All is Calm...
Updated: Jun 26
"...with something more serious on the horizon and the potential for southern Grenada to get very busy with boats seeking protection, we decided to move."
All is calm here in southern Grenada this weekend. But online on the Grenada cruisers’ Facebook page and on the VHF radio in the mornings, all is astir about our first potential tropical storm of the season currently heading our way next week.
The first we heard about it was an animation sent to us by a cruising couple, saying ‘this is going to be interesting…’ It was a forecast for the middle of next week showing a tropical depression passing right over Grenada and then developing into a full blown hurricane which would hit Nicaragua. At that stage I wasn’t worried. Weather prediction models only become reliable within three days. Also only one of the weather models was showing this. We would have to keep an eye on it. The next morning I had another look and now the other weather model was showing the same thing. As models move into alignment with each other, this is when you can start to take the forecasting more seriously. My hurricane tracker app had a tropical depression possibly developing as it approached the Eastern Caribbean. Where in the Eastern Caribbean it might hit is anyone’s guess. It could be anywhere from Dominica at the northern end to Trinidad in the South. I went on the cruisers’ Facebook page and all the newbies like us were asking advice. Many people are in unprotected places in the Grenadines and had no option but to move. As usual the advice given by other cruisers was highly variable. Some people are heading south to Trinidad, although others were saying that Trinidad could equally well be hit. The bays in southern Grenada are very protected as they reach far inland and have mangroves and reefs to boot. However, where we were anchored was relatively unprotected as we were on the outskirts of a bay. I have written before about how we had been considering moving after experiencing 35 knots of wind. But we still hadn’t got around to it as the weather has been lovely recently and it is a really quiet and beautiful spot.
However, with something more serious on the horizon and the potential for southern Grenada to get very busy with boats seeking protection, we decided to move on Friday straight away to the anchorage behind Hog Island. It is almost fully enclosed with only a narrow entrance to the bay and there are also mangroves around. It is busy, but we managed to squeeze in. The storm or depression is predicted for Wednesday. Of course we cannot be sure if Grenada will bear the full brunt or if it will pass north or south of us. It is not supposed to be too severe, but we are glad we are now in a more sheltered location with several days leeway. We don’t have a lot of swinging room and the biggest danger will be other boats or us dragging, but we will stay on the boat on the day, put out fenders and keep a good watch. Lots of people leave their boats here on homemade moorings or at anchor and then fly home, so we will need to be vigilant for those boats in particular. The cruising community here are very well established and so helpful; lots of people talked about how they have rescued unoccupied boats in the past that have dragged.
As I mentioned, the weather has been glorious the last few days. Light wind and sunny. We took advantage of the sunshine to visit some of Grenada’s famous waterfalls. We took the bus out to the Seven Sisters Falls. We paid the equivalent of less than £2.00 each to enter the land where the falls are and were given a stick to borrow to help with the steep and muddy path. The first section was a wide trail passing by houses. As we walked, we saw beautiful magenta blossom covering a stream and its banks and a little bridge. A local farmer explained to us that it is a cashew tree. He then pointed out a nutmeg tree and smashed open a nutmeg shell for us. He rubbed it on my wrist and it was like a perfume. I’ve only ever bought dry nutmegs at home. This one had the texture of a fresh nut, like a walnut and tasted amazing. He then crumpled up some leaves on another tree and they smelled like cinnamon. He scraped off some of the bark of one of the lopped off branches on the floor in confirmation. We had no idea that the leaves also smell so strongly of cinnamon too. We carried on walking and at last reached the forest trail. Here, under the shade of tropical megaflora, we hiked down the steep muddy trail. We eventually heard the sound of a waterfall. At the bottom of the slope, the path forked. The path to the left went along the stony riverbed and we followed it until the waterfall. The sun was out and it was beautiful. There were two pools, one above the other with a taller waterfall in the top pool and a smaller waterfall in the bottom one.
We started in the bottom pool. We swam out, relishing the feeling of freshwater soaking our skin after months of constant salt residue on our skin. We felt like we were being properly hydrated. Under the little waterfall was a rocky shelf so we could sit underneath and get a proper waterfall massage. Bliss. We walked up to the next pool and again waded and then swam out to the bigger waterfall. This one was much more powerful as it was falling from a much greater height. As we swam close, bouncing spray glistened in the air. We were too afraid to go directly underneath it, as it was so powerful; but it was gorgeous to float on our backs, feet poking out of the water and look at the water falling above us. All around were the steep black rocky sides. We looked over our shoulders at the rocks and spotted a large bright yellow crab sunbathing vertically close to the water.
We walked back up to the path and across the stream and saw a group of people being led by a guide. That looked promising. The path was very narrow and unclear and we had to get our feet wet by crisscrossing across the stony stream. Eventually we found our way to two mini falls. Further ahead was a canyon with sulphur yellow streaks glistening down its perpendicular dark walls. There didn’t seem to be a way there, not along a path anyway. We looked into the stream and saw that there was a narrow shelf of rock not too deep under the water. We walked across to the other side where water was streaming down the rock. The water pressure was low and it wasn’t slippery so we scrambled up. Walking around the corner, we saw some amazing high waterfalls, which are known as Honeymoon Falls. A real hidden treasure and we would never have seen them if we hadn’t seen the group crossing the stream.
On Friday evening after arriving at the new anchorage, we decided to head over to Hog Island. We drank a couple of beers and got to meet some of the Grenada cruising community. They have a music jam session every Friday evening and some of them have now pretty much settled in Grenada after sailing around the world. Some people have put their own moorings down. Some Argentinian sailors we met have even bought a house here, but still keep their boat close by and come over for the music on Friday evenings. One sailor we met has lived on his boat for 51 years and brought up six children on it. He had some stories…We’re not ready to settle down anywhere just yet. We are only just beginning our adventures and need to make our own stories first. But we can see the attraction of Grenada for some old time salty dogs. You still live on your boat, you still sail around the Caribbean in the dry season and you have a community here of people like you who live an alternative lifestyle, have lived a life full of adventures and will help you out if you need it. Luciano is already planning his retirement here so he can play drums every week. Let’s hope the weekly jamming session will last a couple of decades more.
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