Wednesday, February 29, 2012

They Know What They’re Doing!

Auto setting
Underwater setting
Right off I’ll say that I know little about how digital cameras work, but I do know that I love them. First, they allow you to take many many pictures to try to get one really good one. Doing that with a regular camera would just be waaay too expensive in development costs. Second, they’re clever. Although I can set my digital camera manually, usually I’m not out for artistic shots, but rather, something easy and nice that prompts my memory of the day. Shooting underwater while snorkeling is complicated by movement—getting to my subject, then trying to stay still while I take the picture—not to mention losing color perception with depth. Frankly, I have neither the time nor the lung capacity to fiddle much with the camera while I’m trying to get a shots. Anyway, my second time out with my underwater camera, I took a couple of uninspired shots: washed out and too blue. Then I realized that I didn’t have the camera on the underwater setting. I changed it and—presto!—the pictures actually looked like what I was seeing, with the right colors. So at least those engineers at Canon know what they’re doing, even if I don’t.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Colors of the Caribbean

While on our Mayreau hike, we meandered through Salt Whistle Bay, which has a beautiful beach and tidy little mooring field. What caught my eye, though, were these eye-popping colors on the local boats and the sarongs being sold by the beachside vendors. Just beautiful!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Check out the New Website!

Screen shot of newly designed website
No, not this one. This website is very automated and easy-to-use. But Chris’ writing website needed an update, so I’ve spent the last month or so learning how to use WordPress, designing the site, and filling in content. Earlier this week, it went live. We went with a nautical theme, since he’s currently working on the nautical adventures in the Scimitar Seas books. All the photos on top, except for the shot of the beautiful schooner, are ours. Check it out at, and let me know how you like it. Also, please let me know if you find any mistakes, empty links, etc.

Circumnativaging Mayreau (By Foot)

Chris walking the beach on the eastern side of Mayreau
Our cute hiking buddy!
That sounds like a long way, right? But Mayreau is so small, it only took a couple of hours to walk around the entire island. Beautiful walk, though. There were beautiful views to be had, great beach walking, and a trudge up a long, steep slope. All fun. At the outset, we picked up a friend (unintentionally, he just started following us), a cute white dog, who followed us to the northern end of the island, then deserted us for a group of windsurfers. The route we took came courtesy of our friends Neville and Glenys on Alba, who’ve posted several island hikes on their website. Their directions are terrific, noting obscure landmarks and providing pictures at spots where you might get lost. Check out their site at Not only does it have info on their current cruising, but also about their cruising years ago when their now-grown boys were children, their mountain-climbing in Europe, and recipes.
Pretty little stone church

View from Mayreau's hilltop, looking east toward the Tobago Cays
Wonderful beachside restaurant table at Saltwhistle Bay!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Guess What We Had For Dinner?

Delicious filets from a 39-inch king mackerel Chris caught as we enjoyed a beautiful sail from Canouan to Bequia in the Grendadines.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Around the Spice Island

Clement telling us about Grenada's history beside the Lagoon in St. George's

Women grading nutmegs by hand
We gathered a group of other cruisers and took a tour around Grenada with Clement Baptiste of CB Historical Tours. This guy knows his stuff! Our first stop was in St. George’s, where we not only learned about historical battles over the island, but also about modern-day altercations. A big truck backed into Clement’s nice van, breaking a tail light. In the States, this would involve insurance companies, weeks or months of time, increased premiums, etc. Here, we both drove to a dealership, and the driver of the truck bought Clement a new light. Done, and we were on our way again! We drove up the west coast, stopping at the nutmeg processing facility in Gouave. During the last hurricanes, Grenada lost a huge percentage of their nutmeg trees, so they’re trying to build back up, slowly but surely. But there were still women sitting there, grading nutmegs by hand. And the whole place smelled fantastic!
Beautiful outbuilding at Rivers Rum distillery
We also stopped at the Rivers Rum distillery on the east coast, which has beautiful old buildings, as well as old practices; the sugar cane grinder is water-powered, and the distiller is wood burning. The vats were concrete, however, instead of the original wood. We stopped at the Belmont Estate, which produces all sorts of fruits and vegetables, and has a goat dairy. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to tour the estate, but did eat a delicious lunch at the restaurant in the original estate house. Back through the rainforest in the center of the country, where we saw a Mona monkey enjoying a snack on a fence. Then to Anandale Falls, and back to the marina.

Anandale Falls

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Back in the Water – With Proof!

Fire coral - baaaaad.
Well, we’ve finally found nice water for snorkeling again at Union Island in the Grenadines. Mind you, it’s not like the Bahamas, but it’s more than we’ve had for months. We had bought an underwater camera over the summer, and hadn’t had a chance to use it…until now. So here are some of the sights we saw when we snorkeled.

Soft coral - good!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Location, Location, Location

Nice view!

Try to buy a house with any kind of ocean view in the states, and you’re talking big bucks. Here’s a little getaway we saw when we hiked up to visit Fort Frederick in St. George’s, Grenada. Okay, it’s a shack, but it’s a colorful shack with a balcony overlooking a million-dollar ocean view. And if they’ve got binoculars, they have an even more interesting view at hand. See the buildings on the next ridge? That’s Her Royal Majesty’s Prison. The green trees and grounds below the prison are where the prisoners grow fruits and vegetables, and raise pigs, goats, and chickens, to supply government facilities like the prison and hospitals. No lazing around for these nere-do-wells! The prisoners must have a spectacular view, too.
Close-up of colorful shack - with a balcony for the view!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Cruising at the Other End of the Spectrum

Nice inflatable water slide on Teleost
How big is Hemisphere? Look at the guy on the bike on the dock
 For us, cruising is an inexpensive lifestyle relative to living on land, or living on the boat at a dock. And in an anchorage, we see all kinds of boats, large and small. Recently in Grenada we’ve shared anchorages with a few megayachts. I looked a couple up online, and it’s enough to blow your mind. One was Teleost, a 161-foot motor yacht with all the toys, including jet skis, water skis, underwater scooter, SCUBA gear, and a huge, inflatable water slide. Check it out here. The other was Hemisphere, a 145-foot, brand-new (launched in 2011) luxury catamaran, also with all the toys. Check it out here. Despite her size, which makes everything around her look out of scale, she’s a really beautiful boat. (And her crew was friendly, waving when we went by.) The price of a luxurious week in the Caribbean on these vessels? Well, Teleost goes for $240,000. Yes, that’s for a week, not a year. Hemisphere’s price is even more dear, ranging from $245,000 during the low season to $266,000 during the high season. I’ve got to say, even if I had that kind of money, I don’t know if I could make myself blow it in a week, regardless of how nice the boat is. So we’ll stay on our cozy boat, walk or take public transportation, and eat at the street vendors, and stretch our money so we can cruise much longer than a week.