Up at the usual time and Brian s back was the only bad sun burn causing distress, never mind it is all in a good cause to show he has been somewhere warm!
Firstly as it had rained so hard during the night we had to bail out the dinghy, fortunately we had closed all the windows so were kept dry inside. After bailing we went over top the main pier looking for customs/immigration. No problem though in Grenada, instead of customs first, it is immigration first, ha! So we trouped over to the Police station for immigration then back to the dock for Customs. 95 EC dollars later we were in but couldn’t find anything open just the locals milling around. We asked the customs and was told it was a bank holiday. Their unions had arranged for all the workers on the Island to have a day off, yes that’s right “May Day” and I got the impression she thought it was only local to Grenada!!!
Nothing open and the chance of finding a wi fi connection would be like finding hens teeth so we took the opportunity to take a stroll as we were there and get the feel of the place. Anyway, whilst strolling we cam across the Cable and Wireless office, Closed of course, but on the door a placard saying free WI fi “here”. So out came the lap top and hey presto we had a connection. It started to spit with rain and over the road was a derelict building with an old table in, so I moved in. Probably about an hour later after we had done e mails and spoken to most of the family it was time to make a move. I have to say out of all the free connections we have enjoyed, this one was far the best, thanks Cable & Wireless.
Back to the boat, a quick snack lunch and away at 1330 hrs, sharp. We headed for the first bay where we could get an anchorage in the dark. Even though we had all sails up and with engine going made good progress, we had lefty to late to make the destination by dusk.
Arrived in “Dragon Bay” (or should we call it Christine bay!) and thank goodness for the chart plotter, we anchored safely. Shepherds Pie mad out of the last 3 tins of “minced lamb and onion” enhanced with fresh carrots and real potatoes! Mango for pudding to which Brian said he preferred Mango Chutney to the real fruit!
We chatted ‘till about 2300hrs then bed. No wind or Rain during the night, but oh dear, did she roll!!!
I had a dreadful night worried about the Anchor, uncomfortable with the rolling eventually got up and made tea 0600 hrs. For me that is un thinkable, nothing before 0800hrs!! Brian was still sleeping, lucky him that’s what I say. Still the bay we arrived at in the dark was lovely, very sheltered from the wind but there is this terrible swell all the time. Still we won’t be here any longer as we are heading for St Georges. Brian eventually emerged around 0930hrs after a bad night. Not only the wallowing keeping him up, but also his back. Apart from still being red he also had several burst Blisters, ouch!
We had bacon omelettes for breakfast to cheer ourselves up then after clearing up lifted the anchor and away heading for St Georges, all of 3 miles away! A tricky approach, glad we didn’t try it in the dark. Found the lagoon we wanted and anchored.
Saturday and we wanted some provisions so off to town we went. After walking for 20 mins the rain came down. That was it, I then introduced Brian to the usual Caribbean white knuckle ride, yes that’s right the local bus! Arrived at the centre of town nearly before we started, still we got there and as it was around 1300hrs lunch was called for and what did we see, yes, “Kentucky Fried Chicken” so that was it. We then walked it off by climbing god knows how many steps up to the usual Caribbean fort originally built by the French then transferred to the British. A wonderful view of the docks, fishing port, marina, and lagoon, well worth the leg ache! Back down to the town and a wonder through the market, most things available here and we bought some fresh fruit and Veg. We also visited the local supermarkets to stock up then back to the bus terminal for the return white knuckle ride. Though I have to say not as bad as Young Island to Kingstown on St Vincent!
We stopped for couple of beers at the yacht club en route, then into the dinghy and back to Anam Cara. Dinner tonight was Chilli Con Carne.
We are both looking forward to a better night tonight.
Sunday in St Georges (Grenada) is just like any other Sunday up and down the Caribbean Islands, nothing happening other than church for the majority of the population. So we decided, firstly to clear out and then leave the anchorage (after all it was basically a town harbour though called a lagoon) and one didn’t want to swim in it for example. We decided to take Anam Cara round to the next anchorage in a bay where we could swim and relax before the overnight. Clearing out cost us an additional 47 ECD as it was Sunday and therefore we had to pay the overtime rate; this on top of the 95 ECD when we checked into Grenada, expensive this country ! We had already decided to start for Trinidad around 1800hrs and do an overnight (79 miles) therefore had no choice.
Anchor away was the instruction, well the first of three things that gave us headaches happened. I knew the batteries were on their last legs so was not too surprised when the windless struggled to bring the anchor up but there it was, to my shock, horror, I brought up the top end of a derelict telegraph pole with all its ironwork still attached to our anchor; worse the anchor chain had wound itself around it all! After struggling for a bit an English couple passing by in a dinghy stopped to help, so with several ropes attached to “this thing” and tied off to cleats etc we slowly untangled the mess and eventually it fell away back into the deep. At last we were set free and away.
We motored to the next bay, beautiful it was too, clear water and looked perfect for dropping the anchor, which we did, several times! We just couldn’t get a bite. What looked like sand was hard and shallow so the anchor wouldn’t penetrate and hold. So, the additional secondary chain and about 30 meters of anchor chain, we thought that would hold, so in we went for our swim. Got out and relaxed, me dozing in the sun on the coach cabin roof and Brian in his bunk out of the sun. About an hour later I woke and to my horror the second of three issues arrived. We had drifted out to sea, fortunately there were no other boats around, perhaps that should have told us something as well! So upped anchor and re set it back in the bay only for it all to be repeated an hour or so later! So that was it, time to leave Grenada and head south for Trinidad.
We also took the opportunity to empty 3 jerry cans of fuel into the main tanks, but as we emptied the residue of the fuel into one jerry can, we noticed how dirty the fuel was. Fortunately this muck only came up from the bottom of the jerry can, so, keeping fingers crossed for what had already gone in, we didn’t add any more.
We plotted our course taking in to account the currents etc and more importantly arriving top end of Trinidad during daylight hours. Sailing was close haul but never mind we were travelling up to 7 knots (any faster and we would have arrived in the dark!) and feeling very happy with ourselves. We had arranged 3hours on, 3 hours off and I handed over to Brian at midnight with everything looking just dandy.
About 0100hrs I heard all this noise above me so was up like a jack in the box to investigate
We were about 30 miles into a 79mile sail and Brian had managed to lose the wind, how careless of him!!!! Whilst chasing the wind Anam Cara did a sort of half tack and when he put the throttle into drive, nothing g seemed to happen! So, with zero wind we pulled in all the sails and decided to motor. Though we had little or no useable wind (what there was straight on the nose) we were suffering with a 3 knot current going west; we were going south! With the engine running we were making as much as 2 knots, yes 2 knots and the engine wouldn’t pull more than 2,200 revs. There was something wrong as the engine used to pull 3,000 revs at least, added to that, every time we went up a wave, the engine started to struggle, as if starved of fuel. Oh, why did we put that fuel in yesterday!
Whilst this was going on we were debating the various options available to us when the engine just came to an abrupt halt. We tried several times but she would not start.
Now our options were very limited. During the past few weeks we had been reducing our battery power as from the original 8 house batteries, we were now down to 3 and these were dodgy, they wouldn’t hold their charge so the engine had to run to keep sufficient electricity to work the electronic equipment. This equipment are not like lights and fade as power is reducing, once we dropped below 12 volts, it switched itself off!
So, there we were 35 miles south of Grenada 44 Miles of Trinidad with minimal winds but at least what there was, was coming in from east south east. On the positive side we had a passage chart of the area, a hand held GPS with 2 AA batteries and the ship’s compass. Major downside was no auto helm, no chart plotter and no ships GPS and therefore no distress call on the VHF.
We soon concluded we only had one choice and that was to turn round and use the ESE winds to sail by and aim for Prickly Bay on the southern part of Grenada. If we got it right we could sail straight into the bay and then decided anchor, buoy or pontoon; we would se what was available at the time.
Out came the main and jib, Brian elected to hand steer and I did the navigating. The one luxury we did have was tricolour on and white flares in the cockpit in case any other vessel didn’t see us!
It was around 1.30am when we turned round, set the sails, and started back. Well the wind was super, behaved itself well. We still had this 3 knot current to worry about but the bearings given to the helmsman kept us to the east of the rheum line and as long as we stayed there we would not miss Prickly Bay. It was a very long night for Brian, hard work and no respite. I was up and down doing fix’s and keeping an eye on the current, speed and position, after all we didn’t want to attempt to get into Prickly before daylight. Dawn came up around 5.30 am, by which time we had reduced our sails to a reefed main and staysail. Would you have believed it, we had been going too fast! Outside Prickly Bay there is Prickly Point with a disused lighthouse on, that was our marker and guess what, that was exactly where we arrived, of course! That part of the journey was over, now to go in and find a suitable spot to moor. Brian was nervous as we hadn’t been there before. The alternative was to travel all the way back to St Georges but the down side to that was following a buoyed channel straight into wind. The other main reason to go into prickly was due to the fact they had full servicing facilities.
Think positively Brian I kept saying, we can do anything if we put our minds to it, don’t worry!
We came into the bay OK, found a buoy, and went for it. I picked it up OK but the rope attached to it was in a big knot and I was trying to sort it as I walked down to the stern with it only to have to let it go in the end. Never mind and not too daunted, we selected another one, this time picked it up and secured it immediately. Took down what sails were up then re-set the warps with the buoy and we were secured. A cup of tea was followed by Brian going for some well earned rest and I went off looking for someone to help with the fuel system.
After a lot of chatting, cajoling, raising my voice and eating some humble pie I met up with the Manager of this big Spice Island complex. Now we got something going, he telephoned a freelance mechanic to see if he could help, 20 minutes later this mechanic, Joules, drove into the yard! A dingy ride away to Anam Cara, a couple of hours work and two filters (which we were lucky in having both aboard) we fired up and she sounded even better. Firstly the dirty filters were overdue for changing; it was not the fuel I had put in the day before. Secondly, the bracket one of the filters suits on was broken and the vibration caused the filter to flex and let in air! No wonder she sounded better! So, 200 ECD later Joules was away and we could have lunch followed by a siesta before we left at 1700hrs.
After the night from hell everything turned out to be a good un! 1700hrs we broke off the buoy (before anybody asked for money!) and headed south. Wind around 17 knots coming in again from the ESE and we had a good sail, passed our problem patch around midnight and still sailing, though with engine on in the background keeping our electrics going.
3 hours on 3 hours off, past the Trinidad Natural gas platform and a drilling rig, dawn around 0500hrs and there it was, Trinidad, at last!
Sails in before we cut between the islands leading to or final destination, we used this time to empty the last 4 jerry cans into the main tanks though this time I had added an extra filter into the system, just in case!
Before we could get into Power Boats we were told we had to go to customs and then immigration, several hours later we were in though still had to go back with some sort of letter from Power Boats following day! Next we went onto the fuel dock to top tanks right up and it was here we were told we had to take down two forestays for the crane to be able to accommodate us. I was furious because when I booked there was no mention that they couldn’t handle a boat of this size! They were also pressing me to go to the office to complete the paper work.
We were vary fortunate in finding the skipper whose boat was just in front of Anam Cara, he had his own rigging company so he and Brian set to work and dismantled them. I don’t know what I would have done without Brian; he was a brick, thanks Brian. The main lesson is if you lay up here in Trinidad leave at least 7 days to do it. What we might take for granter in UK, here everything has a cost, but worse than that, the bureaucracy here just eats time like there is no tomorrow.
Back into the office with another 6 forms completed then told to get back next day for the letters to take to customs and immigration. These are because I am leaving the boat unattended for so long, Ugh!!!!!!!!
As you can imagine, two nights without seeing my bed, I was really grumpy so, not like me really!!!!!!!!! So booked 2 nights in the Power Boat’s small hotel at the yard and followed by a nice meal then in bed for 2100hrs I think I was asleep before my head hit the pillow.
Woke up to a beautiful sunny morning, went to the office to get the “letters” onto the water taxi dock only to find after waiting the best part of an hour the driver wasn’t working that morning! Anyway another kind person took pity on me and gave me a lift across the bay. I delivered these letters to both customs and immigration where they duly stamped all copies and gave me back ones for re-entering the country and for the boat yard’s file.
Brian in the mean time went to Port of Spain to organise when the ferry travels over to Tobago and get the tickets.
To cut a long story short, I had spent 1 ½ days just doing paper work out of the 2 days I had set aside to prepare the boat for storage. I then spent the last half day organising work to be bone for the long storage, I only hope it gets done, maybe I will have to do a fleeting visit i8n the summer.
Both of us were tired so skipped dinner, and again in bed around 2100hrs.
The day of departure has suddenly come upon me, I have had a great time during the last 6 months, I would very much like to have stayed on but sometime we have to compromise things, and after all 6 months in the Caribbean and 6 months in Spain can’t be too bad, I suppose!
The Taxi arrived actually at the time we booked it, a fantastic start to the day!
We arrived at the ferry port early, and waited for the booking in counters to open, so far so good. Went into the departure lounge, very comfortable, then the 1330 ferry became the 1430 ferry!!!!!!!!!! The good news is there is the Trinidad steel band on board and they are also catching the Virgin flight back to the UK.
The ferry eventually arrived albeit 1 ½ hours late, so found a Taxi driver and got an express drive to the Airport. The good news was the band was following us and we went straight to the booking in desk, no queue! Tobago is a small airport so walked to the other end for international departures and lo and be hold, here was the queue! About an hour later we were through security then onto the plane. The plane was due to take off at 1900 hrs, it eventually left 2000hrs but not due to us or the Band being late, it was down to the late loading of the luggage!
Anyway, journeys end has arrived and the start of a new six month experience takes over. This web page will still be around should you wish to look back and it will be started up again when we start our next six month adventure in November 2009.
Attached is how I left Anam Cara, hopefully in the good and capable hands of Power Boats in Trinidad.
That’s all folks, bye for now