Grenada: 0 – 2 – 1

Yep, that’s my score. I went on 3 trips or tours in Grenada. Zero wins for me, Two losses, and one tie.  The trip to Guave was pretty mediocre, and the Turtle watch IMHO was a bust. The last one I went on was to Carnival  was the Pan (Steel Drum Bands) concert and that was just ok.

See me...Way Back
See me...Way Back

We all crammed into a bus / taxi and rode the 5 miles like Tuna to the National Stadium. The steel drum part was excellent, the venue implementation was horrible!

Some of the bands had almost 100 steel drums! The sound was quite good, the players were excellent, but the organization was miserable. It was held in the National Stadium and the bands played  out in the field on a stage under a canopy. Part of the Pan experience is being close and seeing the musicians work the music. We could have walked down and stood in front but only for a short time. Each Band played two or three songs, then they moved all the equipment off the stage so the next one could move on the stage. And to move they basically had to wait for one band to clear the stage and then the other came on. They didn’t move their instruments on and off in the same direction; thus a traffic jam. During the intermission (if that’s what you want to call it) they had a singer come on the stage and perform one of his songs, (if the band wasn’t yet ready and the never were)  they played the song agin without him on stage, and if they still weren’t set up yet, they replayed the same song a third time.  Overall it ran about 30 minutes / band setup and take down of which the band played for a max of 10 minutes. 🙁

So that’s my score. Of course Grenada has much more to offer then simply tours and Carnival, and that’s what we loved. The people were great, the anchorage comfortable, services and supplies were available. But like any good thing it all must come to an end. It was time to leave and get our summer boat work done down in Trinidad, get hauled out and then begin our trek west.

We looked at the GRIB files (Weather predictions put out by the NOAA), we looked at the radar from Guadaloupe, and we looked at satellite photos of the southern Caribbean.  Since the Sun was almost directly overhead, Monday looked like a day we could motor to Trini.  When the Sun is on top of you we have no wind and thus what most people call the Doldrums. We checked out of Grenada in the am and began prepping the boat, storing stuff, putting the dinghy on deck, getting the self steering ready, etc. We checked the radar and GRIB files again, it all looked good. We pulled up anchor at about 4 pm, said goodbye over the VHF and motored out of the harbor.

The seas were benign and the wind; if you could say there was any,  was quite light. With the light breeze off  the beam, W/ talked me into putting up the staysail with the hope that it would steady the boat. It did a little so we motor sailed south.

I tried to rest for a bit while W/ took the first watch. After my hanging out below unable to sleep but having laid down for a couple of hours I replaced W/ on deck and she retired below. She’d been watching a good light show (lightening)  her entire watch. The moon wasn’t up. It was pitch black out  and the horizon would could only be seen by the  flashes of electricity every few seconds. I thought it would be a good show and a boring motor.

How wrong I was. About 30 minutes after W/ retired the wind hit. Fortunately the Staysail is rather small and it handled the winds fine. The autopilot however is setup  and designed  up for a calm windless passage. Inside of 5 minutes we  went from calm with little wind to  lots of winds and building seas. I took the autopilot off line and started to hand steer. Remember; we’re going S and I’ll bet you can guess where the wind was from!  Yep from the S.

I’m now hand steering and we’re still motoring. The seas are building and fun is not the best description of my  watch. W/ was going to come on deck and I let her know she wasn’t needed. I was simply driving the boat S as best as I could. I would motor sail off course but in southerly quadrant as much as possible. Generally, these squalls that move through last less then an hour before the wind settles down but this was different. This one lasted over an hour, the seas built and had short wave lengths. On several we actually crashed down into one off the bow before the last one had cleared the stern. The “Boom”  of the water slamming into the bottom of the bow sprit was frightening and we had that happen several times before the rains came and the wind

Missing Teak
Missing Teak

died. (Once in Trinidad I saw the damage the slamming into the waves did!  However; the piece of teak that was knocked off had already had one screw broken loose by the anchor!) Another boat we met in Trinidad had blown out their mainsail and felt the winds reached 50 kts. I however didn’t feel it blew over 30 kts. The rain stung like 1,000’s of small needles pricking my face at short  quick random intervals.  Eventually the wind abated, the rain stopped and W/ replaced me on deck. My watch ended up 3 hours later and I had hoped W/ slept some. We set up the autopilot again, I retired below and W/ stayed on watch for any problems. The motor sailing had pushed us to a better path to Trinidad and we were now East of our rhumb line. This was a good thing as the current moves SE to NW through this opening.

We arrived at Trinidad approx 10 am so  great we won’t have any overtime charges for Customs and Immigration. We pulled into Chaguaramas and motored through all the trash in the water.  Trinidad has had some horrendous rains with rivers flooding and so we had tide lines filled with so much debris that when we motored through one I heard the prop hit something. I hope it was soft enough that we didn’t damage a blade. Overall the propulsion system sounds fine but we’ll eventually see if there was any real damage when we haul out.

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long