Sunday, April 10, 2016

Happy Birthday, Gail!

We celebrated Gail's birthday yesterday, here in Barbados, where she's been staying for the past 3 months. 
I won't say which birthday (it's not polite to reveal a woman's age!) but it was a milestone. 

Gail's birthday wish was to have dinner on the beach with her good friends, Dianne and Sam Mahon.
With tiki torches and fine wine we made it a night to remember!

Happy Birthday to a wonderful woman. I love you so much!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Caribbean SOS

My idyllic day on the Tobago Cays (see previous post) ended in a near-disaster. Gail and I had hired a local water taxi, the Papa San and its driver Jerome, to take us from nearby Mayreau Island to the Cays and bring us back in the afternoon.

After a great day of snorkelling around the reefs, on the return 20 minute journey the outboard motor on the Papa San suddenly died.  The waters were quite rough on the windward side of Mayreau, rocking the boat as Jerome tried restarting the engine to no avail. We were out of gas!

The rocks and waves at Monkey Point
As the current drew us towards the rocks of Monkey Point and the ominous frothing surf of the surrounding reef, we started to get a little nervous. "Don't worry", said Jerome as he tossed the anchor overboard. Only one problem: the anchor wasn't tied to the boat and with one big wave the rope slipped through Jerome's hands and the anchor disappeared into the deep. No cell phone and no lifejackets. Now what? 

A boat came around the point heading for Union Island. Gail, getting quite panicky, took off her white shirt and started waving it as we all yelled as loud as we could. No response.

Towed home
The rocks loomed larger. The waters looked angrier. Gail was beside herself. I was thinking about our best options: stay with the boat or get our fins on and start swimming hard.

Another boat appeared and we waved and screamed even louder to no avail. Jerome put his flippers on and started beating his legs against the current. It seemed to have little effect.

Then a third boat appeared around the point. This time our waving and yelling paid off. The boat slowed and then wheeled towards us. Rescued!

Bigger boats are better!

Our rescuers were from a new resort development on Mayreau and their boat, unlike ours, was a large zodiac with a huge outboard motor. They threw us a rope and obligingly towed us slowly back to the Mayreau pier.

Lesson learned? Yup. The next day we went back to Tobago Cays but this time on a large catamaran with lunch served on board. It was twice the price but worth every penny.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Tobago Cays

This uninhabited group of tiny islands, and the protective reef around them, are a national marine park in the Grenadines. I'd heard it was popular with "yachties" sailing the Caribbean sea and a great place to snorkel in the crystal clear waters.

I decided to make this the place to spend my sixty-sixth birthday and I was not disappointed!

Green turtles, stingrays and every kind of tropical fish abound in these shallow blue waters.

Bonaparte's gulls flew overhead and iguanas chased each other around the beach as I enjoyed my rum punch! It was a day to remember.

A near-disaster awaited but I'll save that story for my next blog post.