Day 84, Year 1: Different Time, Same Place
Date: Monday, January 9, 2006
Weather: Windy, 20-25 knots
Location: Behind Newlands Reef, Union Island, The Grenadines

Last night I wrote the log at 1830. Tonight it is 2030—different time, but we are still in the same place. Part of cruising is settling into ports and getting to know the place and the people. That is what we are doing here. The trade winds are blowing a good 20 to 25 knots, but the real reason we are not moving right now is the seas. They are building from 8 feet to 12 and even higher, so we have settled in until the seas settle down. We talked to Herb on Southbound II this afternoon and he thinks we might have a good window for heading to Bonaire on Thursday. We’ll wait and see.

In the meantime, we take our daily walks to explore the island, continue our research on future ports, and visit with fellow cruisers. I know . . . tough life. We spent our morning finalizing a tentative schedule for our visit to the Galapagos Islands. One of the main reasons I signed on for this cruise across the Pacific was so that I would get to sail into the Galapagos just as Darwin did some 170 plus years ago, so planning for that part of the trip is very special to me. What I am realizing is that even though we did lots of prior research and planning, part of every day must be spent fine tuning the itinerary and researching more carefully the next ports of call. This is my specialty, so I am in my element doing this.

We had lunch on the boat—salad with left over lobster. I totally forgot to mention our lobster experience from yesterday. As almost everyday, the local vendors come by offering water, fuel, and lobster. Yesterday we caved and bought a big, beautiful spiny lobster. Some day we will figure out how to capture our own, but for now, buying one was adventure enough. They are huge, so we had to figure out how to properly cook it. Figuring out how to eat it was not a problem, but I will attest to the fact that they are named properly. They are spiny. One lobster tail was more than plenty for the two of us for early Sunday dinner, so I packed the meat from the claws and legs and saved them for lunch today. The lobster dinner yesterday was fantastic and the left-over lobster was a great addition to our salad lunch today.

This afternoon, we headed to town. All morning we had seen smoke coming from the airport runway area, so when we landed the dinghy and headed to the internet provider by the airport we began to ask people what was happening. No one knew how the fire started, but it was a grass fire adjacent to the runway and it had gotten out of control. It was raging when we arrived, but by the time we had gone to the internet provider and sent some e-mails, the fire was finally under control. The brand new fire truck, which had never been tested, did not work, but a hose that was connected to a water source at the adjacent Anchorage Yacht Club finally did the trick. It was a short but intense time in town with locals all stirred up by the fear of what a fire out of control in a dry environment and high winds can do.

We then took another cross island walk. This time we walked along the northern coast visiting the Big Sands Hotel. As I have said before, one has to downsize their vision of “hotel”, but the location was great. We circled an inland mangrove swamp and walked by grassy hillsides which provide the grazing grounds for many of the island goats. We got back to the boat in time to listen to the afternoon weather from Southbound II and then headed over to Spectre. This is the 37-foot Tayana owned by Gary and Barbara Davis. We had met them aboard Windigo our first night here. We stopped by their boat to say hello yesterday and they invited us over to visit their boat this evening. They are sailing out of Trinidad, but their home port is Philadelphia. Gary worked as special agent for the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in Jamaica and Trinidad and ended up retiring in Trinidad and buying their current boat to cruise the Caribbean. We had a great evening getting to know each other and talking politics. We realized tonight that we have not heard a news report since we left Boston in October. Someone from New Hampshire Public Radio needs to send us a news synopsis. We are totally disconnected! What’s happening out there?

Days 85 and 86, Year 1: Happy Island and Change in Plans
Day 83, Year 1: Trek from Clifton to Ashton