Monday, March 7, 2011

Union Island, SVG

Nothing went the way we thought it would here. First, we were going to tie up at the water dock and top off the tanks while I did the check-in, which was going to be easy because I'd set everything up on eSeaClear. And we were only going to stay one night, just to clear in before going on to the Tobago Cays. But it was pretty windy and there were lots of boats around, so we decided against docking since we didn't really need water and followed another American boat (Aldebaran from Fort Collins, CO) around to the anchorage behind the outer reef. Along the way a boat boy (Angelo) picked us up, and I negotiated a ride to shore with him so that we wouldn't have to put the dinghy in the water in the wind. That was fine, and Angelo guided us to a good spot much closer to the reef than we would have normally dared venture. We were a little nervous about that, so John stayed on the boat while I went to clear in.

Local regatta course through the anchorage

Happy Island off our bow

Ashore at the Anchorage Yacht Club, Angelo told me how to find the airport to clear in. “A plane crashed this morning,” he said. “It's still there, so when you see it, go to the other side of the runway and turn right.” No problem. A little twin-engine plane had its nose in a ditch and tail in the air, but it didn't look like there was much other damage, so I felt sure the people were OK. At the airport I discovered that Union Island isn't on eSeaClear, so I filled out the paperwork and proceeded to wait for the Customs officer to finish with the guy ahead of me. When it was finally my turn, I learned that there were overtime charges and a cruising permit that was much more expensive than I'd expected. Fortunately, I'd brought a lot more cash than I thought I would need. (I'm going to have to find a better source of information about the island check-in fees and hours for future reference.)

Anchorage Yacht Club

On the way back to the boat, I was looking around at the other boats in the anchorage and noticed an American flag all rolled up. Taking a closer look, I saw that the boat's name was Indigo. Could it be our friends Greg and Kathy who we'd met in Key West in 2008? Last time we'd checked on them, they had gone north and didn't know what their plans were. After staring intently at the boat, I decided it was. Back at Solstice, we tried to hail Indigo on Channel 16 but got no answer, so we quickly put the dinghy in the water and headed over there. Boy, were they surprised! (And for future reference, everyone here monitors Channel 68 for local hailing purposes.)

Indigo is buddy boating with another couple, and they were planning to stay until today before heading south to Carriacou for Carnival, so we decided to stay too. It turns out that their buddies are on a boat that did the Baja Ha-Ha with us in 2007, Moody Blues. Although we didn't really know Gene and Susea, they know the boats from Portland that we got acquainted with, so it feels like a small world again.

We had a wonderful reunion with Greg and Kathy. They took us ashore on Sunday and showed us where things are. Amazing to us, some stores and shops are open on Sunday here. For sun-downers we went to Happy Island, which is right off our bow. Dinner last night was the six of us aboard Indigo for a yummy Basque fish stew prepared by Greg from John's recipe followed by some incredible brownies that Susea brought.

Choosing the best at the fruit stand (the woman running it was on the plane that crashed)

Sun-downers at Happy Island

Chef Greg stirring the pot

Today Indigo and Moody Blues are continuing on, but we're staying for one more night. Tomorrow we'll use the waypoints Kathy gave us for the south pass into the Tobago Cays. After a couple of nights there, we'll continue on up to Bequia, where we hope to meet up with Moira and Shane on Salt Dragon (or Moira and Al on Bombay Sapphire, we're not sure which boat Moira will be on).

1 comment:

Jacob said...

I'm sorry to hear that eSeaClear didn't work. The plane crash sounds scary. I'm glad it wasn't your friends aboard indigo.

Better luck at the Tobago Cays, if you need to check in there.

I just added you to the blogroll at Yacht Blogs. Hopefully we can send you a few more readers to follow your travels.

Keep us updated :)