Dear Compass Readers,
Letters may be
edited for length, clarity and fair play.
WHY NOT WINDWARD?
Looking at the cover of the December issue of Compass with a photo of the uncrowded, sheltered anchorage of Windward, Carriacou, I see that the cruising yachtsman is not thinking.
Why do cruising yachtsmen, and especially charter parties with limited time, fight from the southern end of Grenada all the way to the over-rated, over-crowded Tobago Cays? To do this they have to go through the hassle of clearing Customs and Immigration out of Grenada and into St. Vincent & the Grenadines.
On the Windward side of Carriacou there are four miles of superb anchorage at Watering and Grand Bays (pages 133 to 135 Street’s Guide), protected by a barrier reef, where they can enjoy all the features of the Tobago Cays.
ROSEAU MOORING CAVEAT
My wife, Joanne, and I had a very disturbing event in Roseau, Dominica recently. This event, which could have resulted in the loss of our boat, is reported here as a cautionary tale.
On arrival we engaged the services of a certain local boat assistant whom we had read of in a popular guidebook; we knew him to be a long-time mooring operator in the area. Our Tartan 3700 was doubly tied to a mooring that we were assured, upon asking, was new and in excellent condition. At our request we were also stern tied, as it was quite rolly, which is not particularly unusual at that location.
On the second day at 1730 hours, while preparing to attend happy hour at the Anchorage Hotel, we suddenly noticed the bow of the boat swinging sideways. Momentary disbelief was followed by the rapid realization that we had parted from the mooring. The float was proceeding down current and our two bow lines formed intact loops floating in the water. With dusk descending we called our mooring operator on the VHF and did receive a reply, presumably from his wife, who indicated he would be by shortly to assist us. We waited and waited and, despite seeing him tie another boat in the distance, he never came to us. We called again and received no reply. I should mention he carries both a VHF and a cell.
Finally, in order to prevent us from crashing back into the cement retaining wall of the hotel, I released the stern tie and moved ahead to drop anchor. There was poor holding in deep water, darkness coming, heavy seas pushing on shore and no mooring operator! A desperation call to Desmond of SeaCat services brought an immediate response and relocation to a new mooring. We missed happy hour but made dinner at the Evergreen.
There is a lesson and a reprimand in this situation. First, of course, no harm was done except to my coronary arteries but if the event had occurred only 20 minutes later our boat would likely have been lost as by then we would have been on shore, content that with a mooring and stern tie our boat was safe. The cement wall pounded by a surge looked unforgiving. The lesson is reinforced for me again to never, ever take a mooring, even if provided by a “reputable” recommended operator, unless there is no other option. There is nothing better than a properly deployed and visualized anchor. The reprimand is for the mooring operator who failed to provide badly needed assistance when requested. The next day he was all perplexed smiles and promised to return with our refund and to investigate the cause of the mooring failure and tell us. But he never appeared before our departure at 1300 hours.
Editor’s note: Chris Doyle has added a relevant note on Roseau moorings to his website. See www.doyleguides.com, Leewards Updates section.
A positive story for a change. My husband does web design for a living, to “keep us afloat” so to speak. On March 14th he had been working ashore at Bouillante, Guadeloupe all morning. When he returned to the dive shop dock about 2:30PM, he found our dinghy underneath the dock and our motor submerged in the water (between the waves and wakes, the bashing and the corroded metal plate that disintegrated with the poundings, we had a recipe for disaster).
Setting his waterproof backpack containing our only computer down, he got distracted with getting the motor out of the water with the help of some French cruising friends and hosing it down with gallons of fresh water (the guys at the dive shop were very kind to let him use their water). Anyway, he returned to our boat under tow and began to disassemble and clean the motor piece by little piece.
When the adrenaline began to wear off about an hour later, he remembered the backpack (along with images of a beach full of people and the continual flow of glass-bottom boat and dive tourists along the dock). Still dinghy-less, we called over to our French boat friends to go see about the backpack. Amazingly, our “bread and butter” was still sitting untouched on the dock right where he left it.
The result? Call it Divine intervention or not, by 6:00PM, our motor roared to life so we’ll be able to keep the four to five “Boat Bucks” and much time it would have taken to replace it and the computer, not to mention a tarnished reputation while we scrambled to regain connectivity with our clients.
OPEN LETTER RE: SECURITY INDEX
Dear Dr. Hebson,
Congratulations on your excellent report (Caribbean Security Index). My wife, Nell, and I have spent the last five years cruising full time in the Caribbean aboard Moon Dance, our Tayana 55. We have been almost everywhere in the Caribbean except Barbados, the Venezuelan mainland and Central America between Panama and Mexico. We concur fully with your report and vote with our sails, avoiding the dangerous areas. You have added numbers to our anecdotal assessment of crime statistics.
In Mexico we found El Cid marina in Puerto Morelosa to be the most security conscious marina we had visited and the town itself the safest place we had visited.
The only crime we were subjected to was in Bonaire, but not cruiser in nature: a camera was stolen from a rental car.
We return to the Caribbean soon and we will only visit the places you recommend.
Many thanks for your excellent work; we will disseminate it to all our cruising friends. In fact in January we gave a cruising safety lecture to over 50 people at the Coconut Grove Sailing Club in Miami. The theme was “how to avoid being a victim”.
Editor’s note: Catherine Hebson is the author of the CSI (Caribbean Security Index at freecruisingguides.com/caribbean-security-index-csi). The CSI reports having nearly 2,000 registered users.
Catherine creates statistical probabilities for different types of crime in different parts of the Caribbean with the idea that the CSI index can be employed to “route around the crime, rather than through it”. Along with the well established Caribbean Safety and Security Net (www.safetyandsecuritynet.com) the CSI is a useful tool for choosing cruising destinations.
A HUGE THANK YOU!
As regular yearly visitors to Bequia for almost 12 years now aboard our yacht, we have met many wonderful people, some of them locals, some just passing through. One night recently, aboard, just before midnight, my husband suddenly started developing a welt-like rash all over his body. He began sweating profusely and rapidly became less coherent. He was very close to going unconscious. I tried, to no avail, to request immediate emergency help via the VHF. Next I went up on deck shone my flashlight at the yacht closest to me and shouted for help.
Fortunately, Shelly, aboard the yacht Treviljor came up, shouted back and within minutes, he was at my boat. I told him I needed a doctor; this was an emergency. He raced over to the Whaleboner restaurant and woke the proprietors, Carl and Ruth They called for the doctor and while all this was taking place, I was with my husband, trying to keep him talking to me.
What seemed like ages was in fact a short time before Dr. Dany came aboard. On seeing my husband he promptly and confidently administered an injection, which possibly and most probably saved my husband’s life. I am truly grateful to Ruth, Carl, Shelly and Dr. Dany, and from now on I will not think of them as “passers by” but true friends. I cannot thank them all enough.
Life is precious.
DIVING WITH WHALES
On March 28th at 9:00AM, while taking divers to Carriacou’s Point Cistern dive site, Lumbadive boat captain Vaughn noticed a humpback whale near Mabouya Island. Getting slowly closer, Vaughn saw that wasn’t one but three whales swimming together. Three delighted divers jumped in the water to join the whales, who went below the surface upon hearing the approaching boat. The whales entered L’Esterre Bay to then returned to Sisters Rocks before finally heading toward Grenada. On the same day, three more whales were seen near Hillsborough, going north.
Diane Martino, General Manager
OUR DANCING HOUSE
Dear Compass Readers,
My partner, Spencer, and I have been exploring the beautiful jewels and turquoise waters in the Caribbean Islands: blue sky, amazing sunsets and sunrises, happy people and adventurous hearts.
We started from St. Thomas in 2011 aboard our dancing house, Adverse Conditions, making our way down to Trinidad. Our first stop was in the British Virgin Island of Jost Van Dyke: what a pretty spot! We enjoyed the white beaches and the happy hours.
Norman Island: Another amazing spot full of history about pirate treasures hiding in the secret caves; it was another gem to enjoy with clear waters and wonderful weather.
Soper’s Hole in Tortola invited us to hike in lovely hills and to have a great swim after the hike, finishing the day with a happy hour with tasty cocktails.
St. John: Great spot with picturesque shopping stores, and very friendly people too.
Then we sailed to Statia; this tiny island has amazing natural beauty, and very happy smiling faces.
St. Kitts: Here we stayed in the Port Zante marina at Basseterre. We saw astonishing sunsets and had a great time.
Nevis: We stayed here just for the night, took some pictures and went to sleep with the nice dancing waves.
At Montserrat, with its volcano and strong currents of water, we just stayed for the night.
Deshaies, Guadeloupe: We stopped here for the night, too, and our dolphin sea friends came very close to our bow, jumping and singing for us — what a lovely and spectacular show!
Portsmouth, Dominica: What a view! The green of natural plantations, hills and mountains, with great clean swimming water and friendly people. We picked up a mooring here — not too expensive — and enjoyed the beauty of the island and people.
After three nice days in Dominica, we untied the mooring and headed to Martinique, another treasure of the Caribbean islands, combining French-style food with the tropical atmosphere of the Caribbean.
By the time we arrived in St. Lucia the weather was bad, and unfortunately I am a Colombian, which means that I need to obtain a visa beforehand for most of the places in this world. Some of the Caribbean islands have been good to us, no trouble, but here…. We arrived in bad weather with more to come soon, so we didn’t want to sail anywhere. The authorities gave me only a week, and I had to stay in the marina without opportunity to explore the island.
After the weather cleared, we sailed to Bequia, there to stay only for the night.
Then with the help of great winds we continued to Prickly Bay, Grenada.
We had been in a hurry because our grandchild was supposed to come to join us in Trinidad, so we really had very little time to enjoy the islands from St. Thomas to here. And then we read our e-mails and found that the child couldn’t make it — what a frustrating trip!
Well, we had a glimpse of many places in the island chain and enjoyed them, even if it was for very short while. We lingered in beautiful Grenada, with the friendly people and extraordinary nature, and then set sail to Trinidad & Tobago.
Now still in Trinidad. We have been exploring and enjoying in group tours and by ourselves, meeting lovely people from around the world, sharing time and parties, “noodling” water aerobics in the pool of Coral Cove and practicing yoga.
It all has been wonderful time in the lovely Caribbean waters — truly a gift from nature and from life.
Luz Adriana Quintero (“Nana”)
Dear Compass Readers,
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Letters may be edited for length, clarity and fair play.
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