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Wet, wet, wet

We were told it would be hot and dry down here in Trinidad at this time of year. We’re not seeing that.

Yesterday our ‘mission’ was to tour the Chaguaramas area and look at all the stores and services finding the best places to buy the things on our list. We left around 9am and chained the Dinghy up at the Tropical dock. We made it as far as the local Budget Marine before the heavens open for the first time during daylight. We waited in the store until the rain lessened and made our way back to the dinghy – the paths we had come along were now ankle deep in water.

We abandoned the plan to visit everything in the morning and headed back to the boat to dry off and have lunch. In the afternoon we dinghied over to Crewsinn to look at the shops and services there and then over to the Power Boats marina dock and to complete our exploration.

We did a lot of wandering through boat yards looking at the boats on the hard for the summer. We saw a few we recognised including a couple already mentioned in this blog. Marcia – if you’re still reading, Mimi looks fine.

It rained some more while we were walking around but we managed to get back to Dignity before it really poured again, this time almost half filling the dinghy.

We did receive notification in the morning that our batteries and paint had been unloaded which seemed odd as the ship was supposed to arrive on Wednesday. We later learned there had been a miscommunication. Our goods were on the boat and it arrived normally so we should see them either Thursday evening or, more likely, some time Friday.

We did acquire a couple of items. We bought a new security chain for the Dinghy and some waterproof grease for the shaft seals. We finished off Wednesday evening with a visit to Joe’s pizza. The food was delicious including the best garlic bread I’ve tasted in a long time.

We’ve now had two good nights sleep. I need to reset my clock a little as I’m now falling asleep too early and waking up even earlier than normal.

Today, we are considering taking the local bus to the nearby malls and, maybe, into Port of Spain.

Grenada Hash – Losing Our Virginity

Yesterday can only be described as a whole lot of fun. We left the boat around midday to go into St Georges. The hash had a pickup point in St Georges where those without rides could be picked up by those with spare space in their vehicles. The pickup was at 2pm so we had plenty of time.

We tied up at the dinghy dock at Prickly Bay Marina and walked to the main road. No bus was in sight so we walked along the road to explore. There are no official bus stops bar the road itself so there was no danger of missing the bus. In fact, one hardly needs to bother looking for the bus as they always slow down and beep walkers to see if they need a ride.

We passed a couple of restaurants, one a Chinese, which had food at great prices. We eventually caught the number 1 bus into St Georges which passed through a lot of shopping areas, Grand Anse – the tourist zone – and finally into town. First we looked for a bank because we were practically out of Eastern Caribbean Dollars, the currency used in most of the islands. Then we tried to find a mobile phone shop that wasn’t closed. We’ve decided it is finally time to get a phone that can work from island to island. The trick is to get an unlocked GMS phone so that all you need to do is buy a new chip in each island for just the local airtime. Given that we’ll be spending a good deal of time here in Grenada it makes sense to sort this out sooner rather than later. Unfortunately the shops we found were either closed for the day, closed for lunch or only had expensive phones.

Still having some time left we popped into Grenada Yacht Club where Helen exchanged some books and we had some iced drinks to cool down. We finally reached the Caranage Café our rendezvous point with a few minutes to spare. We immediately started chatting with Dave who had arrived a little earlier. He was a seasoned traveler / hasher / cruiser and very pleasant to get to know. We ended up sharing the ride to the hash with him chauffeured by Julian who, as he said, was born, bred and buttered in Grenada. Julian was in fact a harbor pilot and had been doing this all his life which was quite a long one at that.

The drive to Mt Rueil, St Patricks took an hour and a half as it was in the far north of the island. Julian kept us on the road though not always on the right side of it which led to the odd hairy moment. But we got to the start safe and sound so big thanks to Julian for the initial ride.

We arrived with time to spare and soon there were around 60-70 people (maybe more) milling around waiting for the hash to start. For safety reasons every one taking part had to sign into a book (and eventually sign out at the end). As first timers we had to sign in as ‘vrigins’.

Before setting off we were given our instructions. There was a shorter route for the walkers and a longer route for the ‘show offs.’ At periodic points along the route, usually within sight of each other, would be clumps of shredded paper as markers. Occasionally the shredded paper would be arranged in a circle which would indicate the path was branching into two or more alternates – all but one of which would be terminated with a cross on the path somewhere. These would be dead ends which serve the purpose of slowing down the front runners.

We decided to take the shorter path. In this case the runners had a small diversion up front which brought them onto the walkers path behind the walkers after a short detour. We started near the back of the pack but soon found ourselves near the front when we met those at the front heading back from a dead end. Positions changed frequently as a result of these diversions. Our path took us on roads, tracks, up slippery slopes, across ravines and small streams, through the brush and along the side of hills with fabulous views. Along the way we met and started talking to Jackie, a Brit import to the island who, with her husband Mike, were involved in the Hash committee. We learned they bought a plot of land here a few years back and came over 4 years ago and now rent apartments to students.

After less than an hour we reached the end of the hash where food and drinks were served by locals. Here we got to socialize a little. We chatted with Dave who we rode up with and then spent time chatting to Mike and Jackie getting to know them a little more.

After winding down with food and drink it was time for the virgins to be ‘de-virginized.’ All the virgin were lined up to receive a speech inducting us into the ranks of hashers. As the speech was read out the non virgins collected themselves along each side of the road and behind us. When the speech was complete the guy giving it backed a way up the road and told us that when he gave the signal we were all to rush up the road to him.

Well, the signal was given and we moved. Now we discovered why everyone was surrounding us as at this point many started shaking up their beer bottles and spraying us with beer. We ended up getting quite spattered and reeking with beer. Nice way to be greeted.

Our initiation was not yet complete. We were then, in turn, handed certificates of loss of virginity, the text on which pretty much mirrored the speech given.

We really enjoyed ourselves. The event was a lot of fun and we’re definitely going to try and make the next one in two weeks time.

Mike and Jackie turned out to live close to Prickly Bay and ended up giving us a ride home. On the way we got to know them more and once we arrived at the marina we stayed for more drinks before exchanging details and parting company. Mike, who is an early riser, has offered to pick us up and take us to the airport next Wednesday. Given that our flight is at 6:30am, this is a fine offer indeed.

No blog can go by, it seems, without mentioning Bees Knees. We bumped into Anne and Jim at the marina bar where they were socializing with friends. They’re currently on the hard working on their boat. Jim is likely to join us on the next hash but sadly Anne will be on her way back to Maine to work for next year’s cruising kitty.

When we finally got back aboard Dignity we found a Ziploc bag full of home made cookies. They were delicious and we devoured three each. When we checked our email we discovered they were from Marcy aboard Mimi. We had looked out for them when we came into Prickly Bay as we knew they may not have left yet. We didn’t see them so figured they’d gone already. Unfortunately it seems we missed them but did appreciate the parting gift.

So here is a copy of my ‘Certificate of Loss of Virginty.’ Click on it for the rest of the pics.

Burger Night Out

This was a lot of fun. Got to meet a bunch of folks who are either settling in for the summer or preparing to leave the Caribbean for the summer season. We bumped into the folks from Mimi and Catalyst who we last saw in Carriacou and ate our burger & fries with them. Another inexpensive night out all reinforcing our belief summer will be a lot of fun here. We bumped into Devi and Hunter from Artic Tern who we last saw on the beach in the Tobago Cays. We recognised some from last Sunday’s beach BBQ and no doubt some more of the faces will be known over time. Anne & Jim from Bees Knees were there but we all managed to find time for everyone else.

The cooks, Rene & Cherryl, who are cruisers helping out also run a fish & chips night every other Friday. If we don’t make this coming Friday we must make the one in two weeks time.

As ever, when we’re having the most fun I forget to take photos. Oops.

Today we have some calls to make and make our last on line orders for things to collect in NJ. In a few minutes Helen will be off with Anne for yoga at Clark’s Court Bay Marina hosted by Devi from Arctin Tern. Later we will move the boat to explore more of the possibilities to the west of us. Today we’ll certainly look at Mt Harmon Bay where we may stop for the night. To the west of that is Prickly Bay which is a real cruiser hub and there’s also True Blue Bay which has some moorings we could possibly use too.

Off to Grenada Mainland

Last night we went out to eat at the Lambi Queen. A lot of cruisers had turned up there as a result of a marketing exercise (someone going around in a boat earlier in the day) so it was lively. We shared a table with two other cruising couples: Gabe & Kathleen from Catalyst and Marcia & Keith from Mimi. Food was good. Company was better.

We’re off to Grenada fairly soon. We realize we’ve posted no photos of Carriacou but we will do on our return. We need to swing by early June to pick up our new dinghy cover.