Jump to content

A Caribbean Holiday tale - afloat

Recommended Posts

Well having been back a week it all seems like a long and distant holiday adventure now. 


We were fortunate enough to be invited by my brother to join him and his family on a 10 night sailing trip round the Grenadines.


I dont think my pictures do it justice to the full as some of the scenery was stunning and beautiful clear warm water (most of the time) .


If people are keen to hear a little bit about our family adventure and see a few pictures then I will continue with the story.


Here are a couple to whet your appetite - a crazy sunset and a view of the Tobago Cays which is a terrific place to visit.


ps. Grace apart from the boats and a bit of fishing you will be disappointed to hear - no shoes for 10 days!! very liberating and makes packing a lot easier. 







Edited by Baitrunner
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites



My brother moved out to Barbados over 40 yrs ago seeking his fortune (well looking for work) and has stayed there since. As a result of this set of circumstances I have been fortunate enough to be able to use this to my advantage for cheap holidays - well cheaper than would otherwise be possible.


We had done a similar trip about 5 yrs ago and when invited on the latest expedition to celebrate his 65th SKI holiday (Spending kids Inheritance) I could hardly refuse. 


Kindly Mr BA allowed me to use some airmiles, the wife booked a bargain hotel/car parking package  (£120 for 2 weeks parking, hotel for the night before we left and taxi transfers from hotel to airport) and all was set.


T-30 days - had a email from my brother to say he had some important news about the holiday and needed to speak to us about the trip - sounded bad! Had the call and could tell all was not well. The boat he had booked out of St Vincent was no longer there - in fact the company was no longer there!!! A few frantic calls to one of the other partners and he found out the other partner had done a bunk with some cash and boats had been sold!!! Fortunately he did get his money back (he knew the guy so it's not what you know). Problem -  No boat and no other  charter boats available in St Vincent. So he was put in touch with Sun Sail in Grenada and fortunately they had 1 boat left - a 44ft Cat the same as we had originally booked. Here is the spec    http://www.sunsail.co.uk/fleet/sunsail-444-4-cabin-catamaran-yacht.


Then he reminded me of the next problem - flights had been booked from Barbados to St Vincent, the boat was in Grenada!! phoned LIAT (the local airline) up to try and change flights - cheaper to cancel and rebook them which was madness. So, off to the local sales office to have a chat with an ex-girlfriend from 30+ yrs ago who works for the airline. Again it's not what you know - flights changed to Grenada for a small fee (always good to part on good terms lads).


So we were set.


Shopping list was send over for us to procure delights only available at high cost in the Caribbean - Marmite, Bovril and Anchovies - Just hoped we didn't get stopped with that lot.

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

D-Day - After a mad rush on Friday to finish work we hurtled off to our luxury hotel for the night before flying out with Mr BA.


The hotel looked OK out in the country, but the room was very tired and we had to shower in the dark as the extractor fan sounded like a 747 taking off. Still we had a bottle of champagne in the bag that was still cold and a tub of strawberries from the garden so we didn't care - we were on holiday - official like!!


Queues were not too bad at airport so we had a bacon sarnie before boarding. ooh oh, an hour delay. heck where on holiday who cares. they told us it was due to an air con problem and they couldn't cool the cabin down so we had to wait before boarding. Sounded fishy.


On the plane they told us the brakes had needed replacing so glad they did that or we might have ended up having a swim a bit earlier than we wanted when we landed.


More uh aahs - we had missed our slot so spend another hour taxing and getting ready for the big off, but soon got on our way.


A few drinks and a few films later and it was time to land and the big welcome. 3 planes landed within minutes of each other so queues for immigration were pretty bad, but we are on holiday.


My brother was there to meet us and whisked us away in his car.


My eldest nephew and his girlfriend had already arrived 2hrs earlier on the Virgin flight so were already into the beers. Still we wasted no time after a few quick hugs and the beer and rum was flowing.


Dinner was Dolphin fish that youngest nephew had caught and marinated before cooking on the BBQ - yummy.


We then started to discuss the merits of different rums at which point my brother and I decided we should do a rum tasting!! Here is a picture of our tasting bottles.


Day 1 was over - it had been a long day, but hopefully after that much rum i wouldn't remember much of it!!









Edited by Baitrunner
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't want anyone to think my family are alcoholics, but here is the barrel my brother keeps his rum in. It is amazing how much nicer it can make a cheap rum taste. he didn't know what it had originally been used for but it has been topped up regularly for many years and the 4 gallons it held should do us for another night!!








Edited by Baitrunner
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Finally, the room we had been given to stay in was also the current rum store!!


From my youngest nephews win in his class in the round the island race he won his weight in rum. That was in January.


This was the winnings back then. This is what is left - a lot less by the time we left!!





Edited by Baitrunner
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Day 2 - We spent the day chilling in the garden and weaning myself back off rum!!


The weather was a bit mixed with some strong gusts and showers, but we chilled out watching the monkeys steal the neighbours mangoes and then getting the packs re-packed with our slimmed down holdalls for the boat.


Swimming gear, snorkel, T-shirt - and a pair of flip flops for going ashore in - Oh and half a gallon of rum as it was cheaper in the local cash and carry than in the duty free.


Off to Berts bar which is traditional Caribbean - not!! A sports bar which was weird, but they did some great pizzas with typical Caribbean toppings. We got a table in the open air courtyard and hadn't even sat down when the heavens opened so had to smartly move into the main bar area.


It was an early night ready for the 6am pick up to go back to the airport.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Day 3 -  Started most unusuall with the taxi arriving 15 mins early - unheard of in the Caribbean.


the airport was empty, security quick, immigration done then .....off to the duty free shops.


A bit more rum, gin, vodka and Southern Comfort (the wife has weird tastes) was purchased. We might have enough now to see us through the next 10 days.


The flight was on time (another first for LIAT) for the 40 min flight. Through customs etc in Grenada and we quickly bagged a taxi to take us the short distance to the marina.


The marina was a very smart affair and we dumped our bags in the SunSail office while we waited for the "Skippers briefing". We caught some rays, oggled some boats before we were called in.


Now this is not like a Broads boat briefing. The skippers (all 7 of us) were ushered into an air cond room and asked if we wanted a drink - BEER came the unanimous reply!! What type we were asked? WHAT DO YOU HAVE? no one could make a decision so the girl went out and got us one of each beer each.

The briefing was a powerpoint presentation - soon skipped over most of it once the guy realised we (sorry some of us) actually had a clue what to do and where to go. 


As the boat wasn't going to be ready until mid afternoon, the women were dispatched to the supermarket for stores (beer and some food), whilst the men sussed out the boat, went to the fishing tackle shop and found the bar!!


Now if you have a concern for H&S I wouldn't read much further, but we did all survive the trip.


Once they returned we stashed the food and booze, loaded the fridge and freezer up and were ready to cast off. The guys did the walk round the boat showing us what was what, took us out of the marina and then let us loose.


Yeeha off we go.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Day 4 -  We didn't start too early and I went off with my nephews to snorkel over the Molinere Sculpture park. It was a short swim to the next bay and they looked pretty amazing. Sorry I didn't get any photos, but the lads did with the GoPro and if they send them over I will post a few. You can read about it here.




I had never realised how many Frigate birds and Boobies they got out here. So had to get the camera out for a few shots of a couple of boobies!!


Then we did a long slog up to Cariacou which the smaller island in the same group as Grenada.


More to come later.




Edited by Baitrunner
Link to comment
Share on other sites


   The normal stuff is fine.


The stuff you have to worry about is the 80%+ proof stuff - will take paint off and most of the rum houses make one like this. They use the over-proof stuff in Rum Punch - my wife knows all about this having had 2 very enlightening experiences over the years!! 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Before I carry on thought I would give a bit of an overview of the boat and crew we had.


My brother would normally have chosen a mono hull to make the most of the sailing, but as there were supposed to be 8 of us he opted for the more comfortable version. In the end youngest nephews girlfriend dropped out so hence our crew of 7. I say crew of 7, we actually had 4 skippers and 3 of us who were happy to sight see, pour drinks or pull a rope when told!

4 skippers on a boat is not good!!! It actually panned out OK as we soon realised my sis-in-law, although a member of the local yacht club and involved in marshaling races actually knew as much as I did about sailing. Eldest nephew was busy looking after his girlfriend which left my brother on passage planning and youngest nephew (the real sailor) to do the ordering and driving. I have to say it is impressive to see someone being able to handle a boat like this on his own - I am sure for you proper sailies this is the norm. but for a lazy sod like me it was impressive.

The boat - 4 double cabins all en-suite which were fairly roomy all things considered. The en-suites though are not my favourite as they are basically a wet room so when you have a shower everything is wet. Unlike the UK though, it soon dries out.

The saloon and galley were a fair size, but the saloon never got used other than for storage. galley had a good sized fridge and a freezer (important for the ice), 3 burner gas hob and oven.

Although the boat was about 2.5 yrs old it had seen some action. bear in mind a lot of these are privately owned and managed by the likes of SunSail i am not sure what the returns are, but after 3yrs they will need a lot of TLC to bring them back to life. Basic repairs are done to get the boat back out - odd bolts and fittings and some to be honest were just rubbish.

She had a pair of 39HP Yanma engines that looked like they had been replaced as they were spotless. The engine counters showed over 2000 hrs on each engine and the generator (remember no hook ups out here) had over 2500 hrs on it. No idea how much fuel she held, but the gauges hardly moved during our trip (if they in fact were working).

Generator was handy for giving the batteries a bit of a boost during days of less engine use, feeding the electric toaster for breakfast and most important of all powering the air con!! You may not be a lover of A/C, but we used it more than expected.

Nice little Garmin plotter that was really easy to use and all the other normal gauges you would expect - wind speed/direction, depth etc. Binoculars, charts and plotters/dividers for the real geeks.

3 water tanks had been fitted - 2 were about 300litres each and there was a reserve of about 100 litres - like the electricity, not too many places to pick up water.

Coolbox in the rear cockpit area that held 2 cases of beer and 2 packs of ice. This was very important for crew morale.

Finally we had a small rib about 2.3m with a 9.8hp (who comes up with these sizes) Tohatsu outboard. Interesting contraption on the stern for raising the rib, but it was electric so again saved the hands from too much rope pulling.

One thing that did surprise me was that holding tanks are only required to be used in the national parks. Marinas. harbours and bays are fair game for the dump it (more puns) brigade.

Even more surprising was the lack of use of lifejackets. I only saw a couple of very young kids in them and no one had them on in the ribs or when out to sea. The ones we had been provided with were the bulky solid foam type and I have to confess we followed the locals and went without. No way I could have worn one of those in that heat. 

Finally, and quite topical for the forum, most of the boats have a BBQ fitted on a rail. These are charcoal BBQs as well. I would love to have one of these on our boat on the Broads, but I just cant get my head around the fact that a charcoal BBQ on a boat just does not sound safe. it worked very well though and to be honest we had no problems with ash or anything like that on the boat. 

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Day 4 (cont) - After our lazy start with breakfast and a snorkel out of the way we wedges everything in the cupboards (pillows, linen, towels etc) and upped anchor for the longest part of the journey.


Skipper 1 had planned for us to get up to Bequia as quickly as we could and then have a slow return journey enjoying the sights.


Day 4 was Grenada to Cariacou. The channel between the islands can get quite choppy as the current flows through. Today it was made worse by strong NE winds hitting us at about 30 degrees on the Starboard which meant sailing was not on the cards. They were steady at about 20knotts with the odd gust to 25! I am sure proper sailies will know, but for the stinkies like myself, Cats don't like going into much more than a 60 degree headwind. Especially one that has stretched sails and was not "tuned" for racing. So we had 6hrs on the engines plugging into a headwind and sea. 

I didn't get any pictures to demonstrate this, but wish I had. Normal procedures of one hand for the boat, one for yourself went out the window - both hands were definitely for me and there was no way I was going tot try and get the SLR out while hanging for dear life.

We had a couple of near casualties, but the sea sickness pills kicked in and they survived the day.


Picture below before it got too rough!


We were really lucky to be treated to a pod of dolphins swimming with us for a few minutes on the way which I think everyone just loves to see them and takes your mind of any tummy turmoil.


I also love flying fish. Not just to eat, but they amaze me still after seeing loads of them over the years as to how far they can glide. Well over a 100m in many instances.


The boys had the rods out trolling from the stern, but we had no hits all day.


Finally we saw the port on the horizon in Tyrrel Bay in Cariaciou - our destination for the day. Skipper 3 was ordered up front to get ready on the anchor.


Anchoring completed, it was time for a few drinks, a swim and some marinated ribs on the BBQ.


My brother and his wife are very anti Air con and it was chuffing hot in the cabins. Although they provide air scoops that fit on the roof hatches they aren't very good in a strong blow so we couldn't use them. So it was windows/hatches open and mutterings from the crew (Skipper 3 and myself) who were feeling the heat. We were told if it got too much in the night to start the generator up and put the air con on.

Woken not long after going to bed with rain on my head so the hatches had to be closed up. God it was really hot now.

Woken at about 2am as the genny was fired up and heaven arrived in a waft off cold air from the air con. i assumed it was skipper 3 who could last no longer, but found out in the morning it was the sis in law who had got too hot!! Thank god for hot flushes.


I did realise no one had shown me how to start the genny up so made that a priority for the next day.












Edited by Baitrunner
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Sponsors

    Norfolk Broads Network is run by volunteers - You can help us run it by making a donation

  • Create New...

Important Information

For details of our Guidelines, please take a look at the Terms of Use here.