Posted by: rosyroadsadventures | June 21, 2012

A Picture Perfect Holiday

N 12° 02.6′   W 61° 44.8′

St. Georges, Grenada.

Grenadines crew (photo courtesy Englehardt Photography)

The arrival of our long-time friend Chuck and his son Dustin was cause for special celebration. Missing our family and friends is the tough part of traveling and we are always excited to have visitors. We know how hard it is to get away from home responsibilities and meet up with a moving boat in a remote part of the world.  Chuck is a former live-aboard sailor and the family has joined us in past boating vacations so they had a pretty good idea of what to expect. Although we missed seeing Sheree and Brandi it was fabulous to have the guys along to share part of our adventure.

Miami to Barbados, then a puddle-jumper to Clifton, Union Island to rendezvous with the Mar Azul waiting in the anchorage

The holiday got off to a bumpy start. When we went to meet our guests at the Union Island airport we found we needed our vessel documentation and crew list to get them released from the customs office. This was a new procedure for us, perhaps triggered by the fact that they arrived by air and would depart the country (St. Vincent and the Grenadines) via boat. Bob had inquired how this would be handled when we checked into the country in Bequia, but they had no advice to offer about how things worked in their southernmost office and it didn’t seem to be a big deal.

It was 5 o’clock and the Customs official was ready to go home. Knowing it would take 25 minutes or so to go back to the dinghy dock, bounce across the windy, wave-whipped harbor and return with the requested papers Bob stated he would hurry but it would take a while. The officer told Bob he had 15 minutes to return with the documents or our friends might not be pleased with their accommodations that evening. We scurried back to retrieve the papers while Bob vented about this most frustrating “Banana Republic” experience and mentally prepared to return to the respectful, patient persona that is usually the key to success in these situations. Chuck & Dustin wisely decided they had better make friends with the Customs official in a hurry and distract him from the passing time. Whew! All worked out fine and the crew was released. Welcome to the islands!

The 44 pound Mar Azul suitcase, carefully packed by Santa Chuck, just squeaked under the airline weight limit and carried gifts for all. Boat supplies to replenish the spare inventory, the disassembled toilet parts, a battery charger to use in marinas with no American power. A fresh pair of Tevas for Elaine and seasickness medicine to replenish a depleted supply. New dog tags, vitamins and medications for Lady and Bandit. A meat grinder for the galley, a book, a couple of pieces of mail and several DVD series to provide evening entertainment for the next year. It has been getting harder and harder to obtain some of the things we need and want and having a personal delivery was SO nice.

Our first night together felt like Christmas in June

We had a whirlwind 10 days, starting in Union Island and ending in Grenada, visiting a different port almost every night. We stopped in Mayreau, Chatham Bay, the exquisite Tobago Cays park, and Carriacou. The winds were the strongest we had seen since the Christmas Winds in St. Martin, and we experienced more than the usual choppy seas and a couple of noisy nights rocking and rolling at anchor.  The cooling breeze was the bonus and made most activities more pleasant. 

We are a diverse group and everyone took advantage of different activities – snorkeling, kayaking, swimming, hiking, exploring ashore, photography, reading, chilling.  Like us, our guests were thrilled when we found an anchorage with good internet connectivity.  Bob & Chuck spent several evenings brainstorming solutions for the world’s problems. My personal highlights were a long hike on Carriacou with Chuck, a delicious local-style dinner in a beachfront gazebo in Tyrell Bay, an afternoon beach outing at desolate Sandy Island, and photo expeditions with Dustin. It was wonderful to have a third and fourth set of hands aboard and all tasks seemed to be easier with a little extra help. Maybe we need permanent crew???

Chuck and Elaine set off on a hike to find the famous Fidel Productions in Carriacou and a perfect souvenir for Sheree. When we arrived in Grenada we found a convenient branch of the same shop right in the marina! Oh, well. It was a great four-hour hike none-the-less.

 

Elaine brought the wrong map and we ended up taking a few extra turns, resulting in a much longer than expected expedition. Good thing Carriacou was a relatively small island. Now we understand why people hire hiking guides!

One of our wrong turns took us through a neat mini-rain forest. We learned that turtle sex is noisier than one might think.

 

Dinner in the Twilight Restaurant’s private beachfront gazebo was a special treat arranged by Captain Chuck. Grilled chicken and barracuda – a delicious local favorite that can be safely eaten in these parts – were featured with wonderful accompaniments including island slaw. (Englehardt photography)

 

Dustin, an outstanding photographer, captured the ambiance of our special night out as we enjoyed the harbor view and supervised our dinghy (Englehardt photography)

 

A glorious romp and snorkeling off Sandy Island was the perfect way to celebrate entering Carriacou and Grenada territory. The dogs were so excited to finally get off the boat.

Having both a college student and professor/company president aboard kept us on our toes and perhaps sharpened our cognition a notch. Dustin, on a quest for perfect photos, taught me a lot about his favorite hobby and set me up for the Karl Taylor online training to expand my skills. Chuck, an avid learner, shared insights from the book he was reading: Thinking Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman. We will try to apply what we learned to make better decisions. Guess I’ll have to cut the Captain some slack and encourage a little ill-humor for sea days, since research shows that one is less likely to make mistakes when in a foul mood.

The crew was patient with the Mar Azul chef and the challenges of trying to find last-minute fresh provisions in the Grenadines. Produce was plentiful but deli selections a bit hard to come by. Fortunately we struggled by with lunches for the first few days, dipping into some canned chicken – emergency dog  rations –  to make chicken salad. (Not to worry, Bob says the dogs usually get better fare than he does and deemed it as good as Subway’s.) Then we found Patti’s Deli on Carriacou and all was well. Didn’t even have to break into the canned Danish Cooked Chicken Salami that was featured in the Clifton markets.  

The passage from Carriacou to Grenada involved navigating around the Kick ‘Em Jenny submarine volcano

We had a beautiful ride to Grenada with about an hour of moderately rough seas during the open ocean part of the passage, and a smooth trip along the leeward coast of this scenic island to St. Georges. We scooted by Kick ‘Em Jenny, the underwater volcano that may one day create the next Caribbean island. The concern to boaters, besides the potential for an eruption, is the fact that air bubbles spewed by the volcano could affect the density and buoyancy of the water with a bad result for the vessel in the wrong place at the wrong time. Fascinating – but we were just as happy that Jenny was quiet!

 

Bandit enjoyed the Grenada passage from the sundeck where the ride is smoother, supervised by her new best friend

 

Unbeknownst to the Captain, who hates back-seat boat driving, we passengers on the sundeck were doing our own eyeball navigation to be sure we passed to the east of The Sisters rock formations, well away from the 1.5 KM volcano exclusion zone

 

Our journey along the western coast of Grenada gave a hint of the rainforests, black sand beaches, charming towns and photogenic scenery we hope to explore during our time on the island

Last port for Chuck and Dustin was St. Georges, Grenada and the beautiful Port Louis Marina. Mar Azul is on the far visitors dock.

 

Our guests have departed and we are sadly trying to adjust to our smaller crew.  Bob is anxiously awaiting the arrival of the new batteries, which seem to be taking their own tour of the Caribbean.

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Responses

  1. Hi Elaine,
    I really enjoyed your stories about your time from St. Vincent to Grenada. I found your blog while I was looking for current info on Grenada. My husband and I bought a sailboat in Grenada – back in 1978! – and cruised aboard for 14 years, including Atlantic crossings. I’m writing a “book”, but I’m doing it as a website, and am currently working on my Grenada section. We were actually in Grenada for the 1979 revolution! Here’s the url, if you’re interested in taking a gander: https://sites.google.com/site/jeanbaardsen/. I’m using a free Google template. I wrote newsletters for those 14 years, and they’re already on the website, a.k.a. book, which I’ve named “Odyssey: Mapping Life’s Adventures.” I’ll see if I can become a follower of your blog, so that I can keep up with your adventures. So much of what you wrote was familiar, like running low on seasick medicines!! I was plagued with seasickness, too. I also remember the boat boys. They’re nice to you because you’re nice to them! Again, so enjoyed reading your stories.
    Jean
    Here’s my blog (we live in North Carolina now): http://www.jeanbaardsen.blogspot.com/

    • Hi Jean,

      Glad you are enjoying our adventure. You are more than welcome to follow along – just click on the “follow blog by email” section on the upper right side of the home page and the process should be easy. Thanks for your blog and book website links. Just read the section “Collision at sea” – wow – you were SO fortunate to survive the experience. You have a fascinating story to tell and I will look forward to reading it entirely. I hope my blog will remain a little more boring!

      Happy writing!

      Elaine


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