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Life in the slow lane

The brakes seem to have gone on and life has slowed down a bit. Some do say that this is what we should have been like all along. Maybe.

Not that nothing has happened since I last blogged. We had a good evening with Mike and Jackie a couple of days ago. It was their first time on a dinghy so we had the usual fun associated with uncertainty. But no one ended up in the drink although the opposite did happen a few times. (Note – they do advertise the local AA on the net in the mornings but I don’t think we have that big a problem)

Yesterday we moved round to Clarke’s Court Bay as part of our gradual migration to St David’s for our haul out – which we’ve now postponed to Monday. Before leaving it was goodbyes with Matt and Karen from Where II. They are heading west next week so it’s highly likely we’ll not meet up again before they go. There’s a strong chance we’ll meet up in Bonaire in November but that’s not certain. They plan to spend more time in the Venezuelan islands than we do so a catch up is possible.

We met up with Jim at the marina burger night yesterday evening. We also met Dianne from Jabulani anchored nearby. She’s on her own and just getting onto her SSB project and can’t get it to work. I agreed to help out so have been round there this morning. We made some progress but Helen and I will go back later this evening when we’re more likely to get a good signal.

This morning I also had a quick chat with the folks on Lista Light who are due to take our last two 4D batteries. They’re pretty busy with a project list that dwarfs ours so they’ll be round at 8 this evening to look round the boat before we all head over and explore theirs.

The only other excitement this morning was being asked to move a little by the barge that moves the garbage as we were anchored in it’s route. Not sure why it couldn’t go around us but we wanted to get to cleaner water to fill the tanks.

Back in Prickly Bay. Again.

After my siesta (on Sunday) we installed the dive tank rack in on of the forward lockers. This has made the layout of the locker a lot better. Previously, the tanks had to be laid down on the floor at the furthest point away from the hatch and everything piled on top of them. This made it very awkward as everything would have to be shifted to get at the tanks. Now they’re much more accessible and we can pile things in the rest of the locker based on likelihood of use.

We then motored back down to the anchorage outside St George’s and stayed there for the evening. In the morning we took the bus to the IGA food store to pick up some items we’d not had for a while and to pick up some meats for a BBQ we’re planning for this evening. We also picked up some hooks from the hardware store to further improve the dive/wet gear locker.

After lunch we sailed round to Prickly Bay. More precisely, we sailed round the point and tested our tacking angle against the current. We were going nowhere so we lowered the sails and motored the last couple of miles.

Last night we had Matt & Karen aboard (Where II) for pre dinner drinks and chat. Dinner took a back seat and we had the pleasure of their company until late in the evening. Brain is feeling ok this morning despite prior patterns associated with our evenings with them. Perhaps that’s due to the large amounts of water drunk overnight.

The main plan for today is to have Jackie and Mike aboard for a BBQ this evening. They were the local couple we met on our first hash here on the island and Mike is the one who took us to the airport back in May. We’ll probably make a trip to the local ACE hardware store as we need a few more bits and pieces and we’ll probably install the hooks bought yesterday.

Weather watching has become a lot more important now that the hurricane season has actually turned into a hurricane season. We’ve had no named storms then suddenly there were three, Ana, Bill and Claudette. Bill was the most concerning due to it’s projected strength. It’s still east of us but heading well north – looking much like it going to pound Bermuda. Claudette fired up from the low that caused the carnival parade to be postponed a week ago and ran into NW Florida. Grenada has some risk of being hit by a storm. Although we have insurance this is our last resort. Our plan is basically to either go on the hard to ride out a storm or to sail south well in advance. We have a few places all ready plotted in our chart plotter in case we do have to run.

This coming weekend looks to be very, very wet. This may affect our plans to haul out and will certainly delay the start of any land work on the boat.

Pageant & Monday Night Mas

What a long day it was yesterday. We walked to the national stadium in time for the listed 1pm start of pageant. Due to earlier rain everything was delayed and things didn’t kick off until nearly 3pm. Once it started it was a bit confused as I think things were out of sequence to accommodate bands that hadn’t yet arrived. The first five bands were what’s called ‘Short Knee’ bands. It is very traditional but from our perspective, once you’d seen one you’d seen them all. The costumes were all very similar. They would come on stage and all stomp around accompanied by a chant to the same rhythm as all the others. For a while we wondered if they would all be like this.

Next came a sort of in between act where the band was made up of several groups. Each group had a theme. A story about vampires and slayers was narrated while each group came onto the stage. In the end it was just more stomping around but with more variety and some falling over and dying.

Then it went into the fancy costume parade proper. The bands had gone to a great deal of effort with their costumes. Each band was again made up of different sections. The band would have an overall them with each section would have a sub-theme. The sections would have the same costume, sometimes having a single participant with a very elaborate costume. Each section would have a different colour too. At the end they would all come onto the stage together in a riot of colour.

The music they would dance to was the usual thumping carnival music with the usual jumping and cavorting that comes with it.

One of the bands had had a few cruisers help out and join in. Matt and Karen from Where II took part. Matt played the ultimate tourist by bringing his video camera on stage with him.

We left after the last band played but before the results of the competition were announced so we have no idea who won the costume competition. Our favourite was “Journey to the Temple of the Sun” which had an Inca theme. We will get to see all the costumes again this afternoon coupled with the steel bands for the final street parade.

We went back to the boat for a quick bite to eat and to get ready for the night mas. This time we put on our ‘Digicel’ teeshirts and carried our red light sabers to join Jim and several hundred other revelers behind the Digicel truck. As a result of the Pageant delays the night mas start was delayed from 6:30 to 8:30. We turned up just after 7 to enjoy the build up. Part of our Digicel gear included a flask into which we could have as much rum and coke as we wanted poured in throughout the night.

Once the procession started we made our way very slowly around the lagoon and into the Caranage. We danced along with all the rest and both of us from time to time were ‘ground’ by strangers. I’m not sure of the right term for this but it reminds me very much of what Bonobos get up to and it’s very groinal. We enjoyed ourselves while adrenalin kept the fatigue at bay. Around midnight Helen began to fade so we left Jim to the crowd and made our back to the boat falling asleep instantly.

Despite the long day and lots of rum last night we’re in surprisingly good form this morning and looking forward to the final procession this afternoon when everything comes together. Given the experience so far this will hardly fail to please.

The one downside of all of yesterday was to learn that one of the other cruising boats anchored near us was burgled last night while they were ashore. Just shows that there are thorns in this bed of roses in paradise and we do need to take care.

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Panorama

Most of yesterday was a well deserved rest. I left the boat in the morning to join Jim on a quest to buy Carnival gear and tickets for the evening Panorama. We met Jim later in the evening to go for a local Chinese meal before heading over to the national stadium for Panorama – the steel band competition.

As we were early we snagged seats right up the front with a great view. Matt and Karen from Where II showed up later and sat with us for the show which started around 8pm. The stage was already set with the first steel band. The evening kicked off with a local singer followed by the bands performance in front of the crowd and a panel of judges. In between each act would be a filler act – usually a dance group (the same one) – which was mildly entertaining. While the filler act played the previous band’s instruments were rolled off the stage and the next band’s gear rolled on.

The bands themselves were quite incredible. The larger ones were more of an orchestra with around 80 players and 160 instruments. Their performance was not just musical as part of the entertainment was just watching the energy of their movement and dancing as they played.

We felt the third band, New Dimension, was by far the best and they eventually went on to win. Their composition took them through quiet and loud segments, crescendos and more. Unbelievably, on at least two occasions the pace and volume kicked up giving a real rush to the audience eliciting cheers. Never seen steel bands like this.

The show finished around 1am. A bus and a dinghy ride got us back to the boat before 2am. I checked my amps used and voltage on the batteries of course before crashing to sleep. Great night out.  Unfortunately I forgot my camera.  If I can cadge some pics off other cruisers I’ll post them here later.

Tonight is Dimanche Gras – a calypso competition. Not yet sure if we’ll do this one. Carnival proper starts tomorrow morning at 5am. Info on Grenada Carnival can be found at www.spicemasgrenada.com.

A Day in the Bay

Saturday morning we went to the flea market in Whisper Cove Marina. We arrived a few minutes early only to find the place jostling with cruisers looking to sell unwanted gear and those looking for bargains. We managed to pick up some free guides to Australia and an RS232 cable splitter which I need to talk to some of my gear.

Bristol Roses were there looking to sell some of their US charts and guidebooks. Where IIs were wandering around as were the Jacksters.

Helen and I took a little walk up the hill from Whisper Cove and found a lovely plot of land overlooking the bay. It would be a great place to build a home and we wonder why one hasn’t been built there. No doubt someone owns the land and is hanging on for the right event. Here’s a panoramic video from the location.

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Back at the marina we again bumped into the Jacksters and ended up inviting David and Jacqui over for a curry aboard Dignity.

Back aboard Dignity is was down to clearing and cleaning ready for our trip to Trinidad. I wanted to check and clean the props and decided if I was down there on the hookah I may as well clean the hulls too. I’m beginning to despise this job as it takes all the fun out of being in the water. Down here the wriggly critters are prevalent so despite putting my wetsuit on they still got into my hair and neckline.

The evening came David and Jacqui joined us. We had a great evening sharing stories and the odd joke. I managed to find one that David didn’t already know which, if you know David, is quite a result. In the end they left around midnight, the real one, which is a testament to how much we enjoyed the evening. We have roughly similar plans so hopefully we’ll be bumping into the Jacksters (not literally) from time to time.

Checking the weather this morning it is again looking like Monday evening offers the better weather window for Trini. For a while it was beginning to look like tonight would be better but now the odds are shifting in favour of Monday again. Probably for the best as we’re a little tired this morning.

Final note. Yesterday I discovered a page on the winlink site that shows our current and recent positions on a single page. This gives you a better idea of how we’re moving about and should be pretty good when we’re covering larger distances. I’ve provided a link to it on our ‘Where Are We?‘ page for future reference.

The following pics include views of the boat to give a sense of the place we’re anchored.