Saturday, June 25, 2016

BeBe summer school and Le Phare Bleu Marina

Damien in pool at Le Phare Bleu Marina.
S/V BeBe is the center boat in background.
It is that time of year again -- time for grandchildren to spend part of their summer vacation aboard BeBe.  This summer we are hosting Elisabeth again (a/k/a BeBe) and also her younger brother Damien.  Elisabeth has spent many summers in exotic locations aboard BeBe; this is her normal summer activity.  Damien has visited us aboard BeBe in Australia at age 5 weeks; Greece at age 2; Turkey at age 4; and Spain at age 6.  This is first visit with us on the boat without his parents.  With his older sister being with him, he should be fine for the couple of months he will be away from his parents.  

This time away also allows the parents to move from the rental house back into their home with 2 fewer kids underfoot.  Their home was deeply flooded last year and then flooded again in April this year with about a foot of water inside the home. The city of Houston has been working on drainage improvements and during that construction the region has suffered several bouts of flooding.  The unfinished drainage construction has exacerbated the flooding in certain areas of the city.  A sad situation for thousands of homeowners.  Repairs were delayed by both FEMA and the city of Houston (even though their home was insured for flood damage), but FINALLY the home is being repaired and they have begun moving certain items this week.  Hopefully, the home repairs will be finished by the time we fly to Houston with Elisabeth and Damien in early August.
Sign language lesson

Elisabeth and Damien arrived on a Friday night at the airport in Grenada.  We had remained anchored in the mouth of Mt. Hartman Bay awaiting their arrival.  We remained there for over a week so that they could attend a sign language lesson presented by the grandfather of a deaf teenage girl who was spending the summer aboard with her grandparents.  Elisabeth and I also took one of the shopping vans to the supermarket one day, so she saw a bit of the island; Damien remained on board with Bill.

Damien eating a double banana.  Two bananas
had grown inside one peeling.  Strange!
One day we went 'exploring' in the dinghy to allow the kids to see the beach at Hog Island.  And over into Woburn Bay (a/k/a Clarke Court's Bay).  We wanted to dinghy all the way to Le Phare Bleu Marina to check it out but winds were too strong and we wimped out before rounding that final bend with waves splashing into the dinghy.  

On Sundays there is a pool party and barbeque hosted by Secret Harbour Marina in Mt. Hartman Bay.  We thought the kids would want to go to that and spend the afternoon in the pool, but we could not pry them off the boat that day.  We had walked up to the pool the day before to show them where it would be held and neither kid wanted to walk back up that hill to go swimming.  Oh well.  It is their summer holiday; let them do what they enjoy most of the time.

Happy 7th Birthday to Damien!
Damien celebrated his 7th birthday on 18 June with a chocolate cake with chocolate icing -- his favorite for the moment.  We have seen no toy stores since arriving in the Caribbean so gifts from his grandparents were a bit atypical but he was happy with what we gave him.  Kids this age are easily pleased when led not to expect too much.  A puzzle, some swim arm bands for the pool in Trinidad, a LED card-light, an enormous birthday card and a large piece of organic chocolate grown and produced right here on Grenada -- all made him a happy boy for the day.

Chowing down on birthday cake
We pulled anchor, motored over to Secret Harbour Marina and filled the diesel tank, and then motored east to Le Phare Bleu Marina.  Damien was ecstatic to finally be able to go right next to the 'sunken pirate ship' (crane on a barge) on the reef as we exited Mt. Hartman Bay via the east channel.  He was disappointed that there were no skeletons visible.  I have no idea where he got that idea.   I was pleased that Damien did not get seasick during the 4 mile trip over to Le Phare Bleu Marina.   First time we have been here.  There were 2 red markers and 1 green marker missing in the entrance channel.  But between the illustration in the sailing guide of where the markers should be and identifying the remaining markers, entrance between the reefs was easy.  Our electronic charts were correct.

Calivigny Island resort as seen from the deck of S/V BeBe while
docked at Le Phare Bleu Marina.  Nice view, huh!
There is a constant surge into this bay as in all the bays on the southern side of Grenada, but the outlying reefs break it up somewhat.  We requested to be docked stern-to with bow pointed out to sea.  This causes the boat to hobby-horse but there is no rolling so it is a comfortable motion.  Bill dug out those expensive 'springs' that we purchased to use in the Med winters and we are quite happy being docked here  in Le Phare Bleu.  In fact, if we had not already confirmed berthing with Crews Inn in Trinidad and already purchased flights home from Trinidad, then I would be happy spending hurricane season right here in Le Phare Bleu.  It is isolated from the regular cruiser community but the facilities here are nicer than in any of the other more popular bays.  I would be content to stay here but would never leave the boat in the water while we fly home in August.  Whereas, we have no qualms whatsoever leaving the boat in the water unattended in Trinidad in August.   That 90 miles father south makes a big difference in statistical probability of storms.   Grenada statistically now is over 2 1/2 years OVERDUE for a storm.  We would be very uncomfortable leaving a boat here unattended during hurricane season, even with guardinage.

Swedish Light Ship (used where impossible or
too costly to build lighthouse)
On rear of ship outside the bar

Le Phare Bleu Marina has a Swedish lightship secured next to the dock.  This lightship was manufactured in the early 1900s and the steam engine still works!  

Damien on bow of lightship on the bar deck level.

The interior deck has been modified and now houses the toilets and shower facilities for marina guests, as well as a complete kitchen serving a bar which also serves snacks.  Rather a cool ship.

Interior deck for video and book selections
also for toilets and showers

Inside the ship there are shelves and shelves of DVDs which can be checked out from the hotel office.  We have checked out minimum 2 children's movies daily while here.  A good way for Damien to relax after swimming in the pool, while his sister does school work on the computer.  WiFi service here is free and is the best we have had since arriving in the Caribbean, so we are encouraging her to get as much of that online school work completed as possible since who knows how good the WiFi service will be in Trinidad.

Elisabeth on deck of the light ship

The little tug boat

The little tug boat on the left is used for dinghy concerts.  Musicians and equipment are loaded on the back of it beneath a canopy and it anchors in the bay in front of Le Phare Bleu Marina.  Cruisers come in their dinghies and raft up to listen to the concerts.  The first concert of this season will be on Sunday just about the time we plan to depart for the overnight passage to Trinidad.

This little tug also participates in another interesting activity.  In The Netherlands there is a chocolate company which is totally green.  They use the last sailing cargo ship in the world to transport cocoa which is organically grown in Grenada.  It is then manufactured into chocolate in a 'green' plant in The Netherlands.  That sailing cargo ship has no engine.  When it calls into port in Grenada, this tiny tug boat brings the sailing ship into port and back out.  I do not know how the port docking is handled once that sailing ship reaches Europe.
Looking at Le Phare Bleu hotel from the lightship.
The swimming pool is behind the wooden fence.

Damien going up the mast.
There is a small mini-market on-site where freshly baked bread is sold daily, except Sundays.  We have emptied their shelves of all fresh veggies and fruits.  I also have bought all the frozen chicken.  There is no frozen meat left in the store except for a couple boxes of hamburger patties (but no hamburger buns).  Meals aboard BeBe are becoming a bit inventive this weekend, to say the least, and the freezer meat supply has dwindled.  Tomorrow we will sail overnight to Trinidad.  Weather looks as good as it could get for this trip -- winds from 80 degrees at 14-16 knots.  It really does not get any better than that!  Thank goodness there is a supermarket on premises at Crews Inn because we need some fresh produce.  I do hope that supermarket is still there and still open for business.

Check out the smile on that face!
Not afraid at all.

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