Wednesday 14th March - Pausing in South Grenada
14th March 2012 – Whisper Cove, Grenada
The places we’ve anchored in since leaving St George’s reads like a list of locations in an Enid Blyton book – Prickly Bay, Secret Harbour, Hog Island and finally Whisper Cove. These are all to be found in the inlets on the south west of Grenada – getting to them involved very bumpy rides – think going through the Needles channel with wind against tide but not for very long. We’ve been waiting in Grenada for yet another Hydrovane part – this time shipped directly out here. We’ve made time for a bit of R & R, most notably the Sunday (4 Mar) afternoon barbecue at Roger’s Bar on Hog Island. As ever, we pitched up at lunch time only for food not to be available until 3.00 pm – we’ll learn one day! Nevertheless, we had a great time waiting – it’s a very laid back, trusting place. Roger had to go off somewhere and just handed over the bar to one of the customers. Not that working out how much to charge was a challenge – everything costs $5EC (about £1.20)!
The Hog Island anchorage does look a bit of a pig to get into and out of (yeah, yeah; I know). The reefs lie very close around the entrance, weave around a bit and the buoyage is pretty Craibbean. The anchorage is very crowded and we needed to hunt around and try a few times before we found somewhere safe to drop our faithful FBA (Chris Austin has suggested naming it Arfur – as in “Ah, for f…s sake”. We’re not sure – FUBAR (think Private Ryan) looks attractive at times).
Apart from Roger’s Bar, Hog Island has absolutely nothing apart from a white sand beach and extensive mangroves. It’s a great cruising fraternity hangout - particularly on a Sunday. Apparently that is all about to change because some hotel chain (we heard Four Seasons) has done a deal to develop it into a tourist trap. How delightful: can’t wait. HoHo
Bob propping up Roger’s Bar
Note modest sized speakers by Caribbean standards! This whole shebang arrives by dinghy and outboard engine
Next day (Monday 5th), it was around the corner to Clarke’s Court Bay with eyes sharply peeled to spot the many reefs and not so many buoys – certainly a lot fewer than marked on the chart, so take your pick as to which one you think the one you are looking at might be. Actually, don’t do that. Work out where you are and where you are going and regard the buoys as a bit of interesting local colour. Our lunch stop was an anchorage off Calivigny Island – a very private, up market resort where the staff is shipped in and out on an old landing craft. The place could not have been more different to Hog Island, yet they are only half a mile part.
There are two marinas in Clarke’s Court Bay and one in the adjacent bay. We needed one to enable us to fit the Hydrovane once the new shaft arrived. We opted for the least chi chi and were thrilled to find such a wonderful place in Whisper Cove marina. Admittedly, it was tricky getting in to our berth in the tiny marina (echo sounder hit zero as our bow hovered feet from the bank) but with Gilles and Jermaine manhandling us in from 2 dinghies we made it without mishap. Gilles and his wife Marie-France, both from Quebec, have built up a delightful little place with everything a yachtsman needs from an airy bar/restaurant serving scrumptious food to a workshop (Jon and Bob made extensive use of that) and all this is set in a pretty little hillside garden. Gilles is a master butcher by trade and an excellent chef. By the bye he also built his own 50 ish foot steel boat, and sailed it from Canada to Grenada and he and Marie-France live on it in their marina. He runs a first rate deli and butcher’s shop. That sort of thing ain’t easy to find. It is clear that “Miss Mary” both runs the show and is adored by her excellent and very bright staff. And, what is more, you can josh with them, get, inter alia, their unvarnished political views and begin to feel that you might just be beginning to get under the skin of this island.
One couple who were also staying in Whisper Cove were Dieter and Barbara from Vienna. They own a Swan, Rasmus, built in 1970 and were in the process of a major re-fit both above and below decks. Despite all this they invited us for dinner twice. Barbara is a semi professional cook and we were blown away by the wonderful dishes she produced. She even lent Carol her Caribbean cookery books but it will probably some while before food of a similar standard is produced in Arnamentia’s galley (not my comment – Ed).
Whisper Cove shoreside
Whisper Cove Marina – note challenging approach to berth!
Arnamentia berthed far side of pontoon, 3 blue fenders visible on port side
The little blue ferry at 2 o’clock from Arnamentia’s bow ended up there after a hurricane a considerable time ago. It gonna be move in a wile.
Tuesday 6th saw Jon and Bob setting off on the trail of the Hydrovane shaft which was scheduled to arrive at the airport the day before. Finding that it had was the easy part. What followed next was a Feydeau farce of a trail around airport buildings and customs offices. Naturally, having got to the airport (Bob until this point was a Caribbean bus virgin so this added to his education) they discovered that we were at the wrong place entirely. Had the parcel come in by any number of other carriers rather than Virgin, things would have been different. But, they now needed to be miles away from the airport, back most of the way they’d come. A helpful customs officer gave them a lift in his pick-up truck to the right place. This comprised 3 offices, about 25 yards apart, each of which had to be visited twice in the correct order with each visit resulting in a pleasing addition to the accumulation of paperwork and rubber stamp impressions. In one case there was. a less pleasing depletion in the contents of the wallet. But, eventually they departed with large and heavy package atop Bob’s broad shoulders. The next phase of the mission for Jon and Bob was to visit Budget Marine in Prickly Bay – a half mile walk away. Let it be said now that there are two major chandleries in Grenada – both parts of Caribbean chains. In Budget Marine in Grenada you encounter staff who are knowledgeable and extremely helpful. So, we move on. Not so fast though. A word must be said about Ace Hardware whom Jon and Bob also visited. Located not far from Budget Marine (a 15 minute walk) they were a real treat to deal with. You cannot walk around their store for more than about a minute without someone coming to you and asking how they might help. You say what you want and if they haven’t got it they’ll dig deeper to discover the problem you are trying to solve. Then they are likely to suggest an alternative approach that will work just as well. That’s so important if you can’t drive hither and thither, time is short and you need the problem sorted.
Having completed Phase 2 of the mission, Bob and Jon were in need of refreshment. They popped next door to De Big Fish bar/restaurant. Fortunately, it wasn’t peak time so they were saved from being the daily special.
The next week was characterized by very unseasonal weather with strong winds and lashing rain. Nobody with any sense in the Windward Islands was moving anywhere. Well, there are worse place to be holed up and it allowed Jon and Bob an ideal opportunity to refit the Hydrovane, replace the pressurized water system pump and switch (which Bob brought out with him) and tackle a series of minor challenges that insisted on presenting themselves.
Chaos not really ensuing
Finally, after a bit of a false start the previous day, the crew unlocked themselves from the friendly embrace of Whisper Cove on the morning of Wednesday 14th March to investigate the other Windward Islands. We said farewell to newly made friends and headed north to Carriacou.