Traveling from Îles des Saintes to Grenada was interesting. We saw a weather window where the trade winds slackened a little bit. In this same window the chance of rain was minimal. We only got rained on once. The wind however was really misbehaving. Winds were forecasted at 15 knots. Actual winds were closer to 5 knots for a good portion of our journey, especially on the lee side of islands we passed. At one point, our ETA calculated by our electronic plotter, showed our overnight trip taking 6 days due to the lack of wind. We had to make a decision of sailing slowly when we had enough wind, or motor-sail to arrive within the planned window. We did a mix of the two. We sailed all night and traveled at about 4 knots (4 ½ MPH). On the bright side, the flat seas and calm winds made it easy to sleep. We both got as decent nights rest (not at the same time). In the morning, we started the engine and motor-sailed for the last 16 hours. I wonder if we are the first people having to motor in the trade winds, or lack thereof.
Off the island of Dominica we ran into a huge pod of dolphins. They seemed torn between feeding or playing with us. In the end, food won and they didn’t stay long. We haven’t seen dolphins since sailing off the coast of The Dominican Republic back in April.
We picked up a stowaway about 70 miles west of St Lucia. A house sparrow landed on Cream Puff and stayed with us all the way to Grenada. We are often visited by curious birds at sea but this little one was obviously lost and too far away from land. It feasted on some croissant crumbs on our cockpit floor until we picked up on the message it was hungry. Cindy tossed it a slice of our baguette which it eagerly ate before taking a nap.
Arriving in a new port in the dark is not my favorite thing to do. Being tired doesn’t help matters much. On this trip we didn’t really have much choice. To arrive in daylight our speed average needed to be 6.5 knots for the entire trip. This was never going to happen with our wind conditions. While in Guadeloupe, I studied the charts and Google Earth so I was familiar with the layout of the harbor just in case we needed to land at night. I laid out a course taking us safely all the way into the marina. A full moon aided in our arrival. The moon rose over the island just as we were about 10 miles away. By the time we arrived in the port, we could see quite well. Sometimes we get lucky and nature helps us.
The Port Louis Marina had told us to call on the radio if we arrived after hours and security staff would guide us to a temporary dock for the night. We made contact with the marina a little after 11 pm. They sent two men to the dock who hit us with strobing flashlights to mark their location and guided us in by radio. By midnight, we were both sound asleep in a new country; Asleep in a new country that we had no idea what it looked like.
I am please to tell you our impromptu sail repair lasted. We have already located a sail maker in Grenada and hope to have the webbing on the tack replaced soon.
Customs and Immigration have an office in the marina and checking in the following morning was painless. Although, we both agreed the officer could have had a slightly more upbeat personality. I guess some people just do not like their jobs. Oh well.
The marina dock hands helped us move Cream Puff to our permanent home until November. They tied us up next to another Amel. After we saw the name on the transom, we realized it was Paul and Anna Marie on Rita Kathryn. We had met them in St Petersburg last summer just as they were in the process of buying the boat. We also found Someday, Kim and Emory we meet in Annapolis in 2015. Our friends Keith and Jeannie on Mucho Gusto who we met in Turks and Caicos, arrived soon after us. And, another couple we met in Îles des Saintes, Michael and Meagan aboard Tanagra are due to arrive soon. Lots of boats are arriving to escape the hurricane belt. We are hoping for a social summer and hope to make new friends in the marina.