On January 10th, feeling rested and it being too easy to stay in Port Louis marina, Brian and I motored a few miles to Prickly Bay (PB) on the on the south coast of Grenada and anchored in what is a large inlet rather than a bay. It is very sheltered and popular, and I stopped counting the other yachts at sixty. We anchored, got the dinghy ready for the following day and cooked an evening meal on board; the day had been mostly sunny and when the sun is out, it is hot. In the morning we took the dinghy up to Spice Island Marine and managed to get a replacement water pump for the domestic water which had developed a leak from an old wound, probably frost damage, that had been repaired at some stage.
We also found our way to a shopping mall at Grande Anse to investigate the economics of using a local phone SIM as neither of us can use our UK roaming. In the end, only Brian was brave enough to try the experiment and he now has internet and can make local calls in Grenada. Needing sustenance after all the phone research, we had an amazing buffet lunch at a beach front hotel complex.
The following day we returned to Spice Island Marine to get some prices for lifting out – I have a loose anode on the propeller shaft, and it would be good to check the boat out of the water. I also needed a new toilet seat (one of the casualties of the Atlantic), Budget Marine had one, but it didn’t fit the bowl hinge bits, and I took it back. They were very good about it, especially as I had drawn a diagram of my rudder post top bearing for the engineer in the boat boatyard, all over the box it came in. Cruising is just yacht maintenance in different places. However, in between times we have been exploring and getting our bearings. Just about anywhere you can land is called a marina, usually with a few pontoons, sometimes more; they all have an open plan marina bar/restaurant and usually some musical entertainment in the evenings or large screens showing sport, probably a shop too.
We stayed in PB for three days and got ‘hooked up’ to the cruiser net on VHF channel 66 at 7:30 every morning. It is a operated by a volunteer net controller from one of the boats; they run through the weather forecast, tides, which busses are running and where they pick up, as well as general help and information on social activities. On Friday, I handed my empty Camping Gaz bottle to a guy who was one of the net contributors and he will bring back a refill on Monday.
Most of this south coast is deeply indented with bays and inlets, some more sheltered than others, and most of them, apart from PB, are accessed by narrow channels strewn with coral reefs. Some are buoyed, port and starboard, but as our chart points out, these buoys are placed by the commercial enterprises within the bay, rather than by a national authority, and should be used with caution. Additionally, we have arrived in the land of American buoyage (IALA B for the sailors) with red to starboard entering channels – the opposite of the case in Europe and a bit mind-bending. Thankfully, the Navionics chart plotter and a good visual look out for reefs which show up plainly in the clear water, make it easy enough.
After PB we continued exploring and motored around to Le Phare Bleu Bay and, after three nights at anchor, thought we deserved a night on the marina there. They have a retired lightship moored there which houses the shower facilities. I was a bit peeved on arrival to be directed to a downwind berth which proved to have insufficient depth of water and we grounded twice. However, we got off and were reallocated to another berth that was fine and after showers, ate ashore.
Today, Saturday, we have retraced our steps slightly to Mount Hartman Bay and anchored on the east side of Hogg Island. This was so we could take in a boat jumble there along with a barbeque and beach bar. This was advertised on the cruisers ‘net’ and it was good to chat and put faces to some of the contributors on the net.
Tomorrow we are returning to PB so that I can pick up my Gaz cylinder on Monday morning, and on Tuesday, Steve Oliver joins us back in Port Louis and we intend to cruise up to Carriacou and back.
Tony and Brian