The Windward Islands

El Gato is loving the SE part of the Caribbean chain!  We had to book it south of N12 40 latitude for our insurance compliance so we sailed to Mayreau, Tobago Cays, Union Island, Carriacou, and of course the last and biggest island down here, Grenada.

When you stay in one area you begin to get a feel for the islands and it’s nice to recognize other cruisers, fishermen, locals, and to know where to buy fresh fish and veggies.  For sure Eric and I are sea gypsies, and we know that someday whatever I don’t photograph or write about will be a blur. We’ve already had so many incredible memories and memorabilia, and we embrace everyday knowing how special our time is being on the water and at one with nature.

We’ve yet to stay in Grenada long enough to say we are experts, but we’ve had some super good times with friends and cruisers hiking waterfalls, doing a hash (run or walking trail through the mountains following a paper trail), swimming around underwater statues, windsurfing, going to full moon parties, dancing, and playing our favorite game – Dominoes.   They have a cruisers net on VHF Channel 66 every morning at 7:30AM and folks take turns running it. The topics are everything from safety issues, who is coming or leaving, social activities (this is a big one that includes yoga, Texas Hold Em, Carnival details, music nights at the brewery, etc), shopping trips to stores that are prearranged,  treasures of the bilge, parts and services, and local businesses chime in with deals and menus. It can take easily 30 minutes and it’s nice to hear so many people connecting.

Living on a boat with one other person or alone 24/7 is not very natural. People tend to need people. And so it is with cruisers. Some you connect with, others you stay away from, but most are very nice and almost all are helpful and would do anything they can if you need help whether it’s to borrow a tool, fix something, share info, or share a recipe.

In this past month I learned to make sour dough bread, pizza dough, and how to drive an island boat from Bequia (pronounced Beck Way).

Today is our last full day here as we decided to take a few months off and spend some time in San Diego and beyond the reach of El Gato.  We’ll visit our 5 kids, travel to Israel with some cruising friends, and check out Costa Rica for some surf sessions. First Eric will fly to Ct and pick up his F18 and things in storage and drive them to SD. I’ll head straight home and snuggle with our kitty Pebbles.

To take the boat out of the water and leave it unattended is a long process and we have been working our fingers to the bones.  Making covers, cleaning, sorting, tossing, donating, shopping (this is not the land of plenty and with no car it’s always an adventures), cleaning, putting window shades up to keep the ridiculously hot sun outside, scrubbing, taking things apart, packing, cleaning, and sweating are just some of the things we are up to.  Did I mention cleaning? It’s like when you are going to have a dinner party and you know you better clean up the place.  This is worse. One woman said it was like her boat vomited on the inside! Stuff EVERYWHERE! But it feels good to go through it all. The lists are long but we are chopping away and tomorrow we say goodbye to our lovely Gato.  I’ll be stuffing my suitcases with clothes I haven’t touched, and some favorites I can’t live without.

Are we obsessed? Yes. Are we worried about a hurricane coming here and destroying our dreams? Yes. But we figure if we really prepare we then nothing will happen.  Like the storm named Don. No offense if your name is Don, but these days it’s not our favorite name.  We prepared a lot for that storm and literally 2 hours before it was scheduled to hit Grenada it fizzled out. Big storms seldom hit here but when they come they come. Like Ivan. It destroyed about 80% of the island. Category 5 is a whopper.  So we are outta here, leaving our baby behind, and wishing with all our might nothing happens. Other cruisers stay onboard and sail south to Trinidad if the prediction says it’s coming that’s probably the safest thing to do. But we made a choice and are sticking with it.  Time to take a break and spend more than a few days at home.  This is after all a very good yard and they promise to look after our dream. Clarks Court.

September 13th I will be giving a presentation at the San Diego Yacht Club so between now and then I’ll be compiling my best photos and stories to entertain the folks who want to know what it’s like to cruise full time or to hear more.  If you are in the area I invite you to make a reservation and attend. It’s called Ladies Night but men are welcome. Eric will be with me adding his 2 cents.  🙂

Happy Carnival Week from Grenada! Stay safe and pray for peace and for peaceful men and women to be our next leaders!

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