Where ya headed?
Grenada! Its exciting to finally be here. When we were planing this trip, people would ask,
“Where are you headed?”
Al would say, “We’re not sure”
I would consistently reply, ‘Grenada’. (Much to Al’s consternation!)
It was my thought that if we were going to fully embrace full-time cruising, then we had to make it down to Grenada, cruiser mecca. And here we are.
Catching up on sleep after our overnighter to Grenada was our first priority. However the rolly conditions outside St. George are so disagreeable we further south the next morning. The south coast of Grenada offers a multitude of sheltered harbours, with marinas and anchorages a plenty. We settle on Prickly Bay and sail in at 11 am.
Prickly Bay is a large, affluent harbour, full of boats and lovely houses that line the shore. Many boats are seeking a quiet place to ride out the northeasterly swell and high winds coming for the next few days, as are we. Others use this as a full-time base to live aboard. There are two marinas in Prickly Bay, as well as a customs office, chandlery, laundry, restaurant, butcher and small store. A short walk provides access to a multitude of marinas and boat services. It’s proximity makes it an ideal anchorage.
Grenada caters to cruisers.The morning net goes on forever with social activities, trade and swap, local business offers, daily yoga and/or tai chi classes, music jams, hash schedule, celebrations and more. It’s easy to see why cruisers come here and end up staying. We scout around and find the bank, grocery store and a very cool food park made out of shipping containers with excellent smoothies, schwarma, vegetarian food and wifi.
You can get any work done here, money and time are your only factors. We add a storm reef to our mainsail so we can hoist a minimum sail in high winds. With a 65-foot mast our current reef placements leave too much sail up. To add a storm sail we would have to add another track to the mast which was too expensive and difficult. We get the work done along with some minor repairs to ensure the sail is integral for the return trip.
Its a pleasant surprise to run into Nancy and Mike from S/V Chasseur, whom we’d last seen in St. Martin. Lexi, is also travelling with them. We get together for a happy hour to catch up. The next morning Nancy, Lexi and I take advantage of one of the shopping buses that service the marinas for cruisers. For $15 EC ($5US), the bus takes its passengers to wherever they wish to go. We make 7 stops loading up on food, alcohol, spices, with no heavy carrying. Of course after provisioning we pack everything away on the boats and meet the boys for lunch at the marina!
On Saturday, Al, Lexi and I take part in our first hash! The Grenada Hash Harriers has been hashing over 20 years, organizing runs/walks through Grenada. Their byline, Drinkers with a Running Problem, drew us in. Every Saturday a hash takes place, in a new location, on a new trail, designed to fool the participants into fake routes, so you often end up at a dead end and have to backtrack. Today’s hike is a drive up the west coast and we get to see a lovely part of Grenada. Over 200 people show up and the atmosphere is loud and festive, people are very friendly. The trail goes up a river bed and through mountainous terrain, muddy at times but the views are spectacular and its so nice to be out in the forest. Hashing is a great way to get to see the island. All three of us are newcomers to hashing, or hash virgins, which means we have to be inducted. A ceremony which involves us getting sprayed with beer ensues. Other hash rituals follow and all involve a lot of spraying beer. A great time!
On Monday, Nancy arranges an island tour with Paul, our driver, who takes us around the entirety of Grenada. Nancy and Mike, their friend Carol, Al and I are treated to an excellent overview of the island. We visit a spice garden, a nutmeg factory, a rum factory, a chocolate manufacturer, have lunch a local spot and see several historic sites. The “Isle of Spice” lives up to its name. Paul is a good guide and has lived on Grenada his whole life. Over lunch he tells us about the time of Maurice Bishop, government leader in 1979, who had socialist tendencies which landed him in trouble. A coup, by some of his own governmentcvin 1983 against Bishop, resulted in imprisonment. Although the people of Grenada rallied for his release, Bishop his girlfriend and half of his government were murdered. Their bodies have never been recovered. The US stepped in and along with other Caribbean nations restored peace. It’s remarkable how Grenada has progressed in such a short time. Paul witnessed it first hand and had some great stories to relate to us.
Having been in Prickly Bay for a week we decide to haul anchor and check out more of the south coast. We visit Clarkes Court Bay, a large bay that provides access to Hog Island and Phare Blue Bays. Ashore we find new marinas, restaurants and services to meet any cruisers’s needs. We take our dinghy over to Phare Bleu for dinner and it is here in Phare Bleu Bay that we have reached the end of our southern trek, the turn-around point.
This is the furthest south we are to venture on our greatbigsail. We have travelled approximately 5,000 nm from Newfoundland to our southernmost point, and now we are going to turn around and do it all over again. Have we liked it so far? Let just say, “It’s been a fabulous, eye-opening, fun, and challenging experience and we’ve learned heaps.”