The first week of February, DISCOVERY was anchored at Trinidad Tobago Sailing Association, better known as TTSA waiting for a weather window to sail to Grenada which opened up on Friday, February 6. Before leaving TTSA, we put the dinghy on deck and stowed the engine hoping to use the Custom's dock---it was full so we took a mooring, grabbed the boat documentation folder and hailed the Chaguaramus Shuttle on the VHF radio. Arrived at Immigration at 11:30 AM and breezed through that step in the process. Rushed over to Customs only to find that we forgot an important Custom's form on the boat! Carl started filling out clearance forms while I returned to the boat for the forgotten form. By the time I returned with the form, Carl presented all the necessary paperwork to an Officer who struggled with the letter we presented from Power Boats that documented how long DISCOVERY was "on the hard"---the Officer finally "got it". A couple minutes we paid the required fees---good to go!
Back to DISCOVERY by 1:00 PM. Started up the engine and electronics---- @#$% the GPS was not working. Thirty minutes later, Carl had the GPS and all required navigational software working. Headed south of Gasparillo Island to raise the mainsail. The sail was up about 5 minutes when a huge Trinidad Tobago Coast Guard inflatable pulled up next to us with instructions to go to the Coast Guard Station at Delgata Point for a "routine inspection". Tied to the Coast Guard dock which was lined with young Coasties with latex gloves on---I was hoping the latex gloves weren't necessary. Asked to provide identification (passports)--the information was entered on a spreadsheet and returned to us. Next asked if there were any guns onboard---our answer was no and the response was "you are free to go".
Exited the Boca Channel at 2:30 PM headed for Prickly Bay, Grenada. Motorsailed the first 4-5 hours almost due east when we turned north to sail tight on the wind all the way to Grenada. Can't explain why but I developed a bad case on seasickness. Carl had to complete all the night watches---tried to relieve him around midnight for an hour which was all I could take. Around 3 AM, I perked up enough to help Carl with the last part of the journey. Arrived in Prickly Bay at 4:30 AM where we anchored in the channel rather than wander about the dark anchorage looking for a spot. We re-anchored in the morning spending the remainder of the day catching up on sleep and cleaning up the boat.
It was so good to be in Prickly Bay and out cruising again. Nothing against Trinidad at all it is just that we were there a long, long time! On February 7 Grenada's celebrated 35 years of Independence. There were lots of Independence Day activities which we did not participate in---too tired.
Just a little about Grenada. Originally, Grenada is also known as the Spice Islands--it has the perfect climate to grow cocoa, nutmeg, mace, cloves, vanilla, cinnamon and sugar. It was the largest producers of nutmeg in the world until the nutmeg trees were destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in 2004. It takes at least a decade for the trees to mature so during that period of time, Grenada lost this position and is just starting to produce nutmeg again. Sad isn't it? The Carib and Arawak Indians were native to the land and all but exterminated by the French. The capital, St. George's, originally called Fort Royale, was founded in 1705 by the French. It was later named named St. George's after the British king, George III when the British had control of the island. The 1833 Abolition of Slavery Act started the emancipation process for the slaves. There was a left-wing coup in 1979 by Maurice Bishop. The coup leaders were ousted by forces from the US and six Caribbean countries in 1983. The country of Grenada consists of the island of Grenada (population 93,400), Carriacou (8,000) and Petite Martinique (600).
While in Grenada we walked to St. George's University which was founded as a School of Medicine in 1977. What a beautiful location. We also grabbed a maxi taxi to ride downtown to walk the sidewalks and talk to people getting off the huge cruise ships. One afternoon, Carl stopped over to visit the boat, ALACAZAM because we saw the ALACAZAM's captain, Dick, fishing every morning. Dick is in the process of writing a book on fishing just for cruisers. Dick helped Carl set up a hand line and helped get our rod ready to land a big fish! I am glad Carl went over to talk to Dick because now Dick and Mary have become cruising friends. We have shared evening cocktails on each others' boat several times. One Saturday morning, I served as a reading and math tutor along with about a dozen other cruisers. This program is run by a native Grenadian who left Grenada during the 50's to work in England. She has now returned and is giving back to her country by running this program. The cruisers linked up to her program via the US Peace Corp Office. What a rewarding experience. Finally, we celebrated Valentine's Day by attending a dinghy raft-up. What's a dinghy raft-up? Bring your own drink along with an appetizer to pass, hop in your dinghy and tie up to another dinghy so the entire group floats around the anchorage eating, drinking and talking.
This following pictures were taken while touring St. George. First picture is Carl and I looking over the Fort George wall. The second picture is the Fort's courtyard and the third picture is the courtyard wall where Maurice Bishop and some of his cabinet members were executed.
Below is a picture of some red phone booths--like the ones you see in London. The second picture is St. George looking across the Carenage Bay.
The three pictures below were taken at the Mt. Airy Reading Program where I helped tudor one Saturday. The first picture is of two little girls before the program started. The little girl on the left was trying to disguise her cute dimples by puffing out her cheeks. The second picture is Kathy (YELLOW ROSE) with her student. The third picture is Renee and her sister--my student(s).
The following picture was taken during our dinghy raft-up.
Left for Carriacou on Sunday, February 15. Tom and Kathy on YELLOW ROSE at the same time. This passage was nothing to write home about. Winds were 18-20 knots from the northeast--the forecast was for east winds which would have made the sail easier. Encountered 2 squalls with an additional 5 knots of wind. The seas were pretty high and some what confused. Anchored in Tryell Bay with another squall visible on the horizon. About two hours later, YELLOW ROSE arrived and then in another hour, Ray and IRENE on C-DRIFTERS pulled in. Sunday night we had a series of squalls roll through--the worst one around 3:30 AM with about 35-40 knots of wind. This bay has FANTASTIC HOLDING.
Now, a little about Carriacou. As previously mentioned it is part of Grenada. There is a neat quote in the Chris Doyle guidebook, "This is an island with over a hundred rum shops and only one gasoline station". Note: Rum Shop is a bar and the one gas station is located in the heart of Hillsborough. Carriacou is a Carib word meaning "island surrounded by reefs" so the primary industry is tourists--divers and cruisers. We went on a bus tour with Kathy and Tom--drove completely around the island (about 14 square miles). Carriacou is a beautiful island with beautiful beaches. The landscape varies from from tall peaks and ridges to relatively flat coastal areas. All the peaks are under 1000 feet---according to our tour guide, they can't be called mountains. The island was originally volcanic---you can still see volcanic rocks strewn all over the sides of the hills. The population is 8,000 people and who knows how many thousands of sheep and goats. The longer I stayed in Carriacou, the more I fell in love with the island and its people. Had dinner at the Lazy Turtle twice--once with Tom and Kathy and the second time to celebrate our anniversary. Lazy Turtle has great pizza and desserts. One of the reasons we stayed so long in Carriacou was the weather was very windy (5-6 days where the gradient wind was 25 knots with gusts to 30 knots with passing squalls containing another 5-10 knots of wind) with huge seas (11-12 feet at 9 second intervals). Once again the anchor held through all that wind and the KISS wind generator kept our batteries charged! One day, we took the dinghy over to the mangrove swamp where it is very peaceful and full of jellyfish.
Below are pictures taken on our island tour. The first picture was taken from the Hospital which is located up on a high peak--Tom, Kathy, Carl and I. The second picture is taken on the windward side of the island--off in the distance is Petite Martinique and Petit St. Vincent. The pictures three, four and five show the boat building that takes place in the community of Windward. The last picture is the Lazy Turtle where we enjoyed some great pizza.
One day, Ray & Irene joined us for a ride into Hillsborough to see what was going on to celebrate Carnival. Hundreds of years ago Catholics in Italy started the tradition of holding a wild costume festival right before Lent. The Italians called their festival "carnevale" which means to put away meat because Catholics are not supposed to eat meat during Lent. The carneval spread to France, Spain and Portugal and then to the Caribbean as these countries settled the area. Today's carnival is a combination of the European carnival and African dance and music. In Carriacou, Carnival starts off with J'ouvent--a large party that starts around 4 AM and peaks at sunrise when the most people are finally tired or in a stupor from strong rum. Park of J'ouvent involves smearing paint, mud, or oil on the participants known as Jab Jabs. We did NOT participate in J'ouvent!! In the afternoon and evening there are parades. Unique to Carriacou Carnival is the Shakespeare Mas, in which brightly dressed Peirrots (masqueraders) engage in a battle of wits using only lines from Shakespearean plays. The competitor without a quick reply earns a playful stroke from his opponent's stick. These competitors were quoting Shakespeare's Julius Caesar line by line.
The following pictures were taken during the Shakespeare Mas. Let me tell you, the strokes for missing the reply were NOT playful.
Left Carriacou with C-DRIFTERS for Union Island on Thursday 02/26. Winds were slightly south of east at around 20 knots with some strong gusts--seas around 8 feet. Sailed all the way to Clifton Harbor, Union Island. The "plan" was to stop in Clifton long enough to check into St. Vincent and the Grenadines. However, where we dropped the anchor was perfect and Carl told me the town was kind of neat so we might want to stay the night so we did. Around 3 PM, Carl, Ray, Irene and I went into town to walk the streets. Several good fresh fruit and vegetable stands, a bakery and a fish market. Groceries and rum was more expensive than in Carriacou. Surprised to find out that the fruit and vegetables are imported from the US or comes by ferry from St. Vincent. After walking the streets, we headed for Janit's Happy Island for sundowners. This is a man-made island in the reef. It is made out of old conch shells and concrete. Janti serves the best rum punch drink in the Caribbean (my opinion only).
Below are pictures taken in Union Island. The first picture shows one of the fresh fruit and vegetable stands. Next is a picture of Irene, Carl and I over by the Anchorage Club where we stopped to see the shark pen and watch the planes land. The last two pictures were taken during our Sunset Drinks on Happy Island.
Union Island is part of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The island is mountainous and Clifton is open to the east by protected by Newland Reefs. The seas outside the reef were huge but inside the reef--like glass. Union Island is 3.2 square miles with a population of 1900. Mount Taboi is the highest mountain at 999 feet (one foot short of 1000 but considered a mountain). Clifton is a tourist town catering to divers and cruisers.
Friday we sailed to the Tobago Cays along with C-DRIFTERS---another great sail. What a beautiful area! The waters are as pretty as what I saw in the Bahamas. As we entered the anchorage we saw SEA WARRIOR (Scott, Sue, Jay and Sam). Found a perfect spot to drop the anchor. Went for a ride in the dinghy s soon as we were settled--saw a sea turtle and a huge manta ray. Invited C-DRIFTERS and SEA WARRIOR over for appetizers and drinks. Had a great time visiting and a few of us played Mexican Train Dominoes and Uno. In the middle of the night, I heard a noise. Checked it out---a huge catamaran was dragging its anchor and just missed us. Woke Carl up---he sounded our air horn several times to wake them up and anyone downwind from the boat dragging anchor. We saw lights on the catamaran--watched them re-anchor before going back to bed.
C-DRIFTERS took the next two pictures of DISCOVERY when we sailed from Union Island to the Tobago Cays. Carl says "The last picture is the view most boats see of us".
The last picture was taken during cocktail hour. Some of us went down below to play games. This is Sam (SEA WARRIOR) and Ray (C DRIFTERS) playing Uno.
The month ends with DISCOVERY enjoying the Tobago Cays--a wildlife preserve. It consists of five deserted islands that are protected from the sea by Horseshoe Reef. The islands (Petit Tabac, Jamesby, Baradel, Petit Bateau and Petit Rameau) have white sand beaches and palm trees. Baradel is where the sea turtles hang out. Petit Tabac is outside Horseshoe Reef--this is where some scenes from "Pirates of the Caribbean" were filmed. Carl and I went snorkeling to watch the turtles--we saw more turtles from the dinghy than in the water. Oh well. Carl told me a good sized barracuda passed by me--I did not see it which is a good thing. Purchased some mahi mahi from the local vendors for dinner. Oh, this cruising life is a great life.
March 02, 2009