Posted February 2011
We’re anchored in Clarks Court bay - still in Grenada after 2 months, so what have we been doing?
When we arrived after 15 months in England, someone remarked ‘that will be 15 months of boat maintenance then’ – true words spoken in jest - here’s our job lists.
Talking to yachties here it seems that everyone who leaves their boat for six months or more here faces maintenance, unless they pay someone to do it before they come back. We spent three weeks on the hard at Spice Island boatyard in Prickly bay, and then four weeks at Whisper Cove in Clarks Court bay, using the workshops.
Whisper Cove is unique, a piece of paradise. Gilles and Mary, who are French Canadian, have been running it for nearly two years whilst living on their yacht on the pontoon (they only came into Grenada for a tin of paint and decided to stay).
They have transformed what is still a simple wooden building into a bar, terrace, gardens, showers, laundry, library, workshop and a store, selling most essentials. They butcher their own meat and produce tasty sausages, hams, pates and Quebec pies, jars of home-made soups and sauces.
Gilles is chef, butcher and harbourmaster – all in one day. Mary is always around, attentive, keeping things running from her cool office overlooking the bay.
In the mornings Liz was sewing a cover for the dinghy in the workshop, listening to the soft jazz guitar music, smelling the fresh French bread and coffee. All with a panoramic view of Clarks Court bay, Hog and Calivigny islands, and yachts at anchor.
Then there’s the social scene. The southern bays of Grenada – Prickly, Hartman, and Clark’s Court have a lively liveaboard community, all organised on VHF channel 68. There are shopping buses and other trips, We have been to most of the live local music venues with bands playing everything from Steel Pan to Rock. We have eaten at Burger Night, Chicken and Fries Night, Oildown at the Rum Shop, and Pot luck dinner. We've helped to teach kids at Mount Airey School, and went to the Independence day parade where we were shown on Grenadian TV being introduced to the Minister of Tourism.
Oildown - an acquired taste Bob gives fingerwork lessons on his guitar at Mount Airey
Independence day parade in St Georges Doc Adams Blues Band at 'De Big Fish'
Finally there’s the weather – it has showered nearly everyday since we’ve been here. Normally these showers only last a few minutes, but there’s been a period of persistent rain, strong NE winds and big seas throughout the Caribbean. A boat recently turned round and came back because they couldn’t make the passage north between the islands.
Grenada is so situated at the south-eastern end of the Windwards islands, that the north-easterly winds at the beginning of the year mean a tough beat to windward to get to the next islands up the chain. Later on in the season as the winds veer east, then south- east, it becomes easier. So we realised that the Caribbean is designed for Americans and Canadian sailors to go south at the beginning of the season and north at the end (there are a lot of Canadian boats here – escaping the frozen winters and the world financial crisis).
But we were going north and we couldn’t wait any longer. The boat jobs were done and harbour rot was setting in. Time to go...
And now for something completely different....Well, we did try to get away. On a good weather forecast we set off for Carriacou, to the north-east. At the top of Grenada we hit big waves and strong winds. On the nose. As usual. The idea of spending the next few weeks crawling our way up the Windward Islands chain (for the third time) into both winds and current, so that we’d reach Cuba just in time for the hurricane season, didn’t have much appeal. The discomfort had begun to outweigh the fun. As B B King so eloquently put it: ‘The thrill is gone, baby.’
'How do you fancy spending the summer pottering down the French canals to the Med? You know, sunshine, nice flat water, beautiful countryside, getting the bikes out now and then to buy wine and cheese at the village market,' I asked Liz.
‘Yes. Oh yes.’
So, how to get the boat back? We had crossed the Atlantic to Trinidad, and found it hard work for just the two of us. The prospect of crossing back again (usually a harder trip) didn’t thrill us either. So I looked around for delivery skippers and found Brendan, who is a practising Buddhist and does rather nice oil paintings of nothing but waves and the sea. Both of these qualities seemed to be the ideal qualifications for a delivery skipper to me.
In the event he put us on to Kaptain Jan from Denmark, and it’s him and a young crew from Newfoundland, who are doing the business. That’s why I’m writing this in the depths of North Yorkshire, tracking the progress of Yanina on her way across to Le Havre. It’s a strange feeling having someone take over your home and move it 3000 miles for you but I’m sure we’ll get used to it.
So, the French canals then. But first we'll have to take the mast down so we can get under the bridges. We'll need to make wooden supports to carry the mast. Then I'll have to remove the wind generator which is also too tall. More boat jobs then. We'll need more fenders of course, and a ladder. And maybe a second fridge for all the wine and cheese...
Posted 23rd June 2011
We met Jan and Ed in a rainy Le Havre where they handed Yanina over after two months at sea from Antigua to the Azores, with light winds then headwinds working against them. Our thanks go to them for delivering her safely and with no major incidents or damage.
The first job for Liz was turning out every locker and drying them, and somehow unpacking the four bags we had brought with us.
Bob was constructing the mast support. We have to take the mast down to go under some of the bridges on the canals.
We visited Honfleur - an alternative and very attractive port that was closed for lock repairs till only a week ago.
.......................Complete with artist
In Le Havre, we saw an exhibition at the musee Malraux, ate coq au van at Chez Mathilde, and found the biggest lettuce we have seen for a long while.
We were enjoying the relative decrease in temperature to do the boat jobs, but we had to don oilies for the crossing from LeHavre to the Seine at 7 am.
Sous un grand pont a l'entrance de la Seine
.............................................. Overtaken by une grande peniche
Un petit village enroute
Look at the 'Along the way' section for the full story.
The River Seine
Fog! First lock
Foot steering and time for a few boat jobs
Riverside homes with moorings ............. the RHS one is more our budget
10 things we like about river cruising (except there’s 12).
Here's some more photo's of our time in France
Motoring past the Eiffel Tower Paris Chartier restaurant Paris
Cafe Paris Artists Paris
Catacombs Paris Sunflowers
Circus Halte Nautique
Sancerre Pont Briare (a bridge carrying the canal)