Monthly Archives: June 2013

Formula 1 Follies

We’d been fooled by those cute little tourist maps before. You know the ones that have the cartoon huts that say eat at JOES HAS CRABS which appears to be right next to two-for-one at THE SPIGOT BAR, see our ad around the border of this map. We understand that it may not be perfectly rendered to scale but it seems to me that “right next to” ought to be at least in the same county.

Being the seasoned travelers that we are, we thought that a dry run would be in order. Nothing is worse than a long walk to a pointless dead end. With this in mind I pumped up the dink, yes it’s leaking, ran up to Grand Anse Beach where a rickety pier can be used to tie up your dinghy. It’s best if you throw out an anchor off the stern to try to keep the dinghy off the pier. We walked along the beach until we both said, “that’s enough” headed towards the coastal road with the goal being to discover where The Mount Cinnamon Resort is located because we have tickets to the Caribbean Jazz Festival that’s using their grounds as a venue.




When we deemed that we were close enough, we started towards Prickly Bay to try to gauge where and how long it would take to get there the following morning. The cruisers net on VHF had announced that Sunday at 7:30am the F1 Grand Prix of England would be on the Marina’s wide screen TV. We got halfway there and decided that we would be well served to save a little for tomorrow morning, especially considering that we’d have a late night and a long walk back home after the Jazz Festival.


Sunday morning dawned rainy and overcast. This may complicate matters. We launched, baled, and pumped up the dinghy.


Ran a mile up the beach in the pouring rain to Grand Anse Beach’s rickety pier, secured the dink, and started walking up the coastal road fully expecting to see one of Grenada’s mini buses heading towards Prickly Bay. Lots of busses but not one was heading our way. There’s a ridge on the way over to Prickly Bay…lets call it K2, it’s not on the map. After summiting we found ourselves in the middle of day two of the celebration of The Fisherman’s Birthday. I have no clue what this is alI about but it appears to drive Grenadians to delirium and drink for days on end. Wanting no part of this Marce snapped this surreptitious photo.


With just a few more blocks to gain the country road to Prickly Bay, which is virgin territory for us, I began to ask anyone up at this hour how much farther to the marina, but I really can’t understand the average Grenadian and no one on this island can tell you how far anything is, they just say, just there, straight on up the road. We’ve already found out that this could mean anything. With miles to go and time running out we decided to just put our heads down and push.

With fifteen minutes to spare we pulled out two bar stools at the Prickly Bay Marina and slumped down on them. HEY…where is everybody? HEY, more importantly the TV isn’t on and where’s the guy that turns it on?


Mere minutes before the lights go out an Aussie shows up and he has a phone number. Marce gets to work and I’ll have to defer to her to explain what she did but in no time she had the F1 Grand Prix of England live on her IPad! How does she do it? Soon a small crowd of Yachtie F1 fans gathered around our iPad to watch the race. Even our friends from Flying Cloud showed up. We are not alone! Breakfast specials were served, with hot coffee and a small crowd of enthusiastic knowledgeable gear heads made all the pain worth it. I think we’ll do it again.


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Play on

When we made the decision to sail down the leeward side of Grenada we also decided to anchor just outside the capital, St. George’s, instead of sailing around to the one of the bays along the southern coast where most of the cruisers go. Even though there’s easy transportation into town from Prickly Bay we thought it would be fun to spend a few days in the quieter, calmer and decidedly cleaner Martins Bay. As soon as we got the anchor down we did a quick reconnaissance lap around the town, returned to Escape Velocity to tidy up and do some chores.







About a week ago we learned of the Naniki Caribbean Jazz Safari and bought tickets for Saturday night. With our unerring luck, it started to rain just when we planned to start our trek to the venue but we are sailors and undaunted. We pumped up the leaking dinghy, drove down the beach and tied up at the dock, then walked about a mile along the beach to the Mount Cinnamon Resort.



We found the resort and walked right off the beach and up to the stage, no security, no ticket required. But we are Americans and rule-followers so we trekked up the hill to the main entrance to present our e-tickets. I’m glad we did. Look at that view!


In true Caribbean style the show was late starting but when it did the bands were good and it was a pleasure to hear live music. Between acts the MC hosted a presentation of an award to a local music hero and when that was over he said, “…and without further ado, if music be the food of love…” and he pointed to the audience who sang out in unison, “play on!”


Afterward we walked back down the beach as the sky cleared enough to see some stars overhead, dinghied back to EV and collapsed into bed. We have another long trek in a few hours for our F1 fix. Then we’re going to need a vacation.

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The view from the back porch


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How small is it?

Back in September a woman on a Canadian boat we were anchored next to in Atlantic City yelled over to Jack, “I know that boat! That’s Chocobo!” At the same time we got an email from the previous owners of our boat — ex-Chocobo — telling us we were anchored right next to their friends on La Jeannoise. A few days later La Jeannoise anchored next to us in Back Creek, Annapolis, and when the boat show ended and everyone left that’s the last we saw of them. Until yesterday. After we got the anchor down securely we looked around to get our bearings and who should we be anchored alongside? Yup. La Jeannoise.

We like to think we’re forging our own path but truth be told we’re part of a community of long-distance cruisers and we recognize more and more boats as time goes on. There are definitely waypoints that change the mix here and there. Many boats sail to the Bahamas for the winter then go back to the states. Some go as far as the Virgins or St Martin then head back. We’re now in the group spending hurricane season in Grenada or Trinidad. And when November comes many of the boats here will migrate back up island for the winter months while we plan to continue toward Panama and the Pacific. That will put us into a whole new subgroup and we’ll lose the lose contact with the boats we’ve become friendly with. It’s a strange life. We make friends, we miss friends, and we’re always enriched by the experience.

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Tight squeeze

Tuesday Field Trip left the anchorage and sailed to Grenada. We joined up with Flying Cloud for a tour of Carriacou which our guide Simon promised would take us to a sugar plantation and show us the agriculture and history of the island. It turned out to be a couple of hours squeezed into a jeep bouncing along deeply rutted roads during which Simon barely spoke except when prompted by our questions. We asked about the sugar plantation and he told us it was gone but pointed to where it once was. What th–?

Ah well, as Jack says, they can’t all be lotus buds.





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Staring at goats

Carriacou is a very small, very quiet island. I imagine in season there’s more activity, and we may actually go back there for a regatta in late July, depending on weather, but for the few days we were there it was pretty much fast asleep. We were anchored in Tyrrel Bay around the corner from the capital of Hillsborough because the holding was reportedly better. We looked at the map and decided since there wasn’t much going on in Tyrrel Bay we would walk into town. It looked to be about a half mile across a sandy peninsula.









It ended up being several miles in brutal heat during which we saw few people, a lot of goats, and many businesses shuttered for the season. We finally got to Hillsborough and a little more action, relatively speaking, but by that time we were so drained from the heat that we could barely appreciate it.


We found the bus stop and gladly waited in the shade for a ride back to Tyrrel Bay.



That night we celebrated Walter’s birthday at the Lazy Turtle along with the crew of Field Trip, who created a beautiful card and poem to commemorate Walter’s big day, read here by Elizabeth, who also painted the picture of Flying Cloud.




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The view from the back porch


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It’s hot here, and when the sun goes down we spend the evenings in the cockpit enjoying the cool breeze and listening to music or a podcast, or if we have wifi then we stream NPR and retreat into Facebook and online newspapers and Skype and email. This evening we’re expecting rain, so we’re sitting in the places we know will stay dry in a downpour. The sky’s been clouded over for a few hours but just now I looked up from today’s Wimbledon scores and the latest Paula Deen episode and nearly gasped with delight.

“Come with me!” I said to Jack. I stepped out on the side deck and waited while Jack unfolded himself from the preferred corner of the cockpit. When he finally joined me he looked up and grinned. Most of the sky was obscured by clouds and pitch black but right beside us the clouds had parted giving us a window to the kind of densely packed display of stars you only see on the darkest of nights. And here we are only two days after a beautiful bright full moon! We won’t see the moon tonight. There’s lightning on the horizon and the clouds are already closing the window in the sky, but for a few moments we could peek through our little local weather system to the heavens beyond.

I love this life.

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Still spotless

We got some batteries for the Spot from a nearby cruiser friend and it turns out the batteries aren’t the problem. It’s just broken and, of course, out of warranty. This is the kind of thing that’s so easy to take care of when you’re stateside and in reliable phone and shipping contact but so difficult in more remote places.

Some more examples: while we were in St. Martin with good wifi I applied for Social Security online. Weeks later, and in a place with marginal wifi, I had a message on our Google voice account from someone in the SS office wanting a call back ASAP to discuss my application. Rats! I tried Skyping but didn’t have enough bandwidth. I emailed, explained the situation and asked if we could solve whatever problems there were via email. No response. Finally this morning I was able to get through on Skype but got the guy’s voicemail and it doesn’t do me any good to leave a message; he can’t call back. So I called the main number, explained how I can’t receive phone calls and would she please tell Mr. I-Need-To-Talk-To-You that either we set an phone appt and he pick up or email me. She took all the info and amazingly a few hours later I got an email from him confirming that my application has been processed and all is well. I suspect they call just to confirm you’re not an identity thief trying to sign up for someone else’s benefits. Whew!

Late last week I tried to log onto our bank to pay some bills and found our security token was locked “for my protection.” There was a phone number to call. So same problem: low bandwidth, etc. I did get through several times but though I could hear them perfectly they couldn’t hear me. I texted my sister and she called for me but they wouldn’t reset my token unless they talked to me. I just kept trying until the ethers aligned and they could hear me well enough to confirm it was me and get me back into my account. In this case I expect the problem to happen occasionally because they explained that with a very slow signal if I have to try several times to connect it will automatically lock me out thinking someone’s trying to hack in.

So as wonderful as it is to be off the grid (No electric bill! No water bill! No mortgage!) it’s endlessly frustrating and downright scary sometimes to have to rely on marginal Internet connections and whatever security measures you cobble together to protect your data and communications. We’ve had three credit cards compromised in the past year, one of them hadn’t even been used for over a month. How does that happen?

All of this is to say we won’t have a Spot map update for a while, so use the “posted from” map on each blog entry to see where we are. We just won’t be able to do a track while we’re underway until we replace the Spot. Sorry about that.


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We apologize for our lack of Spot data. The batteries died without warning last week after a year and a half of faithful service. Unfortunately they are unusual batteries and we didn’t think to stock spares when we were in a place that would have them. For now you’ll have to see where we are by the map that drops down when you hover over the post subhead (does it still do that? We have no laptop to check it and it doesn’t do it on the iPad.)

When we get back to civilization we’ll try to find the batteries or order online and get them shipped somewhere. We miss the Spot, too. It’s always a little ritual for us to mark our progress whenever we’ve moved or are underway.

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