Friday, August 22, 2008
We’re THERE . . . again!
How many times over the last 3.5 years have people asked me what our ‘long range’ plans are and how many times did I answer that I had none except to make it to Grenada for some hurricane season or another. Grenada. The name itself was just a far flung dream during the winters in Des Plaines, Illinois. Grenada? Hell I wasn’t sure where the Chesapeake was back then (It’s by Baltimore, right?)
Yesterday we arrived in St. George’s, Grenada. Not unlike our arrival in NYC, Key West, Georgetown in the Bahamas, and the Dominican Republic we feel like we have made some significant goal. Geographically we are at the end of the windward islands of the Caribbean. Further south lie Trinidad and Venezuela and perhaps that is where we venture next. For now though we plan to stay in Grenada for a time and enjoy the fact that we’ve come thousands of miles (North-South alone we’ve gone from 42 degrees north in Chicago to 12 degrees north now. That’s 30 degrees or 1800 nautical miles.) on two different boats, gone through one whole cat and started on another, repaired numerous boat systems and left others in disrepair due to lack of interest and/or money. And only one bad storm at sea. Not bad.
But let’s go back. We left Bequia on Monday and had a very nice sail (~18 miles) to Canouan (pronounced berk’-lee). The entire northern end of this island has been purchased by some Italians and it is all a private resort. Moorings Charters also has a big fleet and base here. In fact if I lived up north and was looking for a great place to charter, starting here and exploring the Grenadines would be a great sailing vacation.Those two businesses more or less dominate the anchorage. We went ashore to see that but also to see the town. Well, there isn’t much town. Pretty depressed and looks like not much trickle down from the fancy resort area. As they say, the trickle down effect is ok as long as you arent’t the one being trickled down on! We ate at the Pirate Cove - part of the Tamarind resort. Cheeseburger? Sure. Only $18! It was good though! And we saw a fantastic green flash - best one ever!
Tuesday it was on to the Tabago Cays. Supposed to be good snorking. Like everything in this area of the Grenadines it’s about 5 miles or less to the next anchorage or place to explore. There are three little uninhabited islands and then a huge horse shoe reef to the east. We anchored to the west of the islands and we’re going to take the dinghy around to explore and snork. Then weather happened. Started to look pretty ugly to the east so we hauled anchor and sailed back to Mayreau, a tiny island with a great little bay - Salt Whistle Bay. This bay also is home to a resort but you can hardly tell it is there. Stone guest houses set back in the trees with a bar and restaurant down by the water. Not much going on though and we did NOT sample the cheeseburgers. Well, there is not much going on ANYWHERE in these parts this time of year. We may be the last boat through before hurricanes! In fact that Tamarind resort is closing for all of September. Still a beautiful anchorage and a fine night. It rained and blew a little but nothing spectacular.
Wednesday, we wanted to go (5 miles) to Union Island which is the last island in the Grenadines. We talked with weather god, Chris Parker, at 0700 though and he suggested going to Grenada today rather than wait as some squally weather would be coming. OK! Notice how every day the plan changes! Only about 35-40 miles to Grenada from here we can be off by 0800 and pretty much guarantee getting there in daylight.
GREAT SAIL! - for about half the trip. We were broad reaching at 6-7 knots in a light chop. Nice. Then the wind pretty much gave out at the northern end of Grenada and we motor-sailed the rest of the way. Interesting, that you have to navigate around an underwater volcano enroute to Grenada! There is a 1.5 km exclusion zone at all times and 5 km if it is erupting. It didn’t seem to be erupting (and what does that look like anyway?) so we skimmed the 1.5 km zone.
Mismo has become quite the good little sailor. She mostly stays with us in the cockpit when we are underway but will sometimes opt for some shade down by the rail. As long as she doesn’t get all jiggy and start running around the boat we’re ok. Her new favorite spot when at anchor is to lay with her big ass right between the secondary anchor and the chain to the first anchor. Comfy!
We had planned to motor into the lagoon area in St. George’s - the capital of Grenada. It was a very hot sail though after the wind gave out and we really wanted to swim and wanted some breeze at night. So we anchored outside by a beach with a number of other boats in about 4 meters of water (~2 fathoms). Oh it did feel great to jump in the water and bob around. Sue made chopped salad and tuna salad sandwiches and we turned in just after sun down. What a day. Arrival days are always special and this one the most special so far.
Thursday we’ll clear customs and explore St. George’s some. After that we will probably move the boat around to Prickly Bay on the south side. Our friends Larry and Debbie on Debonair are there and already have hailed us on the VHF. Wendy and Jim on Merenge should be there as well. Party time!