Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Salt Whistle Stop, Mayrreau

Leaving Canouan
Although reluctant to leave our new favorite anchorage in Rameau Bay, Canouan… the days we have to spend in St. Vincent and the Grenadines are limited to 30. So we must move on. Weather looks good for a visit to the Tobago Cays early this next week, so we head for a stopover in the northernmost anchorage on the western side of Mayreau, Salt Whistle Bay.

The winds were light with sunny skies as we pulled up our anchor and turned to cross the bay and make the point before the straight shot to Mayreau. We raised a full main and reached 5 knots briefly before the wind all but disappeared, prompting us to roll out the full jib as well. This got us back up to speeds in the 3+ knot range… but with a gradually increasing wind, our speeds reached 4.9. With the short distance from here to there, we were happy with that. The seas were almost flat. This was perfect! Blue water and slow, sweet sailing… with no engine noise.
No of course we didn't catch a fish!
Entrance to the marina on Canuouan

And that was a good thing… Because there was something amiss with the engine! When we were just starting this morning, the engine seemed to falter when in forward idle… Then when I gave it slow throttle it sort of coughed… then lined out with higher RPMs to run smoothly. I worried that it would give out on us in unfamiliar territory… possibly with reef or strong current and little wind to complicate matters. 

We were still able to push this from the forefront of our minds for long enough to enjoy this sail. The winds filled in a bit more and our speed increased to 5.9 to 6.2! Waves got a little bigger, but nothing worse than the average Corpus Christi Chop! We threw out a fishing lure but caught nothing… I wasn’t really expecting to with water depths in the low 100’s or less. 

The shallow depts made the water glow with the reflection of the sandy bottom and the bright sunshine! It was stunning! We’d been missing the Bahamas and here was our fix! We were flying over the glowing, undulating waves at 6 knots under sail alone… for a little while.

Reaching the approach to Mayreau all too soon, we started the engine early to make sure it would perform… it did. We moved around the point and could see many masts in our anchorage… Dang it! We’ve been spoiled! 

Dropping sails and continuing with the engine… it did the thing again. Our confidence was shaken… Riding the gentle swell into the anchorage with reef on both sides… we chickened out and took a ball. We weren’t happy with the decision.  Other boats were anchored here and there… But it’s close quarters and we were nervous. 

Our boat boy, Alex did his best to entice us to his restaurant ashore for a BBQ but we were able to fend him off and still remain friends! Maybe we’ll do the Beach BBQ in the Tobago Cays… he runs them there as well. 

As soon as Alex left and we paid our mooring fee… Bruce swam beneath the boat to take a look at our prop and shaft. If we were lucky there would fishing gear stuck on it. We were not lucky. His inspection turned up nothing out of the ordinary. The new zincs he installed at our previous anchorage were in place and the shaft and prop turned fine. Drats!

First photo of a recurring theme
Settling in, we were out of sorts… It’s all these BOATS! So close! The beach is a pretty stretch of white sand, very thin at the northern end. The palm tree line forms an ineffective barrier for the breeze coming from the East… The surf on the other side of the strip of sand is visible over the top of the beach! The scent of beach is strong on the breeze. We must go over there!

After lunch and a nap, we were disinclined to go ashore. Bruce started looking the engine over… We were able to reproduce the problem with Bruce down below looking at the aft side of the engine… It seemed to jump when I increased throttle out of forward idle! Returning to the deck, we switched places so that I could see what it was doing… And at that point, we realized we might be in over our heads.

At just about that point, we heard a friendly voice outside… I went up and greeted BlackBoy! He turned off his engine and stayed a while to tell us about how he came to be living on the Ferro Cement boat, Serendipity, anchored just off our port bow.  An old Cruiser GAVE him the boat after he helped raise it from sinking due to a faulty thru-hull fitting! Cool story!

I asked him if there was an engine mechanic here and he mentioned Gazimo… who is in Doyle’s Guide. BlackBoy is going to call him to come out to see us in the morning… AND will bring us a fresh baked loaf of warm white bread… Things are looking up!

Having a plan went a long way toward reducing our angst… The anchorage now looked a little more welcoming. We would leave the ball and anchor the boat in the morning and have the engine expert out to advise us… Hopefully it’s an easy fix and we can be on to Tobago Cays later in the day. This was just a brief stop for us and with all the other boats crowding into the anchorage, there’s no reason for us to stay. But plans have a way of changing…

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