In the Caribbean, the term “Liming” is used to mean, hanging around, chilling, shooting the breeze, kickin’ back, etc. It’s useful to have such a term as it’s widely practiced here in Grenada.
One of the main reasons we came to Grenada was to get some work done on Panache before our warranty period expires at the end of September – more on that below. In addition to warranty work, we have been keeping busy with our own boat projects. So at the end of each day, some serious liming is in order! We are docked at Port Louis Marina (“PLM”) which is a great facility that offers power, water, high speed internet, showers and restaurants (excellent pizza and sushi). It is on the main bus route and close to a good chandlery, food store and the “downtown” markets (see video and photos below). But at 4:30 in the afternoon, its best feature is a beautiful swimming pool! We would congregate there daily with our fellow cruisers for a couple of hours in the water sitting on noodles (see photo - yes that's a noodle), cool down after a sweaty day of boat chores, chat and consume the odd beverage. In previous blog posts I have mentioned our friends, the MacKenzies and the Johnstons, all of whom have become well versed in the art of liming. Two other members of our group of “regulars” were Bob Bowker & Suzanne Cartier Bowker who have a Dolphin catamaran, “Casa de Verao”. They are a very interesting, fun and accomplished couple. Suzanne is a serial entrepreneur and an impressive go-getter. Bob is a retired helicopter pilot who flew Hueys for the Army in Vietnam and fought forest fires from the air in BC! After years of practice, both of them appear to have reached “Professional Limer” status. That definitely doesn’t mean they get nothing done all day. What it means is, when they lime, they lime well. Here is a photo of the two of them.
And here is a photo of all of the rest of us in the pool. Collectively, including Bob and Suzanne, I like to think of us as the "Limesters".
Back to boat projects. The warranty work that we were getting done fell into 3 categories: engine, electrical and woodwork/fiberglass. For each type, we had to find a qualified contractor, get a quote, submit the quote, negotiate with the contractor after quote was rejected and then resubmit before work could be started. Then once work finally commenced, the workmen would show up one day, but not the next. Sometimes a part that we needed was not available on-island and had to be flown in by FedEx. At the end of the day, we were delighted with the standard of workmanship, but frustrated with how long everything took to get done. We had originally planned to be in Grenada for about 3-4 weeks. We ended up being on the dock for 9 weeks! That said, if you had to hang out somewhere for 9 weeks, PLM in Grenada is a pretty choice spot to do so.
While the workmen were doing their thing (or not!), we had our own list of things to do. Ours fell into two categories: those projects that we intended to finish before leaving Ft. Lauderdale, but didn’t, and regular maintenance items. Benny hauled out her “Sailrite” industrial sewing machine. She installed webbing straps and tie-downs to hold our sun/rain shades in place and our dinghy cover on during strong winds. She also made a great Sunbrella cover for our dive bottles. As was the case when she sewed all the pillows in the DR, when fellow cruisers hear that the Sailrite is up and running, they come around with some of their stuff that needs a few quick stitches. I worked on our dive compressor which wasn’t installed correctly in the first place and was also damaged during the process. Luckily, I was able to get it resituated and disassembled and repaired the damaged parts. It now works perfectly! Our bilges needed attention, which is a very hot and sweaty job. We replaced or cleaned all of the filters on the boat and removed and reinstalled a number of suspect plumbing connections. We had had problems with our genoa sheets (one broke in Martinique while sailing with the Glanzmanns) and so we replaced them and our main halyard with Dyneema lines. Dyneema is a high-tech material that is stronger than steel, much lighter and doesn’t stretch. For the halyard job, we asked Shaden, a rigger from Moorings, to give us a hand. To replace an existing halyard, you sew the new line to the old one and then carefully pull it up and over a sheave (a pulley) at the top of the mast and then down and out through the bottom (see fast-motion video below). We had taken our genoa down in preparation for the tropical storms I mentioned in previous posts, and while it was off we had a “window” installed so we could see through it while sailing – a really nice feature. The freshwater at PLM is not the best so I rigged up a system of sediment and charcoal filters to clean the water before putting it in our tanks. I included a bypass arrangement so we could use unfiltered water for cleaning the boat. There were many more items on our project list, but that should give you a feel for the kinds of things we were up to (see photos).
There are a number of freelance workers at PLM who will help you with all kinds of chores. We hired Martin to polish Panache’s stainless steel and power wax her exterior (maintaining a wax coating really helps protect your fiberglass from sun damage). Martin also lent a hand cleaning the bottom of the hull and greasing our propellers underwater. Grenadians are a friendly, welcoming, proud and generous people. Martin brought us fresh fruit on many occasions, straight from his garden - a typical example of Grenadian hospitality. Benny would cut up the mango and freeze it on a tray before putting in ziplock bags for longer-term freezer storage. We put the frozen mango, banana, water and triple sec into our Vitamix blender to make sorbet – very popular with our cruising buddies. There are a lot of long-term cruisers in Grenada and some are very entrepreneurial. John Hovan, who goes by the call sign “Fast Manicou” (a manicou is a local possum), has the best prices for beer and wine on the island, and he delivers right to your boat. He can also fill your dive tanks, propane tanks and, of particular interest to us, your Soda Stream bottles. We would highly recommend both Martin (firstname.lastname@example.org) and John (email@example.com), (see photos below).
While in PLM, we were moored “Mediterranean Style”, commonly called “Med Moored”. With this style of docking, you back your boat in perpendicular to the dock and tie up the stern. Lines are lead from the bow to concrete blocks on the seabed that act as anchors to keep the bow in position. It’s more space efficient than docking alongside, as we typically do in BC, as the amount of dock space to occupy is equal to the width of your boat, not its length. After being in PLM for so long, our bow lines were covered in green weed and hundreds of mussels. Cleaning the lines by hand would have been an ugly chore. Luckily, we were able to borrow a pressure washer from Doc Proctor, the captain of a 90-foot sportfish boat. Doc is a very knowledgeable guy from North Carolina (I had never in my life met anyone from NC before coming to Grenada and now have met many – ya’ll are a great bunch!). Doc also gave me a ton of fishing tips which I will cover in another post.
To celebrate Benny’s birthday, I served Dark and Stormy’s (rum, ginger beer and Angostura Bitters), her favourite cocktail followed by grilled lobster with tarragon, garlic butter (see photos). Delicious! Caribbean lobster is much less rich than its north Atlantic cousin and we find it much easier to eat.
I’ve lost some weight over the last 8 months from the change in lifestyle and the hot climate. However, trying to stay fit on a boat is a challenge. Benny is much better at this than I am. She uses TRX straps on the fore stay for push-ups and pull-ups and does lunges on the dock (see photos). Her efforts certainly pay off when sporting a bikini at the pool!
Since we have been out in the sun for 8 months now, we decided to get checked over by a dermatologist. All’s well so far!
St. George’s is the capital of Grenada and straddles either side of steep hill. On one side is the Carenage, the town’s old harbour and original center of commerce (see video and photos below). On the other side are the markets (fruit & vegetables, fabric & clothing, spice, fish and meat). Our favourite is the fish market (see videos below of Grenadian fishermen, the fish market and a Trevally being filleted). The fish is fresh, abundant and inexpensive. We have a vacuum packer on board, so are able to buy in bulk and then store the fish in the freezer for months with out any freezer-burn. We have been eating Wahoo, Kingfish, Swordfish, Trevally, Mahi and Tuna. My personal favourites are Trevally and Mahi (because they less dense and more moist). We like our fish barely cooked, about a minute per side on the BBQ. This is perfect for fish steaks and fish tacos (my favourite). With the denser varieties, I make fish cakes, which adds some moisture and lightness to the mixture. Ceviche is also great as an appie.
Turtles! Grenada is home to giant Leatherback Turtles that return to lay their eggs on the island’s northern beaches. Female Leatherbacks breed with multiple partners in the north Atlantic (promiscuity is apparently not just a human trait) and then leave the males behind, head south to the Caribbean to lay their eggs on the beach where they were born. They are very large, weighing up to a ton and reaching up to 7 feet long. When they are ready to lay a batch of eggs, they drag themselves up the beach (about 100 feet), dig a 3-foot deep hole with their rear flippers, lay about 5 dozen eggs the size of tennis balls, cover the hole with sand to form a “nest”, smooth the sand on top to camouflage its existence and then drag themselves back down to the ocean. They then hang around off Grenada until they have another batch of eggs ready to go and repeat the process. On average, they would lay 4 batches of eggs in a season. There is a huge mortality rate with Leatherbacks, particularly when the hatchlings make their “dash” to the ocean. At that point, they are hunted by birds while on the sand and by other predators once they enter the water. Only about 10% make it to adulthood.
We were lucky enough to see a mama Leatherback lay her eggs. They do so at night, so you have to wait patiently in the dark on the beach for one of them to come out of the water. You are only permitted to view the turtles with a guide, and must abide by the rules, which include using only red flashlights to protect the turtle’s night vision. Given the dark conditions, photos and videos were difficult, but I managed to capture a couple of good shots (see photos below). The original photos were black and red (from the flashlights), but I changed them to black and white, as they are easier to see. In one of the photos you can see one of the scientists, who oversee the entire site, sitting behind a turtle. That will give you some perspective of the turtle’s size. The white stuff on top of the turtle is sand.
At the bottom of the photos is a map showing the route we took with the McHales from St. Lucia, through St. Vincent and the Grenadines to Grenada. I forgot to include it in a previous post.
We are now about 2/3 of the way through our 2,600NM (5,000km) Caribbean tour, having sailed about 1,600NM (3,000km) from Ft. Lauderdale to Grenada between January and June 2017. From here we will be turning west, ending in Panama at Christmas. To put this in perspective, our full Caribbean excursion will be about the same distance as sailing from Vancouver to Newfoundland, or New York to England.
Next blog – Carnival in Grenada! Here’s a preview photo.