Thursday, December 8, 2016

47-48. Back to the Boat!

The past two weeks have flown by.  Our last update left us unsure we were ready to be back aboard Abby.  We are pleased to report that we very quickly re-acclimated to our boat home and have had an amazing few weeks we can't wait to share.

    A beautiful view down Grenada's coast.
The day after we got back to Grenada we went on a “Cutty tour”.  Anyone visiting Grenada should do the same.  Our guide’s name is Cutty and he loves his country!  We spent 8 hrs with him showing us all around the island.  You may wonder how, after being here for 2 months there is anything left to see, but Grenada’s natural resources are so vast that it takes an experienced eye to point out all the variety.  
Cutty would pull off the side of the road and have us step to the edge of the lush greenery, he would crumple a cluster of leaves he just pulled from the nearest tree and say “do you recognize that smell?”
 We each took turns sniffing and would find ourselves intoxicated by the smell of cinnamon, all spice, clove, lemongrass, ginger, turmeric, mint and could even detect the subtle differences between the lemon and lime trees based on the smell of their leaf.  We tasted the bark off the cinnamon tree and learned how it is harvested, 
we picked passion fruit,
papaya, cocoa plant, and fresh sweet banana,
and fell more deeply in love with this beautiful country.  
    Finding red berries for jewelry making.
We loved our private tour of the Grenada Chocolate Company and, of course, the free samplings at the end :)
Cutty arranged a beautiful meal at Rivers Rum before our tour of their traditional rum distillery.  The Rivers Rum tour was a highlight of our day.  The big water wheel was turning, powered by the flowing water channeled down out of the mountains.  
The wheel powered the crushing machine that squeezes all the sugar juice from the cane.  The sugar flowed down a pipe to it’s first holding tank
while the crushed cane moved on a conveyor belt to a large discard pile.  
They later use the discarded cane to fuel the fire used to heat the rum in it’s final stage, loved how nothing was wasted.  The entire process hasn't changed much since the 1800s, the sugar moves from vat to vat while fermenting, and finally into large holding tanks where it reacts to the yeast in the air
before moving to the final stage where it is heated.  
They were ingenious in the design of the factory, minimizing the labor needed to move the product.  After learning all about the process of traditionally making Rum, we got to sample some of their product.  Since we all did the tour it seemed right to have everyone sample the goodness.  
Notice the disapproving looks of the tourists as the girls cheered their Rum punch :)
The entire day was an amazing lesson in the beauty and diversity of Grenada, the perfect way to say goodbye.

Pulling away from La Phare Bleu Marina was bittersweet.  We were excited to get back on the water and moving again but it was hard to say goodbye to all the staff who had become like family.  
Andrew was a ball of nerves being at the helm for the first time in three months.  We headed around the southern tip and up the west side to stop for the night and snorkel the sculpture garden in the morning.

The sculpture garden is a seemingly random selection of statues that have been placed on the ocean floor to help promote coral growth and support the natural reef in the area.  
There are multiple circles of people holding hands, various mermaids,
abstract art, and a man on bicycle, playing poker and typing.  It is eerily beautiful but my honest first impression was how creepy it was
to see people with barnacles and coral growing all over their face, like a scene from Pirates of the Carribean.  
But we checked it off our list and continued our trek north.  
    Boat life: Paige reading as the sun sets, Sky prepping seeds and beads as the sunrises.
It was cool to pull back into Tyrell Bay, Carriacou again; our first time to return to a port we have previously visited.  The familiarity was comforting.  We had a few repairs we needed to tend to before heading west so we were scheduled to be hauled out overnight while in Carriacou.  
We were the last hauled at the end of the day, spent the night in the slings being super productive
and were dropped back in the water first thing in the morning.  
After checking out of Grenada and its Grenadines, we sailed into St Vincent & the Grenadines and flew our “Q” flag.  One night in Union Island, a quick snorkel in the Tabago Cays, dinner with our friends aboard Grateful in Bequia, before an amazing sail up the East coast of St Vincent.  
We spent the day outrunning storms.  
    Sunshine on the left, dark storms on the right.  That's how quickly your day can change!
It was beautiful until we had thunder and lightning, which is my favorite thing in the world but Andrew says is no good on a boat :) We were very thankful for our new dodger Andrew sewed while in Grenada.  It kept us realitively dry in the cockpit when the skies opened up.  
We finally rounded the southern tip of St Lucia as the sun set and were treated to the most spectacular bioluminescence we’ve ever seen!  We were safely on the ball between the Pitons enjoying dinner when the strongest gust front we have ever experienced blew in from behind the mountains, luckily it was short lived.  
    Beautiful rainbow as we left the Pitons.
We were so happy to find ourselves back at Marigot Bay and Capella Marina.  And even more overjoyed to meet back up with some La Phare Bleu friends aboard Corpse Pounder and Nightingale Tune.  
   Our favorite little Corpse Pounder!
The girls and I relaxed by the pool
while Andrew was busy installing our new solar panels.  It would have been easy to stay indefinitely in the beautiful resort paradise
but we were excited to pick up our new water maker in Rodney Bay.  It was like Christmas morning with Andrew opening our new toy, reading part of the instructions :) and dreaming about where we would install it.  
We did one last large provisioning run to prep for our trip west and some last minute wifi for weather, etc.  Then it was time to head out into the deep blue.  

Things learned aboard this week:
We were pleasantly surprised by falling comfortably back into life aboard.  I was being very honest last time when I mentioned the apprehension at being back.  We had such a great visit home and life aboard is not always easy but we found our groove fairly easily.  Go Team Abby Singer!

I’m saving the story of our crossing for the next blog but I can tell you it had each of us in tears at different points in the very difficult journey so be sure to catch the next leg of our adventure - Bonaire.
    This beautiful double rainbow appeared as we pulled away from St Lucia.
    I took it as a sign of good things to come 
    but in hindsight I think it was meant to remind me we weren't alone out there :)


  1. Oh, man, what an adventure! Love y'all - bunches!

  2. I can't wait for the next installment.

  3. Can't wait for the next update. I met you last year in Nassau and have been following you as you went south and we went north. Now we are heading south and you're going north. Hope to see you again along the way.