It rains in the Caribbean too: Union Island – Carriacou - Grenada

Photo: Unsplash

Well, it's not all sunsets and tailwinds. While I was on Mustique, a bad weather area moved over the East Caribbean, and it rained cats and dogs for several days. I was supposed to sail off after three days, but chose not to do it because of foul visibility, intense rainshowers, lousy winds etc (and the alternative being staying at Mustique, it’s a very easy choice to stay put).

At the end I needed to go because of the time pressure and the high costs of the moorings. The rain had intensified. I had no sprayhood, it was to be fixed in the ABC or Panama, to save money and time. So the rain and wind were free to whip me in the face, and for the first time since Northern Europe I actually had my warm sailing jacket on (together with the rest of the warm sailing gear, the woolen underwear and all). I did catch a lovely blackfin tuna on that crossing, and made several tasty meals from it.

I skipped Tobago Cays as the lousy weather was to last for several more days, and it would be a bit of a waste to experience those beautiful islands in bad condition. Instead, I headed off to Union Island to clear out for further sailing. I was there a half an hour before the customs closed, anchored by a coral reef. I was just about to head off to fix the usual paperwork with the immigration and customs - but the outboard decided not to cooperate. For the first time since I bought it. Luckily, a Swedish boat called Felicia was anchored nearby and I saw them heading off to town, and could hitch a ride.

At Carriacou, the trouble continued. The outboard still did not work, so I had to row to shore. That’s the place where most stock up on booze, but the prices did not impress, same with the choice. Got some local souveniers such as extra-strong rum (called Jack Iron here, about 60-70%), and a Grenadine syrup (had to buy it after sailing in the Grenadines, of course). I also visited a Swedish-owned place called the Green Roof, but the owners were not there. I rowed back to get some rest.

Swell breaking across the shore. Photo: Unsplash
There were no other boats at the anchorage. Surely, it's listed as a very rocky and rolly place to be in Northern swells, but it was Eastern swell so all should have been fine! I went to sleep, and the few hours before it shifted were pleasant. The the shift came – and the rest of the stay was sheer torture. The boat rolled so much I could not sleep at all, and got up in the earliest of morning, dead tired, terribly frustrated, and determined to get away. I was feeling unwell - could be the seasickness, could be the drinks or food the night before. Anyway, I mostly wanted to get some sleep or die, and looked hungrily at Tyrrel Bay on the charts. It was supposed to be well-protected and calm. Some sleep, finally.

Arriving at Tyrell Bay, I saw a great amount of anchored boats. All rocked terribly, as the swell was not getting weaker – on the contrary, bigger and choppier. I circled once through the bay and decided to go to Grenada instead (that's a good day’s sail from there). Desperate for a good sheltered bay to get rest, I finally arrived to Prickly Bay. The wind and the waves have been absolutely non-existent here, but care for what you wish for - the air gets so warm you just want to get into the water and never come up again.

Some sleep followed. Then an assessment of my situation. The outboard engine still did not work. Friends soon arriving to join the boat in Bonaire. Furthermore, I discovered a leak in the hot-water system, filling the bilge and bleeding both tanks tanks of fresh water. Not good.