Special Feature... Life on a Boat

Lest our readership think that it is all fun and games living on a boat, we thought we would offer some insight.  Let’s talk laundry.  When you can find a laundromat with functioning, clean machines, life is pretty good.  When you can’t, its time for WonderWash!  This is a truly wonderful little hand-cranked machine that washes and rinses your stuff.  We wait for a sunny morning, run out on deck with detergent, laundry, and the deck hose, and crank away.  To dry the wash, the lifelines of the boat serve.  When we have good Caribbean sunshine, we are done in just a few hours.  But when those storms roll through, there may be several bouts of taking it in, putting it out, taking it in, etc., maybe lasting all day and into the next.
Now how about cleaning that hull?  This usually needs to be done once every two months or so, unless we are in a very mangrove-y and rich environment, when we need to clean up more frequently.  So let’s do the math.  We have a 47-ft. long boat that is 6-ft. deep.  That’s a LOT of surface area under water.  (And our scraper is 4-inches wide.)   Usually John does this in one-hour stints over 3-4 days.  There are a lot of living things down there either attached to the boat or nibbling at the boat.  Most are not dangerous to the diver (as far as we know.)
Last entry in this special feature is John’s favorite chore -- showing a little love to the engine -- our Yanmar is often the most valuable player when we move the boat.  Every hundred hours we change the oil.  Again, this is one of those tasks best performed by a contortionist who can reach all the necessary places in the engine compartment.  It’s actually not so bad on our boat, John gets to sit on the toilet while changing the oil!
We’re always looking for a hand with these tasks.  Any volunteers?

August 23, 2010... Climbing Mt. Qua Qua

Yesterday we headed out to Grand Etang National Park with Dave and Victoria (who we met in Samana, DR, and have run into in several islands now) to climb Mt. Qua Qua, a peak of about 2400 ft.  Its 1 1/2 hours from the road to the top, along the ridgeline, up and down and up again on wet, muddy trails.  So, for experienced hikers like Dave and Victoria, this was a great time.  For John, it was like being on an Army exercise (gee - wish the rucksack was a little heavier) and for Patti, this was HARD!!!  But, the views from the top were fantastic, seeing both the Atlantic and Caribbean, and we did see some beautiful birds of paradise flowers growing wild.  Luckily, the rain held off and we didn’t have too much cloud cover.  As it was there were some pretty goopy places to cross on the trail -- more water could have been trouble.  Dave and Victoria continued on for another 3 hours to Concord Falls, while Patti and John headed back down the trail, glad to be alive!  Never thought hiking could be such an aerobic exercise.  Picked up some more groceries in town and got the bus back to the boat.  It felt sooo good to sit down again; don’t think we moved for 2 hours!

August 19-24, 2010... Clarke’s Court Bay (Woburn Bay)

We left the rolly anchorage in St. George’s and drove smack into a squall as we approached the SW corner of Grenada.  But we saw blue sky around the bend, so soldiering on we donned raingear, cursed a lot, and turned east for Woburn Bay looking for improvement.  The wind and rain stopped, the water smoothed out, and we anchored almost at the head of the Bay opposite the marina.  No rolls!  The boat was calm and so were we.
Next day we went into the marina, arranged to dock Anhinga there while we went back to the States for a visit, got internet access, and settled into life here.  It is so nice to sit in the cockpit in the shade of the awning, listening to the music from shore, and watching the comings and goings of the boats at the town dock.  We’ve explored by water; kayaking around Hog Island and over to the next bay, learned how to get around on land by bus from Woburn, danced at the ‘Motown Hoedown,’ met some other cruisers spending months right here, and pretty much decided that the south shore of Grenada is as far as we are going this season.  
We do spend quite a bit of time following the tropical weather, making sure we can prepare should any storms come our way.  Right now Hurricane Danielle is churning in the Atlantic and another storm, likely to be named Earl today, isn’t far behind.  Looks like they will both miss the Caribbean entirely, so we lucked out again.  Hope that luck holds through September. 
Clarke’s Court Bay, Grenada:  +12° 0' 38.82", -61° 44' 12.96"

August 17-19, 2010... St. George’s, Grenada

Moved a couple of miles south to anchor outside the harbor of St. George’s (Martin's Bay).  First day was OK, but soon the swells and rocking got to us, and we had to leave.  Patti was getting a little too cranky after having 3 nights of interrupted or no sleep as the boat crashed around.  But while we were in St. George’s we walked all over town (in the Lagoon and Carenage as well as up the hills), shopped at the fantastic fish market and the marketing board, visited the city museum, and were sobered by the devastation still apparent from 2004‘s Hurricane Ivan.  All the historic churches on the hills were demolished, along with other buildings in town.  The views from the hilltops are phenomenal; often turning a corner takes your breath away as you get an unexpected vista of the sea or down a step street into town.  The city is bustling, business seems good, and the people we’ve met have been very friendly.
St. George’s, Grenada:   +12° 2' 25.62", -61° 45' 25.86"

August 14-16, 2010... Dragon Bay, Moliniere, Grenada

Our trip from Carriacou to Grenada was pleasant and uneventful. Beautiful weather for the short trip. We picked up the Marine Park mooring in Dragon Bay just as the afternoon showers started. Always glad to be in port at that time. We stayed over in Dragon Bay for 3 nights, most of the time the only boat there. The snorkeling on the point was fun -- lots of squid -- but the truly different part was the underwater sculpture park. There are over 60 statues on the bottom in Moliniere Bay, and our challenge was finding them and then being able to hover to get a really good look. The sculptures become substrates for coral growth and attract fish. John's pictures (hopefully to be posted soon!) give you a feel for what you can see.
We also took a day to walk around the little towns that stretch along the main road here, and then took the jitney bus to St. George's -- our recon run for the next leg of our journey. The day we got to town, the rains were pretty serious, and in this town which is built on hills, it is a dramatic sight. Rivers were pouring down the hill streets, the water coming too fast for the drains to collect it. We hung out in the bus station waiting for a respite, then figured we could always eat! So off to the nearest roti shop for our dose of curry chicken and potato!
A small plug for Gibb, who has a bar at the beach in Dragon Bay. He plays fabulous music (that we could hear in the bay on the boat) and doesn't charge too much for a beer. So if you are in Dragon Bay, go ashore and meet Gibb and the locals.

Dragon Bay, Grenada: +12° 5' 8.22", -61° 45' 47.64"

August 12-13, 2010... Tyrell Bay, Carriacou

We loved Sandy Island but thought it was time to explore more of Carriacou, so we dropped the mooring and headed around the corner to Tyrell Bay. Yikes! So crowded! So industrial! Not at all what we expected after reading the cruising guide. We found a place to anchor and lowered the kayak for the initial exploration. Best thing we found immediately was the wifi available to boats in the harbor. We must have had pent-up internet fever after 3 weeks away from it, because we spent HOURS on-line. We broke free for pizza at the Lazy Turtle, and paddled back to the boat before the skies opened big time. It was nice to be onboard for the deluge and not in the kayak. Next day we paddled into the protected mangrove area. Beautiful! Quiet! Still as could be. And huge. A good hurricane hole. Wonderful respite from the rest of Tyrell.

Tyrell Bay, Carriacou: +12° 27' 24.36", -61° 29' 17.94"

SV Anhinga Tracker Updated!

The tech support has brought the Tracker back up to date. Woo!

Sandy Island Reef (Cont.)

Sandy Island Reef

August 8-11, 2010... Hello Grenada!

We left Chatham for Clifton, resupplied, and cleared Customs.  What a crowded harbor!  Didn’t make us want to stay longer.  So, once we were free to go, we did.  
We headed to Carriacou, the northern island of Grenada.  There, in Hillsborough, we could clear Customs and Immigration, but it was Carnival in Grenada, official holidays, so this was going to be a long drawn-out process.  Rather than wait in the harbor at Hillsborough, we picked up a mooring at Sandy Island, part of the new Marine Park of Grenada, partially funded by USAID.  There we really enjoyed the snorkeling -- some of which compared favorably with Tobago Cays.  The variety of fish and coral was really something -- and the water was as clear as could be.  We did have a little trouble swimming against the current one day, but surfacing, we noticed that the park rangers were checking on us (old folks) to make sure we were ok!  
Clifton, Union, St. Vincent and the Grenadines:  +12° 35' 43.08", -61° 24' 42.54"
Sandy Island, Carriacou, Grenada:  +12° 29' 2.22", -61° 28' 52.50"

More Photos From Tobago Cays

Tobago Cays Underwater

August 4-7, 2010... Taking it Easy

Four days have passed and we slowed way down. Sitting at anchor in Chatham is fabulous. The water is flat and there is no roll. There is no town and nothing to attract lots of boats. The most boats at anchor at any one time has been 5 -- and this bay is almost a mile wide. Today we are alone here. We love sitting in the cockpit first thing in the morning and listening to the sounds of the water, the birds, and nothing else. All day we watch the turtles around the boat come up for air. They are all sizes which makes us think there is a healthy multi-age population living here. Talking with some of the locals we learned that they do nest on this beach. The fishing birds are also fun to watch -- the gulls, terns, pelicans, boobies, and frigates -- all with their own divebombing style. And of course all the small fish hiding under our boat move as one when a predator appears. They love having John down there scraping the hull -- he is providing lots of easy to get food from the muck coming off the bottom. Evening comes and the ritual of watching the sun set is wonderful now that the rainy season is hibernating and we have clear skies. And at night -- with no light pollution -- the stars are phenomenal -- best being the whole Milky Way spanning the sky from horizon to horizon. Another island paradise. We'd stay forever, but John has run out of beer. Guess we'll have to get to Clifton!