Nigel North
Tue 24 Apr 2018 17:37

POSITION:  12:27.4N 061:29.5W



Awake on the Fuel Pontoon, move out 0800 to a mooring buoy to sort the mainsail’s reefing lines out - which takes some time… not easy in the gusty wind. But done. At last Pinball is into wind.
2pm motored down to Customs Quay, well over an hour in Immigration, as they had the wrong Registration number down for Pinball, whilst the security guard on the door slept slumped at his desk throughout. Customs were ok, a lady. $150TT for Immigration - $75 each - and $50 for Customs, about £20. I now have no TT money at all.

Motor round to the slightly sinister Scotland Bay pre- dusk. Usual campers at the top end, plus 2 yachts moored stern to close in, with no visible occupants. After dark it comes alive, with small boats coming and going, no lights, visiting others along the banks. What is going on! Abes gets his head down, I potter, a bit concerned about all these things going on all around us, and at one point tempted to up anchor and go. But no one had shown undue interest in us, like shining a light at us etc, so spend time rigging the Windpilot self-steering and finally get my own head down. Awoken by Abes a bit late - gone midnight.

Wed 28 March 2018 SAIL FOR GRENADA.

Sail just after midnight. Light airs. Sea not at all bad to start with. But it turned into another wretched journey, with not quite enough wind - 13- 16kts - and another horrid horrid sea. Not a big sea at all, but a horrid action, and we are both feeling yucky the whole trip. Sort of corkscrewing along with two mixed swells, East, and another. Then, as we approach the Hibiscus Gas rig - a blaze of lights about 30 miles out - a boat with strange non standard flashing lights appears quite suddenly one point off the port bow ahead, slowly passes down our port side then goes behind us, going round our stern, then it’s following us. Gradually it closes on us to about 100yds astern. I douse all navigation lights and instrument lights that might be visible to them, and increase revs - now motor sailing with full sail. I am seriously concerned that we may be boarded by pirates whose operating area has over the last few years been right here around the Hibiscus rig, and arm myself with flare gun, a dozen rounds, and Argentinian short sword kindly donated by the Falkland’s invasion forces. Abes is quite calm and composed about it all, more so than me! We discuss deterrent tactics, such as swerving around in the event of an attempted boarding.
But after following close for a while, suddenly they drop back. Luckily the brilliant full moon has now set, and when deemed sufficiently far back to lose sight of us we change course away from Hibiscus about 60degrees to the East, so that if they return to search later we are not on the expected course. They do not return, or not visibly.
We share the rest of the night together, then go into watches after dawn for some sleep.
The wind is ESE now, and light. Find it is more efficient to steer right of track to keep the relative wind more or less Easterly. Some engine to keep the SOG to 5kts.
I have been, and still am, feeling yucky the whole trip. Same with Abes. We eat nothing, just drink water. Suddenly, for no apparent reason, I am sick. Ok afterwards. No big deal..
Arrive off Prickly Bay at 4pm, and for ease of hardship in our knackered state, take a mooring buoy, nimbly picked up by Abes on the second attempt. Too late for Customs, who close at 1545. Good!
Beer. Cook potatoes, cold chicken and flat peas. Bed at 2030, Abes with his eye mask, ear plugs and a sleeping pill.

Thursday, March 29, 2018 PRICKLY BAY GRENADA DAY 2.

Awoken at 0300 by Abes removing the security bars, stark naked, and going up into the cockpit. I get up, moderately alarmed he might be sleep walking, as I knew about his sleeping tablet.
‘Going for a swim Abes?!’
No. Instead, ignoring the two serviceable heads on board, he goes for a dump over the side. This is what being born in Tanzania does. As Skipper of the British ketch PInball Wizard I would like to apologise to the Grenadian peoples for this gross lapse in hygiene and etiquette in the popular anchorage of Prickly Bay.
0630 up. No wind, hazy sun.
Start the engine to charge the batteries so the fridge can go back on. Today we have to clear In with Customs and Immigration at the Prickly Bay Marina, a few minutes away by dinghy.
Clear in. Stony faced pair, as usual, in fancy uniforms.
Clearly feeling better after a good nights sleep, Abes offers to hire a car, but I demur. Too knackered! Need a quiet day..

Friday 30 March 2018 PRICKLY BAY

Off in Barbara the dinghy to Budget Marine at the head of Prickly Bay, then walk up the bustling main road to the Bank about a mile away for some local dosh in $EC. About $3.75 to 1£. It is hot. Badgered for a dollar en route. Crowded walkway, a bit of jostle, traffic, lots of noise/ maxi taxis. Not a friendly feel.
On return, we have a beer in the new restaurant/bar next to Budget…pleasant.

Saturday 31 March 2018 PRICKLY BAY. CLOUDY..

Breakfast - full English - in the excellent outdoor arena of the marina. Perfecto..
Abes hires a 4x4 and we drive around the Island, arriving in Grenville on the East coast after getting a bit lost up in the mountains. Grenville a bit disappointing, scruffy beach, litter.
Had to ask several times for directions. Saw the famous Hog Island, which looks an interesting inlet much utilised by yachts. Abes uses the horn like a native. (ie at every possible opportunity)
Back for Happy Hour - Abes had to twist the barman’s arm with 3 minutes to go - and half price pizzas in the marina.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

RAIN. Fill a gallon container from Pinball’s bimini rain collection system, to be used for solar showers. Pull the plug in Barbara to drain her, as she is hauled out overnight for security, and gets too heavy with rainwater.
Up at 8.
1100: Off again in Abes’s hire car to GRAND ETANGE LAKE, centre of Grenada, bush pilot Abes driving like bush pilots do. Beep beep. Not Grand; quite small, rushes, muddy, not very impressive. Walked up a muddy path for a bit, in our flipflops.
Drove a bit further to SEVEN SISTERS FALLS, old guy in a hut, nice guy, bent, funny eyes, gave us sticks each, berated us at length for not having proper hiking shoes, and could he have a lift back to St George o/c? $5EC each. Muddy steep track for about a mile, muddy steps, rocks, heavy dark foliage. Americans coming back up, couples, with their ‘guide’. Fun in flipflops. Aerial walkway up in the trees, not being used. Falls not very big. Two US couples packing up, guy bragging to me he jumped from the top, to impress his hot gf. We wade in the muddy water, then back up to the car.
Stopped to buy Abes a Coke halfway, small track-side shack, then watched as a young girl is dragged, yes really dragged out unconscious, worrying, family giving her the asthma drug Ventolin then bag over the mouth. After about 15 min she comes round. No one seemed unduly concerned at her condition except us.
Up at the hut the old man awaited, surprised we had survived in flipflops. Gave him the $10EC, and a lift back to St George, his home high on the approach road.
Nearly all the houses we saw, and there were lots, were properly built concrete buildings nicely painted up, with balconies with balustrades, and even some well tended gardens - unusual in the Caribbean. The impression was of Grenadians taking a pride in their homes and gardens. The road was very bumpy and often poor state of repair, despite being the main road across the Island. Over the last two days of driving about, all locals we stopped to ask directions from were helpful, bar one old man who gave us false gen, although probably not deliberately.

Back at the ranch, we drive back to PW, Abes takes Barbara into the marina on his own later for more wifi’ing.
1830: He has not eaten anything since breakfast, and won’t - stomach still not right.
We are off tomoz, to Carriacou. Abes has to return the hire car at 0800. Plan is to load the dinghy tonight, and just drop him off tomoz, swim if necessary, to ensure a swift departure.