Graham’s place and more

On our earlier visit to Graham’s Place / Josh Cay we had noticed that the WiFi is accessible from the anchorage. With that in mind we anchored as close as possible to get the best possible signal. Our main purpose with our stay was to kite surf but we do like to be connected to the outside world as well.

Sundowner at the boat

I had earlier on, been challenge to jump the reef bridge on the other side of the island. Because of that I felt obligated to set daily goals for my personal progress. I did ask the others for daily goals as well but I didn´t really get any answers the first couple of days. Me and Captain quickly passed pop and small jumps in the first couple of days. Hanna on the other end made big progress on her riding as well but she wouldn´t tell us about her daily goals but instead keep them a secret until she achieved them.

Our surf camp
Hanna
Me (Anders)
Me again
Captain


Next up for me and Captain were the jump transition and boy did we send it. The feeling you get when accidentally pull the kite a bit too hard, and it responds by pulling you straight up in the air a lot higher than you originally planned. Makes you feel totally powerless and out of control. After a few tries we got the feeling for it and more times than not we worked with the kite and successfully landed our new tricks. After a few days of saltwater drinking, body part stretching and annoying non-see-ums (small flying insects that has long lasting itchy bites) the wind calmed down and we went for some other adventures.

One hand happy ride
Paradise like view from the hammock
The always broken kite
Our own part of the beach


Savanna Bight is a village that is situated in the north east on Guanaja and it was only a short dinghy ride for us to get there. We had been told that it wasn’t any roads on Guanaja but in Savanna Bight we found a very nice concrete road. We decided to follow it for a while. It became quite obvious to us that the locals in general lived either close to the sea or in connection to The Road. As far as traffic goes it was easily one of the least trafficked roads in the Caribbean but along the 5 km stretch we walked there where not one but two police controls. We wonder of the main road and up to a place called Black Rock. It was a nice adventures walk down a sandy road mostly in shade of the tall trees. when we got back to Savanna Bight we restocked on some of the missing food items like meat, eggs and milk.

High speed melted ice cream


When the weather forecast told us about weak winds we decided to once more move Chibidarra back to El Bight and do some hiking based from there. The first day we did a surprisingly short hike up to a natural pool. We hadn’t really worked up our sweat enough to jump in but we felt the water for a bit.


Back at the dinghy we all agreed that it were to small of a walk and decided to take a walk along the coast line. It was mostly a nice path with some planks in the muddy areas. We got accompanied by a couple of playful dogs that jumped around us until we returned to the same place again. Satisfied with our small walk of the day we returned and prepared for our longer walk the next day.

One of our playful guides

We started in the late morning and with the help of an old GPS track we set of up in to the forest and up the slippery slopes of Guanaja. Our plan were to cross the island over the highest peak and down the other side. From there to go up to a waterfall and then back again.

One of the lower peaks

The path to the top of the island were in a forest with a lot of sharp grass that gave us small paper cut like wounds on the shin. some times the path disappeared and we had to rely on the GPS to guide us back to the track. With out to much trouble we reached the summit and could enjoy the view.

Enjoying the fresh breeze

The opposing side of the mountain were different it was less greenery and a lot steeper. We quickly descended to the other side had a small pause under a closed bar before we once again set of in to the forest this time on a bit more challenging path along a stream. When the path finally ended we found ourselfes in a small waterfall.

The walk back across the island weren’t as fun as the first time and we were all quite exhausted. I thought that the descend was going to be the same relaxing feeling as the previous one but i wasn’t the grass was now making the cuts from before feel even worse and the walk unpleasant in shorts. When we finally got back we decided to eat out and walked the extra 127 stair steps up to the mountain side resturant.

The next day we’d planned to once more go back to Graham’s to do some more kiteing and head back to Roatan the following day. Well the plan changed and instead we slowly packed the boat and took a quick shopping trip to Bonacca. this meant that I luckily never got the chance to jump the small bridge on Graham’s and didn’t hurt myself trying either. The sail back to Roatan were alot more comfortable then the rough one in the other direction. Me and Hanna had a bit of a Wild life experience, when our fishing gear suddenly jumped. We saw that the bait was being  hunted by the biggest fish we’ve seen. but since we didn’t really wanted a 50kg fish fight with broken reels and stuff we decided to just play with it and try to identify the breed before it disapeared from us. We later learned that it probably was a Cobian and is good to eat.

Over and out Anders

Christmas in Cayman

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After the non-responsive port officials in Jamaica I got positively surprised by the greetings I got 10 NM of the coast of Cayman. As we had been doing great speed we arrived to Cayman on a Sunday. To arrive on Cayman on a Sunday cost 70$ more than on any other day, but there is nothing to do about that. But this really set the tone for the rest of our stay, Cayman = expensive. The tax-free money haven that Cayman has become has really pushed the prizes through the roof.  But they do have free moorings.

We spent our first night in the mooring field outside of George Town (marked on the map with a red cross) and compared to Kingston’s water quality this was a swimming pool. George Town is the biggest city on the island and it reminded us more of a European city then the Caribbean. The roads are well paved, there are stop lights and walkways. There is 100000 companies registered in George Town, one would think that that creates plenty of work opportunities but most of this companies is sharing the same address and their offices isn’t bigger than a shoe box. During the day the town is crowded with cruise ship passengers. At the mooring fields, we were often accompanied by at least three ships a day.

After George Town we went around to the south side of the island for a few days. Mostly to be protected from the northerly winds during the holiday. The mooring field outside of Spotts (marked on the map with a red cross) was not a well-protected one and the waves kept rolling in from all directions. But we got in to festivities mode and created a traditional Swedish holiday on our own. We went over the top this year with home baked gingerbread and Vörtbröd homebrew Glögg, Janssons, meatballs and Röbetssallad. Easy to say we successfully ate our way through Christmas.  After a couple of nights on the pretty deserted mooring field south of spots bay we headed back to George Town.

Cayman Island claims to have 365 dive sites, one for each day of the year. One of them is situated right outside the mooring field so we decided to have a look. From the surface it looked like there were small coral heads all over the bottom. When we dove down we realized that the small coral heads actually were quite big and we ended up being able to swim between them. It turned out to be a decent dive but it felt a bit like an extra one just to get the numbers up to 365.

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Since the wind once more were supposed to pick up we wanted to get in to Governors Harbor (marked on the map with a red cross). Governors Harbor is a part of the man dug channel system on Grand Cayman.  The main purpose of all the channels is to create more beach front property. We set of early in the mooring to be able to stop at the wreck of Doc Paulson on our way and have an amazing wreck dive with a lot of corals and fishes living in and around the old tug boat wreck.

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After the dive we continued around. The north sound itself is quite shallow and Chibidarra being an old steady lady gives her a pretty deep draft of 2.35 meters so according to all the maps we couldn’t really make it unless it were high tide. We deployed Caribirra (aka the dinghy) to be in front of Chibidarra and monitoring the depth. Well it was quite nerve-racking being forced to navigating and constantly looking at the screen of the echo sounder. I occasionally saw 2.4m on the screen in the dinghy but reports from the mother ship stated 2.6 as the shallowest value. So we slowly continued towards the channel entrance. Well inside the channel it became deep again and we anchored right outside the yacht club. The water wasn’t too nice but it was a really protected spot close to supermarket and a good free Wi-Fi.  We liked it. Since a couple of other boats were anchored right by us we decided to celebrate New Year’s together. I invited them (www.sailingchilli.com and @sailingintofreedom) for dessert at our place. We later went down to the beach and joined in on a bon fire when the new year arrived.

Since the wind had picked up and become favorable for kite surfing that became what we were doing the following weeks. The first two times we took the dinghy up to Barkers nature reserve (marked on the map with a yellow cross) but then we started to take the bus. Well at least we kind of tried to take the bus but we experienced that the kite community on Cayman is very good and as soon as people saw us standing with our boards by the road they were kind enough to take us either home or to the beach. The kite beach is protected by a reef that stops all the big waves without affecting the wind. The protected area between the reef and the island were waist deep and in other words perfect for beginners. We started out a bit novice but in the end of our stay all of us had made big improvements in our riding.

One could easily say that we kind of skip out on other adventures and focused on the kite surfing. There were still a couple of places (marked on the map with pink crosses) that we wanted to see. But we had to wait for the weather to allow us. Our last day in Governors Harbor the wind calmed down enough for us to be able to have a semi-comfortable dinghy ride in the sound. Our first stop were the over fed stingrays in Stingray City. We didn’t expect much but where happily surprised by the massive rays that peacefully came right up to us. The next stop where to the bioluminescence bay to see apparently one off the strongest bioluminescence in the world. That turned out to be quite neat.

The next morning we set of at high tide and at immigration we met up with Martin on Chilli again.  Well it wasn’t much more than Hello and Good Bye of a very tired sailor after a 4 days solo sail from Jamaica. We set of in the afternoon and had a calm start of what would become one of our worst sails so far. This was the first time we’ve been using the reefs in the mizzen sail and when the wind picked up so did the waves. And before we know it a big one flushed us thoroughly. We took in water from above in both the saloon and in my cabin. After that we felt a bit soaked but no big harm done. Luckily the weather improved and we arrived with a smile and relief to Honduras

Over and out Anders

The dyslectic ABC Curacao

We continued our travels in The ABC islands and after B comes C. C stands for Curacao that has named one of the spirits in one of my go to drinks Isbjörn, Blue Lagoon, Electric Lemonade or to be specific vodka, blue curacao, a dash of lime, sprite and never forget the ice. Well back to the topic the order of which to visit the ABC islands for a sailboat like us tends to be BCA which had been a bit confusing for us before we got there but upon arrival to Curacao I think we had that down. At least that it started with C but we manage to confuse it with both Carriacao and other islands starting with C.

An excellent example of the drink

We decided to anchor in Spanish water mostly because it is pretty much the only approved anchorage in the entire country and secondly because it is quite protected and nice. Being an approved anchorage there were some rules to be followed you had to put down your hook in specific areas but we did not know the borders of those. So after a adequate guess we managed to anchor in square A, the prime location we even had wifi some days when the weather allowed.

We arrived to Spanish Waters early enough to make an attempt to check in the same day. Since we had brought our own local guide Linda from Bonaire we thought we were all set. Linda had however never been to Curacao and didn’t really speak the Curacao lingo but she was eager to ask for directions. And after running around the city and finally finding the temporary customs office. Ensuring the harbor master that we indeed were anchored in the correct spot ten minutes before they closed. We thought we deserved to take a celebratory beer at a random sports bar outside of their happy hour.


We then continued our city tour of Wilhelmstad. Linda who had been seeing the same faces since she got to Bonaire was thrilled to interact with others. Wilhelmstad is a colourful city built on both sides of their harbor inlet. There is two main ways for pedestrians to cross the inlet you can either walk across on the floating bridge that moves out of the way every now and then or you can take a chance that the free of cost ferry will depart soon and take that over the narrow inlet. The old forts on the edge of the inlet originally served the purpose of protecting the city from pirates and other intruders. The forts is now a days a very touristic shopping mall and houses various shops and restaurants. We sat down at a small outdoor cafe beside the floating bridge and talked about our options, we decided to head back to the boat. Linda managed to get some local currency from the cashier at the place we couldn´t understand why at the time but we found out the day after that they didn´t accept bills on the bus.

Close to Spanish Waters there is a salt lake that we explored more then once the bushes were rattling by all the different lizards moving around when we came walking by. some places around the pond/lake were windy and quite nice to see the almost desert like landscape surrounding a big body of water. Some places were not windy and unbelievably hot and beyond comfortable to be in. We walked by a beach club and tried to stop by for some ice cream. It turned out that they didn’t sell ice cream before lunch. So fed up with their parental like behavior we went next door to the ice cream shop for some ice cream instead.


Later that day we returned in to the city for some night life. Well night is to stretch it a bit since our last bus left the station at ten o’clock. But at least we got some city pulse.


The next morning Linda left to fly back to Bonaire and work. We on the other hand rolled up our sleeves and qued the music because it was time to get some shit done. We spent the following week doing projects on the boat, took some shopping trips and lived a really slow life.

Hanna and Andreas took a pause in the hard work and went on a snorkeling excursion to a old tug boat wreck. what i can tell you from the pictures is that the water were much nicer over there then at our boat.


One of the restaurants in the marina had a what they called cruisers dinner every Thursday so we went there. it was a affordable sit down dinner on a table filled with other cruisers. We ended up chatting with another Swedish boat and the manager of budget marine. After a couple of days of putting Chibidarra together again after all the projects we were ready to set sails towards A in ABC or in our case BCA. One could say that we failed to explore large areas of the island but sometimes you need to priorities. Over and out Anders

Martinique – Third time´s the charm

After little over a 35 hour long trip from Thailand, I got picked up by the captain at the airport. With 20 kg of new stuff and goodies from Sweden in my bag we set of back towards Chibidarra. Captain and Hanna had spent the day in Martinique criss crossing the island in a rental car shopping like maniacs. So after emptying the car from the last stuff the dingy was full to the brim. But with the new engine we were quickly back home. After filling all the cupboards, bilges and other hidden crevasses with food for the coming months we got to bed. The next morning a bit jet lagged I woke up thinking that I still was asleep since the discussion that I overheard was that Chibidarra was to dock at the marina. Pff, that had to be a dream I thought. Turned out it wasn’t a dream after all. Later that day Chibidarra was docked for the first time since February.

The reason for this being that our batteries had been severely worn down and we thought to try to revive them by equalize them and since our diesel generator wouldn’t produce any electricity we found it better to take shore power for a couple of days. Being by the dock meant that we all of a sudden had plenty of freshwater and electricity. We found it best to wash everything. Our trusty little laundry machine had to work harder than ever over these few days. We manage in addition to clothes, to wash the covers for our sofas and beds as well. Since I´d been away from the boat and we earlier said that we would wait for hurricane season in Grenada, we saw this as a break between the sailing seasons. After three days we were fed up with the marina and since we partially had succeeded to revive our batteries we went out to the anchorage ready to cruise again. That’s more than what you can say about our neighbor Triton that had been suck in the marina for 18 months. The reason for that had been a couple of different and to his frustration he still weren’t quite ready to set off. We did however spend a day on the beach in Saint Anne together with him and couple of other guys we met on the dock. One of them (Igor) were familiar from before since we had met him in Bequia a couple of months earlier. We had one of our pretty rare beach days where we spend the day on the beach barbecuing and chilling.


After stocking up on the last things/beer we set of for Bonaire. But not before we draw a uterus over the entire anchorage with our chart plotter.

I had forgotten what it was like to sail. It had been a long time since our last really long passage and the first day were not calm. Well wind wise it was quite calm wave wise on the other hand it was quite uncomfortable. The following days it calmed down and we got in to the sailing groove of eat sleep sail repeat. We even manage to catch a reasonably sized Mahi Mahi witch a couple of days later in Bonaire got really exciting.

We also caught on of our smallest fishes at the same time. The sail had changed from us doing 6 knots over ground to 3. Let’s just say it got a bit boring for a while. It got clear that the weather gods weren´t on our side. During the days we didn´t get enough sun to charge our batteries and due to a burned cable from the engine generator we hadn’t enough voltage when charging with the engine. This made me spending the first morning hour hand steering in an attempt to save battery until sunrise. Sadly we didn’t have any sun this day either. But luckily for me the wind had picked up and we were once again doing some speed towards Bonaire. We were under the impression that the regatta on Bonaire where to be finished before we arrived but instead we got greeted by plenty of sailboats when we passed Klein Bonaire in the last days of the regatta.

Over and out Anders

A first glimpse of Grenada the spice island

After a rather slow sail from Sandy Island we arrived at Grenada and Sauteurs bay. Sauteurs isn’t one of the popular cruising bays on Grenada and we were the only tourists in town. During our second day we went for a walk around the north eastern part of Grenada. On our way we passed through the Levera National park which consists of a few different places that are nearby each other. First up were Levera beach from which you can see Sugar loaf, an island a small distance from the coast. But that’s absolutely not the most interesting thing about the beach. The beach is guarded around the clock and is a protected and popular nesting ground for the leatherback turtle. We have come across some different turtles on our trip but we haven’t seen any of these impressive turtles. The leatherback can weigh up to 900 kg and is really big. So we decided to go back during the next night, to hopefully see one.

Meanwhile we continued our walk along the coast. We did a quick attempt to go to Bedford point on the north east corner of the island. It didn’t go as planned since it was pretty privatized and the amount of mosquitos had dramatically increased. Me and Hanna pretty much panicked and ran back to the main street where it was a bit less dense with mosquitos. After some heavy usage of mosquito spray we visited Levera pond a very red pond with a lot of birds and fishes. We manage to see some fishes and a big ass spider. We quickly moved on to the next beach.

We now sat down and had lunch break before moving on to the sulphur springs. This is a place where people pay to be transformed into Shrek and Fiona with the help of sulphur rich clay that a guy happily helps you to apply. The main caretaker informed us that it helped for all the skin conditions we happened to have. Since we weren’t in a mood to smell rotten eggs we happily neglected the offer and walked home.


In our attempt to see the leatherback turtle we got up in the middle of the night and walked back to the beach. Only to find it deserted. Well we spent the few last hours until dawn at the beach. We then decided to continue rather than going back to the boat and sleep. So we started walking south to take a nap on the next beach (the one with Wi-Fi). Since the new beach had a pretty good Wi-Fi coverage we could plan our early morning adventure. The beach was pretty crowded so we guess that the Saturday morning swims are a regular thing around here. We discovered on Google that the watermill run rum distillery supposedly were open so we started to walk towards it and on our way we passed by the iconic Lake Antoine. When we arrived to the distillery we discovered that it was sort of open and we spent a while exploring the surroundings on our own. After we had a look around without being stopped by anyone we decided to continue our morning stroll that by this time had been going on for a lot longer than previously planned. After a while we intercepted the bus route back to Sauters so we ended up on a bus back. Well back at Sauters it was time for lunch and we were starving so we decided to try some of the local wraps for lunch (Roti) which is a tasty flatbread wrapped around curried meat/fish/or chicken and vegetables.

After lunch we set sail south towards Halifax a bay on the west coast of Grenada. Halifax isn’t the most glorious of bays since there is a dump in the south end and that increases the amount of flies and bugs onboard. In total we spent three nights in Halifax before we left for St Georges. But before that we went explore the water falls at Concord falls. The Concord falls where a bit of a hike away from the boat but luckily, as soon as we left the main road we got accompanied by one of the best behaved and kind dog I have ever met. He followed us all the way up to the first fall where they have some small shops and tourist attractions. They also had two monkeys in a cage which seemed a bit sad. Hanna did however touch one of the monkeys and did a mixed expression of happiness and shock. This expression was then mirrored upon one of the monkeys as he petted the dog with the exact same reaction.

Before we continued to the upper falls we were told by the guard that, since it was Sunday he were alone and couldn’t launch a rescue mission for us. That meant that we had to turn around as soon as it started to rain. Luckily for us it didn’t and we could walk the entire way up. It was on this smaller path I started to have a bit of an issue with our local guide the dog. He refused to go ahead of me and he weren’t able to keep a sufficient distance behind me. This meant that every time I had to take a smaller or longer step to adapt for the not so flat path he ended up putting his pawns in my slipper which tripped me even worse. Well up at the fall we had a swim in the cold and refreshing freshwater. Although we had not been so fresh for a long time it didn’t last long. A few kilometers on the way down we were already soaked with rain and sweat. You could really notice that the rainy season had started. Later that week we sailed down to the capital of Grenada, St. Georges where I were to leave for my trip to Sweden and the others to stay during the festival and the rest of hurricane season.

Over and out Anders

Tobago cays

One of Gamle mans main goals with the trip was to catch a tuna. This made the sail down to Tobago cays very satisfying since he managed to achieve that during the sail. A pretty small one but the perfect dinner size for all five of us. The grey weather during the last couple of days were made up for by the shining sun during our arrival to the magical atolls that together with the turquois water and the great amount of turtles forms the popular place Tobago cays. We did some brief exploring of the islands but our main goal with the visit were to snorkel with some turtles and stingrays. With different grades of success we managed to take a picture of each person and a turtle at the same time.

Since we weren’t impressed by the outer reef last time we hesitated to get out there again but decided to go anyway. This time we went further and it was well worth it. We saw two pretty big nursing sharks and a lot of healthy corrals. We had a really nice couple of days in Tobago Cays before we continued on to Union Island.

Martinique second time around

After a 200 Nm sail, two caught fishes and a magnificent thunderstorm we got back to Martinique. This time we started in St.Pierre and since the rum always seems to be gone we cleared in to Europe and went for a walk up to the rum distillery. After some tasting we got back to the boat and planned Chris last days onboard.

We decided to take a walk along the old, man built, water trench that runs alongside a mountain. It was built a couple of hundreds of years ago and is still used to transport water to the other side of the mountain. Since we walked with the water flow the difficult part were to get to the start of the trench. When we got to the trench there was a very small decline all the time to make the water flow nice and even. Since the path basically is on the outside trench wall, on the side of a mountain the scenery quickly went from awesome to pretty scary. In my opinion it’s one of the best hikes we’ve done so far.

We had a wet meeting at sunset and planned a bit further. Since it is easier than in St.Pierre we decided to take Chris last night in Fort the France.

So early next morning we departed from St.Pierre and went south a couple of hours to Fort du France. Dinner wise Chris had found an interesting restaurant on google maps. But as earlier the google maps address and reality doesn’t correlate in Fort du France. But in our hunt for another restaurant we manage to accidentally find it anyway, sometimes we’re lucky. Then we went out for a couple of beers. But it was tequila night so we ended up having way too many of those. We were all in a zombie like state when we dropped Chris of at the ducos ride to the airport the next day.
Since we already had spent some time in Fort du France during our last visit to Martinique we decided to move down to the popular cruiser bay in Le Marin. Well one thing is for sure there is a lot of boats anchored, moored and docked in that area. As usual the days down here flies by in an extraordinary rate. Since the to-do list quickly got way too long. We had to prioritize and go for the most important, beer.
To be able to efficiently provision we rented a car and got to the all large stores on the island. We noticed that this day people were in general not putting food as much as party items in their trolleys. When we googled it we found out that it was a musical holiday the next day. Since we were stocking up for the Swedish midsummer holiday our trolley fitted right in. Although we spent nearly the entire day in different stores there were some items for midsummer we couldn’t find. Well lucky for us we had ordered the items from Sweden and I were to pick them up at the airport later that afternoon.
Along with the sill and gräddfil I also picked up my parents. Well every coin has two sides right. Jokes aside we did actually know that they were coming. And we were almost ready for their arrival. As all new crew onboard there is a bit to get used to and a lot has changed since they last saw the boat back in October. The best thing, at least the most recent, being removal of the wind vane to enable access to the bathing platform in the back of the boat. Since it hasn’t been used it just made it harder to be back there.

As midsummer is an important Swedish tradition we looked for something to do. On a facebook page for Swedish sailors we found out that two other Swedish boats were going to celebrate together so we decided to join them. The hosting family on their remodeled moorings 55 consists of Daniella, Erik and their two kids Annika and son. The other boat were Johan and Maria that also lived in Gothenburg but right now on their Afrodite 40.

It was a very well composed dinner party with plenty of different Swedish dishes. As part of the desert we had to take turns throwing the kids around. This resulted in a new name for my father. Annika politely asked him to come play by calling him “gamle man” wich means old man in Swedish. Since then we started to use that as well.

The next day we stocked up on the last bits of food before our journey to SVG. Due to water quality and crowdedness we decided to sail around the corner to St. Anne. This were where my parents started to practice their wildlife photography skills. We have seen it before. It started out with ourselves when we spotted our first turtle in Bequia some months ago and we instantly tried to find the camera and take a picture. We then saw the same thing happening to Martin and Ben when they tried to find a picture taking device as soon as some interesting new animal appeared. Then Chris came along and did the same thing. We didn’t expect it to be any different this time. It got quite interesting when gamle man got stuck on the way in to the water, but decided to wait for an eagle ray to pass first since it was too big to swim with. Instead he had me up and running for the camera and take a picture of it. We spent some days snorkeling and chilling in St. Anne before the weather decided to get in our favor and take us south in my mom’s first night sail in 25 years. Gamle man was eager to get a tuna, and actually had one on the hook that i dropped when I where to pick it up. Over all a bit rolley but nice sail. But I don’t think that my parents slept well at all. But we arrived in St. Vincent in the morning hours.

Over and out Anders