Last Saturday I left Tobago, took it easy getting ready since I did not want to leave to early. Distance was about 80 miles, and to make it to Union during daylight I thought I should not leave before 11. Well, I got the dinghy all cleaned and rolled up by 11:30 and took off. The first few hours the weather was still mostly influenced by Tobago: some showers and an inconsistent wind. But later in the afternoon we got back into the trade winds and the boat started to pick up speed. It was about a half wind course and it turns out that the boat gets quite a lot of weather helm when the wind is about 15 knots. To make life easier I had to put in two reefs in the main, which made the steering a lot easier and did not slow the boat down at all. It was a moonless night until the early hours in the morning, giving a beautiful sight of the stars. Later we got in some squalls and I also had to shorten head sail, it was a struggle to furl in the geno until I did it the sensible way: go on an almost down wind course, which makes the main blank the genoa and makes the furling of the genoa easy. Need to think about those common sense things more often, for a whlie I was really struggling. Was also trying to slow the boat down because we were closing in on Union too quickly. The last 15 miles there was some boat traffic to keep an eye on (actually the first vessels all day, for a while I was wondering if the AIS had broken down or something) and once that was passed we were getting into some shallower water with reefs around the islands. So no time to sleep, and of course I still got there too early. Actually I was just anchored in Clifton harbor when the first light of daylight became visible. It takes getting used to these favorable winds, being too conservative in expected boat speed can also cause its problems.
Union is a small island, think a total of about 3000 inhabitants. But, it is your stereotypical Caribbean paradise: blue water, palm trees, beaches and a general relaxed atmosphere.
Clearing in was easy enough, customs and immigration were at the airport. The end of the airstrip is just where the anchorage yacht club is. There was a small plane that had apparently not made the take of (or landing) properly, it had run through the fence. Could not tell how long it had been there, but it was a pretty weird sight. Paper work was simple and straight forward, just took me a little longer since I had to walk into town (just a 10 minute walk) to use the ATM.
Today I have been doing small things around the boat. Paid out all the anchor rode in anchor locker and learned that at the end of the CQR’s anchor chain (144 ft) there is another 240 ft of rode. I had never realized that. It will make anchoring in deep anchorages a lot easier.
Walked around in town a little, it is just a small village. One main drag with little stores, mostly catering to tourists. All small scale things, though things are not very cheap here.
Might start doing some island hopping here. There are plenty of small islands to go for.