Finally time to head to the Caribbean again to sail on a Tall Ship!! Long travel day, up at 3:30am and to airport about 5:15 am. First flight, Raleigh/Durham to Miami, was uneventful. Had a two hour layover in Miami then flew to San Juan, PR. I had a 3 ½ hour layover in San Juan (would have been 4 ½ but left Miami 1 hr late) so sat at the sports bar and had a few beers. Arrived in Grenada about 8:30pm and breezed thru customs. While standing in customs line they handed out Rum Swizzles (yes with booze). Headed out of customs and ended up outside, settled in to await Kim and Ester. I got outside so quick I missed the driver, Bentley, but we eventually found each other. Kim and Ester’s flight was about 1 hr late but we waited. We made it to the Allamanda hotel in St George’s at about 10:30pm. Bruce and Maryse were waiting for us in the lobby! Bruce started out his Cabana Boy duties in style by providing us all with cold Carib beer. Checked in then we all meet up in Bruce and Maryse’s room, visited for awhile, took a quick walk on the beach and then headed to room about 11:45pm and asleep by 12:15am.
Ship set sail about 5am; I did not get up for to see the raising of the sails, however several others did (and then went back to bed). It was great sleeping to the sway of the ship! Slept in until about 9am and missed breakfast (but Boston will hook you up when you get up late). Raining some this morning so several slept in. Made it to Carriacou about 10am and had our safety drill. We stayed on the ship for the morning (as the Capt checked us in to Customs), had lunch, and then headed to Anse La Roche Beach for the day (around noon). No one else around and no beach bars so the crew brought us the cooler with beer (and other drinks). There was lots of Technical Diving and we drank an insane amount of beer (between all 9 of us). Technical diving basically consists of floating in the water and drinking beer. Every time the crew would come to check on us we would shot out “did you bring more beer and ice”. I think by the end of the afternoon there were concerns on beer and ice stock J Once we were all feeling pretty “happy” a drinking game was created by John – “Redneck Bowling”. We basically made targets with some of the empty beer cans and then threw water filled empties at the targets; this provided us hours of entertainment! And yes, we did take all the empties back to the ship, left only footprints. Back to ship around 5pm; we were all tipsy, a little sun burned, and ready for Rum Swizzles and Snacks. Eventually we all cleaned up and had dinner on the ship. We relocated to Chatum Bay near Union Island for the night. Stayed on ship for evening, there were tons of stars out, so amazing. Some to bed early, others stayed up and visited and enjoyed the night. We broke open the spiced rum and about emptied that. Fell asleep on deck just staring at the stars. I made it to my cabin about midnight. Was an awesome day!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME! What a way to spend my birthday, in the Grenadines getting ready to finally board the S/V Diamant. Woke up about 7:30am and Ali, Ester, Kim and I ended up at Gibson’s (again across the street) for a nice breakfast. Bruce and Maryse showed up also. Bruce and Maryse headed out for an Island tour and us girls headed to the beach. It was beautiful, hot and sunny! About 11am we decided to walk down to Garfield’s Beach Bar for a few drinks and a few birthday shots! Back to hotel about 12pm to clean up and we checked out about 1pm. We headed to Port Louis and got our first look at the Diamant. What a beautiful small ship, she is a 101 ft schooner with tons of character. The plan was to chill at the bar and pool at Port Louis until boarding time. What we did not realize was that it was “Carnival” time in Grenada and the Port was overrun by tons of people. The rotary club was having a “party” at the port and had overtaken the whole bar and restaurant. We ended up buying a ticket so we could have the buffet lunch as we were starving. Bruce and Maryse showed up and we all hung at the Port Louis pool and drank Carib (shocker). About 4:45pm (because we could just not wait any longer) we headed over to the Diamant. The Capt. and crew were there to meet us and let us sneak on just a few minutes early. Doug, John and our final passenger Scott showed up shortly after us. We were greeted with familiar smiling faces from out Windjammer Barefoot days plus some new faces and of course Rum Swizzles (which put WBC’s to shame). The check in procedure with Natalie was a breeze and we were all shown our Cabins within an hour of boarding. We ended up with 9 passengers total for the week (Me, Ester, Kim, Ali, Maryse, Bruce, Doug, John and Scott). 12 passengers is the boats max. I ended up with my own room in Cabin 2. The cabins were great; each different with their own little touches. There is decent storage space in each but don’t bring a lot and don’t bring hard sided suitcases (there is no place for them); duffle bags or backpacks are the way to go. I should have brought about ½ the clothes I did. Each cabin has its own A/C control (which rocked) and its own bathroom. You’re on a boat so the cabin and bathrooms are small but the layout is great in each. The ship has its own water purification system and the cabins have water bottles for each passenger (that stay with the ship). It was great having a water bottle and unlimited access to the water (no buying water on this ship); plus a small cooler was kept out with ice in it at all times. Near the back of the ship were two coolers that were kept stocked with sodas and BEER (we had Heineken, Carib and Stag) plus you had access to a house red and white wine at all times. Once we all settled in we just walked around the ship, chatted and soaked in the fact that we were back on a Tall Ship. All passengers on our cruise had prior “Windjamming” experience. We had dinner around 7:30pm and the crew even had a birthday cake for me! We spent the evening relaxing, talking and drinking beer/cocktails. Ester, Ali, John, Doug and I headed to a local bar close by (The Horni Baboon) for about an hour. Ester played pool and Ali and I danced. We headed back to the ship and enjoyed the night until about 2am. Crew for our week was: Captain - Nervo Cortez, Bosun – Steelo (Troy), Chef – Boston, Chief Steward – Brandon, Carpenter/Deck Hand – Kervin, Cleatus.
Awoke at 7am ready to start my vacation!! Cleaned up and organized myself, then called Kim and Ester and we headed to breakfast about 8:30am. Bruce and Maryse went deep sea fishing. Headed across the street and had breakfast at a small donut shop then over to the grocery store to buy booze for the boat. The cruise included unlimited Beer and Wine but too small for a bar and “hard alcohol” stock. You are allowed to bring on your own booze. We ended up purchasing 4 bottles Rum, 2 bottles Vodka, 1 whiskey, 1 Baileys and 3 bottles champagne (for Mimosas) for about $130 US. A small expense when split between several people. The grocery store was not to keen on us taking a shopping cart across the street to get our loot to the hotel; however, the bag boy agreed to “escort” us over and bring the cart back. He was so sweet! Just as we got back to the hotel (about 9:30am) it started to rain. Hung out in Ester and Kim’s room and kept saying “it will only last a little while”. Ester gave us shirts she had made for the trip and we were dubbed the “TGDT” (the grenadine drinking team), they were so cool. The rain would come and go; by 11am we were ready to leave the hotel and decided to walk down to Garfield’s Beach Bar during a short break in the rain. On the way out of the hotel we ran into John and Doug who were also going to be on the ship, they had just arrived after flying all night. We made it to Garfield’s just as the rain continued so we were forced to drink Carib and entertain Chester the bartender. They had a big “Carib” refrigerator that was stocked full of just Carib. Ester was considering relocating this to her house but decided it would not quite fit in her luggage :0). About 1pm we headed back across the street for lunch. I can’t remember the name but it was a French name and served Italian cuisine. Look for the small shopping center across the field from the Allamanda entrance and it is on the far right. The Pizza was AMAZING per Ester and Kim; I had the cheese ravioli which was equally scrumptious. Weather finally cleared so we headed to the beach behind the hotel (Grand Anse Beach). Lots of people out now that the sun was shining, we floated in the water and enjoyed the Caribbean Sea. Bruce and Maryse showed up about 3pm and said they had a great time fishing and brought back a “tuna” for a future snack on the ship. About 4pm we headed back to Garfield’s Beach Bar for a few more Carib. We returned to the hotel about 5:15pm for a quick nap and to get ready for dinner. At 7:30pm we headed to town to have dinner at Nutmeg Restaurant. We were surprised to find that Spice (from Windjammer Barefoot cruise days) was the bartender and of course we knew Strokey was the head chef (but he was not around). We had a great dinner and Spice made us some awesome Rum Swizzles. Bruce and Maryse left early but Kim, Ester and I relocated to the bar to catch up with Spice and wait for Strokey to show up. Strokey finally arrived; it was awesome being able to catch up. After many Rum Swizzles we headed back to the hotel about 10pm. Alison our final team member had arrived while we were at dinner. We visited with her for awhile and then headed to bed about 11:30pm.
Early sail to Tobago Cays for a day at the beach. As we left Bequia the Captain took another swing past Moon Hole for those who missed the first pass. Another beautiful, sunny day and the Tobago Cays are breathtaking. Postcard scenery! This area is where parts of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” was filmed. Several catamarans/sail boats in area but did not feel crowded (was the off season). We ended up anchoring near one of the many beautiful small islands and then took the dingy to a great little beach with picnic tables. Spent morning walking beach, taking pictures, laying out to perfect the tan, and working on our “technical diving” skills with our well stocked cooler. There were a lot of white butterflies around and the water was so clear you could take pictures of the fish from the water’s edge. We also saw several sting rays. The crew brought us a picnic lunch ashore that was delicious. We had the beach to ourselves until about 1pm and then a few catamarans descended for their lunch. About 1:30pm we headed back to the ship and then several of us headed over to Turtle Island to swim/snorkel with the Turtles (the ship provides snorkel gear for use at the beginning of the week, no extra charge). It was so cool seeing the turtles underwater (I think I saw about 8). Some did a walk on the island and saw several big iguanas and land turtles. There was a quick rain shower during the hour we stayed. Headed back to ship for Rum Swizzles and Snacks and a few headed to “Johnny Depp” island which is where one of the scenes from the first movies was filmed. Once everyone back on ship we sailed to Mayreau. Had dinner and then we all changed into our “TGDT” shirts that Ester made and Kim provided glow-stick necklaces and bracelets. This was so we could keep track of the group during our “cultural walk” of Mayreau. All 9 passengers, plus Capt. Nervo and Cleatus, headed into town about 8:30pm and walked up the long steep hill to the top. Our plan was to “drink” our way down. Hot and still in town with little breeze which required several beers to cool off. We ended up visiting 3 bars with the final one being “Dennis’s Hideaway”. Dennis (the owner) and several of his friends were there and we spent a good amount of time at this bar. Back to ship about 11:30pm. Stayed up for about another hour relaxing before bed. Another great day!!
Woke up at 7am and made my way to the deck for the morning sail. Was wonderful hearing Amazing Grace played while the sails were raised, has been way to long. Beautiful morning, clear sky with only a few random clouds and hot. Loving my cabin and the fact that I can keep it cool, plus the bathrooms have a great setup with an enclosed shower. As we made our way to Bequia we passed Moon Hole which was very cool; would be neat houses to stay in. The ship was able to get pretty close and we got some great photos. Once we got to the main harbor in Bequia we had a nice hot breakfast and then into town around 10am. Was pretty hot in town with very little breeze. Kim, Ester and I went into a few shops, bought t-shirts, and Kim got a really cool map of the Caribbean in one of the book stores, also visited the ATM. Headed over to the Whaleboner bar but they were closed so we had a few beers at the Magnolia bar to cool off; meet up with Cleatus and had a really nice chat. Back to ship around noon for lunch (it is amazing what Boston creates in that tiny kitchen). We all stayed on the ship for the afternoon in the shade (everyone had nice sunburns from the previous days technical diving). There was reading, relaxing, journal writing and some drinking of adult beverages. Bruce and John fished off the ship and caught 2 fish. The ship’s entertainment system has a connection for MP3 players so you can play your music thru the ship speakers; we had a Jimmy Buffett type of afternoon. Broke out the rope swing and jumped off the ship for some swimming/floating next to the ship. Capt. Nervo, John and Bruce were doing flips off the rope swing and Kim was doing back flips off the side of the ship. Me, I just jumped/dived in, nothing fancy. The Diamant has an awesome ladder for getting back on the ship after swimming, very easy to navigate and use (which was made by Scott). We had a great relaxing afternoon with no agenda which was so nice. After swim we had Rum Swizzles, Wine, and Cheese; Boston also cooked up the Tuna that Bruce brought on board. We cleaned up, watch an awesome sunset then headed to Mac’s Pizzeria for Dinner (Pizza was good, unfortunately was not lobster season so no famous lobster pizza). Back to ship about 9:30pm. Some to bed early, others up front star gazing; Ali, Ester and I hung out in back and chatted until about 11pm. Nice, quiet, calm night. Everyone getting along great. Easier to get around ship than expected. Crew is great helping you navigate on and off the dingy, which is actually not so bad. I can already tell I will book again and most of the group is already considering next summer. Crew has been awesome and very attentive. Headed to cabin, read some, then to sleep about midnight.
Up around 8am. It did rain most of the night and was still a little overcast. Most of us stayed on the ship to recover and napped through the morning. I just chilled and read some. I believe Bruce and Maryse were the only ones who went over to Sandy Island. After lunch we started the trip back to Grenada. On the way back the Cpt. cut off the engines and power and we truly sailed for about 2.5 hours. It was absolutely amazing. Bruce continued to fish. Most of us hung on the back deck just enjoying the sail. Brandon made his special “drink” for Snacks (think pina colada). Just to let you know how much fun we had, we were planning our next trip before we even docked and were e-mailing Island Windjammers about available dates. We ended up docking in Grenada about 5:30-6pm and I think Ester sailed us in the last hour or so. We had a nice quite day. Once docked, we cleaned up and proceeded with our “Pirate themed” night which included eye patches, bandanas and tattoos. We did a quick check out with Natalie to settle our ship accounts and they provided us with a map of our weeks sail with the route plotted and signatures from all the crew. This was so cool! We had a nice Captains dinner and all the crew came out so we could take pictures with them. Scott’s wife came on board and took a wonderful group photo for us. We eventually ended up drinking (trying to finish off the booze we brought aboard) and playing stupid drinking games. I made it to bed around 2am. I am tired and whipped but what a wonderful vacation.
Awoke around 7:15am to see Kim off, as she had an early flight. After breakfast, packed and slowly got ready to leave the ship (you have until noon). Spent the morning on the ship and explored the marina. Bentley picked us up at noon and took us to the Allamanda Hotel. Checked in then headed across the street for pizza. Rain did move in. Back to the hotel around 2:30pm and took a 1.5 hour nap. We headed to Garfield’s Beach Bar around 5pm for a few final beers and then meet at 7pm for Dinner. Headed back to Nutmegs with everyone minus Kim but including Cleatus. We had a nice time chatting about the week and re-living all the wonderful times we had. Many Rum Swizzles were consumed (again). Left around 11pm but don’t think I ended up in bed until 2am.
Up at 4:30am for Taxi that came at 5am for a 6:55am flight. GND to SNJ to MIA to RDU. Was an easy travel day with much sleeping on the various flight segments. All I can say is WOW, what an absolutely fantastic vacation and I can’t wait to be back on the Diamant. I am 99% certain that this will be a “yearly” pilgrimage for me and many of my friends. I cannot say enough positive things about Island Windjammers. If you are looking for a truly relaxing, unique, no frills vacation, to small ports that those big “foo foo” ships could never get to, this is the trip for you. It does not matter if your single, a couple, going with friends, or going by yourself – you will have a wonderful time. Just be open to adventure and making your own fun! If there is something you want to do ask and the crew will do their best to accommodate you. When I got back home I made a positive vs. negative list and the positive list had about 12 items and there was only 1 suggestion (not really a negative). The ship is beautiful, well maintained, with a great crew. The individual room air conditioning is a bonus as well as the provided cabin water bottles. Ice was always available along with fresh water. Snorkel gear is included along with unlimited filtered water, sodas, juices, select beers and a house red and white wine. Fare also included crew tip (but I left more because they so deserved it), the night on board prior to sailing, and all port charges. This was a great intimate experience with a small passenger group for an amazing price. The captain was very flexible and willing to change plans (within reason if all agreed). It was very nice being docked on arrival and departure. I heard rumors that more sails were going to be added and that air conditioning was being considered for the indoor saloon area (this was my one suggestion). I would not hesitate in recommending this vacation to anyone with an adventurous, laid back soul. Get a couple of friends (or family) together and book tomorrow at www.islandwindjammers.com.