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1,000 Steps

The battery work went more or less to plan. At 8am, we dinghied into Island Water World to collect our new battery. We were a bit early so it wasn’t ready. We picked up some cleaning supplies and took our dud battery and the other good one that had been charged up ashore back to Dignity. Focusing on the four batteries which each had a low acidity reading in one cell each we first drained the problem cell down to the plates, topped this cell up from those surrounding which had strong acid then refilled the surround cells using acid from a good cell in the dud battery. A little more convoluted than the original plan but had the greatest effect. By the end of the morning we were back in IWW where we collected the new battery, took it back to the boat and installed it. Dignity was now ready to go.

After lunch we went for a walk around town hoping to catch the museum. We left the dinghy at Grenada Yacht Club, swapped some books then headed round to the fort area. Shortly after leaving the yacht club we passed a sports field where the local police were hosting events. In the heat we couldn’t believe how many were standing around in full track suits.

We are anchored in a place called “The Lagoon” where on one side you have the rapidly expanding Port Louis and on the other is the Grenada Yacht Club. The land sticks out to the north where you have the Tropical freight terminal. On the other side of this you have the Caranage. This is a squarish little bay surrounded by buildings, mostly commercial. The waterside has many boats docked, some fishing, some party and some commercial. The water is a bit yucky but overall the place has a bit of an atmosphere.

As we walked around the Caranage we came upon a couple of local fisherman who’d caught a boat load of jacks and were selling them in plastic bags to folks ashore. When we reached the museum we found it was not open. Unfortunately there wasn’t even a sign to say when they do open. Another time.

We walked through the tunnel that takes us to the ‘city’ area of St Georges where they have the market, banks and the new mall/cruise boat terminal. We bought some fruit at the market, looked around the mall then headed back to Dignity picking up some rum on the way. Some of this rum (the bottle of 150% proof for approx US$4) is destined for knocking out fish we catch.

In the evening we attended the 620th Grenada Hash which had the ominous title “1,000 Steps”. The start/end point was Port Louis Marina so we didn’t have far to travel at all. Port Louis is a new marina and very elegant. I would guess around 120 people attended this hash. Among them were some cruisers we knew: Jim from Bees Knees and Marianne and Theo from Double Dutch who we’d met on the recent turtle watch.

The hash began by taking us on a narrow path around the nearby prominentary. Soon we were scrambling up the side of the hill. I kept sliding out of my flip flops so I ended up climbing up the hill in bare feet.

From the top of the prominentary we were treated to a great view of the Lagoon where we were anchored. We then descended back down to Port Louis Marina where a water taxi awaited to take us over to the other side of the Caranage, close to the museum where we could continue our walk.

     

The walk from here took us all around St George’s. If there were steps in town, we climbed them. The relief that came with descent was tinged by the likely prospect we’d not seen our last climb. At one point we had a ‘beer stop’ which is unusual for hashes as the beer is usually reserved for the end of the hash. In this case the beer was in fact free and served by some interesting local characters, one of whom insisted on posing for the camera.

As an aside, you may notice that in the pics for the hash many are wearing ties. This was a mandatory dress requirement owing to the fact we were walking around the city. Obviously the hashers have an eye for their graces.

Given that at any time we knew exactly where the end of the hash was and how to get there, it was tempting to take a short cut to the finish. Unless we accidentally skipped some side path we avoided this temptation. Nevertheless, although there were many in the pack behind us, we were one of the last to arrive at the finish so we reckon one or two others succumbed to this temptation. I can’t blame them as this one was hard work. Back at Fort Louis Marina we had the customary beers to wash away the fatiguq of hard walking/climbing. Here we bumped into Jim from Heatwave who had wanted to go on the hash but had been delayed owing to flight delays with his family (Judy & Charlotte) who had left for Bermuda earlier in the day.

After the hash we decided to eat out with Jim from Bees Knees at a local place called the Horny Baboon. We had chicken wings, burgers and fries. We deserved it.

Quick note on plans for today. Having done our work on the boat and as tomorrow looks more and more like the day to head north we’re going to pop outside the lagoon to anchor Dignity in cleaner water and have a restful day.

I’ll leave you with some prophetic words on a sign we encountered on the hash yesterday having climbed yet another set of steps.

Enjoy the rest of the pics.

Turtles

We started the day, yesterday, by moving Dignity back round to Prickly Bay so we could shop for drinks and be close to the turtle tour evening pickup. The short motor round from Hog Bay, with the wind and current behind us, was a breeze.

Before it became too warm Helen and I went ashore, walked to the nearby highway and visited a number of shops: ACE Hardware (for a power multiblock), NY Bagels (for a snack), a Cash & Carry and the Grenada Brewery outlet. At the latter we picked up a couple of crates of beer and a crate of Ting which we lugged back to the boat on our trolley.

We rested through midday. In the afternoon I picked up dinghy fuel from Prickly Bay Marina and made another trip back to the brewery outlet for two more crates of Ting and one more crate of beer. We are now set, drinkwise, for June and July.

At 6pm we met up outside Budget Marine with Cutty and a number of other cruisers to be taken to the north of the island to see turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs. For the record, among the group were Liz & Bob from Yanena (probably spelt incorrectly) who arranged the group outing, Judy, Jim & Charlotte from Heatwave and Marianne and Theo from Double Dutch. Hopefully we’ll see these folks again.

The trip north took around 90 minutes. We stopped off about 10-15 minutes before the target beach to pick up our guide who was associated with a local research group. She gave us a short brief on what to expect and some do’s and don’ts – in particular no white torches and no camera flashes as these would disturb the turtles.

We arrived at the beach around 8pm and began waiting. We saw no action until around 9:30pm when someone spotted some baby turtles hatching and we received word that a turtle had landed at the other end of the beach around 700 meters away.

We first made our way over to where the baby turtles were surfacing. The average nest has around 100 eggs, most of which will hatch successfully. In this case we saw around six to eight early arrivals scrambling around roughly making their way to the sea.

A few who had red light torches were able to guide the baby turtles to the sea by shining their light ahead of them as they had an instinct to follow the light.

Here is a brief video of the baby turtles crossing the sand

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Next we trudged to the other end of the beach to see the turtle reported to have landed there. Along the way we were nervous of treading on other baby turtles that may be hatching and making their way to the sea. Fortunately, I don’t think we squished any. Nor did we see any others. In the low light our eyes would play tricks on us. In the distance I thought I saw a massive turtle but it turned out to be a boat.

Eventually we made it all the way to the other end of the beach where we found some researchers helping a 1000lb turtle dig her nest. She was having difficulties as her right flipped appeared injured and was not removing sand effectively. The turtle would only begin laying her eggs when she can feel no more sand beneath her. This was not going to happen without help.

It was exhausting just watching her and eventually a reflex must have triggered and she abandoned this attempt to try elsewhere.

The researchers knew when we were able to come close to watch. During the early digging we were asked to stand well away which we did. As the hole developed we were allowed to come close. When this turtle made a second attempt she was left alone with just the researchers to help as this was clearly going to be a difficult night for her.

Fortunately, another turtle came ashore as we were heading back to the taxi. Again we stood off until it was ok to come near. This turtle was fit and able to dig her hole without assistance. Soon we were able to come close and watch. Methodically she would excavate each side of the hole with her hind flippers creating quite a deep, squarish hole for her eggs.

When her senses told it was time she went into her egg laying trance. In this mode she was practically senseless to what was going on around. We were able to touch her carapace (soft shell) and her fore flippers without disturbing her. She was also unphazed by the researcher holding her rear flippers apart so they could count the eggs and we could see them.

In order to preserve the species they were prepared to move the nest if it was too damp which would put the eggs at risk. The researchers felt this nest was ok so no preparations were made. Two types of eggs are laid. Normal yolk filled eggs are laid which will produced babies. Around these, smaller yolkless eggs are laid as filler so that the yolked eggs don’t get too much sand between them.

Midnight approached so we had to head back to the taxi careful again to avoid any possible hatchlings. We saw a third turtle ashore to nest and lay her eggs along the way. It was nearly 2pm before we finally returned to Dignity. We were exhausted and fell asleep immediately. This was a one of a kind day and if you ever get an opportunity to do this yourself, seize it.

Here is a video of the two turtles we saw digging their nests. You should see the difference between the injured turtle in the first half and the fit turtle in the latter. Enjoy.

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Finally – all the pics.