We’ve come to discover there is a STRONG MAGNETIC FORCE keeping cruisers in Grenada.
There are several reasons for this force.
Here’s my list:
- Several bays on the south side have ample room for yachts of all sizes in transit, as well as for permanent stopovers which happens frequently. There are similarities to Maine with all the fingers reaching down towards the sea, except for no annoying lobster pots or fog. No traps, just reefs on your way in. OK I guess those could be considered traps, but with good sun angles and good charts you’re safe mon. We’ve heard of and watched boats go on the reefs as they approach, but both got off safely. Best as always to approach in good sunlight to new or potentially treacherous harbors, and have not only updated charts but also a good pair of eyes or two to keep your yacht in the clear blue water. Grenada is a stopping point for people going north, south, and west. Parts and services are plentiful so you can get er done.
- Parts and services turn out to be the strongest magnetic force on us. We’ve repaired, upgraded, painted, purchased and have access to almost all things needed. Others we ship in and have a customs agent make the process easy. Like our new Lithium batteries!
- Relatively speaking this is a safe place to drop your anchor. It’s below the normal hurricane belt and rarely gets hit, about once in 50 years is the pattern. We chose Grenada this past summer and are happy with that choice considering how awful Irma and Maria were. Our insurance required us to be south but we would have gone anyway. This is our home away from home and there’s no way we want to risk losing El Gato so if we can reduce the risks we do.
- Another Very big magnetic force is the cruising community. It’s stronger here than anywhere we’ve encountered. How can anyone resist hearing the morning announcements of social activities like yoga with a smile, beach volleyball, Tai Chi, Hog Island BBQ, Taffy’s Open Mic (with sax player Gary who is fabulous or Doc who cranks out the blues), Cutty’s guided tours to chocolate factories and waterfalls, where the next HHH aka The Hash is (the drinkers with a running problem, a worldwide crazy group who hike through anything after making a new trail), the volunteer reading program to help local kids, Mexican Train dominoes at noon at Prickly Bay, and the list goes on. Need something, want to sell or give away something, weather report, how many damn cruise ships are here today? It’s all on the cruiser net. And there’s a kid net too!
- This is The Spice Island where 40% of the worlds nutmeg is grown. If you’ve ever had a Painkiller drink you know that nutmeg is the special topping that makes it so special. The open veggie market is filled with all kinds of spices, and you can buy them on the side of the street, the grocery store, the airport, and little stores near tourist locations like waterfalls. Fresh cinnamon and fresh chocolate are 2 of our favs. The Grenada Chocolate Company makes the best bar called Nib-a-licious. It’s 60% chocolate with crispy cocoa nibs in it. Nibs are pieces of raw chocolate that hasn’t been processed. Oo Lala. We hope to savor these for awhile after leaving so I am stocking up.
- The grocery stores don’t come close to Trader Joe’s, Vons, or Publix, and there is no Amazon Prime, but they actually have King Arthur Flour in the big store! The fruits and veggies are mostly home grown so you don’t look for organic because it just is. The meat is lacking and it’s expensive but we had a steak the other night and it was great. The Bearnaise sauce was a bonus. You want to buy hummus this week? You missed it. It was on the shelf last week. So I made some. Tortilla chips? Good luck. They go fast! I’ll address food in another blog but suffice it to say I’ve learned how to make tasty olive bread, ginger spiced limeade, and just completed making my first yogurt. Delicious!!!
- The marinas are good. We were on the hard at Clarks Court for 6 months and every worker we hired came to us with a smile and talent. We weren’t overwhelmed with workers begging for work like in St. Lucia, never felt over charged, and we are happy with the results. Were there some mistakes? Yes, but nothing terrible like we’ve experienced in the past. The past taught us to never have work done on a boat without being there.
- The fresh fish market is better than anything we’ve seen since Sicily. HUGE fish including tuna and swordfish are brought in daily and lay alongside Red Snapper and other tasty fish. At 8EC a pound that’s $3US/lb! We freeze some and cook some and will certainly stock up before leaving. Want it cleaned? No problem mon. 🙂
- People are happy here. We’ve made friends with locals who came for a visit and never left. Others were born here and will never leave. Most of us come here to dodge the hurricane season and wind up spending more time and money than we ever intended but with no regrets! It’s a beautiful island!
Sidebar: Grenada has had some trouble in the past with the revolution, the invasion, terrible hurricanes, drugs, and so on, and there still is an occasional nightmare of a story that would be a good made for TV movie. My friend Dory’s mum was murdered when she was little and living here and I never forget. In fact we didn’t come here our first season because of a murder of a newlywed on a beach last year. But bad things can happen anywhere, even in sweet Point Loma, CA. As we read the horrific news about the mass shootings and the NRA’s resolve to support politicians who won’t ban them, we feel safer in the wild seas and on an island than our kids do going to school these days. It’s a sad time but we hope that for future generations there will be changes. Ideas: Ban violent video games and stop making movies that desensitize our youth, and of course ban assault weapons and make it really really really hard to buy a gun. In Grenada you better have a really good reason to want to own one. Then they come to your house to see where you will lock it up. They ask the neighbors how stable you are. You need a reason for the gun. Not just because you like guns. If Australia can limit guns why can’t the USA? Blood money. It’s not just the “me too” time, it’s time for everyone to step up and take responsibility to make changes go in a good direction. Those are my thoughts as we sail the 7 seas. Peace and love brothers and sisters. One world. I wish!
Back to The Force.
Everything has a life cycle and our latest magnetic reason for not leaving is that our windlass died. As in fell apart in Eric’s hands when he went to check out whether we could wait until April to replace it. The windlass is a gear box that pulls the anchor chain up so it’s very important. We are stuck in a nice harbor and grateful we were still here when that happened. So…tomorrow we get to listen to Sabrina again! and on Saturday there is a dinghy concert. Reminds me of the golden days off the Marine Stadium in Miami or of Humphreys in San Diego. Live music and people on boats enjoying it all. In warm weather and water!
We love Camp Grenada as it is affectionately called!
In the meantime as one friend suggested to us, we will remind ourselves to resist the force and Be Strong! ETD next week… or the next?