Sunday, July 10, 2011

Settled back in.

We seemed to have settled back into life in Grenada. Prickly Bay is as good a home as any. Except for this last week the weather has been awful. Tropical wave after tropical wave. Torrential rain after torrential rain, for a while I though it would never stop. The wind has howled and squalls have come blasting across the anchorage. Large seas have been creeping around the corner of the bay and the boat has been rolling like mad. As you look out at the anchorage all the masts are swinging wildly like upside down pendulums. Today is more settled and our weather man has promised nice weather for the next week.

We are in between modes at the moment. We normally spend hurricane season fixing, repairing and maintaining the boat. But as I am due to visit the UK in a couple of days we have not got stuck into any new projects yet. Instead hours are spent on the internet pouring over things to order now that we have an address to use and a means to get the items, water containers, electrical items, gadgets and gizmos and maybe the odd item of clothing! All at prices far cheaper then the Caribbean.

We have reacquainted ourselves with happy hours at the various bars. Last Tuesday night we were down De Big Fish. They were giving out bowls of the local Grenadian dish “oil down” which can be a variety of root vegetables, chicken and the obligatory Callalou, which is very like spinach and coconut milk. The whole lot is cooked in one giant pot and is delicious. Later fire eaters entertained the crowd but sadly the promised limbo dancers never turned up!

It’s so beautiful around here, every day Grenada grows on me more and more. All the colourful tropical flowers are in bloom. I wish I could bring some back to the boat but the kitty likes to eat them. Some mornings I walk with Jackie and her children Fin and Oz from Xicale. They are anchored in a different bay so we meet halfway. The boys fight dragons lurking in the roadside foliage while Jackie and I chatter. There is a lot of foreign money spent in this area, Jackie and I walk past huge homes with manicured lawns. Giant ugly houses that don’t fit into the tropical setting are all locked up waiting for their owners to return. Trees dense with fruit lay just out of arms reach. Mangos, oranges, Star fruit, limes, papayas, passion fruit, golden apples and avocados, the list is endless, these are just the ones we know – who eats all these fruits when the houses are empty? But for every handful of well groomed areas there are places that are over-grown and wild. We marvel at how lucky we are to be here and despite the opulence and money, it lacks nothing in charm. We walk to windswept dark sand beaches where we have the whole place to ourselves. We walk to the end of the peninsula and watch the sea pounding the rocks below. We walk on derelict land and the boys climb trees. We walk past the big houses with the guard dogs that bark ferociously. By the end of the walk I am red and sweaty and ready for a rest. Its gone 10am and the sun is high in the sky and blaring down. On some days Sim graces me with his company. We take a different route but still walk down to a beach and out to peninsula just on a different stretch of land. This is normally managed with a promise of a fry up brunch at the end. Nothing beats compromise in this world.

Sim is happy where we are anchored while I visit the UK. Anchored next to us is Polish Henrik from Lala who is also on his own for a while. Prickly bay is a nice large bay and despite the awful roll that we have had ALL week things seem more settled. This time next week I will be back England. I am very excited about seeing my family and friends and very sad to leave Sim on his own for so long.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Arriving in Grenada

Every morning for the last week I have woken up and wondered where am I? Which bay or which country am I in? One morning I was even surprised to find myself on a boat and not waking up in my bedroom back home. This only happens on very rare occasions when I am extremely tired and the boat has been still and calm all night. Most nights the boat is gently (or even not so gently) rocking and rolling away, bobbing about on the sea, quietly reminding me where I am.

We have been fast tracking to Grenada as I have a flight to catch in the middle of July for Jilly’s wedding. We left our friends behind in St Lucia last Monday and have traveled down past St Vincent and the Grenadines, stopping over night in Bequia. Then we moved on to Carriacou, the sister island to the north of Grenada the following day. The winds and squalls increased with more tropical waves passing over the islands so we decided to stay put for a few days until they passed. It rained and rained like only the Caribbean rain can. Windows leaked, the salt shaker blocked up and the whole boat was damp inside. We collected massive amounts of rainwater and did massive amounts of laundry, only there was nowhere for anything to dry.

On Saturday the sun peaked out from behind the clouds and we headed out towards Grenada. We decided to go the whole way without breaking the journey. It was just disappointing that the forecast wind decided not to join us and instead we had to motorsail most of the way. At least we had a current with us for a change and made good time once again.

Coming back to Grenada is like coming home; we have spent nearly a year here if you add all the times we have visited together. But as we sailed down the islands west coast none of it was looking familiar and the excitement I was feeling started to ebb. But as we closed in on the south, the landscape brought back memories of previous visits; the tight cluster of buildings weaving their way down to the sea in St Georges, big ships and the clusters of sailboat masts swaying in the harbour provided the welcome home that I needed. As we turned the corner at the south of the island we had only a few more miles to Prickly Bay which is likely to be our home for the next few months.

We dropped anchor at 3.30pm on Saturday afternoon. Pleased with ourselves that we had made it in time for happy hour at De Big Fish, we anchored in a spot that we like and have been in before. We launched the dinghy that was on deck, put the sun shades up and washed and changed. Before dashing ashore we went and spoke to the gentleman on the boat behind us just to be friendly. We hadn’t actually expected him to be annoyed with us as in our opinion there was plenty of room. He was civil enough but not very impressed with where we were anchored and thought we should move. Sim was adamant we were fine and the anchor was well dug in so we went out anyway. It was nice to be sitting back in De Big Fish. A few people hung around the bar. Having not set foot on terra firma for nearly a week a stiff vodka tonic was in order. It’s just a shame it was happy hour, where they match one drink for one :-). Eight drinks cost us less than £10 – I really don’t think we can complain at that – only I can because today I feel ever so slightly jaded.

It will take us a while to get settled back in and to make new friends and wait for old ones to arrive. But in the mean time we are happy to be here.