Monday, 23 February 2015

Grenada at a push

You will have to read between the lines of this post. For those who can't, I apologise, but there are some things that don't go on the blog and because of that our plotting may seem obtuse. 

We have slid rather quickly down the arc of the Windward Islands. Forget the frog and the lily pads. What was I thinking? Enki is a racehorse. She loves to run at speed, and the Caribbean is such a great track. From St Pierre down to St Anne in the south of Martinique she blitzed the competition in a gruelling 15-mile tacking duel (well, only one other boat was involved but how many boats do you need to make a yacht race?). After the briefest of pauses in St Anne's vast turquoise anchorage, she shot straight through to Grenada on an unscheduled overnighter.

The dock at St Anne's anchorage, Martinique

Saturday afternoon wedding in downtown St Anne

The market is over

On the phone to Robyn

Emails and more emails....and more beers too

We put 160 miles under our belt, leaving St Anne at 0730 on Sunday and dropping anchor just inside the surf break off the eastern point of Prickly Bay at 1130 on Monday. The sailing was superb. The one thing you can say about the Caribbean is that the wind will always blow. We haven't taken on diesel since we left the Canaries.

Off the west coast of St Lucia (and below)

St Vincent obscured

We bypassed St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, because Grenada is generally considered to be outside the hurricane belt . Hurricane Ivan in 2004 put a giant hole in that theory, but still, Grenada along with Trinidad complies with most insurance company demands vis a vis hurricane season (July to November).  If I'd had to fly home immediately (which was on the cards), Alex could have organised to haul the boat at one of two acceptable marinas, one of them at the head of Prickly Bay and the other just a few bays further east on Grenada's south coast. Flights leave Grenada daily for the US mainland.

The luxuriance of Grenada's south coast (and below)

Enki is now at rest,  awaiting her next riding instructions. Over the past few days, the urgency to fly home has decreased though underlying anxiety hasn't, and we are considering our options, as people say. A tea leaf reader would help. That person not being available, we are very grateful for Grenada's superior 4G mobile communications. For the first time in many many weeks we are able to respond to emails from home in more or less real time, and to Skype.

Prickly Bay is somewhere I was curious about anyway. It's a popular place for people to stay living aboard their boats during the hurricane season. Afloat, that is.  Alex says he couldn't do that, sit at anchor, or on a mooring (there are a lot of moorings down here), watching the hurricanes spawn on the African west coast and waiting heart-in-mouth to see where they make landfall. Which island would cop the big one this year? Antigua seems to have more strikes than the average as does St Lucia, but people leave their boats in reputable marinas on both these islands, their keels sunk into the ground, hulls bolted down with steel cables, dis-masted, etc etc. This is all foreign to us but perfectly normal Caribbean practice.

The Pricky Bay marina bar - Carib beer is the local brew

In February, no-one is thinking hurricanes in Prickly Bay. They're thinking pizzas at the marina  restaurant (half price on Monday night), happy hour every night, live music and films in the sound shell and all day long an abundance of sun and wind so that power generation at anchor is the least of your worries. It's a very different kind of cruising here from the Mediterranean where yachts share harbours with fishing boats and the town/village is just off your stern. Places like Prickly Bay are not quite gated yachting communities, but a little that way. You lock yourself into the boat at night. You chain your dinghy to the boat. And the life of the island is elsewhere. Thus far we've found it a 30 minute bus ride away in St George's. There's more to come.

Every bus has a name - something catchy

On the waterfront (the Carenage) in St George's - and below

Looking down St George's steep slopes to the cruise ship dock

Friday morning market day (and below)

St George's is the hub. We'll be there often, I expect, because I can't live without fresh fruit and vegetables. The St George's market ladies are hustlers. Alban, he of the gold tooth and the sly smile, warned me about them.

Alban the charmer

He was set up on the footpath just opposite the bus stop. I told him I'd come back to buy his sweet potatoes, but he was dubious. "Those ladies in the market can be very persuasive," he said. He was right, but I did come back for his potatoes. And his mandarins. I'd already bought pigeon peas from Joan, who we met on the bus going into town. She was our first market lady though I didn't realise it at the time. She had me sized up. Good on her. She sold me a bag of peas, some tomatoes and a couple of christophenes from her basket,  produce the restaurant she was delivering to didn't want, she said. Once she'd sold them, she'd be on the bus back to Grenville, 45 minutes north on the east coast of the island. I guess she got home early.

The haul - washed and dried


  1. we're hoping the tea leaves come up with a reassuring story. And I must say that I'm glad to see that Alex's passage whiskers have stayed around - makes him look the salt he is...

  2. The passage whiskers don't look like leaving any time soon. And you're so right....genuine (old) salt needs to look the part.