Final days in Grenada

Wednesday headed off early to the boatyard…. It was a squally day with rain showers coming through frequently and of course this was the day I was trying to get the rugs dry….and they kept getting rained on!!!!   Without the canvas we also got rain coming in down below through the companionway – so with that shut down it was a bit like working in a sauna…..  Anyway around 3pm – having achieved quite a lot with bagging and packing up stuff – we called it a day and went back to our air conditioned apartment and watched TV!!!

Thursday and we are finally getting there….. Never did we dream that laying up Morphie for a few months would be so much work!  We have been flat out for over a week now….. but we also recognise that as we haven’t done this before we have probably gone way over the top…. Will be interesting to see what strategies worked and what didn’t when we get back. We called it a day early afternoon and went back to the marina to enjoy happy hour in the pool along with the crew of moodyfinn – Chris, Jaana and their beautiful kids James, Charlie and Alice. Went back to our apartment for dinner and then down to their boat for a chat – now that they had got the kids to bed.. Great evening – ended up a bit of a late night! – really fun people.

Friday and off out early again and we spent most of the day washing everything down with water and vinegar – which is supposed to help prevent mould in this humid environment – and went back to the marina pretty early as we had made arrangements to go out in the evening. Friday night we got a cab down to Mount Hartman bay to pick up Chris and Linda and then went round to the Dodgy Dock restaurant at the True Blue resort. It was Mexican night – with a great live band and professional dancers showing their amazing skills. Fun time had by all and Chris and Linda even enjoyed a dance…. unlike us both who were quite happy to just watch!


Saturday and we are up early determined that this will be it at the boatyard – so we packed our suitcases, vacuum packed down the clothes we were planning to leave behind, and headed over to Morphie. Went via Island Water World to pick up some pre-ordered spares – spare toilet and water pump this time – and then did a quick drive to the airport so that we knew how to get there on Monday morning.  Arrived at the boatyard – thankfully hurricane cradle is now complete – and went through our checklists. All done…time to say goodbye. Well that was it – I’m blubbing like a baby and really don’t want to leave Morphie…. Incredibly mixed emotions – I really want to see my friends and family – but also want to continue with the adventure…. We are only going home for three months – this is ridiculous – get a grip woman!

Drove away sadly and I managed to get it together by the time we arrived back at the marina. Decided to treat ourselves to lunch in the restaurant and were surprised to bump into Chris and Linda who had dinked round for lunch!  Anyway…..lunch turned into an afternoon session in the pool….joined by others from the marina….and onto the veranda of our room for a few more hours. What a great end to the day and cheered me up no end!

Sunday morning and we headed to the pool quite early – and then got a lift round to Hog Island where we spent the afternoon listening to the live reggae band whilst bobbing in the warm water with Chris, Jaana and the kids…. Lovely.

Then we headed back to the pool and bobbed with mum and dad as well as played with the kids…. Richard even played monsters…..   And I joined in with them doing backward somersaults in the water…  Unfortunately the pool wasn’t quite deep enough and I ended up scraping my face along the bottom…. So surfaced a bit bloody and had a very very sore nose. This is going to look great!!!   Mmmmmmm… Oh well – damage done – time to say farewell to the family. Hope to catch up with them again at some point in the future.

Monday fly day and we have a tiring trip ahead as, to keep the costs down, we have used our air miles so are heading the long way round home – Grenada to Miami to Houston to London!!!  Anyway we had a very very early start – enjoyed the sight of the sun coming up over the bay as we left – and headed off to the airport. Checked in and security cleared we settled down to breakfast….

The plane took off on time – with me getting upset at leaving Morphie behind again!!! – and we enjoyed the beautiful sights of the Turks and Caicos islands and the Bahamas below us through the clouds.

Landed on time – and did the usual five mile walk round the houses to get to the immigration desks. Big sign up warning people that federal cuts had impacted upon staffing levels so waiting times had increased! Oh great – and we have a connection in three hours. Well it was the usual nightmare – why do we always get put into a line behind a range of people that the immigration people decide need to be investigated a bit more thoroughly than most???!!! Grrrrrrr…….. Anyway we finally got through to the baggage claim area after almost two hours and legged it through customs / rechecking the bags / and onto the gate where our plane is leaving from. We managed to get there with half an hour to spare so quickly grabbed a Chinese takeout and found a table … PS spot the red nose!!!!

Took off again on time and had an uneventual trip to Houston – found the little weird underground electric train to change terminals and had a couple of cold beers at the Texas restaurant while waiting for our London connection. Took off on time and nine hours later we landed in London. Home again…. and it was sunny!

Not planning to blog whilst I’m at home – but do plan an overview of this trip, along with the highs and the lows – which I’ll get done soon…. So this is just another ‘bye for now’….



Laying up….

Wednesday we picked up our anchor off of Grand Anse beach and headed round to Le Phare Bleau marina, on the south coast of Grenada, where we are booked in. We had a really uncomfortable trip with 20 knot winds on the nose and five foot seas….and couldn’t sail it either!  We barely made three knots under engine and were pleased to get in the area of the bay where the marina is situated – bad news was that the sea state meant we couldn’t tell where the reefs where even though it was at noon with the sun high in the sky!   Never mind – we picked our way in gingerly and found the markers on this dog legged entry – and were assisted into our alongside slip by the dockmaster and his assistant. Great line handlers – good slip – and we were very happy to find ourselves with fast internet on board!   Once we were set we started work with gusto and the first job was to remove dink from the davits and get cleaning – as well as removing the outboard onto the rail. We then treated ourselves to cheap beer at happy hour – very happy at about a £1 a bottle! We came back on board to have dinner and an early night….. Productive day but very tiring and also a bit emotionally charged – the start of the hard work marks the final days of our first cruising season. Can’t quite believe we have been out almost nine months…..

Thursday we started dismantling stuff and sorting out jobs we need to do…. There is so much – but the main tasks today were polishing and protecting dink’s hyperlon tubes; to fresh water flush the outboard motor; take some canvass off, clean and re-waterproof it as well as starting to clean the external stainless steel. Oh yes we took the main and staysail off too – flaking and bagging them on the dock. We left the genoa to be done when we get to the boatyard just in case of an engine failure on the way…… The unforeseen downside to removing the main at this stage was that the furler foil inside the mast bangs around without a sail….and drove us crazy. Luckily it couldn’t be heard far from the boat – we did walk the docks to check! – so we just had to put up with it…. Happy Hour in the bar – cheap beer again – and we loved the fact that Captain Jack Sparrow visited for Happy Argggghhhhh in his sunken ship!!!!

Friday – more stainless to be done; we also thoroughly cleaned and waxed the topsides; removed more canvass / washed it / rewaterproofed it; and lifted dink up onto the coachroof where he will live whilst on the hard. Also “pickled” the watermaker for storage…. And done some other stuff too…. Wow this is hard physical work – and we were hoping to link up with a local chap to help us with the heavy stuff – but although we left messages he didn’t turn up… Oh well… This evening Happy Hour was on the Vastra Banken – the historic lightship that is a formal restaurant (in high season) and has a cruisers lounge and houses the marina’s toilet and shower block… Amazing place…. Enjoyed a lovely sunset tonight….

Saturday – more of the same… and took ourselves off to the beautiful pool for a few hours into happy hour…. Back on board for an early night. We are sleeping really well with all this physical activity!

Sunday and it was time to start on the interior – we were lucky enough to be invited to Hog Island by Larry off of Slipstream V but sadly declined. But we’ll definitely take him up on his offer next week when all work will be finished!!!! Quiet exhausted night on board and early to bed.

Monday and it was time to go round to Grenada Marine for haul out. Amazing kindness from the owners of Le Phare Bleu who gave us access to our booked apartment very early in the morning so we were able to move all our clothes and remaining food stocks in before we left….. Did a very tight turn onto the fuel dock – very successful, well done Richard!!!! – and then we were on our way. Was another rough trip (and our last this season…. boo hoo…..) with rain at times – but it was only a few miles away…. Worked our way into the bay and picked up a mooring ball…. Took a final crew photo while we waited around to be called to the lift dock….

At this point they told us we have to go stern too – no-one told us that!   Not happy – the wind was blowing hard and we had frequent rain squalls coming through. Anyway…..we made it into the slip…. but unfortunately the wind caught us out and Morphie’s bow was swept towards to the concrete dock…and even with Richard’s impressive speed of reactions….we touched the dock on her rail…..   Only cosmetic damage sustained on the wood but both of us were really upset….. Nine months out and we manage to scratch the boat on our last manoeuvre??!!?? Damn…….. Anyway – we had to put it behind us quickly – because suddenly Morphie is being lined up with strops and lifted out of the water; jet washed, and then motored around to her final spot. Stressful and worrying times!

We had paid for a hurricane cradle and they lowered her into it. Few more legs to be completed and some props in place as a temporary measure….. Not happy but it will be done before we leave!!! We think it is just a matter of keeping on their case!!!!  We got tied down anyway so very secure….. Also went to visit Glen and Pam’s boat Blue Pearl – took some photos for them – and gave her a pat.

Back to Le Phare Bleu by taxi and enjoyed the open-air veranda, air-conditioned bedroom with huge bed, unlimited water in the showers and the kitchen – complete with huge American style fridge – to cool our remaining libations!

Tuesday we picked up our hire car for the week – a Rav4 – and took off for the boatyard. Up the ladder onto Morphie and removed the genoa….  All three sails were then delivered to the loft for cleaning and storage whilst we are away. Oh wow…. the list keeps growing…. and so damn hot down below with all hatches closed because of rain today….. Richard thinks it could be a good weight loss plan – and we could both do with losing some!

Wednesday more of the same planned…. Phew… Watch this space!

Bye for now



Carnival fun….

Friday, as planned, we did our provisioning at Foodland … along with a trip into Island Water World for more stuff – cleaning products this time. Coming back through the channel we followed a ship leaving harbour – they are really huge when you are in a dinghy – so we were pretty careful not to get too close to get swamped by his wake!! Coming through the anchorage we were amazed by how many boats were still coming in…. pretty busy now as everyone is arriving from far and wide for Carnival.

Back on board we unpacked and were grateful that we were back before it rained cats and dogs. There was a great rainbow during the afternoon too – although struggled to get a good photo as the camera is playing up pretty bad now with focus and zoom problems. Think it is time to replace it – but hope it will see us through, as the selection here isn’t a good as at home. Following a stunning sunset we had a quiet night on board. Well I say quiet – it wasn’t all that, as the thumping sounds from the Soca buses came through loud and clear!

Saturday morning we listened to the cruisers net and found out that two boats immediately in front of us in the anchorage had been boarded during the night. Hmmmm…… Kudos to Mark the net controller who had immediately launched a floating ‘neighbourhood watch’ and, as a result, some boats were going to patrol the shoreline throughout the night during Carnival…   We had a lazy day on board in the rain – and were going a little stir crazy – so decided to go to the national stadium in the evening to watch Promenade, the steel pan band competition. The stadium had a couple of stands open with some concessions – cheap beer but decidedly ropey chicken! The atmosphere in the stands was a bit muted but when we went into the standing area below the stage it was much more fun – even though we had to run for cover a few times to escape the downpours!!! These bands have up to 100 people in them and the age range was from 7 to 80 – amazing energy and great sounds…. It was also a massive logistical effort to move the drums and performers on and off the stage – so by the time we left at 11.30 pm we had only watched five bands perform along with a troupe of African drummers and dancers. There were some comedians talking between acts – but we really couldn’t understand them enough to work out if they were funny!!! Had to really leg it to the cab for the return trip and got absolutely soaked – Martin, our taxi driver, thankfully brought some bin bags so we could sit on them and not wreck his upholstery! Back to the marina – still raining – so had another drink before we chanced heading back out in the dinghy to the anchorage.

Sunday and the rain continued…. We dinked into the marina – met Jim and Sharon – and got the courtesy bus to Whisper Cove for the Sunday jam. Was a great afternoon – and luckily under cover as the rain was relentless along with 35 knots of wind in the squalls.

One boat in the anchorage was dragging into the mangroves so there was an effort underway to help them – then there was a call from Mt Hartman Bay that Troubadour was dragging. I will never forget the look on both Chris and Linda’s faces when they heard that come through on the radio – but they were able to get back and sort it out. Phew – no harm done thankfully. Had a lovely afternoon listening to all the performers – with the addition of a fiddle player and an accordion this week – good time had by all. Especially Sharon who showed off her barefoot shuffle skills along to an Irish jig played on the fiddle – think Riverdance without shoes! Back on board and we sat on the coach roof of Morphie listening to the sounds from shore until we gave in and retired to bed early.

Monday morning and the alarm wakes us at 4.00 am. Are we mad??!!??   No – just want to go to J’Ouvert!    This starts at 5 am – and the main event is that the jab jabs come out to play and parade. They are mainly men (although not exclusively) – covered in dirty oil – portraying devils, dragging chains around, not wearing much, and who jab you when they come by…. We think there is some slavery simulation here too although not mentioned in any of the SpiceMas adverts we’ve seen.   Anyway throwaway clothes and shoes were necessary – I was armed with my £2 flip flops – as the roads (and spectators) get absolutely covered in oil, paint and coloured baby powder!!!! As well as oily jab jabs there are also coloured men – so we saw blue, pink, orange, green, silver and purple men – and loads of girls wearing very very little!  Much to Richard’s delight…   Anything in the way got covered in something – and the funniest sight was one of the oily jab jabs pushing a commode…. what a time for the camera to fail again!  Everyone was gyrating to the beat of the boom boxes and, when the lorries come by, you feel like your whole body is vibrating too from your feet through your head. So significant I reckon it would restart a pacemaker!!!!   We had a great time – got jabbed a number of times with paint as well as oil – and came back on board about 8.30 am having drunk and partied a bit. Phew…. washed up and back to bed for a couple of hours.

Noon and we met up with Jim and Sharon for Pageant Mas. This is the traditional parade of fancy costumes – so we took up residence in a bar alongside the road and had some local food and watched the activities. There were loads of “short knees” who represent each village – and parade singing, dancing and spraying baby powder around – then there were wild Indians and calypso dancers following the incredibly loud music from the lorries. Great to see so many kids involved too…. During the afternoon we were joined by John and Georgina as well. Of course, this being island time, the parade didn’t start until 3pm rather than the advertised 1pm – but hey, who cares…. Fun time had by all – especially Jim and Richard who managed close ups with a number of the scantily clad young women – although Jim did look a bit surprised when one of them proceeded to throw herself to the floor in front of him…  Check out the last photo!!!!

Tired and emotional we all went ashore to the marina for dinner and decided to call it a day – said sad farewells to Jim and Sharon as we have had so much fun with them but they are heading back to the States so this really is it this time….    In the evening there was another (adult!) parade which Richard and I watched from the foredeck of Morphie with a glass of wine in hand in the end.    Amazing sight to see literally miles of people parading with lights… and, of course, the music was still very audible in the anchorage….

Tuesday was a quiet day relaxing (recovering?) on board and we didn’t even get dink down off his davits.   What a nice way to spend the day for a change….

Today – Wednesday – work starts!  We had a miserable trip in big seas on the nose round to La Phare Bleu marina to tie up and start dismantling and winterising Morphie.   So far dink has had a makeover….. and we are shattered.  Early night me thinks.

Bye for now



Relaxing before Carnival….

Tuesday we did some more boat jobs and another visit to Budget Marine.  It’s a good job that we get all goods 30% off (duty free) as we still need more – although they are spare parts mainly so will only have to be replaced when we actually use them… Seriously we do need this stuff but it is amazing how much we come away with every time that we didn’t know we couldn’t live without!!   Whilst out and about we bumped into John from Shamal – and they are moving the boat to Prickly Bay in the afternoon – so we arranged to meet for sundowners later.

We headed back on board, having stored all our purchases, and decided to head out on dink to explore.    Really enjoyed looking at the really pretty waterfront and we pulled dink up the beach at the Calabash – oh dear, left it too late, the hotel has closed now for the season.   Grrrr….  Never mind, the dive shop sells beer so we had a couple and enjoyed our surroundings.   The anchorage is stunning today – really calm and clear water.

Went ashore for happy hour with John and Georgina – really nice to catch up with them again.   They are heading down to Trinidad to haul out in a week or so, so really good timing!    Had a good evening – listened to the start of the trivia quiz and were pleased we weren’t playing for real as the questions were really hard!   Back on board for dinner and to bed….

Wednesday morning up bright and early and caught the sunrise…. Spectacular!

Got ourselves ready to go back out to sea as we are moving back up to anchor near St Georges and Grand Anse beach in readiness for Carnival…    Felt bad though because Chris and Linda on Troubodour were heading south today – we keep passing like ships in the night!!   Never mind, will catch up with them at the jam on Sunday.  Met Jim and Sharon from Sha Sha for a bobbing session and enjoyed watching a really special sunset.   Early to bed.

Thursday we were really looking forward to going to the dinghy concert at the  Carenage – one of the first Carnival events.    Unfortunately the concert was cancelled because someone failed to get the permission of the Port Authority.   Bad mistake!!!! In the meantime the anchorage is filling up – with some way too close for comfort – and we end up surrounded by South Africans flying the British Ensign…   How does that work??   Disappointed by the cancellation we arranged to meet Jim and Sharon in the marina pool….and we had a fresh water bob….between rain showers.   On the dinghy ride through we saw Necker Belle, Richard Branson’s huge catamaran, tied up to one of the superyacht docks – but apparently he wasn’t on board…

We went back to Morphie to check all OK and we were pleased that one boat had moved.   And we had done a 180 degree turn but appeared to be holding.   Wind really really flukey and gusty in the rain squalls….but we have loads of chain out, so we are not moving anywhere!

Back to Sha Sha for dinner and had a lovely chicken meal followed by Red Velvet cake.   Thanks both – fun hosts and Jim is a great cook!

This morning – Friday – more boat jobs and shopping later.   As it is carnival weekend all shops will be closed from lunchtime Saturday through to Wednesday, so we must get some fresh stuff in.    Time is running out real fast now – we haul out on 19 August and fly out on the 26th.    So before we get heavily into winterising the boat we are determined to have a party time at Carnival – really looking forward to it!!!

Bye for now


Weekends are for having fun!

OK so we did go to happy hour on Wednesday at Prickly Bay marina and were absolutely gobsmacked by the huge amount of locals there – they ship them in by the bus load.   Really?   Oh yes, very serious stuff…. The bingo winnings are more than a day’s pay for many of them….and we got into conversation with the net controller Mark so ended up watching the first couple of games.   Bet the prize of a pig and a chicken – alive and walked on stage – were never on offer at Corals!!    Really funny….

We also got into conversation with an English guy who was sitting on his own and it turns out that he used to own The Dog House at Swanick Marina where a boat that we sailed on used to be berthed!   He has been in Prickly Bay, living onboard, for five and a half years now.  He then began to tell us all his woes because he has been hospitalised down here a couple of times and got a hernia through lifting 5 gallon water jugs.   He then turned to Richard and said “you should be careful as you are getting on a bit!!!”    As you can imagine this coming from an old duffer in his seventies went down pretty well …..!!!!   Anyway, making our exit we went back on board and had a very tasty curry if I say so myself…….

Thursday was a quiet day and night on board just working through boat jobs.    Friday we worked hard all day and came ashore for a pizza dinner….  We went for the pizza as this is the only dinner they can’t screw up!!   We have dined here twice before and were disappointed on both occasions.    We were surprised to see a bunch of cruisers from Port Louis over here – they had come over for a birthday, so nice to catch up with them again.

Saturday dawned and we decided that weekends are for fun not jobs!    We got off the boat and taxied over to La Phare Bleu where a dinghy concert was scheduled.    Walking up the dock I was impressed by an individual floating cabana with a hammock  – definitely fancy giving that a go when we are guests here later in the month…

At the dinghy concert they have a big tug boat hitched up to a barge and dinghies from far and wide join up into a raft to enjoy the music – today by the Wizards.   Some cruisers bring their own drinks and food, whilst those of us on the barge buy from the bar….and some get bottles relayed across the top of the crowd to their dinghy….   Fantastic time had by all

After a great afternoon we watched the sun go down over the marina – nice!

We headed back to shore and our taxi driver was already waiting – took us back to Da Big Fish, where dink was waiting.   Decided to have dinner at the restaurant and were delighted that they had a live band too, Gylfi and Domo.  So really enjoyed listening to them while we had a really good meal.

Sunday morning we decided to head to Rogers beach bar on Hog Island…. So got a cab round to the rum shack in Lower Woburn.   We had spent a very pleasant afternoon here many moons ago – but sadly it was no longer as welcoming….     Anyway, got a local boat boy to take us out through the anchorage to the bar.   Very very busy on a slim beach – not quite the Soggy Dollar – but we still had a good time.   Particularly enjoyed the local food on offer…..

Time to head back and our boy, Lions Paw, was resting in a hammock – after knocking back a few and a couple of spliffs!   He was pretty funny and could well have been a model for Captain Jack Sparrow with all the same mannerisms…..

Back on board for a quiet night.    This morning, Monday, is Emancipation Day here in Grenada – celebrating the end of slavery by the UK – so a public holiday.   We are relaxing, blogging, and doing Internet stuff today.   Richard is investigating all the tasks we have to do for winterising Morphie.

Bye for now