When we arrived back in Grenada the boatyard in Clarkes Court Bay was full to the brim and just a trickle of boats were beginning to be launched, which soon became a steady flow. It's a busy time of year for everyone in the yard, getting boats ready for the cruising season. The climate in the well-sheltered boatyard was hot and humid, almost bad as Trindad (where we hauled out just over a year ago).
True Blue Bay, a little further west than our base in Clarkes Court Bay
Our relief at launching was short-lived. It's one thing to have a boat that floats and sails but for cruising it's also essential to have a tender of some sort otherwise you can only get ashore by tying up to a dock - or swimming. Before leaving the boatyard pontoon, we blew up our dinghy - and it went flat on one side. The glued joint had failed at one of the tube ends. Never mind, we thought: we have a repair kit. Out it came and everything was glued back together again (a very short summary of a tedious job...). But, to our dismay, the repair didn't work and the tube went flat again.
Contemplating the boatyard from the pontoon - yes, the big green hoist can lift out the ferry on the right!
When all else fails, read the instruction manual which says that for leaks more serious than small punctures you need to use 2-part glue and leave the repair in a low-humidity environment for 48 hours. To add to the complexity, while ours is a pvc dinghy there are parts, such as the tube ends, that require a different sort of glue. We searched all the chandleries in Grenada and none had the right glue. They didn't even know when they'd have it in stock. Maybe in 3 weeks' time. We made contact with the local dinghy repair specialist, Donal, who was incredibly helpful with advice but could not spare any glue. We asked on the Cruisers Radio Net and someone had a part-used pot so that was a start. Then we came across Alan, who had a unused pot of "crossover" glue, that would work on both the pvc and plastic parts - just the job!
We then had the problem of finding an air-conditioned space to make the repair and leave it in a low humidity environment for 48 hours. The boatyard agreed we could use their (small) office after hours and leave it in a corner but then we were introduced to Tony and Heather who were renting one of the boatyard apartments. They kindly allowed us to work on it there (for four hours) - never mind the chemical fumes! - and looked after it for us while it set.
Yes, 'seamoss juice' really is to be drunk, but Grenada is also known for rum and chocolate . . .
Making rum. At this distillery water power crushes the cane, then the juice is concentrated in these cauldrons
The fires are stoked 24/7. The final bottled product is 91° proof so can't be transported by air
The drying cocoa beans have to be moved out of the rain and back into the sun from time to time . . .
. . . and this is an important part of the process too
While hanging around to sort out the dinghy we were not short of company. A number of Cruising Association members we'd met in June were around. Some had spent the summer afloat in Grenada, like Jayne, Paul and Lily on Delphinus. Others had sailed down to the French Guiana and back. Anita and Steve on Timshel had laid up and like us were launching again before heading west towards Panama. The eastern Caribbean is so busy that we often see yachts we recognise and frequently have difficulty remembering where, let alone names! We also met quite a few cruisers who, like us, plan to get to Cuba this season.
Moving on and "so far so good". We blew the dinghy up to check it was ok and then finally left the pontoon and motored just a mile away to anchor in outer reaches of Clarkes Court Bay, ready to head to sea. Our plan is to head west 420 miles to the island of Bonaire. Before doing so we thought it best to have a shake down sail so, when the tide was right, we headed north to Tyrrel Bay on Carriacou. The tide was right at 4am, so we rose early and motorsailed east to get to the windward side of Grenada; then we had reasonably good easterly winds and favourable tidal streams all the way, arriving just after mid-day.
Having been to Tyrrel Bay twice before we know it reasonably well and are comfortable here getting ready for our sail west. Although Carriacou is a small island, we can get all we need here as easily as when at anchor in Grenada. And, of course, we are hoping for a good weather forecast. (Ho ho! - it's been raining most of the day as we prepare to leave tomorrow morning.) Since getting back to Grenada the weather has been much like it was in June, with variable winds and tropical rain showers. We'll be sailing downwind and can cope with the stronger gusts but don't enjoy wallowing around in light airs.