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
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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.