So the wind forecast said it was now time to sail east, from Roatan to Guanaja. On this sail we would be accompanied by two boats, both German flagged. We knew the wind would be a little bit stronger then we prefer and that there would be some rain. So it ended up being a hard sail in shitty weather but on the bright side we ended up in second place in the race.
Guanaja is a really unique island there are almost no roads and most people live in the capital Bonacca on a small island close to mainland Guanaja. So everyone travels by boat and to get to the other side of the island there is a channel right through the island.
So our first day in Guanaja was Anders birthday so he got to decide on how we should spend our day. We started of exploring some channels close to the anchorage and a cool dive resort. Dunbar rock located really on some rocks but only for guest so we could not get in. We then went on in a quest for Wi-Fi so Anders could get in touch with everyone at home.
We found Wi-Fi and beers after walking all 186 steps to Me casa too. Its a small restaurant and bar located on a hill. When we got there, we got accompanied by some hummingbirds that flew really close, one even scratched Anders. We really enjoyed me casa too, it’s location, it’s employees and their vibe in general. We were just sad to see that there was no other guests.
When we got back we cooked up a birthday dinner for Anders. The next day we sailed up to Graham’s place were we had heard was a good kite boarding spot. We had read that Graham the owner of the resort was really friendly to cruisers but we never expected this kind of generosity. We could use the whole island with no restrictions and if we needed anything we should just ask. It was so nice to not feel like an intruder and to be able to use the resort beach for launching our kites.
We decided to only stay one night because some strong westerly winds were heading our way. So after spending a day kiting we went back to El Bight the following day to hopefully get some more protection.
Owe on Sv Tara had told us that the food shipments comes in on Wednesdays so it was time to do some fresh produce shopping, and some shipment had been delayed, so we were right on time. Me and Andreas went to Bonacca to do the shopping. The town is really cool and I wish we had a drone so we could see it from the air. From the water it’s just packed with houses most of them half way out into the ocean on stilts. We parked the dingy next to the fuel dock and went for a stroll. There are a couple of main streets and a lot of small streets connecting them. Often we didn’t know if it was somebody’s yard or if it was a street. It’s was amazing and small. After looking around and buying some food we went back to the boat. I was so curious about the channel even tough the wind made it hard for us to travel on the other side. But I convinced Andreas to do some channel exploring on the way home.
After we got back to the boat and unloaded the Veggies. Me and Andreas set off on a small hike. We had read that there were some hikes starting at El Bight but the roads and paths shown on our maps did not exist. We ended up in some lady’s front yard but she was nice to give us some directions. We had missed the left turn after the big blue house were the trail goes up a hill. We followed some blue dots that took us of the path to the right and ended up on a renovation site, were all the dots then disappeared. After trying to find a way forward we went back just to end up at the same fence but on the other side.
We followed the trail up to a water reservoir before going back down. We stoped by Mi Casa Too on the way home and the owner gave us some tips for future hikes.
The next morning we went back to Graham’s for more kit surfing.
We did a overnight sail to Black river, the Customs came on-board pretty much as soon we had dropped anchor. They were all over the place asked why are where there, if we had checked in, it we had contraband’s on board, if we were transporting somethings for others. How many cellphones we had on-board. One guy was a little hostile and his Questions really came out as an interrogation. Well maybe it was Karma that made the bird poop on him. We were asked to give them a bottle as well, this is our first bribe in the Caribbean. I found it Kind of exiting afterwards .
Black River is a really small place. Our goal was to take the dinghy and see some Crocodiles up the river and we did. Being in an inflatable dinghy with crocodiles in the Water was kind of Scary and you didn’t want to lean too much over the sides. It took us less then 20 meters up the river before we spotted the first one. We went further up the river until the river divided before turning back. The customs told us that the Crocodiles also go out to our anchor spot sometimes. We never saw one there but our cruiser neighbor did. We also took a dinghy ride to a place called Floyd’s Pelican bar. It was a cool place build on a reef, we got our boat name eternalised.
We only stayed 2 days in black river before sailing on to Negril, So we told the customs we were leaving and hoisted the sail. We were anchored right outside the beach and it was rolley, not the best protection against the swells. We left the dinghy on a stone dock in downtown Negril to go to rickshaw cafe a place Anders had read about and seen in a reality show. We walked there and on the way the we saw small rural hotels and bars that felt more cosy and nice then Margaritaville we went to for WiFi and expensive cocktails. When we got to Ricks it was really exploited, a lot of people everywhere and not really what I expected. You were supposed to jump of their cliffs into the crystal clear waters below. Me and Andreas didn’t do it we were both wet from the rain so we gave the torch to Anders.
Jamaica is the first place we’ve been to that requires you to tell the customs when you move and to were. It hadn’t been a hassle until we got to Negril. We got there and no one came to our boat… we visited the police and they were confused why we were there told us that we would probably get a visit the next day but nobody showed up then either. We were also told that we could check out in Negril if we called a number for immigration that our cruiser neighbor gave us. This was really good news we didn’t want to sail against the wind to Montego bay just to check out and our time in Jamaica was coming to an end. To go there by land meant traveling 80 kilometers. We called the number and the immigration guy told us that he was expecting our call, sadly he couldn’t get anyone from customs to come to us. So we had to go to Montego bay again. The bus ride was not cheap, 50$ return, so Andreas got to go alone. When he finally got back, after a really delayed bus ride home (almost 2 hours), we still only had check out with customs and we still had immigration to go. When Andreas called the immigration he had gone home for the day but because we had been in contact with him the whole day we were able to leave the paper work with a friend of his and we were now finally done and cleared out.
After 4 days of sailing with our first yellow fin tuna caught, we arrived in Jamaica. Sailing into Kingston was kind of scary. We knew that the clearing in process was strict and you would have to announce your arrival. We had even read that you were suppose to do it 12 Nm out. So we called out on VHF 16 when approaching and no answer. After a few tries we got a visit from the Marine police and we could ask them about the use of town dock in port royal and the Customs and immigration next to the dock. We got some really confusing answers but we could use the town dock. So when we got to port royal we called customs and immigration and no answer again. We were fortunate that there were a lot of locals on and around the dock and they helped us to tie up the boat and to run to the customs office and notified them of our arrival. We were tied up at 13.00 with our Yellow flag up waiting on Quarantine that first needed to check the boat and all its crew. It took them about 45 min to get to our boat and they needed to see our yellow fever vaccination card and to check our health. We were all in good shape thankfully, apparently you can get a very thorough health check. So at 14.00 we were done with one out of three, still not allowed to leave the boat. Then it took about 2 hours for customs to arrive (really unfriendly and disrespectful guy). It took him about 30 min to check all papers and do the paper work. Because our first stop were outside Jamaica’s Royal yacht club Marina he wanted us to go there and tell them to send Immigration over. Now I was really upset, we had done the last stretch on engine just to get into Jamaica on time and not to get charged to pay overtime. According to the official website for clearing in, all instances that are affected ( that you are out of business hour) must be compensated. So at around 15.30 we left the town dock to get to the royal yacht club as fast as possible.
On our way to the yacht club the drive belt on the main engine broke and we had to do some sailing. Really not the best timing, when in a hurry. We got to the mangroves just outside the Marina and dropped anchor. Of course we failed to get it to stick the first time because it had pierced a empty water bottle, and had to redo the procedure again. Then we lowered the dinghy and set of into the marina. We told the marina staff that Immigration were supposed to meet us and they called their office to check.
Now we had to wait. .. we grabbed a red stripe (a local Jamaican beer) and had a seat. Immigration arrived almost at 20.00, but at least we did not have to pay for anything, if you don’t count the beers we had waiting. We were now finally checked in into Jamaica.
So because there was a fee to use the dingy dock that included the marina facilities, we decided to make the most of it and use the pool and their WiFi for the next day. Looking up what to spend our time in Jamaica doing and upload some photos.
Wednesday we decided to go with the bus and have a look at Kingston. We were told not to take too much money with us and to leave our jewelry at home due to risk of theft. We started our exploring from the bus station in downtown and walked around that area for a bit. We walked through loud and huge market tents (most likely jubilee markets) that cover the multiple streets with the tents covering the whole street with no visible sky. After walking around in downtown an we decided to check out emancipation park.
Walking from downtown to new Kingston we did get a lot of people looking strangely at us. At a road cross we were contemplating on what way we should take. A lady stopped and asked if we were lost
Andreas answered – No just figuring out were to go
The lady pointed down a street and said
Just don’t go that way
Andreas replied We just came from there
She got quiet an started walking. Oops……
The city is huge, we walked the whole day and saw only a tiny bit of it. In New Kingston we ended up on a live broadcast for a Jamaican radio show. Being pretty much the only white people there, that also seemed a little confused. We where easy targets. We talked about our trip and were we where from. I ended up learning the host to say
Being close to Christmas I thought it was fitting. It took him a lot of tries until it kind of sounded right.
Thursday we had decided to check out the Port royal and explore fort Charles, an old fortress out there. We walked out to the main road and waited at the bus stop. Within 5 min a car stopped and asked if we wanted a lift out there. We jumped in and that is how we met Marsha a fantastic Jamaican woman that worked as a teacher at the Caribbean maritime school. She was going to Gloria’s for some food with her friend Abby. She took some detours and pointed where we should go and what we should see, she even offered us a ride back. She also Invited us to join them for brunch but we had just eaten and wanted to check out some sites she recommended and let them have their Brunch together .
The fort was unfortunately closed for renovation, so we walked on to a old colonial building that used to be a Naval hospital built around 1818 . We stood by the gate looking at the building when a guy came up to us and asked if we wanted a look inside and he let us in. The building was huge and gorgeous, over looking the whole Kingston harbor.
After a few pics we want back to Gloria’s and continued talking to Marsha and Abby. Marsha told us that she had a friend from Sweden (Gothenburg) that was supposed to meet them at Gloria’s but had car issues. So she decides to set us up. So she took us over to his family house, this is how we meet Syran. He is originally Jamaican but moved and now lives in Gothenburg. The world is so small sometimes. He and his family was on vacation visiting his parents and sister.
We got invited for some drinks and spend the afternoon there. Afterwards Marsha drove us back to the marina and she and Abby got to come aboard Chibidarra for a visit. Her husband Cmax was on his way to the marina. He helps out a friend on a luxury fishing boat and they were going fishing early the day after. We got invited to that boat Safe passage for some beers on board
We had hoped to buy dinner at the yacht club but when we got there the kitchen was closed. So i went with Marsha and Abby to buy KFC/ which apparently is the best KFC in the world.
Andreas convinced Marsha to take us out in Kingston on Friday and help us try the Jamaican jerk chicken. We started Friday by the pool before going by bus (taxi) into Kingston to check out Devon house. It was owned by Jamaica first black millionaire and the residence operated as a museum. We went there for their famous ice cream, I bought the cone with one scope and Andreas and Anders took a container. Theirs were more expensive had two scopes with less ice cream making me the winner of the choice. Marsha also recommended the patties (lobster or goat) which was delicious (we took the curry goat one).
We spent Friday evening at her friends house for a game night. Playing heads up with some really competitive Jamaicans. We went to two different places a bar named Jangas and a club. In Jamaica you order the whole bottle and chasers to your liking, not just a drink. So needless to say the memory of the club is a little cloudy.
Marsha also thought we should take a trip to see the mountains above Kingston and have Some blue mountain Coffee at their coffee shop. We were a little late so we missed the sunset going up but we did get to see the Kingston city light.
On Sunday we had plans to leave, Marsha thought we should come with them to the keys (lime key) An island just outside but we feelt we needed to move to have some time in Negril and Black river, and we had told the customs we were leaving. We saw the images and it seemed to be a big happening there on Sundays if you’re ever in Jamaica.
When we were in Bonaire we were told that between Bonaire and Curacao ?? Was a small little island with nice reefs , white beaches and wildlife. So of course we got interested and wanted to visit this small island the problem is the checking in and out of a county. This small island is a part of Curacao and to follow procedure we should go first to Curacao then back to Klein Curacao . But everyone we talked to stayed a few days on the island before checking in either in Curacao or Bonaire. So we did the same.
As Andreas wrote we accuired a extra Hands,passenger, doctor Linda a friend of Lotte. She had a cording to Alejandro the island fever is when you move to on a small island and after some months you are really tiered of seeing the same people and places and you want to get of the island. So she wanted to join us for a couple of days sailing over to Klein Curacao then onwards to Curacao and fly back.
We left Bonaire on Wednesday and sailed to Klein was slow with hardly any wind so we gave in and started the engine. So that we would have a couple of daylight hours on Klein.
When we got there a guy from one of the day trip charters helpt us to pick up a mooring that according to him was free and for our use . He was afraid we would drop the anchor and damage the coral, like some cruisers had done before. We actually do check where we place our Anchor but not everyone does it. When we had tied up to the mooring we saw alot of boats and dinghies leaving the beach to follow a pod of dolphin. We jumped in the water, hoping to get to swim with the dolphins but they where too far away, we could hear them in the water.Before going ashore we decided to have some lunch, the info we got were that all chartered boat would be gone by 16.00 and they where, so we had the island with 4 other cruisers to ourself.
Being a little lazy we took the stand up paddle board and swam ashore. We were under the impression that the island would be deserted but there where huts and houses build by the Charter Companies. So After just walking a couple of minutes one guy from Mermaid cruisers came and talked to us. He was dutch so he and Linda hit it of fast. He was staying the night and invited us to come by later after exploring the island.
So we walked around the island and checking out the lighthouse and the boat wrecks on the east side. Then back to the Mermaid hut to watch the sunset with some complimentary beers from our new friend.
A perfect ending to a amazing day in a amazing place.
After Carnival we decided to move to one of the south bays of Grenada first up was prickly bay, we ended up not moving from that bay during our stay. We had postponed a lot of boat work during our sail in the Eastern islands but now it was time to get started. We realized we could use Anders bed now that he left for Sweden to do work on the Aft cabin, upholstery on our bed, frames around the hatches all the stuff we decided to do later… So now was the time
we stayed here for six weeks and the days became more structured. We spent most days doing boat work and two times a week we walked over to Secret bay marina to play volleyball in the Afternoon. l also spent two times a week going to “yoga with a smile” at Prickly bay Marina. We did Tuesday trivia a couple of times, recruiting awesome team mates until we won the rum punch. Some Fridays we went to the container park for dinner and on Saturdays we did the hash. On top of this there was places we visit. All in all we were busy working and hanging out with other cruisers at camp Grenada.
So what is a Hash: it is a trail running race/or walk were you follow piles of shredded paper. The event is on every Saturday at around 4 pm and they are ALWAYS at a new trail. Because its a new trail anytime the difficulty varies, such as length and ascent. On Some trails there are also a fork marked with a paper shaded Circle this means there is two paths to go if you go the Wrong way you will and up at an X mark and you have to go back. If you get lost or can’t find the paper you yell where to? then the other runners should reply On, On or On back.
The hash group call themselves
Drinkers with a running problem.
After the run there is cheap beers and local food for Sale and Music playing late into the night. We always went there with Shademan a local guy whom own a shuttling service for Cruises .
We are not the most forward people in meeting fellow cruisers and meeting other cruisers our own age was super fun, we had been by ourselves since the Germans, Sv Serenity left us, with a few exceptions. Every event was announced in the morning on the VHF channel 68, the cruisers net.
We spent most of the events with another couple from America, Mikael and Megan on SV Tanagra, that we meet playing volleyball. Most of the couples we spent time with did the same events, volleyball and the hash but there were others as well :
Polly and James on Sv Treogen, a British couple whom crossed the Bay of Biscay at the same time as we did but they decided to go closer to shore because of the bad conditions, we didn’t. ….. hale storms
Shanique and Reg which Andreas and Anders meet on union island while kite surfing.
Ben and Jess a Australian couple, on Sv MAC that had bought the boat in the us and planed to sail back home.
Sarah and Nick on Sv Borealis from the States
Maria and Johan on Sv Samantha from Sweden whom we celebrated Midsummer with in Martinique.
And many many more.
The time went by so quickly and we didn’t do much exploring during this time except when Shanique and Reg invited us to hike from Grand Etang to concord falls, which was an amazing hike and we got to visit Au coin falls again, and the Concord falls too.
The time flew during these weeks by but we manage to get a lot of things crossed of the to do list.
Sew new sunshades
Reseal a couple of windows
Reglass the bow
Aft cabin trim, paint, curtains and new upholstery
Dinghy chaps, lantern, lock
Foot rail varnishing
Ceilings in cabinets
Bad boy wifi extender
Sup stand for railing
sand and paint stairs
We also improved our home with a badboy and a new dinghy engine. The Bad boy is a wifi receiver so we can freeload on wifi’s on shore either by having a drink to get the password or take a open one. Or new dinghy engine is a Tohatsu like the 4 hp one we have but with 18 hp instead so we will be able to travel longer distances.
During our stay the hash group announced that there would be a special event weekend hash on Carriacou, this was perfect timing for us So we decided to join with some fellow cruisers. We said goodbye to everyone and sailed north back once more to Carriacou
Carriacou is a Island located north of Grenada and belongs to Grenada. We had heared that it’s the place together with Grenada for Cruisers to hide during the hurricane season. There was a lot of boats but we tried to go out and socialize but Tyrell bay was pretty much dead. We spent one night out playing pool with the locals. I was a little disappointed that all cruisers seemed to stay on their boat and not much was happening during our stay, but we made the most of our time and explored the island. On mount pleasure one of the highest point there were heaps and heaps of tortoises. It must had been a race we did not hear about. I think we saw about ten of them in all sizes, before Carriacou I only seen one.
We walked over from Tyrell bay to Hillsborough and bought an ice cream to sit down on paradise beach on the way back. Paradise beach was lovely and it didn’t seem to be much people enjoying it at least not when we were there, we had it almost to our self. We spend a lot of time here enjoying the bays wifi which we were able to get a spot close by the reciver. We first did not plan to visit sandy island at first but changed our mind and ended up staying 3 days, snorkeling, relaxing, reading and the boys tried some kiting. our first night a storm swept by and we had gust up to 30 knots some of the boat dragged anchor but nothing serious happen but it makes me appreciate our 50 kg anchor with our 12mm chain.
After our hard time at sandy island (not really ) we continued on to Grenada’s northern part, sailing east around kick’em Jenny we ended up with in a area of a lot of counter current normally but we got some current helping us somehow. With amazing views over the small island outside of Grenada we caught a nice dinner . The London Bridge was a nice rock formation to see what the ocean is able to do over time. The northern part of Grenada is often forgotten but it is a treat.
So once again we stop in Bequia. With a lot of wind we flew from our former spot on St Vincent and arrived early on the island. we chose to anchor close to the plantation resort hotel to get some free WiFi on the boat, pretty much like the last time but a little closer. The locals owning some mooring came by and where really rude, we didn’t understand it at first but we had anchor in the Mooring field and there were alot of space outside of it and in other places in the bay. Opps. we didnt block any mooring, so we stayed the 3 days in the spot. The last time we where in bequia there were so many boats that it was not clear to us where to Moorn or Anchor. This time the amount of boats on moorings where less then ten.
Getting back to a place you’ve been and experienced its always weird. When Traveling I avoid doing it because usually you have Certain hopes and expectations or even feelings connected to a place and it mostly depend on all awsome people you meet the first time. I’m glad that Anders parents were onboard and we had new experience planed.
We spent the first sundowner at the floating bar
Then we continued on later that night to Max pizzas
So my birthday onboard Chibidarra started with fresh made bread that Anders ,Mon and dad (Aase and Jan) made and a Mimosa that Andreas mixed for me
After breakfast we whent snorkeling around the devils table, it was nicer than I remembered it. When we got back we spend some down time relaxing on the boat before early dinner / lunch with cake.
After stuffing ourself we what for a walk down to lower bay and up some hills to get a nice view .
The plan was to go out but all of us was stuffed after lunch so I decided that I would rather stay on the boat playing card “plump”
they didn’t let me win, bastards 😄
The next day, Aase and Jan needed some wifi to book their return ticket to Martinique so Me and Andreas took a hike to Peggy’s rock and to Moonhole. The hike up to Mt Peggy was a little tricky there was nothing showing on google maps or on our Osm-offline maps but with some photos from the quick book of the trail and later help from some locals we found the way up.
Me and Andreas walked for most of the day covering the south west of the island. When we got back we were pretty tiered so we played some more cards and went to bed pretty early because we wanted a early start for Tobago Cays the day after.