Thursday, 22 March 2012


Hi from Clare,                                          Tuesday  20th March 2012

We arrived in Grenada last Wednesday after a boisterous overnight sail from Trinidad.  It is just a nasty piece of water with currents, winds and swells from different directions. From what we have heard the 80 miles is never a pleasant trip and we have since heard of one boat taking 40 hours in 3 to 4m seas just one week before we made the crossing.  We were glad we listened to the local advice and waited for more favourable winds and smaller seas.

St Georges Harbour and new and old buildings 

Grenada is still recovering from the effects of Hurricane Ivan which swept through here in 2004.  Poverty is still wide spread as many workers lost their livelihood when plantations and crops were destroyed. However new buildings are springing up in amongst the destruction and the capital city of St George’s appears to be thriving especially when a cruise ship comes.

Upmarket around Prickly Bay

We anchored in Prickly Bay on the southern end of the island. It is a pretty up market place with many Foreign Embassy houses, the International University and expensive housing and holiday accommodation.  Looking out from the boat we could imagine we were in the northern suburbs of Sydney.

Checking in to Grenada was easy as the Custom/Immigration/Health building (hut) was 30m from the dinghy dock although Andrew had to go back in the following day as the immigration officer was “absent”.

Cooking Class and Prickly Bay anchorage
Since our arrival here we have been busy with a trip to the capital St George’s, a tour of the island with thirteen other cruising folk, early morning walks with our American friends, drinks with fellow Aussies on their boat, a musical evening listening to a local steel pan band and a cooking class to learn something of the local vegetables.

Cashew fruit and Papaya crops
The trip around the island was a good day out. We stopped off at a tiny beach shack for lunch where cold drinks and a terrific meal of fish, chicken, salad, rice, vegetables and followed by ice cream was produced for $10 per head.  We drove up the east coast and came back down through the middle of the island stopping off at a river for some white water rafting if we so desired.  It was Sunday and many local people were walking up the roads to church. The adults were dressed to the nines and the children were immaculate with the boys in white shirts and long trousers and the girls with pretty dresses and braided hair with bright ribbons.

Luncheon stop at the Beach Hut and.....

However the thing that struck me the most is that the lush countryside is being strangled with vines growing up trees and through bushes. It’s growing so quickly that any abandon machinery or equipment is almost completely covered with vines.  The market gardeners are having a job to keep their gardens clear. I think we have a problem in the Australian bush with Lantana, but this looks much worse. 

The local people are very pleasant and some of the young women have gorgeous bodies and are really beautiful. The muscle definition on some young men is just amazing. On the other hand some of the woman (I believe originally from South African tribes) have the biggest backsides I have ever seen; humongous.  Any Australian woman who thinks she has a large rear end – forget it you’re not in this race.

The cooking class was a disappointment as it was advertised as introducing us to the local vegetables. Twenty four international cruising women attended the class and I was eager to learn the names of the strange looking vegetables I see in the markets and how to cook them. However the only vegetable held up for our viewing was a ‘bloody carrot’ – maybe a local carrot – but nevertheless just a common old carrot. I was so disappointed I had to go to the bar and console myself with a rum punch.
Last week when in Trinidad I decided to cook the local vegetables. So I bought a big leafy green thing with an unheard of name. I established they it needed to be boiled. So after thoroughly washing it my curiosity got the better of me and I sampled a small piece raw. Well that was a mistake; I thought I had seriously burnt the roof of my mouth.  Whatever it was, it was the hottest vegetable I have ever eaten; I was hopping around in the galley drinking water and deciding to cook good old carrots for dinner.

Yesterday we left Prickly Bay and moved 2.5 miles to Hog Island where we are well sheltered by a reef. We will spend another quiet and peaceful night here then go around to St George’s harbour for shopping on Friday morning before heading north to catch up with the herd heading to the USA.

Love Candy xx

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Ready to go

  Hi from Clare,                                                         Monday 12th March 2012

We are still waiting on favourable winds and sea conditions to get us out of Trinidad. At the moment it looks like tomorrow night and thank goodness for that as we are eager to commence this year’s adventure.

The Beach

Forest Walk
This week in between polishing the deck we have managed to have a busy social time with drinks on our boat, dinner for six at the marina’s waterside restaurant and a hike on Saturday along the escarpment and through the forest finishing with a swim in the surf.

Bamboo Forest

Last week I mentioned our New Zealand friends Dick and Ann on ‘Chinook Winds’ hitting a reef on the way to the Panama. Well fortunately they were successfully rescued by the Venezuelan Coast Guard and were very well treated. However because their boat was high and dry on the reef they had to swim to the rescue boat taking with them only their passports and bare essentials. ‘Chinook Winds’ was sited by fellow cruisers a few days later and it has been totally stripped. I guess this is to be expected but nevertheless it was a very sad sight.

Over the past few years I have mentioned our American friends Sam and Bill on ‘Blue Banana’; a great couple full of laughter and good fun. Sadly they gave sailing away last August and headed home due to Sam’s failing health. She passed away this week and will be greatly missed by all.

We must be fully recovered from our travels as we have now formulated the plan to the coming year. We are heading north to New York via the Gulf Stream and then we will take our time coming back down the coast. We aim to be in New York sometime in July and then back south for the following winter.

Everything we do this year will be breaking new ground. We don’t know quite what to expect but we are looking forward to the experience. Let’s hope we navigate the new coastlines and new cultures with the minimum of fuss.

Love Candy xx

Monday, 5 March 2012

Back in the water

Hi from Clare,                                                        Saturday 3rd March 2012

No more climbing up and down the ladder to access the boat. No more washing the dishes in a bucket or not being able to use the bathroom.  We breathed a sigh of relief on Tuesday morning when Eye Candy was lowered back into the water looking gorgeous with her newly painted bottom, polished sides, scrubbed canvas and gleaming chrome.
Oh so shiny

We are running out of puff but we still have a few jobs to complete; the biggest one is polish the deck. The weather is hot, humid and knocking us around. Added to this, in the last three months we have traveled home twice, sailed 3000 miles across the Atlantic and worked long hours doing annual maintenance, I guess we shouldn’t chastise ourselves too much for feeling lethargic.  

In our short time here we have made some new friends; an American couple and an Irish couple.  We first met the Americans at the B&B we stayed in.  They were staying there also so they could travel to Carnivale.  The Irish couple we met last week when having Yellow Fever injections.  One good thing about the cruising community is that friendships happen easily.  In no time we are sitting around yarning over a few drinks and helping each other out.

We received some bad new on the radio Net about some fellow cruisers we met first in Rabat in September, then again in the Canneries and the Cape Verdes.  They followed us across the Atlantic making their landfall at Granada. They left Granada last week heading for the Panama Canal but unfortunately they hit a reef.  The boat was reported as high and dry and breaking up. The couple waited overnight for rescue by the Venezuelan coast guard. Their last report to the radio Net was the following morning saying that they could see the coast guard approaching. No further information has been received. We can only hope their rescue was successful and that they are safe.

Other disturbing news was heard on our marina’s radio Net this morning.
The local coast guard boarded a cruising yacht here and found a gun and some ammunition that had not been declared; the couple is now in gaol. Their fate is uncertain at this time.

We went into the Port of Spain (the capital) today to one of the many fresh produce markets. The fruit and vege are very good quality and remarkable inexpensive.  To give you an idea; prices converted to Australian dollars

1 kilo tomatoes, broccoli, beans,   $1.60
1 kilo potatoes, pumpkin,   $0.70
Lettuce $0.50
Most herbs $0.60
Large Capsicum $0.65
Apples and Oranges 5 for $1.60
1 kilo Bananas $1.50
Thats Clare in the foreground
I haven’t seen this quality and price since we left Turkey. Bread and bakery items are also very inexpensive.  Meat on the other hand is expensive and red meat is pretty tough. The restaurant at the marina has steak and vegetables for $51.00. I could buy seven bottles of local rum for that price!

We haven’t finalized our plan for the season yet.  We are waiting for easterly winds so we can sail north to Granada.  For the coming week the wind is from the north and the swell is in excess of three meters.  So a plan for this week is forming – polish the deck, eat vegetarian, drink seven bottles of rum!

love Candy xx.