Grenada: Taking It Easy

Five days ago, we tied to the quay at Port Louis Marina, St. George’s, Grenada. Since then, we’ve had very little on the agenda except for doing as little as possible. We’ve done very little boat work. We did re-mark our anchor chain with colored wire ties so we know how much chain we have out. We put on the original wire ties two years ago. They lasted longer than I thought they would, but some were now missing. While the chain was out of its chain locker, I climbed down in and cleaned out the mud and gunk that had accumulated over two years time. Other than that, our boat work has mainly consisted in contacting workers to arrange for them to do some work on Beatitude.

Ready to descend into the abyss known as the chain locker

Ready to descend into the abyss known as the chain locker

Cleaning the abyss

Cleaning the abyss

Cindy displaying her handiwork.  Two fluorescent wire ties marking off the 40' mark on our anchor chain.

Cindy displaying her handiwork. Two fluorescent wire ties marking off the 40′ mark on our anchor chain.

We’ve dinghied over to Island Water World (a chandlery) and to Food Land (grocery), both in the lagoon where our marina is located. On Sunday, we dinghied over to the Carenage (a small little bay adjacent to the lagoon) for church. The mass at St. George’s Anglican Church started at 7:30 a.m., which meant we had to leave Beatitude at 6:45. The people were friendly and the service was nice. Unfortunately, the parishioners are unable to meet in the actual church building which was destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in September, 2004. Grenada is generally considered to be below the hurricane belt, but, as Ivan showed, tropical systems fail to acknowledge such limits. Ivan set the record for the most southerly major hurricane in the Atlantic basin. Its path was directly over Grenada and it destroyed a number of historic buildings, including the Roman Catholic Cathedral, the Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church, and the Anglican Church (the Presbyterian Church and Anglican Church were damaged most severely). In August of 2014, the restoration of St. George’s was begun and is still underway. The Sunday morning service was held in the Senior School Building.

At the grocery store, waiting on the downpour to subside.

At the grocery store, waiting on the downpour to subside.

Food Land with the dinghy dock out front.  It's nice to be able to take Dalí to the grocery store.  (And they have Diet Pepsi!)

Food Land with the dinghy dock out front. It’s nice to be able to take Dalí to the grocery store. (And they have Diet Pepsi!)

Dalí tied to a post in the Carenage on Sunday morning

Dalí tied to a post in the Carenage on Sunday morning

The still-unrestored Presbyterian Church in St. George's

The still-unrestored Presbyterian Church in St. George’s

St. George's Anglican Church under repair/renovation

St. George’s Anglican Church under repair/renovation

Liturgy in the St. George's Anglican Senior School

Liturgy in the St. George’s Anglican Senior School

The bronze statue of "Christ of the Abyss" stands in the Carenage surrounding the harbor at St. George's, in commemoration of the sinking of the passenger ship, the Bianca C in 1961.

The bronze statue of “Christ of the Abyss” stands in the Carenage surrounding the harbor at St. George’s, in commemoration of the sinking of the passenger ship, the Bianca C in 1961.

The Christ of the Abyss statue in downtown St. George's, Grenada.  Returning from church.

The Christ of the Abyss statue in downtown St. George’s, Grenada. Returning from church.

Fort George above my head as we return from church aboard Dalí.

Fort George above my head as we return from church aboard Dalí.

We’ve relaxed on more than one occasion at the marina pool, an inviting little spot which is frequented by a number of cruisers. We’ve enjoyed some meals at the Victory Bar and Restaurant, directly adjacent to the pool. We’ve also enjoyed some fine meals aboard Beatitude (including Cindy’s delicious Lasagna). We’ve watched movies and played games. And, most importantly, I’ve now completely recovered from my tropical disease! And, now that Cindy has recovered from her knee replacement surgery, we are getting back into the habit of walking for exercise. We’re so thankful that she is able to walk without pain!

Standing in front of the Victory Bar and Restaurant

Standing in front of the Victory Bar and Restaurant

Enjoying the pool.

Enjoying the pool.

Cooling down in the pool.

Cooling down in the pool.

Poolside lovers

Poolside lovers

Lasagna dinner on board.  Mmmm!

Lasagna dinner on board. Mmmm!

Beautiful Grenada Scenery while out for a walk.

Beautiful Grenada Scenery while out for a walk.

It’s been raining quite frequently, but there are a few hours of sunshine most everyday. We’re enjoying our “down-time” before returning to the states at the end of this week. It’s time for a few more shifts in the emergency department to replenish our dwindling money supply and to fund the necessary repairs on Beatitude. Maybe, we’ll do a little sightseeing this week before we head back. Then again, maybe we won’t. We’re truly in “chill” mode.

Beatitude tied to the quay at Port Louis.

Beatitude tied to the quay at Port Louis.

Chikungunya And Grenada

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.

Leaving our anchorage in Bequia in the early morning, before sunrise.

Leaving our anchorage in Bequia in the early morning, before sunrise.

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.

As we passed the southern end of Bequia, we saw these deserted ruins.  What they were, who knows?  Some failed resort?

As we passed the southern end of Bequia, we saw these deserted ruins. What they were, who knows? Some failed resort?

I don't think this ship intended to end up on the rocks of southern Bequia.

I don’t think this ship intended to end up on the rocks of southern Bequia.

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.

The three-masted Windjammer Sailing Cruise Ship, Mandalay - Anchored outside of St. George on our way in

The three-masted Windjammer Sailing Cruise Ship, Mandalay – Anchored outside of St. George on our way in

Port Louis Marina is the home of the interesting Pilar Rossi, owned by a Brazilian Formula One Champion who took a 119' motor yacht built in 1989 and transformed it into a 211' motorsailer with a beam of 46 feet and two masts, the tallest of which is 148' tall.  He added two outriggers, making it essentially a trimaran.

Port Louis Marina is the home of the interesting Pilar Rossi, owned by a Brazilian Formula One Champion who took a 119′ motor yacht built in 1989 and transformed it into a 211′ motorsailer with a beam of 46 feet and two masts, the tallest of which is 148′ tall. He added two outriggers, making it essentially a trimaran.

Docking in the rain!

Docking in the rain!

Beatitude tied to the quay at Port Louis Marina

Beatitude tied to the quay at Port Louis Marina

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.

Walking down out dock

Walking down out dock

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.

The doctor needs a doctor

The doctor needs a doctor

The waiting area at St. Augustine's Medical Services

The waiting area at St. Augustine’s Medical Services

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.

A look down at the harbor from our taxi ride to the doctor's office.  Port Louis Marina is to the left.

A look down at the harbor from our taxi ride to the doctor’s office. Port Louis Marina is to the left.

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.

Pausing for a photo at the marina on the way to dinner

Pausing for a photo at the marina on the way to dinner

At the Marina

At the Marina