A Caribbean Interlude

Posted from Leland, NC

In our last post I promised to post more often – so far, so good.

RETURN TO GRENADA

The last post left us at our house in NC and we are back in NC again, getting ready for another adventure.  In between these posts we spent some time in Grenada on our boat, Compass Rose (a.k.a., “Little Rosie“).

 

Compass Rose (directly up from the black boat) moored in Mt. Hartman Bay

Compass Rose (directly up from the black boat) moored in Mt. Hartman Bay

We arrived in mid-October and found Rosie to be in generally good shape. There are always issues, however, and this visit was no exception.  The most obvious was that our batteries were a bit low.  There should be little draw on the batteries while we are gone, so we stow our big solar panels below leaving only a 50 watt panel to keep the batteries topped up.  We hooked up the big panels and because we had a lot of rain and overcast skies, we gave them a week or so to bring the batteries up, which they did.

The other issue – a leak in the fuel return line – wasn’t immediately obvious.  Luckily I spotted it before we filled the bilge with diesel.  The fix was easy, but finding the appropriate fitting was a bit of a challenge.  Eventually I tracked one down and solved the problem.

There are a number of things that we do when we return to the boat.  One of the first is to clean the marine growth off the propeller so it is ready in case we have to move the boat.

Somewhere in the middle of this reef is our prop

Somewhere in the middle of this reef is our prop

 

This cowfish swam by to inspect my work

This cowfish swam by to inspect my work

We had talked about sailing up to the Grenadines like we did at the beginning of 2016, but by the time we had the repair done it was getting into November.  Soon the Christmas winds would start and not wanting to risk a rough trip back to Grenada to make our January flight, we decided to just enjoy the holidays in Grenada.

So what do we do in Grenada?  Some of the stuff is what you do anywhere like laundry and shopping.  The marina in our bay has laundry facilities where we can pay to have the wash done, but Jackie found that you need to have a little intervention until the washers are running correctly.  After that the ladies do a great job.

Another task is shopping.  Twice each week a shopping buses leave our bay.  One goes directly to the mall where there is an IGA and the other goes to Ace Hardware and then a marine chandlery before going to IGA.  There are also a couple more specialized shopping trips we can take advantage of each week.

Who likes to take out the trash? We can drop it at the marina for a small fee, but on Sunday mornings Raymond motors through the anchorages and collects trash.  Pickup at the boat costs un an extra Caribbean dollar – less than 40 cents more.

Trash collection Caribbean style

Trash collection Caribbean style

For fun there are regularly scheduled domino games, trivia sessions and bingo nights, volleyball games, afternoon chess, and more.

Jackie enjoys swimming in the refurbished pool at the marina, taking yoga and tai chi, and she joined a gym.  She also practices the ukulele. I usually spend the time she is off the boat doing boat repairs or practicing the saxophone.

We take occasional hikes around the bay and in the rainforest.

 

Banana tree

Banana tree

 

Butterfly

Butterfly

 

I love the signs of nature we see on the trails

We see some most interesting signs in the islands – this one along a mountain road

 

yellow bird

Caribbean flycatcher

 

MUSIC

There is a lot of music to enjoy on the island, including live entertainment each week at Secret Harbour, our local marina, Prickley Bay Marina, and Nimrod’s Rum Shop; the occasional Sunday afternoon performance at Roger’s Barefoot Beach Bar on Hog Island, and the Full Moon Party at Benji Bay, all of which we can get to by walking or dinghy.

Roger’s is a special place because both cruisers and locals relax and mix on a sunny Sunday afternoon.  A friend of mine, Jim Beaudry, sent me an email telling me about a Youtube video taken on New Year’s Day at Rogers that he saw.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20HBXAZSv1g Watch closely and you will see:

7:20 Me standing in the background (grey plaid shirt and red hat) and Jackie (red beach dress and white hat) sitting on the other side of the picnic table facing the camera.

11:02  Jackie walks in front of camera.

13:10 Jackie at the bbq.

Note that Stan and Cora of Rough Enough are the two people he talks to on stage.

In addition there are a couple special events.  The first is special to me because I participated.  It’s the weekly Secret Harbour open mike/jam session organized by Gary – a retired professional tenor sax player – and Venessa (guitar and vocals) on Neptune II.  Participants play sets of three songs and anyone can join in.

It took me a couple weeks to get my courage up, but I finally brought the sax one night.  The musicians are usually cruisers – some quite good. but on my first night Gylfi (professional guitar player) and Rough Enough (Stan and Cora, keyboard and tenor sax from the Roger’s video) also showed up.  These are people we go to hear when we want to be entertained.  I went from nervous to intimidated.

I got up and struggled through Moondance with Stan backing me on keyboards.  He had a rough start getting the right key because my alto sax is Eb and he is used to playing with Cora’s Bb tenor.  They had kind words and pointers after the session and I was thankful for their help.

My first Secret Harbour jam session

My first Secret Harbour jam session.  Stan on keyboard and Norman on guitar

I returned the next week and each week thereafter with a set of easier songs and had a lot of fun.  It also helped that I got Gary to give me a few lessons. The last week we were there Gary and Venessa were out sailing so I got to organize the event.

My last jam of the season playing with Karin, Tom, and Danny

My last jam of the season playing with Karin, Tom, and Danny

The music event that everyone finds special is the dinghy concert.  We attended the first was dinghy concert in January 2011 and go to every one we can.  We went to the 31st. concert in January featuring Lion Paw & D-Unit.  It’s a bit of a dinghy ride to the concert, the venue in Le Phare Bleu Bay is rolly and it seriously rained to the point that they had to move the keyboards farther under shelter.  But the band was good and everyone had a great time.

31st dinghy concert with Lion Paw & D-Unit

31st dinghy concert with Lion Paw & D-Unit

Here is a link to a Youtube video of one of the songs they did:  Youtube video of the dinghy concert

It’s hard to spot us in the video, but at 2:06 look just to the left and up from the peak of the red tent and you will see Jackie (pink top, white hat).  Unfortunatley there is a white thing that looks like it is pointing to her face.  Look left and you will see me (blue shirt and red hat).

HOLIDAYS

You already know how we spent New Year’s Day.

We took a day off and wen to Grand Anse beach

We spent Christmas Eve day at Grand Anse beach

Vanessa on Neptune II went to great lengths and was in daily contact with Le Phare Bleu to make arrangements for nearly forty cruisers to have Christmas dinner.  When we arrived they explained that their chef had quit a week before and they could not serve the special fixed price menus they promised, but instead had their usual barbecue buffet.  Maybe if they had bothered to tell us in advance we could have worked something out, but everyone was pretty upset.  Vanessa contacted True Blue resort and they agreed to take us and we had a great time.  Kudos to Vanessa for all her efforts and to George our taxi driver who took time our of his Christmas day to make the long extra trip needed accommodate the change of venue.

Christmas Day at True Blue Resort

Christmas Day at True Blue Resort

New Year’s Eve had us back at True Blue – it had been in the plan before Christmas.  And as already noted, New Year’s Day had us at Roger’s Beach Bar.

We also had a dinghy drift on the night of the full moon in January.  A group of cruisers tied their dinghies together and drifted around Mt. Hartman Bay in the dark enjoying a pleasant moonlit evening.

Full moon dinghy drift

Full moon dinghy drift

IN MOURNE-ING

We have travel plans starting at the end of January, so we headed back to NC in mid-January.  We have found that it is very hard to spend the last night on the boat because there is so much stuff that gets stowed below, so we usually book a hotel room for the last night.  This year we booked a room at The Gem hotel on Mourne Rouge beach (a.k.a. BBC Beach).  This year we invited a lot of friends to join us on the beach and it was a great time.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We have our last dinner in Grenada at the renowned La Plywood bar

 

Look at her smile and you know there is no caption needed.

Look at her smile – no other caption needed.

Monday we fly to NC and get a good night’s sleep.  Tuesday morning we wake up to 45 degrees and an overcast sky………

………but we won’t be here long.

 

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