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"CRUISING NOTES FROM GRENADA"
From Carol and Dave Richardson

"We welcome all cruisers who would like to share their information, experiences and joy of sailing, to add their cruising notes to this page.  We are not responsible for contents, accuracy's nor navigation information....we are merely a forum for sharing the love of sailing"  You may e-mail your cruising notes to:    Sylvia and Stanley Dabney

Grenada | Navigation | Climate | History | Web Sites | Customs and Immigration | Weather Forecasts and HAM/SSB Nets | Hurricanes | Marinas and Anchorage's | Calvigny Island  | St. George’s | The GYC or Grenada Yacht Club | Ground Transportation | Currency and Banking | Postal Service | Shipments | Boat Services | Tours | Laundry | Food &  Drink | Diving | Airports | Telecommunications | About Dave & Carol

grenada.jpg (17436 bytes)Grenada Located south of 12o 40' North (I will get into the importance of this later) and centered on 61o 40' W Grenada is in our opinion one of the jewels of the Caribbean. In writing this what I hope to provide is personal experience that is not in the multitude of cruising guides, and steer you towards those people who have provided high quality helpful services to us. My comments will be strictly limited to those same goods, services, and happenings where we have personal experience. Where we haven't tried it and found it to be good or bad it won't be mentioned. I will also seek to keep this updated on an ongoing basis.

Navigation

Some essential information, as you navigate your way to Grenada. First TRUST NOTHING! ! Buoys shown on a chart aren't there, coral and volcanic action, change the undersea terrain very quickly and other sailors, including me, aren't real time. Charts are by definition out of date and even such wonderful inventions as DGPS are fallible. You are responsible. I have seen many buoys made from Clorox bottles tied with string to a concrete block. The best thing that can be said is that at least the block will grow coral over it.

Tides are of little consequence with Springs at 0.7M and Neaps at 0.6M. The buoyage system is has recently been changed to IALA B from IALA A (European), so it is now red right returning plus cardinals. I understand the U.S. Government graciously provided a grant to allow this. For charts it is almost universally agreed that the Imray-Iolaire series with annotations and corrections by Donald Street is the best available. B5 (1:510,700), B3 (1:162,000) and B32 (1:91,000) cover the area. There is a set of German origin charts that Chris Doyle is pushing in his Sailors Guide to the Windward Islands. Being an inveterate chart collector I ran out and purchased the full set. In retrospect, my view is Doyle is doing himself a disservice. In a crossing in late 1998 I found several discrepancies which would have caused us to run up on a reef had we not caught them. Doyle and Street don't see eye to eye on anything and seem to be constantly squabbling. Use Doyle's guide for bars and shopping and Street's for navigation. Doyle is nice to everyone while Street is outspoken and gets a bad rap from the locals. However, you won't run aground if you use your own good sense and the Imray-Iolaire charts.

Standard issue charts are based on British Admiralty surveys of the mid 1800's and are subject to some gross inaccuracies. In defense of these errors somehow I can't imagine myself standing on the thwarts of a tossing jolly boat and trying to get accurate sites and bearings with a sextant and compass. Even soundings are subject to much shifting and coral growth not to mention the geological shifts that tremors and volcanic action bring about. Not much wonder some of the reported chart positions are off by enough to take out your keel when you put all other senses on hold and depend solely on the equivalent position calculated within a few meters by DGPS. Street has been sailing this area for 30 years and lived on Grenada until his home got cross ways with a US Huey gunship during the 1982/83 actions. During this time he has continuously updated the original Admiralty maps and issued these through Imray-Iolaire. He also has a cruising guide that goes with them. My charts have been updated through January 1997 although the cruising guide is a little dated especially with respect to goods and services. They are also available in CD for use with PC based navigation tools. Bluewater Books in Florida is the best source I know of but I am sure there are many others. On the WWW pull them up at http://www.BluewaterWeb.com/ or Bluewater Books & Charts, Southport Center, 1481 SE 17th Street, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316 USA. Phone: 954-763-6533, Fax: 954-522-2278, Toll Free Orders: 1-800-942-2583.

Currents and the effects of the Atlantic rollers can be interesting. There are many areas where the current sets at 4 plus knots so it can play havoc with navigation and if you are headed into the current VMG can suffer dramatically. For example the set around the south coast at Point Salines can run 4.5 knots from east to west. And on the run north to Carriacou the combination of current and swell can be very uncomfortable. Beyond waiting for perfect conditions when headed north, my best advise is to run off a

little to the west easing the banging and slamming, then take a long tack east close in towards Sauteurs. A single easy tack north will take you close past the Sisters and then directly into the fine anchorage of Tyrell Bay.

Climate

Known, as Spice Island, Grenada is able to grow most all of the valuable spices and some very good sugar cane (which I value as rum, who would waste sugar in tea?). It boasts a moderate climate for being this far south. If you are on the water even in midsummer it is still tolerably warm. The temperature ranges from 24 degrees average in winter to 30 degrees average in summer. Even during the rainy season, June through December, it seems to only rain for an hour or so a day and then not every day if you are on the south end of the island. In the central highlands and the rainforest one will be very fortunate to see anything other than clouds and rain. Of course it benefits from the trades, which provide a cooling sea breeze most of the year round. Grenada contains 3 fairly distinct climactic conditions with their consequent ecosystems ranging from rain forest to arid scrub.

This range in conditions is caused by a combination of altitude and the ever-present trade winds. In the high central elevations it is dense tropical rainforest while on the north, east and west coastlines it ranges

much more towards lush green but in the south this turns to a very dry not quite desert area. Now in the less than 20 or so miles of total length of the island all of this happens very quickly, literally within minutes if you are driving.

History

No history on Grenada is offered here. I couldn't do it service. And frankly the written history differs greatly from book to book and what interests the author is trying to serve through the message. I have always thought the only people who could change history are the IRS and the KGB but I guess politicians everywhere want history to favor their cause. In the past 20 years, since Grenada became independent in 1972 they have seen some turbulence. This has impacted growth as a tourist area negatively. However, when you visit I urge you to talk to the people of Grenada about the recent (1982/83) American military action described in the American government vernacular as a "vertical insertion". The Grenadians I have

talked with describe it as "the rescue mission". To a person they are the only nation I have ever visited where American military assistance or intervention, and in some cases blunders (there were a few on Grenada including the aforementioned Huey gunships blowing up the famed sailor Donald Streets home) is accepted and in fact appreciated. Even with respect to the blunders the Grenadians know that in the melee accidents will happen and in the long run they are a hell of a lot better off. I am not American but these folks truly are thankful for all the help from the U.S of A. As a subject of HRH and the British government I am less proud of their willingness to bring aid and support to the Grenadians and more recently those on Montserat. This is my last political comment. When you are in St. George's the Grenada Museum is worth the $5EC it costs to visit even if only to read the photographic enlargements of news papers of days gone buy. It is in an old building, which served as a women's prison prior to 1900.

Web Sites

World Wide Web sites come and go and for the most part aren't well maintained. However, at this writing Grenada has a very informative general overview with a calendar of events posted on the web. Pull up http://www.grenada.org/index.html

Customs and Immigration

Most boats headed south to escape the hurricane season seem to spend a week or so on the south side of the island before jumping off to Trinidad. Then there are those who like it so much they never make it to Trinidad. This year there were over 2000 boats in Trini for the season so it might be a crowded sail south. A departure from Grenada in the late afternoon will allow an overnight run to Trinidad and ensure that you arrive with the sun still rising at your back creating the optimum time to scope out the reefs. I have, in the past, preferred to clear in to Grenada at Prickly Bay which is also on the charts as L'anse aux Epines. It is not so commercial as St Georges and easier to get to than Grenville. It caters to the visiting yachtsman. Coordinates are 12o00'N, 61o45'8"W. There are shoals close to both sides of the entrance but a sharp watch during good light will easily pick out the characteristic brown color. If you are coming from the south or east you must also watch for the Porpoises, a breaking rock just inches

above the surface about 0.7 nautical miles south of the point. There is also a coral in the center of the bay due west of Spice Island Marine's fuel dock.

Customs and immigration have the upper floor of a little white building just north of the concrete pier and the restaurant/bar at Spice Island Marine. Fly your Q and the Grenada courtesy flags until you clear through. The hours are 0800 to 1600 weekdays but with overtime you can get cleared at other times. Customs officers worldwide seem to follow some rule about being supercilious, however at Prickly Bay this rule doesn't apply. In July of 1997 they opened another immigration office in Secret Harbour, Mount Hartman Bay. This is great as it lets those folks in either Mount Hartman or Hog Island clear in and out without a second stop. The office is a little white building just up the hill from the taxi stop and the Moorings office. In both places they are less rushed than the commercial docks in St. Georges and therefor it tends to feel less official although they are conscientious customs officials. As with most progressive islands in the Caribbean (which is the transport point for about 70% of South American produced cocaine shipped mostly through Barbados') supply there is zero tolerance for drugs (alcohol and on some boats nicotine excepted) so don't even think about it.

In years past when cruising north to Carriacou and then returning to Grenada you needed a "coastwise permit". When I checked in January 1998 this was no longer a requirement.

Weather Forecasts and HAM/SSB Nets

Weather forecasts are transmitted on AM 800 from Bonaire on TransWorld Radio at 20 minutes past the hour from 0700 to 1720 hours. TWR has a very large transmitter and tower so you should be able to receive this for quiet some distance. St. Vincent and the Grenadines NBC Radio's meteorologist Alan Archer covers weather during the hurricane season on AM 705 at 0850 and again at 1310. For the HAM and SSB equipped vessel the well known Caribbean weatherman David Jones using his former yacht "Misstine" as the call sign transmits a synopsis of the current conditions and forecast daily. From 0830-0845 tune in on 4003kHz USB and then again from 0845-0915 on 8104kHz USB. If there is a marine advisory in effect Jones will announce at the beginning of the morning broadcast the time and frequency but it is likely to be 8107kHz USB at 1815. Oh yes Grenada which is Atlantic Standard Time is GMT -4 hours. Alex runs the most used and informative cruiser net and starts at 07:00 on 2054kHz shifting to 8101kHz at 0745 and then connects with Jones on 8104kHz at 0830 hours.

There is also a local net on 4009kHz at 0820 hours and a Carib net that I have met many friends on at 6125kHz starting at 0700 through 0900. Propagation on this one can be a problem as it is not in the perfect time slot but with luck you can get through. David Jones is commonly recognized across the Caribbean as the weather guru. ZBVI Radio in Road Town, Tortola has retained David Jones as its Weather Man. Transmitting at 10,000 watts on 780kHz AM, ZBVI Radio covers the entire Eastern Caribbean. They bring you weather updates every hour on the half-hour. Jones has also recently published the authoritative text or bible on Caribbean weather entitled "Concise Guide to Caribbean Weather" and is available at Blue Water Books web site http://www.BluewaterWeb.com/. In addition to Jones weather net he also has a very informative web site which is one of the best I have ever seen. It can be accessed at http://www.caribwx.com/ It provides specific sea state information for

sailors including surge, and offshore data.

Table of Radio Transmission Times and Frequencies

Atlantic Station

Std. Time Call Sign Freq. 1 Freq. 2 Freq. 3 Freq. 4 Broadcast and Source

UTC-4

530 NMN 4426 6501 8764 NWS Offshore Forecast, Portsmouth

600 WAH 4357 4381 8728 13077 All Forecasts, St. Thomas

VOA 5980 6165 7405 9590 Voice of America with news to 0800

630 WVWI 1000 VI Sailor's Report

635 Arthur 3815 HAM - LSB, West Indian Weather Net - Barbados

655 WOSO 1030 San Juan weather hourly after news

700 BBC 6195 11865 World News to 0930

BASRA 4003 Bahamas Air Sea Rescue weather net

USB 6215 Antilles Cruisers net

705 4VEH 1030 NWS Offshore Forecast, Haiti

710 WVWI 1000 VI Sailor's Report

BAR 790 Radio Barbado's forecast

745 WWNET 7268 HAM - LSB, Waterway net US/Bahamas with WX

800 BON 800 Caribbean forecast, Bonaire

ZNSI 810 1240 1540 Nassua weather

805 ZBVI 780 David Jones WX and ea 1/2 hr.; 745 Sats.; 945 Sun

830 ANT 930 Antigua EC Forecasts

845 David 8104 USB - Caribbean weather net

900 WOM 4363 8722 13092 17242 NWS reports

Maurice 6945 HAM - LSB, French weather net

1000 WAH 4357 4381 13077 All Forecasts, St. Thomas

1200 NMH 13089 6501 8764 NWS Offshore Forecast, Portsmouth

1400 WAH 13077 All Forecasts, St. Thomas

1600 BBC 5975 6175 6195 7325 World News every hour to 2400

9590 9915 11865 15400

Herb 12359 Southbound II, VAX498

1800 NMN 13089 8764 17314 NWS Offshore Forecast, Portsmouth

1825 ANT 930 Antigua EC Forecasts

1830 David 8101 USB - Caribbean weather net

1900 BBC 5975 6165 9915 Financial News

WOM 4363 8722 13092 17242 NWS reports

1930 RNI 6020 6165 Netherlands International English service

2000 VOA 5995 7405 9455 9775 US news with Caribbean report

2005 BBC 5975 6165 9915 Financial News

2200 WAH 4357 4381 8728 13077 All Forecasts, St. Thomas

2330 NMN 4426 6501 8764 NWS Offshore Forecast, Portsmouth

Hurricanes

When we were first looking at cruising grounds where we could leave our boat in relative security during the storm season we didn't realize that there is a fairly well defined southern boundary that the hurricanes tend to stay north of. Insurance company actuaries realizing this invented a policy, which either voids or limits your coverage should you be north of this line during storm season. Common sense I guess, in that with the number of storms to ravage the northern islands and in fact the US coastline in the past few years the insurers just couldn't take the losses anymore. So with typical bureaucratic ease they invented new language to cover what is glibly referred to as a "windstorm exclusion". There is also insurance language on "named windstorms" which we would have called hurricanes. Discovering that the last hurricane to hit Grenada was 1954, and the last to run over Trinidad was 1922, they felt reasonably safe in drawing a line at 12o 40'N. This line runs between the islands of Canouan and Mayreau. This defines any vessel below this line during storm season as statistically safe. The term of the exclusion is typically the 1st of July through 31 October, which according to the same actuaries covers some 96% of all hurricanes. For live aboard cruisers or people who want to move their boat to a safe harbor while they visit home Grenada or Trinidad is the place to be. Of course the other option is to move north for the tropical storm season but even there the insurers have longitude restrictions covering windstorms. Anywhere south of Cape Hatteras is usually out of bounds. At least my policy states that you can sail in this area during hurricane season but if a "named windstorm" causes damage you are out of luck. Check your policy thoroughly.

Marinas and Anchorage's

The Moorings Secret Harbour, Mount Hartman Bay, is part of the Moorings charter operation. Mount Hartman Bay is perhaps one of the prettiest serviced anchorage's' in the Caribbean. In hurricane season it is not unusual to see 100 boats anchored in the spacious Harbour and another 50 or so moored at the docks. Even when a hurricane passes north of Grenada there is little danger in Secret Harbour except from storm surge. It is well protected at all points of the compass. However, when at anchor you need to allow for 360-degree swing of your neighbors including the danger that you and the folks next to you may be swinging in opposite directions. The wind can back and eddy putting you at opposite directions of the boat next to you, kissing stern to. The little bar at the end of the docks, The Rum Squall by name, has snacks and a happy hour that runs from 4:00 to 6:00 with beers at $1.50EC. Try the pizza. It is really hand made and is delicious but be patient, you are on island time. The Moorings also has diesel fuel, gasoline, water and ice. If you are on the dock there is a garbage tip and showers. Up the walkway to the south is the Moorings Secret Harbour Hotel. It is probably the most upscale Moorings base anywhere with a good bar, swimming pool and very nice hotel cottages. Frankly speaking the restaurant is over priced and while we have eaten there and the food was good there are much better deals elsewhere. It recently got a new manager and we are hoping for improvements. In the same office there is a small store with and amazing selection of goodies if you missed anything in your major shopping in town. The Moorings phone number is (809) 444-4439 and their fax is (809) 444-2090. They monitor channel 16 and 71 locally or 66 international.

Calvigny Island, on the south coast, takes its name from the Indian Calvintoid culture. It has a beautiful sand beach on both sides and lies deserted. Several years ago someone threatened to build a hotel on the island and as far as they got was putting in a little concrete dock and punching a road from one side of the island to the other destroying important archeological evidence in the process. They then left their earth moving equipment in the forest. I am not one of those who wants to stop progress for the local population but in this case I do hope the hotel doesn't get resurrected. As you walk the road you will see hundreds (thousands) of largish holes in the ground that look like they might be the home to gophers. Good guess but not so. These are a land crab about 8 - 12" across that the locals catch at night. They are apparently a delicacy in Calalou (French spelling) soup. When I first tried Calallo (local spelling) I thought it was about the worst tasting stuff I had ever tried. Even worse than Lima beans. However after a recent re-test I found it to be excellent so it all depends on the cook. If you enter Calvigny from the Hog Island anchorage approaching from the north it is a sheltered dinghy ride most of the way. Hog Island lies at 12o00N 61o44W. There is a snug anchorage for 20 or so boats on the west side of the island. If you were well tucked into the lee of the island it would be tough for any weather condition to bother you. The bottom is magnificent clay with the tenacity of 3M5200. Once you are anchored the skipper can enter the sleep of the dead as literally nothing short of a hurricane could budge the hook. If you get to close in you can get backwinded and loose the cooling breezes so stay at least 50 meters from the northern shore of the island itself. Lying across the whole south side are extensive reefs, which offer good, snorkeling in calm weather. There have recently been complaints from sailors who were told by the local constabulary that they were not allowed to anchor on the west side. The rumor mill created a whole scuttle full of butt that this was due to the area being used as a drug transfer point. When I asked the authorities why, and then double checked with the Ministry of Tourism it was because at least one boat had ripped up fishing nets with a thoughtlessly thrown anchor. There are always two sides to every story. The island itself has a small farm with an absentee farmer. Goats abound. Watch carefully as you explore for the signs of the original inhabitants the Siboney, Caribs and Arawaks. Shards of pottery litter the ground. Look for the land crab burrows, as they seem to bring more pottery to the surface all the time. There are also the footings of an old fort, which commanded one side of the entrance to Woburn. If you are circling Hog Island or going through the cut in you dinghy there are usually one or two buoys marking the channel. It is so shallow there is only a foot or so of water at low tide and requires keen observation or a handful of shear pins. Just cut the south side of the Clorox bottle and leave the round buoy on your south almost rubbing the buoys with your gunels. There are three old steel vessels semi beached on the north side of the bay. Interesting why the government wouldn't tow these out to sea a few thousand yards and sink them creating a reef and new fish haven while removing an otherwise unsightly and unsafe mess. Unfortunately, in late 1997 a deal was cut to build a hotel complex on the island and an 18-hole golf course on the mainland side. Sad for those of us who have enjoyed weeks anchored in the lee of this wonderful island but I guess that is progress. If history is any evidence it will take several years to get it underway so enjoy Hog Island while it lasts.

I won't cover the anchorages in Prickly, Woburn or Grenville here as they are amply covered in Street's and other guide books. On the west coast of the island there are several beautiful little harbors but no safe anchorages. At least in my experience all of the anchorages north of St. Georges provide questionable overnight anchorages but a great daytime lunch or snorkeling stop. Due to circumstances we have had to spend the night in both Halifax and Happy Hills. Both were rolly with extremely poor holding and not recommended. Sand over coral defies both my 44 lb. Bruce and the even larger CQR. After several tries both had skidded 25 – 30 meters and when dived on it was simply a case of nothing for them to dig into. Halifax has a reputation of being Grenada's flytrap with the local dump in a swamp just over the hill to your northeast. It didn't bother us but if the wind was in the wrong direction I can imagine it being more than a little disturbing. Frankly I didn't sleep much in either.

St. George’s is both the capital and major port in Grenada. It has a customs and immigration as a port of entry. Entering the lagoon at St. George's can be a major pain. Observe the channel markers closely. A few feet inside of the red triangle day marker will put you in something less than 4 feet of water. Perhaps something more than that if you come to an abrupt halt before you get to this depth. Proceed almost to the commercial docks before making your turn into the channel. From there the red post and two red buoys will be in line for the channel into the lagoon. In fact it is great fun to sit in the GYC and watch the bare boats run aground as they try and cut the markers.

The GYC or Grenada Yacht Club is one of the few good reasons to moor in St. Georges. The facility overlooks the Careenage and Lagoon. It is justly famed as a venue from which to observe the "Green Flash" with the setting of the Caribbean sun. Personally I believe the Green Flash is more likely caused by overindulgence in rum than by the atmospheric conditions to which scientists attribute the phenomena. They have recently added to the well-built concrete docks providing accommodation for about 40 boats stern-to. Dockside you can get diesel and gasoline. There are also hooks up for electricity, water, telephone and cable TV. Shoreside they also get your LPG bottles filled. They have a security fence surrounding the place with 24-hour patrols. The yacht club is always accommodating with showers, and most importantly a bar and restaurant (although all I have eaten there is a burger so can't vouch for real food). With its view (and requisite rum) is the best place in Grenada from which to watch for the aforementioned elusive green flash. For information you can phone them at (809) 440-3050.

Also in St. Georges is the dilapidated GYS or Grenada Yacht Services. Not being in the yacht service industry, except as a customer, it is easy for me to make suggestions or complain. It has recently been purchased and it is said it will be completely renovated and turned into a first class yacht haven. As it stands now it seems almost unsafe just to walk the derelict docks. However, they might look very attractive if the alternative is tangling with a hurricane in Sint Marteen. The changes in windstorm coverage on most insurance policies and the resulting huge influx of yachts into Trinidad it may well come true. It would be great for Grenada and its employment were this to occur.

Ground Transportation

There are many good taxi services in Grenada. Frankly we haven't met a bad one yet although your experience may be different so no guarantees. Grenada drives on the left side of the road and in most cases the roads are narrow and potholed thus unless you are either a British colonialist or very brave, taxi is the preferred method of ground travel. They are cheap and the taxi drivers are usually very knowledgeable on the island, traditions, history and what to see. You will be amazed at how much historical background they will share with you. Our favorite is Rock Taxi (his real name is Rosel Charles) who knows the history as well as any professor. Rock will also hike with you to the falls providing a lesson in local flora, fauna and lingua fraca along the way. He is a former Moorings delivery captain thus we sailors have a particular affinity. He works out of the Moorings base at Secret Harbour. He also provides yacht care taking if you have to leave your boat and return to wherever. You can reach Rock at 809-444-5136. He was putting VHF in his taxi in July of '97 and monitors channel 16. If you need to find someone to help you with a strange problem ask Rock. He seems to know everyone. Now the "buses" are a different story. These are really 14 passenger vans with 18 people in them. They stop everywhere and costs are $1.00 - $1.50 EC to just about everywhere within a bus stop. But ASK IN ADVANCE!! They drive at breakneck speed and can get you adrenaline flowing and glowing quickly. But there is a big difference between $1.50 and the $30 a taxi charge to go to town so when you are watching the cruising kitty the bus is the answer.

Currency and Banking

Most businesses in Grenada accept Eastern Caribbean dollars and US dollars equally easily. The EC dollar is pegged at $2.70 to $1.00 US. However exchange rates do vary from establishment to establishment by 10 cents EC or more. I don't get the feeling anyone is trying to take advantage of the currency but there are differences. About the only currency, other than US dollars that can be readily exchanged is Pounds Sterling and that is easiest at Barclays. When you visit the bank remember this is "island time". Get in line and be patient, this could take a while. You can pay for most service and supplies with Visa or MasterCard and the hotels normally accept AMEX. Some places will take a US check although it takes them about 6 weeks and several transactions to get it cleared thus that is far from preferable. Most would rather take the hit of 4 or so percent and have you use plastic if cash is not readily available. One issue the ready acceptance of both EC and US currency causes is if the merchant quotes in US while you think it is very inexpensive as you are working in EC. This is especially common in taxis, which invariably work in US.

Postal Service

GYC, The Moorings and Spice Island Marine Services all provide a mail pick up and holding service. They don't seek you out so if your mail is going to one of these it is your responsibility to track it down. When you look in the little storage cubbyholes don't be surprised to see letters that are franked several years past. If people don't pick it up it could stay there forever. What is really interesting is to see a FedEx envelope in the slot from 6 months ago. Someone paid a small fortune for that "Instant Delivery". The General Post Office is on the Lagoon Road by the Port in St. George's. There are sub-post offices in all towns and villages. Post Offices are open 8am-3:30pm, Monday to Friday.

Shipments

If you are shipping goods to Grenada either Federal Express or American Airlines fly daily from the US mainland. Use the services of Outfitters on Lagoon Road right next to True Value Hardware. Your choice is this, or live with the hassle of endless paperwork trying to clear your goods through customs while not being a local. Even the locals tell me it can take weeks to clear supplies through. Ensure your goods are marked with the standard "Yacht In Transit" disclaimer to allow duty free clearance. When I last used these services there was a 5% service charge imposed by Grenada customs on both the value of the goods and the shipping costs, plus a 15% brokerage and handling charge, or shipping fee and so on so these can mount up fairly quickly. However, it is quick and relatively painless to manage shipments in this fashion. Outfitters is at; Footloose, Yacht Charters and Outfitter, P.O. Box 581, St. Georges, Grenada, W.I. Tel (809) 440-7949 and fax (809) 440-6680.

Things like chain, batteries, bottom paint etc. just aren't worth the effort of the lower stateside cost. Again here if you speak with Vernon Cyrus at Spice Island Marine Services he either has it in stock or can locate it locally for you. Of course the longer lead-time, esoteric items will come from Stateside.

Boat Services

Guaranteed you will get to know Vernon Cyrus and Spice Island Marine Services located in Prickly Bay. This is clearly the best, and really the only full service boatyard in Grenada. It is small and doesn't smack of gross commercialism. With berthing for about 20 boats stern to, diesel, water and a large dingy landing it is an excellent facility for tying up. The one thing they don't have is gasoline for the dinghy. On shore; laundry, ice, water, showers, a small, but well stocked store, chandler, LPG pick up and delivery covers just about every need. At the Spice Island Marine Services yard you will find a sail loft, a 35-ton travel lift that handles boats to 65 foot and an attitude that there is very little they can't do or won't try. They have an excellent diesel mechanic (Ben), and in spite of the potential for rain have an Awlgrip/Imron spray painter who is an artist. We haven't used the sail loft so we can't speak to their capability however I have heard good things about their work. They have about 20 boats up on the hard at any given time so business is brisk. In the summer of 1998 they were enlarging the yard to allow another 20 or so boats in storage. Vernon Cyrus, who manages the operation will also try and import parts for you when they don't have them. Speaking of Cyrus, he is just simply one of the nicest people you will ever meet. They will also hold mail for you, which can then be picked up at the yard office in the pigeonholes just inside the door. The address is Spice Island Marine Boatyard, P.O. Box 449, St. Georges, Grenada, WI. They monitor channel 16 or can be reached at (809) 444-4257. Jim Cottle at Cottle Boatworks has been used by a number of friends for custom woodwork. I personally have not used his services but the reports have been favorable. Jim can be reached at 809-444-1070.

If you are leaving your boat in Grenada for the storm season and want varnishing, polishing, and cleaning and the stainless brightened up I have been using a young man by the name of Sean Thomas. His varnishing is exquisite. Sean takes the time to do a very good job and I would recommend him highly. He works off the docks at The Moorings in Secret Harbor. Just ask the taxi drivers sitting in the shade to have Sean come and see you. Provide your own materials or pay the price of non-discounted material bought locally. Another person that has provided us excellent help on 2 occasions is Basil St. John. Basil is the refrigeration expert on the island and can be seen everywhere with his gages and tank of Freon. We had a couple of pinhole leaks that using a sniffer he managed to track down and repair. I don't know about availability of spare parts for compressors and the like but under normal conditions Basil has come through for us. Phone 809-444-3381. We insure with Loyds and as part of their policy they require a "hauled survey" from a Loyds approved surveyor every 3 years. In Grenada Allen Hooper can do this for you. Allen has an office in a little white building just up from Customs in Prickly Bay. He also runs a charter business and if I recall correctly there is a sign on the building that is almost as big as

the building itself for Seabreeze Charters. Allen's office is fully airconditioned so just sitting in it chatting can be a blessing if the humidity is up. Obviously the best time for the survey is when you have the boat out and have just had the bottom pressure washed ready for the next seasons bottom paint. Very convenient having Allen there. Our boat is 40 feet and the cost for the survey was $160 EC. Phone 809-444-3693. We leave our boat alone for long periods and depend on a very reliable boat sitter. Rock, who I have already mentioned in the paragraph on taxis, looks after Northern Lights for us. This entails starting her up and running her for an hour or so weekly, checking all fluid levels, making sure all the lines are undamaged and in the event of a pending storm taking canvas, awnings, bimini and so on off. Rock opens her up twice a week and airs it out for several hours. When we come home she is always better than we left and in Bristol condition. The price is, in my opinion, very reasonable. If you need boat sitting services you could do no better than Rock. You can reach Rock at 809-444-5136. He was putting VHF in his taxi in July of '97 and monitors channel 16. Sails, Rigging and Tackle Johnny Sails is the local loft, canvas and rigging service. Johnny Phillip runs the place and seems to be everywhere. Johnny spent 4 years training in Canada and in times past has operated the Moorings charter base and Spice Island Marine. He has now specialized in sails, rigging and canvas work. Johnny's son does most of the stitching while Johnny services, cuts and fits. Bimini tubing is bent on site ensuring a true custom fit. Johnny provides excellent workmanship, good service and a reasonable price. Sail materials are duty free in Grenada and Johnny passes these savings on to the customer. I haven't purchased one from him but he is also the local agent for ProFurl. He is also a very nice person who is always willing to help. My one caution here is that Johnny is always on the run and will leave the stuff that doesn't need to be done today for another day that never seems to arrive. So keep on his case if you plan on sailing soon. Johnny monitors channel 16 and 71 or can be reached by phone at 444-1108 or page him at 441-8843.

W. E. Julien is a large lumber and hardware dealer on the north side of the Careenage on Wharf Road. They are the best place I have found for galvanized chain and a machete (cutlass) if you want to repel boarders. Stick to the chain and try rum on the boarders. The price for chain is reasonable and at least when I was last there in January 1998 they had proof and BBB in 5/16 and 3/8. I was only buying 15 meters but drums were available. The NAPA Autoparts store which is next door to Foodland on Wharf Road has a small selection of hardware including stainless steel shackles, cleaners and wax, varnish and so on. Of course it is also the right outlet for oil and other common engine and automobile components.

There are several supermarkets with just excellent availability. There are 2 Foodland stores one in Market Square on the Careenage and the second on Wharf Road right across Shopping from the GYS docks. Foodfair is in the also on The Careenage and at Grand Anse shopping center which is about half way between St. Georges and Prickly Bay. We have tried to compare both and while the Lagoon Road Foodland is newer we prefer the selection at Foodfair. Price comparisons are difficult but we also think Foodfair is on the whole less expensive. All meats are frozen at both. There is also a bank right next door to Foodfair in Grand Anse so it provides a single stop. Both provide a 5% discount to visiting yachts on purchase of $150 or more but you need to ask for it. About a mile south of the Grand Anse mall is a little green grocer on the east side of the road. We have found fruit and veggies there that didn't seem to be anywhere else. If you are anchored at Hog Island and need a few supplies including fresh home made bread there is a little store on the east side of the road headed south up the hill from the Lower Woburn dingy dock. We couldn't believe it but their prices were cheaper than any other place we have been.

Whatever else you do, don't miss the Saturday morning market in St. Georges. Take along several bags for carrying your shopping. Go with your grungiest yachting clothes trying not to look like you just got off one of the tour boats. It will save an unbelievable amount of harassment as folks try and sell you beads and hatchets. I guess we whites who invaded the America's deserve this. We are only getting our beads and hatchets back. Put your camera in a pack so it doesn't look even more touristy. The selection of fresh local produce, tropical fruits, meat and of course every imaginable spice is overwhelming. There is also an assortment of tropical nick knacks to clutter up the precious space on board. Be prepared to bargain and further to ask people for help. Walk up to the top of the hill on Markethill St. for a great view of the market. For fresh fish head towards the waterfront from the market square on Granby Street and then turn right on Melville St. Your olfactory sense will point it out to you. There is also a wholesale produce called the Marketing Board just up the hill on Young St. where we have purchased much local produce. We haven't found really fresh produce that easy to purchase. I am sure this is because most of the islander's have different tastes and often grow their own.

Tours

One of the tour stops that we would recommend is the Dougaldson Spice Estate and plantation. This only costs a couple of dollars and takes an hour but it will give you a very interesting insight into the wealth of spices and fruits that abound on Grenada. Don't miss it. The tours of the Grand Etang rainforest and crater as well as the falls are all must do's. There are mono monkeys in the rainforest. My daughter was fortunate enough to be able to see one first hand. He/she was tame enough to pet and fond of any kind of food we produced out of our packs. There is probably some nature lover who will yell at me for this but he/she (how do you tell the sex of a monkey?) was particularly fond of mint candies.

Laundry

Henry's Safari Tours is the everything service for yachties. Running a tour service, guide service, cooking gas fill up and just about anything else you can think of. The part we like best is they pick up your laundry at 9:00 am or so at any of the main harbors (GYS, Spice Island Marine or Secret Harbor) and deliver it back in the afternoon. About $1 US per pound it is a deal you can't beat. If we are leaving the island on say Saturday we drop the laundry that morning and they have it back on the boat before we leave. They answer on channel 68 or phone (809) 444-5313.

Food and Drink

We certainly haven't finished exploring all the culinary delights of the island but we have singled out at least a few which will rank close to the top. Two or three of our favorite restaurants are 12 minutes walk from Secret Harbour and a little less from Prickly Bay. These are in L'anse-aux-Epines. The first and most expensive is the Red Crab. I say expensive but by American standards it is still reasonable for very good quality food. A genuine 4 star chef runs this establishment varying the menu with the seasons and availability of the finest ingredients. Lobster bisque is definitely a work of art. They are not open on Sunday. Major credit cards accepted. Phone 444-4424. The second, Choo Light is a delightful low key Chinese restaurant. Having traveled extensively in the orient I am familiar with most of the many varieties of Chinese cooking. Choo Light's menu has taken on a definite West Indian flair. Again, the seasonal availability of seafood ingredients will necessarily vary the menu. They are open every day from about 18:00 on. Payment was cash only but in our last visit they now accept plastic. Again, just a step or two from the Red Crab heading towards town is another new restaurant; The Castaways is a decent restaurant serving an eclectic menu that leans to the West Indian palette. The owner is a Grenadian recently returned from Trinidad. We enjoyed the single meal we had there and look forward to more opportunities to visit. We have heard great things about the restaurant in the beautiful Calabash Hotel complex but the once we spent the money to stay at the hotel they wouldn't let us enter the restaurant without jacket, tie, long pants etc. Having just come off the boat we certainly weren't equipped for a dinner that formal so we took our business elsewhere. Too bad it would have been nice to try it.

The Boatyard bar and restaurant at Prickly Bay (Spice Island Marine Services) is also pleasant. The New Years Eve party at the Boatyard bar is great. It goes till dawn with steal band, DJ and lots of exotic drinks. The Boatyard restaurant was getting to be pretty poor but was taken oven in July 1997 by a new operator and is has improved dramatically. We have eaten both lunch and dinner there and enjoyed it. In fact the lobster was great and the fresh fish of the day was first rate. Most recently Dawn Charles a former cook from the Red Crab has opened a little restaurant in Lower Woburn. Take your dinghy from either Secret Harbour or Hog Island. Run through the cut into the Woburn dingy dock and then walk east to the main road, turn right and in 5 minutes up the hill you are there. Last time we visited we had the best sailfish I have ever tasted. Even the Calallo soup was good. Dawn' specialty is lambi any way you like it. Bring cash but very little as dinner for two and a couple of beers is less than $25 EC. On the way to St. Georges from Prickly Bay is Mama's which is famous for its truly ethnic dining. In town the Nutmeg, overlooking the Careenage, deserves a visit. It has a good view of the Carnage, all the ugliness of the tour boats and a decent menu. If you make it up to the rough and tumble fishing village of Gouyave we have found a great little fish n' chips place. Stop in for lunch. It is called the Homestead Guest House at 3 St. Peter's Street, Gouyave. They have a cocktail lounge and about 6 tables for lunch or dinner. In the town of Gouyave if you cross the bridge on the north side of town anything goes. This is a 24-hour party stop with wicked music and a fishing town atmosphere. If you are a masochist there is a Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut and so on in town. Need I say more? Rum is the alcohol of choice and tradition for all sailors. In Grenada there are still several good distilleries but my personal choice is Westerhall. This is a family operated still that only produces about 500 bottles per day. Believe me the yachties can do some real damage to that output. At about $6.00 US per bottle you can get cheaper rum (I have found one brand at $3.95 which only indicates the bite the taxman is putting on us in our home countries) but you won't find much better, although each distillery will say theirs is better and according to tastes perhaps it is. Thank goodness everyone has his or her own tastes in this area or there wouldn't be enough Westerhall to go around. The only real fully operating distillery on the island is Clark's Court.

They actually contract with the locals for sugar cane with the caning season running for 3 months starting in mid February. For the rest of the year the brew and distill the spirits from the molasses extracted during the caning process. Clark's Court 131 proof white rum is what the locals drink and it will bring tears to your eyes. If you haven't tried one, my favorite rum drink beyond just good old rum and water is the Painkiller. We got the recipe from the bar tenders on the William Thornton, the old Danish hulk which is tied in the Bight on Norman Island BVI. For mix it is 1/3 orange juice, 1/3 pineapple juice, 1/6

coconut cream (don't use coconut juice - it needs to be that thick milky stuff) and 1/6 rum. More rum doesn't hurt the drink but be careful, while it goes down painlessly, it is the next day that might hurt. Top it with grated nutmeg, which grows right off your bow. In Pusser's they call this a Painkiller 1, 2, 3 or 4 with the number generally indicating the ounces of rum in the drink. Dynamite.

Carib Beer is rapidly gaining popularity over the traditional standby, Heineken. This was originally a Trinidad brew that is quite tasty and the price is right. The Carib brewery was bought out buy Guiness who has a brewery on Grenada. There is an outlet store in the industrial park on the north side of the road to Point Salines. A plastic case with 24 bottles was $37 EC with a $9.00 EC deposit for the case and bottles. In the stores the equivalent price is close to $60 EC. Please don't throw the bottles (or cans) over the side. As a diver there is little more disconcerting than to see the flotsam of the boating community littering the bottom. Well I can think of something else that we pump over the side but lets not cover that here. If you need cans the Carib Brewery in Trinidad is the only source that I know of. You will often find people bringing up large stocks of canned Carib which then finds it's way onto yachts duty free.

Diving

Diving around Grenada is good, perhaps not as good as the BVI and some other locations but good never the less. The combination of strong currents from the Gulf Stream and Atlantic wave action cause the visibility to be less than pristine. I don't want to put you off because coming from someone who learned in Northern Canada's lakes and rivers it is still spectacular. Drift diving is the norm. As a result I strongly recommend you spring for the cost of hiring a dive master at least to show you around. Most dives have strong currents and run over 30 feet thus can benefit a lot from local knowledge. Bob and Pam Dunn, a husband and wife team, operate Dive Grenada. They seem to frequent the Rum Squall bar at the Moorings in Mount Hartman Bay after work so you can catch them there. Their actual facility is in the posh resort of the Rex Grenadian, which is just before you get to the airport. They are also in the process of starting up a facility on Carriacou which will allow them to dive The Sisters with only a ¾ hour run by boat instead of 2 plus from Grenada. There are other dive operations but I can't vouch for their capability. The diving improves as you move north with the water being much clearer and the reefs more spectacular. Halifax, Happy Hills and Dragon Bay on the west coast of Grenada all have decent snorkeling on the southern tip of each bay. In early 1998 5 out of the 6 dive operators on Grenada formed an association to attempt to bring some order to the dive industry and to influence the local government in reef and artifact preservation. The reefs that are focal points for diving have been badly damaged as a result of poor anchoring practice and perhaps even more so by people removing coral for jewelry and other commercial sales. Lets hope they can bring some quick action to bear. Even a few permanent dive moorings at the popular sites would help immensely.

If you are a wreck fan there are several to try. Bianca C. is the most famous. She is a 500-foot luxury cruise liner, which sank in 1961 as a result of a fire onboard. When she first sank she was accessible at 30 feet now it is nearer to 90 as the ship sinks into the seabed. The hull is beginning to crumble and recently the stern detached and one of the swimming pools has collapsed. Sadly scavengers have removed all the fine crockery and cutlery that was previously visible. Others wrecks include the yacht Buccaneer, just off Moliniere Reef, an ex drug boat the Don Cesar a little further to the north of Moliniere. Then broken into four sections off Grand Anse is the quarter wreck. Finally, the Veronica just off the Esplanade and marked by a mooring buoy is an easy dive but visibility is typically pretty poor.

Airports

If for any reason you are flying in or out of Grenada the airport at Pt. Salines is first class. Built by the Cubans as they tried to make political inroads with Grenada back in the early 80's it was designed to handle the largest of military aircraft. Direct flights to the UK, USA and Canada run daily along with LIAT (Luggage In Another Terminal) which is the local island carrier and offers multiple flights daily. BWIA also has at least one daily flight to and from Puerto Rico. American Airlines has a daily flight out at about 16:00 but it is an interesting deal. It must be the oldest 727-200 American has and when it takes of over your head in Prickly Bay it is so loud it is deafening. American probably can't fly it into any

airports in the world other than Grenada and Puerto Rico. Bob Crandall the environmentalist and fellow sailor!

Telecommunications

Telephone service is available at Cable & Wireless on the Careenage in St. Georges. Coin and Card phone services are available for both local and overseas calls. Prepaid cards can be purchased at Grentel offices and agents, and the cruise department of the Grenada Board of Tourism. You can also hook up with their Boatphone service if you plan on staying in the area for a while. They use the US "AMPS" standard analog phone so if you have one with you dial 0 and they will hook you up with no hook up fee. Calls to the US were $4 US per minute and Germany was $8 US per minute. The daily connect charge of $4 US is waived for the days you don't use the phone so although expensive it is cost effective if you must be connected by phone. I am also using CompuServe, which has connections on several of the islands. GrenTel also has a connection to the world of the Internet and I have connected through to my IDP using them. Both the Moorings and Spice Island Marine Services will send faxes for you charging by the minute. I think the Moorings are a few cents cheaper but then how do you know until it has been sent.

Carol and Dave Richardson are avid cruising sailors and "wanabe" live aboards.  While corporate life ties this international couple (Dave is Canadian while Carol hails from upstate NY) to living in Europe with frequent travel to North America they have kept their beautiful Passport 40, Northern Lights in Grenada.  Sylvia and Stanley Dabney currently have Northern Lights resident in their brokerage in Florida while the Richardson's await delivery of their new boat. With frequent cruising in the Windwards Carol and Dave have come to love this area and recommend it to any reasonably experienced sailor.

Dave started sailing some 30 years ago on Lac Dechennes (Canada) crewing at the club level.  Lasers became a bad habit for him after Bruce Kirby designed the Laser with members of the Royal Brittania Yacht Club in Ottawa becoming the early adopters.   When Dave moved to Dallas in 1989 and met Carol they quickly moved to gunkholing on their Benneteau First 345 on Lake Texoma.  After coming dead last in their first two races they decided they would stick to cruising.  A few years ago they moved up to the Bob Perry designed Passport 40.

Carol and Dave had made many friends while sailing in the Windwards and hope that they will return there soon.