Our sail plan, is to leave Le Marin, Martinique at noon and sail to Bequia, St. Vincent. Winds are steady from the east around 15 knots and seas are 3-4 feet. We hoist the main sail with one reef and put out the jib, cautious at first, testing the conditions. Travel between islands can create up to a 30% increase in wind and sea states due to wind vortexes that occur between the islands. We clear Martinique and the winds pick up a little but just enough to make our sailing angle better.
Time to consult our guide book out and read about Bequia; it’s a favourite destination amongst cruisers. We figure at our current speed of 7 knots we’ll get there around 3 am in the morning, which means we have to slow down a little in order to arrive around early morning, with sufficient light. The sailing conditions are stellar and the further we go the less inclined we are to slow our progress and think about stopping. We discuss what options are available to us; St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Bequia, The Grenadines, Mustique, Union Island, Curricau, Grenada. Ah Grenada, a place I have been hoping to get to for years, and where I wanted to get to more than any other place. Why? Because I’ve been reading about it for years, following other cruisers blogs. It is also the furthest we plan to venture south, that is unless I can convince Al to sail to the equator with me so we could get that badge.
We talk it over. Can we make it in 24 hours? The trade winds are picking up substantially for the next 2-3 weeks, so getting anywhere may be a challenge after Monday when winds are due to increase substantially. If we make it as far as Grenada we can rest here for 2-3 weeks, get boat work done and slowly make our way back up the Windward island chain.
Having discussed it thoroughly, all three of us are onboard with a change to the sail plan and we set our compass for longitude 14º. The winds and seas pick up a little and we are cruising around 7.5 knots, with a reefed main and full jib, no engine. As we near the Pitons on St Lucia the sun begins to set and the sky turns a lovely pink hue. We get our tethers, headlamps, flashlights, and everything in order for a night sail. Grenada is 150 nautical miles south.
As the night sky takes over we are gob smacked by the quantity and brilliance of the stars above us. The sky is littered with stars and several planets on the west horizon are bright enough to cast a reflection on the water. Not to be outdone the bio luminescence in the water glows around our boat and with each cut our boat makes through the water a wave pushes off the hull, that is a shimmering mirror to the stars above us. Sailing through the warm soft air, that carries us over the starry ocean, beneath a sparkly sky, I feel like I’m experiencing the ultimate sail.
The sense of satisfaction that comes from doing something you truly love is fulfilling. And then I see trails of light in the water, at the bow of our boat. Dolphins swim along in the near flat calm waters as we clear St. Vincent, covered in bio-luminescence, a cloak of stars around them creating illuminated trails in the water, their bodies glow and shimmer as they glide to the surface. The only sound is our boat, making its way through the water, with a quiet and steady whoosh, comforting and purposeful. It is simply magical to be out here tonight in the elements, with the ocean, wind, waves and sky.
We drop anchor outside St. Georges, Grenada at 1:20. Its awesome to be in Grenada!