Sunday, December 1, 2013

Chillin' in Grenada

We are getting to know Grenada... hanging around and visiting in advance of our "family and friends" visit home for December.  We finally cut the docklines and headed over to Mt. Hartman Bay.  We've checked out the marina here, taken dinghy rides to Hog Island, Woburn and Le Phare Bleu to visit and explore.

The lady near Nimrod's Rum Shack makes the most unbelievable Lambi (conch) lunch for just 15 EC.  She probably held back on the most important secret ingredient but she gave us the basics so we are going to experiment with our own lambi when we return in the New Year.  We think she was flattered that we liked it so much.

We went to watch the cat races in Clarkes Court Bay on Saturday.  There were 8 teams competing and we saw most of the races... very exciting with a lot of armchair skippering going on.  The management of Le Phare Bleu sponsored the race and pulled a barge over for the comfort of the spectators.  Very impressive how Le Phare Bleu engages with the community.

Bit of an accident... no fear... we have duct tape!
The Grenada Chocolate cat
The Le Phare Bleu spectator barge and bar - 5$EC Caribs
Not sure who won... or if anybody cared.

We had anchored snuggly in to the shoreline, Bahamas-style to get out of the swell.  This morning we got hit by a squall (They come on you fast and they leave you fast, Boss) which swung us quite a bit to the north.  There was a mild bump and we realized that we had moved over a rock... and it was about 4 feet deep.  So we made a slight correction and all is well.

It's been raining a lot today so after a visit to the Secret Harbour Marina Jumble Sale (sailors trying to sell their extra boat crap) and between showers, we took a hike over to Prickly Bay Marina,  Missed the short-cut coming and going.  Other than that it has been naps and books.  Might watch a movie tonight.

We will be moving again in a day or so.  Time to find a good spot to tie up for our trip home.  Looking forward to seeing everyone!

A cashew... who knew?  No wonder they are so expensive!
Watching the Grey Cup on Blue Pearl... Yeah Riders!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Marina Queens

We are becoming Marina Queens... folks that have a boat but don't get out of the marina.
Tied up
What!!! Another Blue Pearl
After dropping John and Jan we decided to stay an extra day to get groceries and stuff.  Then Glen got involved in varnishing and that added a day.  Now we hear that Glenn and Sylvie on Gemma's Inspiration are coming in to the marina today so we've extended our stay so we can have a beer with them.  We've got all kinds of rationalizations but eventually we are going to have to unplug the yellow dock line and head out into one of the bays on the south of the island.

We are looking at moving to Mt. Hartman Bay tomorrow.  We know a couple of boats who have over-summered there and they seem to enjoy it.  A new place to explore!

The Carenage in St. Georges.  I guess they used to careen boats here?
Fort George - Where the 1983 coup took place

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Tobago Cays

Weird.  We haven't had internet for days and then way off in the Tobago Cays we picked up a stray signal.  Time for another report.

We've had a great shake-down cruise with John and Jan.  There was hardly any wind at all on the trip up to Tyrell Bay so we motored.  Felt good to charge the batteries.

At Tyrell Bay Jan and John took off for a great morning walk and checked out the area.  We bought 2 bottles of white wine from boat-boy Simon at a premium just to keep him happy.  Cleared out from the new Customs Office and set sail for Sandy Island - after learning that our windlass battery doesn't have the ooomph to turn the windlass.  So John and Glen got to raise anchor the old fashioned way.

Pam making breakfast... mangos, golden apples, oranges and baguettes with butter and jam
At Sandy Island, we ran into Harry, our travelling companion from two years ago.  He is doing charters down here now so he knows the area very well.  We got some tips from him for our "must do" stops.  Sandy Island is beautiful... it will be on our agenda for other guests.

John liming under a coconut tree on Sandy Island
Clearing in at Clifton was easy... but more expensive that we remembered.  It costs 45 EC per person ($14US) so that put a small hole in our Grande Heffe wallet.  The Grande Heffe (Big Boss) wallet is carried by someone and is a good way to share expenses.  When the wallet is empty, we all ante up and start spending again.  Glen orders champagne at most bars.

Saltwhistle Bay is only 3 miles from Clifton so we didn't get much of a charge on the batteries.  Again, John and Jan swam ashore and took their own little island tour while Glen stayed on the boat to properly worry about the dead windlass battery.  It's weird.  The volt meter says 12.75 but it just won't turn the windlass unless the house bank is piggy-backed in.

The Tobago Cays are spectacular.  It was quite windy so we didn't explore as much as we might have, but we got to shore, snorkelled with the turtles saw a piddly 20 inch shark and stayed cool in the crystal clear water.

Jan and Pam fitting chaps on Murphy the dingy
After a leisurely breakfast this morning, we took off for Mayreau again, this time Saline Bay.  We walked to the top to take in the view and then rehydrated at several bars on the way back down.  We picked up a giant lobster (about 6 pounds) for $100 EC - we think we made the fisherman's day.  Our little tour kicked the snot out of the Heffe wallet. 

Cruisin' down to Mayreau

Chillin' at the Rasta Bar after our view hike on Mayreau

Lunch at Dennis'

Larry the lobster is dinner tonight!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Back in the Saddle!

John and Jan arrived last night and it was great to get them onto the boat.  Glen drank too much rum so he was last up this morning.  No rest for the wicked... we had a great island tour planned for 9 AM and even though the skies opened up, we jumped on a bus with Cuddy and had a spectacular island tour.  Chocolate factory, rum distillery, waterfalls, monkeys (actually they didn't appear when requested,) volcano lakes, beaches, beers and a lesson on all things edible.  Cocoa, limes, oranges, papayas, passion fruit, grapefruit, golden apples, tumeric, ginger, shadowbany, lipstick fruit, lemon grass different varieties of bananas, cinnamon and on and on and on.  You won't go hungry on this island.

Thanks to our wonderful children, we now have a way to import photos onto Pam's iPad so we can actually post some of these great sights. Thanks for sending that down, kids!!


Caribs on the beach
River's still
Missing monkeys... maybe all hunted?  Who hunts monkeys?
Lipstick/fingernail polish plant... check out the manicure

Cuddy digging out some ginger root

I think he's going to jump!
Going to visit the town tomorrow - the Carenage!  We will check out the market, buy lots of beer, groceries, etc.

Wooo hooo!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Oh No!!!

Dear Reader... we have suffered a major setback.  Blue Pearl still floats and the sun still rises but alas, with a puff of smoke, Glen's computer has died.  No more easy editing, photo uploading, no access to old files - nothing.

So this is a new and exciting experience, writing a post on Pam's iPad.  We'll see how that goes.  We are hoping that the MacBook Pro only needs a new "DC-In" board and will be back in service again soon.
The culprit

Pam crocheting a new computer
Glen making conch (lambi) salad
The dinghy concert was a great hit.  We got some good photos which we will come back and insert around here when we have the wherewithall.  In the meantime, you can watch a great video here...

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Big jobs done, enjoying some downtime!

We actually have had some time for swims and a few G & Ts.  We are getting to the end of our "start-up" tasks and the boat actually looks like it is supposed to.

The sails are on, the canvas is up, all systems are working! It has stopped raining so now it is just hellish hot.  The locals tell us that it will cool down soon.

One of our new toys is a Roku wireless streaming device that allows us to watch stuff like Downton Abbey on our boat TV so we are feeling quite decadent.  What the #%$* is the deal with Matthew?  OMG!

Our daughters have been contacting us via google-chat and putting our grandchildren onscreen so we are feeling well connected.  It's all good.

We dinghied over to Woburn and walked up to the Little Dipper restaurant - run by Joan, the wife of Roc, our taxi driver.  Pam had the lambi (conch), Glen had the lobster.  The lobster cost more than twice as much as the lambi and was half as good.  Live and learn.
View from the Little Dipper - out to Hog Island

Ackee tree - fruit is poisonous until it ripens and opens up
There is a big dinghy concert happening here at Le Phare Bleu on Wednesday so we are indulging ourselves for an extra few days of dockside power, AC and swimming pool so we can be here for the big event.

The next day we will head out for a week at anchor.  God, that is going to be hot.   We will have to spend the day in the water like hippopotomi.  Then we strike out to Port Louis Marina in St. Georges to pick up John and Jan for their "3 hour tour" of the Grenadines and the Tobago Keys.
Staying cool!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Lounging on Blue Pearl

Here we are, lounging about on the boat, swimming, drinking gin and tonics and enjoying the warm island breezes of Grenada.


That would be nice, but…  after waiting until Monday afternoon to be launched it was too late to do the five mile run down to Le Phare Bleu Marina so we tied up to a mooring ball and bounced around all night.  Too rainy to open up the cabin so we just sweated in the heat.

On Tuesday we made a rolly run down to the marina, Pam kissed the dock when we arrived and asked for the phone number of our yacht broker and divorce lawyer.  We plugged in the AC and had a great nap.  Over the last two days we have:
- installed 6 new marine batteries
- repaired some electronics
- unpacked the 2 bags of bits and pieces brought down with us
- installed the solar panels
- set up the bimini and dodger
- launched the dinghy
- arranged for repairs to some rigging
- huddled away from the rain and heat in the shelter of Blue Pearl

We've eaten all the noodle soups in the small mini-mart in the marina.  They sell rum - that's good, wine, tonic to go with last year's gin, Spam, and homemade bread - which is terrific.  Tomorrow we have a taxi coming. We plan to get groceries, buy more boat parts and recharge our propane bottles so we can eat something other than restaurant food and ramen noodles.

On the weekend we will put up the sails and do a million small jobs to get the boat... well... shipshape.

Another 3 or 4 days and we will be… lounging about on the boat, swimming, drinking gin and tonics and enjoying the warm island breezes.

Had to ask this guy to leave

All this crap has to go somewhere

Getting ready to launch

And... in we go!
Installing batteries... no sparks!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

On our way back south...

Well... that was quick.  Seems like we just left!

We are sitting in the airport lounge in Miami (with a 10 hour layover we decided to buck up and spend our time in the American Airlines lounge) anticipating our reunion with the Blue Pearl... and reminiscing on our great summer home.
Nice Socks!

We had a terrific summer back home in Canada.  The weather was spectacular and we had amazing times with family and friends.  British Columbia is one of the most gorgeous spots on earth in the summer when the weather cooperates - and this year was one of the best.

One of the problems of returning south is that we won't be enjoying immersion with our family and friends so ... we are changing our plans this year.  Six months is too long to be away from our awesome grandchildren so we are heading home to visit... twice.  Luckily we are fabulously wealthy so these 4000 mile, two day excursions won't be a financial burden.

November is typically awful in Vancouver so we will spend that time in sunny Grenada tinkering on the boat and enjoying the heat.  We will return home for an extended Christmas holiday.  Then back south in the New Year for 8 weeks... and then back home for a healthy dose of grandchildren... before returning for the spring in the south.

On top of that, we are expecting visits from at least 4 couples and some family.  So with visits home and visits from home - we will hardly be alone at all.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Until Next Season

Time to say farewell until next season, Faithful Reader!

We are sitting in a hotel in Fort Lauderdale, eating Publix shrimp and drinking cheap wine.  

Back in the USSA
Grenada to Vancouver is a long way - especially when you have Glen for a travel agent.  We flew last night to Trinidad (we know, wrong direction) and spent part of our 11 hour layover in an airport hotel.  Today we flew from Trinidad to Miami - and wonder of wonders - we didn't spend 2 hours in the Immigration line-up.  We were through in minutes and rushed out to our rental car to carry us to our Fort Lauderdale hotel.  Tomorrow, we fly at 6:02 AM (Ugh - can you believe that?) and we will be at YVR by noon.  

But great to get home.  So excited to see our little grandbabies/preschooler!

We loved our season this year - we got to use so many of the courtesy flags that Pam sewed over last summer.  BVI, St. Martin, St. Barts (French), St. Kitts and Nevis, Antigua, Guadeloupe (French again), Dominica, Martinique (French again), St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada.

Grenada beach

We spent time with wonderful people - locals and fellow cruisers.  Saw some amazing places... and left some tantalizing spots for next year.

And now it's time to go home and enjoy the good life we live there with all of our wonderful family and friends.

Ciao - until next fall/winter!

Fearless Crew

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Please... no shoes!!!

Almost done!  

Blue Pearl is resting in a new spot for a few months.  The folks at Grenada Marine have been very friendly and we feel we are in good hands.   We worked hard yesterday, getting the chores done that we could - scrubbed the bottom, packed up stuff, cleaned the dinghy and a few little things - all in 30+ C temperatures, high humidity and no breeze.  

We were pretty happy to get picked up by someone from our hotel so we could clean up and cool off.  La Sagesse is a boutique hotel and they cater to folks who are transitioning on or off their boats.  We've already had a couple of meals with Peter and Anne from Spice of Life as they get ready to head back to Canada.

We did the bottom today - lots of people scratching their heads saying we should do it just before we splash in the fall.  However, we talked to the company who makes the paint and they said it makes no difference.  Also, Gary told us that for years he has done his while the boat is clean from hauling and he is used to the heat - and he hasn't noticed any degradation in the protection.  So now, while we have the time and are somewhat acclimated to this heat, we just did it.  It probably didn't need much anyway.  The paint was new at the beginning of this season and it looked like new so really all we did was to add another coat.  One less thing to do before we splash in the fall.
Out she comes

Bottom's great - prop could use some attention

Wiping her down

And after another coat of paint.... tada!

Tomorrow we only have little things to finish up and decisions about what clothes need to come back.  We almost got sick when we pulled out sweaters to have when we arrive in Vancouver.  Ugly thinking about sweaters in this heat.  Glen is objecting to the notion of shoes.  We'll have to see how that goes.

Otherwise we rest and enjoy La Sagesse.  Thanks for that tip Bobby and Leslie!

This is where we die at night

Looking out to the beach

Our dinner table

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Le Phare Bleu

When we left you, Faithful Reader, we had stayed a couple days in Prickly Bay.  It is close to Budget Marine for parts and supplies.  Also we were able to take the bus into St. Georges for a quick look around.

We've read so many blogs, and heard about so many places that it has been fun to finally experience these places ourselves.

Clarks Court Bay is an interesting spot.  You can dinghy to Hog Island and further into Mount Hartman Bay if you want.  It is home to Clarks Court Bay Marina and Whisper Cove Marina... and within walking distance of a rum distillery.  Whisper Cove hosts a Tuesday evening jam session and Glen has been able to determine that his singing and guitar playing gets better, the more he drinks.  By the end of the evening last Tuesday he was positively Elvisque.
Brilliant musicianship

Nimrod's Rum Shop

Quiet Country Lane

Mangos off the road

Brilliant picture of Glen's favorites - Pam and rum
Beer and Lambi at Nimrod's

Just around the corner at Calvigny Island sits an EXCLUSIVE resort - we're talking 30 thousand per night at the 10 bedroom resort.  We were going to stay there for several nights but we couldn't fit it into our busy calendar.

We had planned to pinch our pennies and stay at anchor until the last moment - then dash into Le Phare Bleu Marina for a couple of nights to stow things away and then head to St. Davids Bay for our haul at Grenada Marine.  But for $35 per night it would have been $105 for 3 nights and a week was only $175.  AND, the last marina we stayed at was at Nanny Cay in the BVI where we did our transition with Maria and Al.  So... time to indulge.

What a great place!  The marina office is a decommissioned Swedish Lighthouse Boat.  It serves as a gourmet restaurant, marina bathrooms and showers, a bar and a museum.  How cool!

The resort itself is a gem.  We don't know what it costs to stay in the cottages but the pool bar/restaurant is lovely, breezy and they sell 2 dollar beers.  We are charter members at the bar.
Vastra Banken - Marina Office/Swedish Lightship

Enjoying the museum/lounge in the Vastra Banken

Pirate Hash - taking place at Le Phare Bleu

Pirate dog

We are doing little decommissioning jobs everyday - Glen is making sure he doesn't over-exert.

Several boats in the marina recommended a young guy who provides great service cleaning and polishing for a very reasonable daily wage.  We are hesitant to mention this.  Several of our sailing buddies will see this as confirmation that we have gone really soft... and we have...  But... we have hired him to do some of the waxing and polishing and so far we are very impressed.   If you get here... make sure to check out Kenwin if you have waxing, polishing, varnishing, etc work.  He works like a Trojan and the results are impressive.

So... more exploring, pool lounging, roadside food stand experiences...

Really looking forward to seeing friends and family at home... and excited as we plan for our season down here next year.