Thursday, December 10, 2015

Halloween And The Final Days In Grenada

We were beginning to count down our final days in Grenada as Hurricane season was over and friends were moving on. There was one final big event that seems to signal the time to leave, the annual Halloween Party. Dirk and I dug out our Pirate costumes that we have been carrying onboard for several years now, hung them up to air out and started prepping the boat for our departure. We had all of our sun awnings up with the mizzen boom removed to make more room on the "back porch" as I call it. Dirk did all of the outside preps as I started stowing all of the numerous items that we tend to pull out when stationary for more then a day. I made a final provisioning list of things I hoped to get at the store before leaving and just about got them all. They only had one box of kitty litter which I jumped on. Being here has proved difficult with the cat. Many times I would go to buy litter and they would be out. I use the clumpable rather then the clay but now I have resorted to mixing it to go further. They say not to do this but one must do what ya have to do to make it work. The party was to be on a Wednesday and our plan was to leave Mt. Hartman the day after or 2 days later. Secret Harbor put on the kids Halloween party on I think it was Monday where they had a jump jump and a bubble machine along with games. I didnt go but you could tell the kids were enjoying it as you could here their screams and laughs into the anchorage. On Tuesday we had the final jam session that turned karoke soon after. Dirk and Gary were the only musicians that showed up but Jod, a bartender from the marina joined in on the drum and the kitchen staff joined in for some singing. A great time was had by all that attened and we made some great memories to carry us on our way. The following evening all the kids piled into several dinghys and proceeded to Trick Or Treat through the anchorage.
Trick or Treat
Guess where theres a will ther is a way. Shortly after the kids were done it was the adults turn for some fun. We all started piling into the Secret Harbor Marina where they had a DJ playing some great tunes. Just about everyone made some sort of attempt to dress up and I was surprised to see what people came up with.
Of course we were the pirates
Gary & Venessa from Neptune II
Sherry & Paul from Tehani
Izzy &Jeff from Izzy R
Carolyn & Dave from Lequesto
Thats just a few of the couples that came. There was also the crew from Gilligans Island that looked great and Dirk ended up taking some nice photos for them. Soon they got the bubble machine cranked up and even the adults were having fun.
Bubble Queen
To say the least we all had a great time which I think in part was due to the wicked Witches Brew the bartenders whipped up. Whew, that stuff was potent. We didnt get home till almost 3 am and Dirk never moved off the salon settee the whole next day. I on the other hand had to push through the hangover that plagued the entire anchorage the whole next day in order to do several loads of laundry as we were leaving in a couple days. Later that evening I had dinner with Gary and Venessa from Neptune II, Dirk stayed behind still glued to the settee unable to join us. While we had our pizza we sat and pieced the night before together and we came to the conclusion that it was the bartenders fault. Hey, we had to blame someone right? But I tell you, I wont be doing that again for a very long time, or in till the next time. The following day, on Oct. 31, we pulled up the anchor that had been keeping us attached in Mt. Hartman for a while now and headed to the fuel dock to fill up on some diesel, get some gas for the dinghy and go ahead and fill up the water tanks. It was cheap enough here and it would save us the trouble of running the generator in order to make water. During this time several folks saw us at the fuel dock and came to say goodbyes. I didnt tell too many people we were leaving as I hate goodbyes and we knew so many folks now it would have taken all day. It wasnt like we wouldnt see these folks again. In a crusiers life its more like see you later as you usually do run into them somewhere down the road. We have seen several people we have even met years ago. Of course once we were ready to leave the dock a huge black cloud started rolling in. We ended up staying on the dock till the squall passed and the winds died well enough to allow us to get off the dock with no problems. So, we were off, as we were leaving Mt. Hartman I actually got a bit teary eyed as we had spent so much time here, gotten to know some wonderful people here. It is always nice to be on the move again, but it is also a bit sad. We made the short sail to St. George and attempted about 3 times to set the anchor before we got the hook to set. I set about heating some dinner and we called it a night. The following day we Did yet another short sail up to Carriacou which is an island north of Grenada but still considered part of Grenada. We pulled into the crowded Tyrrel Bay and set the hook. Looks like we would be here for a couple days as weather was coming in. We ended up staying 6 days here with various squalls coming in. One poor boat in the anchorage drug so often I have no clue how they managed to get any sleep. And of course when they would re anchor everyone would keep a close eye to make sure they didnt anchor in front of them. We re connected with some friends we had last seen in St. Martin on Amaroo, a German couple that was part of the original rat pack, they still had not made it to Grenada but were on their way. We eventually checked out and said our final goodbyes to Grenada and Carriacou, next stop Bequia......Let me end this blog by posting some sunsets we were blessed with in Grenada.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Winding Down And One More Hash

Its hard to believe we have been sitting in Grenada since July 10th. At times time moved slow and as we were winding down it seemed to speed up. November 1st is the end of hurricane season this far south and many boats are starting to head out in different directions. Some South, some West, and some like us back North. So if we wanted to do it or see it, it was time to do so as time was getting short. I talked Dirk into doing a Hash with me. It was the 900th Hash for Grenada so it was a biggie. Six buses just from Mt. Hartman and Prickly Bay went. It too was on the north end of the island and it had been raining for several days before and raining as we were driving out there. This was going to be a muddy one. Traffic was busy and the bus driver was doing all he could to make sure we arrived on time. It was a bit scary and we told him he could slow down if he needed. Many of these roads are twisty and one cant see on the other side of the turn so everyone blows their horns to alert the other drivers. After a hair raising ride we arrived and had just enough time to sign in before the Hash started. Several of the Rat Packers were with us. These were the boaters we left Georgetown Bahamas with. And as I thought it was a wet trail. They offered 7 different trails depending on skill level.
I opted for the long walkers trail of 3 miles and Dirk did the short runners trail of 4 miles. Off we went into the rain forest.
Some skinny places to walk
It was single file over this. It was a decent fall down if you slipped
The trail led us through many nutmeg trees, avacado trees, by waterfalls, through running brooks and a fairly deep(thigh high) running stream. The trail was muddy, slick and in some areas pretty darn scary as it was a major drop off if you lost your footing. Several areas I skied down as it was too slick to try and walk, other places I literally had to crawl because I kept falling. Always I would feel someone grab my arm and pull me to my feet before heading off. Never saw who they were but thanks.
Sign on the trail
Into the bush, and boy was it slick
I fell twice big time at the above photo area. There was alot of downed bamboo that was very slippery, just when I thought I had my footing bam....down again. There was no free beer stop on these trails but as we finished the Hash we were given one. It went down too easy. Now to find Dirk and let the after party begin.
Me with the Hashmaster
Being that this was in a small village and apparently the bar that was there said they would not allow us to use the restroom there, the Hashmaster insisted we buy no beer from them and reduced the price at the hash tents to 3 for 10EC. Thats about $4.00 US for 3, not too bad, but where were we gonna go potty? I already had to go before the Hash, now it was time. Hashmaster arranged with a couple of houses to let us use the bathroom. Yeah, thats what I would want, a million muddy people tracking through my house. Caroline, Liz Ann and I set out for the house first stopping at a public faucet to wash off our shoes, legs, and feet . We knock on the door and a younger girl answers the door. Its a very modest home with a couple chairs pushed up against the walls and a tiny TV. An older woman was sitting in the dark as the girl led us down the hall into the bathroom area. Caroline was the first to go and afterwards she claims she was locked in, could I come help her. I asked which way the door opened, she couldnt remember and said in. So from the outside I am pushing with all my might, she is pulling and the door is obviously going the wrong direction. We try and pull back the other way, Caroline at this point is beginning to panic a bit as Liz Ann and I are giggling about it. After all we werent the ones locked in. I finally went to ask the homeowner which way her door opened. When she saw how her door was going the wrong direction she was not happy. Her and Caroline pushing and pulling, the lady cursing aloud and of course Im videoing it and laughing. I would remember which direction the door went when I got in. At last she was turn to use the so called bathroom which was a toilet, no seat, no toilet paper, and no running water. Oh joy.... Next time ladies, we are using the bushes which is exactly what I did. Once that fiasco was over we headed back to the party in time to see the virgins getting lined up.
Hashmaster calling all virgins
Gary and Dirk standing in wait
Gary, Vanessa, and Dirk
They are getting the speach
And now getting sprayed
After spending a bit longer here visiting, dancing and having a good time it was time to load up in the busses for the return trip. Shademan, our bus driver stopped at a small bar so the ladies could use the potty and we could all get a beer for the road. Guessing drinking and driving really does not matter here. Soon we were all back to the marina where we piled in to get something to eat before heading back to the boat. It had been a long day.
You could say I fell a few times.
One more big event was to come. The Halloween party which also signifies the end of one cruiser season and the beginning of another. The other group that come in is the people that leave boats in Grenada on the hard for hurricane season, fly back home and return once hurricane season is over. But they usually travel while here and dont just sit in the Bay day after day. So stay tuned for the Halloween Party and our farewell to Grenada.

Camp Grenada Continues To Get Busier

After six weeks in Prickly Bay we finally decided we had enough of the swells, the Coastguard flying through the anchorage and swinging too close to our neighbor boat. Besides that it seemed that most things we were doing now were taking place in Secret Harbor. Several times a week Dirk walked over for volleyball, Monday's was Texas Hold'em, Tuesday's was jam session. To top it off we had to lug the amp, sax, and all the assorted stuff for the walk. It was great for exercise but hot as it could be. I always walked around like I had just gotten caught in the rain as one was soaked after the walk. We found a spot in among the boats and anchored in about 30 feet of water. We were a bit further out in the bay but that was okay. It was still only a short dinghy ride to the dock.
Renegade marked by the pink arrow
Thanks to Cathy Tyda for letting me use her photo. As I said life here was becoming more busy. Seems everyday you had decisions of what to do as there was so many things going on that many things over lapped. Plus you still had to manage to get shopping and laundry done. Shooping from Mt. Hartman Bay is a bit different from Prickly. There you could walk to pick up a city bus anytime just about. Here you had 2 days a week, Tuesday's and Friday's that you could shop without taking a private taxi. There were usually 2 busses a day leaving that would pick up at 9 and 9:30. I always caught the early bus cause I just wanted it to be over. It takes you to the bank, the Spiceland Mall which has the IGA inside and then to the Veggie Shop and finally onto CK's which is like a big box store except its very small. Between all these stops you could usually find everthing you needed but many days that was not the case. It usually got you back to the marina by 11:30 and cost 10 EC per person. They did just raise the price to 15 EC due to fuel prices. Volleyball was a huge part of the day for many and they began to have adult volleyball, kids volleyball, and fun volleyball. Finally they had a tournament started. There were 7 teams and Dirk led the Renegades. Tournament play lasted several weeks to get the teams in order for the finals. Finally finals weekend came and it was a big event, plus very anxious for me when the Renegades were playing.
Here the Renegades are playing The Kids Team
Big crowds showed up for support.
Games went on into the night
Finally...after several close games Team Renegade emerged the winners, The Crazies came in second and The Kids Team in third. The other 4 teams gave it a good go though. They had a ceremony a couple days later to give out medals and prizes.
Team Renegade missing one member Matt.
Dirk with the trophy that will have a plaque made for the marina
Showing off his first place medal
The prizes were a case of beer to split, a bottle of wine and bragging rights. And finally I got to wash his lucky shorts that I wasnt allowed to wash since the beginning of the tournament. Whoa, were they in desperate the way, they lived in the cockpit as they werent allowed down below. Once all the serious volleyball was over we could get back to filling that time in with jam sessions again.
Gary & Dirk playing as the girls sing backup
A different crowd tonight
Scott being all serious
Dirk playing a tune
Sing it....
When we first started attending the jam sessions it seemed they were a bit mild and ended semi early in the evening. Seems though that it got to be where several of us would stay after the regular crowd left and it would be turned into jam session/ karaoke. So much fun, anyone could join in and we even had the staff join in after the manger left for the evening. Many nights we stayed till after 10pm. The bar closes at aroud nine but they stay till we leave. I have to give it to the staff at Secret Harbour. From the bartenders to the kitchen staff, they were all so friendly and wanted to make sure we were taken care of. They have a few problems with management but hopefully for the staff that will work itself out soon. Soon, the Tiki Bar at Prickly Bay started advertising for jam sessions on Thursday nights. Add another day to the calendar....the management however would send a free bus over to pick us up and take us back which was nice. They also gave all the musicans free drink tickets which was gracious. This would be Dirk's first time outside of his comfort circle and he did great.
An actual stage
I know when we leave he will miss the jam sessions and Gary off Neptune II who gave him so much knowledge and confidence. Hopefully we will see them up island and the guys can do impromptu jams along the way. A few other things we manged to fit in was a trip to La Sagesse Nature Center. Its a resort on a great stretch of beach that several couples decided to treat ourselves dinner at. We all put on nicer clothes, a bit of makeup and did what we could with our hair. The resort had a van come pick us up, no charge and take us there. It was a nice 1/2 hour ride up the coast and we arrived at a very quiet secluded area. We ordered a round of Rum Punches and strolled along the the beach taking in the beauty and beach to ourselves before returning for dinner.
Nice secluded beach
Enjoying the sunset
We were seated outside with the setting sun behind us. We were the only people in the place as hurricane is off season for many places. We ordered and had a great meal followed by a flaming dessert.
Our group
Bananas, rum, and icecream
We also found time to attend a benefit concert for Dominica. This was a couple weeks after the hurricane went through and devastated the island. It was at a place called Our Place and it sat along the hillside with Port Louis down below.
Jazz Musican and owner
Gerard playing for us on the bus ride back
Gary played his sax, Gerard the guitarist /singer played and it turned out to be a nice evening. On the way home Gerard played and sang the whole way back for us. And the days kept going on and on. Stay tuned for more Camp Grenada, we are here for a while.