Archive for March, 2011

Escape From Grenada

March 23, 2011
Visitor From the North
We recently had a guest on board.  This is a rare event.  The last time it was our brother-in-law, Mark, who sailed with me from Grenada to Carriacou and back last July. This time it was our friend Andrea.  We were able to show her around quite a bit of Grenada.  One place we went that was new to us was the Little Dipper restaurant overlooking Hog Island and Clarks Court Bay. It was a quaint little place.  Just a few tables, good food, and a great view.

View of Hog Island and Clarks Court Bay from the Little Dipper


Jackie and Andrea at the Little Dipper

Heading North

We went to Grenada in July 2010 and intended to stay for hurricane season.  We expected to leave in November and perhaps be in Bequia for Christmas.  The months came and went and we were still in Grenada.  Most of the cruisers who spent hurricane season with us moved on.  Finally on March 3rd we left Mt. Hartman Bay. 

It was a gorgeous day.  Sunny, nice breezes, and  calm seas.  We sailed around the south end of the island and north past St. Georges to Grand Mal Bay.  We planned to anchor there for the night and get an early start the next morning for the sail to Carriacou.  We motored into the bay and as we went by a fisherman on his boat we asked where we could anchor.  He pointed to an area nearby.  We found a sandy spot and dropped the anchor, but then we heard some people on shore calling to us and telling us not to anchor there.  We already had the hook set when we realized what they were saying.  Rather than move I put on my bathing suit and snorkle gear and took a look at the anchor.  The area was somewhat grassy, but the anchor was set well. 

We had the bottom of the boat cleaned before we left so I took a look at it to see how well it was done.  I also grabbed the prop and worked it around a little to make sure it was moving well so the blades would feather when sailing.  As I worked it I felt the nose cone move under my hand.  This is actually two plastic pieces screwed together around the prop shaft.  One of the pieces was broken.  I got out of the water and told Jackie about the problem.  We were devastated.  We had seen many of our friends try to leave and have a problem with the boat that prevented them from going or caused them to come back. We couldn’t believe it was happening to us.

I called the propellor company’s US distributor and he offered to send us a new, improved part at no charge.  I mentioned that it looked like I could put a hose clamp around the prop to hold it together and he said that had been done before. We knew we might have to haul the boat to fix the prop, so we considered our options: sail back to the south coast of Grenada and into Prickley Bay or continue our trip north to Carriacou.  In either case we could sail into the anchorage if need be and each place has a boat yard.  We couldn’t face going back, so the next morning we headed north for Carriacou.

Again we had a beautiful day, but there was little wind so we motor-sailed up Grenada’s west coast.  As we neared the north end of the island, the wind began to fill in.  It stayed around 17-18 knots apparent for the trip.  The angle was pretty good  – only a couple of relatively short tacks needed to stay on course.  The waves stayed down and we ended up having a wonderful sail.

I dragged a fishing line and caught a barracuda just north of Grenada.  We don’t like dealing with the big teeth, so we tossed him back.  Then as we approached Carriacou I caught a nice black fin tuna.

Tuna, No can opener needed

We worked our way into Tyrrel Bay, anchored in the white sand, and had a nice tuna dinner.

Tyrrel Bay

Tyrrel Bay is quiet anchorage on the southwest corner of Carriacou.  It is the anchorage for the settlement of Harvey Vale.  There is a road along the shore that separates the beach from a few stores and restaurants.  We are anchored in the northeast corner, just south of the commercial pier.  This is the least rolly part of the anchorage and is convenient to the pier, the beach, and a snorkeling area along the mangroves on the north side of the bay.

Although the commercial activity can get a little noisy at times, we find it interesting and entertaining.  There are two small cargo ships that use the pier regularly, but in addition to them a couple ships full of sand have been unloaded.  One day a tanker came in, tied up to two of the bouys, and pumped a load of fuel into the storage tanks on shore. 

Filling the fuel storage tanks on shore

Since then we have seen commercial boats come to the dock and have a tank truck come out to fuel them.

Fill 'er up and check the oil.

We had a rare day when no vessels were on the pier, so the locals strung a net in an arc off the end of the pier and drove the fish from under the dock into the net. 

Setting the net off the end of the pier

We came back later and found that they had put some of the fish in a floating net not to far from our boat.  Over the next couple days local boats would stop at the floating net and scoop some fish out.

Scooping fish from the floating net into the boat


There is a bit of a rock ledge in the marine preserve along the north edge of Tyrrel Bay.  It’s pretty shallow so it makes for very easy snorkeling.  It is home to quite a variety of fish and a few lobsters hiding under the ledges.  We saw a large ray and an octopuss.  There is also some nice coral in spots.

Various fish - If it wasn't a marine park the glass eyed snapper would be dinner


A lobster in his hidey hole

Porcupine fish peeks out

Unidentified ray


Shakespeare – Caribbean Style

Andrea had a plane to catch, so she and Jackie took the ferry back to Grenada.  The next day they ran some errands and spent a little time (never enough) on the beach.  Unfortunately they were gone during Carriacou’s Carnival.  It is a much smaller event than in Grenada, but they did have one interesting event: the Shakespeare competition.  Jeffrey and Connie from Roxie went with me to see what Shakespeare was all about.

Groups (troupes?) of players from various areas dress in the Caribbean version of Shakespearian costume and take turns reciting speeches from some of the plays.  The groups all come together and the best in each group face off in pairs. 

One region's top player

Another region’s top player

One person begins reciting a speech.  If he makes an error his opponent “taps” him on the shoulder with his stick and takes over the speech.  It was never clear to us exactly how they determine the winner, but we assume it is he person who recites more of the speech correctly.

The players face off and recite a speech

 Sometimes it takes more than a “tap” on the shoulder to convince a player that he is in error. Often the two contestants come together and beat each other on the back.  Luckily their capes are quite sturdy and there seems to be little injury.

A minor difference of opinion


Shortcut to Town

Hillsborough is the big city on Carriacou.  It has a commercial pier where the ferry docks, a bus station (OK, so it’s a very small parking lot), and a couple grocery stores with more than two aisles.  We can take a bus to Hillsborough for $3.50 EC, but we have found a shortcut that makes it a reasonable walk.  The shortcut is mostly a tractor trail through some fields – some of which must be pretty swampy in the rainy season.  Jackie and I have taken the shortcut once and in addition to the cows and sheep, we saw some interesting birds.

A view from the shortcut

An "ani"

A pair of common moorhens

A bird builds a nest in some electric wires

The ferry that serves Grenada, Carriacou, and Petite Martinique docked in Hillsborough

Just A Few Pictures

We mug for the camera

There is no accounting for boat names

Double Rainbow over a boat from Mt. Hartman Bay

Coming soon: A prop-er repair?

Sewing, Sailing, and Song

March 12, 2011


It’s been five weeks, but we finally got off the dock and back out at anchor – commonly known as being “on the hook.”  Didn’t last long – we dragged the next day.  We were near an area where other people had dragged in the past so now we are on a mooring.


It’s done.  It took most of five weeks of sewing, but we have a new dodger, bimini, and side screens.  We also repaired the sun cover on the big jib and did some other patching.

Unseamly activities - Jacke the Ripper removes stitches

Of course now the sail covers and genoa sun covers don’t match the new canvas.

Dodger and Bimini with screens up

Bimini and Dodger - Screens down


We spent a day at Grand Anse Beach watching the Grenadian Work Boat Races.  This is the second half of the Grenada Sailing Festival. These are small boats with way too much sail.  It’s not uncommon for the boats to capsize.

Races start with the boats in the water and one person from each boat on shore.  At the signal, the crew runs to the boat, jumps in, and they are off.

Running start

The racing is scenic

The racing is competitive

Not everyone starts....


...not everyone finishes


Whisper Cove is a French owned marina.  They have the typical boater style bar and restaurant, but they also have a good butcher shop and they bake bread daily.  They recently put on a sunday brunch buffet and brought in Cecil Bartholomew, a local classical guitar player. 

Good music

Insanely good food


More music.  Doc Adams and his band played at Jenny’s Place on Grand Anse Beach.  We made our way down there, walked the beach a little and then caught the show.

Dancing to Doc Adams


We never thought we would be here for this, but…..

Our friends Jeff and Connie talked about entering their Swan 47, Roxie, in this “fun race” so I offered to crew.  They entered and I crewed along with their friends Lorna and Andy.  There were two races on Saturday and one on Sunday.  It was typical Grenadian racing.  It blew over 20 knots and the swell and wind chop were substantial.  We were busy and bouncy enough that I didn’t take any pictures.  The second day two of the race marks blew away.  A tender set up as one mark, but the other was well off the coast, so everyone went out until they decided the mark was missing and then tacked in.  We got third in class for that race.

The rockin' Roxie crew (i-r) Andy, Connie, Jeffrey, Lorna, Eric


Little Rosie shares the dock with two Perini Navis

Mt. Hartman Bay cruisers have dinner at Secret Harbour

An osprey - like having a bit of the Chesapeake in the Caribbean

Pouring rain? So what? There are fish to catch.

NEXT: They said it would never happen…..