In the spirit of Reality TV, I thought I would show you seven consecutive sunsets and share the actual views we see every night.
Disclaimer: Any ‘drama’ is real and not choreographed. Names and locations have not been changed to protect anyone. <wink>
If you only ever see the sunset photos posted on blogs and Facebook, you are bound to believe that every evening on a boat we live aboards are privy to heartstoppingly beautiful sunsets. And somehow you, the reader, might believe you are missing these nightly masterpieces.
Well, honestly, we do have the privilege of seeing stunning sets nearly every night and we remain grateful for the opportunity. So grateful that we wanted to share them with you.
I think the variety of these sunsets is especially beautiful when you realize that in these seven photographs, Let It Be was anchored in only three places.
Without further ado, Reality LIB presents, “Seven Consecutive Days of Sunsets.”
If not for the deep sapphire water, I think this could be a desert somewhere instead of Ashton, Union Island.
Same anchor spot but the very next night and a completely different “painting.”
You guessed it, we have not moved our anchor and here is a third and unique sunset.
A bird’s eye view from Mustique. We had drinks and an appetizer at Firefly as we watched God paint this sunset.
Our second night in Mustique. The clouds look like smoke accumulated from a smoke stack…
Our third and final night in Mustique the silhouette of this sailboat was beautiful. I really wish I knew who owns this boat because I would love to send him this picture.
Safely moored in St. Lucia after a very pretty 70 nautical mile sail with a little help from our friends, volvo one and volvo two, when the wind died.
This was the last sunset before LIB was hauled out in Rodney Bay to have the bottom repainted. Fingers crossed that we will re-splash this Thursday.
One last gratuitous sunset photo featuring our sweet dog, Captain.
Captain is in a kennel this week because we were unable to find a rental place that would allow pets. We are really sad to have her in a kennel and can’t wait to “free” her on Thursday!!!
Do you have a favorite sunset from this blog post? I would love to know which one calls to you or speaks to you most. Or does your mood affect which one you like best so your favorite changes? Please leave your answers in the comments!
Yes, I know it is March and I am months from Halloween, but it struck me the other day that provisioning (buying food) feels a lot like going trick or treating.
Entering Clifton after docking the dinghy.
I do not dress up, but I do bring my own bags to carry my “loot” back to the boat and I do go from place to place to see what goodies are available.
So far my favorite place to find groceries has been Clifton on Union Island. The main street is sometimes sleepy and almost deserted. Other days it is teeming with locals and visitors alike. Now, when I say teeming, please don’t think New York! But do imagine a good number of people walking the streets, perusing shelves in various shops and enjoying beverages in shady cafes along a dusty road.
A quiet day on main street in Clifton.
We have provisioned in Clifton three different times and a pattern has developed. First I make a bee-line to Captain Gourmet. This tiny (by US standards) shop is a combination cafe and grocery that caters to the foreigners. I stop in here and scan the refrigerated area for hard to find treats. The last two visits, the freezer has been broken so I chat with the lady at the counter to determine what gems she has hidden in the storeroom freezer. We have scored unusual things here like pork tenderloin and turkey sausage and aerosol whipped cream!
Love this lilac color!
The folks at Captain Gourmet are super helpful and after I pay for my items, they let me leave them in the refrigeration until I have completed my other shopping.
It looks small by US standards, but Captain Gourmet has a lot to offer. Isn’t it cute?
Next we visit ALL of the groceries along the main street, which is about six different places. While items on the shelves at each grocery are often the same, each store has it’s own vibe and a few unique items. One place might be very clean and open, but has relatively few items. Still, I enjoy the clean environment and always buy something in the clean stores when possible.
Kash & Kerry is clean and the proprietor is very sweet.
Another place is dark and very dusty. They have a bit of everything, from used clothing and appliances to canned goods and children’s games. I feel a bit claustrophobic in here, but sometimes it has some unusual dry good that I really want.
You have to look up, down and all around!
This same store also sells “home goods.”
The grocery stores are where we buy canned goods, boxed goods, dry goods and occasionally some cheese or dried fruit, like raisins. But we never buy produce in these stores. Fresh produce is bought from the stands, which are our final stop.
Produce stands in Clifton.
Here in Clifton there is a dirt square with about eight different vendors. Initially I was uncomfortable with this area because as I approached people would try to steer me to one vendor or the other. I didn’t like feeling pressured to buy from just one stand. Even if one stand has everything we want, I always try to buy a little from each person so we spread around our support.
An artist’s palate of color.
On days when they have restocked the produce, the stalls are an artist’s palate of greens, reds and yellows hanging in flimsy mesh bags.
This feels like a step back in time.
With the produce vendors, just like in Captain Gourmet, it is often the secret, hidden areas that offer treasures. We have learned to ask for what we are hoping to find because not everything is displayed. Fresh green beans are a rare and wonderful find and we have been lucky to buy them a couple of times here in Clifton. They were never in sight but when we asked, like magic, a bag of fresh beans was pulled up from the back of the stand.
We have also learned that if we ask one vendor if she has a particular item and she doesn’t have it, she is likely to tell us nobody has those here. I asked for green limes and was told, “They are out of season. No place you can find those here.” But as we made our rounds and asked each vendor, low and behold we found them just two stalls away.
Score on the limes!
Green limes are especially difficult to find and often you have to negotiate to buy just green ones and not have yellow ones included.
The veggies and fruit we buy are certainly different than back in Texas but we are learning to appreciate some new flavors. One really pretty fruit that I had not seen back home is Star Fruit. It is a bit sweet with a texture that is a cross between an apple and a banana. When sliced, star fruit makes a beautiful presentation.
These beauties dress up any plate.
So, next time you pop into Tom Thumb or Kroger and find everything you want clearly displayed, regardless of the season, think of us “trick or treating” our way through several stores and stalls.
Written by: Ltjg. An Young, USNR ret
In the spring of 2015, Frank invited a few of us to come to the Caribbean on a kiting trip on Let It Be. That was their first mistake. Mary Grace then asked me to write a guest blog of the trip. That was their second mistake. So here we go.
I joined Captain Frank, Executive Officer Mary Grace and the Hunter and Captain, Let it Be’s crew, in Vieux Fort, St. Lucia on February 3rd, 2016. After unpacking, we went paddle boarding at sunset. This was the start of something special.
The next morning we got underway for a leisurely sail down to St. Vincent. We had the main and jib full and Frank put up the big red spinnaker. I am sure we looked like a post card for the first few hours with winds in the 20+ range.
Frank and I were laying on the tramp and saw a storm in the distance. I proceeded to explain bearing drift to Frank that we used in the Navy and how the storm will roll down the port side. Fifteen minutes later we were in 28 knot winds and Frank and Hunter were furiously taking the spinnaker down. The winds went to 30 and in went a reef and the jib came down. Eventually the winds went to 35+ and we were rocking and rolling. So much for my Navy experience.
We arrived in Blue Lagoon in St. Vincent and Frank registered us with immigration. Hunter, Mary Grace and I went to town for some cash and to see what it looked like. Walking home we uncovered a jewel of a restaurant called the Driftwood. The views were wonderful and the food, drink and atmosphere were great. We would highly recommend it.
We departed Blue Lagoon and spent the next two weeks going around the Grenadines kiting and exploring.
The first week was the Stich’s and myself. Blaine and Jeff joined after a week. We kited in Frigate Bay (Ashton) and Clifton on Union Island and Salt Whistle Bay in Mayreau. The wind blew like stink (a technical kiting term). I kited 12 of 14 days and Jeff and Blaine seven of seven. Each place was spectacular with different water.
Frigate was flat water behind an isthmus that stuck out from Ashton. The anchorage was calm and the water smooth for Hunter to show off his magic.
While I tried to show up Hunter, he was just a tad better than I.
Ashton was pretty and the water was beautiful. Not all was kiting believe it or not. We went to town and took a hike up the hills.
Next was on to Clifton and the JT Pro Kite Center. Again the wind blew and conditions were great with flat water and Blaine and Jeff took advantage.
But Frank won the prize. He did a 1 1/2 back roll. We are unable to show the whole thing because back rolls are supposed to be one or two revolutions, and because he was our host we didn’t want to embarrass him. Great try Frank!!!
Clifton was fun. It had a great kite scene with the JT Pro Kite center and a cute town. Frank, Mary Grace and I had a great time provisioning there with the little stores and the people were extremely friendly and helpful. We looked and looked but couldn’t find the Kroger or Walmart. We had dinner at the Yatch Club and it was really nice. But as you can see from the above, the water color was spectacular and flat. It got crowded and was a tight alley between the reef and the boats so if you fell you could get drug into the boats so it was a bit hairy. All in all a great place, but third on the Young scale of kiting we did. And who can forget Happy Island, a bar out in the middle of the anchorage.
And then there was Salt Whistle Bay! Without a doubt number 1 on the Young scale and I think most of us would agree. It was beautiful. There were almost no other kiter’s. It was great ocean riding with 1 – 2 foot waves to play in. I think all of our ocean riding improved. it is an isthmus on the north side of Mayreau with a protected anchorage on one side and the small waves on the other. You landed the dingy and walk 100 feet to the ocean. Really cool and what a great place. It was unbelievable. See for yourself.
We had a beach Bar – B – Que one night which was good food and fun. Mary Grace and I took a walk halfway to town when we encountered some French people who said it was Sunday and all the shops were closed. Who knew it was Sunday? We did encounter a classic Catholic church which was really fun. I snorkeled a bit and Captain had some great swims to shore. For me, it was the highlight of the trip and if you ever get a chance to go there , don’t pass it up. Salt Whistle Bay was wonderful!
Underway was as much fun as kiting. Just sailing in open water with no noise and great friends was really the coolest thing about the trip. I can’t say enough about sailing and how much fun it was. Everything about the trip was a great and fun experience. Here is just some of the experiences.
Sadly we had to leave. There was no getting around it. Frank and Mary Grace said they were sad, but I doubt it. We were running out of Gin and Coconut Rum and so we had to say our good bye’s.
It has been almost 50 years since I cruised the Caribbean. The first time was on a World War II destroyer, the USS Dyess. The second time was on Let It Be.
I think I prefer Let It Be. I can’t thank Frank and Mary Grace enough for the opportunity to do this. Along with everything else it was such a pleasure to meet Hunter and Captain. I have been home now for three days and am just now starting to get rested. I have never kited so much in my life nor kept quite as busy.
I suspect this is way too long, but be sure I shortened it considerably from expressing the gratitude I feel to the Stich’s for their hospitality.
Ltjg. Al Young USNR ret.
AL – thank you so much for this guest post! It is great to see the trip from your perspective. We so enjoyed having you aboard and look forward to your next visit. A special thank you for being our first guest to agree to write a blog. I am sure it is a nice change for readers to see a different writing style. And I love the collage of photos!
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:
- Good wind.
- A launching/landing location.
- Transportation to and from the launch area.
- 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:
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.
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.
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.
Frank, Jeff and Blaine at the helm as we sail to Carriacou.
Al and Captain enjoy the view while underway.
Hunter prepares his board for packing.
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….
Jeff and Blaine in Ashton, Union Island.
Al scooting along.
Jeff is catching some air in Clifton.
Frank demos a grab.
Blaine and Jeff share a five on the fly.
Hunter mid-trick spotting the water.
Hunter with Frank in pursuit in Clifton.
Al boosting in Ashton.
Blaine’s signature move.
Jeff gets some height in Ashton.
Blaine – using a plane in the boost contest is cheating!
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!
Our friend, Al is here visiting which means that we now have three avid kiters on board. The result is that we are die-hard wind seekers for the moment. Kiters love to see steady winds and, depending on what size kite they prefer, they like various wind speed ranges. Hunter likes winds in the 18-21 knot range so he can fly a 12 meter kite and do “unhooked” tricks.
Frank and Al prefer slightly higher wind speeds because they don’t unhook.
But regardless of the wind preference, every kiter I have met begins to gets jittery when the wind gets close to “ride-able” and once within a few knots of the range they begin watching the wind speed on the instrument panel like a dog begging for steak.
Here are several pictures of kiting for those who love the sport. I have taken a few shots from our different locations and those who don’t care about kiting can look to the background to get a feeling for the beauty of the islands and water.
Catching air in Ashton.
That is one jazzed guest.
Frank executes a grab in Ashton
Hunter scoots along in Clifton with Happy Island Bar to the right.
Happy Island Bar
Janti’s Happy Island Bar. This great little island was built by Janti in response to two issues close to his heart: first a problem of too many discarded conch shells in town and second too few customers for his original establishment in town. According to the guide book, Janti worked for the office of tourism and decided to resolve the conch shell problem by building this little island in the Clifton anchorage. His island with the prefect view for sunset and sundowners does not suffer from a lack of customers. Gotta love a man who solves problems and makes something great from them!
Frank cuts through the Clifton anchorage.
Hunter ~ planning his next jump?
The Method in Ashton.
Love this pic of Frank in front and Hunter tricking in the back.
We have actually done some things off the boat. While anchored in Salt Whistle Bay, Mayreau, Al and I walked up the hill toward town. Since it was Sunday all the stores were closed, but we saw a very pretty Catholic Church and some rather stunning spots for pictures.
Tobago Cays make a decent backdrop.
After six straight days of kiting, Al and Frank were ready to stretch their legs so they took a hike with me in Ashton. This little town has more to offer than expected including the people who have been some of the nicest we have met along the way.
This steep street leads to a great hike.
Shaded and well defined, we enjoyed the hike.
Overlooking Ashton on Union Island
Goats wandered the town.
At first I thought I had turned into the pied piper and these four legged friends were going to come back to LIB with me. But they turned off into a nice green area between a couple of homes. I was told that because it has been a bit dry on Union Island lately, the locals allow the goats to roam looking for grazing ground. Not something I ever saw in Coppell, TX.
End of day seems to be the perfect time for a casual paddle or a swim before sundown. It’s pretty nice to throw on flippers and mask, hop into the water and watch the sea life as I get a little bit of exercise in.
Frank, Captain and Al on a sunset paddle.
This week two more kiters join us on LIB, so I’m pretty certain you will be seeing a lot more kite photos. Sorry to be so myopic in our news, but this is the focus on LIB for the moment.
Let me know if you have any kiting questions…. with 5 men kiting on LIB this week, I am sure they will have (or make up) the answer! 😉
Sunset from The Driftwood Restaurant, St. Vincent.