30 November 2012

should we stay or should we go?

As mentioned before the only one who is guiding us is the weather. If the forecast is bad we stay, if it's good we go. Unfortunately it's not always as easy as that... Perfect conditions for us would be 10-15 knots of wind out of the East and seas at around 3-4 feet. The wind velocity at the moment are higher and so are the seas. That wouldn't be a problem for Habibi but the wind direction is more from the North - and we have to go North! It means we had to motor against wind and seas - no bueno. So we are waiting, listening to the forecast, checking the web and talking to fellow sailors. We sometimes think that we are too cautious. But then we're talking to cruisers who are on the way since 7 or 13 years, some of them even circumnavigated the world two times - and when those folks tell us they rather keep waiting than get beaten up out there we are relieved!

We see boats coming and leaving every day, most of them are charter boats. They have to set sail at one point no matter how bad the conditions are. We are happy that we are not pressured to move from A to B at a specific day. And there are worse places to wait for a weather window than Bequia ;-)

Admiralty Bay: Habibi is the 4th boat from left
Check out more pics on our Facebook page here!

From paradise with love

26 November 2012

"stuck" in Bequia

Visiting the same area for the second time gives us the opportunity to take a closer look of places we didn't have the time for last season. Like for example Bequia. We had just stopped here to check in and left after one night. Now we're just realizing what we've missed!
Marco checking the anchor in clear water

Habibi is anchored in Port Elizabeth close to a beach in clear, turquoise water - you can see to the ground even at night!! We never snorkeled so often off the boat like here (OK, one reason might be to check the anchor...). The town is tiny but lively. People are friendly and laid-back, there are a couple of nice restaurants right on the waterfront with good dinghy docks where you can sip on a cold beer while watching boats coming and going. It's an island of sailors and boats. We can somehow understand folks, often ex-sailors, who have chosen this charming island to "swallow the hook"...

beautiful traditional sailing boat

We still have to discover the island (it's only 18 sq km in area) and it looks like we'll have plenty of time for that. According to the weather forecast we had to make a decision to leave right away or stay another week - we decided for the latter ;-) We're not in a rush to be somewhere at a certain time...

It would be nice to experience the arrival of the ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers) though. The first boats just set sail in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria bound for the 2'800nm westward across the Atlanic to the Caribbean and should arrive mid of December in Rodney Bay, St.Lucia. For the first time since 23 years the start has been delayed due to bad weather. We wish all of the participants fair winds and a safe trip!

From paradise with love

23 November 2012

sleepless in paradise

Palm island and Janti's Happy Island (a bar in the middle of a reef)

This picture was captured at Clifton, Union Island. A charming town where we checked in for St.Vincent & the Grenadines. It’s great for provisioning and choosing fresh produce in the picture perfect market is a lot of fun as the vendors are very friendly. The only downsize is the anchorage. It is surrounded by reefs and it also has a small reef in the center called “roundabout reef”. According to our guide “the holding is unreliable and you should even consider an anchor watch”. Boat boys are trying to sell you their moorings which obviously also aren’t reliable. We’ve been here before and didn’t have any problems anchoring.

We were just about to sit down for dinner as a squall approached. The wind picked up considerably and it started to rain hard. Marco felt something was wrong and went up to have a look. “We are dragging, and how!!!” he screamed from upstairs. I flew up the ladder and saw the boat that was supposed to be anchored behind us passing by… Great! It was pitch dark, raining cats and dogs, the wind was howling and our anchor was not holding?! And you must know that having an anchor light is a luxury in the Caribbean so there were boats anchored around us we couldn’t even see – a real nightmare! But we managed the situation without even screaming at each other. We re-anchored and then held an anchor watch – like our guide recommended in the first place. Means we’ve been up all night to make sure we didn’t drag into another boat.  Don’t push your luck twice…

There was a Charter Catamaran anchored behind us that we watched out for in particular. In the morning they lifted the anchor to leave the anchorage. And you know what? They drove over the Roundabout Reef with full throttle and ran aground hard! Why did we stay up all night if this captain tried to trash his boat the next morning anyway?? 

The whole last year anchoring was straightforward. Our anchor was holding even in 40-50 kts of wind and changing currents. We usually set an anchor alarm that would ring if we were moving and slept fine. That changed now a little. We’re choosing our anchoring spots more careful, Marco even snorkels to check the anchor and we’re getting a little nervous when the wind picks up.

Nevertheless we’re enjoying the Grenadines with its green-turquoise water, small islands and friendly people. It's like paradise even though we might be sleepless at times...

From paradise with love

09 November 2012


Yes, we live currently in the lobster paradise. And since the season for this poor creatures started a few months ago we (HE) join the hunters.

There is just one problem: Even though I love fish I really do not like shellfish! Knowing that my hubby likes this little monsters our marriage faces another challenge. I mean eating something you do not really like is one thing. Seeing this poor creatures fighting for their life on the cockpit floor is another thing! And realizing your husband is getting glassy eyes when taking his biggest knife for the kill does not really help to appreciate this kind of "food". What should I say. The poor lobster lost and even if I hoped otherwise it was clear what we would have for dinner. Damn!

After cleaning the cockpit - and believe me you have no idea how sticky lobster blood is - it was time to cook that poor bastard. Thanks god, despite all that hunt and kill instinct of my husband there was still some decency...he asked me if there would be a way I could enjoy shellfish.

What should I say. He got lobster tail with garlic butter from the grill while I got gambas al ajillo. OK not really, it should be called lobster al ajillo. I learned it's the most decadent way to eat lobster. I mean this is normally made with the cheapest shrimps a Spanish restaurant can find, right? But whatever, that's almost the only way (except Rock Hall Crab Cake of course) how I would eat shellfish.

So the lost of life was not for nothing. It left a big mess in the kitchen, but eating what our guys kill is probably a way to keep a marriage happy, right?

With love from (lobster) paradise

07 November 2012

Good to be back - to the cruising life

Marco's off to catch dinner
Maybe you remember - our last anchor maneuver before we arrived in Grenada was in Tyrell Bay, Carriacou. It was here where our old anchor windlass died, the last time we anchored before Hurricane season - you can call it "blessing in disguise". And it kept us busy for a couple of weeks to mount our new one, we wrote about it here and here.

Now we're back and can enjoy it much more! It is a very protected huge bay and it seems even though there are a lot of boats you always find a nice spot. In comparison to St.George's it is very quiet and not at all rolly. So you can tell we slept like babies the last night and there is nothing better than to wake up in an anchorage, having a coffee in the cockpit and enjoy the scenery.
It must sound silly to you but we need some time off from our time off ;-) Seriously, we worked hard on Habibi the last couple of months! Therefore we're enjoying to do whatever is in our mind at the moment: Marco can either fish off the boat or take the dinghy and I'm taking pictures, swimming or reading - soon we'll be discovering the island a bit. So stay tuned for more!

what view to wake up to

Tyrell Bay in morning light

fishing boat from Venezuela - do they don't have enough fish there?

notice the BIG dog in the front!
With love from paradise

06 November 2012

So long Grenada

St. George's in the back

Do you know the expression "sticky lines"? It means there is always something that prevents you from leaving the marina - or gives you the excuse of postponing your departure. We really planned to leave beginning of November. But then there was this nasty swell out in the anchorage! Why should we leave our quiet dock just to be rolling around on anchor? So we stayed a few more days. Then Marco and I fell ill. At the same time and that happens very rarely. But finally we had enough, untied the dock lines and just left.

After five months in the marina it feels great to be out again. No traffic noise, enjoying the view, the sunset and the peace. Finally we'll be out sailing again - we're so looking forward to the new season!

Here some final impressions of St.George's, capital of Grenada:

leaving Port Louis Marina

General Hospital of St.George's

another Swiss boat on the left

s/v Helios is leaving as well

our friends Carol & Alex on s/v Nepenthe

a nice sailing boat with a center cockpit

the captain is relaxing

a squall on the horizon

a boat cruising into the sunset

With love from paradise