Kate

Kate

professional mariner | full-time traveller | part-time blogger | amateur photographer | semi-circumnavigator | happy wife | made in South Africa

Posts by this author:

Off The Line

As many of you know, we started the ‘Melody’ chapter of our life 4 years ago and we did it with another two awesome humans. Vivian and Daniel took on this dream with us, rather spontaneously, and without them we wouldn’t be where we are today. 

We bought Melody together, we worked extremely hard to refit her and we all sacrificed a lot. We eventually left South Africa in September of 2012 and the four of us sailed across the Atlantic Ocean (without and autopilot!!??) to Brazil and then on to Tobago where, in December of that same year, Rufus and I left to work in Zambia.

We desperately needed to replenish our personal cash reserves and so Viv & Dan continued to sail the Caribbean for the duration of 2013. At the end of 2013 we bought out their 50% shares and became the proud full owners of S/V Melody!

Viv and Dan returned to SA to pursue their land based dreams of studies, for Viv, and a job in his field study and interest, for Daniel. They also made their love and their commitment official with a beautiful, intimate wedding earlier this year (take a look at some of the beautiful photos in their blog post). Happy day!

Our time together as a team was an epic adventure filled with serious highs and of course serious lows but, in the end, we wouldn’t change it for anything. We learnt too much to tell in one sitting, and we are all better people for it.

They have done their farewell post on our team blog, www.offtheline.co.za, but they’re continuing the updates on the twitter account so you can see what they are up to now – Viv is posting some beautiful shots of their SA explorations: @off_the_line

We wish them all the best for their new chapter and we’re forever grateful for their part in our journey together. Big love to you both x

Fernando De Noronha - our first stop after the Atlantic crossing, off the coats of Brazil

Fernando De Noronha – our first stop after the Atlantic crossing, off the coats of Brazil

Fernando

Fernando

our very first coconuts! Fernando De Noronha

our very first coconuts! Fernando De Noronha

 

 

celebrating crossing the equator!

celebrating crossing the equator!

Daniel

Daniel

Vivian

Vivian

Rufus

Rufus

Kate

Kate

our last beer together in Tobago, before Rufus and I left for Zambia

our last beer together in Tobago, before Rufus and I left for Zambia

 

Grand Anse

Grand Anse is one of the best beaches we’ve visited in Grenada. we came upon it quite by accident while unintentionally walking half way across the island.

we were supposed to go grocery shopping at the ‘big mall’ and then join friends for dinner in Port Louis. we ended up walking most of the way from Prickly Bay, except for a 3min taxi ride, which we probably could have walked faster for the million times it stopped for passengers.

it was one of those “I wonder where that road leads to” or “I wonder what’s around that next bend” and “it can’t be THAT far to the next taxi stop?”. well it can be THAT far to the next taxi stop and after a long sweaty day of walking our friends thankfully still allowed our smelly bodies onto their boat for, quite possibly, the best burgers we have had so far. ever. in our lives. (more on these awesome weirdos later – our friends, not the burgers).

 

Dragon Bay

it’s been a while… my sincerest apologies. we’ve been in Trinidad, on the hard for well over a month and trust me, there is nothing more uninspiring than living in  a hot dusty boatyard where the water is so siff there’s more oil and plastic than sealife and the mosquitos literally eat you alive 24/7.

having said that, we can sit and complain or we can make it nice for ourselves and we have decided to do the latter – it’s all about your mindset! we’ve met some great new friends and we’ve been seriously productive boat wise – new additions, upgrades and repairs. we are feeling proud 🙂

before I start posting on Trinidad though, I want to cover our Grenada experience, which has been the best so far. the community is great and there is so much to do. the islanders are the friendliest we’ve met and there are many beautiful bays to visit.

our first overnight stay was in Dragon Bay, and where Rufus decided to whip out his fishing gear. Contrary to what he name promises, there were no dragons (sorry Game of Thrones fans) but there was an abundance of fish. although he didn’t manage to catch one large enough to braai for dinner, he did have a LOT of bites on his chicken baited hook. the greedy little guys were just that, little, and so all of them were returned (very much alive and flapping) to their watery home.

even though we weren’t successful on the food front we did discover that fish are very keen on fresh chicken and that served us well later on 😉 

 

contemplating deep things like 'should we braai or make ceviche'

contemplating deep things like ‘should we braai or make ceviche’

whatcha lookin' at?

whatcha lookin’ at?

our sophisticated fishing gear

our sophisticated fishing gear

catch...

catch…

and release.

and release.

but first, a selfie.

but first, a selfie.

refuelling the chicken guts

refuelling the chicken guts

another one to release

another one to release

smiley face

smiley face

Ruf wins the 'best smile' contest as far as I'm concerned

Ruf wins the ‘best smile’ contest as far as I’m concerned

Tobago Cays

Tobago Cays is a small group of islands in the Grenadines, famous for its (mostly) untouched beauty and my favourite: turtles and manta rays! It is a protected marine park so there are no human residents. The cays are surrounded by beautiful reefs and the islands themselves are home to large tortoises and iguanas.

We stayed one night and swam with the turtles as soon as we arrived. It’s a special experience and I wouldn’t have thought it but those little guys have quite a lot of personality. Some of them are very relaxed and not phased by us weirdo looking humans, all googled and finned up. Others are more grumpy and don’t like to be disturbed while they’re having dinner (most of them were eating while we were there). The rest are kind of playful and you can swim with them as they cruise around their little bay.

Unfortunately the bay was quite rolley and it wasn’t comfortable to stay very long. We anchored in a protected channel for the night and were greeted by a family of manta rays, around the stern of the boat, as we prepared to motor on to Union Island the next morning. I’ve seen larger rays before, off Grand Cayman island, but never babies like the ones in this group. Too cute for words. Unfortunately I left the camera below so no shots of the rays. Next time!

 

entering the Cays

entering the Cays

the water really is this colour and this clear

the water really is this colour and this clear

the locals are always ready to

the locals are always ready to “help” and accept a cash “thank you” after

the Marine Park has strict rules about not getting too close to the turtles, even when they came towards us we moved away to maintain the right distance. can't say the same for the other disrespectful tourists. 

the Marine Park has strict rules about not getting too close to the turtles, even when they came towards us we moved away to maintain the right distance. can’t say the same for the other disrespectful tourists. 

every couple needs and under water selfie ;)

every couple needs and under water selfie 😉

unfortunately the focus of this dive was cut out of the shot (we dont have a screen on our go pro yet) but I was pointing a giant bright red starfish, the biggest we've ever seen. 

unfortunately the focus of this dive was cut out of the shot (we dont have a screen on our go pro yet) but I was pointing a giant bright red starfish, the biggest we’ve ever seen. 

view no 1, from our anchorage for the night

view no 1, from our anchorage for the night

anchorage view no 2

anchorage view no 2

and one of my favorite views ;)

and one of my favorite views 😉

Night Lights

This post is a bit out of sequence (have a few more posts to do before we get to Trinidad) but I felt like putting these up now.

We did a night sail from Grenada (Prickly Bay) to Chaguaramas in Trinidad last week. We’re here to do some maintenance and upgrades on the boat, in preparation for the Pacific leg of our trip. 

Night sailing can be quite boring, not much to see, and if you have an autopilot doing the work for you, not much to do other than look out for the odd boat/ship on the horizon.  

Just off of Trinidad’s northern coast however, there is an oil field populated by huge oil rigs and at night they are quite spectacular with all their lights. We sailed quite close to this one and in my sleepy haze (it was 2am after all) I battled with the night settings on my camera. I obviously tried to get a clear focused shot but in the end, with all the rolling and heeling of the boat, most were out of focus. Ultimately my favorites are the more fuzzy ones, not the one I managed to get “right”. This is the result… 

Saltwhistle Bay

Mayreau is one of the Grenadines islands and Saltwhistle Bay was our first stop. When we arrived there were very few yachts and so we could pick a good spot, nice and close to the beach. This was the first destination, since we returned to Melody, that we truly experienced the “deserted tropical island” feeling.  

None of these photos have been edited to enhance the colors of the water etc. This is exactly as we experienced it (just a little more spectacular in person).

It’s  easy to get used to palm trees and white beaches but water this colour, this clear and warm never gets old. It was so good we returned a second time, a few days later, on our way to Tobago Cays.

crystal clear - we could see our chain and anchor without having to do a dive check

crystal clear – we could see our chain and anchor without having to do a dive check

we anchored nice and close, swimming distance, to the beach

we anchored nice and close, swimming distance, to the beach

the only (tiny) resort in the bay - closed for renovations in off season though

the only (tiny) resort in the bay – closed for renovations in off season though

super windy on the other side of the bay, but we were nicely protected

super windy on the other side of the bay, but we were nicely protected

frog man. 

frog man. 

more sea angel-ing

more sea angel-ing

this is Ruf's rendition of Campari & orange juice 

this is Ruf’s rendition of Campari & orange juice 

Bequia

staring at our new main sail never gets old

staring at our new main sail never gets old

autopilot means we can chill more during passages

autopilot means we can chill more during passages

motoring into Admirality Bay - thank you to our friends Miki & Francesco for the shot

motoring into Admirality Bay – thank you to our friends Miki & Francesco for the shot

view from the dinghy dock

view from the dinghy dock

the walk home from town, along the water's edge

the walk home from town, along the water’s edge

 

 

the whale bar, with whale vertebra for seats- limited whaling is still permitted here, but only for local fishermen using traditional methods 

the whale bar, with whale vertebra for seats- limited whaling is still permitted here, but only for local fishermen using traditional methods 

view from the tender on our way back to Melody

view from the tender on our way back to Melody

Princess Margaret beach

Princess Margaret beach

1st early morning swim off the boat - this photo has not been edited fyi

1st early morning swim off the boat – this photo has not been edited fyi

relaxing under a palm tree, enjoying the view ;)

relaxing under a palm tree, enjoying the view 😉

Port Elizabeth

Port Elizabeth

Bequia was a beautiful stop. We anchored just off Port Elizabeth in front Princess Margaret Beach. This stop was extra special for us because we finally got to reunite with our great friends, Miki & Francesco!

We met them almost 2 years before, in Simon’s Town, South Africa, while both our boats were on the hard. These two have been sailing for about 8years now – they started in the Pacific then Asia, South Africa and now the Caribbean.

The beaches here are beautiful and there are small caves to explore in the bays. There is currently a big drive to eradicate the alien Lionfish. They were accidentally introduced to St Vincent & The Grenadines waters and are seriously threatening the indigenous marine life with their voracious appetites and rapid reproduction. We didn’t manage to spear any during our stay but we did enjoy a delicious Lionfish pizza!

Pitons

On our way down to St Vincent we sailed past the Pitons of St Lucia. It’s a protected area and rather pricey (for us) to stop and anchor there. 

The islanders named their local beer after these rock cones and apparently they are quite famous. The beer is good though, my favorite is the lemon flavored. It’s only 2% alcohol so our lunchtime beer time doesn’t send us into nap time 😉

I must admit, they look a whole lot cooler (greener and more “tropical-islandy”) in the photoshopped brochures & cruising guides. Maybe we got them on a bad day…

 

Wallilabou

not quite Captain Jack Sparrow...

not quite Captain Jack Sparrow…

one of the sets built for the movie, now with a new paint job by the locals

one of the sets built for the movie, now with a new paint job by the locals

Rufus doing his best dead/scared/crazy(?) look with the original coffins used by Johnny Depp & cast in the movie

Rufus doing his best dead/scared/crazy(?) look with the original coffins used by Johnny Depp & cast in the movie

Melody's backside tied to a coconut tree (coconut tree not pictured)

Melody’s backside tied to a coconut tree (coconut tree not pictured)

Rufus trying to entice me with his

Rufus trying to entice me with his “sexy coconut” face – the morning after th (rum punch) night before…

sunset over the bay - no green flashes for us so far...

sunset over the bay – no green flashes for us so far…

day tripping with our new German friends -

day tripping with our new German friends – “wax apple” tasting in a local’s garden

wax apple close-up. good stuff.

wax apple close-up. good stuff.

view of a neighboring bay on our road triproad trip

view of a neighboring bay on our road triproad trip

lunch view - fish rotis on the beach

lunch view – fish rotis on the beach

Wallilabou pano: mini Melody tender on the beach (left) and Melody mamma in the bay (right)

Wallilabou pano: mini Melody tender on the beach (left) and Melody mamma in the bay (right)

Wallilabou Bay was our introduction to St Vincent. It’s one of our favorite bays so far – the vibe, the people and the character combine to make you want to stay just one more day.

it also happens to be the place where most of the second Pirates of the Caribbean movie was shot and so the locals obviously try and cash in on it. Most of the sets from the movie are still intact and some house the bay’s “yacht club” and restaurant. Unfortunately the owners are a bit too enthusiastic with their prices – EC$45 for a mediocre meal when you can get an amazing plate of food in town for EC$5 – 10. The locals have lent their colorful Caribbean spice to the remaining sets so it’s not quite what you see in the movie anymore.

we met some great new friends here, in our age group (so many old cruisers not keen to make friends) – a group of 5 Germans, with which we did a day trip to the Dark View waterfalls with and another boat with 2 Swiss guys and a French girl. All really friendly and good company.

we all did a group mission to the local bar called Pirates Retreat. It’s owned by a brilliant character called Tony and if you do ever find yourself in Wallilabou you MUST give his bar a visit – not only is he a great person, one of the best we’ve met so far, but he makes a ridiculously good rum punch. deceptively strong… 

next stop Bequia, to reunite with our Italian friends Miki & Francesco!!!!

 

 

Soufriere

view of the town on our approach into the bay

view of the town on our approach into the bay

bank of St Lucia - the fanciest building in the town

bank of St Lucia – the fanciest building in the town

new neighbors for the night

new neighbors for the night

prime property

prime property

locals preparing for the day - selling fruit, moorings and anything else you might need from their boats...

locals preparing for the day – selling fruit, moorings and anything else you might need from their boats…

you definitely have to have patience when the locals swarm your boat as soon as you arrive in the bay

you definitely have to have patience when the locals swarm your boat as soon as you arrive in the bay

the Catholic Church & town square

the Catholic Church & town square

catnap in the shade

catnap in the shade

our wifi spot, next to immigration & customs. convenient.

our wifi spot, next to immigration & customs. convenient.

welcome to skippers

welcome to skippers

is there another kind of liquor?

is there another kind of liquor?

next to the church

next to the church

almost every street has a house destroyed by fire, with no obvious effort to rebuild

almost every street has a house destroyed by fire, with no obvious effort to rebuild

corners of the church square 

corners of the church square 

fairy lights and coconut carvings for atmosphere in a local restaurant

fairy lights and coconut carvings for atmosphere in a local restaurant

you can never have enough colour

you can never have enough colour

view from the restaurant

view from the restaurant

Sourfiere was our first real sailing destination. We had perfect conditions and the new main sail couldn’t have performed better. We even tested out the autopilot – I can’t believe what a huge difference it makes. I can lie back on my pillows in the cockpit and literally change course with my toe, on the autopilot screen, while I read my book. Now I finally understand what all the fuss is about!

The town itself is very colorful and full of character. The only building not covered in bright colors is the Catholic Church, in the centre of town. The interior makes up for it though, with blue walls, red stain glass windows and multicolor statues.

As soon as the locals realize you are a friendly traveler and not a difficult tourist they immediately welcome you and assist you wherever possible. Also, their prices suddenly drop from ridiculously exorbitant right down to the same as what their friends would pay. If you take a genuine interest in their local cuisine they will demonstrate how to make the various dishes and even go as far as to take you to the market and help to find the best ingredients at the real-non-touristy prices for you.

We spent one night there and left to St Vincent island the next day. 

 

Marigot Bay

view of Melody from one of the hills overlooking Marigot Bay

view of Melody from one of the hills overlooking Marigot Bay

our first view of Melody in the bay, as we came over the hill from the airport

our first view of Melody in the bay, as we came over the hill from the airport

1st few hours on Melody - happy happy faces!

1st few hours on Melody – happy happy faces!

view of the beach from our boat 

view of the beach from our boat 

sunset towards the entrance of the bay

sunset towards the entrance of the bay

morning rainbow 

morning rainbow 

one of the best things about cruising? almost any time is beer time ;)

one of the best things about cruising? almost any time is beer time 😉

St Lucia's local beer, named after the famous Pitons, further south.

St Lucia’s local beer, named after the famous Pitons, further south.

admiring our refurbished jib

admiring our refurbished jib

Wolfgang, Nina, the kids and us

Wolfgang, Nina, the kids and us

Ruf prepping for our first day sail to the neighboring bay

Ruf prepping for our first day sail to the neighboring bay

Castries, the neighboring bay, where we did our first sail and groceries for the boat.

Castries, the neighboring bay, where we did our first sail and groceries for the boat.

Castries is St Lucia's capital and a port of entry by both sea and air

Castries is St Lucia’s capital and a port of entry by both sea and air

the lighthouse in Castries Bay

the lighthouse in Castries Bay

last evening in Marigot before we sailed to Soufriere

last evening in Marigot before we sailed to Soufriere

we arrived in St Lucia on May 6th, to finally return to Melody and meet the wonderful Klein family in person, that had been taking care of her for the previous 4 months.

Wolfgang, Nina and their two children had been cruising with Melody from Trinidad up to St Lucia. we had only ever communicated via email so it was wonderful to finally meet our new friends in person.  

we were so blown away by the brilliant care they had taken of Melody, we felt (and still feel) truly blessed by them and their contribution to our boat. Nina and Wolgang are the kind of people who you immediately feel comfortable around so it’s difficult not to become fast friends with them.

rufus and I were in a bit of a state of (good) shock when we arrived back on Melody. It all felt very surreal but we were so happy to be back. I immediately started unpacking our bags and “making home” while the boys busied themselves with the boat mechanics.

after we said goodbye to the Klein’s the following morning, we stayed about 1 week while we familiarized ourselves with Melody and the new upgrades that had taken place since we left in 2012. after a short sail to Castries, the neighboring bay, for shopping we made our way to the Sourfiere.

its so good to be back on our boat. It’s been a long time since we have had our very own home so this is extra special for us. the future is bright!

 

P.S. the NYC and SA posts will have to wait till we get to Trinidad and put the boat on the hard. the islands were traveling now are more interesting at the moment 😉