At home in Grenada for hurricane season 12.02.247N 61.45.759W

Hamble Warrior
Jamie Hickman
Thu 24 Nov 2022 18:10

June-September 2022

Our trip down to Grenada from St Lucia was a bit of a tough slog. With a dirty hull and counter-current slowing us down paired with even more reluctance than usual to put the engine on as there were clearly some problems brewing, we had a slow and arduous passage south.

Shortly after midnight we dropped anchor off Bequia (St Vincent Grenadines) behind "Puff" and retired to our bunks for some rest. We never did get to see our friends Ingrid & Kris as we woke to the 6am alarm and set sail south once again. Ingrid tells me she heard the anchor going up but by the time she was on deck we were sailing off into the horizon.

We sailed passed the Grenadines; steered a course around the exclusion zone surrounding "Kick 'em Jenny" the underwater volcano and passed Grenada's little sister island of Carriacou. At about half past 8 that evening we dropped anchor in Grand Mal anchorage just north of St George's. Finally we had arrived in Grenada!

The following morning we lifted our anchor and moved around the corner to the mooring field off St George's passing the impressive cricket stadium on the waterfront. We took up a mooring ball as this is a strict no-anchoring area and launched our dinghy to row into Port Louis marina to check in. Port Louis is a beautiful marina laid out much more like a luxury holiday resort than any marina I have ever visited. It had a fancy pool; beautiful bars and restaurants and a large population of brightly coloured iguanas that were introduced by way of a number of informative placecards much like you might find in a wildlife park. I didn't know there were quite so many varieties of iguana!!

After completing formalities at the marina we had a celebratory beer at the bar and then took our dinghy across the water to the yacht club dinghy dock and from there walked into town. I was so taken with St George's - to view the town from the waterfront (the Carenage) it looked the image of a west country fishing town with beautiful colourful old buildings lining the waterfront and an eclectic mix of fishing vessels in the harbour. I felt a sense of nostalgia for the many coastal towns back home that we had spent summers cruising to. Not to mention there is something deeply reassuring about spending hurricane season somewhere that still has very old buildings standing.... deeply reassuring!

We had just one night on mooring ball outside St George's. We'd have loved to stay in that area a while but without anywhere to anchor we were reluctant to pay for an expensive mooring ball for longer than was absolutely necessary. Its a shame. The moorings were installed during covid and have not been removed but they don't seem to be particularly maintained so it's just a large anchorage wiped out now.

We set sail just 4 or 5 short miles down to the bays at the south of the island heading for Prickly Bay. A quick sail soon turned into a 4 hour slog as we battled the currents at the bottom of the island and put in endless tacks to cover the last 2 miles of the trip. Again our reluctance to put any load on our engine meant that cheating was out of the question and by the time we got inside Prickly Bay we had been gazing wistfully at it for some hours and our tack lines looked like a healthy ECG monitor!!!

Early season weather warning & family time

We dropped anchor in Prickly Bay and admired the spot that would become so familiar to us over the upcoming months. Behind the small marina were some holiday apartments that Jamie's parents had booked into for their upcoming visit and at the front of all of this on the waterfront proudly stood a Christmas tree made of lights. We were not sure if this was still up from the previous year or had been erected early for the coming Christmas but as it was pretty much the middle of the year it was an odd sight either way. It remained there for our entire stay in Prickly bay and I became quite fond of the sight of it lit up each night like a beacon for weary sailors to navigate their way in by!

Jamie's mother was having trouble with her bad knee by this time and starting to get nervous about the number of steps she might have to face at the accommodation they'd booked. So one of our early tasks was to visit the accommodation and assess it's accessibility. We then went for a tour of the local accommodation options and discovered the absolutely beautiful little cottages located right on Lance Aux Epines beach looking out to where Hamble Warrior was bobbing in Prickly Bay. Jamie's parents booked themselves in here and we had some wonderful times together in these beautiful self catering cottages; cooking family meals, playing pool and bananagrams in the on-site games room, swimming off the beach and enjoying sunset drinks at the little beach bar where "Cathy-Ann" quickly learned how to make Mother's Pina Colada just the way she liked it!

The day we went exploring options for accommodation we also went on a hike across the island checking out supermarkets and chandleries. We were intrigued by a place called Treasure Trove Marine that sold second hand bits and pieces for boats so we walked across the southern bays of the island to Woburn (Clarke's Court) to check it out. On the way we stopped for lunch at "Andy's Soup" place where we shared a delicous lunch of Chicken Roti and our first taste of Callaloo (local spinach) in Andy's amazing Callaloo soup. It was a well timed stop as the heavens opened and it absolutely bucketed down whilst we are our food. Infact despite being seated under a covered seating area we had to move inside and Andy literally battened down his hatches to stop the rain blasting in sideways! When we got back out on the road again the rain had eased but it was a muddy slide to where we were going and back again trying to avoid slipping in the deep storm drains on either side of the road. I learned a valuable lesson that day - not to go walking in flip flops in Grenada if there is any rain expected.. I was literally sloshing around in mud flicking it all up the backs of my legs as I walked. I was just about to start complaining to Jamie when I noticed an elderly lady; she must have been 90 if she was a day old, walking back towards me along the road, leaning heavily on a walking stick with one hand and carrying her shoes in her other hand. She didn't look like she needed any help; she was just getting on with it. So I shut my mouth and stopped whining!

The spot we had dropped anchor on the edge of prickly bay was rather exposed to the swell that could roll in periodically when the winds came from anywhere South of East. When we returned to the bay from our excursion we could tell immediately it was a day for swell - even the dinghies tied to the marina dinghy dock were jumping around. By the time we got back to the boat she was rolling so severely that it was a challenge to physically lift the dinghy back on-board; we had to time it just right between rolls and then winch it up on deck as quickly as possible.

Jamie had been concerned that the problems we had with our gearbox had worsened as we approached Grenada and with his parents due to visit and the possibility of a parts delivery on the horizon he decided it was time to roll his sleeves up and investigate. We weren't keen on the idea of disabling the engine while lying at anchor; especially in a spot that got so lively but most importantly we were now technically into the Caribbean Hurricane season. With this in mind we went to speak to the guys at the marina about the possibility of taking up one of the many mooring balls that they manage in the bay and secured a ball for a month at a very reasonable price. Once securely tied to the mooring Jamie set about taking the gearbox apart and identified the part that would need replacing.

The following day Jamie was in some quite considerable discomfort with his knee after having been crouched in the engine bay all day working on the gearbox. We went ashore and asked around at the marina and the kind people there were able to direct us to the health centre "Fit for Life" where we met the extremely helpful Dr Oke. We also made another useful contact that day as the marina guys called "Lydon" a local taxi driver to take us to the health centre. Lydon is such a nice man and was so helpful that day that we hung on to his details and used his services several times when Jamie's parents were visiting. He became a good friend to us in our time on the island.

At the medical centre we were seen very quickly by Dr Oke who was extremely thorough and reassuring. He examined Jamie and asked him a lot of questions and when we left the surgery we had a prescription for anti-inflammatories; guidance on what to do next and when we might expect to see improvement, and Dr Oke's contact details with an instruction to contact him directly should things get worse. The total bill came to $90ECD (less than £30). We felt that we had been very well taken care of.

For the next few days Jamie needed to rest his knee and with his parents due to arrive soon that meant I took responsibility for shopping and preparations. Fortunately there was a good store within walking distance of the dinghy dock so I was able to get everything we needed to keep us going and even shop for a "care pack" for when his parents arrived which we delivered to the cottages so that they had groceries and essentials waiting for them.

Unfortunately as the arrival of our family drew closer so was forecast the first bit of tropical weather of the hurricane season. This was very early in the season but we watched the development of "94L" as it crossed the Atlantic over a number of days and when it became apparent that Grenada was in its path we began making our preparations. Unfortunately this included breaking the news to Jamie's folks that they might be arriving into a tropical storm and we might not see them for the first couple of days of their trip. We also got to witness how other cruisers reacted to the news of approaching weather and how much gossiping and sharing of misinformation creates alarm. Our own preparations included:

[  ] Regular checking of our usual weather pages several times each day
[  ] Checking of the reputable hurricane forecasting outlets including NOAA and COW
[  ] Reassembling our gearbox - we had a replacement part coming out with our family but in the meantime we wanted the engine to be useable if needed; if only in its somewhat underpowered state
[  ] We moved to a mooring ball nearer the marina and away from unattended anchored boats (the moorings in the bay are hurricane graded and so the cleats on your boat will give up before the mooring fails but there are a few abandoned boats at anchor around the periphery of the bay and these were more of a concern to us should one start moving. We later learnt the boat we had been concerned about had been shackled to one of the mooring chains by the guy that ran the mooring field)
[  ] Put extra mooring lines to our mooring ball and added anti-chaffe tubes where the lines ran through fairleads
[  ] Stowed all loose deck gear and lashed down anything that remained on deck
[  ] Put extra wraps in our headsail lines and secured mainsail with extra sail ties (we did not remove the sails incase we were going to need them - especially with an ailing engine)
[  ] Ensured we had plenty of fresh stores onboard and prepared a few meals in advance incase the conditions became very uncomfortable

During these preparations 94L was upgraded to "potential tropical cyclone 2" (PTC2) but at this stage we felt we had done all we could. We had debated long and hard whether we should move to one of the more protected bays where we could anchor or tie up into mangroves but with our gearbox in its sorry state we felt it was the right decision to stay on our mooring. It was during this period of wrangling that we got a visit from our neighbour who hadn't so much as given us a hello up to this point who decided to pop over "just to make sure we were taking it seriously" and share with us the wisdom he'd gathered from several years of sitting in the same three bays. It's the unwanted advice of strangers that you have to sometimes ignore and trust in your own instincts and preparations - we'd spent a lot of time considering the best course of action and we were well aware of our options (and the consequences of getting it wrong)... We didn't need this advice and this man was not aware of any of the details of our circumstances. All his "advice" did was serve to irritate us and distract us from our preparations. We saw "Bill" several weeks later; he had not had a lot of luck after moving bays for the storm; his boat had been struck by lightening and he'd lost his dinghy. Poor old Bill.

Unfortunately Bill wasn't the only pest we had as we prepared for the arrival of PTC2. Over a 48 hour period we discovered a couple of drinks cans had detonated in one of our lockers and when we opened the locker a cloud of tiny gnats flew out; that took some cleaning up I can tell you. We also discovered we had an infestation of weavels in our dry stores which meant those needed to be sorted; some things like flour had to be thrown away but pasta and rice I sieved and repacked in order to save them. Things were starting to feel somewhat biblical on-board Hamble Warrior what with the swarms of unwanted pests and awaiting the arrival of the storm.... whatever next? The four horsemen of the apocalypse?!

Well... We watched as the weather front approached, PTC2 was already forecast to become "Tropical Storm Bonnie" once it had passed us. Jamie's parents flight landed on time and just as his mother's messaged pinged to say they had landed the weather front came through..... and it really wasn't too bad at all! I mean it was a hell of an anticlimax but a very welcome one. There was a LOT of rain and quite a bit of wind; but nothing more than we were used to from stormy days in the Aegean back in Greece. Most importantly the wind angle never got southerly enough to send any sea state into the bay and with the wind pinning us the water stayed completely flat. Within a couple of hours it had pretty much passed us by. We remained on-board that night while things calmed down and the next day we dropped our dinghy in the water and paddled over to the beach where Jamie's Mum and Dad stood waiting for us. It was a very emotional moment; to see them again after sailing several thousand miles; to finally all be reunited after having spent a week planning for the very worst and all the worry and uncertainty... It felt so wonderful to finally be standing there with them; to hug them again, and to look back at our little Warrior just bobbing in the calm waters. I'll never forget that moment.

We had a wonderful few weeks with Jamie's parents. They originally flew out for two weeks but as that time marched on they decided they would stay a little longer and managed to extend their trip. In the end we had a whole month together. Most of this time was spent in the cottages on the beach which were just a perfect place to spend time together. We had a lot of catching up to do and most days we would come ashore to spend the day with them or at least to enjoy a happy hour drink at the Sand Bar which was part of the same complex and looked out at the bay; then we would take it in turns to cook evening meals and sometimes go over to the little games room where we could set up our own bar and play pool.

During this time we hired a car and all went off exploring some of the interior of Grenada which; like many of the islands in this part of the world, was a stunning array of waterfalls and rainforests, national parks and lakes... and of course a compulsory family pilgrimage to the Grenada Cricket Ground to pay our respects! Mostly we selected the sites that were fairly easily accessed as Jamie's mother was still struggling a little with her knee and we wanted to be able to enjoy as much as possible without her having to hike great distances. One of the spots perfect for this is the Annandale falls where you can park up and walk down to the falls via a short and well laid path. These falls are off a steep winding road with a sheer drop down one side. It was quite wet the day we drove up there and we had already come away from the national park without really seeing it as visibility was so poor. As we climbed higher and higher something didn't feel quite right. I looked over at Jamie who's face was set into a determined grimace. I wanted to ask if everything was ok but instinct told me not too. When we finally reached the parking area near the falls and were able to pull off the road Jamie turned to me and whispered "the brakes aren't working"!!! We waited around while Jamie spoke to the car hire guy (the lovely Zak at Royal Car hire - very helpful and very nice). He arranged to bring us a new car and while Jamie waited for him to arrive I went down to see the waterfall with his Mum and Dad and kept them entertained by throwing myself into the water from a platform which was rather refreshing and less terrifying each time (I wouldn't have attempted it at all if there wasn't a plucky 9 year old boy there making it look easy!!!) We soon had our new wheels and were able to continue our tour of Grenada.

Our family time flew past far too quickly and it wasn't long before suitcases were once again being packed up (the large spaces that had been filled with all of our various deliveries on the way here were now filled with unwanted items that we were sending home to try and make space on-board; heavy jumpers and winter clothes that were not needed in the tropics mostly). A few days before they were due to leave we received a phone call from Jamie's Dad; we had spent the morning helping some friends on a neighbouring boat that were having engine trouble and due to meet up with Jamie's parents later that day. His Dad was calling to tell us they had been at the hospital; his Mother had fallen over and cut her face rather badly on the curb and they had been at the hospital where she'd had several stitches and was being bandaged up. We went straight to meet them at their apartment and found Jamie's mother applying a bag of frozen peas to her bandaged up face. They were both in shock as they told us what had happened. Several months later as I sit and write up this blog I am relieved to say that Mother's face healed beautifully and that the medical team at the hospital in St George's did a wonderful neat job in stitching her up. You would not know unless you already knew where to look that she has the faintest of scars which still grows fainter by the week. Luckily for us Grenada has a Medical University which draws students from around the world and the medical facilities on the island are fantastic. When Mother returned home and had her stitches removed the nurse who removed them told her she had trained at the university in Grenada. It was nice to know she was in such good hands from that point of view but I think what I found even more touching was when Jamie's Dad told us about their whole terrible experience from the moment his Mother fell to the taxi driver taking her to the medical centre and the way she was looked after at every stage. The people of Grenada took such good care of them and I can never thank them enough for that. They are such kind and caring people; even when it came to paying the bill at the hospital they told Jamie's father not to worry about it for now; to take his Mother home and the bill could be sorted when they came back after the weekend to have the wounds re-dressed. I can't imagine a lot of medical facilities that would let a visiting tourist walk out without paying their bill. We all went back to the hospital together at the start of the following week and they removed Mother's dressings which was obviously a big relief and much more comfortable for her. Despite a really traumatic couple of days she was still smiling at this point and we went together to the little Chocolate shop where they serve up Grenada's famous and delicious chocolate in all its many forms and treated ourselves to hot chocolate and chocolate cake while Jamie and his Dad sorted out the paperwork at the hospital. We filled the last couple of days of their trip with as many special memories as possible... a last Pina Colada with Cathy-Ann; a slap up meal at the Sand bar, but all too soon we were waving them off to the airport in Lydon's taxi. I was as sad to see them go as I had been happy to see them arrive. It was a lovely time spent together and one we will always treasure. For the remaining time that we had in Grenada I loved being able to tell Jamie's mother what we were doing and where we were. She would then often say she could picture us somewhere as her memories of places were so vivid. Grenada will always be a special place for the Hickman family now. 


Shortly after Jamie's parents left; and with our engine now in fully working order since Jamie had fixed the gearbox with the replacement part they delivered, we left our mooring ball and dropped anchor a little closer to the beach. It's strange to say it felt wonderful to be back at anchor; really it shouldn't feel any different to being on a mooring ball but we are so used to being at anchor and it is so rare that we rely on any mooring gear other than our own ground tackle that it felt very satisfying to be self sufficient once again. This was a perfect little Hamble Warrior sized spot tucked right in with a perfect view of the beach and still just a short row to the marina dinghy dock. We spent many weeks here making our preparations for our onward travels and doing our refit jobs to get Warrior ship shape.

It was around this time that our friends from sv Puff arrived in the area. They anchored in True Blue Bay just around the headland from us and we enjoyed a couple of evenings on each other's boats catching up over beers, rum and good food. The topic of conversation centred largely around the upcoming "Spicemas" which was Grenada's carnival and we decided we would all go together. Having started to see talk of the various stages of carnival on the cruisers Facebook page our biggest concern was what we were going to wear; not that we had any designs on competing with the local ladies lavish costumes of feathers and jewels but more because carnival kicked off with why they called "Jouvert" which appears to have its routes in the emancipation of the islanders enslaved ancestors and involves "Jab Jabs" dancing in the streets wearing devil horns and covered in chains and painting the revellers in used engine oil!!! ...after much discussion about whether we would participate and what we should wear (bin bags were mentioned several times) we decided just to go for it and basically all tipped up wearing our "boat yard finery" usually reserved for sanding and anti-fouling the boats!

We met up and jumped in a bus first thing and to our surprise the seats were already covered in plastic sheeting which was in turn already covered in engine oil!! The bus dropped us on the edge of St George's and despite knowing we were joining at the very end of Jouvert we were still surprised by the scenes in front of us! It was ....apocalyptic is probably the best word! Jouvert starts in the small hours of the morning and by the time we arrived the streets were covered in oil and most of the revellers were now walking around in a daze. Devil-horned helmets were skewed on heads and chains being dragged along behind! The clean up lorries where already starting the mammoth task of cleaning the streets and we walked right through town and went to Brian's Bar in the square where there were a few Jab Jabs and revellers. We had some beers and got talking to the lovely "Kendall" who told us he was the "Jab King" and then proceeded to give us all a healthy coating of engine oil - after that we were accepted as locals and it was time to head back down the hill to see some of the parade of bands. We stopped by the "Soup Master's" little place on the roundabout where we could sit and enjoy a good view of the parade. We also enjoyed a delicious lunch of soup and corn bread and were able to buy local juices. It was here that we learned how well rum goes with Tamarind juice and we sat happily watching the parade and drinking rum and tamarind until it was time to start jiggling our way home. We ended up walking all the way back from St George's stopping off for a drink occasionally. We passed a small shack selling fried breadfruit and it was here that we met Ivor; and promised to come and see her again. She told us she could take orders in advance and gave us her phone number; we were all far too drunk to remember a phone number so we decided to remember a few digits each.  It worked! When we returned the next day we were able to recite the phone number perfectly a few digits at a time... 406-39-34 incase you ever need it!

Our final stop off was at the roundabout at Sugar mill where the tiny little rum shacks all open up at night and the music is thumping. Here we had a final drink of the night - a large shot of strong rum and small topping of coke for me and beers for everyone else. We tripped our way merrily back towards Spice Island Marine where we went our separate ways with plans to meet and do it all again the next day.

The second day of Spicemas was a much more glamorous affair with the oil (mostly) cleaned off the streets and everyone (mostly) in their best finery. We did encounter one rogue Jab Jab who was still Jab Jabbing and he got told off by me for Jab Jabbing an elderly lady who didn't seem to want to be Jab Jabbed... He wasn't so tough when he got Mag Magged though!! We went back to Brian's bar for some early refreshment and then down to the carenage where we checked out the little stalls and had our first taste of "doubles" which are delicious little fried patties filled with sweet mango and curry sauce. Then we walked back to our spot outside the Soup Master where we watched the parades of "Pretty mas" and all the dancers in their beautiful outfits of feathers and sparkles; shaking their bums to the infectious music. Again there was a lot of rum drinking, we did a lot of ass-shaking ourselves and saw many other cruising friends and acquaintances from all over the island as everyone seemed to have descended on St George's for carnival. Again we took the long walk back from St George's stopping at all of our "usual" spots. A snack or two at Ivors followed by a final few drinks at Sugar mill and then home to sleep off a very exciting few days. On top of all of the other things I would say about the lovely people of Grenada I'll say this... those guys have some energy!!! It was a carnival to remember and I'm so glad we shared it with our good friends the Puffs.

Businesses & services

I have already mentioned several places that we visited; The Sand Bar at Lance aux Epines Cottages, Soup Master and Brian's Bar in St George's. Here are some of our other favourite places that we visited during our time in Grenada. I have also listed the places where we bought our groceries as all of these people became good friends to us during our time on the island.

Eating & drinking:

Sharon's place in the town square (St George's) where we had our first taste of Grenadian food. It became a ritual to have lunch here each time we visited St George's and Sharon's Stewed Turkey or baked chicken was always served with a generous portion of Mac pie, rice "n" pea, Callaloo and "provision" (which is a side dish comprised of plantain and breadfruit) a lunch plate usually cost about $12ec and a beer was $5

D Joint on the edge of st George's as you head towards Port Louis Marina; we stopped off here for a few beers one Sunday and the next time we returned Bruder gave us our first ever taste of the national dish "oil down". We had been wanting to try it for a long time and despite not really serving food that day when Bruder heard we hadn't tried it he took a double serving from his fridge and cooked it up for us. This delicious dish comprises of breadfruit, plantain, salt fish and chicken, coconut milk and Callaloo. Its absolutely delicious and having tried it we have since made it for ourselves several times. It will always be a favourite of ours and one that reminds us of Grenada.

Andy's Bar at Sugar Mill roundabout; we have already mentioned the lovely little street of rum shacks at Sugar mill. Andy's bar became a bit of a favourite of ours and we soon learned the local way to drink rum was to buy a 200ml bottle filled from a large keg of strong local rum and buy any mixers you want to accompany it (the locals drink it straight up with just a little water to wash it down) we skipped home from Sugar mill after we learned this!!!

The West Indies Brewery is located on the road not far from Lance aux Epines Cottages. We went in here a few times and took Jamie's parents in there too. They do all sorts of craft beers including lots of fruity ciders and on a Tuesday their $5 house beer was only $2. We enjoyed the nights we had here and it was a lovely treat to share one of their bottles of fizz with Jamie's mother when she visited - a very treat these days! Most nights there were very lively and it was a popular place with the medical students many of whom lived locally.

Amaras Restaurant & Bar opened during our stay in Prickly Bay. We looked at the menu several times and had considered eating their when Jamie's parents visited but somehow never quite got around to it. Nevertheless the food looked excellent and we often sat at the bar and enjoyed their good rum measures and the nice atmosphere. It always reminded me a bit of some of our favourite bars in Greece.

Brown Girl Cafe opened just before we left the island. We had met Erika and her husband a few times as their business is located next door to the supermarket we often used (Palmyra) at excel plaza. They had been working hard to get their cafe set up and spent a lot of time making it a beautiful setting. We were fortunate enough to join them for their big opening night and sample some of Erika's delicious sweet liqueurs and deserts all made to her special "Brown Girl recipe". Unfortunately we never got the opportunity to visit again before we left the area but we wish them every success.

Grenada chocolate factory; I mentioned this lovely little shop earlier. There is a large chocolate plantation you can visit in Belmont but if you go to the shop in St George's there is a very interesting and informative volunteer called Monty who will talk you through the whole cocoa growing process and show you what it is that makes Grenada's chocolate so special. He gave us a full demonstration and allowed us to taste the raw cocoa and the final product. It was here that Jamie's mother and I were introduced to Cocoa tea which became a bit of a favourite for both of us chocolate lovers!

Umbrellas & the beach shacks on Grand Anse beach: Umbrellas was recommended to us by Zak when we hired the car; apparently it was his favourite place to eat wings and drink beers! Despite this it was actually Jamie parents that first visited Umbrellas and then introduced us. Its a lovely setting on the beachfront overlooking the incredible Grand Anse beach and when you can prise a happy hour rum & coke out of them (5pm and not a minute earlier) it's not bad value. We had a couple of absolutely delicious meals here - burger & chips fayre rather than traditional West Indian food but very very good. We did however abdicate to the little beach shacks one evening when there was a queue to get into Umbrellas and we decided we'd just have a beer on the beach instead. The atmosphere down at the beach shack was fabulous and the cold beers and SOCA music as the sun set off grand Anse beach was absolutely perfect. It is from the small local bars rather than the big Restaurants that I have been able to cultivate my own SOCA playlist which is going to be an important part of my long-distance cruising music collection! Olakira and Pheelz being current favourites!

Fresh produce:

In the layby next to the West Indies Brewery there would often be stalls selling fresh local produce at good prices. We soon became familiar with the stall holders and which days they would be there. Crystal & Don always had a good selection of fresh fruit and vegetables and it was Crystal that was responsible for introducing me to so many of local delicacies that I had never heard of before. Every time I bought a bag full of groceries from them she would give me something new to try; a sugar apple, sweet purple potatoes, snake beans, season peppers. We had our favourites; Callaloo, cabbage, pumpkin, but she always made sure we tried something new. I loved visiting their stall and hearing all about their farm and their family. Don had relatives in the UK and he always used to greet me "hey English"! When we told them we were leaving the island they gifted us the most incredible generous present of a large slice of pumpkin, a huge watermelon, bag of season peppers and bag of bay leaves. Their kindness and friendship was just one of many examples of how lovely the people of Grenada are.
The other stall holders in the layby were also very generous and lovely; Leo introduced me to Starfruit which became a firm favourite on-board and "Henry B" was the man to see for eggs and avocados.

There was also my friend Charlie who would paddle his yellow kayak out to see me a few times a week. If I didn't see him coming I'd be alerted to his presence by Meep who would suddenly start chattering up on deck. Charlie and I spent a lot of time talking about cats and boats and life. He was a real sweetheart and it was always a pleasure when he visited. He'd often be selling fresh fruit and vegetables and I usually bought a few things from him each visit although some days he just stopped by to give us some limes other days he just stopped by for a chat.

Another character we became very friendly with was one of the fruit and veg sellers down on the waterfront near the marina. There were a couple stationed along that stretch and they were all friendly and had good wares. Our favourite though was "cultureman" who was usually stationed outside the chandlery called Island Water World. We always looked out for him and he was always pleased to see us. We usually completed a transaction of several kilos of mangoes, avocados and limes for just $10 or $12.

Between these various venders most of our fresh fruit and vegetables needs were covered. The big supermarkets such as the IGA offered very little in terms of good local produce - there vegetable section was generally small and comprised of refrigerators full of imported goods packaged in plastic wrappings. There was our little local supermarket though; Palmyra, which often had enough staples in terms of potatoes and onions and a few other bits and pieces to be able to manage if the stall holders weren't in the layby. Palmyra was tended by the lovely Eli who worked for his uncle and was literally always in the shop - which seemed to always be open. It was a wonderful little supermarket which covered most of our needs on a week by week basis and we found that if we took a big hike up to the IGA or the cash and carry supermarket at sugar mill every few weeks to stock up on large items, we could manage with regular trips to Palmyra for most of our day to day basis. This Included their homemade yoghurt and fresh bread rolls that they had delivered daily.

Moorings, marinas and cruiser-life in Grenada

I have already mentioned Prickly Bay Marina and the Moorings offered by them that we used in Prickly Bay. As we so rarely use marina or mooring facilities we aren't in a position to compare these facilities with others offered throughout the Caribbean. However, I can say that the team who run the marina and the sister company that lay and maintain the moorings (Moorsafe) were extremely helpful; professional, friendly and provided an excellent service at a very good price. The marina business is overseen by Charlotte with Shayden her right hand man always on hand to help with moorings, tending the fuel dock and metering water. Bret manages the Moorsafe business and alongside him Cody and a team of divers ensure that the Moorings are regularly inspected and any necessary maintenance or upgrades are swiftly tended to. We saw the Moorsafe divers inspecting each mooring on a fortnightly basis and if there was any serious weather forecast these inspections were repeated just before a front came through and again just afterwards. Having seen first hand the size of the mooring chains used to secure these moorings I easily believe Bret when he tells me that they are each graded to hurricane strength. Along with the peace of mind of a secure mooring the $250USD per month mooring charge gave us access to the shower facilities and refuse disposal at the marina.
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay in Prickly Bay and were very grateful for the facilities that PBM offered for the first month of our stay there. I was particularly fond of Shayden who always looked after us and made time for a chat. As we departed Prickly Bay he was the last person we spoke to as we filled our water tanks and waved goodbye; hoping to see him again and wishing him luck with the imminent arrival of his new baby.

Despite plans to the contrary we never did move around between the southern bays of Grenada. Once we found our perfect little spot to anchor in Prickly we were reluctant to move. It was ideal for getting ashore to the PBM dinghy dock or even rowing across the bay to the dock at spice island marine which we both did by kayak on several occasions. Once ashore this area is the most convenient for hiking to the big supermarkets and hardware stores or getting the bus to St George's. We were concerned that moving to one of the bays further out would hamper our jobs somewhat and so we stayed put and enjoyed the convenience of familiar surroundings.

On our trip out with the hire car we visited some of the other spots and wandered around the very pretty and popular Phare Bleu Marina which; much like Port St Louis Marina in St George's, reassembled a luxury hotel complex more than a marina. I chatted to an old work colleague of mine who had based his family in the marina for hurricane season and he told me it was great for them. The kids had clubs and activities all day long and could play with their friends. I can see how appealing it is for young families but as we walked back through the little complex of delicatessens and Restaurants with white table clothes past the stunning swimming pool I found myself thinking that a sweaty walk along Maurice Bishop highway and a large rum at Andy's rum shack was much more suited to our budget and tastes! Unsurprisingly then we missed out on film nights, dinghy drifts, floating concerts and organised cruisers dinners and the weekly organised "hash" where private mini-buses loaded with cruisers go off to hike around various parts of the island. But in all honesty we didn't set sail around the world to hang out having organised fun with other cruisers of our same age/colour/demograph; I think the Grenada we saw for ourselves was exactly what we wanted and we probably made more friends on the island by doing our own thing. Plus I was never going to meet someone in a delicatessen that shared my love of cats and boats the way Charlie did!


Despite our early season weather alert in the form of 94L/PTC2 we were very lucky to have a quiet hurricane season in Grenada. Infact it was a very peaceful hurricane season in the Antilles generally which was great for us and for our many friends that we had made through the islands over the last few months. We kept a very close watch on the various weather models which we monitored twice daily as a rule. A few fronts gathered but nothing else really formed over our part of the Caribbean despite a couple of nasties; Hurricanes "Fiona" and "Ian", which both hit the southern states of America causing a lot of destruction. The only other incident of note occurred not long after Jamie's family departed. We were lying at anchor and Jamie had spotted a bit of heavy rain forecast but otherwise nothing too untoward in the outlook. We'd had some neighbours over from another Trident Warrior and had been discussing plans over a drop of rum until the small hours of the morning. Our friends had just got back to their boat when the weather hit; a sudden violent squall with very heavy rainfall and winds gusting to a comfortable gale force strength. Warrior's anchor held beautifully and other than getting a little wet as we kept a bit of a watch from the cockpit there wasn't much excitement to report but the following day came reports that the winds had been measured gusting to "hurricane strength" 75kts. Inland a couple of houses had lost their tin roofs and there were a few trees down, nothing serious compared to what damage "sustained" hurricane strength winds can do when travelling in a cyclonic formation. Nonetheless the reports of wind speeds seen from mast-head instruments grew amongst the cruising community throughout the day culminating in several families declaring they had now survived their first hurricane, which makes me even more grateful that we never DID experience an actual hurricane or even a named tropical storm during our time there!

On the buses

One of the absolute pleasures of travelling around Grenada are the regular and inexpensive network of buses that shuttle everyone around with (mostly - see below) startling efficiency. There is no need to go looking for a bus - these little mini buses flag you down in the street and no matter how many bags you might be carrying or how full the bus may seem to be they somehow manage to squeeze you on-board and you are rocketing off towards your destination at a thousand miles an hour with SOCA music filling your ears and your soul quicker than you can say "bus stop"!!! The route we frequented most between the Maurice Bishop highway and St George's cost a princely sum of $2.50EC per person per ride (60p). These buses are each privately owned and the driver works with a conductor who hangs pillion from the side door of the bus loading passengers & luggage in and out; collecting the fares and scanning the streets for potential custom. At the point that the bus appears to be full extra seats suddenly materialise filling in gaps where once one could walk through the bus. When you want to get off you tap the side of the bus; the conductor gives the driver a signal, the door slides open and school children scatter; seats fold up and like the parting of the red sea a walkway appears ahead of you. If you think this all sounds a little frenetic or perhaps even magical you are right but I can only beg that should you ever visit this part of the Caribbean you take a bus ride - I promise you will come off the bus with more energy than you climbed on it.... Most of the time!!!!! We do have a couple of anecdotes from our time "on the buses" which shows how things can go wrong if you aren't paying attention. The first was the morning of carnival when our jubilant bus duo picked us up; it was double fare today $5pp - that was no problem for us we weren't necessarily expecting the buses to be running and had already budgeted for a taxi with our friends if necessary. The four of us jumped in and soon the bus was filling up with happy carnival-goers. Halfway to St George's we picked up a small group of American ladies in sundresses carrying beach bags. Three squeezed in the seat in front of us and one sat behind us and off we raced with the SOCA music pumping and everyone smiling and chattering. As we approached the edge of St George's there was some discussion and looks of consternation exchanged between the ladies sitting in front of us and the one seated behind. It seems nobody had established who was in charge of telling the conductor where they wanted to go and when I asked them where they were headed they said Grand Anse beach. This was a concern as they had infact been standing just a couple of dozen metres from Grand Anse beach when we picked them up outside the IGA in the first place. To add to their problems they were now at the edge of St George's where the driver was very keen to terminate the service; so they were going to have to pay a second double-fare to get back to where they started from and not only that but they hadn't yet realised that their beautiful sun-dresses had rather a healthy coating of used engine oil on them from the early morning Jouvert riders. I would like to say at least they'd had the Grenada bus experience but they didn't look like the sort of ladies that would have chosen to pay $40 to sit on an oily bus for 45 minutes.
The second of our bus incidents occurred as we were preparing to leave Grenada and planned to have a day in St George's buying a few specific items for our stores; visiting the haberdashery, the hardware store, the Digicel shop. It was a day for "getting stuff done" and we set off early determined to cross a few things off our list. As is so often the way we seemed to hit a snag at every turn - best laid plans and all that - but the day kicked off badly with our over-zealous friendly bus conductor "Quarmi" who picked us up on the roundabout as soon as we stepped into Maurice Bishop highway. It is not unusual for buses to flag you down from the opposite carriageway; it's a highly competitive business and everyone is keen to fill their bus as soon as possible but Quarmi took things a little too far on that front. Having picked us up on the opposite side of the road to the bus stop and assured us he was heading for St George's the bus then set off in the opposite direction with Quarmi chit-chatting away to us friendly as you like. After 5 minutes as we started to get an uncomfortable feeling Quarmi announced we were just "dropping off" another passenger... at the airport!!! To pass this time and I guess to keep talking so that the two desperately polite British 'hostages' couldn't start complaining Quarmi filled the air with a running commentary of the area with the panache of an experienced tour guide. The highlights included an Indian restaurant that we could never afford to eat in and an airport that we had no plans to fly anywhere from. To top it off he also explained how much the fare was for a trip out this way in the bus - if he had any delusions at all that we were going to pay more for our magical mystery tour I think the captain's furious death stare and steam whistling from his ear holes disabused him of that notion!! I wish I could tell you that the half hour round trip to the airport before we got back to where we started (he'd basically hijacked us as we could have jumped on half a dozen other buses in this time) was the end of the story but of course it wasn't. We then had the slowest and most painful crawl into town where the bus pulled over at every opportunity not only to let passengers on and off but also for 5 or 10 minute “rest stops” while Quarmi got out and literally hawked up and down the street trying to solicit passengers. Once moving it was just as frustrating as the driver cut up other buses and parked himself in the middle of the street to stop other buses getting past and therefore getting potential customers further along the route. It was interesting to note several passengers waiting at bus stops waved them along which makes me think this pair were known for this kind of behaviour and that passengers were happy to wait for another bus rather than subject themselves to this ridiculous circus. When we finally got to the Carenage on the edge of town Jamie had pretty much taken all he could and we gave up and got out. If Jamie hadn't been so furious it would have been the perfect moment for a "Blakey" style "I hate you Butler" (for fans of 80s TV comedy) but as it was he was going to need a solid couple of hours before we could start laughing at the ridiculousness of the whole thing. I am only grateful that having finally seeded our seats on "Quarmi's bus to nowhere" that they weren't taken by 4 familiar looking American ladies with slightly oily dishevelled clothes and vacant thousand mile stares pleading to take them to the beach!!!!!!!

Re-fitting Hamble Warrior

We underwent several ambitious projects as well as much general upkeep and maintenance during our stay in Grenada. Despite having some parts and spares delivered when Jamie's parents flew out we found that much of what we needed for these jobs we could purchase locally and we took several long walks along the Maurice Bishop highway where there were big hardware stores (Ace hardware and Rhamdhanny's were both favourites) and outlets which sold the foam and fastenings we needed for our upholstery projects. In no particular order we completed the following projects;

Engine work: Jamie successfully managed to remove and replace the faulty gearbox component; cleaned the heat exchanger where it had partially blocked causing the engine to overheat and serviced the engine

Head & holding tank: this involved a complete clean and rebuild of the entire system including replacing the sanitation hoses... and yes it was every bit as disgusting as it sounds!!!!

Fabric work: we made a new canvas sailbag for our mainsail to replace the existing one which was pretty much threadbare. This was made from canvas and fitted with webbing straps and clips. We also made a water catcher to lay over the staysail boom and run water off into our tanks; fabricated from the same canvas. Finally I made a set of cylindrical bolster cushions from a nautical patterned fabric for stowing clothes in to free up locker space in our forepeak.

Upholstery: we finally committed to completely redoing all of our saloon; nav room & forward berth seat cushions. We found a local supplier of foam and gave them the measurements to cut us new cushions and then purchased fabric & zippers and made box cushion covers for each of the new cushions. Once we had all of the materials assembled we completed the whole project in just a couple of days with me sewing the zippers into the backs of the cushion covers and Jamie cutting and pinning the cushions together. We donated our old seat cushions to a locally veterinary charity.

Fridge & Galley refit: Jamie removed and rebuilt the fridge fabricating a new; larger lid from fibreglass and re-insulating the original fridge box. This was a massive task as he needed to make a new mould for the lid and once fabricated it needed to be refitted. He also needed to replace the cooling plate inside the unit. Once the rebuild was complete we employed a local technician to come and re-gas the fridge. Tevin came twice to the boat to do what was necessary to get it recharged and now holds the award for the first person since the rigging duo "Dimitri & Dimitri" back in Lefkas four and a half years ago to work on Hamble Warrior!!! (And very nice he was too!) 

These were the main tasks that we completed to get warrior ready for her next "leg" although much time was also spent in the water scrubbing her hull (a seemingly never ending task) and of course the regular maintenance jobs that crop up - fixing the oven; cleaning the bilges etc. etc. Our final 2 tasks before leaving Prickly Bay were to top up our fuel and water tanks. This was quite a significant moment as we hadn't topped up our fuel since the Canary Islands. We still had plenty on-board but it seemed foolish not to top up what we had used when we were literally anchored a short dinghy ride to a fuel dock so we took our cans and replenished the 80 litres we had used in the 9 or 10 months since leaving the Canaries. We make a big deal about out fuel consumption as we try and hold ourselves accountable on this front. Its not just a pride in sailing our little ship everywhere and reserving the use of the engine for close-quarters manoeuvring; it's also about how well we try and manage our power output so as not to need to run the engine to power any of our on-board systems, by keeping our powered systems to a minimum we are able to manage all of our power needs with the energy generated from our solar panels. Most nights when we are in an anchorage or mooring field we listen to our neighbouring boats running their engines in order to top up their domestic batteries and power aircon or freezers; watermakers, pressurised & heated water systems etc.. by managing without these we are able to be pretty much self-sufficient energy wise - with the wind & oars propelling us and solar to provide all of our other energy needs it really is just an occasional gas bottle that we need refilling for cooking. Our pride in this isn't just about trying to keep our carbon footprint as small as possible - although it is nice to feel like we are doing our bit on that front; goodness knows how overdrawn we are on that front from years of powering around in motorboats, jetskis, cars etc... but it's also about knowing that when we sail in more remote parts of the world (the South Pacific for example) where there won't be fuel docks on every island and resources might be limited; that we can remain self-sufficient and are route won't be dictated by where we can access fuel or anything else.
The same is true of water. We need to be able to manage our water consumption to sufficiently frugal levels that we can manage on what we can carry and subsequently catch in the South Pacific, hence the rain catcher. We already gather a lot of rain in buckets during tropical downpours and this supplements whatever we buy or beg. As we left Prickly bay we tied up to the the fuel dock at the marina and filled our water tanks completely. At the time of writing this we have just replenished 500 litres of that supply after 6 weeks. So currently we are using less than 100 litres a week which includes washing, drinking, cooking etc. There is always room for improvement but we hope that is a manageable consumption rate to be able to sustain us during long passages and stays in remote areas of the South Pacific and beyond.

I think that's most of Grenada! If you made it this far then well done - summarising several months is never easy and despite my best efforts there are still people and places and stories missing from these pages... but I hope that it has given you a bit of a taste of our time in Grenada and a feel of this wonderful island that we were fortunate enough to call our home for these short months. The people; the food, the beaches, the culture.... every single thing about Grenada is truly special and we will take it all with us in our hearts.