Hi friends and family, we finally have a slow internet connection (as we are pilfering it off the hotel Stu stayed in when he first arrived as we are anchored outside of it), so I can start the blog….yay. Kids and I arrived from our epic 3 day journey that was exhausting. Customs held us back in Sydney with only an hour (which was less when we arrived) to get onto our next plane! We were very blessed as when the confusion was sorted and they let us through to the international airport the connection flight was 3 hours delayed – phew! So we had 4 flights – 4.5, 13, 5.5 and 3.5 hours. The kids really did well as each of them had a heavy checked bag to lug and a back pack in San Fransisco and Miami, all I can say is thank God for iPads on planes :). Don’t get me wrong, there were moments! We stayed in a hotel at San Fransisco and Miami which broke it up a bit, I was very thankful for the rest.
Arrived in Grenada with some stern looking and unsmiling customs officials, I was worried there may be an issue as my name is not on the boat registration papers (and we don’t have a plane ticket out of Grenada), but no problems……… I have to add an interlude as this is funny, Stu has asked the kids to peel potatoes on the back of the boat (so peel goes overboard) so Alex and Sienna have dropped a total of 3 whole potatoes in the water, so in Stu jumps again to retrieve dinner!!!!!! he he. Jake has started a tally of things dropped overboard!
It was with great excitement and relief that we met up with Stu (just as he was warding off an official trying to tow away his hire car!), he was and still is looking like the wild man from Borneo! Though he told me he showered and cleaned up for us…..he he. He took us to a restaurant on the beach (his internal mapping system has definitely kicked in) and then to the resort La Sagesse, we woke up next day in absolute paradise….palm trees to climb right on the beach, restaurant on the beach, mozzies galore feasting on me, Jake and Sienna at night (we must be the stinkiest, don’t tell Stu), crabs cruising the restaurant at night, Queenie the dog to pat, Conch shells lining the pathways, welcoming owners and delicious food (that I didn’t have to cook – he he… mum you will relate this). We stayed there 4 nights in total.
During this time Phil (mum of 2 girls aged 2 and 4) a friend Stu made offered to take me into town for groceries. So off we set, she took me to 5 different places and showed me the in’s and out’s of where to get what. The roads are dangerous, very windy mountainous narrow roads that the locals overtake on blind corners then you see trucks with 8 guys standing up on the tray and hurtling down the road. The houses are very colourful with interesting architecture, they like pillars, and some are like shacks built on cliff sides. From a distance they are beautifully multicoloured – pinks, blues, orange, greens and yellows. So different to home. It is lush here, jungle and tropical forrest, large big leafy elephant plants and its just so beautiful. Anyway, we stopped at a road side stall for doubles (chick pea and pancake in an indian tasting sauce – yummy). I handed over an Eastern Carribbean (EC) note that I thought was $10, but Phil quickly came to the rescue and told me it was EC$100…… oooops! The IGA yes I said IGA was pretty big and stocked well with a lot of stuff I don’t know but all good. It’s pretty common to see a car stopped in the middle of the road with the driver having a chat to a passing car or pedestrian while the line of cars banking up behind with irate drivers shouting abuse, but the person causing the rucus seems unperturbed and just keeps on chatting and eventually drives on!!!!! Crazy dangerous roads.
We went on our first bus ride yesterday, man it was an adrenaline rush. The buses are a mini van with a driver (derrrr) and a guy in the back drumming up business and collecting money, the guy calls out to pedestrians and the driver takes detours off route – to find extra customers!! They are all rally drivers, we were all crammed into the back seat, I was holding my breath and praying as we go hurtling down a windy road at full pelt, just missed another crazy bus and a dog somehow survived crossing the road in between the two buses! I see the dogs and kids around here learn quick as no one was playing on or near the roads whilst the bus was in a residential area dropping off school kids. They accelerate and brake hard. As we got into the bus home bound after spending more boat notes at the chandlery (everything to do with boats is expensive), we accelerate and brake hard right up the backs of other cars (man this bus driver is crazier than the last!), we bottom out continually as we have 19 people in the bus! Stu and I were looking at each with an unspeaking communication of “this guy is crazy and I hope we don’t die as we hurtle down this skinny road”. Meanwhile I Observe the local passengers and they are totally oblivious to the near death experiences we are having. Stu told me he saw a bad accident on the roads, where a car was overtaking a truck then a bus was over taking the car (that was overtaking the truck) – all this was happening on a blind corner on a hill top on a narrow road! Then a bus was coming the other way!! The Bus coming the other way ended up going off the road down a vertical cliff!!!! It rolled down the cliff and was luckily stopped by a power pole saving their lives, apparently no one got killed or badly hurt!!! Man the roads are crazy, I don’t know why they are in such a hurry and drive so fast.
Sienna and I are fascinated by the ladies hair, the women style it in a different array of dreadlocks come fancy lines of twirls on their heads. Come to think of it the guys hair is pretty interesting with loads of dread heads around- ya man. They love their music, they seem like a really cruisy type of people (except the bus drivers and shop attendants who don even look at you when you speak to them, ok that was only on one occasion). I do love the way they talk, its kind of like a lazy way of talking its so hot and they cannot be bothered. There is no niceties and thank you’s in the conversations.
Ok so I’m getting off track a bit. While we were tied to the dock, our friends took us to this awesome little nook that was carved out in the war, which is a secret little passage linking one bay to the next with loads of conch shells. These conch shells are hugh and as big as a coconut (of which we now have a ‘cutlass’ which is really a machete to cut coconuts open with…..eye we be pirates fur sure now). Crossed a fresh water stream with an overgrown fort nestled into the point we just by passed, which delighted the kids. We then hung out with 3 other families all with kids frolicking in the ocean that had jungle leading right up to the beach, it was a welcome change to the work of the boat.
The bay we were staying in on the dock had phosphorescence!!!!! So so so fascinating, we discovered it when Stu had a string LED light in the water at night attracting the fish then when he turned it off the hundreds of fish kept glowing as they darted around startled by the sudden dark. As we checked this phenonenom out we discovered you could see loads of fish just swimming in the water by the boat, as they glowed a white light colour. Any movement of water caused a white bright glow, swishing your foot in the water and pouring a bucket of water in the ocean all caused the water to glow. The kids loved seeing this too, but Stu and I were like little kids sussing this out and telling our friends about it, he he. We were told this was not in many places, so we made the most of it.
The day finally arrived when we set off from the dock after saying goodbye to our friends and exchanging emails and boat cards (loads of cruisers have their own boat cards with email and blog details), we also received some cookies from Jess as a thank you for helping her out as she was quite sick after inhaling antifoal from sanding their boat hull, antifoul is basically a poison to stop algae growing on your hull. Leslie and Ian brought over a whole tray of homemade shortbread! So yummy, I had to protect it from being devoured in one sitting. I have the recipe for the shortbread (wonder if I will ever bake it? My track record is not good, but you never know). I also sourced some easy recipes from Jess and Leslie. Leslie and Ian have an immaculate and very organised catamaran (Jangles) that is for sale if anyone is interested!!!! We have used u 2 lots of antibiotics already, Hmmmmmmm as Jake was sick on the plane and it turned bacterial and Stu had something similar. I did get some antibiotics over the counter though, pretty stoked about that.
I dosed the kids and I up on sea sickness tabs, and off we went yipeeeeeeee. Not much wind max up to 10 knots, so we motored some of the way until the wind picked up a little, we discovered the wind direction metre is not working (another job to do, pretty important one) and the compasses are all reading different directions, but that maybe from metallic items on board. Not too far into it I’m feeling very queasy and incredibly tired, Sienna and Alex fall asleep but Jake was unbelievable! He is the child who gets car sick and was vomitting into a bucket at the Whitsundays. He was up buzzing around, helping Stu with this and that while I lay down just wanting to sleep (sign of sea sickness), but it may have been the tablets as I have not this type before. I hurled my body up with great effort required to help Stu with the Gennaker (foresail) and Main sail. As we were pulling up the main halyard I hear great excitement and told to turn around as a passenger plane is so low as it was just about to land, that we can almost see the people inside! It went right over our little Neverland!! Unfortunately we didn’t get a good enough photo, but man we will certainly remember it. Dad would have loved being there.
The anchorage was pretty full so we anchored in pretty deep water, I think it was 15 metres from memory. We have 60m of chain so out went the whole lot. We moved the next day to a shallower spot when some boats took off, found ourselves dragging anchor after checking it via snawkling we moved to another spot with slightly better ground. It is so much cooler now we are anchored, as in its still really hot but more bearable. The water here is unbelievable, its like having a warm bath. There is no shock factor when getting in at all, in fact it doesn’t even really cool you down. Leslie said the water is between 26-28 degrees! We are loving jumping off the back of the boat and snawkling, the water here is crystal clear, unlike the boat yards water. The kids are becoming fish, no fear at all and I must say it really feels like a swimming pool there are no big bitey sharks in this neck of the woods (or crocs Dave). With first swim off the boat the boys are bombing off the bow of Neverland! Its really high, in later swims I got dared to do it and I must say it was a bit scary (but I acted tough, he he), it only took Sienna till the second swim to jump off it too!!! I could not be outdone by 5, 7 and 10 year olds! They even wanted to jump off the roof after seeing Stu do it, but we said no as a clearance of around 1.5m is required.
The fridge it now fixed, yay Trevin came aboard whilst at anchor here and fixed it for for us. We are in a central location here, the main port is close by with all the provisioning we could need. We spent a long time in a chandlery (boat shop) and I must say its fun shopping in these places, we got loads of stuff to repair bits and pieces. We are now waiting for the saloon cushions to be finished. Need to haul Stu up the mast again (yes its high, 24m) to replace the anchor light that blew a globe. Jock helped us the first time, but tomorrow it will be just me winching him up. Oh well he has life insurance!!!! he he. No but seriously it does make me somewhat nervous. Maybe I’ll convince Stu to call on Jocks help again, see how I feel tomorrow……..Well tomorrow has been and gone and I am Happy to report Jake and I winched Stu up and he is still alive!!! I’m confident doing it now and have a system to stop any slipping (i.e. Stu falling from great heights), we used the electric winch which was much easier!
We experienced St Georges Caranage yesterday, the ancient historic war time part of town with a massive fort on the Point (pity the tour was closed), it was hot (as always) and all I wanted was a freezing drink. So we found a Shop selling icy cold fruity drinks after clutching the hands of our children so they wouldn’t get run over in the under pass under the fort on the point. Its a narrow tunnel built in war times one way with cars driving too fast at times and single file pedestrians walking through as well. As I was ordering Stu came in to get a drink for a lady sitting outside who he said needed a cold drink – very kind of him. I sat next to her and ended up getting her life story as best I could as she could not talk, legibly anyway. Then Amongst a lot of hand signals and gestures I discovered she had 5 children all boys. She was in grief as one died this month he was 15 years old, he was beaten with a stick and left to drown in the harbour, they found him days later all swollen. He was killed over $400 (and drugs I think). Then another one of her sons who is 18 yrs is in jail ‘not right in the head’ she indicated and to do with drugs. Her 20 year old was a good boy and believes in God and another boy has left the island and not been in contact with her for months. Man I felt so sorry for her, such a hard life. As she was trying to communicate with me (which was very difficult to decipher), she pulled out the funeral notice for her son that passed and the prison visiting notice, so I really don’t think she had any reason to be lying. She just needed to ‘talk’ to someone who would listen it seemed. She was very appreciative for the drink Stu got her. She looked clean and dressed ok, so it seemed she had a home. I wonder what else she has had to deal with in her life. I wonder if she has a job, would be difficult with her speech, though she was very good at using gestures to communicate. Some people have such hard lives, poor lady. Don’t worry mum and Bev I didn’t invite her back to stay with us, or give her our worldy possessions.
Today started off with some fighting on the decks, not literally. I tried to download, delete and edit photos from our new camera whilst using the new software installed by Ange (Stus sister who is a whiz at this stuff and happens to be a photographer), I have forgotten most of what she taught me, doh. So feeling annoyed at myself and frustrated. Kids niggling and hot, and Stu well I can’t remember how he was. Anyways it wasn’t happy families, lets put it that way. We had planned the day before to snawkle the Moliniere underwater sculpture park at Tyrrel bay, a 15 minute dingy ride. I won’t say too much about this as I think Jake is going to do a post on this. Lets just say it totally got us all out of our moods and it was EPIC. The kids were unbelievable, Alex and Sienna touched the heads of the statues, that were about 5 metres deep!!!! I didn’t realise this was happening as I was snawkling with Jake, then saw Sienna holding onto Stus back diving deep!!!! Could not believe my eyes. They can’t equalize yet!!! Yes their ears hurt, a lot…. Hmmmmm. Fantastic effort very proud of them. We tied up to a mooring line, and the kids are not phased by deep water anymore, I saw Jake swim out with Stu as Stu was practising free diving and got down to the bottom which was 17 metres (could barely see Stu as it was so deep) and theres Jake happily watching him over the dark deep water!!!! Unbelievable, we were just blown away by our kids, so proud of them.
Anyway its getting late and I better get to bed. Thanks so much for reading this I know its a long one, but I know the family want a good update as we have had barely any contact since we got here and we are pilfering internet from Stus hotel he stayed in when he first got here as we are anchored out the front of it. Internet is an issue here so if I don’t get back to you for a while, that’s the reason.