Trinidad and Grenada - Clouds and Squalls!

Andy Gibb
Fri 20 Jan 2012 21:41
Intrepid is anchored behind Hogs Bay island on the south of Grenada at 12:00.13N 61:44.51W. On 2nd January 2012 Nicky and I arrived to Intrepid who had been standing on land in Power Boats Yard in Chagaramas, Trinidad since May 2011. May to November in the Caribbean is hurricane season, and also the rainy season (the two are connected). So boats stored have to put up with torrential rain, high humidity, strong winds, and high heat. Not good for boats, and there are horror stories of yachts being a. completely flooded inside because rain got in and couldnt get out so the entire yacht just filled up; b. mildew so thick that the entire cushions and curtains have to be condemned; c. all electronics corroded; d. hurricanes - imagine!
So we approached Intrepid with some trepidation (despite her name) but 2 weeks of hard work putting her into storage had paid off, the only casualty was the cotton based awning which we had used to cover her deck - it had very bad mildew. Luckily a multi hour scrubbing by Mrs Shack brought it back to useable condition. We replaced the anchor windlass electric motor, all 3 water pumps (rubber impellers get hot and stick to the outside of the chamber), and got through our 40 point to do list in a week or so of hard work, while it rained often.
My sister Hilary visited for a few days and we went for a test sail and overnight anchorage to Chacachaca island only 2 miles from Venezuela, it used to be a leper colony until a cure was found and now everything even the church and power station are being reclaimed by the jungle.
Pam and John arrived on 14th January to sail with us for the next 2 weeks. Trinidad's carnvial is famous, its in February but we did manage to see the early preparations in the pan yards, - the bands, the costumes, the rehearsals.
Now Trinidad has never really had a hurricane because it is just below the hurricane belt - they skud along just north and east hitting Tobago if its unlucky every 40 years or so, Grenada (every 30 years or so) and then the rest of the Caribean (yearly, it all depends on the hurricane's precise track).
Being below hurricanes is an advantage but it does mean a stiff 80 mile sail north to Grenada before any cruising is possible. Pam and John had return flights booked so we had little leeway on time, so set out in a 20 knot breeze that soon gusted to 35-40 knots in squalls that kicked up the seas, and created a strong west flowing current that pushed us west of Grenada. However Intrepid performed extremely well, we sailed at 8-10 knots, avoided the seismic survey vessel and gas rigs and arrived at St George's, capital of Grenada just after dark. A fairly nervous run in through dark looming anchored yachts to an adequate anchorage and we celebrated and went to sleep.
Next day we dingied into the lagoon to clear in with Customs, then to the Carenage the supremely sheltered harbour and reprovisioned at the local market. A cruise ship was in town but most visitors seemed reluctant to even go 100 metres out of the cruise ship dock to the local market. Quite what idea they have of the Caribbean I have no idea - a series of identical shopping malls for cheap jewellery I imagine.
We lunched on rotis at the exquisite local yacht club then next day sailed round into a stiff breeze and current to Hogs Bay on the south of the island. We were accompanied by a catamaran and another yacht, but they couldnt cope with the wind and motored, whereas Intrepid tacked into the wind, and we managed our way round the vicious reefs protecting the southerly bays and anchored just behind Hogs Island. Its John's birthday so we are celebrating at Rogers Ramshackle Beach bar this evening.
On Sunday we intend to sail north to White island just below Carriacou, then onto Union, bypass Mustique onto Bequia and St Lucia.
They say the rainy season is continuing late this year - maybe global warming, but at least its warm rain.
Best wishes from Nicky and Andy