Posted by: rosyroadsadventures | July 8, 2012

Recharged in Grenada

N 12° 02.6′   W 61° 44.8′

St. George’s, Grenada.

The Conneast in St. George’s harbor. The new batteries from the States were aboard.

 

The new batteries arrived in St. George’s shortly after we did, but an agonizing three days later than scheduled. In Caribbean time, three days late is not so bad, I think, but the Captain expected them to arrive precisely when advertised. Anxious to take possession of the precious cargo, he stewed over the shipping schedules and there was a brief panic when the container changed ships unexpectedly in St. Lucia and the agent couldn’t tell us what was happening. We’ve learned that marine shipments aren’t necessarily tracked like UPS and FedEx packages and it would have been better to insist the time-sensitive parcel be sent via Tropical, which has a reputation for running more predictably in this part of the world.

The transition to lithium-ion technology, a new application in the marine world, has been a short-term success although it will likely be many months before we can determine if it was a really a good idea. We’ll get the Captain to do a technical article on the subject at some point. He has put in many weeks of time planning and executing the project, which went smoothly all things considered.

Installing the lithium-ion batteries

Marina time at Port Louis Marina has been pleasant though project-intense. Besides all the battery-related tasks, we finally resolved the air conditioner problem and took care of a number of minor repairs and routine maintenance tasks that are more easily accomplished in a marina. There is only one small dock in all of Grenada that can accommodate American 60 Hz power needs, believe it or not. Those wishing to spend the hurricane season on this dock made their reservations many months in advance. We were lucky to get space here temporarily which greatly aided the mechanical tasks and kept the engine room cooler since we didn’t have to run a generator for power. The marina has many assets we have enjoyed including scenic grounds, a good and reasonably priced restaurant, swimming pool, nearby bakery and food stores, on-site customs office and convenient taxis and buses.

The coveted J-Dock was briefly home to four DeFever boats

While Bob has been tackling mechanical projects, I have been the go-fer, running around to purchase parts, supplies and provisions. The island has a safe, friendly feel and I don’t mind traveling alone in the small, inexpensive buses or on foot. Port Louis is located on the #1 bus line, a short ride from the heart of St. Georges, the Fish Market, the bustling Spice Market and a couple of small shopping malls. The buses are small vans that seat about 10 people, but can pack in more than twice that number to enjoy the non-climate-controlled ride.   Most are given interesting names like “Assassin”, “Mr. Faithful” and “Eruption”. Walking along the main routes it is not uncommon to hear a “beep – beep” and the conductor (a separate position from the driver) shouting out the window “BUS – BUS!!!” to recruit potential riders. It seems there is always a bus when you need one.  A trip to town from the marina costs $2.50 EC, about 90 cents US. When you want to get off, you signal by rapping on the metal roof.  Sometimes different buses will compete for passengers, each conductor waving at you to get into their vehicle, particularly at the main bus station in St. George’s.  One is assured the bus will be leaving “jus’ now”, an island term that means “whenever”. Riding the bus is a hoot and so different from our experience with public transportation back home.

A typical Grenadian bus

The view from inside. There were 21 of us aboard for this ride.

  

The downtown market vendors were glad to educate us about their products, some of which were unfamiliar. This friendly man was my supplier of calabash bowls, made from the inedible gourd.

  

On a good day at the Fish Market, huge tuna filets were available for $7 EC/pound, about $2.59 US

 

The meat market, adjacent to the slaughterhouse, was another adventure, and the butcher hacked away at slabs of meat with a machete to fulfill orders. I will need instruction on how to order Bob’s steaks. He didn’t fare well on this outing but the dogs were very happy with my purchases.

There is a very active boating community on the island, both at Port Louis Marina, and in the anchorages on the south side of the island. Some cruisers spend the entire hurricane season here, and there are people from all over the world who pass through the area. This latitude is far enough south to be out of the highest risk “hurricane belt” and many insurance companies require boats to be in Grenada if not farther south to maintain coverage in a named storm.  Hurricane Ivan devastated the island in 2004, so spending the summer here is not without storm risk.

The many organized activities here has led to the affectionate designation “Camp Grenada”.  A daily VHF radio net (Ch 68, 7:30 am) and Grenada Cruisers Facebook page facilitate info sharing.  There are pot-luck meals, Caribbean cooking demonstrations, yoga sessions, music nights and lively entertainment at different venues around the island. Plus volleyball games, bingo, book swaps, boaters jumbles (flea markets), and dinghy concerts, a sort of nautical drive-in music festival. There is a popular weekly “hash”, an activity for the energetic and athletic that involves running or walking a non-published trail that travels through scenic parts of the island, marked by flour or bits of paper.  There is a finale celebration at one of the many rum shops. The group bills themselves as “drinkers with a running problem”. I’ve found that one should never be without ingredients for a spontaneous “happy hour- bring an app” or a last-minute pot-luck invitation. It is easy to meet new people with similar interests and have a jam-packed social calendar.

 

Caribbean cooking class with Omega and Esther at the Dodgy Dock Restaurant/True Blue Marina is a popular Thursday afternoon event

 

We learned how to prepare pan gravy for fish, chicken or lambi (conch), cou-cou, a starchy dish made from cornmeal and coconut milk, and callaloo, a spinach-like vegetable that was recommended as “good fer da man”.

 At Port Louis we are one of four DeFever boats at the moment. That is amazing since we have seen so few sister ships along the way. The Mar Azul, the smallest of the group, is joined by Motivator, Izzy R, and Cardea, and all except us plan to stay for the duration of the hurricane season.  I am feeling a few twinges of regret that we won’t be sharing the summer with these great folks in this lively and fascinating place.  Grenada is a place we hope to return to one day.  

So happy to catch up with our friend George from S/V Earthling who we met in St. Martin. Joined here by his crew Katherine and our friend Deb from Renegade for an impromptu happy hour.

Crews of the Izzy R, Motivator, Mar Azul and our guests at the Victory Bar’s Friday “Texas BBQ Night” (Englehardt photography)

The dogs have loved the marina time and the many walks through the pretty grounds. They met a local vet who makes boat calls. Their health documents are updated and ready for the next port.

Successful completion of our next passage, the most challenging to date, will set new records for the Mar Azul.   It will be a thrill – and for me, a great relief – when we arrive safely in our next port.

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