Z E N I T U D E
Blue Water Dreaming
Following Australia's Cricket Team - Antigua, Grenada, St. Lucia, Barbados
Antigua - Arriving for the Super 8 Stage - 31 March to 10 April 2007
When Oscar suggested following Australia’s cricket team up and down the islands I thought he must be kidding me. He wasn’t. I thought the first destination was fine, just 100 miles from St. Martin to Antigua to see two games Australia vs. Bangladesh and then Australia vs. England.
We arrived in Jolly Harbour, Antigua early in the morning of the first game with enough time to get in and then go to the Stadium. This is what we thought coming from a French Island where you can check in and out of a port in less than ˝ hour. We were wrong. It took us all day to finally get all the paper work done, in the meantime we could not leave the boat. So, that's how we missed the first match.
Our first impression of Antigua was not good, we found the authorities arrogant and bureaucratic. The second impression was not much better. We found the scenery beautiful but the people of Antigua moody and generally rude. It gave us the impression that they want your money, but they don’t want you there. A bit of a contradiction.
The World Cup atmosphere was great though. We met many Australians that had chartered a sailboat and were following Australia. There were also many South Africans and English flagged boats as well. Here is when I realized that Oscar was not that mad after all and we were part of a big group of crazy cricket fans. It was actually a great atmosphere.
Galaxy, with 8 australians on board plus Mr. Kangaroo
A beautiful marina in Jolly Harbour
After a couple of days in Jolly Harbour we decided to sail to English Harbour as it is closer to the cricket ground stadium.
Sir Vivian Richards Stadium was built for use in this World Cup. The stadium usually caters for 10,000 people, but temporary seating doubled its capacity for the 2007 Cricket World Cup. The sad part is that the official restrictions on things such as outside food, signs, replica kits and musical instruments, part of Caribbean cricket customs, is not bringing the crowds they were expecting, it is easy to get good seats so far.
The stadium is named after former West Indies cricket team captain and it was built with the majority of the funds coming from a Chinese Government grant.
We decided to stay in Falmouth Harbour which is wider than the anchorage in English Harbour and enjoyed this part of Antigua better.
It was impressive to visit Nelson’s Dockyard, now home to the National Parks Authority. It is still a working shipyard that retains its eighteenth-century charm with original, restored buildings and also serves as a world-class marina, hosting yachts from around the globe. In addition, the Nelson’s Dockyard National Park maintains several nature trails that offer stunning views of Falmouth and English Harbours. As the Dockyard is still a working facility, it houses several businesses associated with sailing and also includes gift shops, restaurants, and hotels. The Dockyard is also home to some of Antigua’s biggest events including Antigua Sailing Week.
Finally it was game day, April 8, England vs Australia. It was our first game of the world cup and it was great to be on the winning side with Australia winning by 7 wickets, clearly dominating the game. We remain unbeaten so far.
At the new stadium in Grenada
Grenada - And the cricket team goes fishing - 15 to 22 April 2007
Towards Grenada - A stopover at Carriacou - 10 to 15 April 2007
We leave Falmouth for the 300 miles sail towards Grenada, our next destination for the game Australia vs Sri Lanka on the 16 of April. There is a game in Barbados on the 13 against Ireland that we decide to miss. Barbados is a bit out of the way and way to much to the east.
The weather is good and we have 2 days of SE winds 15 to 22 knots. Before getting in Grenada we decide to visit Carriacou, a small island just north of Grenada. Arriving by mid morning on the 12 of April we anchor at Tyrrel Bay. This is a wide anchorage, with lots of boats already here.
Carriacou is also a port of entry for Grenada, checking in was very easy and fast. We are soon ready to explore town. There is a long beautiful beach and leaving the dinghy there we go for a walk. We find a sleepy town, with friendly people and beautiful sea views
Everybody is talking about the Maroon Festival and a couple from a diving shop recommend us not to miss it. They explain that the Maroon Festival is a big event in the island featuring local and international artist performing in music, dance, drumming, etc. Local cooking is also a major part of the festival, and one day of the festival you can get everything for free, just like in the traditional maroons where one village invites the other villages to enjoy the crop-over and the harvest of the year.
On our way to the festival we met several cruisers that are like us following the cricket world cup. They have also heard about the festival. The entire population of Carriacou seems to be about and after having some of the typical food given away in little stalls we enjoy the music and some incredible good performers, specially a trio from Trinidad that is hilarious.
Performers at the Maroon Festival
Isle de Ronde with Kick'em Jenny somewhere underwater
Soon we were sailing down the protected waters of Grenada’s west coast. It is a long way down the coast until the turn southeast, rounding the corner and heading toward the lovely anchorage at Prickly Bay. We arrive to this usually quiet bay which was now packed with boats, many are here because of the cricket world cup and the upcoming game. Many of the boats we met in Antigua are already here.
There is a character here that drives tourists around in an old car that seems to be falling to pieces. He somehow always manages to get money out of us with a big smile, he has good tickets for sale for the game tomorrow and we buy from him.
Back in Prickly Bay the party went on. The marina, bar, and restaurant could hardly manage the unusual crowds. There was live music and pizza night, they had really underestimated the crowds and the wait to get a pizza was about 3 hours average.
On game day we share transportation and get to the stadium quite easily. The National Cricket Stadium at St. George's is one of the most famous cricket grounds in the West Indies. It was hard to imagine that only three years earlier this beautiful island laid in ruins after hurricane Ivan. To rebuild from scratch a new and more impressive stadium and to host an event the magnitude of the Cricket World Cup, in the face of utter destruction and chaos from hurricanes is nothing short of spectacular.
Prickly Bay - Aussies are coming!!!!
Australia vs Sri Lanka, another exciting game with Australia winning again by 7 wickets. We had a blast, the stadium was filled with yellow, the party stand was overflowing, aussie fans everywhere.
Next day we are having a quiet day in Zenitude. Oscar goes ashore and comes back in a flash to get me, Aussie cricket team is in Prickly Bay marina, they are back from a fishing expedition with a big marlin caught by Matthew Hayden. Well guys, I guess you deserve a bit of fun as well!
Grenada was hosting Australia vs New Zealand on April 20, which was very convenient as we could stay a bit longer in this beautiful island. We got excellent tickets and we did it all over again with Australia winning by 215 runs.
St George's National Cricket Stadium
Michael Hussey, Ricky Ponting, Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist in Prickly Bay Marina.
What a team!
With the Super 8 Stage over we are now on to the semi-finals. We are lucky that Australia will play in St. Lucia as the other semi-final is going to be played in Jamaica, way too far. We have 5 days before the game and the weather looks good.
St. Lucia - The Semi-Finals - 23 to 26 April 2007
It was a 24 hour sail to Rodney Bay in St. Lucia for the 144 miles from Prickly Bay. We had generally winds ESE 15 to 22 knots and arrived the 23rd of April with 2 days to spare before the game. The atmosphere in Rodney Bay is very festive with Australian and South African flags all over.
Rodney Bay is located to the northern end of St Lucia, it is a man made lagoon and marina with many upmarket hotels, shops, night clubs, cafes and restaurants.
It was crowded already with many boats still coming to anchor in the bay. We found a spot next to a Brazilian cat, Beduina with Hugo, Gislaine and Talita. They are not here for the cricket, they have a vague idea of what the game is all about. There is another brazilian boat Cavalo Marino with Rodrigo, Marcia and the 2 kids Nicollas and Raffael. They've come together all the way from Brazil and are on their way to Martinique. We are sure we'll cross paths with them again once the Cricket World Cup is over.
Zenitude at anchor with Beduina (the yellow cat) on the background
On the 24th the marina restaurant is crowded while everybody watches the Jamaican semi-final, Sri Lanka vs. New Zealand on TV. The winner is Sri Lanka and advances to the finals. Tomorrow’s winner will face them in Barbados.
The day has come. The game is played in Beausejour Stadium, the cricket ground located near Gros Islet, situated in the outskirts of Rodney Bay. The atmosphere is very festive and the game exhilarating, the Australian team seems unbeatable and again we win by 7 wickets.
The party in Rodney Bay is wild, the bar underestimated the Australian gang thirst and the unbelievable happens, they run out of beer by 7.00PM! The swimming pool has been converted in a cricket ground.
Oscar is about to panic, we don't have tickets for the finals! But as he is very resourceful soon he comes up with an idea and goes to the celebrations with the words "I need 2 tickets 4 the final" hanging from his neck, in less than 1 hour everybody knows there is an Australian fan with an Argentinian accent that needs tickets. Well before the party is over he gets the tickets.
Now we just need a window to materialize in the next 24 hours to sail all the way east to Barbados, luckily is only about 100 miles.
Beausejour Stadium, St Lucia cricket ground
2 tickets 4 the final
The party that run out of beer
Barbados - The Final Game - 26 to 30 April 2007
The weather for the crossing to Barbados was as good as it could get. The first half of trip the wind blew 15 to 20 knots at an angle of 40/50 degrees, sailing was good. On the second half we got the wind at 20 degrees, 10 to 12 knots, we also had a strong current of 2 1/2 knots coming at 20 degrees, it was quite difficult to keep our course stable, Zenitude was jabbing 20 to 30 degrees at each side of the course with our speed sometimes lower than 3 knots. But we arrived at Bridgetown in Barbados just before sunrise. While we were sailing in the clear night it amazed us to see the number of navigation lights behind us coming the same way, the aussies are coming!
A special check in post have been installed to facilitate cruisers coming to Barbados for the cricket world cup. They treated us extremely well. We did a bit of sightseeing and went to get the tickets we had bought in St. Lucia from a guy that lives here. We got excellent seats and were ready for the final. When our adventure to follow Australia in the world cup started we never imagine we would be here, in Barbados, at the finals.
The stadium, Kensington Oval is located to the west of the capital city Bridgetown. It is locally referred to as "The Mecca" of cricket. We were happy with our tickets and nervous with the game.
When Ricky Ponting won the toss and elected to bat we didn't understand the strategy. However, the start of play was delayed due to rain, and due to the weather the number of innings was reduced.
At some point the umpires suspended the game due to bad light. Australia's players began to celebrate their victory (since the minimum 20 overs had been reached) and we all started celebrating. After a while the umpires incorrectly announced that because the match was suspended due to light and not rain, the final three overs would have to be bowled.
When the game started again in the dark we couldn't believe what was going on. The last three overs were played in almost complete darkness, ending the game with Australia finishing with a 53-run victory.
Winning in the dark
Australia wins the tournament undefeated, concluding a streak of 29 World Cup games without a loss.
And then, cricket was over and after a couple of days rest we were ready to leave Barbados and keep going with our leisure cruising life.
After a fantastic time in Carriacou we sail towards Prickly Bay, Grenada, leaving Tyrrel Bay early in the morning and heading south towards the tip of Grenada.
There is some excitement on this route as it passes by an active underwater volcano, about two miles west of the Isle de Ronde. This volcano erupted in both 1988 and 1989 and has also been called Kick'em Jenny. According to our sailing guide for the area it is reputed as giving a very big kick if you happen to be on top when it erupts. The Grenada government has declared a 1.5 km exclusion zone around it at all times, the zone increases to 5 km when it is rumbling. We respectfully followed the rules.
Back to Grenada - 30 April to 11 May 2007
We left Barbados with ESE winds 15 to 18 knots and started our route towards Grenada.
By the time we reached Grenada's east coast the wind had backed E increasing a bit to 18 to 22 knots. Even though we wouldn't get the protection of the island going down the east coast, we still decided to go down this side as it is a lot more miles to get to Prickly Bay on the the lee of Grenada when coming from Barbados.
With the World Cup over the crowds have disappeared. For a little while we have a feeling that something is missing but we are happy to be back in this beautiful island.
After spending 10 days here doing some repairs and lots of provisioning we are ready to go up the coast to Martinique where we will be receiving Veronica and Andrew’s visit. They will spend some time with us once more to enjoy a bit of sailing in Zenitude. Taking advantage of a good window we leave Prickly Bay and go all the way up to Martinique.
Grenada - Sailing on the windward side