Phil's Logs


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The Crew


DATE: April 6, 2007
LOCATION: Grenada and St. Martin

Moon over Marigot. The nearly full moon was just rising to guide me into the harbor after a long slow, often windless sail from Grenada now over 400 nautical miles to the south, it had been with us each night rising later and later and now almost midnight, it finally showed its face just in time to light the way in. I had arranged to sail back to St Martin to pick up my son for his spring break but also to force my hand on the tiller and shape the beginnings of a return course. I had some regrets about not making our rendezvous at St Lucia, the only island I truly regretted missing on the way down, but there's something mental that goes on when you make a definite movement towards home. Much like the old mule I used to work when I was a kid, when the day was done there wasn't much that was gong to stop old Jack from heading to the barn. I guess Parallax and I had our sight set on the” barn” and we had been heading north as fast as the fitful wind would allow us since our departure from Grenada three and a half days ago.

Nearly a week ago we had left Petite St Vincent bound for the island of Carriacou only a few hours south but part of Grenada. We sailed into the wide-open Hillsborough Bay to clear in and explore the only real town on the island. A nice little town but there really wasn't much here including the customs officer. We got by immigration after paying an overtime fee, but the customs guy was nowhere to be found. Well, I would find him later, I wanted to move on down to Tyrell bay a few miles to the south and see what was about there. Tyrell bay was a beautiful anchorage with a ton of boats but room for a ton more. A few hangouts lined the beach and you immediately had a sense that it was all very laid back around here. I could have easily stayed a couple of more days and roamed the island a little. A shop up the way rented mountain bikes and the island was just flat enough to make a mountain bike tenable. But I had maybe 5 days to spread between Grenada and Carraicou, just not enough time to do either justice so the next morning I found the customs woman paid my permit fee and set course to Grenada, 30 miles south, and the end of the line for Parallax and me this trip. Save for Tobago, which Drew and I had visited a couple of years earlier, it is also the last of the Windward chain. We anchored in the inner lagoon at the capitol city of St George right off the Grenada Yacht club. I spent a day walking the city and mingling with the locals. There is really no better way to get some insight into a place than getting away from the tourist trails and walking the streets. The local fishermen were selling their fresh catch waterside and the streets of the city serpentined around the hills with shops crammed at impossible angles in every possible nook and cranny. There were some particularly interesting local artisan shops that I would have never discovered without my trusty cruising guides, tucked over and around the street side shops, and sometimes twisting between two buildings. Again, not enough time to do it justice. I wanted to sail around the south side of the island to True Blue Harbor so one day was really all I had. The next morning I cleared out of Grenada and had my papers marked for a departure the following day. We sailed around the southern tip of the island to True Blue to spend that last day. It was a beautiful cut in the windward coast where nestled the cleanest, prettiest little marina and waterfront hotel I have seen. I picked up one of the moorings just off the hotel dock and restaurant for 15 dollars with free wi fi at the boat. There was no way I had time to explore the island unassisted so with the help of the hotel staff, I hired a very reasonable tour guide and spent the day exploring the island by car. We went to the top of the rain forest and surveyed the damage wrought by hurricane Ivan two years ago, and visited the crater lake, Grand Etang next to the Grenada park office and educational center. The monkeys outside the center however, were evidently unaffected and like all island dwellers had learned how to work the tourists. We also stopped by the River Antoine Rum Factory, operated very much like it had been 100 years ago. A paddle wheel turned the gears that mashed the sugar cane, which also served as fuel for the fires under the distillations tanks. Copper tubes and old vessels, sugar cane piled high and the smell of strong liquor. Fascinating, but I have seen such before, I am from Kentucky. They make only 600 hundred bottles of “Rivers Rum” a day there sold almost exclusively to tourists, taking the tour. I have one such bottle tucked away, awaiting an occasion. We completed our tour with a drive along the windward coast and passed through the second largest Grenadian city of Greenville which from the windows of the van seemed much more vibrant than the Capitol City. I definitely wished I had the time to walk the streets and explore the coastline, which was peppered with fishing villages. I returned to True Blue just in time to eat at the buffet featuring island cuisine and listen to a local band. My clearance said I was to leave before midnight but I didn't quite make it. Dawn the next day however; saw us making our way north towards St Martin. I was excited to see my son and to be heading home and as we passed the dormant Volcano Kick em Jenny, north of Grenada, a school of dolphins escorted us on our way frolicking and jumping in Parallax's Bow wave. A true Caribbean send off.

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