ICEBEAR OFFSHORE // Towards Tobago Cays, Grenadines

6 Jan

ICEBEAR at rest in the Saintes.

ICEBEAR at rest in the Saintes.

We’re back at sea again after about 30 hours in Terre de Haut. New Year’s Day was lazy. The crew set off on a long, steep hike to the top of the island and the old abandoned fort that Mia, Lisa & I had explored back in February last time we were in the Saintes. The road to the top is steep and winding – at every switchback corner it feels like you must be at the top, but it just keeps on going.

Mia & I were less ambitious. We meandered across the island at a slow pace, making our way to the beautiful palm-tree-lined beach on the windward side that fringes a crystal clear little lagoon, with dry, rocky islands protecting the beach from the deep ocean swell. We sat in the shade at a picnic table and watched the ocean and some chickens wandering around in the sand. That evening we met the rest of the crew for a New Year’s Day dinner ashore. Most of us had tuna.

Oh yeah, by the way, we’re having a kid! Mia is pregnant ;) And we’re excited!

Oh yeah, by the way, we’re having a kid! Mia is pregnant ;) And we’re excited!

Next morning, we left, sailing right off the mooring and aiming the bow south again towards the small cut between islands and out into the open ocean. A steady breeze blew offshore and ICEBEAR heeled into it, quickly making an easy & steady 9.5 knots in the passes between islands, a little less so when blanketed by the lees of Dominica, Martinique and St. Lucia.

As I type, it’s 0400. Hannah and Scott are on the watch up top. Steve & Micke are asleep on the settees in the main saloon, Tyler & Jill in the port bunk bed cabin. Mia’s sprawled out in the aft cabin. We didn’t bother to rig the leeboard back aft since one of us is always awake. The wind is light again behind the southern part of St. Lucia. We’re about level with the latitude of the Pitons now, sailing due south and using the Southern Cross as our steering constellation, which is pretty damn cool. Several cruise ships passed us earlier in the night. The sky is absolutely clear, and the moon set a little while ago, so the stargazing is remarkable. Orion, normally so bright and clear when seen from civilzation, is nearly blurred out by the array of stars in the background now, visible in this clear air and sky devoid of any light pollution. The Milky Way glows overhead.

Beautiful Tobago Cays!

Beautiful Tobago Cays!

We’re aiming towards Bequia, and can now just see the loom of St. Vincent off to port. ICEBEAR has been sailing south, but since passing Martinique, the island chain has started bending back to the west, so that St. Vincent is basically dead ahead now. We’ll tuck in close to shore, probably losing the breeze again in the island’s lee, then head up and sail for Admiralty Bay in Bequia, hoping to make fast on a mooring there in time for lunch and a swim before we go ashore.

Tyler focusing on sail trim drivin’ ICEBEAR south.

Tyler focusing on sail trim drivin’ ICEBEAR south.

At this moment, the plan is to explore the Grenadines for the next couple days before making a beeline for Tortola, only about 2 days sail north-northwest. I’m hoping to get back out to the Tobago Cays, even Petit Tabac if the weather allows, and place I haven’t been too since our Broadreach days in 2009. We last visited Tobago Cays on ISBJORN in the spring of 2017, short-tacking around to the east of the islands there and using the dark colors of the reefs to gauge our tacks. I’d love nothing more than to repeat that feat on ICEBEAR in a couple days time.

Diver down…Mia exploring underwater in Tobago Cays. Yes, that’s our kettlebell we dropped over the side, on purpose ;)

Diver down…Mia exploring underwater in Tobago Cays. Yes, that’s our kettlebell we dropped over the side, on purpose ;)

This article was syndicated from 59º North Sailing // 59º North Blog

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