Carry on waiting

Mystic of Holyhead (successor to Lynn Rival)
Rachel and Paul Chandler
Tue 9 Jun 2020 20:46
11:59.98N 061:45.74W

Our second week in quarantine was quite tedious, not helped by some cloudy, muggy and (Sahara) dusty days.  Another batch of yachts had arrived so the anchorage was fuller but of course we were not allowed to socialise.  Being at anchor close to the shore and other cruisers is very different from being at sea on long passages, when isolation is normal.  We're increasingly fed up with this hysterical and fearful world we now inhabit though remain hopeful that both people and politicians will eventually come to their senses.  What else can we do?  In the meantime we keep busy including fixing all sorts of things that we had on the "to do if we have time" list and scrubbing the hulls to keep the weed at bay - and looking forward to our release.

A forest of anchor lights in the quarantine anchorage

Mystic in quarantine - (we were requested to wear both the Q flag and the courtesy flag)

On day 13 we had to go by dinghy to the quarantine dock where medical staff in full PPE were waiting to poke sticks up our noses and down our throats for Covid 19 PCR testing.  It was quite a relaxed affair and we had brief chats (through our masks) with others in the queue, while keeping our distance, sort of.  Not far from us officials were handling some of the next batch of arrivals who had turned up a day early.  The anchorage was getting very busy - we had been lucky to be in the small group of guinea pigs invited to come in week 1.

Part of the Quarantine anchorage -  another week's arrivals expected in the next two days

The next day we waited for the results but some mix up meant they didn't come through until the afternoon.  (John on "Cloud Nine" was desperate to move on as he was booked on an FCO organised repatriation flight the next day.  All very rushed but hopefully he's now back with his family.)  Finally we were asked to go into the marina and clear in with Customs and Immigration.  Another 'hurry up and wait'
(the men at the ministry had failed to send the list to the women on duty at the port), but eventually we were cleared in to the country. This last day was a bit frustrating but we've been very impressed by the process and grateful to MAYAG for organising it and persuading the authorities to agree.  (Weekly batches of arrivals are planned extending through August.)

By the time we were sorted it was too late to move Mystic so we visited a nearby supermarket.  It was a strange experience, masked-up (DIY dust masks - so within the letter rather than the spirit of this ludicrous diktat)  and unsure how to behave - trying to keep our distance but failing then realising that everyone else had long since given up worrying.  After 14 days it was good to stock up with fresh produce and Rachel got quite excited at the sight of a locally grown cauliflower - a rarity in these islands.

On Thursday morning we sailed to the SW corner of Grenada and motored around the corner as far as Prickly Bay, one of the many deep inlets on the south coast of Grenada.  Prickly Bay is very attractive with a large boatyard at the end, posh houses along each headland and a small marina on one side.  Normally it is a very busy anchorage but in these times we had no problem finding somewhere to drop the hook. 

Looking east over Prickly Bay - Mystic just right of centre

Prickly Bay, looking south-west, from Mystic

The weather has been very unsettled, often overcast with squally winds and muggy when the wind drops.  Another tropical wave passed over at the weekend bringing thunderstorms and heavy rain.  We managed to collect a lot of water for washing - saves paying for it and carting jerries from ashore.

We are still hoping to continue on to Trinidad but so far there is no news as to when we might be allowed in.  We're expecting to have to undergo another 14 days (at least) quarantine so our concern is to make sure we're well stocked and ready to go.  The situation does seem to be improving in Grenada.  On our trips ashore we've noticed that people are using their common sense and trying to get on with their lives.  Masks are mandatory in public but more often than not they are worn on the chin when not in shops.  People are supposed to stay 6 feet apart but that's just not happening, especially in the buses (which are essential for getting around the island).   At the dinghy dock we've bumped into a few other cruisers and had brief chats but we're not supposed to congregate...

It's not all gloom and doom, despite the weather being decidedly off and an irritating swell that makes Mystic roll at times (much worse for the monohulls so we can't really complain).  There's a French butcher at the marina selling excellent meat, including the best sausages and bacon we've had since last in the UK, and delicious baguettes.  We've not eaten out since we were in Deshaies so are looking forward to trying the local take-aways and even the restaurants should be opening soon (today - Tuesday - according to latest decree, but only until 7pm).  However, the question on every cruiser's mind is: when will we be able to meet up on each other's boats for a beer or three?  You may think it would be easy to surreptitiously cheat - the problem is not the occasional patrols by the fast Coast Guard boats, but the apparently large number of snitches within the (Facebook-posting) sailing community.