Back in Grenada!

Had an incredibly hectic week or so trying to say goodbye to everybody – had some great laughs, amazing generosity and kindness shown, as well as some sadness at parting again…..  Thank you all for making our few months at home so special.

Finally we were packed up and headed off to Heathrow with as much hand luggage as we could physically manage and bags for the hold on the limit in terms of weight! And I promise only about 20% was clothes related…..  We are travelling cattle class this time – no turning left for this girl now that we are cruisers.  Well, after a slowish run around the M25 through the miles of roadworks we arrived to be confronted by huge British Airways signs warning us about everything, but especially about heavy bags and over sized hand luggage!   Oh dear…  So we headed off to the “weigh and repackage area” – supplied just so that we take them seriously I guess??? – and made sure we only had one checked bag that would incur the extra £40 charge. Now at the drop bag desk and the BA woman was a bit concerned that we didn’t have ESTAs on file – and was very relieved to find that we had US visas… So much so that she forgot to charge us. Result!

BA notices

After getting through security checks we ended up in the departure lounge admiring the very trendy Christmas trees that adorned the terminal. Eventually our gate was announced so off we go – full of strange feelings and a little nervousness – thinking of friends and family we are leaving behind at the same time as being excited about seeing Morphie again.

Christmas comes to Heathrow

Was an OK flight – chicken or pasta meal choice as usual – please change the tune.  Oh yes, and if the chicken is in a mushroom sauce tell me. Yuck!!!   To make up for it there was a nice Pinot Grigio available so we settled down and enjoyed a couple of good movies. Filled in the US customs declaration and steeled myself for the usual two to three hour nightmare that is immigration in Miami – what!?!?!?   Through in less than an hour – a record for us – and, in fact, it took us longer to walk there from the plane than it did to get processed!   Feeling a little smug – we got a cab to the hotel and checked in. Richard usually likes to hit the bar for a night cap but he is shattered and wants to go straight to bed. Very unusual but feeling pretty tired myself so didn’t argue…

Up very early – that five hour time difference always does that to us – so had breakfast and headed out to Home Depot to purchase a 110V sander. Mission accomplished – but frustrated that our US bank account cards were rejected at the ATM. WTF??? So got back to our room and I called them – luckily it was a free call – to find out that they had not been activated on their system and could not be done retrospectively. Soooooo frustrating as we had done this in London in August. Oh well I guess that small pot of dollars is safe this trip!

Now it was time to go to the airport – usual Miami chaos resumed – and it took a while to get checked in.    We avoided the $100 excess baggage charge again because we offloaded 9lbs into our hand luggage because they didn’t care about the size. But am pretty fed up with repacking constantly!  Finally all done and we wandered through the terminal admiring the fish art on the way…..

Fish art in Miami airport

Fish art 3

Fish art 2

Then we finally settled into our favourite bar which just happened to conveniently be opposite our gate.   Shared a lunch of fish and prawn with fries … along with a Corona. Life is good!

Favourite Miami airport bar

Time for lunch

Watching the gate from the bar

Onto the next flight – a few hours later and we are arriving into Grenada. Queued up in the red channel at customs and declared all our boat spares / tools, paid the duty, and was warmly welcomed by Martin the “yellow taxi man” that we had used last time. Quick road trip and we are checking into our lovely self-contained villa at Le Phare Bleu – and went off to the bar for our first ice cold Carib. Fantastic – and was warmly welcomed back by the staff who all remembered us. Lovely….and so to bed in the air conditioned bedroom after Richard had dutifully dispatched the very large cockroach who had taken up residence in the mosquito net over the four poster.

Our villa

Awoke this morning to a hot day – what a difference from freezing London!    And I was puzzled by all the noises outside – had a peak and it was a huge flock of starling-like birds who had taken a shine to the tree outside our door. When they spotted me they all flew off – and resembled a Hitchcock scene!   Spooky… After an early breakfast – enjoying the lovely views from the restaurant – we took delivery of our hire car and headed off to Grenada Marine to see Morphie.

Resort restaurant

Resort beach

Resort marina

Very nervous now – would she be OK?  We know that recently some boats had been broken into – and, assuming in the absence of news we are unaffected – but still nervous!   And did we do it right?   Will we be bug infested or mould ridden?  Thankfully she was looking great waiting for her protective wax to be removed and no problems on any front. Phew – relief.  Felt great to be reunited….

Morphie 1

Morphie 2

Spent a busy (hot!) day unpacking some of her contents, airing stuff, and putting some canvas back on…. Called it a day at 4pm and came back for pool happy hour, followed by a quick noodle dinner and so to bed.

Resort pool

Bye for now

Preparation for our next cruising season

We have been home almost three months and I can’t believe how the time has flown… So heavily into preparation mode now.   Loads to do although it is a bit easier this year as finding insurers to meet our needs took me a lot of time last year – renewing policies is a much easier process…..  So insurances sorted for house, car, boat and ourselves….

Now just the rest of the administrative stuff to finish off like paying all the bills (groan…), working out what papers we need to take with us and remembering the stuff that caused us grief last year, like the paper versions of our driving licences.    Grenada – unlike all the other islands we travelled to – really did not like accepting our plastic driving licences to give us temporary driving permits….   Don’t fancy going through that at the police station again!   So check – they are ready to go….

Whilst I have been a lady that lunches and generally doing domestic goddess duties, Richard went back to work as he got an offer he couldn’t refuse.   He retired again last Friday so is now busy doing stuff that I couldn’t manage – like repairing the shed roof that decided to leak….    We’ve had a great time seeing loads of friends and family and the rest of the time we are in the UK is absolutely manic – with one very busy social week planned.   Those people we haven’t managed to catch up with – sorry – we’ll prioritise you for next year!

Although Richard has been working he has also been busy buying spare parts and tools for Morphie and I’ve been buying all the domestic stuff that we found we needed and couldn’t get on our travels – exciting stuff like plastic egg holders, a mosquito net, clothes pegs and a lovely new teapot!    There was some important stuff too like more paper charts, a Garmin chart plotter upgrade chip and prescription dive masks (for us both)…

This year we are travelling economy using our air miles so I can see us being laden with as much hand luggage as we can get away with to try and avoid the US $100 per checked bag excess luggage charge!  Not confident though as we’ve also been buying new clothes!   Oh well what will be will be….

The most exciting new item that will be coming with us is a brand new waterproof camera – something we have had our eye on for a while.  So imagine our surprise and absolute delight when we were given it as a gift!   Thank you so much Ron and Carolyn Smith – very very generous and greatly appreciated.   So watch out for all the more unusual photos we plan to take over the next nine months!

After a hectic social whirl we’ll be doing the final things like cleaning the house and winterising the car before we fly to Miami on Monday 25 November.   An overnight stop before we fly to Grenada on Tuesday afternoon means that Richard gets an opportunity to buy some more power tools that he needs and we can’t buy here either as we are looking for 110V stuff – the joys of owning an American-built boat!

So what do we have planned for next season?   Well the plan is pretty simple – run north back up the island chain, re-visiting favourites and ignoring those we are less keen on.   Catching up with some cruiser friends on the way and a reunion with Mum again planned for March in St Lucia.    So longer periods at sea probably with more overnights….   After running north – which will enable us to get a better sailing angle – we will be running south to the Dutch Antilles, Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao which are off the coast of Venezuela.   Will be a four day 400 mile run probably…   Very excited by this!    Love exploring new places and Bonaire is a dive mecca…. so have great expectations.   When will be doing this?   Not sure – but probably in June as the hurricane season starts and the Dutch Antilles are below the hurricane belt…..   We may leave Morphie there but we are also considering Columbia as our final destination – and I’ve been learning Spanish while I’ve been home just in case!     So plans are fluid at this stage and all depends…..  We’ll let you know when we know!   The only thing that is certain is that we’ll be home again at the end of August 2014.

So welcome back – and bye for now.