Thursday, November 2, 2017

Almost the end of another season.

I seem to find it harder and harder to keep up with the blog these days. No longer weeks, but months pass by before I find myself writing another. It’s not that nothing is happening; life is good and we keep busy. But as time passes it becomes harder to share the day to day, or the special events that have made up the past few months. It has been a very unusual hurricane season. As June approached with the start of the storm and rainy season the bays were abnormally quiet. But much of that changed as TS Brett threatened to approach the Windward Islands. We took the necessary precautions including digging out our huge Fortess anchor. But luckily for Grenada, and for us, it headed exceptionally far south, towards Trinidad giving us a wide berth. But at the time no one knew which way it would track or the best place to go to avoid this storm and so the boats were still scattered throughout the islands. 
Of our 4 anchors on board the Fortress FX 125 is the biggest!

By mid July TS Don was threatening our quiet little island, but once again Grenada dodged another storm as this one petered out before it reached us. Come Carnival time (and an incredibly long holiday weekend for Sim and everyone that works), boats started to arrive en-masse and the bays started to fill. ‘Camp Grenada’ started in earnest with lengthy radio nets and a plethora of cruiser activities from volley ball to Mexican train Dominos to yoga and pool tournaments- the list is endless for those who want to get involved. The winds died, the heat increased and we all started to complain about the temperature and humidity, but life quietly rolled on as usual.  Sim has been particularly busy with work at Palm Tree Marine, as have all the marine related businesses.  It seems there has been no quiet spell for them.  Friends have returned and friends have left, as always happens to those of us who lead a transient life.
Hog Island can just make out Wandering Star at the back, middle left with white sunshade and green kayak lashed to the side.
But the focus of the season has been on what we have had to witness as our neighbouring islands were destroyed by Hurricanes Irma and Maria further north.  Irma, the first hurricane in recored history to maintain intense 185mph winds for a sustained 24 hours and Maria the fastest storm developing from a Cat 1 to a Cat 5 in just half a day. Both ravaged and ransacked our northern neighbours not only causing havoc and destruction of small islands, but also lead to the looting that followed in the aftermaths. Not to mention the idiotic bureaucracy and shameful hand greasing from those in power. It has been very sad indeed and the only good is seeing the spirit of the people rise against adversity and the good will of others trying to help and send aid.
The Flying Buzzard taking much needed supplies up to Dominica.
Right now, as hurricane season draws to an end, we hope to see no more of these dreaded storms. We are still happy to be in Grenada - we love her quirks and nuances, sights and sounds and the friendliness of a small island. I love the walks – whether that is hashing at the weekend exploring the countryside, or during the week locally with friends. Grenada looks stunning right now with all the rain we have had; a carpet of deep green covering the entire island.  
Hog Island anchorage surrounded by blue skies and tropical green hills.
My mum and dad are currently visiting – a few days on the boat with us, a couple of weeks at the nearby L’ance Aux Epines Cottages set in gorgeous tropical gardens and a last few days at the scenic and peaceful La Sargesse a little further away in St Davids.

Mum and Dad ❤

Hanging out with Mum and Dad at Hog Island and L'Anse Aux Epines.

Me and Mum at La Sagesse.

Sunset at L'Anse Aux Epines beach

The beach at La Sagesse 

Gorgeous Grenada - some photos from my hikes.

Forests, waterfalls, old colonial much to see.

Walks around my local area, Woburn and Phare Bleu with my friends Tracy and Sharon.

Hashing at the weekend - a wonderful way to see parts of the island you wouldn't otherwise get to see.

The stunning Grand Anse beach -  with Manuela and Lupo. 

Match racing on the J24's - Sim, Jason and I won every race. :-)

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

1 Year in Grenada.....& 13 Living on a Boat.

Wandering Star in Hog Island, Grenada
Hurricane season has officially started bringing the much needed rain that goes with it. It's amazing how quickly the land has changed from the brown of the winter months to lush green again. Everything is starting to flower and look tropical again. The only down side is the heat and humidity. The change of seasons brings a change of sailors too. Many fly home to spend summer in their home countries but the bays fill up with others arriving for hurricane season. Camp Grenada begins again in earnest. Let the fun and games begin! Insert rolling eyes. We are settling into our second year of living here, the longest we have stayed anywhere. And approaching 13 years of living on a boat. Who'd have thought this is what I'd be doing at 40! I guess we kind of always knew Grenada would be a place we'd settle for a while. Though how long that will be is anyone's guess. 

It's another bank holiday here in Grenada. There are 13 public holidays compared to 8 in the UK! Any excuse for a lime  ;-)  We've had a chilled weekend together....something of a rarity these days when one of us is always dashing somewhere. I even dragged Sim on a hike around Grand Etang in the rain forest which, to my surprise he really enjoyed...Though he has made it clear it wont be a regular thing. It was wet and muddy and full of mosquitos but totally stunning. I love discovering more of this island, the people, the places, every nuance of it. It continually seems to change with the people that come and go and it's subtle difference in seasons. For now we just enjoy.
Sim and myself at Grand Etang...thanks to the PalmTreemobile. 
I lured Sim on the walk with the promise of no think he'd know better. And what is that bug!?
Bamboos and broken bridges.
More bamboo, Heliconia,  Alpinia and Anthurium
The rain always brings the rainbows

More rain!
The boatyard where Sim works aka 'the goatyard' - thanks Sarah :-)
Walking the bridge between Hog Island and the mainland
A Sunday afternoon on Hog Island with Stan and Cora and Andy playing on the rickety stage.
One of our nights out at the Tuesday Jam at the Brewery.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

An Easter Weekend Staycation In Grenada

It’s been 11months- almost a year since we settled down in Grenada. The seasons have changed and the cooler months of winter are coming to an end. My feelings for Grenada ebb and flow with the tide; one minute all I can see is the beauty here, the bright, the bold, the colourful, the uncomplicated friendliness of a small island. I enjoy our life here and I can see a future. Everything is great in my little piece of paradise. The water sparkles, the boat bobs gently in a calm breeze. The sky is the brightest blue and the birds chirp brightly. Ashore the land is lush and plentiful, palm trees bend gently in the wind, and flowers burst in colour and fragrance. Locals and friends greet you with smiles and charm and I genuinely feel lucky and privileged to be here; especially when there is so much craziness and uncertainty in the rest of the world.
View from the bus stop above Whisper Cove - Clarks Court Bay and Hog Island.
Then the tide turns and my feelings rush in the other direction, I long to get out of here, to set sail and be free.  The heat is oppressive, the friendly faces unwelcoming and the bureaucracy of a small island and community are draining. But these moments are less and less these days as we find our groove here. Sure there are moments when im just itching to leave and start quizing Sim about how long he wants to stay here. But then I remember what I often tell people, that I love living on a boat and travelling but that I can take or leave the sailing part. So perhaps this is the best place for us for now....until I work up the gumption or we save enough cash to go sailing again.
Wandering Star in her spot at Hog Island
 Sim is happy at work and enjoys his weekends pottering. I take huge pleasure in exploring this gorgeous island and have been lucky enough to do plenty of that recently with friends or on hashes.  Together we keep the boat running, Sim fixes things as they arise and I take care of the daily chores.  Noodling in the mornings with the girls (and some guys) is a godsend to my sanity, without which I would probably lose my mind and I also get a little exercise as well. 

Easter weekend has been and gone and Sim, who was still on holiday after a visit home to see his mum and family in the UK, had a few extra days off. So we shook out those sails and meandered around to St George's for the weekend.  It was a great break and good to way to make sure Wandering Star is still in working order.  The engine purred and the winches, sails and windlass all still work.  We had a chilled and relaxed few days pottering on the boat, snorkelling on the reef off Grand Anse Beach and beach combing on Pandy beach.  The water was clear and inviting, unlike in Hog Island and thankfully it wasn’t too rolly for the time we were around there.  Sim cooked the most amazing pork roast on Easter Sunday and Monday we pootled back around to Hog Island. We picked up our mooring and back to work (for some) it is.
Finally a sail after 11 months of not moving!
What do we get on the sail to St George's but a glorious sundog or sun halo.
Sim sitting patiently on Pandy beach while I hunt for sea glass.
Me and some of the noodle girls having a farewell coffee morning for those that are leaving.
Easter is traditionally a time for kite flying in the islands.
A quiet Hog Island....except for the cows.
Mum, Dad and baby cow on Hog Island.
Our favourite little furry thing
Beautiful Grenada, La Sargesse beach,  Lance Aux Pines beach and a goat!

On some of the hikes and hashes in Grenada 
Nature's amazing shapes and patterns.
The hiking gang, Cathy, Cathy, Cora and Andy. Grand Etang lake and Cora and I sitting at the top of Mount Qua Qua.

Tracy and I have been on lots of little outings recently including the various forts around St George's.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Grenada Daze!

It’s been a long, long time since I have written. I never imagined I would let the blog slip so much. Initially because each week seemed to be the same. Sim worked and I looked after the boat. Its hard to appreciate when you live on land how long chores like shopping and laundry and fuel and water runs take, especially on your own. So there wasn’t much new to say. Life in Grenada carried on at a steady plod. The temperature cooled a little more and though still hot, we are no longer brow beaten by the debilitating heat.  Christmas and New Year came and went in a frenzy of parties and get togethers, and our livers longed for celebration time to be over. My sister Jen arrived in the new year and we had a fab time hanging out, kayaking and taking long walks to gorgeous Grand Anse Beach or around St Georges the capital of this little island .....while Sim was at work. I hashed a few times with my friends Sharon and Paul. Boats have left now sailing season has started. I've said goodbye to lots of friends. But strangely new boats arrive all the time. And the bays don't seem as empty as the should.  
Some of the celebrations over my birthday, Christmas and new Year...including Sim eating pigs tails..
strangely straight.....given to him as a belated birthday present from Andy and Trudy.
Another hash somewhere....can't quite remember where,  but I think it was halfway up the
west side of the Island - very steep and full of huge bamboos and always worth the views.
My sister Jen arrives and we walk all over the place, rewarding ourselves with Roti's and beer.
We walk all around St Georges, all around the carenage and lagoon and up the hill to the fort
for fabulous views.
We went to the dinghy concert in the rain- it was warm rain after all, around in Phar Bleu.
As soon as my sister left I got involved with helping out with the Grenada Sailing Week – a week long event at the end of Jan/beginning of Feb. Which swept me up in a whirlwind and three weeks later has spat me out the other side. 

What a great opportunity and a fabulous time I had helping out with the Grenada Sailing Week.

And a  photo of the residents iguanas at Whisper Cove Marina.