Monday, September 5, 2016


After leaving the Tobago Cays, we spent several weeks  hanging out in Grenada and preparing the boat to be left for the remainder of hurricane season.  I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, but we had planned now for some time to leave the boat in Grenada and go back up to NYC for the season just to rebuild the kitty a bit.  To be honest, I have been dreading writing this post as I'm not sure if I was quite ready to leave my life when I did (yes, I'm currently back in NYC, more on that later…), and writing about Grenada only leaves me with the empty feeling of missing Moitessier and all that she represents.  

Anyhow, Grenada was absolutely amazing.  The few weeks we spent there really made me excited to come back and spend some more time exploring all the little anchorages along the coast of Grenada.  Aside from it being a beautiful island rich with history, the locals really make this place a diamond in the rough.   I'm not sure what it was, but everyone seemed sincerely happy.  This energy was certainly contagious and everywhere you go, people seemed open to making small talk or simply passing on a smile.  Though it is still a poor island, you never got the sense that people were unhappy.  Fruit in Grenada was also pretty stupendous, and the "Saturday market" in St George really shows the wide array of tropical fruit that can grow on the island.  Essentially, "Saturday Market" is an open spaced market with outdoor stands packed with fruit, vegetables, eggs, and any other miscellaneous items you could think of.  Every piece of produce is packed with flavor, and fresher than anything I have ever had, and all at very nominal prices.  Tomatoes actually tasted like heirloom tomatoes, watermelons were crisp and sweet, mangos were meaty and juicy, and the guanabanas were tart and florally.  I even had the pleasure of trying a wax apple for the first time, and it was amazing with its texture much like a pear, and its flavor similar to eating a rose.  Sounds odd, but it was really so tasty!  

Saturday Market
Views from Fort George...

Preparing the boat to be left on the hard was quite a daunting ordeal.  Aside from the anxiety of having to leave MoMo for an extended period of time in a place that could potentially get hit by a hurricane, the fear of hauling her out took precedence over all others.  For months, I have been dreading this very moment, going over the precise details of exactly what I needed to do get her into the slings.  For those of you who don't know, driving a double ended sailboat is much like what I imagine driving a mac truck on ice would be.  No brakes, no control....  And since Moitessier has a big ol' bowsprit, we had no choice but to back the thing in.  Now another thing you may not know…we suck at close quarter maneuvering.  Come to think of it, you may already know that.  Normally, between Frank and I, I'm usually the more laid back one, throwing caution to the wind and playing things by ear, but for days before our haul out, I was an unrecognizable nervous wreck.  All of this was compounded by the little fact that Frank had also injured his back days before our scheduled haul out, and so the task of prepping all the things that needed to be done for Moitessier to be left for a long period of time was left mostly to me.  Yay.  These tasks included cleaning out every nook and cranny and spraying it down with Lysol to aid in the prevention of mold while the boat was left unattended, getting rid of all food stores to keep critters away, cleaning out the fridge, stowing everything on deck, removing all sails and stowing its lines, removing the solar panels and bimini, topping up the batteries, flushing the dinghy motor, stowing the dinghy, draining the engine, the list goes on….I'll admit, I didn't handle the stress very well, and became an irritable neurotic mess, working frantically around the clock, nitpicking every detail of every thing that needed to be done.  I knew this behavior is what psychologists call "transference,"putting the stress of hauling out onto other things in my life, but even knowing this did not help my situation, as I found myself neurotically vacuum sealing and labeling our food stores.  Oddly, during this period, Frank and I did a role reversal, and I became him and he became me.  He was the lackadaisical one, telling me not to worry, that it will all get done, just chilling and ignoring my detailed to-do lists…me, I was rigid and militant, losing sleep for a week straight, staying up all hours of the night obsessing over every possible scenario of the haul out, dinghying over to the lift every single day to see wind direction and current, making lists on top of lists, and lists for my lists.

In the end, the haul out went very smoothly, much to my delight/surprise.   We had commissioned our boat buddies on Lyric to help, with Brad manning his dinghy alongside Moitessier, and Karen on deck to help with lines.  This gave me the vote of confidence to do what I needed to do, and somehow magically backed the boat in with no injury to our beloved home. Pretty astonishing considering we hadn't touched a dock since leaving the states. MoMo is now sitting soundly on the hard (growing mold), and patiently awaiting our return.    

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Lovely Tobago Cays...

After a short jaunt from Bequia, we ended up hanging in the Tobago Cays for a couple of days.  Let me start by saying that these Cays are very similar to the Bahamas.  I mean this from a aesthetic, topographical perspective, where they are small low lying islands with crystal clear aquamarine water rich with coral.   Seeing it made me miss Bahamas so much, making me regretful that I took the amazing diving and marine life for granted at the time.  We never realized that the water visibility and coral of the rest of the Caribbean would be so lacking compared to the Bahamas.  Frank and I often long for the months we spent spearfishing, foraging, alone on deserted islands, and getting back to our primal roots.  There really hasn't been anything else like it since as the islands of the Caribbean are highly trafficked by cruisers, cruise ships, and tourists alike, and it's so rare to ever be alone by yourself in an anchorage.  

With that being said, I can say that the Tobago Cays are  beautiful with coral that was semi-comparable to the Bahamas.  I say this because a lot of the reefs here, sadly, are starting to die.  With Horseshoe Reef surrounding the cays,  spanning miles long, most of the coral is starting to be overgrown with algae, which is really sad as I can only imagine just how incredible it was when it was teaming with colorful, vivid, live corals.  I suppose it has to do with the amount of tourism here, with charter boats and cruisers every where you turn.   The really remote areas, where Frank and spent weeks without seeing single boat in the Bahamas, were always rich with different coral as well as a diverse variety of  fish.  Anyhow, I say this from a purely speculative point of view, I'm obviously not a marine biologist, so I really have no damn clue as to why all the coral is dying.  

Nonetheless, we really enjoyed our time here.  Though we weren't able to spearfish, as the cays are part of a protected marine park, we still spent our days free diving the reef, swimming with sea turtles, and exploring all the little islands.  The diving visibility is amazing and the reef is so tall that that you were surrounded by reef even in 40+ft of water.  Frank spotted a Hammerhead bigger than our dinghy, during one of our excursions,  just skimming along in 5 feet of water.  Though it would've scared the shit out of me, I am jealous that I didn't get to see it as I was busy exploring another part of the reef.  I have never spotted a Hammerhead before, and when I imagine big scary sharks, Hammerheads always seem to make an appearance next to the Great Whites, so they're definitely on my bucket list.  It was a pretty cool place to anchor your boat in as well, since the cays are protected from the seas by Horseshoe Reef, you feel like you're just anchored smack in the middle of the ocean with tiny little islands surrounding you (along with the million other boats).  All in all, very well worth the $10EC per person per day they charge you to stay.    

Petit Tabac...
…little island where they filmed a scene in Pirates of the Caribbean
Cool cairns off the end of the beach
Boats everywhere :(
Hi MoMo...
Proud parents
Baby reef sharks...
Just swimming in the shallows on shore
Sea Turtles everywhere….
This was awesome…it's called a Sea Robin...
…also known as Flying Gunard.  Looks like a butterfly!
Stingray about to bury himself
I love these little cactus flowers
Sun set in the cays...
Full moon shot at the bow