S/V Delilah

A Blog to track the wanderings of the S/V Delilah, a 37-foot Tayana sailboat.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Rollins Gets Married

My good friend Dave Rollins was married recently. Wish I could have been there... Pictures can be found here.

Catching up

Tuesday, November 28
Britannia Bay, Mustique, Grenadines

Did you miss us? We are catching up on our blog today, now that we've found free wi-fi. There are four more new blogs and a bunch of pictures to follow. If you want to read them in order, start at the bottom with November 13.

As for today's news, we are leaving Mustique this afternoon for Bequia. Bequia is west of here, and since the tradewinds blow from the east, we should be in for a beautiful downwind sail. Which probably means that the wind will die altogether.

This morning I went back to the petite French bakery here on the island for a little pastry (Yes, Elisa, I'm making the hand gestures) and some bread, and I've learned a disturbing yet valuable lesson: just because a bakery is called French and is owned by some guy who claims to be from France doesn't mean his pastry is any good. The baguette, however, is still warm, so perhaps we'll do better with that.

Three More For The Road

Amy, here's some decent clouds for you. And for everybody else, a picture of Delilah that Jill shot from the bow. Nice.

Rich and Famous in Mustique

Monday, November 27

Britannia Bay, Mustique, Grenadines
N 12 degrees 52.713 minutes
W 061 degrees 11.386 minutes

On Thanksgiving Day it was squally, so instead of dining on the beach, we repaired to the spacious catamaran Rainbowrider, along with the folks from S/V Gypsy Palace, for a real American Thanksgiving dinner. Rainbowrider had the foresight to buy a frozen turkey breast in Trinidad, and various folks made potatoes, rolls from scratch, green bean casserole, stuffing, mushroom dressing, candied sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, etc. It was the perfect end to 15 days in the Tobago Cays (about which we have gushed quite enough, I think).

Friday we went to Mayreau (N 12 degrees 38.016 minutes, W 061 degrees 23.897 minutes), a smallish island to the west of, and therefore downwind of, the Tobago Cays. I, Dean, had the distinction of wrapping the dinghy painter again around the prop, necessitating the painter's destruction by knife. Ha ha, it is to laugh. We were surrounded by a whack of people who were visiting by cruise ship, so we spent only a short time ashore on the beach, looking at T-shirts and enjoying a single drink at a bar up a very steep hill, overlooking the anchorage. We did not try our luck at impersonating passengers at the cruise ship's private, on-beach bar, though we were tempted.

On the morning of the 25th, taking advantage of the wide open anchorage and favorable winds, we sailed off the anchor and made for Canouan (N 12 degrees 42.515 minutes W 061 degrees 19.750 minutes). We were the only cruising boat in this bay, although there were many Moorings boats there, as it is one of their rental bases. We did enjoy seeing the charterers coming and going. Town was very nice, and we had fried chicken and fresh bread in a tiny little snack shop, served by an elderly woman with no apparent sense of humor. We visited a few of the grocery stores there, and not much else. Unfortunately, Tim, we got your comment regarding the manager of Moorings after we left Canouan, so we were not able to stop in.

Yesterday, we again sailed off anchor and made our way to Mustique. We were able to sail virtually the entire way, but in the end we started our engine about two miles out, as we were growing tired of tacking into wind AND current (on the port tack we were able to do a stately 2 knots, kind of like hitting the tide at the wrong time near Deer Island Light). One has to pick up a mooring in Mustique, and pay a whopping $30 U.S. for up to 3 nights. I think it worth the money, as most of it seems to go toward preserving this beautiful island and its reefs. Also, we are in 40 feet of water, and I'm sick of pulling up all that heavy chain.

Mustique is a privately owned and managed island, with enormous houses nestled up in the hills, and a strict injunction against press photography. Most of the island seems to be beautifully manicured to resemble one's fantasy of a Caribbean island. A visitor might not notice how the whole place is not quite real unless he'd spent time on a few of the other islands nearby. Big tour boats are not allowed to anchor offshore, but there are hotels, and charters and private boats are welcome to come ashore and spend money freely. It's easy to do here.

After a long night of listening to the karaoke fiends in Basil's Bar onshore, we decided to indulge ourselves this morning and went ashore for fresh pastry (so-so). We then found the library, where we spent a leisurely hour and a half on the internet, one computer each. When preparing to leave, we found out that the internet was not free, and we ended up paying $26US! That would have bought us a full week of wireless in Bequia! To add to our injuries, we discovered the sign, as we were leaving, indicating that wifi is free. I had decided to not bring my laptop this morning, as nothing indicated that there was wifi to be had. Oh, the injustice. Our blogs and pictures will have to wait one more day.


Wednesday, November 22
Tobago Cays

We're in a race to the finish here at the Tobago Cays, waiting to see what will run out first: our water, our food (not likely, but one gets tired of canned chickpeas and "french-style" green beans after a time), or our selection of unread books. Sadly, I think we will have to move on later this week. The French islands call, with their little cafes and pain au chocoat.

Dean has been eager to stay until Sunday. Our first week here I ruined our chances for a zero-dollar week by purchasing $4 U.S. worth of bread from the boat boys last Wednesday, so he wants to give this week another shot. We have, in fact, gone a whole week since then without spending a cent, but as our budget runs from Sunday to Saturday, the books don't reflect our triumph.

At the very least, we will stay in the Cays through Thanksgiving. I had been threatening Dean with an all-canned Thanksgiving meal--including the turkey meat, which I thought I might turn into a pot pie--until our American neighbors invited us to join them on the beach for a picnic. Somebody actually has real turkey! I don't know where or when they got it, but I think I won't ask too many questions regarding the turkey's provenance.

More Tobago Cays

Here are three lovely shots of the Tobago Cays.

Dean Climbing

We would go to the beach in the Tobago Cays (actually, one of several beaches) nearly every day. There Dean climbed a tree like a monkey.


We were in Hog Island for Halloween. These guys came up demanding treats. We had nothing but cookies to give them. I especially like Spider Man.

Amanzi Rainbow

This was in Grenada. We noticed a rainbow that just happened to end at Amanzi!

Nowhere To Go

Tobago Cays, Grenadines
Friday, November 17

Dean put out what David on Amanzi would call a "whack" of chain when we anchored here. That's because we have plenty of swinging room on this watery plain, and we knew we wouldn't be going anywhere for a while.

I guess the best place to start in trying to explain the magic of this place is to explain the geography, if that's the right word, of the area. The word "cay" is another word for a small island, and the Tobago Cays consist of half a dozen small, uninhabited islands with pretty beaches, palm trees, and walking trails that lead to excellent vistas. But these small islands are incidental, and we are anchored in front of them, not in the lee.

What really makes the area so wonderful is the system of reefs to our east, blocking large swells from the Atlantic Ocean. The most important reef is Horseshoe reef, which extends for several miles in a semicircle to the north, east, and south of the cays. Inside Horseshoe reef, where we are anchored, the water is sandy and relatively shallow--10 feet deep or less in places. The tradewinds keep our wind generator spinning and our bow pointed out to sea. Our view every day is of beautiful turquoise water that eventually gives way to the deeper blues of the Atlantic, stretching over the horizon.

We haven't seen water this clear and in such a perfect shade of blue since the Bahamas. It's a pleasure just to sit in the cockpit and watch the clouds roll by during the day, and marvel over the Milky Way by night. At least once a day, however, we don our snorkel gear and pick a spot along Horseshoe Reef to explore for an hour or two. The best spot so far has been outside the reef, where the reef drops from just a few inches below the surface of the water to the sea floor 60 feet below. On a calm day we can see up to 100 feet ahead of or below us. It's fascinating to snorkel along the wall and watch all the denizens of the reef getting on with their lives. And because the water temperature is still in the low 80s here, we can stay in the water as long as we like without getting cold.

Crossroads and Dragonfly were already in the Cays when we arrived with Dream Weaver, and we spent a very social week together. Michele, who took yoga lessons for years in Memphis, has been practicing on the packed sand under the palm trees on the nearest beach, and I recall just enough from my classes in Greensboro to be able to follow along. In the afternoon, after snorkeling, we all meet again on one or another of the beaches to read, nap, tell stories, and observe colors changing on the horizon as the sun goes down. Most nights we have improvised dinner on one of the boats, each couple throwing together a dish for our evening potluck. Our days have been busy, but not hurried.

Now our friends are heading north. Dean and I aren't ready to leave just yet, so we are spending some time on our own here baking bread, touching up the varnish on the bowsprit, snorkeling (of course), reading, and hoping Amanzi's sail will appear on the southern horizon before long.

Slowing Down

Sunday, November 13
Tobago Cays, Grenadines

Dean said to me, as we sailed the last few miles the Tobago Cays Marine Park, "Are you ready for the highlight of our trip?"

Yes, the Tobogo Cays are that good. Palm-fringed islands, white sand beaches, good holding and plenty of room to anchor, turtles and rays swimming around the boat, topaz-colored water, miles of lively reefs for snorkeling, visibility of up to a hundred feet, starlit skies at night, potlucks with friends, yoga in the sand after breakfast, and a series of zero-dollar days...there's so much to tell. But it will have to wait another week. Part of what makes the Tobago Cays so charming is it's remoteness. The islands here are uninhabited, and the only way to get here is by private boat or by charter. A few locals make their living by delivering ice, bread, and fish to the boats anchored here, but Internet access is out of the question. Having stayed in Carriacou long enough to get the election results, we will suffer the deprivation as best we can.

Where else have we been lately? After leaving Carriacou, we spent a day anchored off two small, close-together islands known as Petit St. Vincent (PSV) and Petit Martinique (PM). The former, an island of the Grenadines, is a private island featuring an exclusive and all-inclusive resort, which was recommended enthusiastically by Dave Rollins. We riffraff were welcome on the beaches, in the bar, and at the restaurant and gift shop, but that was it. After months of staying in anchorages where the water had ranged from murky to downright poisonous, we were thrilled to swim in the perfectly clear water off the boat and walk along the lovely beach. I even found a new kind of shell for my ad hoc collection.

Petit Martinique, contrary to its name, is part of Grenada, not France. The island has about 800 inhabitants who make their living fishing, working at the resort on nearby PSV, and selling the occasional postcard to the few tourists who trickle there from Grenada or the Grenadines. Because there is no Customs and Immigration office in PM, and because nobody would otherwise stop there if they had to go to official ports of entry on Union and Carriacou first, officials sort of look the other way when boats stop there for a day or so after checking out of one country and before checking into another. I got official-yet-unofficial permission to visit PM after checking out of Grenada and before checking into the Grenadines, so we stopped there for the night with Paul and Karin of Dream Weaver, and spent some time walking through the small village.

One tiny store (really a small shed with some signs on it, attached to the front of someone's living quarters), advertised fresh lettuce. We stopped in to inquire if they really had any available. The shop's owner disappeared out back for about ten minutes. When she returned, she was putting two gorgeous heads of freshly washed lettuce into plastic bags. Then it dawned on me: she had picked this lettuce from her garden behind the house! What a treat.

We sailed from the Petits over to the Tobago Cays, where we will stay as long as we can. It is perfect here. So here's my advice to you (yes, you): get down here. Take a plane, book a hotel, charter a boat (Moorings operates a fleet in nearby Canouan Island), or sail your way from New England. It really doesn't matter how. Just get yourself to the Grenadines AS SOON AS YOU CAN, and then pay somebody to sail you over to the Tobago Cays. Money is unimportant. The exorbitant plane fare and the long wait between connecting flights will be worth it. Quit your job if you don't have vacation time, or fake appendicitis. Eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for a year instead of going out to lunch. Stop having your hair dyed professionally. Cancel your cable TV. Go to the library instead of the bookstore. Buy Schlitz instead of Sam Adams. There are ways, and the things you forego will be well worth the reward of sitting on a beach or a gently rocking boat and looking out over this heartbreakingly blue water for a whole day. Really, you owe it to yourself to see this place before it's bought up by some resort and turned into a theme park.

If we found a way to take all this time off, buy a boat, fix it up, learn to sail it, dispatch with debt, and make our way thousands of miles at a speed of five miles an hour, and now we're telling you that THIS is the place for you (all of you), then it behooves you to click over to Travelocity.com or call Harry the travel agent or whatever, and see how you can get here. After a year of this stuff, Dean and I are pretty discerning regarding the quality of the sand, the perfect lean of a palm tree toward the surf, the clarity and temperature of air and water, and the elegance of sea fans as they caress the fins of a colorful parrotfish swimming through a coral reef.

We recommend that you charter a boat, which would give you the most flexibility and enable you to spend a week here, where the only other people are other boaters. If you want more privacy an less tipping over than a boat like Delilah provides, rent a catamaran. They are all the rage down here in the charter world. If you must have a little civilization and dry land, try the resorts on Petit St. Vincent, Palm Island, or Mayreau (Salt Whistle Bay), or book a cruise that stops in Mayreau for at least a day. Brace yourself; it won't be cheap.

We are awestruck by the Tobago Cays. Is there really a tiny sand island just for us with only a palm-thatched hut for decoration? Yes. Can we really see ripples in the sand in eleven feet of water from the deck of our boat? Yes. By moonlight? Yes. Did a foot-wide sea turtle just surface beside us? Yes. Is it the cooling air of the Atlantic Ocean beyond the reef that makes this such a pleasantly temperate anchorage? Yes. What are we doing tomorrow? Doesn't matter. Let's just watch the sun set for a little bit longer.

Monday, November 27, 2006


Here we are in lovely Mustique, a private island that has homes for the fabulously wealthy. We are in the public library, using the free internet, but can't look at our own blog because it has been censored. Haha.

We do owe you quite a few blogs (we've written three, and are writing one to describe our Thanksgiving feast and our time in Mayreau), but we can't do it today, as they won't let me plug my memory stick in.

So, be patient for a few more days... We might go to Bequia tomorrow, in which case we'll get wifi and will be able to post our blogs and pictures (including Dean climbing a palm tree). So, stay tuned.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Sorry no posts

We've been out of internet reach for two weeks or more. We are in Canouan right now, at a fancy hotel's internet cafe. They want $5US for 15 minutes, so this will be brief. More when we hit Bequia in a few days.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Tuesday, November 6
Tyrrel Bay, Carriacou

N 12 degrees, 27.34 minutes
W 061 degrees, 29.30 minutes

Carriacou is a little island north of Grenada where we spent about ten days relaxing last June. Quite a few cruising boats come in here, as well as some charter boats, but the island has kept its sleepy charm. There are a couple of dive shops, a pizza place, a few restaurants and bars, and a few places to buy basic groceries. But this kind of bar and pizza place and grocery store is NOT what you might picture when you think these words. Instead, think of a single lightbulb, unfinished walls, ceilings, and cement floors, smaller buildings, and lots of resident cats to ward off the beasties. The result is decidedly more laid back and sometimes quite charming. Yesterday, for instance, I bought a T-shirt from a souvenir store made from a shipping container. But the container had been turned into a little room, painted bright colors and adorned with all sorts of local artwork and T-shirt designs. The whimsical effect compelled me to part with my money.

The best business in the Bay, however, is run out of a small skiff. When you arrive in Carriacou, Simon pays a visit to your boat to see if you need any wine. Chilean wine is his specialty, and the price is significantly lower than what you'll find in the grocery stores. You place your order, and Simon delivers by the afternoon cocktail hour. If he doesn't have just what you want, he makes a suggestion for something similar. We are not sure how Simon manages to charge such low prices, given the enormous import tax in Grenada, but we suspect that his little fishing boat and the proximity of the tiny Grenadine islands (part of St. Vincent, which has no tax) play a role.

And then there's the free stuff. The scuba diving is alleged to be quite good just a quarter mile outside the harbor, but I have been content to snorkel near the boat for now. Though the water in Hog Island was clean, it was made murky by the mangroves that surrounded the anchorage. And the lagoon was downright polluted. And don't even REMIND me of the filth in Chaguaramas. So it's refreshing to set the hook in fifteen feet of water, and then jump in with a snorkel to watch the anchor bury itself in the sand below you through beautifully clear water.

Yesterday we also did some sightseeing by dinghy in the mangrove swamp next to Tyrrel Bay. A number of boats rode out Hurricanes Ivan (2004) and Emily (2005) there. The mangroves' complicated root system and the windy path that the water takes among them make the swamp the best location, we are told, to avoid the high winds and rough seas during a major storm. The wind was only blowing fifteen knots or so yesterday, but inside the mangrove swamp it was calm. Fortunately for us, it looks like we won't have to find out firsthand how well the swamp works. Hurricane season officially ends at the end of this month, but the weather forecasters have declared it long gone. This year, the eastern Caribbean lucked out.

Goodbye to the Isle of Spice

Saturday, November 4
The Lagoon, St. George, Grenada

The island of Carriacou, where we are headed tomorrow, is actually still part of the country of Grenada. But today is our last day on the mainland. We have been scurrying around, trying to get in a few last errands and make a few last purchases, knowing that we will not be down this way again on this trip.

Yesterday I paid my third or fourth visit to Yellow Poui art gallery in the Carenage. Dean and I had agreed that we would pick up a few pieces of art along the way to serve as souvenirs from the trip--and assuming that, one day, we will have places to put this art. But our budget is still a bit crippled from our time in Trinidad. After a great deal of indecision, we purchased a small watercolor painting of a couple of local houses on a hillside. It was fairly inexpensive, unframed, and tiny enough that we can hang it on one of the bulkheads in Delilah. I am very pleased with our purchase.

I am also pleased with the purchase we made in Island Water World, of a joker valve for the head. But I won't go into details about how that improves our quality of life...

Today Dean made the mistake of letting me go to the grocery store alone. What started out as a quick trip for a few last-minute items turned into cart-filling extravaganza, as I tried to stock up on all the things we might not be able to purchase in the remote islands of the Grenadines, where we will spend the next month. Ting (a grapefruit soda bottled in Ireland, actually), lemongrass tea, Grenada-made chocolate, paper towels (at a whopping four bucks U.S. per roll for the pick-a-size, but you gotta have 'em), chickpeas for my expanding curry repertoire, fresh vegetables, and so on. I could have purchased a MUCH more expensive painting with the money I spent in the grocery store, but that's the way it is. Fortunately, we have no choice but to give the budget a rest until December.