November 8, 2019

Goodbye to Grenada

After three amazing months exploring the beautiful island of Grenada, on October 25 we officially checked out of the country and pointed Borealis' bow north.

See ya, Hurricane Season

The Atlantic hurricane season is winding down, it technically ends November 30, and it's been an active season. Despite Grenada's location on the southern fringe of the hurricane belt (the reason we sailed Borealis there), the island was grazed this summer by two tropical storms and numerous tropical waves and depressions.

In late August, Tropical Storm Dorian passed 60 nm north of Grenada with little impact - it actually sucked the wind away from our area; we had 5-10kt winds and no rain showers. While it was a nonevent for us, Dorian sadly grew into a massive category 5 hurricane and devastated the Abacos, Bahamas, where we spent most of January 2019.

2019 Atlantic Tropical Storms and Hurricanes: Dorian (4) and Karen (11) passed close to Grenada

A few weeks later, in late September, Tropical Storm Karen passed just south of Grenada, and while we experienced only 30 knot winds, most of Grenada's anchorages are along the southern coast of the island, and the bays can suffer in southerly swells. This is especially true for Prickly Bay, which has the least amount of reef protection and where we happened to be anchored as 3-foot swells started rolling into the bay.

Just before sunset, as the worst of the storm passed by, the VHF radio was afire with distress calls from single-handed sailors who needed help re-anchoring or re-mooring their dragging boats, as well as from cruisers who had unoccupied boats drifting towards them. At one point, three boats were loose and ping ponging through the anchorage, including one aimed right for us, which thankfully (for us) ran around 100 yards or so away.

In total, four boats washed ashore, one drifted out to sea (and was later recovered) and dozens more dragged on their anchors. So we'll be very happy to see the end of the hurricane season.

So much fun at Camp Grenada

Looking back, we are so glad we made the decision to spend hurricane season on the island. Grenada is lush and beautiful and the people, culture and food will always hold a special place in our hearts. We had so much fun this summer and fall exploring Grenada's beaches and waterfalls, learning about the island's history, participating in Saturday hash hike runs, and making so many new friends.

Grenada is affectionately called Camp Grenada since so many cruisers hunker down there for the hurricane season and there are planned social activities every day of the week - from dominoes, boot camp and volleyball to cooking demonstrations, music jams and island tours - there is something for everyone, and it's been the most fun summer we've had since childhood!

One of our favorite recent activities was racing Hobie catamarans, which Nick has always wanted to sail. When the Petite Calvigny Yacht Club recently invited cruisers to participate in a Sunday match race using the club's boats we jumped at the opportunity; never mind that neither of us had ever sailed a vessel smaller than 37ft! The club and assembled cruisers got us started and after a practice heat Nick even won his first race! With all the fun to be had on the island, you can easily understand why cruisers get to Grenada and never leave.

All weather, all the time

In between all that fun this summer, we tackled some boat projects, laid out our sailing plans for the winter and spring ahead, and hid from the Grenadian afternoon heat - August and September where stiflingly hot, and with no air conditioning aboard we mostly lived in swimsuits so we could dip into the water throughout the day. The early fall months brought only slightly cooler temperatures.

October did bring the rain though. Despite summer being the rainy season, we had little rain until early October and then the skies seemingly let loose; rather than the typical quick afternoon Caribbean rain shower, we had rain almost daily and it often lasted for hours, and this went on for several weeks. As soon as the calendar turned to November, the rain went away almost as quickly as it came!

The same waterfall before and after all the October rains

Hello and Goodbye

The highlight of our time in Grenada was most definitely the many new friends we made from around the world. They say in cruising, friends come and go from your life like the waves of the ocean, which can sometimes be challenging for maintaining a sense of community. After 8 months of constant travel, it was amazing to meet and find a tribe of friends who helped create summer memories for a lifetime. As they say in the Cheers theme song, "Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name." 😀

In recent weeks, we've sadly started to say farewell for now to many of those friends, as some head west towards the Panama Canal and South Pacific Ocean or north along the Caribbean chain ahead of us.

Despite a wonderful experience here in Grenada, we are ready to start moving. By late September we really started to get the itch to start cruising and exploring again.

Carriacou Get Away

A hash hike weekend in Carriacou, a Grenadian island about 30 nm north of the mainland, was all the motivation we needed to pull up the anchor and leave mainland Grenada for awhile. After a great weekend in Carriacou with friends, we sailed north to Anse la Roche, with clear water, several big rocks great for snorkeling, and a nice sandy beach. We hiked to Carriacou's highest peak one morning and later that day we were lucky to reconnect with friends on three different boats for a great night of food and music on the beach before we parted ways for different seas.

A beach barbecue and jam session with cruising friends

Petite Martinique & Mopian Island

The next day, we sailed around the corner to Grenada's smallest island, Petite Martinique, home to only 900 individuals. The island is so small, it's an easy morning walk all the way around the island and up to the highest point, where we were rewarded with stunning views of nearby Petite St Vincent (which, despite its short 1-mile away distance, is part of St. Vincent and not Grenada).

We also made a dinghy stop to nearby Mopian Island, a tiny spit of land with only a thatch umbrella, which some say is the smallest island in the Caribbean.

After 10 fun-filled days of exploring Grenada’s northern islands, we headed back south to mainland Grenada to await a delivery, but now that we had the taste of the sailing life again, it was hard to sit still, so a few days later we headed out for a daysail along the deep ridge south of Grenada and were awarded with a nice blackfin tuna.

A little less than a week later, we met up with cruiser friends to pickup a few items they graciously agreed to fly back for us, and then we raised our sails and said farewell to Grenada.

One year cruise-versary

Coincidentally, the day we checked out of Grenada was this same day last year that we set off from the Chesapeake Bay and began our cruising adventure.

Season 2 of Cruising

We are so excited to explore the Caribbean for a second season and can't wait to discover the adventures this year will bring us.

It's hard to believe it's been a year since we left our old land lives behind, and this fall feels remarkably different from last, as we've learned and experienced so much in the past 12 months. It hasn't always been easy, but it's most definitely been worth it.

So here's to many more adventures ahead, and many thanks to all of our family and friends who continue to support us and follow along.

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