Motor problems and a windy sail from SVG to Dominica

When we had taken our exit test in Bequia we did the last preparations to leave for Dominica. The sail would take more than 24hrs and the forecast promised quite strong winds. We left Bequia quite early in the morning. As it was a lot of wind we had quite little sail up but still manage to sail above 7 knots between the islands (in the lee of the islands we made less speed). We tried to sail as close hauled as was comfortable and thus followed the islands instead of sailing strait north (if you look at a map you can see that Dominica lays almost strait north of St Vincent. The reason for following the islands was that we heard that you can easily get pushed west by currents and by sailing as much east as you can you don’t have to tack, if the winds are coming a bit from the northeast.

Sailing along the coast of Dominica.

All in all, it was a good sail. Even though it was quite strong winds it felt very safe and controlled. It really gave us a good feeling for the Atlantic Crossing back to Europe. We arrived to Portsmouth at the northern tip of Dominica (we were not allowed to enter in Roseau due to Corona) just before lunchtime. When we were just outside Prince Ruperts Bay (were Portsmouths is ) we started the engine and heard some strange sounds and saw that there was white smoke coming out from the exhaust…

We had no idea what the issue was and didn’t dare to push the engine, so we took up the sails again and turned of the engine. We managed to anchor without turning on the engine (first time we ever done that) and prepared for some engine work during our quarantine days. The quarantine would be five days and then we would take another test, and we would be free to go ashore when we had received the result of the last test.

The following day we went ashore to take our first PCR-test and after that we started with the troubleshooting of the engine. We were really, really afraid that there would be something wrong inside the engine, and that we would have to order something to Dominica. The white smoke that came out from the exhaust gave us some clue that it could be water or diesel that hadn’t been burned.

After two days of troubleshooting we realized that the issue was the diesel injection pump. We removed and started taking it apart, and it didn’t take long until we found the issue. A screw to the injection timing advance system had gotten loose at some point and started getting worn down. Amazingly nothing else inside the injection pump had gotten damaged!

Trying to find the issue on the engine.
Taking the injection pump apart in hopes that we will find the issue.
The screw to the injection timing advance system that caused our problem.
Cleaning the injection pump.

Before we left Sweden we found another injection pump in the trash room back home, almost the same model as the one we have. We brought that injection pump with us, and could use the screw from that.

We took apart the pump completely, thoroughly cleaned the injection pump, reassemble it once more and put it back on the engine. And the main issue was solved! 🙂 It was not completely prefect though, we still had some follow-up issues with high rpm when running idle that started after mounting the pump back. After a couple of turns playing and trying different adjustments for the injection pump it finally behaved normal again. By this time we only had one more day in quarantine, so it was pretty good timing.

All in all, it was really good that the engine problem happened when it did. As we could solve it ourselves and didn’t have to order anything it was really good that we could work on this while we were in quarantine.

We took our final PCR test and got the results, which was negative and we were finally allowed to explore Dominica.

Our last days in Saint Vincent & the Grenadines

After a couple of weeks sailing in the Grenadines islands we returned to Bequia. We had some places we wanted to see before we left Saint Vincent & the Grenadines and we also had a lot of paperwork to prepare before we were gonna leave for Dominica. We did some smaller excursions around Bequia, but mostly we prepared for our sail to Dominica.

With Corona it is a lot more paperwork leaving and entering countries, but not impossible. We contacted an agent in Dominica, took an exit test in Bequia and got approval to do the entry quarantine in Dominica. We also bought some food and made sure we had entertainment downloaded for the days in quarantine.

Dominica research with Lady Ann and Sanuti.
Visiting the boat chandlery in Bequia.

We also had some time for fun stuff before we left, not only work. We played volleyball on the beach, had a bonfire evening and went to a wholeroasted pig party. At the bonfire evening we met Laura Dekker, she is the youngest person to solo-circumnavigate the world. Very cool to meet her! 🙂

Beach volleyball, followed up by a…
… bonfire!
Lunch with some nice company.
Also went on a whole-roasted-pig “party”, which was really delicious!

We stayed in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines for about five weeks, which was really nice! One thing this pandemic has done is to make it harder to travel between countries but in our case that has mostly been a good thing. If we would be able to move between the islands as you usually can do then we probably would have stressed through the islands so that we would be able to explore as much as possible. By staying longer in one place you get to now it better and also start to know some of the locals and you start to get rid of the tourist stamp.

Our courtesy flag was quite worn out by the time we were ready to leave SVG.

Thought we would list our favorite places in the Grenadines, which you shouldn’t miss if you sail there. So here goes our favorites:

  • Salt Whistle Bay, Mayreau
  • Tobago Cays
  • Chatham Bay, Union Island
  • Port Elizabeth Bay, Bequia

Not necessarily in that order, they all offer quite different things.

We really liked SVG and glad that we stayed there for so long, but we were also really excited about our next island, Dominica!

A lot of fish and birds at beautiful Chatham Bay

Before we headed back to Bequia to prepare to leave for Dominica, we had one more place we wanted to visit in the Grenadines; Chatham Bay at Union island. We did the short sail from Mayreau to Chatham bay and anchored really close to the beach. We got a pro tip from our friend Lasse at Sandvita who has sailed in the Caribbean many years that close to the beach was best. He also said that it is deep close to the beach so nothing to worry about.

 

When we were anchored we decided to take a walk up the hill and check the area out.

Chatham bay from above

A turtoise up on the hill.

It was a lot of cows up on the hill.
A swamp near one of the restaurants, only bad thing about Chatham Bay – a lot of mosquitos!
Using the wifi to update the blog!

Chatham Bay was a really pretty place and it was so much animal life, a lot of fish jumping in the water and birds flying around, diving and catching the fish. A lot of pelicans and other birds also, but don’t know what species they were.

Trying to catch one of all fishes jumping around in the water around the boat, but with no luck.
Starfish under our boat.
And two more!
Walking the pretty beach.
A pelican relaxing in the water.
Boat full of peilcans and Anne-Mon in the background. 
Very clear water!

We also hung out at the beach bar and snorkelled. We snorkelled on the north side of the bay and it was a lot of fish there. Big schools just passing by, very cool to see. Will share more of that in a future video

Back to Tobago Cays and fancy resort visit

After our pretty short visit at Union island we decided to sail back to Tobago Cays. The reason was that it would be less winds for a few days and we really liked it out there, so thought it was a good opportunity to have a few more days out there.

It was very few boats out at Tobago Cays this time; think it was only four or five at the big anchorage behind Horseshoe reef and three or four in the strait. We spent the time at Tobago Cays similar as we had at our first visit. We snorkelled, explored the islands we didn’t explore on our first visit and had another lobster barbecue.

A hermit crab on the beach 🙂
Thomas was really, really excited about helping out preparing the lobsters…
Lobster crew!

We got some crabs from Romeo (he arranges the lobster bbq at Tobago Cays) that we had for lunch one day.
The crabs were actually really good, but the biggest highlight was all the fish that gathered around the boat when we through in crab pieces. We had several rays, a wahoo and a lot of small fish!

After four nights we sailed to Mayreau, as we were invited for pizzas and drinks at a resort at Trousant Bay. The resort has just been built and not completely finished and will probably open for real when everything with the pandemic has calmed down. Now it was open for cruisers and locals, which came for drinks there in the evening. But now it was open for us, we had some really good pizzas, delicious drinks, swam in the pool and hung out at the pool bar. We spent two nights here and we spent more money those two days than we had done in a while but it was worth it J One thing that was also really fun with our visit there was that Chris Doyle was there at the same time. He has written a lot of guide books for the Caribbean and we have some of his books.

Some luxurious days at a resort at Mayreau!
Hangout in the bar with other cruisers 🙂
Cheers!
Exotic drinks in the pool bar.
And cute dogs

FOR SWEDISH FOLLOWERS: Vi har börjat göra lite Youtube-filmer för att dela med oss lite mer av vår resa. Alla filmer samlar vi under den här FLIKEN, men går också att hitta om man söker på Sailing Anne-Mon på Youtube :).

Dog shelter and hikes

After Tobago Cays we headed towards Union island. We anchored outside Clifton and when we entered we got to see some cool kitesurfing tricks. Union island is popular for kitesurfing and would have been really nice to try, but unfortunately a bit too expensive for us.

We had to find some cheaper entertainment, so we went on some small hikes on the island and also visited a dog shelter, Salty Paws. Really nice to see a place that takes care of dogs that haven’t had an easy life.

At the dog shelter.

The dog Peanut, very happy fella!
So cute!

Cute baby goats in the forest

We walked up to one of the peaks on Union island with a nice view of the anchorage at Frigate island
After hike drinks with Sanuti.
The next day we went on another hike, up to the peak next to Clifton.

The colorful market in Clifton!