Carriacou

 

Carriacou –

 

It is now almost 7 am and we have just witnessed the most perfect rainbow that either of us has ever seen.  Huge, it arcs the entire sky at the mouth of Tyrrel Bay, named after my ancestors from England, and is a glorious sight to see from our cockpit.  Facing the harbour is rain and sunshine with this magnificence of colour behind the boat.  What a splendid day this will be with such a blessing at its start.

 

I loved Carriacou, which reminds me of St. John, Virgin Islands, my home for nearly three years in the mid 80’s.  They both are small, around 5,000 people, are filled with beautiful secluded beaches and have mountains with winding scenic roads – a very special atmosphere populated with friendly caring people.

 

Hillsboro, the main town, is comprised of only a few streets where vendors sell fruits and vegetables that arrive daily, by ferry, from Grenada.  There are two ferries between Hillsboro and St. Georges, Grenada, daily – one at 6 am and one at 5 pm.  The cost is approximately the same as from Road Town, BVI to St. Thomas – between $40 and $60 US or about $ 140 EC which is the local currency.

 

I spent a glorious two days just riding in the bus/vans around the island, taking pictures and enjoying the local culture.  I happened upon a wooden boat building project going on over at the windward side and had fun photographing and interviewing the Compton family, who were all at the building site, for a story for All At Sea’s July issue – the month of the famed Carriacou Regatta.  It delighted me to see the young men so enthused about the project, which is a community affair just as in the old days.

 

One interesting thing of note, while we were here it was reported that they had found the ossuary of Jesus and Mary Magdalene in Jerusalem and the town, being highly fundamentalist Christian, was all a-buzz about that.  As a voyeur, I just listened and noted how really upset people were lest anything upset their viewpoint of a factual Bible and white savior, with a literal, physical resurrection being a central tenant to their beliefs.

 

I bought fruit from a lovely West Indian lady which was fresh and cheap each day before my bus rides.  She is at her corner, located outside of the bank, and is keeping some okra for me this morning, which I will purchase for fungi, when we go in to check out.  We will be leaving for Union shortly, taking Swan Song over to Hillsboro Bay to check out.

 

Tyrrel Bay has had somewhat of a roll and ground swell with winds averaging in the teens but Swan Song is securely anchored and it is most pleasant to sleep with such a gentle rock.  The bay is filled with European yachts that have crossed the Atlantic to St. Lucia with ARC. There is a gorgeous Norwegian sloop in front of us that will eventually head up to Antigua Classics week.  Also there is a container sloop, only 8 feet wide and 39 feet long, that is at the dock.  We met her owners, Bernie and Beth, who ship their boat InBox, to various locations, far and wide, and then fly there to meet it.  They live New York, had their boat at the Newport Boat Show and then shipped to Trinidad where they picked it up.  They were terribly rushed and I wondered if they weren’t defeating their purpose.

 

I found a Roti Palace and bought several conch rotis to eat along the way for $3 US each.  Delicious.  I had wanted to go swimming but the sea is just too rough and too cold so I will save that for the Tobago Cays.  We also enjoyed the small Carriacou Yacht Club, located at the far end of Tyrrel Bay, which is owned by a local who does everything from garden to hosting.  This would be a great place to rent a small guest room, if ever needed.

 

Our trip up from Prickly Bay, Grenada, was fun and only took a little over six hours.  I just love the way Swan Song moves through the water.  She is so heavy that all is fairly smooth but then I have David to thank for that as he plans our passages to the inth degree before we start.  He has all of this great electronic equipment that gives us the weather long before it happens.  

 

All in all, I just loved Carriacou and hope to return on our way back to Venezuela for hurricane season.  

 

 

 

 

 

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Tyrrel Bay Haulout and Boatyard (below)

When my ancestors lived in England, one of the most popular spellings of our name was Tyrrel.  I am now researching this Tyrrel to see if we are related.  He had to be an explorer and sailor.  

Dave's Report -

N 12 27.334     W 61 29.403

Another week another 40 miles!

Anchored in Tyrrel Bay Carriacou since Saturday. Lumpy ride up from Grenada as the forecast and the nowcast were at odds. Managed to find just the right combination of wave and hole to stuff the bow full into one. The bow rail is 13’ above water and it was a full 2’ under. Other than a couple of items not well tied down everything stopped as fast as Swan Song. Looking for a good rain shower now to clear the salt from everything out side.

 

Our course took us just to the west by a mile or so of the underwater volcano known as Kick’em Jenny. It has erupted many times in the past but not for a few years now. It does continuously vent gas however and there is 1.5km exclusion zone around it

 

Still have a very small weeping from the shaft log but nothing looks stressed or cracked so a little Sikaflex will stem the tide till the next haulout.

 

 Tradewinds are 18-25kts in the anchorage with decent whitecaps rolling by. Our anchor hasn’t moved, I think, but we don’t have the 6” accuracy that Jeffery has ;-) I was using a palm tree and a goat on the side of a hill for reference….then the goat moved!

 

 

 

Log 294.1

 

Fuel 168.4

 

Upper 80’s days and upper 70’s nights

 

Making water in the bay as it is very clean J

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All At Sea - The Caribbean's Waterfront Magazine

Nancy Terrell -- July 2007 Issue

 

Preparing for the Carriacou Regatta

 

One of the most interesting aspects of cruising is the people you meet and what they are doing for their island.  The Compton family of Windward, Carriacou, is just such a family.  I happened to meet the men of the family when they were doing what they love best – building a sloop for their 42nd annual regatta to be held July 29th to August 6th, 2007.  Carriacou is a lovely island and their annual sailing regatta is a good reason for residents and visitors to celebrate a long heritage of both boatbuilding and sailing.

 

Cyril Compton, father of Cyron (23) and Daine (18), believes in the heritage of his country and of wooden boat building.  Together with many of his son’s friends, the group is building a 38’ Carriacou sloop for this month’s regatta, to be held in Hillsboro.   The original Margeta O was lost in Hurricane Emily in 1985; however her mast and blocks were retrieved and have been used in the rebuilding of Margeta O2.  This means a lot to the family—to keep the tradition going. The sloop was named for a dream that Cyril’s mother had.

 

While plans are not drawn for the building of the Compton sloop, Cyril did make a model (the lengthwise half) showing, with pencil lines, the position of ribs, beam width, etc.  This is in the work shed for the builders to check, according to scale, when they need it.  Bernard Compton, one of patriarchs of the Compton family, was a boat builder so the genes for excellence are certainly there to be carried on by Cyron and Daine.  Various uncles and cousins were also boat builders with Jessie Compton being the original builder who modeled Margeta O and build it.  While listening to this story I had the opportunity to gaze out over the lovely Caribbean Sea that fronts their property and view the Lady Iris, another boat that the Comptons recently completed.

 

Cyril has been around boats all of his life.  He is an accomplished fisherman and also vendor.  To raise money for the original Margeta O he sold fruits from a sailing boat in the USVI for four years.  His wife, Olga Bethel, also comes from a boating family.  Her grandfather was a noted fisherman and also a shipwright, so Cyron and Daine were lucky enough to inherit their skills from both sides of the family.

 

The interesting thing about the Margeta O is that every aspect of building it relates to Carriacou.  The wood was felled from local trees the builders split, stripped and planed themselves.  They bent the planks for the beam and have used all local materials.  The only exceptions to this are the 3” bronze and steel screws that are used in fastening the planking to the ribs.  This, in itself, is a source of great pride for Carriacou boat lovers.  When you think that this small paradise only has a population of approximately 5,000 it is amazing that so very many boats are built here by locals.

 

Dexter Leggard, President of the Carriacou Regatta Committee, says, "The success of the regatta festival depends heavily on the participation of the sloops since they are seen as what makes the Carriacou Regatta Festival “unique” when compared with all other regattas. The committee has been working hard to ensure they survive."

 

I send best wishes from All at Sea, not only to the Compton family, but all of the Carriacou boat builders, for the best of luck in this year’s regatta.  We are most proud of the heritage that you have kept and are continuing to excel in.  Have a wonderful regatta!

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One thing I loved about Hillsboro, the capital, was going to the market.  I really got to know the market woman in the upper right picture, who would save fresh okra for me for my fungi, which I love.  Dave is next at the entrance to the Carriacou Yacht Club Store.  The children are most currious as shown above.  Carriacou is also the home of the famous Carriacou Regatta in July.  Shown here is one of the Compton boys working on their entry for the regatta.  Across the street from the Comptons, on the Windward side, is Miss Val's grocery (below).  She was a love and we had a long conversation after I had interviewed the Comptons.  Below are two boats that went through Hurricane Ivan, which really hurt these islands.  The town square is on the lower left.  I hope that Dave and I will be able to attend this year's regatta.