|Atop Welcome Rock, Grenada!|
|Climbing to Welcome Rock. The tour van below could only go so far. Our legs did the rest, up to the peak and over to the sensational view from the rock.|
We celebrated the Old Year at Zulu Time (Greenwich Mean Time) or 8:00 p.m. Grenada Time. We were on a British boat so entirely appropriate for the host and for us cruisers whose circadian rhythms are very much based on the sun - up at 0600 and winding down at 1800.
|Christmas decorations on Milly. We found a Norwegian-flavoured bearded elf at a Carriacou "soap" shop and just had to buy him to oversee the others.|
We had returned to Tyrrel Bay where we spent the three months of our lockdown just in time for Christmas to spend with dear friends - our six person Covid bubble. It felt like we were returning home - hello to the fruit/veg vendor in his newly expanded shack/store, a broad, almost toothless grin and welcome from the roti maker/chef and a dazzling smile from the owner of our favoured beach bar.
And very familiar views! It was a great place to celebrate when we couldn't be with family.
After Christmas, we spent two glorious nights anchored off Saline Island, a small privately owned paradise just of the coast of Carriacou. The clearest water we had seen in a long time, perhaps ever, made even more spectacular by the full moon shimmering on the bottom about 6 m below and making visible the night life of the sea. Truly incredible!
|Milly at Saline Island named after the salt pond in the middle. Glorious water - in the sea, not the pond!|
|Aquafit. The drone could even 'see' my legs from at least 50 feet in the air.|
|Seclusion! A very strong current, whirled and swirled around us on the port side while on starboard the water was strong and flat. I could get my exercise by swimming in one spot on starboard or doing the front crawl to go backward on port.|
|That's Lovely behind his bar at Lovely's Vegan Restaurant, the only building on Saline. Full bar with extensive grills.|
|A full vegan meal with six dishes - clockwise from the top - some sort of soy dish flavoured like baked beans, lentil stew, potatoes with hot garlic sauce, green salad, grilled pumpkin, callaloo. All delicious. |
|The shimmering bottom through 6 meters of water. Amazing!|
|We were so secluded that Peter could wear his white bathing suit.|
We, along with about 200 other boats made for the relative protection of Tyrrel Bay for the high winds forecast January 1st and 2nd. It was already crowded when we arrived on December 30th with no wind to speak of, an unusual occurrence in the Trades. The boats on anchor were floating all over the place, direction dictated more by a haphazard current than anything else. It made anchoring a bit of a guessing game - how would boats sit once the wind came up? By the next day we were too close to a neighbour and decided to move across the ferry channel where only one other boat floated instead of trying to find space. Charting on that side was inaccurate although standing on the bow, I could see and, with some vigour, gestured Peter to stop and reverse but..too late, we ran aground. I think Peter fell for the crying wolf phenomena - my previous and, admittedly, sometimes needless caution made him rely more on poor charts than on overcautious wife. We both learned a lesson!
With deft handling of the motors, he got us floating again and we anchored but dragged for many meters before catching - always a bad sign. Peter dove on it to find the anchor was partially under broken coral pieces (poor holding) and caught on a rock. It held us for now but we didn't feel all that comfortable with soon-to-arrive wind. When the Coast Guard came by to whoosh us away, it made our decision to move easier. We had unknowingly anchored in the quarantine area reserved for boats coming from other island nations.
Back across the channel to the crowd on the other side. Found a spot and anchored nicely in the middle between two boats. However, the sailor on our starboard side watched with an eagle eye, gesturing for us to leave, while standing on his bow. Seemed a little unreasonable given that we were well away from his boat and our swing took us further. The anchor was plunked down in sand. We did not see the need to move. Peter again went to dive on the anchor and it was hooked under a huge, very heavy chain, snaking over the bottom, discarded from days gone by. With some assistance from friends and a special device called an "anchor thief", purchased in the Med where it's so crowded neighbours chains over anchors is a common occurrence, we managed to pick up our anchor and drop it downwind of the enormous chain. Now the anchor was buried deep into sand and we felt ready for almost whatever the wind gods planned to open the new year with.
As we were enjoying our bubbly post Zulu New Year's, we could hear the wind come up. Time to be off to cocoon and anchor watch on our own boats.
Over the next two days, the wind howled. Not much rain, just sunshine, cloud and gusty wind. At night you could hear a strong gust arriving. It sounded like a train approaching, beginning with a distant rumble and arriving with a roar, hard tug on the chain and a shudder. Crews mostly hunkered down on their boats during the day. A couple of boats dragged - two without crew. One boat was pushed and pulled by six dinghies away from collision with a friend's boat. Another, from the quarantine anchorage where we had discovered such poor holding, was slowly headed toward Panama before the crew returned - I guess they weren't in quarantine!
We were not into our lockdown routine when we hadn't been allowed to leave the boat for weeks in March & April and were quite content. Although we both had good books, we seemed to have time on our hands and a little more restlessness in our spirit. We were happy when the wind eased on January 3rd and we could go for a New Year's tramp.
A few other notable events as we neared the end of 2020:
|Peter's 60th birthday party on the beach playing Molkky with friends. He is not a fan of cake but sandwiches are his fave.|
|We were honoured to be included in our first boat renaming ceremony, all according to strict script. Neptune and the Four Winds drank a lot of champagne poured in dictated directions. And Celtic Rose was born!|
|A tour of northern Grenada highlighted the petroglyphs. Over 60 engraving dated from CE 500 was on this large boulder at the bottom of a deep gorge.|
|Milly also got some new canvas to dress up just before the holidays. Her old windshield covers were disintegrating, her old cockpit cushion covers were splitting at the seams and her old sunshade was beyond even Peter's repair.|
|The new windshield cover should last a lifetime, the sunbrella cushion covers in "Storm" - a brave colour for a sailor - no longer stick to me and the sunshade is better than new. Thanks, Ever After Canvas! A great job!|
And then there was a 65th birthday and multiple walks/hikes and meals out.
We feel very lucky to be in Grenada where we can be with friends. The country did experience a spike in cases after a resort guest socialized with locals and other guests. A curfew, quarantines and restrictions were enforced. Through tracking and testing, numbers have now dropped to close to zero with the only active cases coming in by plane. No community spread. Quite remarkable!
Happy New Year! It came in like a lion and will hopefully go out like a healthy, vaccinated lamb.