Friday, April 25, 2014

Monster wahoo in Tobago Cays

Wahoo! 4 feet plus!!!
Several days ago, I caught a denizen of the deep to rival my giant lobster in Spanish Wells, Bahamas. Dana, Hanna, and I were sailing fast in rough seas, trolling with my lucky lure (which failed to produce in the last couple sails). I think we had all forgotten about the line in the water when the squeal of the reel abruptly stopped our conversation. Whatever creature had taken the lure was peeling out line faster than anything we’ve landed. I expected line to break at any moment … but the monofilament and metal leader held fast.

We all sprang in action. Dana brought the cockpit cushions down below and retrieved my implements for landing and dispatching the fish. Hanna let out Eventyr’s main and jib to slow our speed, which would make it easier for me to reel in the behemoth. After reeling for about 20 minutes, we finally got a look at the monster. By its missile-like shape and bold blue stripes, I knew it was a wahoo. I also realized it was too big to haul up by hand, so Dana brought up the gaff.

A wahoo for sure!
With our sails flapping to reduce speed, Dana, Hanna and I finally landed the wahoo. I put it out of its misery by spraying strong white rum from Martinique into its gills. Then, I undertook the long process of filleting it underway (since it was way too big to fit in our fridge). The tasty white-fleshed fish was over four feet long and when all was said and done, we had pounds of meat.  For the next several days we ate sashimi with soy sauce and wasabi, ceviche, and grilled and pan-fried fish for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Upon anchoring, we also traded a couple fillets for a bag of ice with a local hawker on a boat who came to our boat to peddle his wares. Later, on our dinghy we traded a couple more fillets for several limes with some French cruisers on a large sailboat.

Rum in the gills
After catching the oversized wahoo (which really looked like a giant sea snake with his dorsal fin down and freaked out Dana and Hanna) and getting everything back ship shape on Eventyr, we arrived at our destination: the Tobago Cays. We were told these small islands were one of the most gorgeous areas in the Eastern Caribbean, so we were excited. The several cays are surrounded by reef creating a shallow, mostly-protected, sand-bottom, turquoise oasis in the rough Atlantic Ocean. The first thing we did upon waking the next day was to explore one of the uninhabited cays. We were the only dinghy ashore to take advantage of the white sand beach and excellent snorkeling. Dana and I climbed to the top of the island’s one hill to take in the view. Along the way, we ran into a number of white-colored iguanas that live unmolested in the protected marine park that is Tobago Cays.

Hanna gives a wave in Tobago Cays
Dana modeling in front of the view (Eventyr in background)
White iguana
Iguanas, white sand beaches, and snorkeling with cuddle fish and sting rays is cool and all, but we’ve been there, done that. What we were most anxiously anticipating about Tobago Cays was swimming with turtles at the protected turtle viewing area off one of the islands. I was not fully prepared for the experience. We didn’t swim with one or two turtles. We saw dozens! The turtles lazily swam along the bottom gulping down bunches of sea grass. They let us swim right up before slowly moving off. This was an experience truly not to be missed!

Me harassing a couple turtles
Dana enjoying the Tobago Cays turtles
Hanna excited to meet a sea turtle in person
Sea turtle at Tobago Cays. The star of the show
Although the Tobago Cays were amazing, the anchorage was a bit rolly and we’re again on a schedule and needed to move on. To our next stop, we sailed a short distance down wind with following seas for a comfortable change of pace. Our speed topped out at 7.5 knots, which is extremely fast for us! We were headed to Union Island, one of the southern most islands in the Grenadines. Other cruisers recommended anchoring in Chatham Bay to get an off-the-beaten-track look at the island.

Several small, off the grid, generator powered, sand floor beach bars line the calm bay. Upon anchoring, one of the beach bar proprietors motored out to Eventyr to advertise his happy hour and dinner specials. We decided to make a bee line for his pink painted establishment. Seckie, the owner, welcomed us with rum punches for less than $3 US. Dana and I had him cook the remainder of our wahoo and Hanna got lobster. She’s been sorely disappointed in my inability to provide the crew with lobster since my bold promises from the Bahamas. Not only was the food amazing, but the camaraderie was pleasant. We met a couple with their small child on a charter boat, and another couple on a beautiful sailboat with their 19-year-old son and his friend. We swapped stories all night before dinghying back to Eventyr. Hanna even got an invite to tour their sailboat the next morning when I was out for my run to the island's main town to clear us out of customs. There is a level of friendliness in the cruising community that really can’t be topped!

Chattham Bay, Union Island beach bar
Hanna, a bit nervous but excited for lobster 
Dana and I enjoying the Grenadine sunset
Secki preparing the lobster
Last time I posted, we were in Bequia during the Mount Gay Rum Easter Regatta, and Hanna’s boat had just lost its rudder. Hanna went on to crew on another boat, C-Mos, which ended up placing third in the most competitive division, which her original boat Jaguar, was predicted to win. The weekend finished with a series of parties and an award ceremony. My favorite party was the one on the beach at Lower Bay, where all the locals come out to celebrate their small local double-ender sailboat class. The local racers beached their boats after the race and joined in the drinking, music, and barbequing with those on shore already celebrating.

Post regatta party at Lower Bay in Bequia
C-Mos rounding a buoy during regatta with Hanna aboard
Dana and I got into the excitement of the Regatta in our own way. We’re not the racing types, as we don’t really like heeling over that much, and aren’t too fussy about our sail trim. The captain of Madonna even called us “chickens” for not volunteering to crew on his boat when he was short on crew. Sure enough, the next day, when faced with high winds, his vessel was dismasted. That means his mast broke in half sending the sails into the water and jeopardizing everyone’s safety. Luckily, the three people on board were uninjured and the captain motored out of the race in disgrace and disgust with the time, money and work he would now have to put back into Madonna.

Instead of racing, on the rest day of the regatta, Dana, Hanna and I went for a quick day sail at a time when a professional photographer was out on his dinghy taking photos of boats. Kenmore Henville got some amazing shots of Eventyr in all her glory. Dana and I even got up the courage to heel over a bit for some of the pictures. Hanna loves the excitement of heeling and was happy with our change of pace. Dana and I bought the CD with more than 70 images! Those images will be priceless for years to come.

Eventyr in all her glory
Dana, Hanna, and I are now in Carriacou, an island which is part of Grenada. The people here are incredibly hospitable and we spent today at the lovely, long, white sand Paradise Beach. Tonight we watch live local music and eat lobsters. We can’t complain. Tomorrow we leave for Grenada proper.

Despite the fun the three of us have been having, all good things must come to an end. Hanna has to head back to the real world, flying out of Grenada in a few days. She is extremely sad to go and will be missed dearly on Eventyr. Hopefully, one day the tables will be turned and she and her boyfriend Chris will have Dana and I aboard their yet to be acquired cruising yacht!

Soon after Hanna departs, my mom will arrive in Grenada. Mom is excited for the tropics after enduring this brutal winter. Dana and I can’t wait to have her aboard to get a taste of the adventure. Grenada has beaches, rainforest, beautiful anchorages, and amazing local fruits, vegetables, spices, rum, and chocolate. We can’t wait!


  1. I can't wait either!! But let's go easy with that 'heeling' stuff!


  2. Monster Wahoo! Well done! Would love to have tried your fillets, sushi and ceviche. Nice that you were able to trade for ice with the local vendor. No baguettes from the French? Sounds like they got a great deal!!!

    1. Great to hear from you, Glen and Pam. Hope your flight from Grenada to Miami with Hanna went well. Also, hope Blue Pearl is resting comfortably on her jack stands. Maybe Eventyr will be joining her in a couple months. Great meeting you guys! Say hi to Brad for us.