Thursday, June 9, 2016

Down to Grenada

Tyrrell Bay on Carriacou was temporary home for BeBe for over 2 weeks before we upped anchor and sailed down the leeward side of Grenada.  Cannot say we did much while at Carriacou other than chill out and play Mexican Train dominoes a few times with other cruisers.  It has been a very long time since we have enjoyed that activity.  

One of the women we met playing dominoes said they were done with cruising.  They were leaving their boat at anchor in Tyrrell Bay and flying home; her husband would return in January and bring their boat back to the USA where it will be sold.  She said that she had promised her husband 4 years of cruising and was glad to be done with it.  Wow!  I find that attitude disappointing.  How enjoyable could cruising have been for the husband when the wife was openly stating to strangers that she did not like this lifestyle and had endured it only to fulfill her verbal commitment to her spouse.  Seems like that would have a negative bearing on everything experienced by both of them during those 4 years cruising.  My sympathies to the husband.  If both partners do not want to be living on a boat and sailing around, it cannot be an enjoyable experience for either partner.  I am thankful that Bill and I each enjoy what we are doing. Otherwise, we would not be out here.

The second part of what this woman said also disturbed me.  Leaving your boat at anchor or on a mooring unattended during hurricane season?  And the government of Grenada and Carriacou allow this?  Well, yes they do.  I find that shocking.  Trinidad will not allow anyone to leave the country and leave their boat at anchor or on a mooring.  Trinidad requires that the boat be stored in a secured boatyard if the owner leaves the country.  That makes total sense to me. There are many boats left unattended at anchor or on moorings in Tyrrell Bay.  Supposedly, there are 3 local men who can be contracted to 'look after' a boat when the owner leaves the country.  If a storm warning for this area is posted, then those boats must be moved into the mangroves.  The mangroves are part of a national park and boats can no longer be stored there; boats are only allowed inside the mangroves during a posted storm warning.  Once such a storm warning was posted and only 1 of the local men who contract to look after these unattended boats was on the island.  He had to move 34 boats into the mangroves.  All by himself.  In one day.  That had to have been one tough job!

We watched these 3 men check on an unattended boat moored next to us.  When they returned to shore, a side port on that boat inadvertently was left open.  Ten days later, that side port was still open.  It rained several times daily during that period -- the wet season has started early this year.  That boat now will be filled with mold and mildew.  Can you imagine leaving your boat like this!

Windshield screens
Andy still owns and runs the shop In Stitches in Tyrrell Bay.  We had Sunbrella shade panels made by his shop 10 years ago.  These zip onto the sides and aft portions of our bimini and provide excellent protection from the strong sun of these latitudes.  These shade panels have held up surprisingly well.  We wanted to have sun screens made to cover the windshield panels while anchored or moored.  The plexiglass windshields were replaced in early 2014 and we thought covering these while anchored or moored might extend the life of the new panels.  UV causes plexiglass to craze -- tiny starbursts appear inside the plexiglass.  Eventually those tiny starbursts cloud visibility and the only solution is to replace the plexiglass.  This also happens to hatch lenses and sideport or sidelight lenses.

Andy measured and constructed the 2 windshield panels that we wanted.  These fit well and are easy to put in place and remove.  Only time will tell if this mesh will afford protection from UV damage.  But I already like the way these windshield screens reduce the glare into the cockpit, yet we can still see out of the starboard windshield through the mesh.  The port windshield is left open except when raining, and the mesh screen panel on it also helps reduce glare.
View when sailing down western side of Grenada.
Can still see out through the
screens!  That is a nice

After waiting a few days for delivery of these new windshield screens, we finally tore ourselves away from Tyrrell Bay and sailed south to Grenada.  Some insurance companies allow boats to remain as far north as Carriacou, but our insurance company requires us to be in the southern half of Grenada.  So it was past time to get on down there as hurricane season officially began on 1 June.  We had notified the insurance company that we were within 20 miles of the required line and that we would be there within 4 days, and that was okay with them.  It is unheard of to have a major storm this far south in the Caribbean this early in hurricane season.  Both we and the insurance company knew that there was zero statistical likelihood of a storm here now.

The first sculptures placed in this underwater park.  These statues
represent and honor the African slaves brought to Grenada.

We enjoyed another beautiful sail down to Grenada.  This time we decided to stop in one of the small bays on the western side of the island since there was no hurry to get to the southern side.  We picked up a park mooring at Moliniere Point near the underwater sculpture park.

Heavy marine growth and coral have changed
the original statues.  

The first statues placed here have deteriorated badly.  The photo above was taken from Google images.  It was taken not long after these statues were placed.  Today the marine growth has changed these greatly, as shown in the photo on right.

Quite a few more statues have been added to this underwater park.  I think there are over 65 statues down there today.  Our underwater camera has a dead battery, so no photos from me; but here is a link to more information, photos and videos:

Mouliniere Pt.

Full rainbow west of Grenada

Winds were still from ENE so there was a bit of swell in this mooring field.  Seas looked perfectly flat and calm but still enough swell to roll our boat all night long, although not too uncomfortable.  
Many military ships from many nations here in
Grenada for exercises.

The next morning as we motored past St. George's, the main city of Grenada, it was a pleasure to see the US Coast Guard Cutter Umberto Hernandez at the cruise ship dock. The Hernandez is down here for multi-national military training exercises.  So much for all those sailors and cruisers who insist that the USCG does not visit this area.  Bill and I know better.  We saw USCG vessels between Grenada and Trinidad in 2006 and 2007.  I imagine that the current upheaval in Venezuela might have played a small part in decided to hold these exercises in this location at this time.

Participating in these exercises, according to what we have listened to on the VHF radio, are:
USA--Cutter Umberto Hernandez
USA--another USCG cutter but do not remember that name

USA--US Army vessel Aldi (when did we start having US Army vessels again?)
France--one large warship, cannot understand the name because do not speak French
France--Guyana Patrol Boat Antibo
Canada--Canadian Warship #704, a/k/a Warship Shawinigan (conducting live firing)
St. Kitts small boat
Dominica small boat
air support or monitoring, heard but not self-identified.

Moored inside True Blue Bay.  How can it look so calm
and roll the boats so much!

Beautiful view looking SW from True Blue Bay

Rounding the SW tip of Grenada puts one directly into the prevailing wind and current.  The northern side of that point is calm and the southern side usually is quite lively.  Today was the norm.  It was a bouncy, slow and wet ride to True Blue Bay where we picked up a mooring.  Plan was to stay on this mooring for a week as 2 of our grandchildren arrive this week and there is a swimming pool at True Blue Marina.  Plus, it is the closest bay to the airport.  However, after 2 nights and days of incessant rolling Bill decided it was too much and that we would move to Mt. Hartman Bay.  True Blue Marina accommodated us by refunding the pre-paid mooring fee for the week, and we motored over to Mt. Hartman Bay.

Those white surface wavelets indicate reefs.  Those
reefs break up the swell entering bay.

Winds were strong and seas kind of high so we opted not to attempt the entrance to Mr. Hartman Bay from the western side.  Took us probably an extra hour to motor to the eastern entrance and between the reefs.  Once inside the reefs this bay is calm and serene, even during 20 to 30 kt winds.  We anchored in a spot favored by a fellow Amel owner who has been in Greneda a lot over the past 5 years.  And are we ever thankful to him for this local knowledge!  This spot is perfect.  The more protected areas deeper into the bay experience squirrel-ly wind.  Those boats twirl in all directions, all willy-nilly.  Many are on moorings and those boats swing differently than the boats on anchor.  We are very glad to not be in among those twirling boats.  We are isolated and that is perfect for us.

Winds swirl and twirl in every direction in
Mt. Hartman Bay

Yesterday we took a taxi to Spiceland Mall for a major provisioning to stock up on foods the grandkids might eat.  They arrive tomorrow night.  

I managed to get these photos uploaded courtesy of free WiFi provided by Island Water World which covers Mt. Hartman Bay.  And also courtesy of a clear sunny day which allowed the solar panels to fully charge the batteries and I could use the inverter to power my laptop with the dead battery.

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