Our yacht insurance states that we must be south of latitude 12°40′ by June 1st because of hurricane season. Well… we made it… barely.
Although we had originally planned to spend a week or so longer in the Grenadines, spurred on by my sickness, we decided to go ahead and make a bee-line for Grenada from Bequia. Additionally, the marina that we had reserved confirmed that they had room for us a few days early, AND… We would have electricity on the dock, at least for the first month. We were initially told that we’d not have electricity. 60-hertz electrical supply (U.S.) is difficult to find down here. Most countries operate on 50Hz. We have just discovered this! So, we cannot plug into shore power almost anywhere in Grenada. Port Louis Marina has a few 60Hz pedestals, but they are hard to come by given that so many cruisers come down to Grenada during the hurricane season. Getting power on Beatitude (read: Air-Conditioning!) was a huge bonus.
So, on Wednesday morning, June 1st, we weighed anchor at 5:30 a.m. and set off on our 69-nautical mile passage. The sail was lovely for most of the time. We had similar conditions to those we experienced on our overnight to Bequia: 16-17 knots of easterly wind and 5-foot seas from just abaft our port-side beam. The sun shined brightly throughout most of the morning, but clouds built as we proceeded southwestwardly. We had dodged a few squalls, but by the time we approached Carriacou, our luck ran out. They weren’t quite as intense as on our previous sail, but still a force to be reckoned with. There was also an anomalous 15-minute time period when the waves suddenly switched to well-forward of the beam which meant we were slamming into them for that short while. Suddenly, as quickly as they shifted, they changed back. I haven’t figured that one out yet.
It was, of course, raining when we made our entry into the harbour at St. George, Grenada over ten hours later. Cindy and I donned our rain-jackets to prepare the lines and fenders. The dockhands all graciously worked in the rain to help us tie to the dock. The docking experience here is another first for the crew of Beatitude. Most European marinas use a technique known as Mediterranean Mooring in which the vessel drops anchor out away from the dock and then backs in to the dock. Dock lines are led astern to tie the vessel to the quay or wall. In this case, instead of dropping an anchor, we tied to a mooring ball (with the assistance of a marina worker in a boat) and then backed into our spot along the quay. It was quite easy with the professional help of the marina staff.
My usual post-passage fatigue was amplified and exacerbated by my recent health issues, so we didn’t feel like doing much once we arrived. While Cindy finished helping the workers tie us to the dock, I hurried over to customs and immigration (conveniently located in the marina) to clear in just before they closed. We then had pizza at the marina restaurant and collapsed into bed a little early for some rest.
On Thursday morning, we took the taxi over to the St. Augustine Medical Services (a private hospital and clinic recommended by the marina staff). We were very impressed by the place. We walked in without an appointment about 8:10 and were promptly registered (a simple one-page process). Five minutes later, a nurse took me to take my vital signs. About ten minutes later, I was in with the doctor. He ordered some laboratory tests which were promptly drawn. We waited for the results and were out of there by 10:30. The total bill was $300 in Eastern Caribbean dollars. That’s $115 in U.S. Dollars. The bill for the doctor was $30 (US). Wow! That wouldn’t even cover my co-pay for my U.S. appointments. But, it wasn’t just that the cost was low, I felt the care I received was as good as I might get in any U.S. clinic.
So, what was the diagnosis? Dr. Amechi felt that I am, indeed, suffering from some mosquito-born tropical virus. My rapid Dengue Fever test was negative. My WBC was low, consistent with a viral illness. Two other diagnostic tests, the tests for the Chikungunya and Zika viruses are send-outs and won’t be back for at least three weeks. But, presumptively, he feels I likely have Chikungunya virus. Leave it to me. Mosquitos love me. I usually get bitten several times a day, no matter what precautions I attempt to take. Finally, it has caught up with me — I’ve caught some exotic disease. The good news is that the disease is self-limited and will eventually run its course. The bad news is that there is no treatment to help it along. But, my rash is almost gone. I’m not as weak or fatigued as I was. However, the joint pain and inflammation in my hands, wrists and ankles are still significant. I’m just thankful it’s nothing worse and that my symptoms were not as severe as they could have been.
We returned from the doctor’s office and spent most of the afternoon cleaning, organizing and beginning the work on the long list of things to fix on Beatitude while we are here. As the BOAT acronym suggests, it is time to “break out another thousand” (or two, or three…). In the meantime, the marina is lovely, the people are friendly, and we have no complaints. We thank the good Lord that we’ve made it to Grenada and are in a very nice place at this time. How long we’ll be here, we don’t know. At least a month, but perhaps the entire hurricane season. We’ll see.