Our Caribbean Adventure: Part 11. The End of the Chain: Grenada.
The last leg of our trip was from Tyrell Bay on the island of Carriacou (which is part of the country of Grenada) to the island of Grenada. Its convenient to stop at Tyrell Bay to check in to Customs and Immigration and then proceed south. That way, you can visit some of the beautiful anchorages on the west shore of Grenada.
Our first stop was at Happy Hills Bay. It is a National Park, with 4 mooring buoys. They looked to be in good shape. Its deep in the bay, but well protected from the easterly winds. The water is crystal clear and the snorkeling is excellent. Beautiful corals and lots of fish to watch. The bays on the west shore of Grenada are undamaged by hurricanes because they are so far south and they are on the west shore. We spent two nights at Happy Hills. The second night we were disappointed by the behavior of someone on shore on the hill above the anchorage. For 10 hours loud reggae rap music blared from an empty house above us, continuing until about 11:00pm. We never saw anyone present and there were no lights. Just very loud music and unintelligible lyrics at high decibels. Our conclusion was that someone did not like the fact that we were enjoying the National Park.
From there we moved a bit south to Dragon Bay. There are 3 mooring buoys at Dragon Bay and the water is deep and crystal clear here also. We spent two nights and planned to go around the point to the south and spend a third night but the wind was blowing so hard due to the exposure to the east that we had to return to Dragon Bay. It was calm, despite the 25knot winds just around the bend.
From Dragon Bay we sailed past St. George and the high rent district, with Prickly Bay as our destination. When we rounded the southern tip of Grenada the winds blew hard on our bow with 5′-6′ seas. We motor sailed into the wind and waves and ducked in to True Blue Bay and took a mooring at the Resort. It was a nice choice.
We spent four nights even though it got a bit rolly due to the southerly winds. For the price of a mooring we got full access to the Resort and its facilities, including the beautiful pool. We were happy to be able to get off the boat and sit by the pool and eat at the restaurant. There is a small convenience store within easy walking distance and the local “bus” goes to and from St. George, with many stops in between. These “buses” are private mini vans that seat up to 9 people and make many stops to load and unload passengers. Its the same sort of public transportation as on other Caribbean islands.
From True Blue its a medium walk to Spice Island Marine and the Budget Marine store, and another 15 minutes to a hardware store and bank. The bus ride to St. George is only 2.50 EC (about $1.00) but it is a bit harrowing on the narrow, winding route.
St. George is the Capital of Grenada and the commercial center. There are numerous restaurants, shops, and big stores and an expensive marina. The old part of St. George is a fun place to walk around see the shops and food stalls. Its well worth the ride and a good way to spend a day.
Most cruisers make their way further east to Prickly Bay and so did we. Its a large bay, with decent protection but moderately rolly if the wind wraps its way in. There are numerous mooring buoys that belong to the Marina. There is room for many boats to anchor and it gets crowded as folks arrive to sit out the hurricane season or leave their boats and go home. We got a mooring near the dinghy dock and went back and forth daily. The Marina has dockage for a few boats, stern tied, and a fuel dock which is open on and off, with no discernable regular hours. Call the Marina office if you want to get fuel. There is a nice little restaurant and bar at the Marina and its a good place to hang out and meet other cruisers. They have live music and various other events to help keep the cruisers entertained. There is even a tiny little store with some basic supplies. For a fair price, you can have your laundry cleaned and folded.
If you dinghy to the west there is a dinghy dock near the Spice Island Marine boatyard, with a nice restaurant and a Budget Marine store. This is the place to get a bus ride or taxi ride to other parts of the Island.
Our plan was to spend a few more nights in Prickly Bay and then haul out at Spice Island Marine for land storage during the summer. We had reservations and the day before our morning appointment we motored over and tied up in the haul out area. The Spice Island staff and management are very friendly and helpful and everything went according to plan. We needed a place to stay off the boat while we prepped for summer storage and hurricane tie downs, so we made reservations beforehand at Cool Runnings Apartments, just across the road and a short walk to the main gate into the boat yard. They maintain several apartments for cruisers and the apartment we stayed in was clean, comfortable, well furnished, and affordable. While you are getting your boat into land storage it is necessary to have some place to stay and these apartments are extremely convenient. But you need to make reservations well in advance.
Spice Island Marine is well run. We had the top sides polished and the bottom painted and they did good work for a fair price. The staff and workers are friendly and always helpful. If you are looking for a place to leave your boat, this is a good choice. But reserve space ahead of time. The yard fills up, full.
We flew home from Grenada early one morning a few days after our haul out. Its a short taxi ride to the airport and the staff in the office arranged for a taxi, driven by one of the marina employees. We appreciated their help and it made the ride worry free.
Our overall impression of Grenada was positive. As with all Caribbean countries, they have challenges but the people are friendly and few if any exhibited the racist attitudes we found on other islands. In fact, the people of Grenada actually seem to like U.S. citizens and appreciate tourism. The Island has a large number of Grenadian borne citizens who are returning from other countries to retire in the country of their birth and these “new arrivals” are bringing money into the economy and personal energy into the country.
Our adventure south along the chain of islands ended on a positive note. We returned the following February and sailed back north and ended up back at Puerto del Rey Marina in Fajardo, Puerto Rico in May 2016. Our next, and final installment with summarize the trip north and give our general and some specific impressions of sailing the Caribbean Islands and becoming blue water cruisers.