February 11th Carriacou to Union Island

 

Had a fantastic sleep but woke up and it was quite windy and not that nice in the anchorage. We decided to check out and head to the next island, Union Island, which has an Ashton harbour and Village. Now that would be a must we thought!

We went straight to the customs/immigration office which was a tiny little office next to the shipyard. Robbie settled in at the coffee shop next door and ordered coffees and set up the wife while I went into customs. They were busy, so gave me a form to complete so I took it and had my coffee when I had completed it, the office was being cleaned, so we had to wait 45 minutes while the cleaner swept and then washed the floor in the tiny office! Meanwhile the customs officers were just lounging around outside on their telephones! Not a good look at 9.30am!

Finally we got it completed and we got underway to our next destination, Union Island. A small island only about 12 miles away. The best anchorage is Clifton, it is a small village and the harbour has a roundabout in the middle of reef. So we won’t be anchoring at Ashton Harbour, sadly! As we entered we were approached by a local in a fast wooden dinghy, offering his assistance for us to anchor. Robbie very politely declined, but he stuck with us anyway, took us to exactly where we were going to anchor (which was the only space anyway) and then proceeded to ask for money. Robbie debated with him for a bit but we ended up giving him $10 East Caribbean dollars about $5 Australian. He was happy and then took off after the next victim, promising to look after the boat forever, with his fist to his chest and calling Robbie his brother. We figured its best to pay them something to keep the peace.

We sorted the boat and the duck in to the yacht club dinghy dock and then walked the short distance to the airport, where the customs and immigrations are.

 Along the way we passed a few paddocks with some goats tied up. One of them had the rope all twisted around its leg and it was crying. Robbie climbed the fence and went to help it. Another yachty was walking past and his comment was “Do a good deed and suffer the consequences” I thought it was a rather negative comment to make actually. We couldn’t bear to see an animal suffer like that. It was quite quick to check in, but the customs officer asked me to buy a raffle ticket for a “reconditioned Toyota car”, which is drawn in April. I said no thanks, I won’t be here in April and I live on a boat. She then quite forcefully said “Well you could support us anyway!”, so I handed over $5 and told her to put it in her name. She put it in her husband’s name…. She was very friendly after that. Now I know what people mean when they say in the Caribbean everyone has their hand out all the time!

We then sat in the yacht club to try and sort out the Coastal Explorer downloading problems, purchase more phone credit online for internet and check emails etc. Well I think the good deed thing was biting us on the arse. We had a great lunch, but spent several very frustrating hours trying to top up our phone credit for data, but in the meantime Robbie was able to get the main MacBook pro navigation computer completely finished. The back up one just won’t play the game. We ordered a small part Robbie needed that Jennifer is kindly going to bring back for us from her visit home to the States

We had a walk through the small village and as the supply ship had just anchored not long after us, all the stores were unloading their supplies. There are a few fruit and vegetable stalls and we managed to get some really fresh lettuce, green beans, cucumber, aubergine, Paw Paw and bananas. I was pretty happy about this as I had heard provisioning in the Caribbean is hit and miss. I will NEVER EVER take a supermarket for granted again. I’d give my right arm to be able to drop into Woollies Oxenford right now (not really my right arm but I’d love it!) Shopping for food and being able to buy what you like or need, is not something I have been able to do for some time now. Some of the store owners seem a bit grumpy at first, but I am usually able to win them over and get a smile eventually. We also brought a courtesy flag for Union Island which comes under the St Vincent and the Grenadines flag.

 

We got back to the boat and Robbie cooked fillet steak with mushrooms on the Bar-B-Q and I did baked potatoes and salad. The wind was quite strong about 25 knots but the anchor was holding beautifully, so Robbie put out one of our flopper stoppers. (it’s a big stainless steel device on a long pole with ropes that helps to stop the boat rolling when on anchor, you can have one on each side if you wish)

 We then get an email from the Lugger parts guy from Hattons in the USA to say our credit card declined, plus an email from skype saying our automatic top up was rejected as the credit card declined. So we have to make another phone call to Australia to our bank and sure enough they didn’t like the $46 dollar transaction for the small part or the skype and they blocked them. The skype goes through once or twice every month and we have told them so many times to please email us if they are going to stop our credit card, but they never do. It is so embarrassing when it happens, and it makes me almost nervous to use it now. I guess it is a good thing they are trying to do but man it always seem to happen when we are having phone or internet issues. It’s never one thing at a time! It turns out, this was also why we couldn’t top up the phone credit.

We had some small fish swimming around in the blue lights again, and in the outer light circle, there were like stingrays gliding around, it was pretty cool.

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