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Spotlight ~ Elk and Lions Found in Carriacou?!

After dropping our guests in Hillsborough, Carriacou, Frank and I spent some time relaxing and reorganizing LIB. We strolled the streets in Hillsborough, bought some groceries, wandered into different places and simply recharged our batteries.

One stop we made was at the Deefer Dive Shop on the main street, north of the ferry dock. We were most impressed with all the staff at Deefer, especially when we learned of their efforts to combat lionfish and restore the elkhorn coral on local reefs.

Deefer has a few biologists on staff and they, along with others, have started an elkhorn nursery about 20 feet below the water off of Sandy Island. They are growing elkhorn, then transplanting it in an attempt to revitalize the reefs.

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The Deefer crew are also trying to combat the spread of lionfish.  These beautiful fish are actually quite threatening. They have up to 18 dorsal fins that are sharp as needles and deliver poison.  The sting is very painful to humans and can cause nausea and breathing problems, though it is rarely fatal.

Lionfish are native to Indo-Pacific but have become a problem in the Atlantic Ocean. They prey on smaller fish and shrimp and have very few predators. As a result, lionfish are spreading rapidly and are negatively affecting reef life.

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Lionfish; exotic but harmful ~ Image from Flylife Magazine

About once a week, Deefer Dive conducts a lionfish hunt and Frank was able to go on this dive. Lionfish do not move much and are easy to spear, but care must be taken when removing them from the spear so the diver doesn’t get stung.

Deefer Diving is working to create pressure on the lionfish around Carriacou by educating fisherman about how to kill and safely capture the lionfish and by encouraging restaurants to serve lionfish on the menu. Finally, Deefer supports free demonstrations of how to make jewelry from lionfish and encourages local artists to sell the jewelry.

Frank and I went on a two tank dive trip with Deefer and saw schools of fish, several sting rays, lobster and eels. We also saw the underwater elkhorn nursery and a few of the dreaded lionfish. The diving was some of the best we have seen in the Caribbean and it was encouraging see some healthy reefs.

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Newbie lionfish hunters on the loose.

Here is the shirt I bought at Deefer Diving. You can see from my shirt that Deefer is working with Caribbean Reef Buddy, an organization that works with local communities on coral reef and marine conservation projects.  Frank and I have jumped on the bandwagon and hope to do some lionfish hunting on our own if we can manage to get a spear.

We left Hillsborough and went around the corner to Tyrrel Bay which is a popular harbor in Carriacou. Tyrrel is a large, well protected bay that is crowded with boats, many of which appear to be neglected or even abandoned.  Although Tyrrel Bay is the more popular anchorage, I preferred Hillsborough for on-shore exploring.

However, one of the best meals we have had in the Caribbean was at The Lazy Turtle in Tyrrel Bay. I had a fabulous pizza: plenty of cheese and tomato sauce, which is often lacking in pizza down here.  Ironically, LIONFISH  was the special of the evening when we ate at The Lazy Turtle.  Frank decided to try the speial. We were skeptical, but the fish had an excellent flavor and texture.  It was served in a rosemary and honey sauce and every last bite was eaten.

Our time in Carriacou was all about rest as we were pretty tired after two solid weeks of kiteboarding. But after a few days, the wind was beginning to look “kite-able” again, so we decided to leave Carriacou and head north toward Union Island.

Kiting – Again and Again and Again…

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Al, Jeff, Blane and Frank

Next up for LIB was the arrival of two more kiting buddies of Frank’s; Blaine and Jeff.  It was simply a blast having five kiteboarding fiends on LIB for a week. 

I will say this, as a host, assuming the wind is good, kiters are easy to have as guests! Here are the things we needed to provide:

  1. Good wind.
  2. A launching/landing location.
  3. Transportation to and from the launch area.
  4. Food, water, alcohol and a place to sleep – not necessarily in that order.

No need to worry about what the islands had to offer, these guys were focused on kiting every day. Fortunately the wind was strong enough for them to kite A LOT.  While Al was on LIB, he was able to kite 12 out of 14 days.  Jeff and Blaine were here for a week and they kited every day.

Even with all that time on the water, it was hard for these guys to stop at sunset!

I think I took five million pictures and 99.5% of them were kite pics.  (All kiting pics are posted at the end of this blog.) 

Here’s a peek into last week on LIB:

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Glad we chose a fairly large dinghy.

In this picture, I am taking the guys to shore at Salt Whistle Bay. Captain is along for a grass break and Hunter wisely decided to wait for the next shuttle to shore.

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Can you guess where they are?

We anchored in the bay at Salt Whistle, then the guys walked to the windward side for some kiting in the waves. Apparently it was a great place to practice ocean riding because the waves were pretty consistently spaced apart.

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Blaine and Al kite while Frank plays Rescue Ranger in the dinghy.

On days when the wind was light, someone would hang on LIB or shore with the dinghy available in case a rider was unable to gain enough power to go upwind. Frank rescued several folks but none of them were part of the LIB group.

Frank, Jeff and Al power napping between sets.

I’m not going to say life on LIB is hard, but I will tell you these guys managed to wear themselves out.  These three all crashed while Blaine experimented with bread recipes because my loafs were not browning or rising well. Turns out my recently purchased flour was “off” somehow, thus the taste was less than yummy.  New flour was opened and Blaine tweaked the Basic White Bread recipe so it would brown in our (not so great) oven.

It’s very nice to have a guest on board who just happens to own a food company! Thank you to Blaine of Bridgford Foods for sharing your expertise!

The last day we had a quick sail from Clifton, Union Island to Hillsborough, Carriacou. It was an easy sail and a restful way to finish the trip before taking everyone to catch the ferry to Grenada.

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Frank, Jeff and Blaine at the helm as we sail to Carriacou.

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Al and Captain enjoy the view while underway.

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Hunter prepares his board for packing.

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A little puppy time before Hunter leaves.

We are really lucky that Hunter was able to spend several weeks with us.  He and Clayton have grown up on boats so having another experienced and capable person on board has been very nice. The fact that H is fun, easy to have and willing to help makes it that much more enjoyable to have him with us.  This mom’s heart was very sad to see him leave. But I sincerely hope that he and his brother will manage to visit us very soon!

And now, on to the kiting pictures….

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Jeff and Blaine in Ashton, Union Island.

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Al scooting along.

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Jeff is catching some air in Clifton.

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Frank demos a grab.

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Blaine and Jeff share a five on the fly.

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Hunter mid-trick spotting the water.

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Hunter with Frank in pursuit in Clifton.

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Al boosting in Ashton.

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Blaine’s signature move.

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Jeff gets some height in Ashton.

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Blaine – using a plane in the boost contest is cheating!

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Hunter unhooked, mid spin, handle pass.

Let It Be seems oddly quiet with just Frank, Captain and I on board.  A few of my girlfriends were scheduled to arrive in a week, but several family matters came up and we had to postpone their visit.  I’m pretty sad about the delay, but hopeful that they will find another time to visit.

For the moment we plan on hanging around Carriacou, Union Island, the Tobago Cays, etc.  This is a beautiful area and there is more available than kiting, so we will have to explore a bit.

If you have favorite places or activities in this are, we would love to hear your suggestions!

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