Story and photos by Heather Hild-Atwater
November 4 -11, 2023


The first day of a flotilla cruise is always busy.



Day 1: It’s all about the preparation…Port Louis Marina, Grenada

We gathered for the first time in Grenada at Port Louis Marina at noon. Nineteen sailors aboard four well equipped catamarans: two Moorings 5000s, Fantasea and Gone Sail About and two Moorings 4500s, Amity and White Bird. Our skippers were Nate Atwater, Chris Felling, Eric Buth, and Jim King. The first day of a flotilla is always busy with the stowing of gear, provisioning learning the boat layout and systems, boat checklists, skipper/navigator meetings,, and more. At 6:30 we toasted to a safe and fun trip at The Victory Restaurant near The Moorings base. There was live music, good food and new friends to talk with. That first night we slept aboard at the marina.


Underway at last



Day 2: It’s all about the sailing…Grenada to Sandy Island

The boats were med moored stern to the dock with lazy lines. In the morning we did last minute boat checks, customs and immigration, and were off the dock before 11 for a glorious sail. The base staff typically takes the boats out of the marina, because of liability, and this time was no exception. Outside the harbor we set mainsails and genoas for a passage to Sandy Island, approximately 35nm.

In the lee of Grenada we power sailed, but once we reached the tip of the island we had enough wind to happily sail. The winds were from the NE at an average of 17 knots. It was a close reach/close hauled and a perfect day for the passage. We avoided Kicking Jenny, the underwater volcano, as we crossed from Grenada past the two sisters and on towards Sandy Island, our anchorage for the night.

We got there in time to anchor well before sunset. That night we cooked aboard, one of our three nights to prepare a meal aboard. On Fantasea, we prepared stir-fried marinated pork with cauliflower, onion and potato. A game of Gin Rummy and off to bed. However, one of our boats did have to re-anchor during the night as the currents swirled around causing the boats in the anchorage to behave very erratically. For instance, at one point we were bow-to-bow with another cat…at a distance but still unusual.

A quiet anchorage


Day 3: It’s all about sailing and relaxing…Sandy Island to Chatham Bay, Union Island

After the navigation meeting, we sailed over to Union Island. It was only about seven miles, so we just rolled out the genoas and enjoyed a brisk sail to Union. Once in the lee of Union in Chatham Bay, we furled the genoa and picked up moorings owned by the resort we were visiting, Tenute Resort and Aqua Restaurant. We sent Nate off with all the boats’ ‘stuff’ for customs and immigration as we had left Grenada and were checking into St. Vincent and the Grenadines, a different country. After sending Nate off in an ATV to Clifton Harbor over the mountain, everyone set out to enjoy the day. Some snorkeled, swam, walked on the beach, hiked the mountain, ate lunch at Aqua, collected shells, napped, etc.

With customs complete, thanks in part to Nate’s cousin, we gathered for drinks then a delicious buffet dinner at the resort. Tenute is a small resort with a maximum of twelve guests; while we visited only two French guests were there. It was a real treat, the buffet had snapper, conch, salad, potato, barbecued ribs, and more. Some even had bananas flambe for dessert. After dinner we were given a show before disembarking into our dinghies: a breezy beach bonfire. What a gift the entire evening was.

Back on the boats we slept soundly but luckily not too soundly as Eric and crew had a real issue to contend with. In the middle of the night, something felt wrong so they checked their mooring and all appeared to be fine. However, on further investigation they realized they were not where they had moored. The pennant was still attached to the bow, but the mooring had failed underwater and they were adrift. Yikes! Luckily, they recognized what had occurred and were able to re-moor in the dark. Thankfully, a catastrophe was averted due to White Bird’s alert skipper and crew.

Day 4: It’s all about weathering the storm…Chatham Bay to Saline Bay, Mayreau

We awoke to a double rainbow in Chatham Bay, but rainbows mean rain and the day turned stormy. We left the bay after navigation meetings, and there were no impending clouds until we got around the corner on route to Saline Bay on Mayreau. We had no sooner raised the mainsail than we had to drop it as a squall came through, bringing 26-30 knots of wind and rain. Some had barely left the bay, so White Bird stayed back at Chatham Bay to weather the storm. Our visibility was poor when the rain came but once at Mayreau we could see the large ships and schooners. We anchored close into the beach at the direction of a local boat boy which was helpful as there was a lot of grass on the sea bottom and our first attempt to anchor without him resulted in raising up an anchor clumped with grass. White Bird sailed over in nice weather but got hit with another squall as they approached Saline Bay.

The rain cells kept rolling through periodically that day. Some went ashore to have a walk about while others swam or snorkeled, but we all got together at 4:30 aboard leader boat Fantasea to recall tales of the day, enjoy the spoils of our appetizer contest, and drink Nata Coladas. There was an absolutely amazing sunset that night and we took our group photos as well as lots of other pictures. After everyone left, we made dinner pasta salad with chicken for dinner with chocolate for dessert and Rummy 500 for fun.

Day 5: It’s all about the beauty of Mother Nature…Saline Bay Mayreau to Tobago Cays

It was a good start to the day, with yoga for some and navigation for others aboard Gone Sail About. After that we picked up anchors from Saline Bay and made our way to Tobago Cays Marine Park. It was a short distance but we did roll the genoa out for a bit.

Once at the Cays, our beach barbeque man Alphonse assisted in securing us four mooring close together. Arriving early meant we had a full day to enjoy the marine park. Some snorkeled with the turtles, swam off the boats, or walked the beach etc. The water is so beautiful although I believe the coral is really suffering there as it is so many places 🙁 After a fun day in the sun, we dinghied around to the other side of the island and moored for an early lobster and chicken beach barbeque with rice, grilled plantains, roasted garlic potatoes and more. Yum! We were able to dinghy back to our boats before dark and that night more Gin Rummy and more chocolate.


Flotilla leader Nate kept things moving smoothly with Customs and Immigration.

Day 6: It’s all about Customs and Immigration…Tobago Cays to Palm Island to check out to Tyrell Bay on Carriacou and check back into Grenada

After breakfast and navigation we power sailed to Palm Island, making our way back the way we had come past Chatham Bay and across towards Union Island, where Nate checked us all out of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Some went ashore at the Palm Island resort while Nate did that and others just relaxed before raising sails and sailing to Tyrell Bay. It was a nice sail across under main with one reef and full genoa. We arrived in Tyrell Bay on the island of Carriacou around 2 pm, enough time for Nate to check us in at Customs and Immigration.

We had to stay aboard with the Q flag up while Nate did this, and shortly after he went ashore we got a radio call asking all the skippers to come to the customs and immigration, which they did. Turns out the man who was there that day was unfamiliar with the program that we had painstaking used to input all our personal and boat data and had been helpful in Union Island.

Since he did not know the program (he told Nate, “The clear guy is not here today and I want to go home soon.” This was 2:30 pm and they are supposed to stay open till 4), Chris, Eric and Jim went in by dinghy and helped Nate to fill out the forms by hand and then had to go to a second place to finish the job. By the time we were all checked in, some went ashore and others made early dinner…this was our third and last night to prepare dinner aboard. Nate made a chunky veggie and meat red sauce over penne – tasty good. Tyrell Bay is a large protected bay, an industrial port with shopping and provisions and lots of boats to look at, as it is a favorite of cruisers.

Saline Bay sunset


Day 7: It’s all about the open ocean sailing and weather…Tyrell Bay, Carriacou to Port Louis, Grenada

After the nav meeting we dropped our moorings at 9am and set sail in the lee of the bay. We set a course in blustery weather toward Grenada. We had winds from the NE at 17-20 knots on a port tack broad reach to a run. In fact, as we settled into our heading of approximately 220 degrees we had a choice to make: head really low on a borderline jibe or head above Kicking Jenny, the underwater volcano. We choose to go above it and Gone Sail About chose to go below it. They ended up ahead of us, probably because we were in the lee of a few small islands, but who was keeping track? (Wink, wink.) It was a really wonderful sail. We did have a few squalls blow through. One had 30 knots of breeze, and we made 10.4 knots of boat speed as the visibility dropped. But we were prepared and on a broad reach, and the skippers, crews and boats handled it very well!! Kudos to all.

We got back into Port Louis by 3:00. Again, the base staff docked the boats and we assisted with the fenders and docklines. That night, we took cabs to 61 West where we had our final dinner. At this point we are all familiar and comfortable so there was dancing and merry making. Nate made a toast to the great skippers, crew and doctors on the trip. It truly was a good group of sailors!!!! Dinner was delish, and dessert too. Back to the boats by cab, and sleep was welcome as our trip came to a close. Boat check out and goodbyes were all that remained the next day before we flew back to the States, with another great Colgate Sailing Adventures Flotilla in the books. ■


Double rainbow in Chatham Bay

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