in Plymouth, which is buried in a vast field of gray volcanic debris. Almost half of the island is now uninhabitable with up to two thirds behind gates and an exclusion zone. As part of the tour we were going to go into the exclusion zone so we stopped at the police station to get permission and to give over our personal details – just in case?!?

New Government buildings

On the way to the exclusion zone we stopped at the Runaway Ghaut where natural spring water flows constantly – so we both tried it before moving on.  Apparently Montserrat has more spring water than it needs and that the annual small fee to each householder for their water – around US$10 – is purely to pay for the pumping facilities to move it around…..

Runaway Ghaut

Fresh spring water

Richard taking the waters

Driving through the gates into the exclusion zone we enter an eerie place…. The ash has built up over time and is very fertile – so the houses are being reclaimed by the jungle. Particularly in Joe’s home village of Cork Hill…. where roads no longer exist and you can spot remains of houses hidden in the undergrowth. There are signs that this was a thriving community once – with street lamps appearing in the middle of nowhere and some remnants of electricity and telephone poles… But you have to look hard to see the houses and work out where the roads might have been.

Jungle reclaiming the abandoned homes

Jungle reclaiming the abandoned homes 2This was a village road!Joe’s family were given notice to pack a bag for the weekend as the mountain was showing further signs of activity and they were at risk. So they all evacuated to schools and other government buildings into what was considered safe areas. That weekend in 1997 lasted for two and a half years when they lived in a school classroom – before Joe was able to rebuild a new home for his family, in another part of the island. He was allowed back to collect more belongings with a police escort but that was it. No insurance payment – Act of God – and their homes and land are uninhabitable and worthless at this moment of time. So very sad to realise that whole communities were broken up – many of them relocating to the UK and never to return. Some people did not even go back to their damaged homes to salvage anything – we saw signs of clothes and other belongings strewn around within the broken buildings. Joe is an amazingly upbeat character considering what his family have gone through, and are still living through.

Jungle reclaiming the abandoned homes 3

Jungle reclaiming abandoned houses 4Jungle reclaiming abandoned houses 5The Soufriere Hills volcano remains active – with its last major event in February 2010 when ash was reported at up to 50,000 feet with the pyroclastic flow extending the coastline at the old Bramble Airport by several hundred metres. But the upside to that is there is now a new major export activity in gravel and sand…. and they are trying to harness the geo-thermal properties to produce electricity. There are also hot thermal spring waters too. And all this activity happens within the exclusion zone so they have installed a state-of-the-art siren system which is solar powered. However, having seen some of the video footage when one flow made it from the top of one of the domes to the sea in less than 30 seconds….not sure this actually would be of much use!

Still steaming

Industry created as result of volcanic activity

Geo thermal exploration

Thermal springs tooMoving on we parked in what looked like an old quarry…. with rocks and ash strewn everywhere. Then Joe brings out his photos – look at this he said. This was a hill, with a tall bridge and a river running under. See that house there – that was on top of the hill…. And with the excavations going on in this area we could see just how many layers of ash that have built up over the years. Without those photos this would just be another flat rubble-strewn area – but this made it very real. Apparently there is a golf course and the 19th hole under here too….

Used to be a river

House used to sit high on a hil

Layers upon layers

Moving on and we go to a luxury hotel which had a prime spot overlooking the old capital Plymouth. Going inside the structure there is ash everywhere and the place is deserted and sad. And I’m standing in the swimming pool at the deep end which was 8 ½ feet deep!!!! Joe was slightly melancholy at this point when faced with the mountain which had changed his life…..

Hotel dining room

Walking on water - 9ft at the deep end

Joe and the Volcano

Looking across to Plymouth and the scale of the devastation becomes clear…. just wrecks left. The first photo shows a snapshot of Plymouth and the volcano behind it before any activity. The second and third shows Plymouth as it stands today, taken from the hotel.

Plymouth before the volcano

This used to be Plymouth

Devastation 1Then here is Plymouth after the first eruptions……

Plymouth 1

And the same place after subsequent eruptions…. huge difference in the levels.

Plymouth 2

Here are a few more shots…and each time there is any activity or even rain bringing down more ash from the volcano, the area just gets covered again. This area is unlikely to be habitable ever again…..

Plymouth 3

Church covered in ash

Church roof almost goneTour almost over and we drive through the countryside looking at some of the newer villages that have been created out of what was jungle. This beautiful green island has a lot going for it and I hope that the result of their spending on new infrastructure projects brings in more tourist dollars for them. They deserve it!

Stunningly beautiful and green

Back to Little Bay we go to the local bar for a couple of beers.   On the way back to Morphie we have a little chat with the pelican dinghy captain and both the stork and the egret waiting for the fishermen, who still use traditional hand-crafted wooden boats.

Pelican dinghy captain

Waiting for the fishermen


Local handbuilt boats

Then head back on board for a quiet night and to reflect on today. I’m glad we came – we have been both educated and humbled by these people. Feel very fortunate right now.

Goodnight Montserrat

Another blog to bring us up to date will follow soon… Bye for now



Feeling hot hot hot in Montserrat

Wednesday morning we are up before it really is morning!   Prepared sandwiches for our passage and picked up anchor at 5.30 am…. watching the sun come up over the hills of Guadeloupe as we headed out towards Montserrat.

Leaving Guadeloupe as the sun comes up

Sun coming up 2

We feel very lucky to be able to visit Montserrat on this occasion – you have to have the right sea / weather conditions as the anchorage can be untenable otherwise combined with little volcanic activity in the area. The conditions are right so we are finally on our way…. This is the first time we will have set foot on the island but we actually flew over Montserrat – on a helicopter trip – shortly after the eruptions and while the volcano was still spitting out ash and rock high into the sky. So this has always been a place we have wanted to visit properly.

Of course, the completely flat weather conditions mean also that we have little or no wind….. We started out sailing – then motor sailing – then just plain old motoring as the wind dropped to nothing!   The passage was not the most comfortable one either as the sea kept on rolling us from side to side….. Oh well never mind – at least the sun is out and the skies are blue! Richard is fishing – again….. He has been dragging this lure around behind us for hundreds of miles but still no luck. I can’t even be bothered to watch for a bite now!

Coming towards Montserrat and the island reaches into the clouds…. and is obviously still generating a cloud of its own. The first signs of the ash flow which devastated Plymouth, the capital, and miles around are easy to see…. as is the steam still coming from the top of the mountain. Clearly it’s not finished blowing its top just yet… years on from the initial eruptions in 1995 and the major devastating eruptions in 1997.

First view of Montserrat

Scenes of devastation

Still smoking

Multiple ash flows to the sea

Ash flow

Ash flow 2Although we remained outside of the exclusion zone we headed in as close as we were allowed and spot a barge tied to an old dock and clouds of ash moving around. All very odd – it turns out it is trucks filling up the barge with sand and gravel, now the island’s major export.

Further along the coast and we spot some more steam….. huge billows of clouds high into the air…. Wasn’t expecting that there would be volcanic activity away from the mountain peaks so a bit surprised by this….. it turns out it is actually a pipe with scientists and engineers trying to tap into the geo-thermal power of this very active volcano….

Low-lying activity

Enjoying the sights and marvelling at the power of nature and – we have a bite!!!!!! OMG – Richard is rushing for the line while I slow the boat and get the gaff, the gloves and the rum. Rum???? Yes, really….. Apparently you can kill fish very quickly and easily with alcohol down their gills rather than bashing them over the head – and we have some particularly awful rum we purchased in Grenada that we have been saving for this moment……

The fish is fighting…. so Richard is getting excited…… Oh no… it is a barracuda!  A decent sized one but not something we want to eat so after he has his photo opportunity we let him live to fight another day and release him back into the sea. But at least Richard has broken his duck. Next time we are looking for a tuna or a mahi mahi to fill up the freezer LOL !!!!

First fish!

Excitement over and we are now pulling into Little Bay our intended anchorage. We make our required VHF call to the Port Authority requesting permission to anchor… He tells us ‘north of the large catamaran’.  So we do as we are told and get ourselves cleaned up. Dropped dink off his davits and we head into the pier to do the formalities…. should be easy as we have done this on-line with the Sail Clear system. Arriving at the pier and we are told by the Port Authority that we need to move Morphie – we are, allegedly, impeding the ferry’s channel. Well – not going to argue with him – but seriously….???   We have anchored where we were told to….and, in our humble opinion, we are not in the way. Not a great welcome to be honest. But we agree – of course! – that we will move – but can we clear in to the country first please? That was agreed so we secure dink to the really dirty pier and head into customs. We loved the welcoming stork though!!!

Welcoming committee

Oh yes…and guess what…. the Sail Clear system has crashed. So we are given the forms – in triplicate with carbon – to complete manually. Oh well…. never mind!  Forms filled in and the customs girl – who, to be fair was very helpful and charming – said she couldn’t clear us in and out at the same time because we wanted to stay until Saturday, which was beyond their 72 hour limit. Fine – we’ll come back to clear out then….which we’ll do late on Friday.

In the meantime another cruising couple, Phil and Karen, have asked us if we want to go on a tour tomorrow to share the costs – we say yes…but who is it with? They say Joe Phillip – who we have heard about and comes highly recommended – so agree to go for it. So our island tour is fixed for 10.00 am on Thursday. Bidding farewells we rush back to Morphie to pick up anchor…..

Picked up anchor and loads of other boats turn up simultaneously…. it’s all a bit of a bun fight as the anchorage isn’t particularly large but we all fit in eventually. And at least two boats are closer to the channel than we were originally but they don’t get asked to move – so figure that one out?!?

Busy anchorage

Securely anchored for the second time and we head back into Little Bay to have a wander around. About to leave the Port Authority gates and we get asked – have you filled in this form? What form????? This one???? Er – no – were we supposed to??? Yes apparently. So I take a seat and fill this one in too – luckily we hadn’t unpacked the rucksack so I still had all the boat papers that we needed with us, otherwise it would have been another trip back to Morphie! Filled it in – and then she asked us for the receipt for our clearance. What receipt we asked? For the money you paid she says. Er no….haven’t paid yet….got to pay on departure apparently…. That’s no good she says and rushes off to talk to the customs people. After a frustrating wait she returns and lets us go…..

Phew…..finally we are legal…..and we can go out of the complex. There really isn’t much here – although they are building heavily to attract people into the island with major construction going on along the waterfront. But we found a local bar called Mooses and had a few cold Caribs to smooth out the irritations…. Also got a very slow internet connection but at least we could tell people we were safe and sound.

Long Bay beach

New buildings being constructed along waterfront

We chatted to a few ex-pats and locals – including some Montserratians who had moved to the UK when they had lost everything in the original volcanic eruption. This island remains a British territory – rather than an ex-British island as so many of them are around here. And we got talking to a lady – who lives in Nottingham – who had come home for the St George’s school reunion. These people used to live in a village called St George’s in an area called Harris, which remains within the exclusion zone so have all relocated either on the island or to the UK. They were all dressed up in their matching shirts and were in good humour – so had a bit of a giggle and they kindly allowed me to take their photos….

Reunion3 Reunion2 Reunion 1

Few more beers later and we head back to Morphie – via the immigration hut to get our passports stamped. This was a voluntary option… Again I’m asked to fill out forms and I wondered why we have volunteered for this????    Anyway….half way through….another immigration officer calls me back and says, tear up the forms, you don’t need them, I’ll just stamp your passport. This is mad!!!!

Montserrat use the Irish Shamrock here for their immigration stamp and call themselves the other Emerald Isle – which links back to the days of Irish settlers who arrived in the 1600s. Many of these Irish settlers were small farmers but as the economy changed with sugar becoming the main crop and the introduction of slaves a lot of them returned to Ireland. But their legacy and names remain…..

Emerald Isle

Back on board we enjoyed our first Montserrat sunset and had an early night…. We have a busy day ahead tomorrow (Thursday) with the island tour planned and are really looking forward to it.

Montserrat sunset

I realise I’m a bit behind with the blog – because of poor internet speeds on Montserrat – so will update again soon.   Watch out for the next instalment called Joe and the Volcano!

Bye for now


Last days in France

Saturday morning, to our surprise, we found that the shops were open.   So we did a bit of provisioning – we particularly wanted to get some supplies of pate and cheese before we left the French islands – and spent most of the morning in the internet cafe doing the laundry. They will do it for you – at a price – but we decided to catch up on a few things while we were waiting for it so did it ourselves.    All done and back to Morphie…. But it was mid afternoon by this time….

Whilst ashore I had felt quite land sick – and the rolly conditions in the anchorage didn’t help when we got back either. It was blowing like stink too.  So we decided to stay on board and have a lazy afternoon. I had a couple of hours sleep and Richard sunbathed on the deck. Later on I felt better and we had a light supper…. whilst the catamaran in front of us continued to play music very loudly. In the end we retreated down below and shut the hatches….it was horrendous….and they partied all through the night again…. Grrrrrrrr……

Party boats!

So Sunday morning we were feeling tired and grumpy!   But the sun was up and it looked like a nice day.  So we did a few boat jobs in the morning and headed into the town beach for another bobbing afternoon.

Panorama of town beach

Interestingly a pagoda type structure had been erected on the beach – so we thought something might be going down later… but nothing did, people were just using it to get shade under!   All a bit strange…. But not as strange as the guy with the largest e-cigarette we have ever seen!

Not sure who put this hereNow that's a big e-cig!We enjoyed our bobbing and people watching.   And the sky was starting to look ominous again….. particularly the clouds building over Guadeloupe in the distance.   Looks like more weather coming.

More rain coming

Dink meeting some big friends

Richard bobbing

Rain over Guadeloupe

Back on board and we spent some time watching the frigate birds and the pelicans fighting for scraps as the fishermen cleaned their catch. Later on there was a moody sunset… Definitely looks like more weather on its way.

Any fish for meAny fish for me 2

Moody sunset

Monday morning and yes it is pouring. Just a usual UK Bank Holiday Monday then LOL!   We sit out the squalls – and the white-outs – as they come through and head into town for a leisurely lunch in a small restaurant overlooking the anchorage.

Here comes the rain againWhite out!

And the food was fantastic.

Veal and mushrooms

Goats cheese and lardon saladLime cake with dark chocolate sauce

The anchorage had started to clear out as people headed back home to get ready for work I guess…..and thankfully the party boats had gone too!    Hurrah…. Back on board and we had a quiet evening before retiring to bed early.

Tuesday morning and up really early – slipped our mooring ball at 7.00 am with coffee and rolls already made up for the run across the channel and up the coast of Guadeloupe to Deshaies, our next port of call.  Another cloudy and gloomy day but the rain stopped around 8 am…. Said a fond farewell to the Saintes as we headed out.

Leaving the Saintes behind

Had a great sail – with wind behind us and following seas – past the lighthouse and marvelled at how built-up and European looking Guadeloupe is. Which is common amongst the French Caribbean islands… Half way up the coast we had a 120 degree wind shift so, of course, the wind is now on our nose! So we ended up motoring the rest of the way, sadly….

Lighthouse at bottom of GuadeloupeBuilt-up Guadeloupe

Arrived into Deshaies and it is busy…. We end up having to anchor in 35 feet of water but couldn’t get in any closer. Oh well….. Only staying for one night anyway as we are going to make this a jumping off point to Montserrat.  We missed Montserrat on the way down the island chain last year as the weather conditions were not conducive…. but the forecast for the next few days is looking very favourable. Very excited!

Anchorage at Deshaies

So we went ashore – primarily to check out of customs for the following day. And, of course, the little shop that does this is closed.  Between 12.30 and 4 pm – for lunch! The town is completely closed right now….hard to believe this is just after 2pm on a Tuesday!  Oh well…. We head off to a local hostelry and had some lunch ourselves. What else could we do???  Lovely cod fritters this time. Actually this enforced stop was pretty handy because I picked up their wifi code and they allow us to use it – free of charge – in the anchorage… result!

Lunchtime!Pretty church

Found the local bakery – I am really going to miss the daily fresh baguettes! – the pretty church and the supermarket after lunch as well as completed our customs / immigration checkout.   Which in the French islands consists of typing stuff into a computer, printing it off, getting a stamp and paying a fee……   Quite a different approach from the ex-British islands who still do everything in triplicate using carbon papers!

We are now back on board and are planning an early night as we want to be up very early and off in the morning for the nine hour or so passage…   Hopefully this rolly, 360 degree movement, will abate when the sun goes down!

Bye for now



Exploring Terre d’Haut

Tuesday morning we did very little but did get around to cleaning Morphie’s hull in the afternoon….. which was surprisingly clean, considering how long we had spent in the marina over the last month. While we were in the water we had noticed that quite a few largish catamarans had come in – all full of young guys and girls, maximum age 18 we reckoned. They had no skippers on board with them and couldn’t even drive straight towards a mooring ball – the guy who collects the fees actually had to tow one of the boats to the ball to get them attached. Scary stuff…..

Party boat

As the afternoon went on they got louder, shouting at each other across the bay – unfortunately we had two of these boats behind us – and then, thankfully, they went ashore…. Hurrah peace restored.  And then, of course, they came back and carried on whooping and hollering…. Finally we gave up and went to bed but this was a rolly night so sleep was a bit elusive – and the party boats continued to party…. The last time we heard them was at 4.30 am…. We were definitely not amused and felt very grumpy and old!!!!

Sunset 1

Wednesday morning and we head in to hire an electric car to explore the island. We arrive just after the day-trip ferry has come in from Guadeloupe… and no cars available as they have to be reserved in advance. Well we did try to do that the other day but virtually got pushed out of the door as the guy was locking up for his two hour lunch while telling us to come back tomorrow!!! Oh well – best laid plans and all that.  So we reserved a two-seater car for Thursday instead.

Not wanting to go straight back to Morphie we decided to walk across the island to visit Grande Anse beach.  We admired first the doctor’s house – which is built into the cliff and shaped like a ship – donated to the island, providing a doctor remains living in it….    Very interesting structure….

The Doctor's house

Wandering up, down and around the island we enjoyed the beautiful flowers that adorn most hedges; met some local critters; marvelled at what passes for a main road here; admired the serene setting of the island’s cemetery; and finally ended up at Grande Anse.

Local critter 2 Local critter Lovely spot for the cemetary Main road out of town Beautiful tree Flowers everywhere 1 Flowers everywhere 2

Grande Anse is beautiful and wild – and very clearly not a swimming beach – as the undertow here is very dangerous.  We wandered around and had some fun in the sand… and came across the end of the runway to the little island airport.  Misjudge that one and you end up in the drink!

Grand Anse beachHaving fun in the sand

Grande Anse beach 2 Airport! Airport 2

Having got a bit hot and bothered we wandered back to the town beach and was looking for a place to sit and have a cold drink while people watching. Having walked about five miles we felt we deserved it!  So we tried half a dozen places – but either no-one around to serve or no drink without food.  We were a bit fed up at this point – especially as we wanted to spend some euros – so we headed back to Morphie, checking out the unusual lamps and signage at a couple of the restaurants along the way.

View out from town Unusual lamps Unusual signage

We packed a cooler with food and drink and returned.  We beached dink and had a really good time bobbing in the sea and enjoying the sun….. The water is spectacular and clear here…. During the afternoon we watched a few planes come in low over the town heading to that tiny airport and enjoyed watching the pelicans hunting for fish too.  And we could keep an eye on Morphie and her large neighbours too.   Life is good!


Town beachYellow buoys everywherePlanes fly low over townMorphie has some big friendsTown beach 2Pelican hunting

Artistic shot of the day!

Back on board and we were relieved that the party boats had left during the day… We had just showered off on the transom – but were still in our swimsuits – and suddenly we had a couple of dolphins visit the stern of Morphie. I jumped in quickly but they scarpered…. Never mind…was quite an exciting moment…. And so to bed.

Thursday morning up early and go to collect our solar-powered car. Oh yes and it is raining….hard!!!   Oh well…. we can’t do anything about that as we have reserved and pre-paid… just have to make the most of it. Finally we get our hands on the car – no driving licence required – and it is a weird looking thing. We couldn’t help but break out into a rendition of Postman Pat as we drove away – all we needed was that black and white cat LOL.

Postman Pat..... Postman Pat 2 Postman Pat 3

Richard was desperate to try out his racing driver skills and it was pretty scary when he was tearing around at the maximum speed of around 15 miles an hour… Don’t laugh – these roads are barely made for walking, let alone fast buggies!!!

Main roads Main road to the church

First stop was up to Fort Napoleon which has been well restored and there were stunning views from the ramparts… Shame about the rain and the grey skies though!!!

View to Marigot View to town anchorage Superyachts out there Guadeloupe

The museum was pretty interesting and had a great range of naval information but very little in the way of actual historical objects save from a few bits and pieces. But we particularly enjoyed some of the battle scene artwork and the beautifully crafted models of the ships involved in the numerous battles fought in these waters.

Fort museum Full steam ahead Model ships 1 Not sure what he was re-enacting! Model ships 2 Dramatic artwork Model ships 3

I spy with my little eye

Moving on and we drive down to Baie to Pompierre – which is a stunning beach… even in the rain…..

Baie de Pompierre 3 Baie de Pompierre Baie de Pompierre 2

Afterwards we explored the whole island – having to enter many of the coves on foot as the final approach to them was not navigable in our little buggy.  We had a nice time – even though it was still raining.   We particularly enjoyed watching the little goats keeping dry by the stadium and under anything they could find!

Sheltering from the rain Sheltering from the rain 2

We then decided to go to La Papilotte for lunch, which is in a stunning place called Baie du Marigot, and was the highlight of our visit here last year. Got there just in time to get one of the last tables and placed our order. We had fantastic food and wine…. this is a great place and very worthy of its rating. Having finished a leisurely meal we asked for the bill and went to the bar to pay it…. We were treated to a free rum shot – and Richard was given his in a very unusual shot glass!

Baie du Marigot Baie du Marigot 2 Amazing rock formations La PailotteThat was a great lunchGets busy at lunchtime Enjoying lunch

Unusual shot glass!

The sun was now starting to come out so we head back to Baie de Pompierre and enjoyed an afternoon of bobbing. Driving back through the town we marvel at the amount of derelict houses that are just left to rot and wonder about the stories behind them…..

Hurrah - sun and bobbing!

Selfie 2It looks like sun!

Derelict house 4

Derelict house 3 Derelict house 2 Derelict house 1

We hand back our car – which we had grown quite fond of during the day – and had a final glass of wine watching the day trippers line up for the ferry back to Guadeloupe. Back to Morphie and we enjoy sitting in the cockpit enjoying the final hours of the evening with some tunes…. No dinner tonight – still full up from lunch!

Time for the tourists to leave

Friday – and it’s Easter and to make us feel at home it is a rainy squally day…. Happy Easter to all our friends and family. Enjoy your long weekend…..

Happy Easter

No chocolate eggs on board but I did manage to get some Smarties and Galaxy the other day so we enjoyed them instead. We did very little apart from a little bit of handwashing and we made water. We didn’t got off the boat at all – and thoroughly enjoyed our lazy day, which was rounded off by the beautiful colour of the sky as the sun prepared to say farewell.

Time to say goodnight

This morning – Saturday – and we plan to head into town and hoping that the rain will go away….. Not sure what will be open or going on… but fingers crossed that the laundry will be open so I can get the heavy stuff done.   After that maybe lunch?  Maybe beach or chair bobbing?  We’ll just have to see how we feel…..

Bye for now



Arrived safely in Iles des Saintes

Friday morning and we were up bright and early…… Headed into Cafe Ole for our final breakfast; went into the marina office to pay our bill; and then into customs and immigration to check out for Saturday. All jobs done….and back to Morphie.

We didn’t have any help on the dock but I managed to reverse Morphie out into the channel without leaving Richard behind on the dock!  Success…. and now we headed to the fuel dock. As we are coming in the dock guys were busy with others…so we shouted at them that we would go around again to give them time to get ready to receive us.  So we are doing a 360 and suddenly a Danish yacht turned up and started to go inside of us. After a few minutes of yelling and pointing he realised what we were up to and gave us room… So now lining up nicely to the dock and suddenly a dinghy appears in front of our bow to tie to the dock, right where we were planning to be….. Richard used some working class language to let them know of his strength of feelings and they decided to move away rather than be run down.  Phew….so stressful all this!    Finally refuelled with both diesel and petrol….. and we head out into the bay.

In the bay we struggled initially to get our anchor set …. so moved to another spot. This time we found sand first time and the anchor set….and then the chain jammed into the windlass. So we couldn’t pick up or drop more… Was a bit worried about the strain on the windlass taking the whole weight of the boat so we managed to manhandle and snub the line while we had a look to see what had happened. Well it was jammed solid…. so we turned the power off to the windlass while we investigated. Finally after some brute strength combined with some pretty ingenious moves in a very small space, Richard had it working again and reassembled. My hero!    So we dropped more chain, backed down, picked some up to check it all worked properly and then finally, happy, we snubbed ready for the night. The time is now getting on and it’s about 2.00 pm…. and we were starting to wonder where Evensong had got to. Well about 3.30 pm we decided they weren’t coming – and I was a bit concerned about them – so tried to hail them on the VHF. They were too far away, as it turned out, so were unable to pick us up. Oh well… no bobbing for us today then as dink and the outboard remain on the rail ready for our passage to the Saintes. Never mind….  we decided to just sit on the transom of Morphie with our feet in the water, cold beer in hand (the first for a few days) and enjoyed the panoramic views of Rodney Bay while watching the sun go down. And so to bed – early.

Toes in the waterPanorama of Rodney BaySunset over Rodney Bay anchorage

Saturday morning we have had our breakfast and are getting ready to pick up our anchor when we hear Evensong hailing us on the radio. They were stuck in the Piton anchorage because the driver failed to pick Dan, Andy and Kristin up from their hike up one of the Pitons…. and by the time they got back it was too late to come on round. Phew…at least they were safe!  So we head out as they head in, around 10.15 – and we briefly sailed parallel to shout greetings and farewells…. Felt sad…..

Evensong 1Evensong 2

Getting the sails up we moved out fast and shot across the St Lucia to Martinique channel very quickly averaging 7.5 to 8 knots…. although we did experience a 60 degree wind shift when we got to Martinique near Fort de France so the wind that was on our back was now on our nose!  Typical…. but we were able to continue sailing our course. We enjoyed the mountainous views at the top of the island and watching other sailors enjoying the fantastic conditions. Blue seas combined with blue skies, 4-6 feet seas and 15 knots of breeze. And a huge moon came up early too….

Coast of MartiniqueBeautiful sailing conditionsBright moon

Getting close to the Martinique to Dominica channel and the sun is starting to set. And we have dolphins!  Not many, quite small ones, but very very close to our stern and gave us both a real boost….

Sunset at sea

My solo shift starts at 6pm for three hours so as we head into the channel I’m on my own, with Richard sleeping down below. Great…. the winds pick up to 25 knots sustained, the seas are bigger and more confused and I have a tanker bearing down on me, a cruise ship running alongside, a big motor boat that (thankfully) decides to go behind my stern…. But all hazards were avoided and we were still sailing hard….. Really enjoyed it…and, of course, Richard comes up for his shift and the wind has calmed down back to 18 knots. Typical!!!!

My first tanker of the trip

We arrive at Scotts Head – the southerly point of Dominica – by 11pm that night. Ooops… that was a bit earlier than planned, as we wanted to whale watch in day light along the middle to north coast of Dominica, looking out for that pod of sperm whales we know lives there…  So we decided to reduce sail and slow down…. and then, of course, the wind died to 5 knots. But we carried on – even though we were only going 1.5 knots ourselves – and enjoyed the sloooowwwww sail until the wind died completely once we had passed Roseau and we had to put the engine on.   Oh well…. Motor sailing along at around 3 knots we continued with our shift pattern of three hours on / three hours off until sunrise. And guess what?!?   We were entertained by the most beautiful pod of large dolphins under our bow who were playing, looking at us, jumping, and generally swimming along having fun… They stayed with us quite a while so we had some good photo opportunities. What an amazing start to a day. Enjoy the pictures!

Dolphins 1



Moving past Portsmouth we rounded the top of Dominica and the wind and waves picked up again…. a bit swelly but only 18-20 knots of breeze. Fantastic conditions. Had a wonderful sail and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We pulled into Terre de Haut, Iles des Saintes, at around 10.15 am. So a 24 hour sail in the end – covering 112 miles.

Sailing beautifully

We picked up a mooring ball easily, cleaned up, put up the quarantine flag and retired to our bed for a few hours. During this time we heard someone knocking on the hull but we just turned over!   Later on we went ashore – taking boat papers just in case the clearance place was open – and enjoyed a couple of cold beers before heading back to Morphie. Of course, clearance is not possible in a French island on a Sunday!

Morphie enjoying her new anchorage

Iles de Saintes sunset

Monday morning up early as we were awakened at 7.30 am by the guy who collects the mooring fees! This must have been who had been knocking on our hull the previous afternoon….. We headed into the clearance place and found ourselves in a long queue. Ahead of us was Arnd from Zanshin – who we had last met in the BVI around 2011 when we all went onboard Namaste for sundowners – which was then being chartered by Kristine and Doug. What a small world!   Unfortunately he was only checking in to move north so we were not able to spend any time with him….but great to catch up if only for a short while.

The rest of the morning we wandered around this sleepy place looking at a few shops, enjoying a typical French breakfast, buying a couple of things – particularly cheese, pate and bread! – and enjoyed watching the pelicans waiting for the fishermen, just outside the brand new fish market. This place is absolutely beautiful and we are pleased to be back….

Pelicans waiting for the fishermen Terre de Haut anchorage Views out to Guadeloupe Flowers abound Main Street New fish market

Monday afternoon – having cleaned all the salt off of Morphie from her latest passage – we had an afternoon bobbing session in our chairs and then enjoyed the moody sunset, early dinner and another early night. We were hoping to get up to watch the lunar eclipse at around 3 am but unfortunately it was very cloudy and poured with rain most of the night. Typical – no rain for ages either.

Chairs awaiting usage

Moody sunset

Tuesday (today) we are having a lazy day on board although we have a list of boat jobs to do too……  Tomorrow we are hoping to hire an electric buggy to tour the island – something we didn’t do last year. Looking forward to that.

Bye for now



Our final days in St Lucia

Sunday afternoon after Hellfire and Fiona had left we went back to Morphie and chilled. At around 5.30 pm Dan came over to let us know that Kristin and Andy had arrived safely from the US and wanted us to join them for sundowners.   We knew that Dan and Ruth had been eagerly awaiting their daughter’s arrival and were keen for us to meet…. so we went over, expecting to stay for a short while as they had had a long journey and were very tired…   But – as is often the way when we get together! – we had a few drinks and were persuaded to stay for pizzas too… We had a lovely evening together before retiring back to Morphie for “pontoonies” on our own…..

Monday and we are up a bit later than usual and first thing we do is strip beds and collect all the laundry together. Four large bags ready – we radioed Mr Sparkle – and put them on the rail to be collected by him during the day. We then gathered up our computers and headed into Café Ole for breakfast and, primarily, internet access.  We had had little time online while Hellfire and Fiona were on board and had a lot to catch up on…. including getting the blog of their trip published and sorting out American Airlines who had decided to amend our August flights home to a schedule that no longer worked!!!!

Cafe Ole

Anyway…. we did most of the stuff…. but the bandwidth was causing download / speed problems as more and more people came into this very popular coffee shop.   While we were there Ruth and Kirstin popped in and invited us to go bobbing in the small marina pool later on….   Yes, that sounds good to us, so we accepted the invitation before we moved upstairs to Bosuns and carried on with our internet stuff using their free wifi. It was now getting on for lunchtime so Richard treated me to a toasted sandwich and a soda.   Back on board – Mr Sparkle had already collected the laundry – we chilled for a short while before packing our little cooler and headed off to the pool.

Marina pool

We enjoyed bobbing in the pool with the Evensong gang before we all headed back to our respective boats to get cleaned up for dinner.   This evening Ruth had organised for us all to go out to dinner with Ed and Ann (Windswept Dreams) who were flying home the following day.   So we headed over early evening to the Brig Unicorn for dinner…  Had a little tour of the 1947 Netherland’s built vessel – which was originally designed to  carry sand before being converted to a pirate boat and then used in the Pirates of the Caribbean movie….   Had a final group photo – and yes, it was dedicated loud shirt day! – before settling down for dinner.

Brig Unicorn

Unicorn figurehead

Brig Unicorn rigging

Dinner at the Brig Unicorn

It was a special pasta night and great value – EC $20 for pasta, garlic bread and a glass of wine. That’s £5 a head!  Amazing…..and all served by the friendliest waiter ever called Junior.  Lovely evening had by all…

Our happy waiter

Tuesday and we really needed to get our act together.  All this lazing about when Morphie was looking pretty grubby inside and salty outside just will not do!  So up very early and we started – with Richard reorganising our stuff back into the stern cabin – and I started scrubbing and cleaning anything that was static!   Unfortunately the 12 volt vacuum cleaner broke at this point so back to the old fashioned method of dustpan and brush. Oh well…   Once inside was done Richard scrubbed the exterior while I did a bit of cooking – salmon fish cakes – for sundowners, as we’d invited the Evensong gang over so that Kristin and Andy could meet Morphie.

Realising that I was out of one ingredient I popped into the marina supermarket and was delighted to find full-sized cans of Carib beer in stock!     Yippppppeeeee…..  So I bought one slab there and then and sent Richard back for a couple more slabs later in the afternoon. That’s us sorted for a considerable amount of time!

Phew…. all done….. Morphie is looking gorgeous, the food is ready, and the gang arrived ready to tuck into some rum punch and my concoctions. They went down really well!

Morphie all clean again

Dan is on cooking duty tonight so invites us to join them. We say ‘no’ – this is your family time together we can’t impose on another night…. They, however, will not take no for an answer!   So we end up having Dan’s special chicken dish and some Thai green curry on board Evensong.  Lovely time had by all….and great food!  Thanks…. Oh yes and Dan stayed up almost to 9.45 when we left – pretty late for him LOL.

On board Evensong

Us enjoying the company

Wednesday and we are up and about going through all the cupboards to find out what provisions we had left in our stores as today is shopping day.   Quite a list to get…..   We really needed a lot of meat / fish for the freezer – and the snack cupboard was completely bare. Was pretty pleased with our provisioning for Hellfire and Fiona’s trip – nearly everything had gone apart from some cans and a few bottles of wine….

Dink is still up on his davits and the outboard is on the rail… which is perfect for when we leave the marina and continue our travels north… so we left it like that and took a taxi round to the shops.  Managed to get most things – including a new 12v vacuum cleaner from the hardware store – and we were back on board around lunchtime.   By this time Evensong had left the marina for the Pitons where they planned to spend a couple of nights.

In the afternoon we had a guy revisit us from the electronics shop. We had previously had a problem with the chart plotters refusing to talk to the VHF radio which is very important for emergency use of the DSC alarms (as it identifies our latitude and longitude at the moment of the button being pressed). This had previously been identified as an installation issue. We were happy it had been resolved but during our recent trip down island we noticed that the AIS was not working properly….  and once we were back in the marina we identified that it was a high speed mode versus NMEA in/out mode on the two ports being used.   AIS worked in high speed mode but VHF didn’t….and vice versa. They both wouldn’t work at the same time so clearly there was a conflict somewhere between the AIS, the VHF and the plotters. So we asked the guy to come back and, yes, it was what we thought and, luckily, he thought he knew how to resolve it.  If you saw the huge amount of wiring that is involved with the two GPS receivers, the two plotters, the radar, the VHF etc you will understand why we didn’t fiddle ourselves!  Thankfully all was finally resolved after some scratching off heads and delving into installation manuals…. Phew relieved about that!

We stayed onboard Wednesday night and had an early night after a curry dinner – which was actually defrosted warmed up leftovers!   But still tasted pretty good…

Thursday and I took the opportunity of having another massage here in the marina. Wandering back feeling a bit tender after the pummelling and I noticed that all the customs / immigration guys were out on the veranda, so wondered whether the air conditioning had broken down???   Amazing how much the marina has cleared out in the past couple of weeks – really quite empty now….    And our favourite marina bar remained firmly closed….

Anyone inside working?Marina thinning out

Favourite bar closed

While I was out Richard had been doing routine engine maintenance amongst other things. He had also collected the wine I had ordered from the marina wine merchant…. So we are now fully restocked…. repacked and ready to go. Water tanks are full again too…. We had another lazy afternoon and evening – not even getting off the boat. Lazy but lovely!    We have enjoyed our time here in the marina again but it really is time to get back out on the hook…..

Friday we are planning to check out of the marina, check out of customs and immigration (giving us 24 hours to leave the country), fill up with duty-free diesel and petrol and head out into the bay opposite Mum’s hotel.   Evensong are planning to join us for an afternoon beach bobbing session which will be our last get together in the islands this season.   On Saturday we are leaving St Lucia for the final time, proposing to head north to Iles des Saintes – beautiful French islands off the bottom of Guadeloupe.  We plan – weather permitting – to sail straight past Martinique and Dominica, having already explored them this season. This passage should take us around 21 hours…

So bye for now and will be in touch from France!



All at sea with Richard and Fiona – part two

Wednesday and we were up and about early in preparation for the run to Mustique, saying a sad farewell to the beautiful Tobago Cays..

Leaving the Tobago Cays

We passed behind Canouan into the Atlantic to get a good sailing angle and the weather was very grey with rougher seas than forecast.  As usual!   Anyway, as we needed to make water, we sailed with the engine ticking over.   Suddenly we had a 20 degree shift in the wind direction so we headed back to the Caribbean side and we had a great sail with Hellfire at the helm into Mustique.

Hellfire helming to Mustique

We picked up an obligatory mooring ball and Richard dropped trash off ashore.  Richard, Hellfire and Fiona then took a wander around the small main street while I took the opportunity of an empty boat to do a quick boat wash and brush up…..

Morphie in MustiqueMustique 1

In Mustique

Mustique 2

After lunch on board we all had a lazy afternoon enjoying the beautiful anchorage and then headed into the infamous Basil’s Bar for sundowners. The local band were setting up for the evening party – the only problem was there were hardly anyone around, although we did spot Basil himself for a short while. After having a couple of expensive beers – which didn’t seem tooooo bad at 12.50 ECD a bottle (about £3) – until we realised that they added 10% service and 15% VAT to the basic price. Oh well, we did get to see the sun go down and had free internet service thrown in!!!  Our server was pretty eager to please too….. We went back on board for a (huge!) steak dinner and I crashed pretty early although I did take some time out to star gaze from the coach roof.

Mustique 3 Mustique 4 Mustique 5 Mustique 6

Sundowners at BasilsMustique 7

Thursday we enjoyed a smoked salmon and scrambled egg breakfast and a leisurely start to the day.  Around 11 – accompanied by a packed picnic lunch – we met with Michael our taxi driver – who was huge and used to pay professional basketball.  He apologetically told us that Mustique was currently “shut down” so although we could visit Macaroni Beach he was not allowed to leave us there. Damn!!!   This was where we had planned to spend the afternoon….. We were quite fed up – particularly as the beach wasn’t that busy and they really wouldn’t have noticed us….. Oh well, this is a private island after all and the Mustique Company dictate the rules.  So we did the short island tour – with Richard and Hellfire having fun with the sexy tortoise statue…. During the tour we found out that Mick Jagger was on island, so perhaps the “shut down” was related to him getting some privacy while he grieves??   We got over our disappointment quickly when we ended up back on a small beach we were allowed to stay on, and there was no-one around….  so we took ownership of a picnic table and ate our lunch, followed by a very shallow bob at the water’s edge, being entertained by seagulls whilst admiring superyachts in the anchorage….. Great time had by all…..

Mustique 19 Mustique 20 Mustique 8 Mustique 9 Mustique 10 Mustique 11 Mustique 12 Mustique 13 Mustique 14 Mustique 15 Mustique 16 Mustique 17 Mustique 18

We were back on board for more drinks and dinner – with Richard being in party mood and feeling a bit rebellious – so we had loads of tunes, rum drinking and singing along before headed off to bed…..

Friday we were up pretty early and were underway just after 9. Got a great sailing angle and sailed pretty much all the way from Mustique to Bequia. Was lovely!  We all went ashore; had a local roti lunch; checked out of St Vincent and the Grenadines and then headed to the beach for another bobbing session and a final farewell to Lucie, Patrick and Linda with a fleeting visit from Chris. Had a great time and enjoyed a very early night after another moody sunset.

Bequia bobbing beach dog Bequia bobbing beach with Patrick and Lucie Bequia bobbing beach

Stormy Bequia sunset

Saturday morning and we were up very early before picking up our anchor around 5.50 am. Heading out into the channel to St Vincent and we enjoyed seeing the sun rise….

Sunrise over Bequia

The weather forecast lied again – why does this surprise me every time? – and we had 18-23 knots of breeze at around a 45 degree angle, with short sharp choppy seas in the channel…. Pushed on and hit glassy seas with lower winds as we ran alongside St Vincent. Then we spotted a pirogue heading out – very fast – to sea crossing our bow.  We then spotted that he had a harpoon gun on the bow. Oh no, this is a traditional whaling boat. We knew that Bequia had taken a whale earlier in the week but hoped that this hunt ended up with the whale winning!

On passage

The channel between St Vincent and St Lucia was also rough and challenging….. with Hellfire and Fiona doing really well…. We had a brief dolphin display too but not close enough for photos unfortunately….. Then we came alongside St Lucia and the wind angle changed – again – and then again… Thankfully we managed to get into Rodney Bay Marina before dark having made really good time.

Rodney Bay marina

Our last dinner together was ashore at Bosuns and was really nice.   Hellfire and Fiona treated us too which was unexpected and very much appreciated before heading back to sleep off a very long and tiring day. Without the rocking for the first time in a while!

Last dinner

Sunday morning and it is time for them to pack so we all did our own thing and then settled down to a huge brunch around 11.30 am…. Finally, at 2.45 pm we headed into the marina with their bags…. and waited for the taxi to take them to the airport. Hugs all round… can’t believe their holiday is over…. and then suddenly they were gone….

We sailed 217 miles with Fiona and Hellfire on board – which was challenging for them at times. Fiona didn’t really enjoy the sailing part of this trip but, kudos to her, she did tough it out… Hellfire was a complete natural and was great on the helm!    We had a lovely time and I hope that I’ve done their trip justice in the blog!

Bye for now



All at sea with Richard and Fiona – part one

Late Tuesday afternoon we headed to the Boardwalk in the marina to await Richard and Fiona’s arrival. They arrived, tired but happy after a long trip from the UK at around 6.30 pm, and we celebrated by having a couple of buckets of beers then went on board Morphie for a quick unpacking session and some snacks before retiring early.

On arrival

Wednesday morning we were up early; had breakfast ashore; Richard and Fiona met Morphie properly;  we cleared out of customs and got our Pitons permit; paid our marina bill; and slipped quietly out into the bay around 10.30 for the trip downwind to the Pitons on the bottom coast of St Lucia. We enjoyed a leisurely downwind sail – flat seas with light winds – which was actually a perfect introduction to sailing for Richard and Fiona. Considering he was a complete novice, Richard proved to be a natural on the helm.

Getting aquainted with MorphieFirst go at helming

Nearing the Pitons we made radio contact with both Illusions and Evensong before saying our farewells, picked up a mooring ball – assisted by the usual boat boys – and enjoyed the amazing views of this spectacular and unique anchorage, including looking up at Ladera where we had lunched with Carolyn and Ron the week before.. To celebrate our arrival, we all had a swim and snorkel before having enjoying the final St Lucia sunset, dinner on board followed by an early night, as we were going to be leaving before sunrise in the morning for the long sail down to Bequia.

View from the bow

View from the sternView from Piton anchorage to Ladera Panorama of the Piton anchorage

Morphie enjoying the Pitons anchorage Sunset at the Pitons

Thursday we dropped our mooring and left just before six am into slight winds and mirror flat seas, enjoying our last look at the Pitons.

Leaving the Pitons behind

But the wind picked up and so did the seas as we got into the channel between St Lucia and St Vincent.  Fiona felt pretty ill….  although wasn’t actually sick….  but was definitely a bit green round the gills… We arrived into Bequia after a pretty good sail – for us! – around 1.15pm. Having ensured we were anchored securely we left our friends on board and went into clear customs. While we were out we also managed to get some slabs of full-size beers, hurrah!!!   When we got back to Morphie, Fiona, thankfully, had recovered and wanted to get off the boat for a while although Richard was now suffering. We think he was dehydrated rather than sea sick… so we left him on board for some peace and quiet and took Fiona ashore for her first bobbing session. Had a really nice time….. and were back on board for our pork tenderloin dinner after enjoying a beautiful Bequia sunset.

Bobbing in Bequia

Bequia sunset

While we were relaxing in the cockpit – Richard was still asleep recovering from the long trip – there was a bush fire on land to entertain us, which was pretty dramatic as it was being spread by the wind.  Eventually we retired to bed after a pretty long and tiring day…..

Bush fire!

Friday morning and the two Richards went diving while Fiona and I went shopping. They were delighted to see a number of sea horses and frog fish – fantastic, although sadly no photographs.   In the meantime, we wandered around town enjoying the sights. Fiona bought a new dolphin necklace and I managed to buy some boules for Richard.

Bequia boardwalk Bequia Catholic church New Dolphin necklace

Customs House BequiaAdmiralty Bay, Bequia

In the afternoon having cleaned all the dive gear, we went bobbing on the beach and met Patrick and Lucie (from Illusions) and Linda (from Troubadour). The north swells were kicking in and we ended up surfing some of the time!  We retired to Morphie for sundowners and a fish supper. During the night, the swells continued to come through, so it was pretty rolly…. and wasn’t particular restful for any of us.

Bobbing gangBobbing in Bequia (2)

Saturday morning we decided to move on rather than stay and suffer from the continued rolly conditions. So we left bound for Chatham Bay, Union Island, enjoying the sun coming up over Bequia as we departed.

Sunrise over Bequia

We had a really good sail although the conditions were still a bit rough with the north swells running. But thankfully both Richard and Fiona were feeling much better and actually coped really well with the conditions.  During the passage whenever I spoke to Richard both of them turned around and answered me…. so we decided to nickname our guest Richard for ease of communication LOL.  After chatting through options we decided that Hellfire should be his handle!!!   And so he was officially named. Hellfire helmed for part of the way and did a pretty good job.  During the crossing I felt pretty tired from the previous night’s lack of sleep so lay down in the cockpit – on the high side as it was more comfortable for our friends to sit on the low side – and Richard managed to hit a huge wave and I landed very hard on the floor…. Ouch!!!   So I went down to the saloon and settled down on the low-side settee…. and guess what? Richard managed to catch the next huge rogue wave, and I hit the deck again! Double ouch…. I gave up trying to rest at this point!!!!!

UnderwayUnderway 2 Richard at the helmHaving arrived and anchored in Chatham Bay, Tim (from Bollheads) came by… and warned us that the swells had been pretty bad here too and were forecast to continue through the night….  He advised us that we would be more comfortable in a different spot so we took his expert local advice and re-anchored as suggested.   Having cleaned up after the passage, we enjoyed a swim off the back and then took dink ashore. The surf was now running up the beach again and waves were lapping at all the bars on the beach…. but we managed to get ashore without incident.

Surf up in Chatham Bay Surf up in Chatham Bay2

In exchange for Passion Fruit Rum – which we had bought for Tim from Dominica as a gift – we got some of his fantastic fish fritters again… Yummmmmmm….. After a few beers and a Chatham Bay sunset we retired to Morphie for dinner and so to bed. Tim’s advice was spot on – and, thankfully, we had a pretty calm night.

Chatham Bay sunset

Sunday we visited Aqua resort where we bobbed in the salt water infinity pool – which was clean and sparkling for the first time ever!! – and we also enjoyed internet access.  Richard spent quite some time watching hummingbirds buzzing around and was very patient trying to get their pictures!

View from Aqua Beach at Aqua Hummingbird at Aqua2 Pool's open

Hummingbird at Aqua

After a few hours we headed back to Morphie, had a couple of hours of lazing around and then went ashore again to visit with Mr Pleasure. We enjoyed our own personal concert over a few beers, watching local critters, and then wandered down the beach to Bollheads for dinner. There were quite a few people in, enjoying Tim’s wonderful food, and the alcohol-fuelled and chemically-aided Austrians were quite amusing! There was a lot of dancing, laughter and a good time was had by all…..

Mr Pleasure giving us a personal concert Mr Pleasure's baby goatsEnjoying Mr Pleasures Little critter

Artistic shot!

Mr Pleasure giving us a personal concert.2jpgTim the Chef

Chatham Bay sunset 2

On Monday the wind wasn’t particularly helpful for the short run north to the Tobago Cays, so we ended up motor sailing.  We spotted Cutter Loose coming in as we were leaving Union Island so had a quick radio exchange with them before turning into the transit past Mayreau Island.   Suddenly we had a boat coming fast out of Saltwhistle Bay…. So we gave him plenty of room to get ahead and pushed on round the point towards to the Cays…. This guy then turns behind us and starts heading in too…strange, but perhaps he was nervous about the route through the reefs?  Oh well…. Then a very large charter catamaran – with full sails out but was definitely motor sailing because of his angle to the wind!!! – turns towards us and ends up on a collision course.  I’m on the helm and slow down to give way and then follow him into the narrow channel between the islands. Suddenly he stops dead…. Errrrr… Excuse me????   Why have you stopped in front of me????    Yep he’s going to anchor in the small channel!!!!  So I had to duck inside of him then meander through the other anchored boats before I finally reached the anchorage alongside the turtle sanctuary near Baradel Island.  We dropped the hook in the most beautiful coloured water it is possible to imagine and Hellfire snorkelled our anchor to check the set for us. Pictures really cannot do this amazing place justice….

 Underway (2)

Approaching the cut at the Tobago Cays Beautiful water Tobago Cays anchorageAnchor check

We went ashore in dink, parked him on the small sand spit, and went snorkelling…. with turtles, visiting conch and huge huge starfish. A really special day….  Back on board we had a curry dinner – although I managed to lose the jar of mango chutney which, to this day, remains undiscovered!!!! – and enjoyed a fantastic sunset and star display.

Conch Huge starfish 2Turtle 1

Huge starfish

Turtle 2 Turtle 3 Turtle 4 Turtle5

Tobago Cays sunset

Tuesday morning Richard and Hellfire are off diving. Fiona and I stayed on board, did some domestic duties like changing beds, and then went shopping via boat boy resulting in some amazing fresh bread and a really nice t-shirt!  Romeo also came by and sold us fresh lobster – as arranged by Tim – and finally, chores done, we settled into chair bobbing. During all this we had enjoyed the company of a huge turtle who kept surfacing near us and the attentions of a very large southern stingray who was mopping up all the lobster bits that had been discarded over the side when they had been cleaned out for cooking…. This is such a special place…..

The dive boat returned – with Richard and Hellfire on board – and we listened to their tales of fantastic dives. Unfortunately we also learned that Hellfire had dropped his camera when they went out into the blue to be picked up…. and had left his dive mask on board too. So not a great day for him for sure…. but he made the best of it by enjoying some chair bobbing too…..   To finish the day on a more cheerful note we had fresh lobster on the grill accompanied by champagne… and then had a music fest on board with Richard’s party play list accompanied by some pretty out of tune singing….. Lovely end to an (almost) perfect day!

Fun in the water

Part two to follow very shortly.