Saturday, August 20, 2011

Dynamics in Southern Grenada

Prickly Bay in Grenada is a little bit our third home, after our real home (which I assume is the boat or Belgium or the States) and the lagoon in St. Martin. We have spent a lot of time here in previous years and it is always nice to be back. Once we get used to the rolly bay (at times) and the longer distances again, we are quite happy. There are less cruisers here than other years, due to the fact that calm Mount Hartman Bay has become more popular. Fortunately there are still some friends around. The two main bars De Big Fish and the Tiki Bar offer great happy hour deals and see us appear frequently

As always, it was a great joy to reconnect with our friends Sim and Rosie from Alianna. Many evenings are spent together in the company of cocktails, beers and good food. Rosie and I can talk forever, whether it is during hot walks in the surrounding area, over an ice cream in the shade or on one of our boats. Time flies by and there is always something waiting for us after the chats, most likely work, food or our husbands. The time of separation with them is also getting closer, unfortunately, but that means that excitement of going west is around the corner. We will duly miss them!

Our new product The WirieAP is doing well, internationally and here around us. We are also very busy with boat projects and the preparation of our upcoming trip. Next week, Mark and our German friend Jan from SV Peter Pan will battle the “fridge door” project and after that we have a few serious engine projects to attend to. Yesterday, we managed to find a relatively flat area of water to anchor Irie and attempt to replace the gasket of one of our emergency hatches. This has been leaking for a while and it is quite important to deal with the issue before the boat sinks. To replace the seal, we have to open the hatch, remove the old gasket, clean the old glue off, apply new glue and insert the new gasket. The opening is about 4 inches above the water surface and any chop means sea water in the boat and abandoning the project. After a couple of challenges (“Mark! Wake!!! Dinghy passing by. Close the hatch!!!”) and realizing the appropriate glue had turned bad (hurrah for silicone), we managed to complete the task. Now we have to see whether the hatch still leaks…

One thing that stands out about otherwise beautiful and perfect Grenada is the mentality of the cruisers in the southern part. Where many of us try to get away from the narrow minded “small town” attitude, it’s all back in Grenada’s southern bays. A lot of cruisers spend the five months of hurricane season here, activities are organized every day, the radio net on VHF 68 is running non-stop with parties calling each other all the time and the dynamics are similar to your neighborhood. People are into each other’s business all the time, listening in on conversations, sharing their not always accurate but well-meant advice and “clickiness” is present during events. Of course, the necessary gossip is part of it all. Even though Mark and I have mixed feelings about St. Martin, the (lack of) dynamics there suit us better. For the same reason, we also prefer Prickly Bay to the other southern bays. The “younger” crowd generally hangs out there and in Hog Island.

Mark and I obtained a whole set of new boat batteries while we were in our “second home”, but we never had a chance to fully charge and equalize them. This is only possible with a decent generator (which we don’t have) or at a dock. Since we did not want to impose on friends with a Honda 2000 portable generator, we had to commit to a once-a-year stay in a marina. We opted for Clarke’s Court Bay Marina in … Clarke’s Court Bay and therefore had to be part of the scene over there. Assuming that the electricity would be metered, the water would cost US$ 0.10 a gallon and the laundry machine would be affordable, we arrived there around 9am for two nights without any battery power left and very ready to be hooked up to the needed electricity. Nobody answered the VHF radio (channel 16), so we picked our own spot at the dock and it took a lot of running back and forth in the heat to have us finally set up around 11am to start the charging process. When I inquired about the expenses, I was a bit shocked to learn that electricity was set at a fixed price of US$ 11 a day (which is outrageous; the marina across the bay charges US$ 4 and in the past we paid around US$ 5 a day) and water costs US$ 0.20 a gallon. I also learned a load of laundry costs US$ 6 for just washing- twice as much as in Prickly Bay. No wonder the marina is quite empty!

During those two days, Mark was busy with Wirie presentations on Irie (since we were in this bay now, it was the time for potential customers in this area to come over), helping out customers in person and online and gathering electronic information about the islands and countries between here and Panama. I took care of some boat chores, laundry and shopping. We managed to fill, drain, fill and equalize our batteries for a bit (painstakingly following the process day and night) and it seems to have made a difference, so mission accomplished.  By being in the marina, we were part of the local cruiser’s scene and joined Burger Night with a relatively expensive happy hour. Luckily, Sim and Rosie joined us for an enjoyable, social evening.

For the first time, I joined the “shopping bus” leaving the marina for a return trip to the big and western supermarket IGA in Grand Anse. The white folks were loaded on a big bus and dropped off at the store, to return by 12pm. Friday being the day on which all bays organize this trip, the supermarket was a chaos of westerners, milling around aisles with no room to pass each other and long lines at the deli counter and check-out registers. It might be a convenient way to do the shopping with plenty of room for all the bags, but I still prefer the luxury of strolling around for as long as I want and not bumping into a familiar face in every aisle. 

Mark and I will spend the weekend near Hog Island and then it’s on to Prickly Bay again for more boat work!

People who want more information about Grenada (and its dynamics), check out the Facebook page 

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