Log - 4/14 - 9/12/03 St Vincent to Trinidad to the USA

In this section Alan describes cruising south through Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to Trinidad and Tobago. This page includes the following sections:

  1. Saint Vincent
  2. The Grenadines- Bequia
  3. The Grenadines - Tobago Cays
  4. Trinidad
  5. Summer in the USA

Saint Vincent (Apr 14, 2003 - 13°15'N, 61°16'W)

A 15 to 25 knot east wind made for a brisk but good passage south from Saint Lucia to Saint Vincent. I adopted a rather conservative sail plan and used double reefed mainsail and staysail. None-the-less, after the 1.8 knot headcurrent subsided, we made good time.

We had to sail past the northern half of St. Vincent to reach Wallilabou, a town where we could clear into Saint Vincent with customs. At Wallilabou bay you need to tie onto a mooring ball and take a stern line to shore or the wharf. So a few "boat boys" were rowing over a mile offshore to offer their assistance (in exchange for money). It was briefly entertaining watching them converge on our boat. Initially, we considering using their service to take the stern line ashore, but they got our hackles up when they said we "couldn't" do it. So we cheerfully demonstrated how to grab a mooring toss the dinghy in the water and take a stern line to shore - no problem mon!


At first glance Wallilabou appears to be an impossibly charming town. We discovered that the town recently received a fantasy makeover by Disney studios, so it could be used as a set in the soon to be released movie, "Pirates of the Caribbean".

A boat boy offered to sell us some "red snapper" and proudly showed us some small red-orange fish only 4-5 inches long (including the head & tail). If you managed to fillet one, a fish may have provided two mouthfuls. What a sad demonstration about the current dismal state of Caribbean fish and coral reefs.

After checking in at customs we continued onward to Buccament Bay - a more peaceful, and free, anchorage. After a couple days of boat work and snorkeling we decided head to the city of Kingstown, to reprovision and fill up the water tank. The five mile passage turned into a sloppy slog against the current and wind. Arriving at Kingstown we discovered a herd of small fishing boats double-parked around the fuel and water dock. Thanks to the congestion and large swells rolling into the bay, there was no way we could get water or safely anchor and get provisions. Disappointed, we slowly bashed around the corner toward the Blue Lagoon where our guidebook said there were well-protected mooring balls and a marina. Unfortunately, the marina informed us that the passage into the Blue Lagoon was probably too shallow to accommodate our boat. So we paid five bucks for the privilege of using a nearby mooring ball for a few hours while we got our Zen together. After lunch, we put the dinghy on deck and made an eight-mile passage through large seas to Bequia, the next island to the south.

The Grenadines - Bequia (Apr 17, 2003 - 13°00´N, 61°15´W)

The Grenadines are a chain of small islands extending from Saint Vincent to Grenada. For five days around Easter, we were anchored in Admiralty Bay at Bequia, the northernmost of the Grenadines. This place is an major cruising crossroads, so we finally got our water and diesel fuel - delivered to our boat by a little "service station" on a barge! The barge also provides ice, laundry, and garbage services. For people craving fresh baked bread in the morning, but not wanting the hassle of rowing to shore, "boat boys" also zoom around around selling bakery items and produce (at inflated prices).

Healing race boat. s/v Teal heels over in a gust during the Bequia Easter regatta.

Admiralty Bay was bustling with boats attending the annual Easter Regatta. It was fun seeing portions of the races, but the nighttime music (a.k.a. noise) from shoreside parties was tedious. After the Easter chaos subsided, we took a ferry back to Kingstown and provision for our much anticipated stay in the less populated parts of the Grenadines.

The Grenadines - Tobago Cays (Apr 11, 2003 - 12°38´N, 61°22´W)

Petit Tabac Petit Tabac: One of the islets in the Tobago Cays.

The trade winds briefly mellowed to about ten knots, providing a mellow, great close reach (slightly upwind) passage southward - to the Tobago Cays (in the center of the Grenadines). The shallow water above the sand in the anchorage was a splendid turquoise. This is the nicest area of coral reefs and islets we have seen in the Caribbean. Good snorkeling was available at nearby Horseshoe Reef.

I never thought I would be frustrated by a consistent wind. For a couple weeks, as we enjoyed the Grenadines, nice 15-25 knot easterly trade winds provided us with propulsion, electricity, and cooling. After enjoying the Grenadines, we wanted to sail SE (slightly upwind and upcurrent) to Tobago. So, we waited for a week for the wind to either shift slightly to the north or lighten up - but it never happened.

Trinidad (May 5, 2003 - 10°41´N, 61°38´W)

We finally gave up waiting for the trade winds to cooperate, and set sail to the south. As expected, it would have been a long painful journey to Tobago, so we opted to go to Trinidad. After an tiring overnight sail without much sleep, we arrived in Chaguaramas, Trinidad. It is a fine place - cleaner, less expensive, and more cruiser-friendly the other islands we have been to in the Caribbean.

Trinidad is south of the Caribbean hurricane belt, so my boat will stay here until November. Numerous boat improvements and a large amount of maintenance and are on agenda for our long stay in Trinidad.

We initially tied up a dock at Peake Yacht Services, but during the occasional southerly swell, the open dock proved to be dangerous; so we moved over to Coral Cove Marina where the docks are more protected.

Summer in the USA (45°40´N, 122°35´W)

Petit Tabac A diver positions travel lift slings in preparation for hauling my sailboat out of the water.

In June 2003, my boat was hauled out and stored the Peake boatyard for much of the hurricane season. During the summer, Katherine and I return to our old stomping grounds in Vancouver Washington. Katherine worked as a raveling nurse in the operating room of SW Washington Medical center and earned big bucks. I studied, did a bit of web design, visited my family in South Dakota, and gathered together boat fix up items. We returned to Trinidad in mid-September, for two months of boat repair, maintenance, and improvements.