Gotta Smile!

Gotta Smile!

Saturday, January 31, 2015


January 28 - 30, 2015

1 - Grenada, 2 - Carriacou, 3 - Union Island, 4 - Tobago Cays, 5 - Mayreau,
6 - Bequia, 7 - St Lucia, 8 - Martinique
A - Fort-de-France, B - Pointe du Bout
The fort on Pigeon Island overlooks Rodney Bay.
We are on our way to Martinique.
Our hope had been that we would have following seas as we travel north.  The entire trip south had been against the wind and waves.  It only seemed fair that we should have the proverbial following seas and fair winds at some point.  The trip from St Lucia to Martinique was not kind.  Again we had confused seas that were relentless as they slapped us on both sides and the 
bow.  Well, if that's the only thing I have to complain about, my life is pretty good. I guess I should quit whining!  I'll try not to mention winds and waves again.  

Fort De France, the capital of Martinique.
By the time we were anchored in the bay, it was too late to check in with customs.  We were ready to relax and have dinner.  Thursday morning we dropped the dingy ready to explore the town and sample those delicious French baked goods.  There is no shortage of places to eat in this city.  Besides pastries and espresso, we had an excellent lunch with the locals at The Crew.  Shopping and walking the back streets kept us entertained.  We weren't sure if the women's clothing on display was casual lounge wear for the average woman or special items for Carnival.  No matter -- they were pretty crazy!   Lots of 'spank me I'm naughty' designs.   

Rue de La Republique, a pedestrian
only street, in the heart of Fort De France.
The market is in a very large building with fresh fruit
and vegetables, clothing, jewelry and souvenirs.  

After lunch we took the boat to a smaller anchorage, Pointe Du Bout and visited the town of Anse Mitan. This used to be a very chic tourist area.  Although it's not as chic as it once was, it's a fun stop.  It feels like a small French resort town.  In fact, it was so nice we stayed for a second day.    

The swimming beach is just beyond the boulders.  

Main street of Anse Mitan
Shops and restaurants at street level.
Apartments upstairs.
We enjoyed crepes for breakfast.
French bread, cheese and ham on the
beach for lunch.  

Gotta smile -- we're lovin the ride!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

St Lucia

January 22 - 28, 2015

1 - Grenada, 2 - Carriacou, 3 - Union Island, 4 - Tobago Cays, 5 - Mayreau,
6 - Bequia, 7 - St. Lucia
A - Rodney Bay,  B - The Pitons,  C - The Pink Plantation
D - Marigot Bay,  E - Pigeon Island

We left Bequia just as the sun was coming up -- 6:15.  Because we had decided not to stop in St Vincent, due to reported crime, we had a 9 1/2 hour trip ahead of us.  We opted to go directly to St Lucia.  Unfortunately, St Lucia is beginning to get the same reputation as it's neighbor.  We had no problems.  In fact, Brian left his credit card at a gas station.  24  hours later he went back to see if it was there.  They remembered him and put it in his hot little hand! 

St Lucia's claim to fame are the Pitons.  They are two volcanic spires that rise out of the water.  Gross Piton is 2,530 feet high and Petit Piton is 2,438 feet.  
We rented a car for three days.  Our first day of exploring took us to Ladera for lunch.  It is ranked as a top destination in the Caribbean by Conde Nast. I'm surprised they let us in!  The whole resort focuses on the fabulous Pitons and wealthy guests.  
Even though the island is only 238 square miles, driving even a short distance takes hours. Winding two lane roads with hairpin curves occasionally became one lane.  Our top speed got up to 30 mph.  What  we thought would be an hour drive took 3 1/2 hours.  Needless to say, we had a LATE lunch.  
Our lunch time view. 
The architecture at Ladera is pure
Polynesian!  Carved accents

Day two of the car rental started out with breakfast and shopping in Rodney Bay .  In one of the shops I saw some art by Michelle Elliot.  I had purchased one of her prints on a previous trip.  The salesperson told us we should visit her restaurant, The Pink Plantation.  It also has a gallery with a large collection of her work.  Luck was with us!  As we drove towards Marigot Bay, I spotted a small sign pointing to her shop.  What a fabulous stop!  Great art, food, landscaping and charming people.  The main building is a 140 year old French Colonial home with ocean views on 2 acres of lush tropical gardens. Magnificent!   


After sensory overload at the Pink Plantation we continued south to Marigot Bay, our original destination.  It is a small marina in a well sheltered bay.  A new resort is part of the facility. 


The last day with a car we set out to find a beach.  I had read of two in the area that were ranked in the top five by lonely planet guide book.  Unfortunately, we found that they were both part of resorts.  Jon, who can usually talk anyone down, tried to gain entry at Smuggler's Bay.  We watched as he talked to two security guards and then chatted with the main office on the phone.  The best he could do was $75/person to use the beach.  Too rich for our blood.  We headed back to Pigeon Island (which really isn't an island and there were no pigeons).  We found a nice beach that the locals use.  It was adjacent to the Sandals Resort.  Brian, Jon and Bonnie bet I couldn't get past the guard gate at Sandals.  That was the challenge I needed.  I strolled down our beach and through the gate without a question from the guard.  The beach wasn't any better than where we were and the locals were more fun....but I did win the bet!
Gregory, our floating produce stand,
comes by almost every day with an
assortment of fresh Caribbean fruits
and vegetables.  He is quite the
marketing genius.
This is quite brilliant!  The sewing
machine is attached to the floor.
Kenney's bench seat is below the
floor.  The entire floor becomes his
work table.

Our bimini was in rough shape.  When it rained the water came through it like it didn't exist.  We had thought we would leave St Lucia on Tuesday, but then we met Kenny at Rodney Bay Sails and our departure was moved back a day.  Kenny is super nice and very professional.  He gave us an itemized bid and promised he could have the work done on Tuesday.  His price was reasonable. We were impressed with him and the results were excellent.  We wish we could hang around for a couple more days to have some additional work done by him.  

Nigel, our dock master, stopped by to tell us a Krogen story.  His boss, Ken, is visiting from England and is only here for a couple of days. Ken originally arrived in St Lucia from Spain on a Krogen Whaleback in the mid 80's.  When he got here the entire marina site was a giant swamp.  He developed the marina by dredging the area and has gone on to become the head of the IGC Americas.  Another Krogen success story------ 

Our last day in St Lucia we took the bus
to a beach in Rodney Bay.  A perfect day!
One of us walked the beach and swam....
guess who!

Gotta smile -- we're lovin the ride!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

We're On The High Seas! Carriacou to Bequia

January 15 - 21, 2015

1. Grenada,  2. Carriacou,  3. Union Island,  4. Tobago Cays,  5. Mayreau,  6. Bequia

We began our voyage north today, January 15th.  After being landlocked for such a long time, it was wonderful to leave the marina and head out to sea.  The first stop was Carriacou a five hour trip.  We were sheltered by islands at the beginning and end of the trip, but the middle was just plain nasty.  Six to eight foot confused seas battered us from both sides and the bow.  It was a rough couple of hours.  When we entered Tyrrel Bay, we found flat water. It was perfect.  Everything we love was there:  an anchorage in a quiet bay, dinner in the cockpit with a soft breeze and a starry sky.  It was made  even better with two of our favorite people on board.  All four of us kept saying "Wow, this is the best!"  And, it really is!!!


We had a lazy morning on Gotta Smile, then lunch
on board.  At last the dingy was launched and we
were off to explore Carriacou.  Our first stop was
the Lazy Turtle for a beverage.  
Three baby goats enjoying a fun day at the beach.
We walked this beautiful beach for two reasons:  we
were looking for sea glass and we all have fitbits.
Every day is a competition for the most steps and
the first one to get 10,000.  Guess who is winning! 

After our walk on the beach, we took a bus
into Hillsborough.  This 
restaurant's sign 
caught my eye.  Cow Heel Soup???  I think
we will stick with our original dinner plans.

Dinner at the Slipway Restaurant.  No cow heel
soup, but the most delicious lobster tail dinner.
Great ambiance -- an open air rustic restaurant
right on the beach and only steps from the bay.

Good-bye Carriacou -- next stop Union Island.

Union Island
Arriving at Union Island after a short
eight mile trip.  A boat boy helps Jon
secure our lines to the mooring ball.  

An extremely narrow entrance to the dingy dock
requires hands in or scraped knuckles.


We purchased some produce and bakery
goodies in town and met this woman.  

It's not unusual to see people balancing 
containers on their heads. I'm still amazed.  

Clifton is a very small underdeveloped town. (It was 
described in the guide book as cosmopolitan.  The 
author has been in the islands too long!)
 Again, the people are friendly and welcoming.
Petrographic  drawings indicate that the ciboney
people were in the area as early as 5400 BC.  They
used raft type boats to explore and eventually made
 sea going canoes that exceeded 20 meters. 
Jon discovered another way to display
the shell collection.
'It takes village' to get me in and out of the dingy!

Only one rolly night in Clifton. Sunday
morning was breakfast, devotions and
some blog time.  

Beautiful water, sailboats and kite boarders 
in our wake.
The Smillies get one last view of Happy Island as
we leave Chatham Bay.
Tobago Cays and Mayreau

We wanted Bonnie and Jon to see
Tobago Cays so we made a short
stop on our way to Mayreau.  The
Cays were really rolling.  After a quick
 lunch, we did a short dingy ride to
see  the neighborhood.  When we 

landed on the beach, Kyle helped pull
our dingy to shore.  He then adopted 

The Cays are a national park.
Their most famous residents 
large turtles.   We did see three from
  a distance, but the iguanas let 
us get much closer.

The boat's name is 'Make Friends'.  We feel like we are making friends 
every place we go.  The people are so welcoming.  
Pulling into Saline Bay, Mayreau.
Notice the distance to the beach.
Bonnie and I did our first biathlon.  We dog paddled to the
beach, walked the beach in both directions and dog paddled
back.  Note the baggie in my mouth -- I carried my fitbit so I
could count the steps.  Oh, and I used a noodle for extra
floatation.  Could this be a new Olympic event? 

Mayreau in our rear view mirror.

Move over boys.  Bonnie's turn at the helm.

We had three glorious days in one of our favorite places, Bequia.  I'm a little sad at departure time. I know I will never come back here.  Lots of great memories from our three visits.  Now it will be interesting to see how other islands compare on our way north.  
The dingy dock and welcome sign in
Admiralty Bay, Bequia.

Time for some liquid refreshments at
the Whaleboner. The bar stools are
vertebrae and the edge of the bar is
a rib.  Bequia is sanctioned by the IWC
to take four whales a year.  It must be in
the traditional way.  All by hand. Few
people have the skills or nerve to hunt
them.  Many years they kill none.  
We hiked through town, across the beach and up
a trail to this lovely spot.  The great view of the bay
faded into the background.  Oops!
Now, the great view!

Bonnie and Jon try snorkeling, while

Explore the beach.

And rest......

Shopping 'downtown'
Brian made his famous Dutch Baby
pancake this morning.
If you know Brian, you aren't surprised that he
 main lined the last of the aerosol whipping cream.
Trying to work up an appetite AND get in our daily
10,000 steps.  We walked to lunch.
Our luncheon destination, L'Auberge Des Grenadines.
The BLT sandwich is to die for: bacon, lobster & tomato.
One of the many outstanding sailing ships in the bay.
Relaxing in the cockpit as the sun sets.

Gotta smile -- we're lovin the ride!