Life On the Hook (or on a mooring)
In our last update (August 19th), we had been back in the water only a few days after our haul out and we were waiting for a tropical wave to pass. It did pass and other than a couple of days of rain there were no impacts here in the southern bays of Grenada. Luckily all the storms that have popped up in the Atlantic so far (fingers remain crossed), have passed well north of us. A week or so ago when three disturbances developed almost simultaneously, they had the effect of sucking most of the moisture away. We didn’t have a drop of rain for more than a week. Normally, we have at least one brief rain shower every day. Typically, we get a 10 to 20-minute shower shortly before noon and often something similar in the wee hours of the morning. Then scattered throughout the days and evenings there are many quick, 2- or 3-minute showers that pass through. We have sunshine 90% of the time during the day.
The sunshine is great, but much like home in North Carolina it’s hot and humid here. We benefit from the almost constant 10 to 12 knot trade winds. Still, with the much greater intensity of the sun only 12 degrees from the equator – IT’S HOT! Most of North Carolina is 33 to 36 degrees north of the equator. Because we get around primarily by using our dinghy, Opus, we get caught in lots of little rain showers. Linda says we’re either wet from sweat or wet from rain a lot of the time. Sometimes, when it’s hot, it’s a relief to be caught in a cool rain shower.
Sailors call being at anchor, being “on the hook”. Of course, the anchor is the hook. Technically we’re not on the hook, we’re attached to a mooring ball. The mooring has a sand screw that has been “drilled” about 8 feet into the seabed and attached to chain and rope that goes up to the mooring ball, which we attach lines to and then back to Ocean Song. The mooring is owned by a local Grenadian, Dominic. We dove on the mooring, and it looks well-maintained. Dominic charges $230US per month which is a very reasonable price.
Mooring ball set up.
Using the mooring means our anchor chain isn’t in the saltwater getting rusty and becoming a home to barnacles. Also, boats on proper moorings swing less than those at anchor. A properly deployed sand screw has more holding power than the anchors on most cruising boats. Dominic comes by every now and again just to make sure everything is OK.
As usual, we do various cleaning and maintenance jobs almost every day on Ocean Song. We try to finish our chores by lunch or shortly after and relax during the hottest part of the afternoons. Sometimes we end up doing boat chores in the afternoon despite our best efforts to avoid it. In the late afternoon and evening, we enjoy sitting on the bow (front) of the boat, enjoying the cooler evening breeze. We usually keep our binoculars (or as we call them “spy glasses”) close by in case something interesting pops up in the water, or on the water, or on the shore. We’ve gotten into a routine of listening to the cruiser’s net, shopping buses, relaxing at the pool, and going on island excursions:
Mondays – Up by 7:00 for coffee, listen to the cruiser’s net from 7:30 – 8:00. Dinghy to Clarke’s Court by 10:00 to meet up with “Fast Manicou” who delivers beer, soda, a few food items, and paper products, and fills gas, diesel, propane, scuba, and soda stream tanks for $10EC (about $3.75US) in addition to the cost on each item or tank. If we buy a case of soda, a bag of ravioli, and have two diesel tanks returned, the delivery fees are about $15US, which is a deal! That’s less than taxi fare and we don’t have to lug heavy tanks around. Even with Manicou’s delivery charge, beer and soda is less than if purchased at the store. By the way, a “manicou” is an opossum. We have no idea how he got that nickname. Then it’s back to Ocean Song for lunch. Then to Le Phare Blue to hang out at the pool for a couple of hours, then back home to Ocean Song. On to the front of the boat to sit for a while, then dinner onboard or at one of the local restaurants that are within dinghy distance. Usually, in bed by 9:30 because 9:00pm is universally recognized as “cruiser’s midnight”.
Tuesdays – Up at 7:00 for coffee, listen to the net. Dinghy to Clarke’s Court by 9:30 to meet up with Patrick “Shademan” (because he parks in the shade) to take the van, along with a dozen other cruisers, for shopping day. First to a roadside grill for Shademan’s breakfast sandwich. Then to the bank so that we can hit the ATM, over to ACE Hardware, next Budget Marine boating supply store, then the IGA (yes, the IGA), and CK’s (a small warehouse store, kind of a very-mini-Costco), and finally back to Clarke’s Court by 1:00 or 2:00pm. If we see an opossum that has been run over on the road Shademan says, “well that was not a fast Manicou”. Then we lug about 4 or 5 bags of groceries to the dinghy and then back to the boat. Some lunch onboard and then dreaded afternoon boat chores. Because the wind here is almost always out of the east, the back of the boat is in the full sun during the afternoon, but the front is shaded. Once the front of the boat is in the shade, we take our deck chairs, binoculars (spy-glasses
), and a drink up front. The “spy glass” nickname is our little joke. It’s rude to look at other people on their boats through binoculars, so we must be careful to avoid looking like we are spying on other boats. Finally, dinner and bed around cruiser’s midnight.
Full moon rising over Grenada.
Wednesdays the shopping comes to the nearby marina at Clarke’s Court. There’s Jenny’s Farmer’s market, Merry Bakery (aka the “breadman”) who brings fresh cinnamon rolls, pigs in a blanket, meat and cheese pastries, and other baked goods by the marinas and anchorages on a rotating basis. We try to do our errands at the beginning of each week. We like to go to Jenny’s Farmer’s Market for the fresh stuff and catch the breadman that same morning.
Thursdays are no businesses days. A good day to do early morning chores.
Fridays are a repeat of Tuesdays. So, if we don’t shop on Tuesday we go Friday.
Saturday “Shademan” has a bus that goes to “downtown shopping” in St. George’s, Grenada’s capital. There’s a fresh fish market and a large farmer’s market with a lot of different vendors. Also, on weekends it’s the Saturday hash, a mud filled walking or running trek through the mountains followed by food and drink. Yesterday’s hash left us and our clothes completely covered in mud!
Sunday is Cy’s Cruiser’s Walking Club. It starts at 8:00am with Cy, from S/V Music, leading a group of cruisers over the roads and goat trails of Grenada. Cy is from Louisiana and quite the character. Cy has spent most of the last 40 years between Annapolis, MD and Grenada. Starting around 2:00pm or 3:00pm, it’s BBQ Day on Hog Island, about 300 yards from our mooring spot. Several makeshift bar/BBQ joints are set up right on the beach, some with waves literally lapping at the tables. Lots of cruisers, music, fun, food, and drink.
We’ve met lots of interesting people on the buses and we’ve gotten to know a few of them. Also, we tend to go to the 4 or 5 establishments within dinghy distance quite a bit. Cruiser’s Galley restaurant at Clarke’s Court which has 9-ball on Thursday afternoons and live music most Friday nights, Taffy’s restaurant just across the bay, Le Phare Blue which has a marina, nice restaurant – Island Fever Tropical Tavern, and pool. If you patronize the restaurant (just buy one beer) you can hang out at the pool all day! Nimrod’s Rum Shop, a roadside bar with the coldest beer in Grenada, and open-mike night every Thursday. As well as The Little Dipper restaurant and all the beach bar/BBQ places on Hog.
One of the best parts of cruising is all the people we meet. In an earlier post we talked about seeing a report in early June from a cruiser who damaged his boat by getting the lines from a fish trap off the coast of the Dominican Republic caught in his prop at night. His experience caused us to change our cruising plans for the DR coast. We met him at the hash yesterday. We’ve met several of the cruisers who have popular YouTube sailing channels. Among them Zack and Lindy Duncan of “Fun on Holiday”, one of our two favorite channels. There are many German, French, British, Australian, New Zealand, South African, and Canadian cruisers in virtually every anchorage. Our starboard neighbors are Nikki and Heiko from Germany, our port neighbors were Janet and Kevin from the UK, and on our bow, William, from Scotland, and Jay, from Elephant Butte, New Mexico. There’s Cy on his boat Music, the Clemson (Go Tigers!) family on Machete, and six, yes, six young (in their 20’s) German sailors on a 36’ monohull anchored near Clarke’s Court, who just crossed the Atlantic. Their dinghy outboard quit, and we towed them from the Taffy’s dock to their boat with our dinghy one afternoon.
Roger’s Barefoot Beach Bar Hog Island Grenada
Well, let’s see what we’re doing today, Sunday, September 3rd – we’re still celebrating Carolina’s win over the chickens, maybe they’re roosters maybe they’re hens, last night, 31 -17. We have Starlink which allows us to watch movies, TV, and catch a game here and there. We do have to limit our WiFi usage because it is expensive. We had pancakes, bacon, and coffee for breakfast, then rested. It’s hard work mixing pancake batter and then cooking the pancakes and bacon! Now we’re making water, which will take about 3 hours, I’m getting tired just thinking about it. Maybe I should do a little boat work, maybe not because it is hot. I’m just not sure.
Fellow cruisers we helped set up their mooring ball.
Another Lagoon 42 was just now trying to pick up the mooring ball to our stern. They were struggling so Linda and I jumped into Opus and had them toss us their mooring lines so we could get them tied up. That was almost as tiring as mixing pancake batter (it gets really thick).
Lots of cruisers at the BBQ this afternoon.
Soon we’ll be off to Hog Island for music, BBQ, and a couple of beers. Sunday in Grenada is slow-paced, few establishments are opened. After our trip to Hog maybe a nap, but I’m not sure how tired we might be. If we stay at Hog late enough it will be close to cruiser’s midnight anyway, so maybe we’ll just go to bed for the night. I want to watch Florida State -v- LSU tonight, but it will be late, and do I want to use more data for that game? Can we even stay awake that late? It’ll be after 9:30 and we were up until 11:30 last night, I just don’t know. Life on the hook, or on a mooring, is filled with difficult choices!
The “parking lot” at Hog Island