Friday, June 10, 2011

Grenada - Our arrival & Port Louis Marina

Thursday, June 9, 2011
Up at 5:30 am (that bright sun again - we can’t close the curtains to keep it out because we’d have to shut the windows to do so - thereby sleeping in a sauna), drinking coffee, washing a mountain of dishes from the fish feast the night before, as we waited for the boat boy to deliver the fresh banana bread & croissants we’d ordered from him the night before when he pulled alongside.  We checked our charts and plotted our course to Grenada.

Errrrrrr...The boat boy showed up with a large loaf of banana bread & two good sized croissants - price $49 Eastern Caribbean dollars or about $20 US!  Way overpriced in my opinion, especially when we realized the banana bread tasted like paste slightly sweetened.  Andy says he checked the price before ordering and it didn’t seem out of line.  Did we get another bait & switch????  Live and learn.   

UPDATE:  Andy, while reviewing the blog of a boater who'd completed this same trip a few years before, noticed an entry written from this same anchorage, with a similar story....HUGE price for banana bread and a bag of ice.  An argument ensued and the boat boy got most of his $$..."Mon, I go to Union Island - 5 miles away - for the bread."  Boaters BEWARE!!!

Feeling like a horse who is headed to the barn & knows it, we are very ready to be in Grenada!  We’ve loved every day, but are realizing we are tired and want to just settle in, doing not much of anything for a while. 

We’ve had many wonderful experiences over the past four months as we cruised nearly 2,000 miles from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, to here.

Seeing & spending time on beautiful little island countries, making new friends among boaters like ourselves and getting to learn about different foods, different flora and fauna and learning the fascinating history of these islands from so many hard working, delightful locals has provided memories to cherish forever.

Mallfunctioning Raymarine Chart Plotter
Finally Fun exceeded our expectations  -- she took us safely in and out of too many anchorages to count; kept us safe while underway across large portions of the North Atlantic Ocean; kept us off and out of the reefs all along the way, never hiccuping or slowing us down with any kind of a major problem.  That erratic, frustrating Off/On Again RayMarine chart plotter worked perfectly all the time.   We would never have attempted this trip if it had continued its weird gremlin like malfunctions!  Frankly, I was ready to sink Finally Fun, but last summer Rick Nissen located the electrical issues just in time, saving both the boat and me (and maybe some others)  from a premature death.  

Ah ha!  Before getting there, we have one more hurdle -  to cruise past Kick ‘em Jenny safely.  An underwater, active volcano, Kick ‘em Jenny erupted in 1988 and 1989 and kicks up some nasty seas, especially when she rumbles.  Today, the safety exclusion zone is 1.5 km off as she is ‘quiet’.  When rumbling, the zone extends to 5 km.  I’m curious to peer over the water to see what I can see - most likely nothing, but one never knows.  And we thought all we had to look out for was wind, waves, sea creatures and an elusive pirate or two!  No one mentioned UNDERWATER active volcanos!!! 

Update today - Cruising past the underwater volcano, we could see nothing amiss -- only some strange currents in the area - seen because of the seaweed outlines floating about and some confused waves milling about.  Much anticipation over nothing....I say that now - exploding volcanos & tsunamis would certainly put a different perspective on my day!

UPDATE:  Later, talking to more experienced boaters, we learned that the issue with Kick em Jenny is that if she 'hiccups', the volcano makes basically a huge foaming bubble, placing your boat in this bubble and the boat cannot float - loses bouyancy because the boat is now trapped in basically gas/air and the boat immediately SINKS.  Ooops, that was NOT explained in the guidebooks!  I'm told that is why there are a number of totally intact boats sitting on the bottom in areas around these waters -- got caught in the burping bubbles!  Geeeeeeze.  

Grenada coming into view
Cruising along the coast of Grenada, we were struck by the sheer large size of the island compared to what we’ve been seeing and struck by the number of beautiful, colorful homes tucked in the mountains and cascading down to the sea - much larger structures than we are used to seeing.  This is rain forest country, with mountains nearly 3,000 feet in the air, rivers, waterfalls, lush greenery, colorful flowers and perhaps a higher level of education here compared to smaller islands. 

This island, as did all the others, battled for years between the French, the Brits, the pirates, the Carib Indians and all the rest.  I do remember when the U.S.A., along with other Eastern Caribbean nations, invaded Grenada in 1983, on the pretense of rescuing 100 American students attending Medical School here - turns out that was a sham - the real reason was to oust a socialist/communism loving tyrant from power, returning Grenada to independence and freedom. 
Coming into St. Georges, Grenada

Almost into St. George's from the Caribbean Sea

The dock master at Port Louis Marina told me that the reason this island is so well established and beautiful (when I commented on the larger beautiful homes everywhere) is because when slavery was abolished here, the only way the plantation owners could get the workers  (the slaves) to come back to work was to deed each one of them land.  Those parcels of land have been handed down now for generations, each new generation taking pride and great care to improve and maintain the home.  He said, “On the other islands you will see locals driving fancy cars and living in shacks.  Here, the home comes first and maybe a little car later”. 

Friday, June 10, 2011
St. Georges Harbor

Local boats

Inside St. Georges Harbor in the Carenage
Safely docked, stern in, bow tied to a mooring ball, at Port Louis Marina, St. Georges’s, at the southern tip of the island, we are ready to explore and chill out for the next few months!  Funny, on this long dock, only USA flagged vessels are tied up.  Then, I realized this dock has the 60 cycle current that US boats need (European boats can use 50 cycle electric), so here we are with our own countrymen - good news/bad news.

We would come to learn that while we had a good deal on monthly rates during this 'off' season, that fancy electric would kill our budget.  Dockage for our 50' was approx $682 a month.  Electric at $1.45 a kw EC or $54 cents US cost us a range from $300 US to a high of $1,200 US a month.  We sweated most of the time and did not run the a/c much, except at night, in only our sleeping cabin.  Sooo unhappy about that!  Water is 10 cents US a US gallon and we averaged a low of $110 US to a high of $236.  No water making in the marina, so yet another bill, even though for the first time since we started cruising, we now use the Marina showers every day and not our own. 

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