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June 2011

We have been anxiously moving south this month to get out of the hurricane zone before the official start of hurricane season. At the beginning of June we were in St. Martin and after traveling about 500 miles we ended the month on the island of Carriacou which is a part of Grenada.

The island of St. Martin is part Dutch and part French. We anchored the boat on the French side of the island, but did some shopping on the Dutch side. It had been several years since we had been on a French island so we celebrated with our version of a French beach picnic. We stopped at the market and bought a fresh baguette, cheese, pate, and fruit to take to the beach. Our picnic was eaten on a beautiful white sand beach with nice swimming. John was hoping to find some volleyball at the beach since he had played there in the past. The volleyball net was still up, but we never saw any players before we left the hot beach.

St. Martin is well know for its marine chandleries and facilities. Trying to see the silver lining in our problems, we were very LUCKY to have our battery charger stop working while we were in St. Martin. There was an experienced repair shop in St. Martin, and they had a replacement circuit board in stock. Our repaired battery charger was reinstalled on the boat less than 24 hours after we took it in for repair. That is unheard of in the marine industry, especially in the Caribbean.

After spending some beautiful days at the St. Martin beaches and waiting for weather we picked up the anchor and sailed about 200 miles in 30 hours to Dominica. We had forgotten the short distances between the Leeward Islands. As we sailed south we spotted the islands of St. Barts, Saba, Statia, St. Kitts, Nevis, Monserrat, and Guadeloupe. Overnight we spotted the lights of Antigua in the distance.

Dominican flower garden

 

Dominica is one of our favorite stops in the Eastern Caribbean (see June 2007 and May 2008) and we were looking forward to a return visit. It is a land with lush green hillsides, delicious fresh fruits and vegetables, and tropical wild flowers. We visited the busy local fresh market in Portsmouth, Dominica on Saturday morning purchasing tomatoes, pineapple, mangos, eggplant, limes, and peppers. Our friend and local tour guide, Martin, stopped by the boat bringing us another fresh pineapple and some beautiful tropical flowers. 

 

Michele Henderson


 

 

The Jazz and Creole Festival of Dominica took place at the Cabrits National Park and refurbished Fort Shirley. It was a beautiful venue for the event overlooking Prince Rupert Bay with ample afternoon breezes. Attendees brought blankets or chairs and sat in the shade while listening to talented musical artists from Dominica and neighboring Caribbean islands. There were numerous families attending and many brought their own picnic snack. Our favorite performance was from native Dominicans Michele Henderson and Ron Tulle.

 

 

 


sunset in MartiniqueOur next stop was the French island of Martinique and as we continued to travel more south than east against the prevailing trade winds we were able to sail without the assistance of the engine. In Martinique we continued our French island tradition by buying a picnic lunch of baguette, cheese and fruit and hiked to a beach for lunch and a swim. After a few squally and rainy days we were able to continue traveling south to St. Lucia.

We were last in these islands three years ago and were shocked at the building and development boom that has taken place on St. Lucia. Rodney Bay Marina has been expanded and refurbished and there is an upscale shopping mall including another supermarket. Our stay in St. Lucia was short since the month was passing by and good weather was calling us south.


star fruit

In Bequia, an island which is part of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, we caught up with new friends Steve and Diana on Dreams at Sea. Cruisers organized a pot luck beach picnic at sunset and we had a great time meeting with several cruisers who were new to cruising this year. While in Bequia, we continued to enjoy wonderful fresh fruits and vegetables (locally grown lettuce, papaya, avocado, bananas, and star fruit). Purchasing produce from the local vendors is always an interesting experience. The vendors can often be aggressive salesmen pushing you to purchase many things that you do not need. If you don’t have exact change, they often claim to not have any change and will add more items to your purchase until you owe the amount of money that you have in your hand. Of course the really savvy vendors will always give you at least one “free” item since you were such a good customer.
 

baby turtles

A hike on Bequia took us for a return visit to the Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary where we had an opportunity to meet with Orton King, the owner and founder. (See June 2008 for our previous visit) The facility continues to rescue newly hatched green and hawksbill turtles and raise them until they are about four years old with a better chance of survival in the open ocean. Green turtles are vegetarians. Baby hawksbill turtles are fed tuna when they are young and gradually eat small live sardines or minnows as they get older. Injured turtles may also be rescued and nursed back to health in certain circumstances. Mr. King explained that he does not rescue leatherback turtle hatchlings since they will only eat jellyfish and he cannot provide a constant food supply.


yellow tail snapper

 

 

Before leaving the Grenadines, we stopped for a few days in the beautiful Tobago Cays. We had high winds, numerous rain squalls, and strong currents while we were there. The snorkeling wasn’t wonderful, but it is always nice to spend a few days around these beautiful islands.

On June 29 we received news of the arrival of our 19th grandchild, Landon John Taylor, born to John and Liz in Houston. We are looking forward to meeting Landon in August when we return to the U.S.

 

 


Pete with St. John lobster

 


In our May cruising log we failed to include a picture of our friend Pete who visited us in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Pete was the photographer for the week, but he finally sent along this picture of himself after we had published our May cruising log.

On the last day of the month, we cleared out of the Grenadines and checked into the country of Grenada on the island of Carriacou. We plan to spend a couple of weeks in Grenada before traveling to Trinidad to haul the boat at the end of July.