Tuesday, November 13, 2012

When the swells were gone

Charlottesville, Tobago
For the last week of the three we spent in Grenada, we've been saying: “We are going to go”. Our friends in the Marina said “good-bye” three times, “and we are glad you are still here” another three times. Until we finally stopped announcing our departure so much and just waited for a weather window.

In that time our friend Sylvan picked us up on his car to spend Friday afternoon on the beach and have a delicious creole lunch. We also went to the fish market and invited some friends, Danny, the manager of the marina and Tricia, for dinner. And they liked our seared tuna with sesame seeds and the ginger-garlic sauce, so much that next morning they took us to the market and bought fish to make a party for the crew members of the magi yachts and us in a big house across the marina that they were house setting that week- end. That was a Saturday night party with DJ and lots of interesting people from different parts of the world.

But Sunday was our day, when the north swells were gone and we had northeast winds to sail straight to Tobago, located southeast of Grenada. Even that morning we were still doubting if we'd go to an Eastern party in the mountains that we were invited to, by this lovely people in a community located on a road called 91, in Belvidere. But this was, probably our only chance in a few day to do this journey. So, after lunch, we tied off the nice floating dock and left. In the way out of St. George Bay, we called Danny and Tricia to say good bye. She walked out to the balcony just in time to see us going by.

We sailed over night, me upside down as usual, after 3 weeks docked I lost my sea legs. But this was the most beautiful night on the sea. The sunset was gorgeous, even between the fug in the horizon, and the moon rose full and orange and got behind a big cloud that looked like a puffer fish, lighting the eyes and the mouth. Then we had a tired bird hitchhiking. He was having a hard time to grab the bowpulpit and the running lights were not helping him either, so Jim turn them off and our guest rested until the light of Tobago showed up by 4 o' clock in the morning.

At 6:30 am we were anchoring across Charlotteville Town, in Man of War Bay. Where, as other boaters there told us, we were the only plastic boat on the anchorage.


Port in Scarborough

Fishing nets drying on a tree

Front Street in Charlottesville

Ruins in the way to Speyside

Salty Shores in Man of War Bay

Fisherman on his boat


Grenada welcomed us with a rain storm. We sailed through a thick wall of rain just guided by the GPS and appealing to Jim's sailor's instinct, since we didn't have the wind instrument working. I have to confess I was concern about sailing on a storm (this wasn't quite one), but it was actually very pleasant. When it stopped raining and the sky was clear again, the sun shone, Grenada showed off like a mysterious island. We knew it was there, but its suddenly apparition behind the clouds was even romantic.

This island is as dangerous as the mystic islands in Pirates movies, with the mermaids' music making sailors fall in love with them. Everything is nice; its welcoming people who doesn't seem to care about the racial difference like the in other islands; the ever green forest, the good diving sites, the fruits and vegetables, their colorful architecture, the delightful spices the family traditions, the tourist who meet there and never want to leave. They end getting in that Grenadian flow that everybody love.

A lot of sailors get stock between the arms of this place for a long time. We got here in the afternoon and made a plan for the weekend, so Archie could get to see Grenada before Monday, when he was flying back to the U.S. We rented a car and drove across the country, visited the farms and enjoyed the scenery of the mountains, its fresh air, the perfumes of the rain forest. We also went to the market, the most friendly sellers and better looking produce of the Caribbean, and took a tour of Belmont state, the town where the chocolate factory is.

We thought that three days of sightseeing would be enough, but we kept the car because we had to pick up the mast head unit and go to the machine shop to deal with the bowpulpit rebuilding. To get work done in Grenada is actually a pain, you have to chase the mechanics and beg them to take the money and do the job, and then harass them to get it done when you need it. It took several trips to the repair shop and lot of patience. In the other hand getting something shipped in Grenada from the U.S. is expensive and in top of that you have to pay a 65% of taxes for the total value of the goods. After all it was a good thing that we kept the car for two weeks.

When all the work was finished, we found out that we couldn't leave, there were so much to do and so many people to meet, places to go. We were definitely trapped in the enchanted waters of Grenada.


The journey continues

That night we went to happy island, it was already full of people. There was a regatta on the area and all the cruisers, wearing T-shirts to identify their team, were there too. The place was really busy, we got a rum punch and just stay around watching the people until the place started to get too crazy for our taste. The island people, trying to get in the party were jumping over the dinghies. We all agreed: “it's time to go”.

The cook impressed everybody, as usual, and we all went to sleep after dinner, but the Captain, who stayed all night thinking about the instrument. That night, unable to fall asleep; he got on Internet, fallowing that reflex of trying again and again, just to see if his eyes were lying. And for sure he found in the Datamarine repair website a refurbish mast head unit, on special” It was hard to believe. So he e-mail the company asking to hold it for him.

All the way from Union Island, to Petit Martinique, Petit St. Vincent, Carriacou, he was talking on the phone trying to get an address in Grenada, our next destination, to ship the piece in; and to assure that they were not going to sale this instrument to somebody else.

In the meanwhile Archie and I were enjoying the sights. Petit Martinique didn't look very exciting, there were little business and houses along the coast, couple of boats were being built on the beach and a cargo ship was moored on the only concrete dock of the island. A lot of fishing boats were anchored too and one of them, a new looking one, had his proud owner seating on the deck. “I just finished it a week ago”. He said very happy. That day we spent the night in Petit St. Vincent, which is a private island with a resort, and the next day in Tyrel Bay, Carriacou, where we actually went on shore to explore and find out how bad the economy is doing in places like that, that Jim visited four years ago and find them nice and now they are just banged. Specially the boat yard; with lots of abandoned boats; the restaurants and the spa. It didn't look like many boaters go there like they used to.