Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Saline Beach 
In the last seven days, Earthling has been to three destinations in the Grenadines, Canouan, Mayreau, and Tobago Cays! These tiny Islands are just a few miles from each other and still so different. 
The anchorage in Charlestown Bay, Canouan is large enough for many boats. Tamarind hotel and resort is just a row away and their open WIFI is great, but the local beers cost twice as much than regular bars. So we used the internet and passed on having any beer! Canouan is a beautiful island but some of its people have been defaced by the couple resorts and a casino that have been built here. Areas on this island such as Mountain Royal is fenced off by the resort and casino and you can’t hike up the mountain unless you are a guest. This creates a tension for people that are born and have lived here all their life. If I was from here and suddenly a part of the Island would be fenced off by outsiders, I would be frustrated as well! I would be concerned if the outsiders would take over the rest of my Island! That issue can change the culture of inhabitants of a certain place.  
At Charlestown Bay anchorage we got to know some cool cruisers such as Pat and Colleen on “Cool Change”. They invited us for sunset drinks on their catamaran and special Earthling Conch fritters were prepared and brought on as a snack!

Windward, Canouan
Mayreau has two anchorages, the more pretty one is Salt Whistle bay. It’s small, but scenic. Saline is the other good place to anchor, it’s bigger, closer to town and less rolly. There is a good trail that goes around the Island by several deserted beaches and it’s an easy hike. Fruit trees are absent on both Mayreau and Canouan. All foods, vegetables, and fruits are brought in from the main Island, St. Vincent. However, many locals engage their time in fishing, which is the major industry along with tourism. 

In Salt Whislte bay we got connected with Richard and Medina, who run “The Last Bar Before The Jungle”. They have been friendly, loving, and giving to us. Richard is an excellent cook and made various meals for us the last few days. He has learned some of his cooking skills from Owen Mackintosh, who got married last weekend. Katherine and I were invited to the rehearsal and reception. It was a pleasant experience to celebrate and party with the locals, great food and drinks were served for everyone both nights. In general, the citizens of Mayreau are one of the friendliest. Approximately 400 people live here; there are seven cars, four scooters, no airport, no cruise lines, and therefore less traveled! One of the four wheelers on the Island is Richard’s and he has been kind enough to let us borrow it to go to town and play around. Even dogs are well behaved and friendly here. The whole time walking around the Island we had at least one dog escorting us and sometimes for hours. Richard says “dogs in Mayreau, they are like humans”!

Tobago Cays

The four of us, Katherine, Medina, Richard, and I sailed Earthling to the Tobago Cays National Park, which should not be missed by anyone sailing these waters. Snorkeling is “best” as my friends Marty & Donna Hastings noted in the guide book being used on Earthling now - Rest In Peace Marty! 
We have seen sharks, stingrays, big turtles, old conch, blow fish, and tons of other fish while snorkeling. The water surrounding us is crystal clear and has many layers of blue, which reminds me of the Exuma Islands in the Bahamas. 

BBQ on Petite Bateau

Last night all of us were invited to a local beach BBQ on the unpopulated Island of Petit Bateau. Mandy and his family have been working and running services for boaters in the Cays for many years. They put an outstanding dinner together  for this group of Earthlings! We were served steamed conch, grilled guar fillets, roasted potatoes, fried plantains and a fruit bowl for desert. 

"Cool Change"
Snapper on the grill 
Deserted beach, Mayreau 
Richard, Mackintosh, and I, wedding night
Ladies are looking pretty for the wedding
Snorkeling time
Katherine swimming with the turtles

Medina braided Katherine's hair

The Last Bar Before the Jungle

Love from Grenadines

View the complete photo album of Grenadines here         

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Beautiful Homes on the Hillsid
The “Island of clouds” is the meaning of Bequia! Since Earthling anchored off Princess Margaret’s Beach, clouds have been sweeping over us in the sky with occasional sprinkles. Bequia is part of The Grenadines and belongs to the nation of St. Vincent and Grenadines.

But what is so unique about Bequia and why is it more attractive than other islands? This Island has a yachting culture and it has been a destination for sailors since the mid 60’s. Many old sailors have had good experiences and memories and therefore good words have  been spread. It appears that old money influenced this Island over the years. There are charming villas on the hills surrounding us in Admiralty Bay! It also gives the impression that Bequia has had its blooming era a couple decades ago! There are large beautiful properties along the beachfront that are vacant and are no longer in business! In addition many cute restaurants and bars along the tiny board walk give one a nostalgic sensation. One of which restaurants is Mac’s Pizzeria and since we don’t have pizza aboard we had to treat ourselves with good pizza ashore.
Katherine by the pool in an abandoned Resort

Bequians make beautiful handicraft art from clothing and jewelry to paintings. In Port Elizabeth art is evident in small boutiques, street vendors, and throughout architecture. It’s clear that pieces of material were put together with a more precise taste and thought behind it. That is to say, Bequia has a unique style and it is classic in its own way.         
Art in Architecture
Local street vendor

Katherine thinks that Bequia looks like a whale from the water and on the map! There is something to that since this island has a whaling tradition. Bequians are one of the few that can hunt whales and are allowed to catch up to four whales a year. Moreover, we have come across at least three Whale Boner restaurants. There is a whaling museum and the local artists make jewelry out of whale bones.       

During the stay here, we got to hike up to the most northern part of the Island, “Bequia head”. Along the way on the windward side, we passed by a couple beautiful deserted beaches, coconut farms, and a turtle/bird sanctuary ran by Mr. King and his wife. On their property they had tons of chickens, roosters, and goats, a few dogs, guinea birds, ducks, and one cow. Mr. King is from a Scottish decent, was born and had lived here all his life.

Mr. King and his wife
Coconut thirst quenching

Guinea Bird

Bequia is also a good place for sailors and cruisers to unite. Our friends Chris and Linda on “Troubadour” anchored a couple hundred feet from us the following night that we got here. Last time Earthling and Troubadour were united was at South Side Marina in Provo, Turks and Caicos over a year ago.    

Love from Bequia

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

St. Vincent

Katherine Petting Cool Breeze at Gary's Farm
If you like remote unspoiled destinations, then definitely get the courage to visit St. Vincent. This is a large island in the West Indies that is still untouched from massive tourism, resorts, and shopping. Most people on the island do their own farming and many are fishermen. St. Vincent is another fruit paradise, it’s lush, green, and mountainous. This Island is discreetly known for it’s Ganja (Marijuana) farming and that might be one of the reasons that negative opinions have spread around about St. Vincent. However, locals have been more friendly, giving, and loving than many other islands in this region.

Earthling was anchored in Cumberland bay for 11 days and during this time we got to know almost everyone in this area. It has been easy to bond with the locals and some are going to be friends for life like our new friend Gary. He lives in Coulls Hill and his farm is further up the hill in a valley. Gary invited me to go farming with him and the invitation was accepted. We had a full farming day and did chores, such as moving animals (goats, sheep, horses, cows) and tied them up in different grassy places. I climbed mango trees and picked some of the biggest and tastiest mango ever seen, dug out and filled bags with freshly made charcoal and a variety of other vegetables. On the way home down the hill, I carried an overloaded backpack and another large bag full of mango, bananas, pineapples, wax apples, peppers, green onion, eggplants, limes, and so forth. Nobody should go hungry on this Island and it’s certainly easy to live on the minimum resources available.              
Gary moving around the goat
Lime Tree

Mango bigger than my hand
Digging up Charcoal
Avocado Tree
Cacao Tree

Roads are few and far many here. Even though distances are short, it might take longer than expected to get around since there is lots of hills. One should not be afraid of riding the minivan that zooms through turns with full passenger capacity (15-18 people) in a minivan as the Rasta music is jamming! After all, this is the best way to get around on a budget while having the most fun!

There are many waterfalls on this Island and we got to hike to one with our cruising friends and neighbors Mike and Rebecca. The hike to the Trinity Falls took longer than originally anticipated but it was well wroth it! Trinity Falls is spectacular and unique, the pressure of the water in the fall is so strong that swimming would be dangerous and obviously not recommended. Even so, this group of Earthlings was not afraid to dip in the fresh water to get the sweat off after a several hours of hiking! Please be careful if you want to be crazy like us!
Trinity Falls

Bath by the Falls
Mike is loving it
Katherine behind the Elephant Paw Leaves

A couple days ago Katherine and I went on a dinghy adventure and rowed to the bay south of Cumberland, Wallilabou. The distance was underestimated since last time Mike zoomed there on his tender. Rowing 45 min each way was a great exercise but more importantly we met a friend of Earthling, the French Trimaran “Margaret”. It seemed like “Margaret” has been anchored in Wallilabou for a long time, the anchor lines had lots of growth on them! We sat down with Eric and his wife at the Anchor house and over a couple of drinks, they explained that Eric had suffered a serious staff infection. A mosquito bite on his leg was the cause of the infection and he had to be on antibiotics for three weeks. Now he was almost back to normal health and the following day was their last day in St. Vincent. He suggested that we have a BBQ at the local beach bar run by Rasto. Done deal! The following day a great local BBQ was put together for Eric and we enjoyed some delicious food along with the entourage. Wallilabou has also become an attraction site since the recording of the movie, “Pirates of the Caribbean” took place here where remanence of the stage is still on display.

Stage Canon

Grilled Crayfish
Eric, Rasto and I Uniting

Furthermore, it appears that staff infection is common in the boating environment.  Sandflies have been eating us alive here, especially since we are anchored so close to shore near an old mango tree! The solution is to clean all the bites regularly with alcohol and stay on top of your hygiene!

Love from St. Vincent  

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Living on the Edge

Earthling in the corner of the bay
Many times throughout life, I have found myself living on the edge. I’ve survived situations where the probabilities have  been against me! Last night is an example of one. I get goose pumps thinking about how dangerous the recent situation was that we were put in!
The last few days Earthling has been anchored in a peaceful calm bay of Cumberland in St. Vincent. This bay is deep and boats have to anchor close to shore in addition to having a stern line tied to a tree. Tall palm trees and bushes seem touchable from the boat. Twittering birds, mangos falling and hitting the ground and the water crashing on shore are the only sounds we hear. The water in Cumberland bay is flat 99.9% of the time and it has been partly cloudy since we got here. Our experience with the locals has been more than welcoming as we have already come close to making friends for life here in St. Vincent.

Full Moon Bonfire

The biggest full moon of the year appeared last night and as an Earthling tradition, we like to have a bonfire when there is a full moon. Even though it was a rainy day and the wooden logs were damp and wet, we were eager to get a bonfire going, especially since new friends from the village close by were invited. The bonfire was a success and the time spent enjoying it was exhilarating. A few hours into it our stomachs started to growl and it was time to head back home to make dinner.
As Mike, Rebecca, Katherine and I tried to get on ZTC's dinghy, we realized how sudden the waves were becoming bigger making it difficult to get on the tender. When we got to Earthling, it felt like this is was serious, the swells were lifting the boat up and down, averaging between four to six feet and within minutes the bay had become complete turmoil with the rain and wind picking up significantly. More anchor line was put out and within a short time we see the two other sailboats in the bay pull up anchor and quickly leave. Shortly after “Zero to Cruising” left the stern line behind and was gone. The extra line put out brought us closer to shore, and the best solution was to pull up anchor and leave along with everyone else. Easier said than done due to the position of the boat, we were in a very tight place located in the corner of the bay. I was concerned that the waves might wash the boat ashore as I was trying to pull up the anchor and chain manually. I’m glad to have had another crew member  aboard verses being solo, however, Katherine’s boating experience is limited!
The engine is in forward gear, Katherine is behind helm, I’m at the bow trying to pull up the chain as the waves are crashing within feet of us. It took a long time before half of the rode was in! (Or maybe it just seemed like a long time) As we were trying to pull up the anchor the stern line eased but never let go. The pressure on the chain was so strong it cracked the wood underneath the anchor carrier. Furthermore, the anchor was stuck and wouldn’t come up! Plan B was to leave the anchor, chain, and rope behind and retrieve it later with hope that the strength of the swells didn’t pull us ashore. It was then an inner voice told me to stay put! If conditions were to get worse within the next hour, we would have to risk it and go! I suggested for Katherine to get some sleep. I sat down in the cockpit with the spot light in my hand, observing the swells, the stern line, and the reefs behind the boat. Here I am once again, living on the edge! Why did I fall into this situation? Within the next hour, winds died and waves diminished drastically! It felt more relieving, but I was still in a state of distress! 
During this whole time we were keeping in touch with ZTC and Black Baron (a local restaurant owner) to check the conditions at sea. Black Baron came back to the bay after a few hours and ZTC returned at sunrise.
These kinds of challenges are a learning experience. It is the most drastic and often times life threatening situations that make us appreciate how lucky we all are. Katherine and I are safe and our angels protected us from this life threatening situation.
The following day we found out that the locals were anxiously watching Earthling from up the hill throughout the night. They were amazed with what had occurred and thought we were brave to have stayed put; some thought it was stupid. I'm thankful we are safe and Earthling is without any damage!

Love from Living on the Edge

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Pictures - Worth More Than A Thousands Words

Earthling has been surrounded with great energy and people throughout the last week which has contributed to some strong bondage between friends and memories that will last forever. The highlights started in Marigot Bay and carried on to Anse le Raye, St. Lucia where the three boats, “Tua Tua”, “Zero to Cruising”, and Earthling had a secluded anchorage for themselves. This is very unique because it is difficult to find a bay with no other boats but those of your friends.
Secluded Anchorage

A friend of mine, Katherine flew in from the U.S and joined Earthling. The seven of us attended a local Fish Friday event on the beachfront where our boats were aligned. The following day Nico’s visit was up and he flew back to Chicago after staying on Earthling for two months.
Katherine's first day, still pale!

Nico enjoyed the last day to the maximum

In order to experience more of what the island has to offer, “the new gang” took a short hike to a beautiful waterfall close to Anse le Raye which was liberating. Along the way different trees provided us with tropical fruits as snack such as mango, sugar cane, cacao, coconut, grapefruit, orange, lime, and plantains.
Mike sharing Cacao fruit! The big machete and the smile are somehow frighting
Katherine taking a fresh natural shower
Pontus is carving the Calabash and making bowls for us as the ladies are day dreaming!

After the stay in Anse le Raye, it was time for Tua Tua to sail North back to Rodney bay to haul out their boat for the season and head home to Sweden. From here ZTC and Earthling continued to sail South over to Soufrier and the Pitons where we prepare ourselves for one of the most challenging hikes of the Caribbean, Petit Piton.
Approaching the Pitons! Spectacular view!
Yesterday, Mike, Rebecca, Katherine and I climbed 2500 feet to the top of Petit Piton. The climb to the top of this mountain has become one of my favorite and most challenging hikes ever. Not to mention it is also considered one of the hardest hikes in all of the Caribbean. Next time I climb a vertical incline like this, gloves would definitely be part of the gear! Attached are many of the pictures highlighting the last week. As the expression, “A picture is worth more than a thousand words,” I hope the following photos help justify how lucky we all are.

Party Toes before we went to Fish Friday!
Nico fractured his finger while anchoring. Not good!
It says Earthling on Nico's Toes!
Petit Piton view from the anchorage

Climbing through holes and boulders, Katherine is wondering why she has to this!

The View of Gros Piton from Petit Piton
View from the top of the Piton! The small dot next to the mega yacht at the bottom is Earthling!

May 1st id Labor day in St. Lucia and a holiday. Locals are partying on the beach and the charter cat!

In a few minutes the sails will be hosted and Earthling will heading toward St. Vincent.

Love from St. Lucia