Caribbean Adventures Part TWO!

**Update***  November 4 and here we are in Grenada (still)…And so, we wait.  Not away as planned but hopefully soon come!  Final panel install now Sunday….so we will check out and do last minute errands Monday and depart Tuesday (fingers crossed).   All is good as the winds look a little better waiting the extra day and the other bonus will be to be able to hook up with friends tomorrow for a farewell grill ..

Cannot believe today is October 31!!!  Just where the time has gone I am unsure.  It has been a very busy 6 weeks since our last update.  Lots of Halloween fun was had by all…. Secret Harbor party – not quite a “cruiser event” … sure miss those bashes!

A Grenadian Bus is an experience like no other…so we decided to be one -driver, conductor, cruiser and local passenger squeezed in between many

great friends… “Super Yo” and “Jean” (s/v Caffe Latte)

Of course no sailor’s discussion is anything without talk of the weather…many of our chores have had to be completed dodging showers!  And deluges! And squalls and full on days of rain.  It has certainly been a very wet and unusual rainy season in Grenada this year.   Despite the weather we have been able to check off almost everything on our TO DO list.  As often happens, the majority accomplished in the last week as we make mad preparations to head out of Camp Grenada.

“singing in the rain”

One of our major boat projects (and dollars) has included installing solar.  This is almost completed as we just await the final mounting.  We have already seen great rewards to our batteries.  Our new dinghy is finally out of its “break in” phase and can go like stink.  And of course, the best addition to GC was last week’s installment of our onboard washing machine.  Now, THIS is a luxury and in the long run saves money and lots and lots of headaches.

aaahhhhh!

The reference in the title to the other “scary stuff” entails the boys truly horrible, nasty and smelly job yesterday.  As our cruising friends and those who have visited and lived with us know, boat life isn’t just “margaritas, beaches and sun tans” there are always endless boat chores that include cleaning, maintaining, scrubbing servicing, and repairing of just about anything.  On the top of the “ugly” list is dealing with the heads (toilets that is) and yes, yesterday was one ugly chore as we dealt with the leaking and plugged holding tank.  No more needs to be said other than at the end a lot of disinfectant was required for the tools and people involved.

come on boys, what’s the problem? and I have the stern! (another project involved new blocks for the davits to equal the situation)

In between the boat work we were consumed by the amazing 1000th Hash Week. This kept us busy every single day of the week… so well organized and executed, this Kennel (Hash Club) is truly fantastic.  We will miss our mud-packed Saturday afternoons.

 

 

Kathy, Reid and Dave aboard the “Rum Runner”

Receiving our special “perseverance prize” at the hash closing ceremony

Pick a trail, any trail…..

didn’t matter… they were ALL VERY muddy

don’t you love the name of this little rum shop? you will have to take our word that the road lives up to its name

a bus trip to the far north end… Sauteres

Yoga and volleyball sessions have also been such great fun and these too will be missed but I am sure we can fill the time with hiking, snorkeling and new island explorations.  It will be great to be “on the move” again.

Helping to load the Flying Buzzard with relief supplies for Dominca took up several days

 

A Canadian thanksgiving potluck at Hog Island

Complete with Canadian “Caesars”! Thanks Wendy for supplying the ingredients!

Our new ride… quite sweet!!!

So move it is… and soon.  Today we get some provisioning done, tomorrow we scrape barnacles and growth off the bottom and we hope to have a short test sail by Friday to make sure everything is in order after our careful servicing and idle months.

our very own coral reef (with lots and lots of barnacles)

We are really excited to be heading to some “new waters” for us … Tobago!  This island has been on our list for sure and reports are of a beautiful, remote and laid back island with superb beaches and diving.  Add to this mix the fun that we will have as we explore with some great new, crazy French Canadian friends and good friend Dave too!   From there the plan is to sail to Barbados (another new one for us) and then on to St. Lucia at the end of November where we hope to be able to meet Dave and Alex’s arrival as they complete a passage as crew from the Canary Islands.

the lovely St George… see ya next year!

And so are anticipating an exciting cruising season.  We are looking forward to exploring new waters as well as revisiting some old favorites.  Mixed in of course, will be the heart wrenching visits to islands recovering from Irma and Maria’s devastation.  We will be monitoring safety and security of these islands and making those decisions as we travel but hoping to spend some time in Dominica for sure lending any assistance that we can.  And then….we have no agenda… wherever the wind blows us (in a nice manner that is)….

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And so, we cannot believe we are mid-September already… the  time is flying as fast as all the these tropical storms are forming – yeesh!

It has been gut wrenching to hear of all the devastation on so many beloved islands in the Caribbean chain.  So many have lost so much it is just heart wrenching.  Friends have lost boats, businesses and employment but have weathered the storm and everyone is vowing to rebuild and move on.  It is inspiring.

Just a month and a half ago whilst in the BVI’s awaiting registration and repair issues and not having much luck finding any help to do a straight shot south, we had debated staying and spending the season there…of course, we are thankful we made the decision to move on ourselves.  We had heard from many including Chris, our broker that it was going to be a crazy season for blows… and these predictions have certainly turned out.   Daily (and often more) weather checks have us watching all those “blobs forming off the coast of Africa and it has seemed nonstop.

And Now.   on to other whirlwinds….. we were all so excited to have Kelsey aboard for a visit.  Despite her initial saying that she wanted to be “moderately” busy, we often started the day that way but quickly found things to do, places to go and rum punches to sample.  We even got in a sail up to Carriacou so she could see how “all this stuff works” as she pointed out one day whilst laying on the tramp looking up at the sail.

14 hours late… but Kels finally arrives!!!

Poolside at Secret Harbor

fresh, fresh lobster anyone? YUM!!!!

snorkeling at the Sculpture Park is always on the “To Do” list

It was a great visit and catch up and also a break from boat work for a while.  With the “holiday” over we continue to work away at our list  and are happy to report that YESTERDAY we finally got our anchor light replaced and working!!  We are still awaiting delivery of a new dinghy as the freight is still not coming out of Miami…hopefully “soon come”.  Likewise for solar panels – we still have not been able to source these out of  Florida yet either.

our anchor light is finally up and working…. Only two lengthy trips up for Glen

In between boat chores we still sneak in yoga, volleyball, hashes and other adventures.  Things are ramping up for the BIG 1000th Hash Celebration at the end of the month with lots of great activities and events planned.  The kick off to the week will be the Carriacou Hash this weekend. Weather depending of course, we hope to make it up for that.

Best Hash ever…. at least 10 circles….and a Beer stop …woo hooooo

watching the J24 races at Clarkes Court Marina

Glen gets his “paddleboard legs” at Sandy Island

 

And before we know it the chore  list will be as complete as possible and we will be heading off for an exciting season up island exploring old and new locales!  On On!

 

 

Ahhhh Grenada – the Isle of  Spice and all things nice.  We celebrated our one month anniversary afloat in Grand Cru.  We did a sail by of most countries with a brief stop and check in at St. Kitts and St. Lucia.  We had a couple of ugly ‘easting’ days and then some great sail days south.  We are still amazed at the ease and speed at which this girl sails.  LOVE. IT!!!  We are so looking forward to next season and visiting new sites and islands as well as some old haunts too.

And it sure didn’t take long to get back into the spirit of “Camp Grenada” with yoga, volleyball, jam sessions, brewery outings, lazing by the pool at the Uni Club and more.  We have to get those day-timers out again in order to keep track of all the social happenings.  And what a treat it has been to reunite with some great cruising friends and locals that we bid farewell to two years ago.  It has been great also to meet new folk from all over and hear of the stories and journeys that have brought them to Grenada.

We scored about 15lb of delicious yellow fin tuna from a local fisherman at the dock …yummm tacos, filets, nachos, salad..

We are settling in for a few months and as always, trying to balance boat chores with social outings as well as anxiously awaiting Kels’s  arrival – our first visitor aboard Grand Cru!  We are excited.

our first new purchase…..a Rocna!!

On Our Way!

Grenada here we come… so close and yet so faaaaaar away.  A little scary during the official “H” season… we tried to find help to get her there in one shot but had no success… appears everyone bails out of the north islands during this time….go figure!  And so, we find ourselves making our way tentatively south through the chain.  A little disconcerting but we are cautiously following weather models, checking carefully and planning our hops daily as we get updates.   Our passage from BVI to St Martin was good, despite not being able to sail we had moderate seas and light winds and were able to make great time.  This is so different than having to do an overnight… we are loving the conveniences of our speedy catamaran.  We have made it as far as St Kitts and hope to get to perhaps Martinique before the next blow comes through.

toasting our first long passage! Thanks Chris and Karen for the delicious treat!

Our hideaway at Christophe Harbor has been quite delightful… we are only 1 of the 3 boats currently berthed.  With limited facilities in place the rates are incredibly reasonable… sadly this won’t last for long as they finish this gorgeous site.  We will enjoy it whilst we can.

proudly Canadian! Official registration complete…. hailing port, Edmonton, AB… really!

our visit in to Basterre to check in has Kathy making friends with the locals. Franklin, the weatherman, provides his advice and special drink and Kath just can’t escape

in addition to “engine room yoga” we have also added “Crew Coffin gymnastics” to our mantra…. this is where my beautiful friend the “watermaker” calls home

and why not a hike in the heat of the day?

Because the reward turns out to be….

at the Pavillion….where we find out we are welcomed with our marina berth… this is an over the top 7 star I am sure resort…. but hey, why not?

infinity pool and all

As we continue to adventure and enjoy this chapter I was amazed to read online today a summary of the “Good and Bad of A Sagittarian” and here it is:  “The biggest fear is being bored and stuck in the same routine for the rest of their lives”… not happening!  What a beginning to another great adventure!

We’rrrreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee  back!!  And so after our 4 years aboard Amoray we took time to do some “land yacht” adventuring in our 24’ Class C for one year.  We enjoyed the land travel tremendously and were so happy to have finally experienced the incredible beauty, hospitality and life in the Canadian Maritimes, which was certainly on our bucket list.  And following the sun down the eastern seaboard continued to keep us close to the sea.  And the sea never stopped calling…..

So with Roo off to new owners and adventures we are even more thrilled to be back where these toes belong…..shoeless!

One year ago we were celebrating our anniversary with great friends, Dave and Alex in St. John’s Newfoundland.  Shenanigans, dress up and toasting with Newman’s port were all part of the day.  And today we celebrated aboard our new home – wow, 365 days and a world away.

Nomads at heart, we definitely feel most at home on the sea.  And what a “home” we now share with Reid and Kathy.  We are so stoked to call Grand Cru our new abode.  This lovely vessel has been so well taken care of and has soooo many extras than we had never imagined.  She has been lovingly cared for by Peter and Bobbi, who have sailed her for almost her entire life.   These amazing folks have also been so helpful and gone above and beyond our expectations.  Not only were we met with champagne, they have provided answers to our never ending questions, come out us with us several times to help us learn her tricks and maneuvering and offered many pearls of wisdom.  We truly wish them the best as they move on to new adventures in their lives…. “now that we have made them homeless and jobless ”!!

Our 10 days onboard have been fabulous…but…just when we thought we knew a little about sailing we feel like we are starting all over again as we learn the ins and outs of catamaran life…feels like a return to that exponential learning curve of years ago.

We are also working on making a few slight changes to make her more “cruiser” rather than “charter” friendly.  We have been out and about to Virgin Gorda …because isn’t that a great ‘classroom’ to practice and learn.

an absolute dream to sail

zoom, zoom, zoom! really? no heeling? really? really?

now THIS is the party cockpit….

our partners in crime

hiking Guy’s Trail at the Bitter End

Trying out some of our new toys

We have also already got to experience having her hauled – thanks again to Peter for his expertise and captaining us into the lift.  A few repairs and a chance to break out those polishing, cleaning and scouring pads and she is ready to splash tomorrow.

And we then hope to be on our way south very soon after… CAMP GRENADA here we come.

 

 

It has been a while…. actually a long, long while…. since I have:  engaged in social media; put pen to paper; finger to keyboard or to camera shutter for that matter.   Must admit I have been in a bit of a funk and feeling out of sorts.  Lots of life events, happenings – some good, some not so good, the overwhelming adjustment of life back at Mabel and all that brings.   And as a good friend has written so eloquently before (and always)… I lost my words and …..  I also sort of lost contact with the outside world!   But, I am back and ready to tackle our next adventure.

So a quick recap since our last long ago blog, facebook post etc etc:

We returned from our grand RV adventure at the beginning of March… a little earlier than planned in order to be part of the BIG party – my brother’s surprise retirement party.  It was great to be there and be an additional surprise for him.

Surprise!!

There were many Gilligans and Mary Anns in attendance

After heading home and getting busy sorting, unpacking and settling into things at home we were quickly on the road again back to Alberta.  We spent most of April, a couple of weeks in May, and a week of June in Hanna spending time with Glen’s mom, the miracle energizer bunny.  We are happy to report that things have settled down and she seems to be doing ok.   Doctors have in fact used the word “miracle” in reference to her recovery.   We are blessed and thankful she is feeling much better.

We made the decision to sell our lovely little “Roo” and happy to report she is in the hands of a great couple who are happy to continue her adventures.  We really enjoyed our road travels and seeing so much of Canada and much of the eastern US.  So many fabulous stops …. and sooo much left to see!  I hope to find some time soon to do some reflecting and piecing together a photo journey of our highlights of the past year.

Farewell to our Great Home on Wheels!

In the midst of all this we have continued our search for our next “floating home”. … and happy to report we have found her.  Things have happened, very, very quickly and we fly away July 22 to Tortola to climb aboard with Reid & Kathy.  She is a gorgeous 46’ 2007 Leopard.  For some photos and details check out my brother’s blog as he has uploaded a walk through….  www.reidkathysailing.wordpress.com  We are still awaiting official registration from Transport Canada, but hope to retain her name, Grand Cru.

And so as we juggle packing, “pre-provisioning” and work at camp we are getting excited and I am finding some of my words and catching up in many ways again.  We are looking forward to returning to the lifestyle afloat and adventures in the Caribbean.  It will be awesome to share, explore and sail with Reid and Kathy.  We are also looking forward to reconnecting with friends through the Isles!

Farewell to Florida Fun

And so exactly two months (Nov 22-Jan 22) we have left the snowbird state.  An article we read states that Canadian snowbirds spend 5 billion dollars in Florida each season, so we have done our miniscule (in comparison) share.  And we get it… sparkling waters, sunny skies, gorgeous weather, throw in stunning birds, cute manatees, alligators and everglades and you can see why.

We covered 7008km and travelled the complete coastline from Jacksonville on the Atlantic down to Key West and back along the Gulf and across the “Forgotten Coast” and Emerald Coast on the Panhandle.  Throw in a few inland adventures to Osceola State Park, the Everglades and Blue Spring State Park and we feel we have seen most of what Florida has to offer.

And of course the other fantastic highlight has been the folks we have been able to reconnect with along the way – making it a sweet deal for sure.

  • Dave & Alex in Jacksonsvillepooh
  • Scott, Paula & Kathy in St. Augustinepaula-kathy
  • Willie & Bev in Clearwaterpc103403
  • Ron & Judy in Hernando Beach20161219_162158
  • Ann and Roxy at Cape Canaveralann-and-roxy
  • Reid & Kathy – St. Augustine to Tampap1033496
  • Childhood Neighborhood Friend….. Kelly & Mary in West Palm Beachp1013453
  • Teresa – Tampa to Pensacoladsc_1083

 

Who would have thought that Roo can do company?  All in a 24’ RV?  We had a fun filled, laugh out loud, never a dull moment adventure with Reid and Kathy from December 26-January 8.  We covered a lot of territory and started work on our next adventure – finding the perfect catamaran for four!

A quick change over day and Teresa arrived for a visit January 10-21.  We were able to pack it all in and had many memorable, mermaid-type moments and firsts – alligators in the wild and snorkeling with the manatees.  Awesome fun!

So with many stops, pictures and moments we will sign off with just a taste of our favorites:

FAVORITE:

Campground        Fort de Soto State Park, Sarasota

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Beach                     the white, squeaky sands and quietness of St. Joesph State Park on the Panhandle

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Happy hour          Key West all the way baby – Sunset Pier and Sloppy Joes on Duvall Street

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Experience           manatee moments at Blue Spring State Park

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City                         St. Augustine – the historic Spanish Fort, Christmas lights, National Cemetery,

Anastasia State Park & Beach

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Distillery/Winery     Siesta Key Distillery – BEST coconut rum EVER!  (made with lots of real coconut)

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Get Away                Cocoa Beach where we indulge in a bargain, off season resort on the beach

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Sunset                    Turtle Beach Campground – times two!

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Seafood                  White gulf shrimp and cheap tuna steaks

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One time event        watching a satellite launch at Cape Canaveral from our campsite dock

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Roo’s favorite           four new rear tires

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And off we go… headed west and north to HOME!  We have to be back by March 27 for health insurance so we are savoring the last of our journey.  New Orleans here we come!!!

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