Posts Tagged: ‘The Grenadines’

The Endless Summer Crowd: Union Island earlier in March

March 17, 2012 Posted by Deb

The kitesurfing at Union was a teenage dream. Some were on vacation, some were on boats, and some lived on the island. One cat near us was full of kite bags, six guys, and one girl. There were a few 30 somethings and maybe the odd 40 something but …

They stake out a section of beach and a section of the reef and have their version of endless summer complete with the beach parties. I felt like some weird old guy walking through their turf but they were friendly and couldn’t wait to get me strapped in for $125 an hour. That night there was a full moon, clear sky, and 24 knots of wind and they were out kitesurfing at least until 2:00 a.m. Sign me up.

Rag Dolls and Electric Bikes: Union Island

March 7, 2012 Posted by Deb

It’s blowing hard now. They say 20 gusting 25 but it is stronger and we’re hanging off the reef outside Clifton with not much between us and Africa. It was blowing hard enough a few days ago that I tried to rig a jibe dampener coming out of Canouan, knowing that we would have to hang a left shortly after clearing the island. I thought a half turn around a cleat ought to do it with a double reef in the main. Not smart. The boom threw me across the cockpit like a ragdoll, like I weighed nothing. No damage other than more whiplash to my neck and we melted the painter to the dink that just happened to be on that cleat. Oops.

We had a gorgeous eleven-mile run mostly well off the wind after leaving Canouan. The corridor between Canouan and Union is packed with sailboats and we did avoidance moves five or six times. Deb and I never race unless were gaining on someone or we’re pulling away from someone. We were rigged for comfort and planning to alter course yet again for a charter cat coming from our port. As we changed course to fall behind him, he jibed right in front of us and lost momentum and we got close. They had three guys above deck and they were scrambling, trimming hard, and started to pull away. We let out all of our headsail, not because we wanted to race but because we were coming up in the lee of Mayreau. They took it for a race and we apparently did too because it wasn’t long before we started tweaking our sails as well. Of course, we had electric winches so all we had to do was stretch out a big toe to the winch button while they were climbing around with winch handles. It was tight until the seas got rough again beyond Mayreau and Neytiri walked away from them and passed three others. Not bad for a heavily loaded cruising cat.

We rented bikes today from the grocery store. Imagine our surprise when we found out they were battery powered electric motor assist bikes. They were heavy and had tractor seats but took off like a rocket when they were pedaled. We did a complete lap of the island and the batteries still had kick in them when we turned them in. The only two downers were that Deb blew out her knee and I found out the brakes weren’t strong enough to come down off Campbell hill and melted a tennis shoe getting the bike back under control. Deb struggled back to Clifton with a combination of walking, coasting, and using the battery. We hailed a cab but he didn’t want anything to do with hauling a bike. She’s had ice on it all afternoon and we’ll see.