Sunday, January 29, 2017

Sail To Saba - Park At Prickly Pear

What would we be doing right now if we DIDN’T have a Buddy Boat?  I ask myself that many times to make sure that we don’t “lose ourselves” and our autonomy in this Buddy Boating thing…  I know, it sounds like I’m struggling with it…  And perhaps I am a little bit… but we’re weighing the pros and cons and so far, the pros still win.

So what WOULD we be doing right now?  We would be trying to SAIL THIS BOAT!!!  We pulled up anchor and with sails ready… motored out of Great Harbour, Yost Van Dyke.  Winds were light and out of the NNE.  We were shielded by Yost and it was my hope that once out of the lee we would find enough wind to get us moving in the right direction.  

Bruce got the sails up and worked to trim-for-speed…  muaaahahaha!  What were we thinking.  At first I refused to give up… we’ve got all day to get to North Sound, what’s the hurry?  But as the boat speed dropped below 3 knots, then two… and it looked as if Bruce was going to do me bodily harm for threatening to get out the cat-o-nine-tails as encouragement to his trimming efforts…  I capitulated and started the engine up again to motorsail.  

See the face?  I'm sure the old man in the rock is laughing at us...
I still had hope that the wind would fill in favorably but as we struggled to keep the boat pointed high enough to clear Guana Island things didn’t look good…  But still, the sails were up and we were keeping within the four knot range…  And it was a beautiful day with seas rolling under us a mere 2-3 ft.  

After ghosting past the Dogs and rounding Mosquito Rock we turned down and throttled back a bit hoping that this better wind angle would increase our speed… but the winds grew even more light and we were resigned to just crank it up for the short distance remaining to the channel that leads through the protective reef into Gorda's North Sound.

Necker Island... where the Obamas are rumoured to be vacationing!

There seems to be some activity over there.. The Media???
Lots of boats near Saba Rock
Normally I would have just headed straight for our previously marked anchor spot and dropped it there.  But our Buddy Boat was pushing us onward to uncharted territory.  They wanted to be further around to the East of Prickly Pear Island and closer to Saba Rock, where we planned to have our happy hour.  

AU2 Anchored right behind us
The anchorage looked completely full with boats at anchor and on moorings as we rounded the corner and passed The Sandbox…  but we found a nice little spot in about 15 ft to drop anchor right off the steep bank of Prickly Pear.  I’m always nervous when anchoring in a new spot, especially in such close quarters.  

We sat on the boat and watched for a while after checking that the anchor was dug in.  Boats closer to the corner of the island were pointing in all directions due to swirling currents coming from both sides of the island, but it seems that we were steadily controlled by the east wind and currents coming in from Eustatia Sound so we felt confident enough to leave the boat and head for Saba Rock for happy hour.


Let's GO to Saba!!!
Although we’ve been in North Sound many times this is our first time to make it over to Saba Rock for their famous happy hour.  Truth be told, we won’t be going back.  The drinks were overpriced and used cheap rum.  The service was slow and drinks were delivered with few words and a sour face.  Add to that the multitude of “pretty people” there and it’s just not our scene…  I can stay aboard my own boat in my jammies and have a much less expensive drink made to my order with GOOD rum!  And I can invite whom I want!

OK enough of negativity… but I can’t lie…  The next day we expected east winds of moderate speed so we stayed put.  Bruce and I tore up the v-berth once again to see if we could fix our water tank woes…  Upon exhaustive review, we have once again determined definitively that we do NOT have a leaking tank, but there is a problem with the tube that takes water from the tank.  It has either a hole in it near the top or it has fallen off completely.  We can get water to pump out of the tank only for a short time when the tank is completely full… then it begins to suck air like slurping from the bottom of a cup with a straw… then it only returns air.  Unfortunately the fixture is completely frozen and we can’t get it unscrewed.  We put some penetrant on but it didn’t work.  We will table it for now until we can get some CRC Freeze Off. 

Expecting more stiff winds and squalls from a more southerly direction, we pulled up anchor the following day and moved around the corner to our old spot.  It is far enough away from the corner and the reef to the NW so that there is little or no current, and with prevailing winds forecast, the water is flat except for occasional wakes.


The water here is only 10-15 ft. in depth and we feel like we’re floating in a swimming pool when the sun lights up the sandy bottom.  This stunning beauty soothes the soul and we are happy here.  Man I want to get in and swim around… had every intention of it, really…  I know you people back home in “winter” won’t believe this, but it is actually too cool to inspire us to get into the water.  

And then it rained...

Wonder whose boat THAT is???

A Brown Pelican and a Brown Boobie... 
After a brief rain, the breeze was just cool enough to discourage any thoughts of swimming.  But it is perfect for hiking!  A Facebook friend gave me the scoop and we set out to find the easy trail on Prickly Pear Island.  Park at the dinghy dock for The Sandbox and turn immediately to the right at the beginning of the dock.  
Sandbox Docks

Gateway to the trail just off to the right

An easy trail runs through this rough terrain.  Up... over... and back down.  It reminded me of the Texas Hill country in many ways, only there are no crabs to be found in Texas!  Lizards scattered as we trekked up and over a low hill and found Eustatia Sound and a nice deserted beach on the other side. 
Salt Pond with succulent ground cover

That's about where we were anchored yesterday

Almost there!

There was a bad day in progress for someone as we saw this catamaran being pumped out and helped along by a couple of rescue boats.

Off they go!

We spent some time just soaking in the beauty and watching a pelican work the shallow waters with some success.  You can always tell when they catch a fish.  First they plunge head-first into the water.  When their body pops up their beak will be down in the water against their breast while water flows out their nostrils….  Then they toss their head back and the fish goes down their throat!  Chomp chomp chomp and repeat.  

I mused about the Obamas, reportedly staying at Necker island, which is just right over there…  It’s a private island owned by Sir Richard Branson and it is very exclusive, not to mention expensive.  I hope the Obamas have found some peace there.  I can only imagine what it’s like to be in their shoes right now…  

Looking at the Sound and the luxury yachts anchored here I am reminded that even though we don’t live on an expensive boat, we enjoy the same view…

Remember that catamaran being towed.. well there he is again!

We returned to our little piece of paradise and hunkered down for the night with a much-improved forecast from that which brought us here.

Boats pointing every-which-way...

Pink rain!!!
Tomorrow morning we will decide about staying or going.  But I know this… we will raise the "Emergency-White-Thingies" and sail this boat!
Our hike on Prickly Pear Island


  1. "Wonder whose boat THAT is???"

    That is Venus, the controversial yacht built by Steve Jobs.

    1. Thanks! I knew somebody out there would know! Now I will have to go Google it to find out why there's controversy...