We’re back in the Caribbean and it feels so good!
[New here? Check out our backstory]
On November 10, we flew down to Grenada.
As usual, the week leading up to our departure was crazy getting the house ready to run as an AirBnb in our absence, then driving down to southern Ontario for David’s brother’s 60th and Mel’s Nana’s 95th (!!).
We also spent 6 hours in the car driving to Kincardine to look at a boat, but that’s a story for another day.
Travelling to Grenada in COVID times
In September of this year, Grenada had its first wave of COVID, so there were some pretty significant hoops to jump through to be able to travel there. First off, all tourists must be fully vaccinated. They must also must fill out a Pure Grenada travel authorization form a week before arriving. Then there is all the brain swabs, I mean, PCR tests. One, 72 hours before departure, and another at the airport upon landing in Grenada. THEN you have to quarantine for 48 hours in a hotel while you wait to get the results back. The quarantine requirement was of course dropped the week after we arrived.
We were lucky enough to stay in an approved AirBnb. We originally booked it for four nights, because we knew we had left the boat in a bit of disarray in our haste to catch one of the last flights out of Grenada in March 2020. We expected to have lots of cleaning to do, and it’s easier to do that in stages – and without all our luggage in the way. Plus it’s so nice to go home at the end of a long, sweaty day of boat work to a clean, spacious apartment with air conditioning, showers and laundry. So nice, in fact, that we ended up staying at the AirBnb for a week. Pure luxury!
We were released from quarantine within 24 hours, and made arrangements to get dinghied to our boat as soon as possible, since our dinghy was still sitting on the deck.
Let’s back up – for those of you who are just joining us, we had left the boat in the water because all the marinas had closed due to COVID right as we were leaving Grenada in March 2020. We had no idea what to expect on our return because we had historically always hauled the boat out before heading home. We were dreading what we would find upon our return.
We had left the boat in the very capable hands of George of Survival Anchorage. He had come highly recommended by fellow cruisers who always left their boat in the water in Grenada when they returned to Ontario during hurricane season. We were pleasantly surprised to find the boat pretty much exactly as we’d left her. Of course, she needed a good top-to-bottom clean, but that would have been necessary no matter where (or for how long) we’d left her!
Step 1 was to get the dinghy in the water and service the outboard, so we could get between the boat and shore independently. Annoyingly, one of the transom clamps (where the outboard attaches to the dinghy) was seized, so that took some time to sort out. The outboard was a bit slow to start, but after many pulls, away it went! And just like that, we were mobile!
Step 2 was to mount the solar panels so we had power on the boat.
Step 3 was getting the canopy up pronto (bimini, dodger, and connecting panel) to give us some reprieve from the sweltering heat and sun.
Our next step was to ensure that all systems, like the engine, toilet, stove, taps, etc. were functional. We sort of expected issues. The last time the boat had been left for so long was right before a record-breaking cat-5 hurricane, and we had had to replace/repair most of the systems. But amazingly, everything worked! It was a miracle!
Step 5 was forcibly removing the well-established marine ecosystem from our hull. We happily accepted George’s offer to do it for us, and we arrived bright and early Monday morning to find a nice, clean bottom! George had started at 6 a.m., preferring to work in the early morning. He did an amazing job!
Then it was just a question of cleaning (there was a lot of mold and mildew), throwing out expired dry goods (amazingly nothing exploded in the heat – likely due to the cooling effect of the water) and carting multiple loads of laundry to and from the AirBnb.
Our boat work was slow and steady in the first week, as our bodies adjusted to working the heat.
We finally moved onto the boat a week after we were released from quarantine. And the best part about the boat already being in the water? No mosquitos!!
What’s the plan this season?
We don’t really have a plan at the moment. Entry requirements in the various islands are constantly changing, and we’d like a break from all the PCR tests. For now, we plan on staying put for a bit, since the last time we were in Grenada was back in 2018. We would eventually like to get to St. Martin, since we have some boat work to do and parts tend to be cheaper there. But do we island hop along the way, or do another 3-day passage to get straight there?
In the meantime, we’re slowly putting the boat back together and enjoying having escaped the Great White North in the nick of time. Don’t worry, we’ll have a rum punch for you.
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