Thursday, December 19, 2013

After 12 days back in Grenada, a few parties, and lots of catch up on gossip.  We decided it was time to go so we left for Carriacou to visit a friend (Geoff on Beach House) and prepare to go to Bonaire.  While we were in Grenada, I helped the cruisers with the Mt Airy Young Reader’s Program, Christmas Party.  What a hoot.  There were 45 kids and about 20 adults.  The kids were so excited so instead of their usual very disciplined selves, they were wild.  The picture below is when they first arrived and we made them all sit, sang songs including 3 little girls who got up and preformed.  Then the fun began with games, a lot of food (boy can those local Mom’s cook well) and gift bags.  One bag had an old doll, a toothbrush and paste, a balloon and several barretts in it.  The little girls said: “This is the best bag I have ever had”. The highlight of the day was artificial snow brought by one of the cruisers.  The children had never seen snow so they all got their own cup full.  Wow, what a field day they had making snowballs and throwing snow at each other. Of course it ended up in their hair, clothes, table, floors to clean up etc.  They could not have been happier.  It was a great day but we were all exhausted by the time it was over.

Jeanne if the one of the right who runs the program and Gary on Inspiration has helped coordinate

Children listening to others singing

On another evening we threw a 411 Walnut St block party.  Now most of you are wondering what that means.  Well a ton of cruisers from the US all use Green Cove Springs mailing service for our mail.  We all have boxes with the address of 411 Walnut St.  So for fun we decide to have a block party.  We had about 20 people and would have had more but it was last minute and other events were taking place.  Anyway, it was a lot of fun.

One of the excitements in Grenada is the dinghy raft ups on the big barges.  We had a famous group called Madison Velvet singing.  They have cut several records and do some folk and country type singing.  Really loads of fun as you can see by the pictures:

Then when we left the anchorage we were in we motored around to another part of Grenada to snorkel on the famous statues underwater.  Wow, unbelievable.  You do not know what to expect until all of a sudden you see these people standing in the bottom of the water.  It was really scary at first until you realize these are the statues.  I have attached a picture of them and also a link, if you want to read more about who did this and why they are there.  They were amazing.

So today we ended up motoring into the wind, but not bad, up to Tyrell Bay.  It is a beautiful anchorage with crystal clear water.  I could see the anchor land in the sand and bury itself (like in the Bahamas).  We will do boat projects, socialize and prepare for our 4 day sail to Bonaire, hopefully next week.
The difference in Grenada and Carriacou is tremendous.  Grenada is heavily populated with big stores, lots of traffic, buses, sightseeing and a ton of social activities every day.  When you arrive in Carriacou you have arrived at a sleepy little island with a few small store fronts facing the harbor, 2-3 small restaurants that are more like Tiki huts, beautiful crystal clear water and a much more laid back attitude.  It’s a great place to hike and basically just chill out. 

To day is the day so I wanted to get this blog off before we left.  Everyone have a very Merry Christmas.  Next blog will be somewhere in the western Caribbean.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

What a whirlwind vacation in the states.  I was so tired of operating out of a suitcase and having to repack every 2-4 days.  We slept in 13 different beds over the 6 weeks and traveled from one end of the country to the other.  Loved seeing our friends and family but So glad to be back!!!
What a happy couple
Harry cleans up well
We first flew to Phoenix to stay with our daughter for a few days before we all left for Vegas for her wedding.  It was a perfect wedding, beautiful and very happy bride and groom.  Everything was fantastic.  I posted the album we made on Facebook and sent it out in a previous blog so you can view at it if you wish.  

What a great moment to share

Then we took a 5 day trip with the national parks of Utah with Pat and Buz (Harry’s sister and husband).  I have included just a couple of pictures of the 3 parks we visited.   Harry took well over 500 pictures.   If you every get out there, they are a must.  The terrain is so dramatic and magnificent.  It was an amazing experience!! Each part is so different from the next.

Harry is in the middle of the arch waving at Arches National Park

Balancing rock at Arches National Park

Arches in the park are unbelievable

Petroglyphs made by the Indians

Back in the 1800's a Mr Wolf built a cabin to leave in at the Arches National Park.  When his daughter and grandchildren arrived she told him it was too small so he built the cabin below to house 6 people for at least 10 years.  Amazing how people use to live
Add caption

The delicate arch.  You had to do a lot of hiking and climbing to get here but it was fantastic

Zion National Park  Pat and I climbing through a very small entry

Zion National Park

Bryce Canyon in Utah

Again Bryce Canyon
After driving back to Jenny and Jon’s in Phoenix, we flew back east to Syracuse, NY.  Harry’s Mom is in a assisted living and we needed to visit her.  We took another side trip to Lake Placid, NY to see the 1980 Olympic sites.  That was so neat.  Pretty little town and we took an elevator up to the top of the ski jumps. (see picture).  Those skiers have to be plum crazy.  Being at the top of those ski jumps and looking down was an extremely scary situation. 

Next Stop – Philadelphia by Amtrak.  What fun that was.  I told Harry from now on I wanted to travel by train but he thought it would be a bit difficult getting a train to Trinidad!!  Anyway, we spent the weekend with my nursing school buddies.  There are 5 of us who still getting together every 2-3 years.  This was our 48th year of knowing each other.   We have such a good time together.  One of them, Kathy, was unable to make it this year.  That was very disappointing. 

We flew to Miami and picked up a car so we could circumnavigate Florida.  Stayed for a few days with my brother in Ft. Lauderdale where we visited Frank and Joanne (Fantasy Island) and we helped out in the SSCA office.  You cruisers, if you ever stop in Ft. Lauderdale, please visit the office.  There is a wealth of books and older cruising guides there for all over the world.  You are welcome to take any of them.  Free for the taking!!
Moving along we stopped to visit friends in Ft. Myers, did 4 days in Bradenton catching up with lots of friends, doctors, dentists, etc.

Those cruisers who remember them:  Jill behind David on Shaboome and Jeff and Carolee standing
 Then Palm Coast on the eastside again and finally the Grand Finale was the 2013 Melbourne GAM.  That was so much fun but so busy.  It is 4 days of speakers, camaraderie, banquet, flea market, etc.  I was especially busy this year since I recruited all the speakers.  Also, nervous that all would go right.  Turned out to be a blast and all went well and we were able to see many of our  cruising friends
Finally back in Trinidad and we splashed our boat on Friday after 4 days of very hard work getting her ready.  We are now sitting in the still beautiful waters of Trinidad with the sun shining and the mountains for a background.  It just doesn't get any  better than this. 

We ended up staying longer than expected because of weather so Thanksgiving with 23 people and a potluck was lots of fun.  We even had Germans and Englishmen helping us to celebrate.  Staying longer is such a hardship with gorgeous weather, lots of cruisers, fun things to do, potlucks and jam session to attend.  I guess we can bear up to the strain.  We did have quite an experience with renting a car and Harry driving on the left side of the road.  It’s our first real experience of doing this in all the years of sailing.  One minute I was in stitches laughing because every time he wanted to put the turn signal on he turned on the windshield wipers.  I've never seen such clean windows.  But then the next minute I was terrified because the traffic was rushing all around us and we had to try and figure out how to make a right turn in the left lane and which turn signal to use.  We did 3 days of this and lived to tell about it.   The 3rd day he only turned the windshield wipers on once.  Part of what we were doing was hauling fuel.  Diesel at a gas station here is .93 cents a gal.  If you take the boat to a marina it is $4.75/gal.  Needless to say we hauled our fuel.  Too bad you can't take it back to the states and sell it.

Finally on Friday we left for Grenada.  We had a great sail back to Grenada sort of.  Half sail and half motor sail but the weather was good and the waves were only 3-4 ft.  It's nice to be back in Grenada knowing so many people.  We love this island.  We will wait for a package to arrive and then move on.  We are hoping to go west via the ABC islands.  Stay posted and we will see what we do next.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Well, I cannot believe this month went so fast.  We spent the bulk of the month sitting at Clark’s court marina watching the US defend and once again capture the American’s Cup!!  How exciting each day was.  We started out with a large Kiwi supporting contingency with New Zealand flags waving etc.  A moderate US group there so there was lots of fun bantering back and forth.  Then when the US finally figured out how to sail upwind and tacking properly and started winning races, the Kiwi group got smaller and quieter.  Of course, we all got louder and bigger.  Each day we had at least 50 people in the small bar.  The last day when it was a dead heat, we must have had 70+ in there.  I have to tell you, Bob who owns the bar was the one who really won with the amount of beer consumed over the month.  Of course Harry did his fair share of contributing.

Harry at the bar, intently watching the race

Beside racing, we have continuously tried to beat off the heat and sweat with swimming. You can see how I try to relax after such a busy day of swimming.

 Harry was fighting a bad knee staph infection and after several weeks we finally got rid of that and I ended up with the same staph infection as a boil in the middle of my back.  I told the doctor it was because Harry kept kneeing me in the back.  She didn’t see the humor or get it.  Anyway, that kept me out of the water for 2 weeks.  Yuk.  We have played more than enough dominos and Farkle, although everyone down here loves it.  We get free movies at different nights and different marines so that is fun and we have barbecued on the beach more times than I can count.  We have done our fair share of boat projects, just like everyone else down here.  So the main topics of conversations are always about engines, refrigeration, heads and other assorted yachty topics.  Only on a boat would people sit around having cocktails and talk about their toilets!
Yesterday, we finally were able to meet up with Pat and Geoff, our friends from Canada.  They have arrived back to become cruisers once again after 9 months back home.  We were able to spend the whole day and evening with them and our close friends Cynthia and Mike on Minx.  It was old home week.  We had a great visit but now it is time to go.

Geogh on the end next to me and Pat on the other end.  Cynthia and Mike in the middle

We sailed overnight to Trinidad where we are doing MORE boat projects, put the boat on the hard (out of the water) and fly to Phoenix for Jenny’s wedding.  I am getting very excited to see my girls and have the wedding.  I even have my dress ready to go. 
After the wedding in Las Vegas we were car traveling with Pat and Buz (Harry’s sister and husband) through the National parks in Utah but with the gov shutdown, that probably will change our plans.  Then we fly out of Phoenix to Syracuse where they live.   We will visit with Harry’s Mom who is in assisted living and then take Amtrak to Philadelphia to visit my old nursing school buddies for a weekend.  Then a plane to Miami to pick up a rental car. (Planes, trains and automobiles) is the name of the game.  Once in Florida we will travel around the state visiting friends, relatives etc.  The SSCA GAM is Melbourne so we will end up there for 3 days of fun and then fly back to Trinidad.  If anyone really wants to find us, they will need a tracker device because we will be on the move.  No more blog posting until we return the end of Nov.  Wedding pictures then

Monday, August 26, 2013

Luckily, we were here for the Grenada Carnival.  It is a week of unforgettable events and activities.  No way could we go to all the events but we did attend 2 very big special ones.  The first was the competition of the steel bands on a Saturday night at the National Stadium.  Steel bands in the West Indies are called pan bands and the competition is the Panorama.  There were 9 bands competing from all over the island.  There are about 70 people in each band ranging from age 8-72.  Each band has over 100 drums in it.  They are quite spectacular and loud.  Loved the music and the band we wanted to win was last and they won.  This is something like their 9th year of winning.  See pictures

short video of 1 of the bands playing

Then we went to the very long 5 hour parade downtown.  The costumes are fantastic and the children are so cute.  See pictures below

He is suppose to be a lion fish and he has captured me

Amazing costumes
Men oiled up after the 

J'Ouvert: Blackened with stale molasses, tar, grease, creosote or mud, and wearing little more than their horned helmets, these masqueraders in previous times set out to terrify onlookers with their grotesque appearance and repulsive dances.  It has to do with freedom from slavery

The children were so good and so proud

Her face is actually there next to Harry

Hanging out in Grenada for hurricane season is like a party every day with a 1000 other cruisers.  We are so busy socializing there is no time to do boat projects.  Weather is hot but nice breeze so therefore, we have to noodle in the water every day for exercise.  Then people love playing games down here so we play a lot of Farkel, Mexican train dominos, and there is trivia night as well.  We do hiking, shopping, visiting, barbecuing on the beach and hanging out at the local Tiki bar in the harbor.  It’s such a hard life and hard decisions on whether we play dominos or watch a movie on one of their big screens at a restaurant.  Of course there is hamburger night at one marina while there is ½ price pizza at another marina.  So hard to decide!!   This past week we have been catching the Louis Vuitton races for the America’s cup at another restaurant.  It’s lots of fun with a bunch of sailors all sitting in the bar watching the races and making their comments.
We actually did two different raftups with our dinghies.  The first one was in the afternoon with a band playing on a huge raft.  There were 40 or 50 rafts.

Jam session on Sunday afternoons at Whisper Cove marina.  These are all cruisers who play instruments and just come to enjoy putting their music together.

Big raftup with a steel band playing off a raft
The Steel band.  They played great

Full moon raft up with 13 dinghies and lots of refreshments at night.  We floated around the harbor for 4 hours partying and making lots of noiese

John and Shirley, good friends of ours from South Africa
We were obviously having fun

Lela and John, good friends as well

Last week Harry and I decide to host an SSCA (Seven Seas Cruising Association) event.  We have been active commodores for years and I am on the board so we have been trying to be ambassadors for SSCA as we cruise through the Caribbean.  It’s a wonderful worldwide organization but needs more publicity.  So we publicized 4 days ahead of time that we would do this at the Tiki Bar.  We announced it each morning on the local Net (radio for all cruisers to hear what’s going on for the day).  Anyway, we didn’t know what to expect but 80 people showed up and took over the restaurant.  After everyone had lunch I did a 15 minute talk on what we are all about and then did some small group round tables about different destinations that people are headed for and need information.  This lasted most of the afternoon.  It turned out to be a big success so we may try it again in Trinidad.  We have found it is not hard to get cruisers to come if we arrange something.  They love to socialize.  I didn’t get really good pictures but here are a couple.
Yesterday, we did the hike of the year.  We joined the Granada HASH, which is a weekly planned, difficult hike through some part of Granada followed by a wild party with booze, food and music.  We had been planning to do one for ages but yesterday we nearly killed ourselves climbing up and down hills and valleys, forest, creeks, fields etc.  It was the second largest HASH out of 921 HASHES and one of the most difficult.  They didn’t tell us that part until we got back almost dead.  A few beers and some food finally revived us.  There was a large group of cruisers plus tons of college kids from ST. George University and then many locals.  There was somewhere around 400 + people and I was one of the very oldest so I am proud of the fact that I could even do it.  I wonder, if when all those people get to be my age they can do what I did yesterday.  I have to admit we came home, showered and collapsed.

This man runs on the HASH with the basketball on his head, amazing

The crowd of 400 before we took off

View from the first hilltop where we hiked,  many more hills to come

Us after the HASH with Gary (old friend from Bradenton).  They had thrown beer all over us

So the plans are to stay here until Oct 1 and then sail to Trinidad.  We are waiting for Pat and Geoff, good cruising buddies from Canada, to arrive the end of Sept so we can see them before we take off.
We will leave the boat on the hard (out of the water) for 6 weeks while we go back to the states for our daughter’s wedding and then for a big SSCA event in November.  That’s all for now.  Hope this finds everyone in good health and happy.