The Customs Officials here were kind enough to let us fudge the 72 hour check-in-check-out procedure by a day... They said we could go on down to the beaches further south and just leave from there without returning to clear out. Thanks guys!
|No Plan B|
We motored along the coast slowly, making water as we went. We are still not confident that our engine will work... It has died on us twice... fuel filter? Not 100% sure... so as we went, we were sure to have a plan B all talked through. In the end, we didn't need it.
|The area at the far right here was where the pier was buried.|
We passed places that we visited on our taxi tour. Seeing them from the water was fun... familiarity feels good.
|Barren flow area center-left|
Our eyes continue to be drawn up to the skyline... looking for another glimpse of the volcano. Here we saw another angle view of one of the pyroclastic flows...
Slowly inching our way along the shoreline, we spotted Hank's Beachbar dead ahead. We dropped anchor right in front of it in hopes of an early afternoon happy hour... Sadly, low season got us again and the bar remained closed...
Just after we got settled, I heard a strange sound... A crackling sound... like FIRE! I looked out the port and saw this! Remember that spot I mentioned where they dug down to find the pilings from a dock? Well, they are still working on clearing that area and picked today to burn the brush piles!
Although the wind took the bulk of the smoke just north of us, the boat was permeated with smoke smell! By the end of the day they were burning piles much closer to us and the wind occasionally brought it to us... Overnight, the piles burned down but we could see the smouldering embers sparkling on the beach and the old smoke smell was strong.
|The wind was blowing it away so we tied it to a tree!|
But what about those beaches??? Before we left Little Harbour, Bruce tinkered around with the dinghy motor and figured out a way that we could use it... but we decided to take the kayak out for a spin instead of dealing with a beach landing in the dinghy... Even though the winds are pretty brisk, our new kayak is much more manageable, even in windy conditions. And we needed the exercise!
|A spear fisherman was cleaning his catch.|
|Fisherman taking his catch home to his family|
|Bird footprints beneath an overhang... and something else...|
|We had this magical beach all to ourselves!|
|Very strange rock formations!|
These are the kind of days that keep us going. Yes, we have a mystery problem with our Yanmar... yes we have to shift our outboard using a wrench... and we aren't even sure that's going to work... Yes, hurricane season has begun and we're still almost 300 miles from "safety"... But a walk on a strange and wonderful beach melt all of our worries away. Well, that and a nice sunset...
The distance between this beach and the next was short. This anchorage was a little rolly when the winds stopped at night and in the morning the waves rolling in increased even more. The decision to move out of the wind was an easy one... We just pulled up the anchor and motored slowly along the beach until the wind stopped blowing.
Snuggling up to a sheer cliff immediately to the east blocked all but the odd stray gust. It did provide for some interesting bobbing around though... During our time here, the boat pointed in all directions... Now and then the boat would roll, but it was much better than our last stop... AND there was a new beach to explore!!!
|No worries leaving the kayak here... there's nobody around!|
|So many strange rock formations!|
|Bruce had to go back to rescue his shoes from the waves...|
|Look out below!|
|He's going in... He has no love of rocks... so while I marvel at the cliffs... he's going to swim.|
|I'm making my way to that point to see if I can get a better look at the volcano...|
|I used to tell Bruce all the time..." If you really loved me, you'd get me that rock..."|
|I peered into this hole, but then ran away fearing something jumping out at me with Bruce off somewhere in the water...|
|The End. I couldn't get around the point to see the volcano...|
|Heading back to find Bruce...|
|Another rock that I would like to have... Where's Bruce???|
|Wind was blowing sand! We had to avert our faces and it felt like needles! Lucky it was only in the gusts!|
|Favorite pic of the day...|
|All the way to the point looking for the volcano... if only we had looked the other way! There it was! And blowing sand...|
|It was right there all the time...sheesh!|
|More fun with the camera...|
|Catching a wave!|
With aching feet, both from walking along this very long beach in soft and hard sand... and feeling slightly burned from dashes up into the dry, hot, black sand... we reached the dinghy again...
It was only a little difficult to get it across the wave break and get ourselves and our gear floating without mishap... We're really getting good at this beach kayaking!
We returned to the boat for dinner and a show... the usual setting sun with all of it's many changes before nightfall. The winds were still blowing but in our spot, blocked by the cliff... we swirled... and swirled... We don't often see the sunset off the bow!
As we sat in the cockpit sipping sundowners, cool breeze caressing our faces... cat happily purring on my lap as the boat gently rocks... we talked about the past two days. Both of us agree that these are the BEST days. No people around, wondrous sights to see, and secluded beaches to walk and play... all to ourselves. Even though we've got boat projects to do and many unknowns ahead of us... we forget it all for a beach.
So many Cruisers skip Montserrat. If you get the chance... don't!