For some reason to do with cheap flights, Immi left 2 days after Joe, on 13th Jan. This was also the day of Holly and Dave's arrival with Fred, Ernie and Wilby. With four of us already aboard that made nine, with six berths between us. When planning this at home, Finn and Annie Mae were keen to sleep on deck, but heavy squalls were still coming through most nights, making this a less popular option.

We put Fred and Ernie together on the pilot berth, head to toe, and after the first night of kicking each other to establish their territory, this worked well. Holly had the larger quarter berth and took Wilby with her. Dave had the Starboard settee berth so that he'd be the one woken early by the boys, and the port settee berth was shared between Finn and Annie Mae who took it in turns between that and the cabin sole. This all worked tolerably well except for the heat. We were mostly sleeping with no covering, occasionally just a sheet in the couple of hours before dawn, and sweating our way through the night. Wilby was loving life on board except for the nights which he found too hot so after a couple of days Finn made him a hammock from a sail bag and hung it above the table. This also had the benefit of being below the skylight which often had a cooling breeze blowing through. Holly moved over to the port settee berth and Finn to the quarter berth. On one night Annie Mae did hit it lucky and slept on deck with no rain.

Prickly Bay, on the south coast of Grenada is a good natural harbour, of the kind notably lacking in the Canaries. Here we could anchor in reasonable depths in an inlet protected from the prevailing wind and swell. Ashore there were all the necessaries; shops (a bit limited in their range of goods ), a large well stocked chandler, bars, restaurants, etc. etc.......... . So we stayed put for a couple of days while the Rorke/Spenceleys adapted to life on board. Here also, we met a young family living on a newly acquired bargain boat............... the Dad, Tim, was a boat builder and we soon established that we had a few mutual friends back home. Tim recommended Hog island on the next inlet to the east as a great place for families and so on 16th we moved around the corner.

Compared to Prickly Bay whose shoreline was well but not overly developed, Hog Island was completely surrounded by natural vegetation. On the west was the peninsular shared with Prickly Bay and on the east was the island, connected to the mainland by a bridge which had apparently been built at the beginning of a luxury island development which had long since been abandoned. The anchorage itself was home to quite a few liveaboards and a much more interesting collection of boats than our previous stopping points. The most impressive was a beautiful large Fred Shepherd ketch, Coral. Over a hundred years old and well maintained. I look forward to seeing her sailing at Antigua Classics.
After the financial crash and the end of someones dreams of making a fortune from another resort, the only development now on the island was Roger's Bar...................... an assembly of driftwood and coconut fronds set under the shade of the trees behind a picturesque little beach. Against all the odds, this lifeless little bar on a deserted island was resurrected every evening at about 5 o'clock when Roger turned up in his little boat, equipped with cool boxes full of all the necessities for the anchorage's social life. Shortly after Roger's arrival, punts and inflatables from all around the anchorage brought his customers, which of course, included the crew of the good ship Holly Mae. We spent a great evening there listening to stories of smuggling from Trinidad, whilst sampling the local beer and rum. You have to admire the Caribbean entrepreneurship................... Roger had certainly spotted a gap in the market on Hog Island !

Our rough plan after Holly's arrival had been to spend a week exploring Grenada, at which point Annie Mae was flying out to Peru, and then moving on northwards. So after a couple of days we headed out under sail and around the south west corner of the island to investigate St Georges, the capital. We had a great sail before arriving at the lagoon, an anchorage in another great natural harbour. Only when we arrived did we discover that the anchorage had been more or less totally filled with an upmarket marina. Port Louis, run by Camper and Nicholson. Times change and even with the most recent pilot book you still get surpises.......................marinas where there were supposed to be anchorages! Anyway we went in and checked out the prices. They were no more than we'd pay at home, so we decided to stay for three nights as it was convenient for the airport, and Annie Mae was soon off. There was a swimming pool which was a great hit with Fred and Ernie, and we used the stop as an opportunity to arrange a tour of the island.

We haggled on the streets of St Georges until we had a good price for a four hour minibus tour of the island. Nick's Tours took us up the coast, into an old colonial chocolate and spice producing estate (very interesting), and back through the mountains stopping for a swim at some spectacular waterfalls, where we were offered the opportunity of paying a young local man to watch him 'climb up de rocks and jump into de pool below'. Noley's and my natural meaness declined the offer, but were humiliated into reversing our decision by Finn's generosity in pointing out that this poor rock jumper was making a valiant effort to support himself in hard times. Well done that rock jumper and well done Finn! Boo, hiss to the tight fisted parents!

The tour itself was very interesting. It is a beautiful island, and although I usually like to see these places from out at sea it was good to be away from the boat for a change, and see the land close up. Very green, very lush, beautiful trees; banana, coconut, breadfruit, mango, cocoa, nutmeg................................Most of these fruit and spice producing trees seem to grow in a natural forest settings rather than in plantations and it wasn't clear who owned or harvested them. The local houses spread around on the hills were often attractively built onto the hillside on stilts with balconies surrounded by these fruit trees. They have an interesting choice of colours................ very bright and colourful. Sometimes outrageous orange and purple or pink !!! Sometimes these colour schemes work and sometimes............. well you wonder if they've just bought a job lot of paint that nobody else wanted. Quite a few conspicuously grand houses too. We were told that these belong to those who had made their money abroad before returning to Grenada. I don't think many get rich working on the island.

The following day we took Annie Mae to the airport where she took the plane to Lima to study Spanish. Hasta luego, Annie Mae! She'd been my longest serving crew and we were sorry to see her go although the extra space was welcome. It was then time to head up to the next island. A return to Carriacou, which had been our previous landfall after Barbados. The course was NE and the wind was easterly. Add to that the west going Equatorial current and we were in for a hard passage. The first significant windward passage since Gomera to La Palma three months ago. With the little ones on board I was being cautious with the sails and we had 2 reefs in the main and the No1 jib only. This was hardly enough overcome the leeway caused by the current and to lay the required course, and so for the last couple of hours we found ourselves relying on some help from the engine to reach our anchorage before nightime.

Tyrell Bay was to become one of our favourite anchorages, well sheltered, plenty of space, beautiful, clean for swimming and at the risk of sounding like an alcoholic a couple of the best bars, on the beach. No honestly, it's not the rum, I just like sitting in these shady bars, looking out from under the trees at Holly Mae bobbing on a turquoise sea,...................................... and you can't just sit there empty handed. In one of the bars, a shed built into the trees on the beach, the local proprietor was setting up a barbecue and had to go off to collect some firewood. We'd only just arrived, but he asked Finn to run the bar. Now bottles of Carib, de local beer at 5 dollars EC, was all very well, but when some punters came along asking for de rum punch................ Finn had to get creative with recipes and de price lists. OK, a bit of rum from this bottle and a bit of whatever this is from a jug in the fridge, add some ice and.............................well, everybody seemed very happy and when your man came back, an hour later, with the firewood, Finn handed him a wad of 3 or 400 dollars. He was cool. "T'anks man", was all he said.

When looking for some kerosene for the cooker in one of those shops which sell everything (except kerosene , of course), Noley and I spotted a couple of Chinese electric bikes for hire. "Now, wouldn't that be a great way to see the island", we both thought, so we booked them for the following morning. "Will these batteries get us to Windward and back ?" we asked. Now windward is a place on the north west, and windward coast of Carriacou, about 5 miles away, and well known as the home of traditional boatbuilders, it doesn't mean "can you sail these bikes upwind ?" "Oh yes, easily." came the reply, so off we set. Past the stunning vistas of the aptly named Paradise Beach, through the streets of the main village of Hillsborough and out into the open countryside. Up and over the hills in the middle of the island and down to Windward. With the breeze in our hair and not having to peddle uphill it was a cool way to see the island. As we'd hoped, we saw the skeleton of a boat being put together in the traditional way, although there wasn't much going on at the time of our visit. And after a beer to cool us off, the aforesaid breeze being obviously not quite enough, we followed the road south of Windward, to a beach, to cool us still further. Our appetite for being cool was insatiable that day ! We found a beautiful deserted beach behind some woods looking out over Petite Martinique. In the woods and on the beach was a graveyard. The sight of the graves, some of them less than 20 years old on this piece of retreating coastline was strange and melancholic. Several gravestones were below the hightide mark and others had been washed completely into the sea.

Despite the sombre setting, we had our first swim in a graveyard, hoping not to come across any skeletons, and set off back toward Tyrell Bay, feeling, by now a little peckish. Cycling around a bend in this isolated corner of Carriacou we were waved at, and offered, " Some ting to drink ? some ting to eat ?". Perfect, we thought, as we dismounted and went inside what appeared to be more like a private home than a cafe. No written menu, but the spoken one soon revealed the inevitable lack of vegetarian options. Being perhaps a little inconsiderate of Noley's situation, I decided to go for this opportunity to try some authentic caribbean fare. I decided that fish was the safest option. It came served with dumplings, breadfruit and various other local specialities.When it arrived I soon realised that my brain's enthusiasm exceeded my stomach's and I began to see the attraction of vegetarianism for the second time this trip. (remember the food poisoning on the passage to the Cape Verdes ?). My natural politeness made me carry on until the plate was two thirds cleared. Thereafter the occasion became reminiscent of school dinners and pushing the scraps around the plate hoping they'd disappear and keep the dinner ladies happy. It's funny how quickly we sometimes revert to child mode. Eventually we got up, thanked our hosts, paid and tried to get around the first corner on our bikes before my leftovers were discovered. How old am I now ?

On our way back, going up the hills, these Chinese electric bikes started demanding a little light pedaled assistance. And as time went on this graduated to heavy pedaling until we soon realised that the batteries were a few volts short of a charge. Shortly after crawling through Hillsborough we were at a standstill with a couple of miles still to go. There was nothing for it but to ditch the bikes ander a Manchineel tree and catch a bus. This we did, and the bus driver was very helpful, letting us know that we should tell that we'd left de bikes by Dave's shop. In the shop they were happy with this and returned our deposit.

Back on Holly Mae we met up with the others who'd been to the beach whilst we were out. Fred and Ernie were swarming all over the rigging, and gaining confidence climbing up on the boom with their eye patches on. Going up and down in the bosun's chair. Higher each time. Not sure whether they were the Pirates of Penzance or Pirates of the Caribbean !