Grenada -- Part 1: June 27-July 10, 2007

Click on the above thumbnail for a map during this time period


On June 27 we leave Tyrrel Bay at 7:40 AM, bound for Grenada.  Directly north of Grenada, and directly in our most direct path to the western side of Grenada, lies Kick 'Em Jenny, an active underwater volcano which has the distinction of being the southernmost active volcano in the Lesser Antilles and the only active submarine volcano in the lower Eastern Caribbean.  Jenny has erupted 10 times since 1939, sending a black cloud 900' into the air in '39. causing the sea above the volcano to boil vigorously in '74, killing numerous fish, and last erupting in '90.  The current navigation charts reflect 5 Km and 1.5 Km exclusion zones, but they are not enforced by any authority.  Some vessels prudently give the entire area a berth of at least six miles, and others sail right over the top, which has risen to a depth of less than 600'.  We skirt the area by a scant mile or so, and see neither black clouds, boiling seas, nor dead fish.

As we progress down the west coast of Grenada -- all of the most popular and most protected of the bays lie at the southern end of the island -- discord arises within the crew of Tusen Takk II.  Barb wants to stop at the capital city of St. George's for a night before proceeding around Point Saline to the southernmost bays where many of our cruising companions are ensconced.  Chuck is never anxious to see a city in general, and is less than enthralled with the description of the anchorage at St. George's.  The Lagoon looks small on the charts, and the guide books describe a muddy bottom with poor holding.  As we all know, Admirals outrank Captains, and so we are soon navigating the well-marked but somewhat confusing entrance to The Lagoon.  Yup, pretty crowded, but we might be able to squeeze in near the entrance, just away from those red buoys the guidebooks describe as marking underwater debris.  Or there looks to be a spot over to the west, to the east of a sailboat up close to the western shore.  Hmmm.  As Chuck maneuvers into position, he notices that the computer says he is right on a dock.  But that cannot be right, since there are sailboats all around our boat and no sign of a dock, and no warning buoys.  Suddenly -- BANG!  We've hit something.  Jaw muscles flexing, Chuck idles back over to the first spot.  Awfully crowded, but he decides to set the anchor and then see how we look relative to our near neighbors.  Drop the anchor, put out as much scope as we dare in the crowd, back off ever so slowly to let the big Bruce settle in, and then test by building to 1500 RPM in reverse.  Jaw muscles flex.  We are dragging.  Up with the anchor, and a mutinous announcement to the Admiral:  we are leaving the anchorage and going to the less protected but far more roomy anchorage just outside of the approach to The Lagoon.

We are sometimes asked by landlubbing friends how we can possibly live together on a boat in such close proximity with so few interruptions of togetherness, "without killing each other."  We always answer that this lifestyle is working out very well indeed, and that we cannot imagine doing anything else for the foreseeable future.  And we mean it.  But that should not be taken to mean, landlubbers, that there are never brief and transitory moments when we are not feeling particularly tender toward one another. 

As we approach the outside anchorage, the Admiral  announces -- jaws flexing -- that since the Captain always gets his way and pouts forever if he doesn't that we might as well just go on down around the point to the southernmost bays.  After a brief but intense discussion -- diplomats call such an exchange of opinions "frank" -- Tusen Takk II is on her way southward. 

When Tusen Takk II is at about 1800 RPM she vibrates so badly that the dinghy begins to chatter on her stand up on the upper deck.  More frank discussion ensues, during which the Captain speculates, in a tone of voice that probably could be interpreted as implying that there are issues of fault involved,  that our collision back in The Lagoon has bent the propeller.

We anchor in Prickly Bay, and the Admiral immediately dons snorkel and mask and checks the stabilizing fins and propeller for damage.  She returns to the boat reporting that she could see no damage.  Later, she clarifies that since she had not used any weights, she had trouble getting down deep enough to see much in the murky water.  Chuck dons snorkel, mask, and weights and finds that all three blades of the prop have a noticeable distortion. 

Several days pass as we consider the option of having the boat hauled at Spice Island Marine Services for $280 USA, plus $40 USA an hour for a mechanic to remove the propeller and install the good one (that we have stashed under the bed for just such an occasion).  See November, 2006.  The alternative is to hire a diver to remove and replace the propeller while Tusen Takk II is still in the water.  The friendly staff at Prickly Bay Marina puts us in touch with diver David, who asks about the size and manner of attachment of the prop, and professes to have all of the required tools for the job.  He also asks where we were when we hit the submerged object.  "We pulled out all of those pilings last week!", he exclaims, when we tell him.  "I guess we missed one!"  His fee:  $50 USA per diver per hour.  He usually uses three divers, but given the size of the prop thinks that two will suffice.  The prop was just installed in November, and should not be too stuck.  We agree that two hours is a good guess as to how long the job will take.  That would be $200 USA.

David is booked for the immediate future, but we set up a date for the replacement, and settle in to get acquainted with Grenada.  Every Friday night there is a "fish fry" in Gouyave, a small village at the north end of the island.  A former cruiser, who now -- semi-permanently moored -- lives aboard her boat in a bay on the island, arranges tours, and we join three minibus-loads that make the trip up to the event -- special this week since it is an anniversary of the advent of the fries.  There are two venues, separated by a few blocks.  Along the main street lie clusters of huge speakers, each blasting out rap and sousa at ear-splitting volume.  Immediately in front of each set, dancers crowd the street, just feet away from the speakers.  As we push through the dancers, wincing from the pain of the volume, our bodies are shaken and tossed by the noise.  In the separate eating area, the atmosphere is much calmer, and the food is good. 

Live music is scheduled for 6:30 PM at one of the speaker sites, but there are no signs of musicians as we pass by on our way back to the minibus at 8 PM.  One of the other buses leaves at 9:30 and a passenger later tells us that it looked as if award ceremonies -- for the associated sailboat races, beach runs, tug-of-wars, etc. -- might have been "just about" ready to begin, after which presumably the live music began.  The islanders have a phrase that they use:  "jus' now", which does NOT mean "almost immediately", or even "soon", although it is uttered as if it does.  This can confuse the novice cruiser.  "Jus' now" is best translated as a combination of gesture and words.  The gesture comes first, and would be a shrug signifying a certain amount of uncertainty.  The words would be something like:  "I suppose it could be any time now."  So if  our friend at 9:30 PM had asked when the live music would begin, he almost certainly would have been told "jus' now".  And had we asked at 8 PM, we would have been told "jus' now".  Simple, heh?

Prickly Bay is fairly rolly, but the proximity of chandleries and happy hours and Chinese food and friends keeps us there for a week.  We rig one of the flopper stoppers, and that helps a lot.

We also take advantage of the existence of a nearby sail maker and rigger to address a long-standing concern of ours -- especially that of the Admiral.  Remembering a time when friends of ours back in Savannah were presented with a vexsome problem while on a boat camping trip, we have worried about a failure of the davit that raises/lowers our dinghy to/from the upper deck.  Our friends experienced failure with the dinghy just barely out of the water, which made it very awkward to even move the boat.  Of course, when they got back to their dock they could then easily get parts for a repair.  But what would we do if we were at some remote island?  The answer, which was provided by our previous (42') Krogen, where it was the only means, is to have a manual winch installed on the boom and mast of the trawler.  And so, Tusen Takk II now sports a fancy and expensive winch, purely for backup purposes.  Have I mentioned that a boat is like a spoiled grandchild?  One willingly spends money on her whenever she indicates a want, or more precisely, whenever we think she might have a want.

Installation of the winch required unrigging the flopper stopper, and we have an uncomfortable night when the wind kicks up sizeable rollers.  We move to Hog Island, and let David the diver know of our new location.  He shows up at 10:30 AM for our 10 AM appointment, and has two other divers with him.  They remove the retaining bolt and hub with no problem, but have trouble getting their prop puller in position.  After a long episode of pounding, David announces that he will have to go get a hydraulic puller.  They buzz off in their boat, and are gone for over an hour.  They return, and spend another long episode of pounding.  Still having trouble getting the puller into position, is the verdict relayed by one of the divers.  After much pounding, we hear a loud BING, and realize that the prop has finally come loose from the shaft.  Still more pounding, and then finally the prop is brought to the surface on a cable.  In very short order, the new prop is installed.  It is now just past 2 PM.  David declares that since we had mentioned using only two divers, that is all he will charge for.  So the total will be $400 USA.  $400?  How so?  Two divers at $50 each for four hours.  But that would include the time he spent getting a puller from someone else, a puller he had indicated in our initial discussion that he was equipped with.  No matter.  Have I mentioned that a boat is like a grandchild with a sore throat?  Sometimes, one takes her to the wrong doctor.

Grave diggers and sheep -- Grand Anse

Welcome sign at outskirts of Gouyave, site of Friday Fish Fry

On the beach at the fish fry -- this guy could juggle the ball with his feet for minutes

Swimmers at the beach in Gouyave

View along the beach

Barb at twilight on the beach of Gouyave

Sailboat passing the Gouyave beach -- note the smokestack masts!

Dancers right in front of one of the sets of speakers (at left)

Deserted side street in Gouyave

Everything seems to be painted the Grenada colors

Enjoying an ear of roasted corn

One of the stands in the food area

One of the streets of the food area

Sign in Gouyave

TTII mast and boom before the installation of the winch

Richard the rigger installing the winch

Chuck is just fascinated by work!

After the installation

Divers getting ready to remove the bent prop

Hours later, there she is!

New prop ready for installation

Old prop

One of the bent blades

Another bent blade


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