I often equate forts in the Caribbean to castles in Europe…once you’ve seen One they all “tend to” look the same.
However, we did take the day to venture to St. Georges and check out Fort George and we weren’t disappointed.
The oldest structure in the country was completed in 1705. There are old tunnels and narrow staircases and the ramparts evoke a feeling of the past. There is a stunning view of the capital, the Carenage, harbor and the lagoon. Something unique about this fort is the historic significance of the assignation of Prime Minister Maurice Bishop and the US/ Caribbean intervention in 1983 that is a vivid memory for many adult Grenadians.
Adrien, Pierre and goofy tour guide at Fort George
Back to Carriacou
We really enjoyed the diving in Carriacou and I liked the convenience of the brand-new grocery store so, we set sail again from Grenada back to one of our favorite spots to work on some boat projects
First Drone Pictures taken on the Mavic Air- Aerial footage of Tyrell Bay, Carriacou
In the process of cleaning out the diesel tank we realized the tank isn’t a 74-gallon capacity but only holds 55 gallons. This was a frightening realization considering our estimates for motoring underway would be diminished by almost 20 hours.
Martin installed a new fuel gauge, so we always know exactly how much fuel we have.
Arts and Crafts! I am having so much fun making epoxy jewelry. This was the first experiment with boat epoxy and food coloring using all kinds of material including old beads, fabric, wax, plumbers silver solder, paper, cut outs from Caribbean paper dollars, shells, coral, sand…it is limitless the materials you can use to create your own handmade art.
I am working on getting some fellow cruisers to join me on board for a jewelry making afternoon. I can’t wait!
Hillsbrough, Carriacou Day Trip
Sylvie from S/V Maitre D wanted to visit the “main” town of Hillsborough before the pending tropical storm Kirk’s arrival; just in case we had to pull up the anchor and head south. We do not necessarily pay attention to the days of the week so when we went to get a taxi to town we found out it was Sunday and the taxis weren’t operating. Charlie a local with his cousins in tow gave us a lift to town.
Kids were super cute (which one do you think is a bit more mischievous?)
Sylvie the artist from Quebec finding art in Hillsbrough
I can’t stress enough how delightful I find the Grenadians to be; the friendliest in the Caribbean but not a false fake friendly to get your tourist dollar, its genuine. It’s a greeting from everyone you pass even the kids; good morning, afternoon and evening. They are helpful when you ask for directions and will go out of their way to draw a map or even walk you to your destination, this has happened to me several times.
I was a bit worried about getting back to Tyrell Bay on a Sunday afternoon when the taxis weren’t running. However, we didn’t have anything to worry about. The second car that passed picked us up.
George the island’s Postman picked us up and ended up driving us to the limited scenic spots on the island: The highest point where the hospital is (you do not want to get sick on this island), historic tower, cemetery and the elementary and primary schools where kids ferry to each day from the surrounding islands and finally his dad’s surfside beach bar just in time for a magical sunset. A perfect Day!
Sylvie embracing the moment at the top of Carriacou
Tibo Cemetery is being overtaken by the sea
Beach Bar with locals strumming guitar, sailors with their young children playing on the beach just in time to catch an amazing sunset…
Enough said…we headed to the mangroves!
After two failed attempts to secure ourselves (first attempt the anchor didn’t set and the second spot the rudder was aground) we managed to tuck in-between a Dutchman and Spaniard and hunkered down for the next three days
That is Shenemere safe and sound on the right with the white hull and blue sail covers 🙂
Thank goodness tropical storm Kirk went North so we only got some rain and some bats flying through the boat at night
S/V Maitre D- Sylvie (Quebec) and Justin (College Station, Texas) – we sailed with Maitre D on and off from Dominican Republic and today they head North to St. Thomas as we are preparing to head in the “general” direction of the Panama Canal.
We love these two. Fair winds
Off to Sandy Island- Marine Park
Gorgeous! Surrounded by white sands, this tiny island has the most spectacular coral reef, the home to shoals of variegated tropical fish in crystal clear turquoise water. We snorkeled to the delightful sightings of rays, puffer fish, lobster and a plethora brightly colored reef fish. This is a protected marine habitat, so we had to practice our mooring skills…thankful to Pierre (who was sick with the flu) who helped us get the mooring ball on the first attempt; a first for us on Shenemere! This beautiful island has been used as the backdrop for television and magazine advertisements
I would highly recommend a stop at Sandy Island
Flying all our flags
Picturesque waterfall surrounded by ferns & other greenery, with a small deliciously cold pool at its base. A great outing that turned adventurous when the radiator on Mandy’s car split/ cracked wide open while we were at the highest and most rural area snap dab in the middle of Grenada on a Sunday afternoon. Thank goodness a nice off duty taxi driver offered us a lift back to Mandy’s house where we spent the afternoon on her porch discussing the logistics and costs around how to best get the car fixed.
Susan and Martin at Annandale Falls
Oasis Floating Bar – Grand Opening
Oasis floating bar in Secret Harbor
A new floating bar opened up in Secret Harbor just a few boats away from us. I thought we could take just one day off during the week because we already have a very busy social schedule for most every day of the week…oh well such is Salt Life
Tuesday: Taffy’s live music and delicious fish and chips
Wednesday: Beach Volleyball in the afternoon and Bingo at Prickly Bay
Thursday: Nimrod’s has an outdoor deck for the cruisers to get together and jam. There is an interesting array of talent and most nights there is a saxophone player and an interesting “old salty dog” of a sailor that sings his own lyrics…entertaining sailing-drinking songs
Friday: Oasis Floating Bar is the newest watering hole
Sunday: Hog Island beach party with a live local band and the most delicious BBQ for only $20 EC/ $7.50
Hog Island Beach party on Sunday’s is always fun with a collection of locals, cruisers and students from the medical school enjoying local music and great food
In addition to our regular schedule; each month the cruisers from the surrounding bays organize a floating concert. A floating stage is erected with live music and the cruisers just raft up to it; this last month there were over 75 dingys rafted up.
I enjoy the “full moon drift” in our bay. Everyone brings a snack and we all raft up together under the full moon “drifting” and passing the food around from boat to boat. Great fun meeting new people; the strangers that you tie up to become fast friends by the end of the night.
Our Designated Driver!
It’s not all fun. We have a project to do most every day from routine maintenance to Martin spending time up the mast fixing the deck lights. He’s terrified of heights but the new heavy duty bosun’s chair was a big help
Pierre our newest crew member and Adrien out to lunch
Carriacou is an island belonging to Grenada and 50 miles from Secret Harbor. It was a day sail for us and did not disappoint. Beautiful coral reefs and clear shallow waters. We anchored in Tyrell Bay with gin clear waters and the highlight a brand new “real” grocery store like back home. We loaded up on the things we were craving…tortilla chips and salsa, ice cream, wide selection of cheeses and a nice selection of meats (we didn’t need any meat because we caught a massive Mahi Mahi on the way over). A more international crowd of cruisers; the Europeans congregate in this bay which was great for our French crew member Pierre to be able to speak with his fellow countrymen. A unique bay with boats built using traditional methods developed in the 1800s dotting the shore; I would highly recommend stopping here.
Catch of the day!
Pierre and Ian on the sail to Carriacou Island
Ian’s Visit to Grenada
This is how Ian spent his days exploring the island
Great afternoon at the beach and Umbrella’s famous beachside restaurant with Ian and Pierre and all of us ordering a huge lunch
Susan and Ian…Ian’s visit went by way too fast
Hip high surf in Prickly Bay was worth the long walk and Martin demonstrates he’s still got it…check out the smile on his face 🙂
Adrien the Surfer Girl
Pierre’s second time surfing…he’s a natural
Grand Anse Beach
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
Shenemere in Secret Harbor
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.
YUM!! My “mom’s famous” banana bread…as if it’s not hot enough!
Not all work. I found just the right spot to “hang out” while Martin surfed
Adrien rejoined us in Grenada after a 4 week break in Miami hanging out with her brother and friends for her birthday month 🙂
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
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
Hog Island, Grenada
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.
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.
Eastern Caribbean Currency $$$
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?
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.
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.
The kitchen is a separate open air building just below the main house…COOL!
Main house and bathroom facilities
Livingroom with a mountain view and central heating
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…
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
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?