Monday 7.Aug.2017 – Columbier Bay, St. Barts to Antigua\St. Kitts Christophe Harbour, St. Kitts – 17.14.700 N 62.39.340 W (64.89 nm)
Well up at 5 AM and actually left by 5:30. The winds picked up a bit and the seas were angry. Didn’t seem to matter which course we tried the winds would change or so would the seas. You can see dear Kathy trying to smile for the selfie…. but this is as good as it got!
About 5 hours in and 36 NM out we made the decision to change our destination and head for St. Kitts.
We arrived at a new Marina in Christophe Harbour. Now the fun begins! Squalls and winds pushing on our starboard side and the harbour master wants me to dock up on my port side in front of another boat so we could refuel. K, lets remember we have only had this bad boy for a couple of weeks and docking is something I haven’t had to do much of yet. As one of Dalynn’s sailing buddies puts it, the “Pucker Factor” was high to say the least. Whew, that done with no issues, fueled up and ready to see what next. The ladies go in to see if there were room at the Super Yacht dock for us to spend a night or two to figure our next sailing plans. They say sure, just stern to slip #2, built of solid concrete 6 feet out of the water over around that corner. “Pucker Factor” went into overdrive. I gotta turn this beauty around on itself and back into these walls of concrete with winds blowing me on my port bow. All the while everyone is rushing to get the fenders moved from port to starboard as now our taxi is waiting to take us to town so we can deal with Customs, Immigration, and the Port Authority! Again all worked out well, we jumped off the boat and rushed and to our cab.
Grand Cru in her new slip and me about to drop the “Pucker Factor” back to zero!
We got to the Capital of St. Kitts, Basseterre, at the cruise ship docks. The Customs agent was leaving in his car and our cabby new who he was so honked at him and asked if someone was still in the office for us. He turned his car around and helped us out! It was great, then on to Immigration and finally to the Port Authority. That all done, it was to the first establishment that had cold beer.
Dinner plans quickly changed to street side pub that served chicken roti’s. Add a rum and dinner was done. On to the local store for a little provisions…… add a little rum and beer and we were set to call our cabby to come get us. This meant asking a local to borrow their phone as we had been unable to purchase a sim for my phone yet. Well Kathy did the honors and asked this nice man for his. He was most obliging and then Kathy made the mistake of asking what he was drinking out of a Dewer’s Scotch bottle. It was thick and dark. They were now best buddies!
Thursday 3.Aug.2017 – Nanny Cay 18.23.967 N 64.38.137 to The Bight, Norman Island 16.19.018 N 64.36.983 W (6.59 nm)
Well we splashed somewhat on time and headed up to revisit The Bight on Norman Island. Got setup for the night and had a little issue with the water maker. Glen and I fixed her up and showers were on again!
Friday 4.Aug.2017 – The Bight, Norman Island to Leverick Bay, Virgin Gorda (20 nm)
Up early and headed to Leverick Bay again to prepare for the long sail to St. Maarten, DC. It was slow going straight into the wind so not much sailing. Glen and I went to check out of the BVI’s at Gun Creek. The customs guy was sitting outside the door that said “Back at 2:30 and it was only 1:45. He asked what we were doing and wanted and he simply said in Island twang, “Come”. We got everything completed in a less than 15 minutes!
Saturday 5.Aug.2017 – Leverick Bay, Virgin Gordon to Simson Bay, St. Maarten 18.01.933 N 63.05.874 W (81.03 nm)
Up at 3:10 AM to prepare for the long passage to our destination. It was almost straight east so beating into the wind and waves for much of the journey.
We settled in for the night and cracked the bottle of champagne that our Broker Chris gave us once we were on board our new vessel.
Sunday 6.Aug.2017 Simson Bay, St. Maarten to Columbier Bay, St. Barts 17.055.540 N 62.052.269 W (21.84 nm)
Easy sail and spent some time practicing tacking and putting in a sail reef while out at sea. We ended up sailing more miles than necessary but a great learning day with nice weather.
July 30 – August 2.
Well before we moved down the way to a new anchorage, Kathy actually tried out the SUP. (paddle board) She paddled in toward shore on her knees and then went for it and stood up. The surf was a little rough but she got to her feet and away she went! Not bad for a girl who isn’t really a water lover! We celebrated with a nice bottle of champagne that Peter and Bobbi, the awesome Capt n Crew of Grand Cru gave us upon arrival the first night. Thanks guys it was wonderful!!!
Once we got settled near Saba Rock we set off for the hike at the Bitter End on Virgin Gorda called Guy’s Trail. A short walk around the resort property and up we go.
Once we got to the top we set up the necessary selfie and shot of where our boat was enjoying some peace and quiet near Saba Rock.
Monday July 31 Plan A was to make our way to Peter Island and anchor at Little Harbour. Well as beautiful as it was there was no current or wind which would mean we would need to stern tie as well. With that in play we made the move to Benures Bay on Norman Island. Checked it out and figured too deep to anchor. Next was to sail around the corner to Solider Bay. It was just right and took a mooring ball there to spend the night.
While here we decided to test out the Bosun’s chair. This, for those who don’t know, is a little piece of fabric with hook that you clip on with the main sail halyard to winch you up the mast. As it appears that we have a burnt out anchoring light bulb, someone was going to need to check it out. Well, no way Kathy was going up, Sis has done this many times on their first boat and is not a fan and well Glen, he needs to run the winch. Sooooo that meant I drew the short straw! It was a little rocky and rolly out so all hands on deck to watch the show and make sure I was safe, so no pic this time to add to the post. It was a little too rolly to continue, but I did make it up to the mast spreaders and the decision was made to return to the deck. Next time we are at anchor in a quiet spot I will be checking out the anchor light and pics will follow!
Next day, Tuesday we headed for Nanny Cay to have a little saildrive issue addressed. This meant a haul out and Grand Cru “put on the hard” so she could be fixed. With her out of the water and stern to the wind, decision was made to stay in the hotel and have some AC while repairs were completed.
Wednesday repairs all completed and we splash tomorrow around 9 AM. Now remember, Island time is Island time so we really have no idea when we will be aboard and sailing away for Leverick Bay on Virgin Gorda. Once we do get there we will stage and prepare and wait for a favorable weather window for the 90 mile journey to Saint Maarten.
So all, we will be out of any wifi zones for a bit and will update next chance we get!
Saturday July 22, 9 p.m. We arrived safe and sound and only an hour behind schedule in a down pour with all our luggage in tack. Us in the tiny plane on our last leg of the journey from Antigua to Tortola.
We were greeted on the dock by Capt. Pete and Bobbi. These guys have been the crew on Grand Cru and took us aboard for the first time. A quick intro to the the new girl, (to get us through the night) a gift bottle of champagne, a little unpacking and off to bed. Next morning early, we unpack a bunch more stuff and get a handle on the lay of the boat. At 2 pm Pete and Bobbi were gracious enough to take us out on a three hour tour! No Gilligan’s Island reference there, we actually came back a whole tonne wiser and very appreciative for all they taught us.
Well we took the next couple of days to provision, pick up supplies and stuff for the boat and put on our new decals. Thanks to Brian and Mandy for that.
We than went to check out Soper’s Hole for happy hour and a new appy called Christmas Tree potatoes. What that meant was very thinly sliced potatoe chips, deep fried and layered on a plate with blue cheese, scallions and chopped tomatoes. All in all quite delicious.
Thursday July 27 we set sail for Virgin Gorda and Leverick Bay. This was our maiden solo voyage. We left around 10 am from Nanny Cay and arrived at about 3 pm. The sail was wonderful with light winds and calm seas.
We spent the night in Leverick Bay and went to shore the next morning to do the laundry and check out the area. Decided we needed to head to Jumbie’s Beach Bar for a beer or rum punch for Happy Hour. Oh what the hell, let’s have one of each!
Saturday morning we made way for Saba Rock and set anchor for the night. Early afternoon and Sis and I attempted our first kick at SUP’s, stand up paddle boards in medium winds and good current. Needless to say….. interesting.
Well, til we have good wifi again, later guys! I think I hear a rum calling my name!!!
Past Wednesday Kay and Debra, great friends for a long long time hosted a get together of the entire crew from the days of Allenjail as we affectionately called the school. It was a wonderful evening with stories, laughs and great appies!!! Kay and I even topped it off with a wee Bourbon sampling. Take care all of you, will miss you all but I will keep you up to date of the adventures of Grand Cru! Cheers!
Well with that, we are officially boat owners and our last day living as Dirt Dwellers for a while is in progress. We leave for the plane at 10 PM tonight and should get to Grand Cru around 8 PM Saturday. I think we have had everything packed, unpacked and repacked only about 4 times. Figure if we don’t have it in one of these bags totaling now about 200 pounds, we don’t really need it!
Grand Cru, HERE WE COME!
Okay already, just looked at the calendar and only 15 days to departure. Well, needed equipment and stuff for the boat purchased, preliminary packing, insurance arranged, house stuff ready for leaving, cars and bike serviced, and then I am leaving for a 4 day bike trip to the Going to the Sun hi-way in Montana and back home through the Kootenay’s in time to do a round of vaccinations and a visit to Baptiste Lake, AB. Then home to finalize packing and a couple of goodbye get-togethers, whew! I was hoping to get one round of golf in this season but that is looking impossible.
It is going by real fast. It was like 50 days until we leave….. ahhhhh lots of time to pack, plan, visit doctors and dentists, check out necessary vaccinations, etc. CRAP now only 25 to go and still lots to think about and get done. The first bed full of stuff!
Along with all that, I also played my last game with the Coast to Coast Flyers as a full time player. It was bitter sweet but now I will have time to heal some of the wounds and injuries acquired over the 36 years of playing with some really great men.
On another note, Kathy’s school had a little retirement farewell after school today. There was a mis-communication with invites, so our girls couldn’t get there in time, but I was able to and witness a wonderfully well put together video (shout-out to Greg Boutestein) of many staff relaying their thoughts on what Kathy has meant to Morinville Community High School over the past 17 years. It was a tear-felt review of her contributions and well wishes for our next adventure.
Here is the YouTube link if you wish to view the video you need to select the top left tool icon and scroll down to number 7.
Well enough time spent on this, back to the matter at hand…..packing, unpacking, thinking, evaluating what has been done, what needs to be done, and what can wait til we return………?