Saturday, October 29, 2016

40-43. Fun with Hurricane Matthew (twice) and Other Grenada Excitement

Grenada - where all southbound cruisers go to be out of the hurricane belt;   
          -safe zone, as designated by most insurance companies; 
           -south of 12 degree latitude; 
            -Hurricane Matthew’s projected target 
            -and where we experience our first hurricane aboard Abby.  
There was a flurry of excitement as everyone at the dock prepared for what looked to be a direct hit from the first storm to cross our path this hurricane season.  Andrew led our crew in prepping and protecting our dock lines,
getting us tied to the hurricane mooring lines below the dock,
and removing or securing anything loose on deck.
Our home at Le Phare Bleu did an excellent job preparing all of us for what to expect as Matthew got closer.
    Hurricane briefing by Deiter, owner of the Marina.
After all the preparations we were treated to a pre-hurricane rainbow as we relaxed by the pool.
     As the sun went down, the wind picked up.
And in proper camp fashion, we did the only thing left to do when you’ve done everything to get ready; throw a hurricane party!
We felt the first blows of Matthew in the early morning hours.  Andrew and I got up just to check the dock lines but we found everything safe and secure.  With things really beginning to churn by 7am, the whole marina was up and surveying their surroundings.
But all our preparations had paid off and the only excitement we had was when one of the breakwater barges broke free from their lines and the marina crew rushed out in dive gear to get it re-secured promptly.  We saw sustained winds over 40 knots but the worst had passed us by noon.  We watched some movies aboard, cooked some goodies and the girls joined the Take Two gang for a Mexican Train Dominoes tournament.  We heard of a few boats dragging in different anchorages nearby but no injuries or major damage.  We were so blessed that Matthew chose to change his path and head a bit more north.  Little did we know that he had his sights set on our land home in Jacksonville, FL.  We have lived in Jax 15 years and never experienced the force that Matthew brought with him.  We were lucky to have no damage at our home or business and only a fence down at our beach property.  Many of our neighbors and friends were not so lucky and are still picking up the mess that was left in Matthew’s wake.  But enough about the hurricane, now on to other fun.

Our first adventure post hurricane was a float trip through the beauty of Grenada’s countryside.  We had quite the group with 21 of the LPB family ready for fun.
    Photo credit - Disco Fish
The guides weren’t sure what hit them when our bunch of crazies arrived.  We explored the grounds and found guava, cocoa, turmeric, cinnamon, lime and some other fruit I don’t even know what it was while we waited for the tubes to get aired up.
Once we hit the water everyone had a blast splashing and racing down rapids while the guides did their best to keep up and keep us safe!
We floated to a large pool area where one of the guides does a few flips from the overlooking cliff (I’m sure it is to get tips) but Andrew and Eli couldn't let him have his moment of glory and had to join in the fun.  
It was a great way to see more of the country and make an awesome memory with everyone.

We had the best 1st year birthday party ever for Jack from Corpse Pounder.
The celebration was poolside with yummy food and face painting during happy hour.
But the best moment was Jack enjoying his cake.
He wasn't shy about getting dirty and was disappointed when it was taken away from him :)

It may sound like lots of play and very little work but we do put in the elbow grease when needed.  The girls cleaned all our interior headliner with vinegar to cut the mold.
    When your arms get tired, the feet work just fine.
We had quite a bit of growth on our lines after 1.5 months at the marina that needing scrubbing off.
And Andrew sewed a new dodger for our cockpit from scratch.
It will help keep the sea spray out of our eyes as we continue on west.
Paige even had a few babysitting jobs with her new boyfriends on Vidora and Corpse Pounder.
    Jack Jack
    They're supposed to be babysitting, looking very responsible?!

Sad to say but it’s almost time for everyone to head their separate ways for the season.  We weren't ready to break up the party without one last big bash.
    Photo credit - Sea Biscuit
So we planned the boat crawl to end all boat crawls.  What is a boat crawl?  Similar to a progressive dinner where you visit each other's homes for drinks and snacks
but we add a bit of caribbean trivia,

a swim from one location to the next
(closely supervised by our safety boat and accompanied by our friendly accordion player),
the best spread of drinks and munchies,
and if you are feeling adventurous you can wrap the whole thing up with a jump off the high dive.
There is no better way to bid adieu to our time in Grenada and all the amazing people we have met here and all the memories we share.

Things learned aboard this week:
You can do your best to be prepared but when it comes to an act of God, all you can do is leave it in His hands.  So thankful no one we knew was hurt and that everything else is just stuff.

Sorry for the delayed update but the next one should be close behind.  We are rapidly approaching our departure from Grenada and blazing our path into even more uncharted territory as we head to the western Caribbean.