Days 85 and 86, Year 1: Happy Island and Change in Plans
Date: Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Weather: Still Windy Out There
Location: Behind Newlands Reef, Union Island, The Grenadines

I had such a good time on Happy Island yesterday that I’m afraid the log didn’t get written. So I’ll just combine yesterday and today into one log.

The highlight of yesterday was our visit to Happy Island. We had invited Gary and Barbara Davis from Sprectre over for dinner and a pre-dinner trip to the island. This is a very tiny man-made island just out on the reef in front of us. It is not everyone that decides to build an island, but Janti did just that. He had a bar over in Ashton, but few tourists get over there. He also worked for tourism and was trying to clean up the town. One of the major problems was all of the conch shells the fishermen had left on the beach. So he brought the conch shells here to Newlands Reef and built his island and opened his bar/restaurant. It is definitely an informal, barefoot kind of bar, but if you let Janti know ahead of time, he will prepare a dinner for you, or you can just go out to enjoy the setting sun with rum punch or beer. The cost per drink is $10.00 EC which is about $3.75 US, twice the price of anywhere else we’ve been in the Caribbean, but well worth it. Janti works hard to make sure you enjoy your visit to his island and it was a most enjoyable evening. He gets a 10 plus on my rating scale.

I said in our log on Monday that we had listened to the weather from Herb and that he thought we might have a weather window for heading to Bonaire tomorrow. But then we heard other reports that made us think we should not leave until Saturday, so we were planning on that. Well, at 1600 this afternoon, we checked in with Herb and he said we should definitely leave tomorrow as the winds in Bonaire will increase on Sunday. So change in plans. When Herb says to go, it is time to go. The seas are still high, but he thinks this is our window. We will head to town to check out of here tomorrow morning and get on our way as soon as we can. We’ll first listen to Chris Parker’s weather at 0830, but unless he is in total conflict with Herb, we’ll be on our way. We should get to Bonaire sometime on Sunday, hopefully before the heavy winds get there. So it is back to “passage mentality”—up 3 hours, sleep 3 hours, eat on the run, and read lots. Since we will have a full moon on Friday (the 13th) it should be a beautiful time to be doing the overnights. I had said to many of you in e-mails that I would not be leaving here on Friday the 13th, but I guess leaving on Thursday the 12th is okay. Let’s hope so.

We prepare to leave the Windward Islands that we have gotten to know and love with a bit of sadness and a bit of anticipation. We know we will return here someday, but leaving here feels like we are making the “big break”. It means we are no longer just playing around in the Caribbean to then head home. Not a bad thing to do, but not the intent of our trip. Heading west from here is the beginning of a very long trip even further west in order to get back here at some point. They say when you get through the Panama Canal you have probably come about 3,000 miles with only 36,000 left to go to get home. Oh, my!

We will spend a week or so in the ABC’s—Bonaire, Curacao, and Aruba, and then head for the San Blas Islands in Panama when the weather is right. We will spend a couple of weeks in the San Blas and then on to Panama where we register and wait to go through the Panama Canal. We will play awhile on the western side of Panama and then make our way to the Galapagos. We will spend a month there, and then, South Pacific here we come! Stay tuned.

Before I sign off, I want to thank my sister Patsy for sending me some news. Mark and I have been news junkies for most of our lives, but out here, we see no newspapers and hear or see no news. There is no National Public Radio on the high seas. Hopefully Patsy can keep us abreast of any major news events so we won’t be totally disconnected when we return from this trip. Thanks, Patsy. And I also want to say congratulations to my brother Dickie and his wife Conda. They sold their home in West Virginia that they have lived in for the past 35-40 years, and just yesterday, they bought a townhouse near North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. They are beginning a brand new adventure in their lives and we wish them the best.

060110 Day 85 Caribbean, Union Island–Happy Island