Sunday, October 15, 2006

Autumn in Grenada October 2006, originally uploaded by S/V Raft.

Picture: sunset over Clarke's Court Bay

Today was an exciting day. This morning, being Thursday, Bev was getting ready to go for her walk with the other boaters through the hills of Woburn. Ross was in the dinghy, going to blow up the tubes, we have a very slow leak, not worth the effort to fix, so we add air about every 2 weeks. But today, when he tried to undo the valve, the entire valve, and backing came out, blowing the inner ring into the pontoon, deflating the dinghy on one side instantly. He called for Bev to help, using the motor crane, she had to lift the outboard motor up while Ross held up the deflated tube so the dinghy would not fill with water, then get the dinghy up on the davits so we could work on it. Ross was able to fish out the missing part from inside the pontoon, but couldn't separate the valve cover from the valve. We soaked it in hot fresh water, to break the salt seal, but still no luck. So he drilled two pin holes in the outer ring, and used the metal dividers to get some leverage, and release the valve. We were successful, and then were able to reset the valve and parts back where they we supposed to be and pumped it up and surprisingly it held air. We still went over to Whisper Cove, but Bev had missed the walking group, but went on her own anyway. The yfi internet is still down, so Ross hung around with Lucy and Rick, (Flying Cloud) even got Lucy to make us breakfast when Bev got back.

We were just returning to RAFT, and as we approached we could hear voices on the VHF radio, Que Rico was hard on the reef. Ross, and about 6 other dinghies, plus a couple of larger power boats, including White Squall with its twin 200 horsepower motors quickly responded to the call for help. It took about half an hour, but Que Rico, a very strong Whitby 42 (Canadian built boat) was pulled off the reef, by White Squall, and towed to Clarke's Court Marina and put to dock. Their motor had overheated, malfunctioning water pump, so they had been trying to sail the tricky entrance to the Bay, and clipped the corner of the reef. The wind had piped up, and in no time, they were on their side, in about 2 feet of water. Thankfully there appears to be minimal damage, some scratches and bruises, but they are not taking on water, and their steering seems okay. These old sailboats can really take a licking!!

Things are changing here in Grenada. Even the weather guros are hinting that Hurricane season could be over, and already boats are starting to move. We are starting to see boats arrive back from Trinidad daily, and some of the boats that have been with us all summer are now moving on. Such is the live of a sailor.

All summer long in the anchorage we have been hearing and seeing the survey and construction teams working on Hog Island. Rumour has it that the Four Seasons Resort is dividing the island into lots for upscale waterfront retreats to be built. It really seems a shame, that this pristine deserted island would be torn up and developed when there are some many unfinished projects all up and down the island chain.

On one of our walks we went for a walk on the Hog Island to see first hand the devastation on the south side from the construction. They have stripped clear all the vegetation and left the soil exposed to erosion. This is a Trinny group working for a British firm. They know about erosion control but because it is not required here they neglect it and the people who buy these 1 acre lots will have to contend with it. They have bulldozed in a road and surveyed off lots to try and get investors and purchasers. Plans call for a bridge between Hog and the main land as well. The clear cutting is probably for the aerial photos and to make the lots accessible to the prospective purchasers. No idea on the cost but based on what they have invested so far this summer, expect it to be plenty.

Roger's beach bar & BBQ on the northside has become quite the focal point of entertainment on Sundays. Live band with SAX, Steel Pan, drums and a singer every week. Both locals and cruisers are participating. Its getting a little crowded in the anchorage on weekend with the boats coming over form Prickly Fridays and returning Monday. As well the runabout traffic (locals ferried out 20 ft boats with 200hp motors, only one that big, most are 40hp, but they still go fast) has made the anchorage dangerous at night and even during the day. The cruiser on the next boat was going between our boat and his to pick up his wife and was T-boned by one of these guys (drunk). No one was hurt thankfully. Big discussion on the Beach with the locals and the driver and owner of the boat. The Locals are trying to police the situation themselves and don't want the authorities involved. The activity level on the beach is likely a show of force by the locals to show the purchasers of the Island that the beaches are public property. The developers have already stated that they intend to leave Roger's bar as is because there is supposed to be a 10 meter strip above the high water mark that is designated public. But Roger doesnÂ’t own his land, just squats, and his makeshift bar was set up by the cruisers. He has no electricity, running water, or bathrooms but what do you expect at an island beach bar. Only time will tell but if this is like most of the half finished projects we have seen as we traveled south, the investors will get their financing then declare the project unfeasible and abscond the funds and the vegetation will grow back.

We had a chance to discuss "Embarrassment of Mangos" with some of the locals yesterday as well. Most didn't even know that there was a book written about the area. We did find out that Mr Butters now has a store/farm just east of Westhall (10 min from here to the east, Dwight is ok and back to diving for a living (Dingess' son who got the bends) and Dingess still lives here in Woburn but her husband has since died. As for purchasing and eating Mangos, the season is almost over here now. The best kind are Julies and Ceylons because the do not have stringy pulp that gets caught in your teeth. To eat a Mango you hold the stem end in your hand and bite off a small portion of the tip. From there you peel back the skin like you would a banana. Only works really well if the mango is ripe otherwise the skin just tears off in little pieces like an orange. Good Luck (they cost us a $1 EC here when we can't find them free).