St. Georges – Grenada:  Christmas and New Years with Antares,

December 31st, 2021

Two nights ago I woke up because of a noise I coudn’t recognize; probably water sloshing in the, by then, almost empty water reserve tank. Antares was lurching trying to escape her mooring, the wind was howling, keeping the cabin cool as it flowed through the open hatch of the V berth. I immediately fell back into a deep sleep.  It was our 11th, and last, night in an anchorage.

Natalia, Marina and I arrived to St. Georges on Thursday December 16th.  We were supposed to fly from Baltimore on the 15th but staff at the check-in counter of American Airlines didn’t let us bring the new dinghy. Even after getting rid of accessories that we didn’t need, such as the oars, to reduce the weight and folding it outside the box to reduce the dimensions of the package, it was a couple of inches too large they said.  Very disappointing. The following day they also didn’t want to check the new folding table for the cockpit, a much smaller package. But after much bargaining they accepted to take it if we got rid of the box.  

We found Antares in good shape.  Her teak nicely varnished, the decks newly painted, her hull polished and the interiors pretty clean; no insects or rodents were found. We  spent three nights at Port Louise marina preparing her for the cruise and provisioning, but we also took time to go for a hike in the mountains.  Grenada is one of the most beautiful islands I have seen so far.    

On Monday morning I extended my cruising permit as soon as customs opened for business and immediately after left the docks trailing behind the old dinghy — which suffers from an incurable ailment; the port tube can’t hold air for an extended period of time.   

We didn’t do much sailing; it was never the intention.  Even the plan to sail to Cariacou was aborted because the ladies didn’t want to spend some 7 hours sailing with the wind and current on the nose. Instead, we headed south and around the sound west corner of the island to True Bay our first anchorage. The CPT2 did all the steering under main alone; Constancia the wind vane was on leave during the entire cruise.  

Grabbing a mooring at the bay proved to  be challenging; according to Marina and Natalia because of my inability to steer.  But after our second try the captain of a catamaran that was moored close-by came in his dinghy to offer assistance.  True Bay is a pretty and, relatively, calm anchorage.  The only problem is a monstrosity built on the west shore; a resort of sorts. How humans are able to invest considerable amounts of money to replace natural beauty with man-made ugliness is beyond me.  The north and east shores of the anchorage, however, are covered by dense vegetation that climbs up the hills with just a few houses, in the local architecture, scattered around.  The east shore also has a charming restaurant and bar where we had brunch once. The food wasn’t spectacular, and they didn’t have Bloody Maries to Natalia’s annoyance, but we liked the ambiance.  We stayed at the bay for two nights and spent our time reading, swimming around the boat, playing cards and Scrabble, napping, and having drinks at sunset. We cooked dinner on the boat those two nights and drank our first bottles of cava and wine.

On Tuesday the 21st  we motored east to Prikley Bay where we would end up spending Christmas. It is a busy bay; there must have been some 100 boats at anchor or moored, many inhabited. Grabbing a mooring there was even more difficult.  On the first try Natalia lost the boat hook and Marina had to jump on the water to retrieve it. I had to remember my women-overboard drills to rescue her before heading back to the mooring. By then, another gentlemen was waiting with his dinghy to give us a hand. I haven’t experienced this level of social support in a while.

Prikly Bay ranks lower in terms of aesthetics but it offers more services (including provisioning) and many more options for dining and wining ashore. This became important because the fridge’s water pump stopped pumping and it was not possible to replace it.  Some of the produce we had bought had to go overboard.   Hence, we decided to stay longer at the bay and had a few lunches and dinners ashore. The Rhodes Restaurant at Calabash resort tries to be posh but the patrons aren’t really, even if they try, and so the whole thing doesn’t work; it is overpriced for what it has to offer.  Two nice, unassuming, places for brunch are Sand Bar and Grill in Prikly Bay and Secret Harbor at the nearby Mt Hartman Bay.  We had a wonderful dinner at the Indian restaurant Aziz but almost lost the dinghy and outboard again.  

We had left the inflatable at the dock in Calabash resort, away from the surf. At some point during the night an unscrupulous, or incompetent, human put his dinghy at our place and moved ours closer to the surf.  When we came back from the restaurant the dinghy (full of water) and the dismembered Torquedo were lying on the beach; it was pitch dark. I was pretty mad and frustrated but Marina kept my morale up.  We moved the dinghy back to the dock and while she bailed I started to put back together the Torquedo; Natalia held the torch.   Not surprisingly, once assembled it wouldn’t start — the screen kept displaying the famous E30 error. I was about to given up but Marina insisted I clean the connections and try again.  I did and the electric motor came to life. By then the torch had run out of battery but Antares had her three-color mast light on so we just aimed at it. When we were back on board I had a well deserved scotch and then watched a movie.  

In Christmas Eve we cooked on the boat.  Since we didn’t have a Christmas tree, Marina improvised a Pineapple Tree (see pic).  I had some goose foie gras on board and Natalia had bought a couple of bottles of Champagne. Contrary to what happened in Bangkok during Thanksgiving (see previous post) opening the can was easy as we had the right tool.  The day had been rainy but the night was dry and warm with a full moon. We had a lovely soirée. After dinner, we exchanged a couple of presents and shortly after went to bed. I slept like a log while Antares rolled lightly in the swell.

On the 26th at around time 10am we left the bay and had a nice sailing to Dragon Bay, first downwind to Point Salines then closed-hauled up to the bay, CP2 steering.  We knew we couldn’t anchor at the bay which is now a reserve but were expecting to find moorings.  Alas, they have been removed.  Thus, we moved south to Moliniere’s Point where there is a really beautiful anchorage surrounded by tall, green cliffs. There were only two other boats. This time we picked a mooring without making a drama. Natalia and I had a beer to celebrate and then we all went for a swim.  We stayed in the boat that afternoon first reading then playing cards. The open sea was behind us and the sunset was spectacular. After drinks, it was Natalia’s turn to cook dinner.  

The next day I inflated the dinghy, charged the Torquedo’s battery and we all went snorkeling around at the Underwater Sculpture Park.  This was the first of Jason deCaires Taylor’s underwater gardens. I understand there are some 70 sculptures but I only saw a few, in part because I didn’t have a proper snorkeling mask.  Natalia and Marina though had a great time.    From the park we headed to Dragons Bay proper and had drinks at the bar on the beach.  Excellent service.  I wanted to have a Negroni which they didn’t have, but they were able to poor me some gin and Campari with ice; close enough.  

Two days ago we moved to Martin’s Bay where we picked yet another mooring with no fuss and then took the dinghy to town.  Natalia was really land and city sick.   We walked around St Georges and then had dinner at Sails, a place both Marina and Natalia liked very much.  I had had dinner dinner there during my previous visit to Grenada back in April and was not particularly impressed.  But it is true that in the company of the two ladies the experience was far better.  This time the dinghy was in the same place where we left it, Sails’ dock, and we had a short, pleasant, ride back to Antares. 

Yesterday we came back to the marina and have started to prepare for our departure.  I am typing these last lines at the navigation table where I have running one of the Opolar DC  fans I had bought for this cruise (I got one for the nav table, another for Marina, and a third one for the V berth I share with Natalia).  After I post this I am going to the swimming pool and then I will take a shower.  We are going back to Sails for dinner tonight and then will welcome the new year in Antares; a bottle of champagne is chilling in the freezer which is now working with only air (not very efficient but better than nothing). By midnight it should be cold enough.  Our flight back to the USA is tomorrow Saturday afternoon (we got our COVID tests this morning) and on Sunday night we flight to Bangkok. As always, the vacations were too short but I hope to come back in either March or May. 

I hope that for all of you 2022 is much better year than 2020 and 2021…

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