Friday, November 16, 2012

Economic Prosperity!

Chatham Bay, Union Island

Chatham Bay 010Almost exactly four years ago we were here in Chatham Bay with a five other boats and went ashore to a brand new beach bar that had just opened.

Seckie and Vanessa welcomed us with rum cocktails and happy smiles.  The usual custom in these parts is to have old flags hanging from the roof, but theirs was conspicuously bare so we left our old red ensign as a memento, their first flag.

Since November 2008 the world has changed a fair bit economically, all the other boats we were with have retired from cruising, we have had a spell back in the UK working and times have been tough for the islanders, as charter boat visits have diminished as well as cruisers, and those that do pass have had tighter belts.

So it was great to return here last night and find the bar open and our flag hard to find among the many that now fly from their roof.

Chatham Bay 005

If you pass this way on your boat make sure you head ashore and have a rum or dinner to help keep them going and reward their hard work.

By the way this is the view you will have of sunset:

Chatham Bay 006

Thursday, November 15, 2012

At Loggerheads!

Tobago Cays, Grenadines

We woke this morning to sunny skies and calm seas at our anchorage in the Tobago Cays


Jamesby 003

After all these months in Grenada running up hills and through mud it was time for some water based exercise and there are few places better for watching turtles than off Baradal on the sea grass plains.

So after a morning coffee we leapt into the dinghy to go and find a few:

Tobago Cays 012

Tobago Cays 038

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Small Steps

Union Island, Grenadines

Seven years ago we were contemplating our first international voyage as being Australia to New Caledonia, around 800 miles upwind in the Pacific.  In the end a “pleasure” deferred by buying a new boat in the USA and relocating to the northern hemisphere.

Almost exactly a year ago we were getting ready to cross from the USA to the Bahamas, about 60 miles across the Gulf Stream so navigationally challenging, the weather needs to be right, and despite being one we had done 3 times before it still involved a 5am rise from bed and a lot of bashing to windward in the dark off the Florida coast.

This season’s first international voyage is one of the smallest you can do, Carriacou to Union Island, anchor to anchor about 7 miles and all on a beam reach under sunny skies in 12 knots of breeze and calm sheltered waters!

Bound For Grenadines 002

View Of Union Island Approaching

Bound For Grenadines 004

View Of Carriacou Receding

Now that’s what we call cruising!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Hurricane Season In Grenada

Clarkes Court Bay, Grenada

Clarkes Court Bay 001

So nearly 2 months have passed since Carnival and what have we been up to?  It’s hurricane season so first and foremost not very much sailing, it’s the time of year to find a nice spot drop the hook and catch up on all the boat maintenance that needs doing.

To that end my work has mainly been the unseen, uncelebrated type eg remove the pulpit, replace a couple of broken bolts and reinstall, while Linda has been doing some wonderful eye catching boat improvements mainly of the sewing variety.

New cockpit cushions Cockpit Cushions 001make life more stylish and comfortable, new cockpit sides to keep the sun and water out, adding gutters to our sunshade to make a rain catcher, re designing the stack pack and finally as a nice change from that, the varnishing. 

It certainly makes a nice change this year to be doing the more mundane boat chores rather than major improvements, eg the engine last summer. 

Perhaps a good time to say that last summers work has paid great dividends this year. 

The engine is superb, great to be able to relax and enjoy the ride without fretting about what might break, great to be doing 8.3 knots under motor rather than 6.3 knots, and easy to maintain because of the clean and tidy engine room.  The new fridge and freezer are a revelation, we never have to think about when to run the generator, what temperature they are and so forth, and instead we can just enjoy cold beers and ice cream out of our own freezer.  But in many ways the best of all is the installation of the electric heads which have done 15 months now without a single blockage!

Aside from boat chores we have been enjoying the routine of life here.  With the cruising community collectively putting their feet up for a few months, the seeds of stable community life bear fruit and the ways to fill your days expand.  The list of things we have been doing is much shorter than the list of things we have missed, yoga twice a week in the classes run by Gabrielle from Santosha, beach volleyball, cricket, half price pizza night, trivia night, and of course the weekly hash house harriers run.

Hashing has been a revelation, it’s basically running or walking through forests, grassland, mud, river beds, steep hills and even wading through the sea following a trail of paper left by the hares.  Usually it takes about an hour, leaving you hot, sweaty, muddy and thirsty which is lucky as there is ample opportunity to refuel at the lime afterwards with beer, BBQ chicken or Grenadian oil down if feeling strong enough! Grenada Hash House Harriers

Given the unforgiving nature of the terrain, and the fact that usually I am running mean that the photos from these events are sparse but hopefully this selection will give you an idea.

From a tourist perspective we have done a couple of island tours, some hiking usually terminating at a waterfall, and a snorkel trip or two.  Buzzing round the island on the excellent buses with a sound track of blasting Soca music.

It’s now time to start heading north, and I hope to be updating this more regularly from now on as we explore the islands, it’s a resolution type thing, let’s see how I do!

Thank you Grenada and Grenadians for being our hosts for the past few months we will miss the island and the people hugely until we return next year.