Wednesday, September 7, 2016

35-36. Look At Those Digits!

This week can be summed up in the numbers. 36 weeks aboard totaling 8 months.  Arriving below the 12 latitude safely in Grenada.  We saw hundreds of starfish,  50+ turtles (the girls stopped counting), Sky and crew collected close to 100 hermit crabs.  And we reconnected with 2 of our favorite boat families - Take Two, after 1.5 months apart and MickBeth, after 4 months apart (the only reunion we are missing is with Aqua Vida, fingers crossed).  So now, on to the details.
    Cool shipwreck off of Bequia.
We loved Bequia but were excited to see if the Tobago Cays were as magical as they sounded.  We danced our way through the 6 hour sail south, never even having to crank on the engine.
Sailing into a cluster of uninhabited islands is pretty exhilarating.  You wonder how it must have felt to be the first to lay eyes on these after a long passage across the Atlantic.  Reefs were everywhere and I can't imagine making it without our trusty GPS.
    We're under the furthest east island inside the horseshoe ^
We anchored on the shallows inside the horseshoe reef next to Baradel, with nothing on the horizon to the east but ocean.  Andrew wasted no time getting in some much needed kiting while the girls and I snorkeled.
    Baradel behind Andrew.

Because we were in a protected marine park, the life is abundant and the creatures are not shy.  Turtles were feeding all around us
and trunk fish followed closely behind small stingrays enjoying the freshly stirred sand.
The flounder tried but even with the best camouflage couldn't hide from us ;)
    Can you see him?
We even saw a few new creatures we’d never seen before.
    Crazy box crab.
    Scrawled filefish
But our favorite find was the field of starfish!
They were everywhere and all different colors, sizes and even a few with extra legs.
Our fun continued back on the boat with the girls trying their best on back dives.
    Not quite mastered ;)
And when an unexpected storm blew in, we took advantage of the fresh water rinse and had a free shower :)
Needless to say, we worked up quite an appetite.  I was so excited to finally get to try Andrew’s infamous teriyaki kabobs and they are just as good as they look!

Our supplies were running thin and forced us to move back to civilization at Union Island.  Clifton even has a cute little designated dinghy cove
with very little margin for error, luckily our driver is highly skilled!  
Union Island has a tiny island outside of Clifton named Happy Island that we had seen on the Internet before we left the states.
So we fulfilled another on the wish list of anchoring near Happy Island.  It is a manmade island constructed from the discarded conch shells that used to litter the coastline of Clifton.  The island has been built over the last fifteen years and now has a great little bar as well as a home for it’s owner.
Locals, as well as tourists, arrive by dinghy or taxi boat to enjoy the sunset and a few cocktails.  And, if they’re as lucky as we were, they are entertained by an animated game of island dominoes - quite a treat!
Sky even made some friends and spent the afternoon collecting all the hermit crabs on the tiny island just to release them again at sundown, but it kept them busy for hours!

At this point in our trip we have such mixed emotions- We are so excited and can hardly believe we’ve made it this far.  We are quickly running out of islands to explore and don't want to be done yet.  But we are so close to Grenada and we can't wait to see our friends.  So even though Carriacou sounded like a nice island, we stopped over to sleep and pushed on to Grenada.
Our sail down the east side of Grenada was great!  We had a strong current pushing us and we motor-sailed at 7 knots which is our fastest passage yet.  And to top it off, we caught a good sized mackerel!
Our friends aboard Take Two were watching our progress south and before we had the hook down, we had an invitation to dinner.   After 1.5 months apart, we had a lot of catching up to do!  There were lots of hugs and excited chatter all evening long.  So much fun we didn't even stop to take a pic.

Every morning there is a cruiser’s net on the radio where every boat in Grenada for the season can ask questions, offer up items for trade and hear about any activities that are scheduled.  We introduced ourselves and mentioned which bay we were anchored in as did all other “new arrivals”.  After the net, a familiar voice hailed us.  We were pleasantly surprised to find MickBeth (who we last saw in Turks & Caicos) at a marina in the next bay over!  We hurried over to enjoy a day by the pool with the girls
and loved it so much that we moved in :) 
Our new Marina home, Le Phare Bleu, is amazing!  We are enjoying Hobie cats,
    Andrew sailing the Hobie through the Marina.

lots of pool time,
water, power, some great local entertainment on the weekends,
and some yoga / exercise classes with some of the other boat girls.  We’ve even done our best to get back on a bit of a schedule for school now that we are still for a bit.  

We are often asked, “what do you do all day?”  Well, Grenada has events every day for cruisers, we ended our first week here exhausted from trying to do it all!  But here’s a few of the things we’ve enjoyed so far.  The girls from MickBeth had to head back to Canada for school, so we had a proper going away party with a day at the beach,
cupcakes on board Take Two
  Made by my Sky Sky.
and a great fireworks display! (that may have been for the guests of the private island across from us but we enjoyed anyway)  
    Always sad to see our friends go.  

We also headed out to the weekly event known as a “hash” which is a hike through a different part of the island every weekend.  There is a runner trail and a walker trail but mud on both :) On our way there, we happened to see a local jumping off a bridge into the river below and Andrew just had to do the same!
So with the whole bus watching, he had no chance of backing out at the last minute and took a flying leap :)
Our first hash was fairly tame and a great success.  Paige and I hung out in town
while the rest of the gang enjoyed a walk through the countryside.  We were treated to a local food fest after and met lots of new friends.
    Sky enjoying a fresh mango, picked while on the trail.

Another weekly event is Friday dinner at Container Park.  True to the name, Container Park is a bunch of shipping containers transformed into an international food court and on Friday nights additional vendors come out to share their wares.  Grenadian local fare, Chinese, Thai, Mexican, and Indian are just a few of the options.  Followed by local baked goods, homemade ice cream and smoothies and you can wash it all down with some of the locally brewed beer.  It makes for a pretty uniquely awesome evening of food and fun.
    International foods shared with international friends.  
    Germany, Scotland, Canada and America represented at our table.
Andrew and I have also taken some cooking classes, learning Creole Chicken and the Grenadian national dish, Oildown.
Andrew had a fishing lure tutorial with our friends aboard S/V Grateful.
And if that wasn't enough to wear us out, both girls traded their long locks for some shorter and hopefully cooler hairdos.
So that is how we fill our days in Grenada, never a dull moment.

Things learned aboard this week:
There is such a thing as too much fun!  Kids may not agree but with all the possible activities of kids movie night, cooking class, yoga, hikes, farmers market, dinner with friends etc, etc…we really can run ourselves ragged.  And when the crabbiness hits from being overly tired, we take it out on the ones we love.  So we are having to learn how to pace ourselves :)
    Relaxing at home.  Enriching the girls' lives by introducing them to Indiana Jones!

When we first got here I couldn't imagine being somewhere for a few months straight, waiting out hurricane season - how boring!  But now I’m concerned we won't be able to fit it all in!
Stay turned to see what this week holds.