Friday, November 10, 2017

There's This Place - Anse la Roche, Carriacou

La Roche
Sometimes you just know.  As soon as we rounded the point and felt the swell settle down we knew.  We're going to like this place!

The past two days in Watering Bay with our friends from Kailani and Pura Vida have been a lot of fun.  But they're heading north, and we're heading south.  So we said our goodbyes on the dock last night and, with coffee in hand, we were off just after sunup.

A wrecked ship in the reef that protects Watering Bay

The "School Boat" bringing students from Petit Martinique
The Bay was still bouncing and we'd had enough!  Tide and wind were perfect for an early departure that had us motoring out of the protected Bay and making a big U-turn back to the calm side of the island before breakfast!

Bruce took his position on the bow to make sure we didn’t hit anything hidden beneath the water’s surface. That’s the disadvantage to leaving before the sun was high… But I had a track to follow and we made our exit easily.

And another wrecked ship on the north shore!
We've loved being part of a group these past days, but Bruce and I were ready to be back on our own for some down time.  On the way here a couple of days ago, we passed a little bay near the north end of Carriacou's west side.  A look at the chart told us its name:  Anse la Roche.  I made mental note of that at the time and later, reviewed the information we had onboard about the place.  At some time I'd created a waypoint that marked this as one of the Top-Ten-Beaches-Nobody-Knows-About.  That decided our next destination.

The waves wrapping around the island seemed to encourage our chosen path as they carried us gently yet persistently toward the point that protects Anse la Roche from the worst of the swell.  Immediately upon entering the bay we could feel the motion of the boat calm.  Our eyes drifted over a sparkling patch of sandy bottom lined with grey-white sand.  Lush green foliage blanketed the hills all around.  There were no houses, only a small park guide ashore.  There was no other sign of civilization and the only way to reach this beach is by boat or by a trail that leads to a road about a half mile away.  Yes, I DO think we're going to like it here.

All of this is ours! The long beach, the rocky point to the north and the "Roche", that named this cove to our south for our snorkelling pleasure… It was perfect!

Our early departure had us completing our short trip before we would normally be starting our day.
This is the time of day we are most energetic, so we got right to it!  We just plopped the kayak into the water and took off for shore with our snorkel gear!

We chose the northern point to beach the kayak as this side of the bay is the most calm.  After a quick look beyond the point, we skimmed along the rocky cliff to the sandy beach and dragged our little inflatable onto the shore and tied it to a tree.

We sure do love having this lightweight kayak.  It's so much easier to take it to the beach than it is to deal with the much heavier dinghy.

There was not a soul around when we arrive - JOY!  But two of the passing charter boats pulled in for a quick snorkel, but soon left.  I couldn't blame them for wanting to be a part of this, but it sure messed up my Lost-on-a-deserted-island fantasy!

Leaving our snorkel gear in the kayak, we first walked the beach.  Let's just see what we've got here...

A bulletin board on the beach told us that this was a turtle nesting beach.  The rules were very relaxed however, no loud music, keep lights at night to a minimum.  We looked around but didn't see any sign of turtles.

Runoff from the surrounding hills has created deep ravines in the sand.  

We looked for a path through the tree-line to civilization but never found one.  

Uh-Oh!  Cloven hoofprints!  
Huge cloven hoof-prints of some heavy animal led us along the beach. I hoped it was a cow and not some overgrown, prehistoric, angry wart-hog hiding in the trees to chew us to bits.

We soon found the lazy cows and I breathed a sigh of relief, followed by another as I searched the cows' gaze hoping to discover their intent. They had no plan to massacre us, but merely seemed to want to be left alone to lie in the shade. Done.

Yup!  Beach Cows!

Looking back!  Remember how far the boat seemed away from the other end?  Seems quite far now that we're over here!
A Bevy of Boobies rest here during the day!  Love the Boobies!
These rocks don't look real!
We reached the end of the sandy beach and the point where the rocks took over. For a while we just sat there, breathing in the clean island air, feeling the breeze, hearing the lapping waves and marvelling at the strange formations in the rock beneath us and the unreal-looking Roche before us. They just didn't look real!  The cliff at our backs was striped in different colours, the green being the most intriguing to me.

We backtracked to the kayak and donned our snorkel gear to slip into the velvety perfection of our salt-water world. We felt minimal current as we slowly explored the sandy slope that turned into a rocky field, followed by the reef around the point.

Come on in!  The water's FINE!
Once again, we were amazed at all the life that was being conducted right beneath us. SO many fish! This place actually had some new coral growth, including a few budding elk horn corals, our favorite! Bruce hovered near me as I let the camera take over my stream of consciousness.

Blue Tang
Smooth Trunkfish

Bicolor Grouper

Porcupine Fish

More grouper hiding

Curious Filefish

Some type of coral - sea rods maybe?

Juvenile Blue Tang
Some sort of Squirrel Fish

Some sort of Parrotfish?

Elkhorn Coral
We meandered around the point where the current could be felt and I knew that we would be turning back soon. We paddled out over a vast rocky ledge where the swell lifted us and swayed us, threatening to dash us upon the rocks… That’s IT! Turn back. We had just reached a spot where the fish seemed to be different, including two Bahama Stars within reach of my fingers. I took only photographic license with these creatures but watched as the surge lifted one from his bed of rock.

We backtracked, taking more pictures of the critters in their territorial homes. I marvelled that we were seeing far more interesting things here where there was no “Protected Park” designation. Maybe that’s the plan. Clever. Keep all the tourists in the designated areas while the rest of the more obscure and unloved spots are left alone and free to grow, unfussed by hordes of human gawkers!

More Elkhorn
A little Blinny
Shy Squirrel Fish
Christmas Tree Forrest!

Another Porcupine Fish

Back at the beach, I couldn’t leave. The sparkling waters were so clear and the salt-and-pepper sand was the softest kind. It almost felt like it had lanolin keeping it together. Bruce sat on a rock while I basked in bliss.

Can you tell there was some relaxation going on???  Bruce waited patiently while I enjoyed this bathtub-clear water.  Perfect temperature, warm sun.  This place has it all!

Hunger finally drew us back to our floating home but I was ready to return, safe in the knowledge that we had all the time we wanted to continue our exploration of this little slice of Heaven. 

Lunch turned into nap-time, which turned into reading time and then Sundowners. Afternoon showers and decreasing winds left us fondly remembering the winds back in Watering Bay, but only in passing. This New Heaven was far superior, even with the other boats coming and going all day. The original two catamarans had gone and two new monohulls arrived just before sunset to set their anchors behind us, outside of our little cove, providing the entertainment for the evening.

There is no internet here. We talked. Our future is still very uncertain. It is difficult for a Libra to make a decision, far more difficult for TWO of them! Perhaps we have a bit more clarity now, but that is highly subject to change. It is amazing how still your mind becomes with the absence of external stimulation. Bruce and I grew silent, each letting the mind wander back and forth as we fanned ourselves in the cockpit enclosure while a steady rain fell.

The following morning I stayed in bed.  One of my faults is that I tend to lack motivation if there's no deadline urging me forward.  We could stay here for as long as we want!  I didn't have to get up and go outside to snorkel!  I could just sit here and read.  There you have it folks.  We've become jaded!

But Bruce isn't as good at "hanging out" as I am, and he was fidgeting.  So off we went to try the snorkelling on the southern end of the beach.  The space between the shore and la Roche was too shallow for us to swim over, so we poked our way around the huge rocks in the deeper water.  Even though there was little wind and the swell seemed almost imperceptible, the water was somewhat churned up and visibility wasn't as good as we've been used to recently.  Ya see!  JADED!

But it was still fun paddling around in the underwater wonderland, letting the swells buffet our bodies.  It's as close to flying as we can get without sprouting wings!

More creepy SQUID!

After snorkelling we thought about leaving.  Naaaaw!  So we lazed around for another day, putting off cleaning the waterline and any other actual work-type activity that would creep into our guilty consciences.  Why is it that even after FOUR YEARS I am still compelled to be productive in some way each day???  We snorkelled!  That's work (I rationalized).  Reading is a thing!  And I have to feed us, so there's that!

Another day slipped silently into night.  The other boats had gone and we had the cove to ourselves once more.

The next morning the urge to move again struck us.  I think the pull of wifi back in Tyrrel day and the growing pile of really stinky laundry worked together to get our butts in gear.  We had breakfast and as suddenly as we arrived, we were gone!

There are so many anchorages for us to explore in Grenadian waters and back in the Grenadines.  Right now we have no plans to return north.  If we do, it won't be far, maybe Martinique.  Just thinking about it makes me feel pressed for time!  Maybe we'll just come back to this place and drift away.
Goodbye Anse la Roche!  We'll be back soon!

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