Friday, July 26, 2013

Grenada I: Grand Mal & St. George's Anchorages

Monday, July 15 - Saturday, July 20, 2013
Yes, we're finally in Grenada! This gorgeous island, full of friendly locals and cruisers alike, will be our home for the next three-plus months while we hide out from hurricanes. We've heard great things about it from other cruising friends, and have been looking forward to experiencing the island for ourselves.

After leaving Carriacou with JoHo, we decided to stop in Grand Mal Bay (just north of St. George's) to snorkel the Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park at Moliniere Point. The park has a number of statues and carvings lying in the sand 15-20' below the surface, the signature piece being "Vicissitudes" (a.k.a. "Circle of Children"). At first we couldn't find a single piece given the poor visibility, but Rene suddenly spotted a woman's figure lying prone on the bottom. (Now THAT's disturbing!) We continued on towards the north end of the park, and soon came upon the main attraction. It's a bit eerie swimming through the murky water, only to discover a ring of 28 faces staring up at you!

We enjoyed dinner on JoHo followed by a great night's sleep in Grand Mal's non-rolly anchorage. (Who knew how much we'd miss it a few days later...) The next morning, we motored the entire two miles down to Grenada's capital of St. George's. We dropped the hook in clear blue water and dinghied in to the Grenada Yacht Club to meet up with Anne Bonny and talk to the dockmaster. Sadly, our plans to be dock bunnies went by the wayside; GYC's shore power couldn't meet our needs, and Port Louis Marina's prices couldn't meet our budget! To be fair, the two marinas were similar in price. The only problem? The yacht club's prices were quoted in East Caribbean dollars, while the marina's prices were in US$. $1US = 2.67EC. Get the math? Cha-ching!

We spent the next few nights anchored off St. George's, loving the convenience of being a quick dinghy ride from numerous grocery stores, St. George's Carenage, happy hours at Port Louis, downtown shopping, and an incredible farmer's market. We got to spend a lot of time with Chris and Denise while their son attended the yacht club's sailing school, along with JoHo and Dave and Lisa from Ke 'Ola Kai. We hadn't seen Dave and Lisa since St. Martin, and had a terrific time hearing the latest crazy stories from their trip back to the States. The only mar on the week was the anchorage itself: we had a few so-so to comfy nights, followed by two nights of absolute HELL. It may not have been quite as bad as fall-out-of-bed, dishes-crashing-to-the-floor St. Eustatius, but we basically got no sleep for two days. (How long does it take for hallucinations to begin?? Even the cats took more catch-up naps than usual!) We spent Ke 'Ola Kai's last night in Grenada having dinner aboard Anne Bonny, and left first thing the next morning for Prickly Bay. We'd been warned that it, too, could be rolly, but it couldn't possibly be as bad as St. George's!

Rumor has it that the cruising grounds on the south end of Grenada - True Blue Bay, Prickly Bay, Mt. Hartman Bay, Hog Island, and Woburn Bay - rival Georgetown in the Bahamas (a.k.a. "Cruiser Summer Camp") in terms of cruiser events. That in itself probably warrants a whole new blog chapter...til next time!

Please enjoy more pictures here.

Cruisers heading to Grenada: there's more info out there on Grenada than we could possibly offer, but here are a few of our food/shopping/tourist highlights:
- Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park: it was interesting, but the water was extremely cloudy and there was little coral or fish life. We've talked to a few others who've also done this, and everyone agrees: it's worth a stop if you feel like breaking up the trip between Carriacou and Grenada's south end, but don't bother making a special trip.
- St. George's Farmer's Market: covering a square city block, the market offers every fruit, veggie, and spice you can imagine. Most things seem to be $5EC, whether for a half-dozen luscious Sealawn mangoes (our new favorite), a monster bag of passion fruit (make your own juice!), vine-ripened tomatoes, or an arm-full of fig bananas. Don't forget to grab a spice necklace (made famous by "An Embarrassment of Mangoes") to make your boat smell incredible! From St. George's, dock the dinghy at the Carenage, walk through the Sendall Tunnel to "downtown", and the market is a block off the main street at Hillsborough and Halifax. If you're in one of Grenada's southern bays, you can take a bus into downtown St. George's and walk from there.
- The Schnitzel Haus: who would've guessed you could get great German food in Grenada? Bratwurst, schnitzels, Gulasch, and more, all on a balcony overlooking St. George's Carenage.

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