Sailing Log: Woburn Bay – Carriacou

After a busy few weeks, Mabul is in top form. Even the last big “thing” for the time being, the propeller, should be able to do its work again without vibration. So we can finally set off slowly towards the north in good spirits.

Actually our plan was to sail directly from Woburn Bay in the south of Grenada to Tyrell Bay, the big western bay of Carriacou. However, little wind and a lot of rain delay our departure, so we decide to make only about one third of the total distance on the first day. Preliminary destination is Black Bay near Halifx Harbour on the west coast of Grenada.

We chug under motor through the channel out of Woburn Bay. At idle no more vibrations are noticeable, as soon as the anchor is free, I increase the speed in small steps up to 2000 rpm. Mabul ends up making almost seven knots through the water and vibrations are barely noticeable. The effort under water was worth it! So it can go on….

Here we go! We sail along the south coast of Grenada towards Point Saline
Day 1: Heading north

We set sail, luff and we are already on a SE wind with 12 – 15 knots on a beam reach course and heading for Point Saline, the southern tip of Grenada. Driven by a rain cloud the sea gets rougher and the wind blows with up to 20 knots as soon as we have passed Point Saline.

Rough seas near Point Saline in just under 20 knots of wind

Before jibing, we will sail five more nautical miles to the west to arrive directly at Black Bay. Shortly after the jibe, we dive into the lee of Grenada and the seas calm down. The rain drifts off to the north and with it the wind breaks. With about six knots of wind we furl the sails and motor the remaining four nautical miles.
Arriving at the anchorage, we drop the anchor three times – it never holds and we mainly pull seaweed to the surface. So we continue north near the coast in search of a better anchorage. Somewhere along the way I don’t pay attention and run right over a fishing buoy. I only notice it because I suddenly hear clanking noises from below me, i.e. from the drive. Immediately I go into neutral and wonder what happened. Shortly after, I see pieces of rope and buoy remnants appearing behind us. Interesting. The rotating blade on the shaft, installed just ahead of the propeller, seems to be working perfectly. Carefully I put the forward gear in idle, there are one or two more rope-cutting noises and calm returns. We are cruising normally again. Amazing!

The fourth anchor attempt on the west coast off Gouyave in pouring rain

In front of the small harbor town of Gouyave, where some fishing boats are already moored, we start our fourth anchor attempt. In the meantime it is raining cats and dogs, so that we get soaking wet while anchoring, but the anchor holds, finally.
After we have retracted and checked the anchor, we take stock of the day. There is no lack of mishaps: The standby button of the autopilot quit working, a strap on the stackpack, the sail bag for the mainsail, broke off, and last but not least, a line holding the dinghy to the davit snapped. What a luck that this has not happened before under sail.

Now it is time to eat, we are both hungry and then exhausted enjoy the thunderstorm spectacle on the horizon. Still we do not suspect, what the night brings….

The rain moves on

The rain clouds, which we still admired so awe-inspiringly in the evening, give us a violent swell during the night, i.e. rolling waves that slosh into the bay from the west with SE wind. As a result, Mabul rolls continuously from starboard to port – and everything that is not tied down rivet and nail rolls with her. Sleep is unthinkable and Karin gets up every few minutes to tie things down.

Day 2: Stopover Ronde Island

In the morning the haunting finally stops and as we stick our heads through the hatch, we are presented with a unique natural spectacle. The rainforest glows in bright, intense colors and large birds of prey circle above us. Also the crystal clear water of the bay reconciles us with the terrible night.

The bright colors of the rainforest after a sleepless night

The first thing I do is jump into the water and check the prop to see if there are any remains of the fishing buoy to be removed. Indeed, I still find a short piece, which I can simply pull away. No damage to prop, shaft and blade visible. After that Karin jumps into the water to look for the anchor. She finds a piece of rope over which our anchor chain lies – perhaps a cut-off dinghy anchor? We could put it to good use. Karin dives down, pulls the rope under the chain, but at its end she finds only a wooden stick. We keep the rope, everything is recycled on Mabul and ropes can always be used.
After coffee the next rain cloud is already moving over Grenada towards us and we wait a bit before we set sail again. We lift our anchor and hope to be able to ride the winds of the rain cloud again.

We try to use the winds of the rain clouds and fall off further to the west

From the anchorage there is almost no wind for the first time, but then the rain cloud gives us wind from NE at 15 – 20 knots. Nice! Since we don’t know Mabul’s limits well enough yet and want to handle her carefully, we put the first reef in the main and the second in the genua. We sail on a close hauled course and make 7 – 8 knots of speed. We try to time our tacks so that we continue to gain height and take advantage of the wind, but without sailing into the rain cloud.

Ronde Island is two nautical miles ahead of us

Karin casts her lure and hopes that a tuna will bite. After we have left the cloud behind us, Mabul sails calmly and steadily, quite unexcited and with little heeling. A fantastic feeling! After 15 nautical miles we reach the western bay of Ronde Island almost dry and drop our anchor in six meters depth – today without any new damage, but also without fishing luck.

The next day we decide to spend another night in the bay off Ronde. It’s simply gorgeous, and Brioni and Iain, whom we met in Benji Bay, have also come into the bay that night with their catamaran Indioko. The Scottish YouTuber couple sold everything and came to the Caribbean two years ago to buy a catamaran here. You can find out more about their adventures – and they are many, especially the mishaps – on their YouTube channel Red Seas or in our BoatCast Episode 8.
With the two of them we make a short shore leave and look together for a trail that can take us to the northern bay. After a short jungle stage we turn around – many spiders and cacti, but no path.

Lonely dream beach in the west bay of Ronde Island

In the afternoon I take care of the autopilots and swap both panels without further ado. The main autopilot now has the newer of the two panels with readable display and working buttons.
I take the one with the defective standby button apart and find a cold, corroded solder joint. I clean it, apply my gas soldering iron and the part is working again!

After a long and funny dinner on SV Indioko with our Scottish friends we fall tired into bed…

Day 3: On to Carriacou

With a few days delay – what the heck, we have time – we set sail towards Carriacou, which can be seen from us in the northeast. Preliminary destination is Saline Island in the south, but the anchorage is very small and offers only very few boats safe hold. The wind is coming from SE direction with 15 knots and we are going close hauled again. Soon we see on our AIS, a radio technology with the help of which one can see other boats on the chartplotter, that there are already two boats off Saline Island, and who knows how many more who have switched off the AIS…
Without further ado we change the route and head directly for Tyrell Bay, the main bay in Carriacou.

Karin tries it again on the last leg to Carriacou

Just below the north coast of Carriacou the wind turns in our favor and blows now almost exactly from the south. So we can adjust our course without any maneuvers until we reach the bay about half a mile before the sails, with a direct view into Tyre ll Bay. But there we see them, a large number of sailing ships, like a herd of sailing ships, similar to Woburn Bay. How will the water quality be there? So we change our plans again. We pass the bay under motor and drop anchor about one nautical mile south in a nameless bay.

Arrived! We are anchored in a nameless bay one nautical mile south of Tyrell Bay

The anchor holds right away and we have only four neighbors. The coast is beautiful and diverse. Cliffs alternate with mangroves, jungle and small beaches. We take advantage of the quiet in the bay to make our boat more homey, hang photos of our family and friends, clean up and slowly assign things their place, after all, this is our home now.

The view from the companionway below deck

For us, life on the boat still feels like diving into an alien universe. Every day we deal with new topics and challenges, YouTube and the Internet proves to be an excellent playground for acquiring knowledge. Sometimes boat life also feels like a kind of Boy Scout life for adults. So we realize when we’re at anchor that we can’t get on the boat unless the dinghy is in the water. Pulled up and tied to the dinghy David, it blocks the ladder and the whole back boarding area. So how can we swim and then get back in if we don’t want to put the dinghy in the water every time? A ladder that we can tie to the side would be good, except we don’t have one. But we have enough lines and ropes and with the help of a YouTube video Karin starts to make a rope ladder out of a rope. The entry over the side now works perfectly!


So now we are here, in Carriacou. Instead of one day, it has become four, which one simply accepts with a shrug of the shoulders. We have already repaired the damages on the way and we got to know Mabul a bit better.

We enjoyed the days, the sailing, the being on the way, the closeness to nature. It feels good and right and we are looking forward to what awaits us in the coming months. After the many weeks at anchor in Woburn Bay, a new chapter, the sailing chapter, seems to have begun. That this chapter will demand a lot of flexibility and creativity from us, that we will make plans only to discard and adjust them again shortly afterwards, has long since become clear to us.

Thunderstorms pass through the eastern evening sky

Already a depression is brewing in the middle of the Atlantic, which is heading directly for us. We regularly consult the PredictWind app, which provides all the necessary weather data, and the National Hurricane Center‘s website to stay informed about the latest status of tropical storms. There is still no closed vortex in the forecasts, in two to three days we will be smarter. And best of all well protected at anchor in a bay….

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