Grand Anse Beach

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It’s a postcard-perfect scene…Grand Anse Beach is “the granddaddy” of Grenada’s 45 beaches. This two-mile stretch of creamy-white sand overlooks a sheltered, azure-hued bay where bright red and yellow fishing boats burst with color.
We enjoyed an afternoon with Mandy, Leslie and the coolest dog ever (Mandy’s dog) Eli on the beach the day before the Grenada Carnival began. Festivities were already underway with a party jamming behind us while we soaked up the soca sounds and scene.
eli and mandy on beach

mandy with sun set

Don’t let this peaceful mystical lady Mandy fool you. It was on the beach she talked me and only me (Martin and Adrien would have no part) in going to the Jab- Jab Mas the following morning starting at 4:00 AM.

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Jab-Jab
I had been told about the Jab-Jab carnival celebration before Mandy talked me into it. Fellow cruisers gave mixed bad reviews of a crazy party in the streets where everyone is covered with motor oil and snakes around their necks; dancing to outrageously loud music starting at 4 AM after partying All night. I thought to myself,  you are old and that sounds like something I must see!

This is the only video I took at Jab Jab. Mandy and Leslie dancing while I was the proverbial “turd in a punch bowl”

A quick history lesson on the ceremony would have helped me to comprehend the scene unfolding in the following wee hours of morning so here is my condensed version:
The word jab has its roots in the French word “Diable,” meaning “devil.” Thus, in the Grenadian context, Jab Jab, means “devil, devil”

It is a parade of masqueraders acting out the actions done by a people they believe to be the devil. The devil’s historical connection is to fight against slavery.
The historic symbolism of the parade is slavery and I saw plenty of chains being carried and dragged through the streets.

I also saw other symbols of “constraints” imposed on people including briefcases, baby strollers, computers and even a flat screen TV!

Grenada Carnival 2018

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Spice Mas – A celebration with the pomp and pageantry like the mother of Carnivals. Grenada’s carnival is indeed a celebration of the artistry, uniqueness, and vibrancy of the nations people. Colorful costumes, competitions and an outpouring of talent go along with the celebrations. It was a super fun 3 days of steel pan drums, costumes and parting had by everyone on the island.

Martin’s Grenada Carnival funny footage

Grenada Swim Team Fundraiser
The Grenada swim team has been preparing for a National competition in Barbados. Julian an up and coming star of the team was struggling to afford to attend the event. So, a shout out to the cruising community went out and within a week a Lambi “conch” Stew beach party was put together.

Over 50 people showed up contributing more than EC $2,930 / US $1,105 in one day.
Julian went on to the swim meet to win medals and lead the team to a National victory. Fantastic support for the local Grenadians from a grateful group of sailors.

DSCN3640 (2)Nigel Heath cooked up the huge pot of Lambi Stew and we provided the rice. At EC$20 per bowl we raised the money for Julian to attend the swim meet.

Venezuela Earthquake
A 7.3-magnitude earthquake rocked Venezuela on Tuesday August 22nd after hitting off the coast near Yaguaraparo in a disaster authority have called the “largest historic event” since 1900.

Here in Grenada just 180 miles away the quake was felt on land and at sea. We were all on the boat when the earthquake was felt, for three minutes the boat rocked and quivered. Only Adrien knew what it was; I thought the mast was falling down. The quake wasn’t nearly as scary as the subsequent Tsunami Watches that came after the initial quake. Fortunately, the earthquake was some 58 miles beneath us and didn’t have any real tsunami threat.

 

Blessed with a climate that has earned Grenada it’s title of  “Spice Island of the Caribbean” from mountain tops and rainforests reminiscent of the South Pacific to its spectacular beaches…this island has it all.
This is a little snapshot of the fun to be had in Grenada: big drum dance, carnival, night life, surf, culture, waterfall hikes and the best cruising grounds. Sailors have been welcomed into the local communities with open arms and hearts; the Grenadian people are the nicest I’ve met in the Caribbean!

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Shenemere in Secret Harbor

Boat Workings…

We have been busy working on boat projects in the morning and getting out in the afternoon to appreciate the island. Martin had to get a steering quadrant made and spent one day getting it out and two days refitting it. We are waiting on the other parts to get started on the fuel tank project (drilling a hole in the diesel tank, removing the diesel, cleaning the tank and installing an inspection hatch). We are anticipating this to be a two day project so, guaranteed it will be a 4-day project.

Banana Bread

YUM!! My “mom’s famous” banana bread…as if it’s not hot enough!

INSIDE SHENEMERE PIC

Ship Shape

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Not all work. I found just the right spot to “hang out” while Martin surfed

AK and Martin in Georgetown

Adrien rejoined us in Grenada after a 4 week break in Miami hanging out with her brother and friends for her birthday month 🙂

 

RIP Shamie

Our dear furry family member of 15 years died of kidney disease. He was a wonderful pet for all those years and a stellar crew member… particularly on night watches

Shamie is dearly missed

SHAMIE RIP

Shamie Koning 

 

 

 

 

 

I love underwater metal detecting. There is something incredible about sifting through the sands and seeing a glimmer of metal. Your mind races as you reach down to pluck your new-found treasure from its prison of sand. What could it be? The possibilities are limitless.

Underwater metal detecting is the perfect hobby while cruising. There is a world of treasure buried beneath our feet and it’s just waiting to be dug up. It is an exciting exercise that has many rewarding attributes; fiscally, adventurous and imaginative while you are always looking for the next lucrative dive.

My recommendation for an affordable and easy underwater metal detector

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Hog Island, Grenada

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Hog Island, off the south coast of Grenada is a favorite anchorage spot amongst sailors who are looking for a nearly uninhabited place to play. However, you will only find this spit of beach uninhabited during the week. On the weekends particularly, Sunday the beach is packed with locals, cruisers and university students enjoying group barbecues on the beach and new friends bonding over a drink at the thatch roof hut bar.

Shhhh….

By exploring Hog Island during the week, I was able to both uncover lost treasures as well as being a responsible community member and helped clean up the beach. Don’t tell anyone but, this is a treasure trove.

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Eastern Caribbean Currency $$$

Underwater metal Detecting Equipment

We left Salinas, Puerto Rico at 5:30 AM with good intentions of sailing east toward St. Thomas. The only reason to sail to St. Thomas was to get a bit more east so when we headed south down the Caribbean chain we would have a better point of sail to make it to Martinique or our destination Grenada to hold out for the hurricane season. When we came out of Salinas the winds were favorable to head south, so we took it. 4 days and 3 nights of rough seas, squally nights and 20-degree healing with the rails in the water for most of the passage…we arrived in Grenada.

When Preparations for a Rough Passage Count

Because we hadn’t initially planned on heading south on this passage we found ourselves getting “ready” under way. Martin was trying to insert the next set of charts for the SE Caribbean into the Garmin electronic chart plotter when the wee little chip no larger than a thumb nail slipped from his fingers and precariously bounced against the helm and as murphy would have it dropped directly between the grated cockpit floor directly down the cockpit drain making a straight path to the bottom of the sea. As most traumatic life events it happened in slow motion. The only saving grace was our backup charts on the iPad in which we ended up using to navigate with for the next 4 days.
Furthermore, we hadn’t provisioned for a multi-day passage so, I didn’t have any prepared meals or the usual snacks you could eat when the weather was to rough to cook. Which was exactly the case; at a 20-degree angle we didn’t want to cook on the stove nor did we have an appetite to eat much of anything that couldn’t be eaten “hand to mouth”. We ended up sustaining on a diet of apples, oranges and bananas for the entire passage. I did manage to make roast beef and mashed potatoes (canned and instant) on the 4th day which was quite yummy, or we were just starving?

Navigational Hazards

We had the usual navigational hazards as we left Puerto Rico; hundreds of lobster pots marked by buoys dotting the coast that we had to keep a close eye out for and dodge. Coming into Grenada at night via the AIS we found ourselves between 7 fishing vessels within a 3-mile vicinity; bright flashing strobes encircled us, and we weren’t sure if they were marking long lines or fishing nets and praying not to snag one with our keel or prop. The most bizarre and scariest navigational hazard was a Rhino Horn. OK it probably wasn’t an actual Rhino Horn, but it looked just like one. It was 10 feet high above the water; who knows what was under the water! It had a bird perched on top of it and was only 300 feet off our port as we were careening down waves at 8 knots. Pretty sure the rhino horn would have given us a disabling punch should we have connected with it. We think it was a root, the tree stump below the water.

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A Sailor’s Memory
Thank goodness for a sailor’s memory, it goes something like this…
Rough 4 days being knocked around, exhausted from the endless 3-hour watch schedule because its not like you really get any sleep when your “off” watch in conditions so turbulent and being hungry on top of everything. Wondering the entire time what the hell we are doing this for?
Then we arrive to a glorious sunrise, calm conditions and brilliant anchorage thinking to yourself “This is OK”
Followed by getting the anchor down and tiding up from the aftermath “This is Nice”
On to getting ashore to clear in with customs and immigration; the people are friendly the island is gorgeous “This is pretty Cool”
Finally, by the time you make it to the local sailors watering hole and asked by how the passage was your like…” It wasn’t that bad”
I am grateful to have a sailor’s memory.

 

We are very late going to the southern Caribbean to avoid the hurricane season (it’s a long story). We only met a few cruisers in the Bahamas still heading south however, we gradually met up with several boats in Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico that are still southbound. We all have a common trajectory…sailing South into the wind; a sailboat cannot make headway by sailing directly into the wind so, we also have in common determination and purpose which = instant bonds of friendship
We arrived in Salina’s behind 2 of our fellow “buddy boats” and in front of one and just in time for a Full Moon Mountain Party. Ricardo is a Veterinarian and accomplished yachtsman in the area and is well known and extremely helpful in the local community as well as the cruising community. He was gracious enough to invite us sailors and even organized us all rides to his Mountain Villa. The 45-minute drive into the Mountains rewarded us with an interior look into Puerto Rico’s picturesque countryside. Arriving at Ricardo’s villa we stumbled into a hidden mountain retreat cleverly designed to provide water, electricity and hurricane withstanding architecture while living seemingly off the grid.

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The kitchen is a separate open air building just below the main house…COOL!

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Main house and bathroom facilities

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Livingroom with a mountain view and central heating

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Mike and Marjolaine from SV Basta, CJ and Eric from SV Ragnarok, Kathleen and Adrien from SV Shenemere enjoying the good company, view and delicious rabbit stew

Everyone has a “Boating Birth” Story…

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Mike and Marjolaine from SV Basta had visited St. Martin on a cruise ship and had met some people on a sailing boat on their trip. The idea of sailing was sprouted then and eventually grew. They bought their sailboat SV Basta in Canada with very little sailing experience and over the years have managed to sail from Canada to the Caribbean while surviving Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico along the way. They attribute their sailing success to their “lake sailing” in Canada’s most challenging weather conditions; basically, they put themselves on the water whenever the weather got bad. So, it makes sense that Caribbean sailing was a breeze for them and cruising with other boats provided them the confidence to venture into blue water adventures. It is so interesting to hear everyone’s story on their “boating birth” story is so different.

 

Thank goodness this was only a rain event with less than 30 knots. We are grateful!

Named Storm Beryl was a rain event here in Puerto Rico. The rain has passed, and the mosquitos have come out in swarms… they are ravenous. We have mosquito netting on all the hatches but, these guys are relentless so, I have pulled out the best mosquito repellent device for boats. No smell and no noise this silent but deadly is really all you need to eliminate mosquitos on your boat. Stock up on the affordable cartridges because you will become dependent on these devises and don’t want to be left smacking your head in the middle of the night, if you know what I mean neeeeeeeeeeeeee!

The wonderful anchorage at Playa de Salinas is one of the most protected anchorages along Puerto Rico’s entire 300-mile coastline. The anchorage is known for it’s excellent holding in mud however, we had to re-anchor 5 times in two days…dragging, beating and pulling the mud and seagrass from our anchor at each attempt. I have bruises on my stomach from precariously hanging from the bow to de-weed mass bulks of grass and mud from the anchor before we could attempt to re-set it. We weren’t the only ones to drag and have to re-anchor and it made for some funny stories at the marina as our fellow cruisers watched us pull up the anchor only to have to motor out the channel to “de-weed” the anchor and come back and try again. Everyone was like; Shenemere is  leaving… oh no they are back and again and again until we finally found a solid sandy patch. Just in time for named storm Beryl.
Only 5 days at Salinas, Puerto Rico and we have named storm “Beryl” headed our way

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We are anticipating the storms impact tomorrow late morning to evening hours. Fellow cruisers are preparing for the worst and hoping for the best as the storm has been down graded and is expected to be more of a rain event with possible wind gusts up to 40 knots.

This evenings sunset gives no indication of what is in store for us tommorow?

 

After a few days in Luperon we met other cruisers making their way to Puerto Rico and further to Granada. We all had the something in common…waiting for the winds to subside enough to get out and on our way east. After a week of daily weather conferencing with the folks “in the same boat” we all managed to head out of Luperon with the intent of getting to at least Samona, Dominican Republic, Turks or ultimately Puerto Rico…basically as much Easterly we could make before the very small weather window closed.
Luperon, DR to Boqueron, Puerto Rico
Another into the wind three-day sail. We left Luperon at midnight and had a “Bucking Bronco” windward sail along the North coast of Dominican Republic through the Mona passage into the western coast of Puerto Rico. We first came to the western port of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico only to check in with customs; although this is the proper protocol (the port of call for immigration) it turned out to be a huge mistake. First, we were the only boat on a leeward side of the bay with the wind blowing and poor holding for the anchor. Secondly, there wasn’t a dingy dock, so we beached the dingy in a really sketchy area. Thirdly, it is now noon and blisteringly hot as we walked around town trying to find the immigration office. We met some locals that gave us a rough description on where the office “might” be. They offered to tell us our dingy wouldn’t be safe unattended, so I volunteered to keep an eye on the dingy while Martin and Adrien stumbled around town and were treated rudely by the immigration officer when they finally found the office. Once this clearing in saga was complete we got the hell out of dodge; headed to Boquerón.

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Boquerón, Puerto Rico on our approach
Boquerón, Puerto Rico
Once a small fishing settlement, Boquerón is now a popular tourist and college hangout. Boquerón has a bohemian town atmosphere with a beautiful beach. A large shoal in the center of the bay as you approach offers a bit of protection with two easy entrances from either the north or the south.

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Cute little “Key West” kind of town; a lot of beautiful murals and folks strolling around town with a drink in hand.
Our first night we treated ourselves to a “real” meal at a popular restaurant: steak, pork, chicken wings and fruity drinks was heaven to our deprived pallets

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Adrien in Boquerón, Puerto Rico

Wednesday night we stumbled into the local gay and lesbian bar; the live acoustic guitar, murals in the court yard and super fun company made for a great night out

During the day we made trips back and forth from Club Nautico de Boquerón lugging jerry cans of water because we didn’t trust using the water maker in the bay. We found out days later the water was just fine for making water. S/V Sea Forever our “Buddy Boat” with Deb and Brian arrived the next day so we all went out to celebrate our good fortune…fair winds, safe passage and great restaurants to hang our hats for a few days waiting again for the next weather window so we could head further east along the coast.
Boquerón does not have any of the services we really needed; taxis, phone/ internet or laundry. It was a few days before we organized a car to get us to the next town over to get phone service and groceries. A few days later we all shared in a car rental and traveled an hour out to a town that had a laundry mat. Between us all we had 7 loads of laundry and had to manage getting it done with only 4 working washers and 1 dryer because of the aftermath of hurricane Maria.
South East Puerto Rico has been working on the recovery efforts; the sound of hammering and chain saws are a constant along with signs of massive destruction everywhere. People here are hard working and eager to get back to where they were pre-storm; if that’s possible…the electrical grid is very fragile.

 

3-day windward sail to Dominican Republic started off optimistically. However, winds took an earlier than expected easterly turn so once again we find ourselves sailing into the wind; very frustrating. Winds light at 5-10 knots until 4 AM watch however, winds picked up off the coast of Turks and we were healing over 20 degrees. We decided to reef the main which is always a scary operation in stiff winds with a wet deck and at night. We managed to get a third reef in which allowed us to continue to sail 6 knots but with a more comfortable angle.

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Fishing has been successful: 3 for 3

Luperon, Dominican Republic
We arrived in the morning; a stunning view of the lush mountains of Dominican Republic was a welcoming site after a three-days of uncomfortable sailing. As we arrived in the anchorage we were immediately visited by Mr. Papo; the local that helps cruisers get on a mooring and provides fuel, water, transportation and laundry services.

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Dominican Republic as we made landfall

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Local mode of transportation is motorcycles; amazing the items that can be transported on motorcycles such as small appliances and large quantities of fish and fruits.

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Adrien chilling outside the Cruisers watering hole- Wendy’s…Gringo’s Welcome!

Our second stop after checking in with 5 separate immigration offices: customs, immigration, tourism and agricultural was the local cruising watering hole Wendy’s Bar…Cold Beer and Gringos Welcome!
We met many of the local cruising characters at Wendy’s. Most of them having arrived 10-20 years ago and haven’t left. It took me a while to find the appeal of Luperon outside of it being known as the safest hurricane hole in the Caribbean it is extremely cheap. The anchorage/ mooring situation was a bit precarious as we helped three boats that lost their moorings in the first 4 days we were here; wind blowing a steady 20-30 knots during the day…relentless.

Luperon Navy/ Cruisers to the Rescue
One particularly gusty afternoon the locals decided to tow a powerless derelict “barge” when they lost control of the vessel in the crowded mooring field. The barge had no engine and was swiftly floating through the mooring field bumping boats along the way. Some local cruisers released an unoccupied sailboat from its mooring minutes before the barge slammed into it only to find out the sailboat’s engine wouldn’t start. An emergency call went out to the cruisers in the area to get in their dingys to assist with the sailboat. Once the sailboat was securely moored we made it back to Shenemere just in time to see the barge careening toward us. We were quite helpless standing on the deck with a few fenders out to fend off the approaching barge…not like we would have had a chance against it’s bulk hitting our fiberglass hull. Thank goodness it passed us without incident and continued toward two more boats before it was finally tethered and tied to the mangroves.

Twenty-Seven Waterfalls of Rio Damajagua
27 Charcos the best adventure tourism site in Dominican Republic was only a 40-minute ride with a local taxi from Luperon. Nestled in the beautiful rolling hills of the Northern Corridor mountain range. 27 awe-inspiring pools etched in limestone can be enjoyed with a “guided tour only” so, for $10 each Martin and I hiked 12 of the 27 falls and jumped, slid and swam our way down in the refreshing clean water. The 12-waterfall tour was about 3 hours round trip. Super fun… I’d highly recommend.

After a few days we rented a three person/ three wheeled motorcar and headed into the country to explore until we found a local beach before returning to Luperon

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Life is Good!

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