16 November 2019

Grenada - Better the Second Time Around

Watching a dramatic daybreak cloud system approach, it dawns on me how much different our Grenadian experience is currently compared to our initial introduction this past April.

Captain Linda Perry Riera


We recently returned to Grenada to re-launch s/v Argon and resume cruising the Caribbean for another winter gradually making our way north over the next seven months. Our first exposure to Grenada (April 2019) was heavily shadowed by a crippling bought of sciatica that caused Bob immense pain, severely limiting activities, and greatly complicating boat life for both of us. This time around, however, our experience and outlook is much improved.

Perhaps surprisingly, we set an alarm for 5:15a.m. each day allowing us to take in the quiet opening of each day, enjoy spectacular sunrises, and get an early start on our day jobs and boat projects.
The major boat projects are now behind us and we can start to think about sailing and intermingling our days with land excursions and sometimes relaxation.

Before and After

It has been an incredibly busy and productive two weeks with Argon...

Now:  Argon sitting pretty and ready to sail.


Before:  Ten days ago the boom still not attached, gooseneck unfinished, and oh so much still to do.


After:  Deck today happily at anchor with all sails and lines rigged ready to go.


Before:  Salon ten days ago when we were still in the throws of inspecting, cleaning, fixing, attaching and sweating on the hard.


After:  Salon now ready to be home again for the next many months

Before:  Cockpit ten days ago with grey mildewy teak from being exposed to the heat and torential rains all summer.
After:  Cockpit now with organized lines, clean teak, comfortable cushions and shade.


Prickly Bay

Prickly Bay, one of the several options of harbors along the southern coast of Grenada, is our initial Grenadian neighborhood. Many avoid this anchorage as it can be quite rolly compared to the other nearby choices. However, our threshold for rolliness has increased over the years. In addition, we need the easy access to the shipyard, chandlery, and other businesses as we complete remaining boat projects. Lastly, the waters here are more clear and safe for my morning swims.

Turbulence sail loft is a short dinghy ride away from our initial anchorage. Turbulence is working on our main sail here to shorten the luff length.

Prickly Bay is good for my morning swims. My bright orange buoy provides some visibility for the occasional dinghy that zips through. I make my way over to Calabash Beach to spend most of my swim in the safety parallel of the beach.

Sand Bar at Calabash Beach, Prickly Bay is a beautiful spot to relax enjoy the sunset after a full day of boat projects; oh, and our regular jobs. Argon is anchored in the background.

Boat Projects Continue (always)

A new Doyle main sail through Turbulence was made over the summer in Barbados. However, as outlined in the last blog post, the luff was too long for the track. After the second re-cut, we try again.


Bob transports the new re-re-cut main sail to Argon late in the evening. We wait for daylight to test fit.


Early the next morning, with fortuitous timing just before a squall comes through, we bend the new main sail... And she fits beautifully - we can hardly wait to test her out!

Rationing Power, Seeking Shade

Our first week at anchorage was sans bimini which meant modest solar power and no shade in the cockpit. The winds have also been uncharacteristically low (often non-existent). During the day the temperature below deck is usually 92F; at night we dip down to 82F. Sleeping has been uncomfortable but should improve as winds pick up and we inch our way to higher latitudes. Frequent dips off the swim platform help (but the water is 84F).



The completed bimini was worth the wait and the several dinghy shuttles with our friends from Tropical Sails and Canvas. Douglas and team did a fantastic job with the somewhat complicated bimini making improvements to how the solar side panels are attached. After cleaning all the connectors and getting all the full 385 Watts of panels mounted, we are able to bring in 20amps midday to keep our lap tops charged and refrigerator cool. We can now comfortably sit in the shaded cockpit and perhaps even soon have ice. Life is good!

Improvising with catching solar until our new bimini is finished and the panels can be properly attached. The low wind has had an upside in that the panels are at less risk of blowing away.

A shadeless cockpit the first week at anchor. Douglas and Brian from Tropical Sails and Canvas are ensuring a perfect fit on the frame and for the mounting of the solar panels.


Final bimini project was worth the wait. Douglas and team at Tropical Sails and Canvas did fantastic work on this somewhat complicated piece including altering how the solar and side panels are attached and the wires protected from UV.

Grenadian Hash

A popular activity in Grenada is a Hash which is a sort of athletic / social / eating / drinking event that takes place at a different location on the island each time. We were unable to participate in one last spring due to Bob's convalescing but happily joined one recently. This event took place in Crochu on the eastern coast. At the end of the trek everyone celebrates with blaring soca music, food and beer.

More than one hundred people participated in the Hash. This is the beginning part of the walkers trail.

Some beautiful scenery along the three mile route. (Bob is holding his back... we learned that he still needs to be careful with his sciatica. We took it slowly.)

Crossing a stream.

Overlooking the eastern coast and the Atlantic Ocean.

Part of the route through a rural residential neighborhood along the mountainous coast.

St. George's Market and Provisioning

Each Friday and Saturday downtown St. George's bursts with activity and color as vendors set up produce stands, sell trinkets, and entice customers with local spices attracting both locals and tourists. I introduced Bob to a smoothie shop discoverd last April and we could not get enough of the papaya-mango-banana icy cool sweetness.

Hill leading down to the street market in St. George's.

Old building in downtown St. George's.


St. Andrews Presbyterian Church at the top of the hill in St. George's. It was mostly destroyed during hurricane Ivan in 2004 (the most recent hurricane to hit Grenada).

Provisioning the boat from scratch is a bit of an expensive ordeal and multi-step logistical challenge. I have taken a bus to a supermarket but am limited in the amount purchased by how much I can carry to/from the bus stops. A few miscellaneous items can be found from tiny markets that we walk by on our way to restaurants or other places by foot. Some items such as ultra pasteurized boxed milk, soda water, diet coke, and Carib beer can be purchased in bulk, picked up nearby on shore and loaded in to the dinghy. The St. George Market is difficult to get to but a great source of both local and shipped in produce. When we eventually get to Martinique (late December), more substantial provisioning can be done as the selection and prices will be much better.

Cooking Class

 Ester and Omega share Grenadian cooking secrets at Dodgy Dock in True Blue Harbor - about a 20 minute walk from where we are anchored in Prickly Bay. Time to finally buy some salt fish.

Onward....


Soon we will depart Grenada on a modest 35nm sail northeast to Carriacou, still part of the country of Grenada but a much smaller island with a population of 8,000 (vs 100,000 on the mainland). In Carriacou we will host our son Christian and his girlfriend Brittany as they sail with us along the chain of islands in the Grenadines.



Happy to be on the water even if still just at anchor as we work on completing final boat projects in preparation to begin sailing soon!

Grenada is definitely better second time around!










2 comments:

  1. I love living vicariously through your voyages, Linda! I just caught up on the past few months' of posts. So jealous! will look forward to following your latest journey. All the best, Molly

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    1. Hi Molly - Thanks for your note - great to hear from you! I hope all is well with you. I am very grateful to be embarking on a third extended cruise!
      Linda

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