After the initial check-in, we’re directed to anchor off of St George’s for two weeks of quarantine. During that time, we are allowed to swim around our boat but otherwise are expected to stay aboard having no contact with others. On day 12, we were scheduled to go ashore for our Covid testing. Testing is done once a week, so you’re given a time slot to go ashore based on first the letter of your last name. We stood in line for our blood test and within 15 minutes were determined to be Covid free! A short walk to immigration, another wait in line and by late afternoon we’re officially checked into the country and free to move about.
We decide to stay one more night in the quarantine anchorage so we could have dinner ashore. The next morning, we sailed around to Prickly Bay. This is the first main anchorage after leaving the quarantine area so it was very full of boats. We circled a couple of times before finding a spot to drop our anchor. There are mooring balls available, but we prefer to anchor out and save our money.
Prickly is a beautiful, but while we were there, rolly anchorage. There’s a marine store, a sail loft and a boat yard within feet of the dinghy dock. There are actually a number of dinghy docks you can tie to and walk around. We really enjoyed our walks. Everything in this area is clean and well landscaped with various trees and flowers. There seems to be many restaurants and bars within walking distance but unfortunately, most of them are closed due to Covid restrictions. There were still a few options available though so we were able to have some meals and drinks off the boat while there.
There is a saying that cruising is fixing or repairing your boat in exotic places. Our first order of business in Prickly was to change the steering cable. We had spare cable on board but with boat work you never really know what you might end up finding. Being near somewhere that you can access parts adds a level of comfort before starting any job. In this case, we had everything we needed for the job but once Russell pulled the old cable, we realized it was much more damaged than originally thought. I was very glad we hadn’t completely lost our steering. Even though we can steer the boat using our auto pilot, in tight quarters it would have been dicey to say the least!
After about a week, we decided to look for a more comfortable anchorage to wait out hurricane season. Hog Island would have been a good option, but it has limited areas to anchor and was already pretty full. We went into Woburn Bay and after motoring around a bit, dropped our anchor in the cut near Calivigny Island. Calivigny is a beautiful little private island that is available for rent – if you can afford it. I’m told Justin Timberlake rented it for a birthday party once.
Anchoring in the cut gave us beautiful views as well as being in a good flow of clean water. In a busy anchorage this is very important to us for running the water maker.
Woburn Bay offers a lot of options for getting off the boat for shopping, eating & entertainment and exercise. Le Phar Bleu has a dinghy dock, resort, restaurant, marina and pool which many cruisers use and enjoy. There’s also the Lightship which is a barge with a bar that also periodically offers a movie night for the kids.
Whisper Cove is another restaurant and marina that’s popular with cruisers. They also have water and laundry facilities available.
At the Lower Woburn dock there is a used boat parts store, Taffy’s restaurant or you can walk up the hill to Nimrods which is a popular place to be for Thursday music nights. Depending on the night, you may enjoy beginner musicians but sometimes there are professional level musicians and the entertainment is as good as could be found anywhere.
Just across the bay is Clark’s Court. This is a full-service boat yard with haul out, chandlery, restaurant and docks. On Wednesday mornings there’s a farmer’s market at Clark’s Court that’s a great place for cruisers to pick up fresh fruit and veg, eggs, meat, bread and yoghurt.
From Woburn you’re also just a short dinghy ride to Hog Island with the famous Roger’s Bare Foot Beach Bar, a tee shirt stand and on some days a burger stand. You’ll also find lots of cruisers, cold beer, and possibly live music. Just be prepared, bathroom choices are either the port-a-potty, behind a bush or a pee in the sea.
We spend the next five or so weeks checking out all the above and meeting new people, learning to navigate the public bus system and taking advantage of the private shopping busses set up for cruisers. We jump off the boat for a swim or take Puff out in search of good snorkel spots. So far we haven’t found any place with great visibility but we’ve seen octopus, lobster, puffer fish and all of the usual little reef fish. Even with Covid restrictions in place, so far, we’re finding Grenada to be friendly, inviting and convenient.
As always, we’re also watching the weather. The reason we chose to stay in Grenada is that historically the majority of tropical storms stay north of the island. While there had been some strong storms pass nearby, the last major hurricane to hit the island was Ivan in 2004. Of course, near the end of July, Tropical Storm Gonzalo decided to stay south and for a while looked as though it was going to come right over us. We discussed all of the options available to us; stay on Grenada but move anchorages, leave Grenada and go south to Trinidad or to stay put. Trinidad, meanwhile, was actually telling people their borders were closed and not to come.
We decide to stay put and prepare the boat. We pulled the jib sail down and since it needed some repairs, dropped it off at the sail loft. We tied down the main and mizzen sails. We put out extra chain on our anchor and of course had a secondary anchor ready to deploy if needed. We removed everything from on deck and pulled Puff up on the davits and tied her off. Our plan for any large storm at anchor is to use the engine to take some of the stress off the anchor if necessary so Russell also checked the engine over carefully.
Gonzalo kept veering south so thankfully ended up being a non-event for us. This has been an active season with numerous waves passing over us, some bringing fairly strong winds. Fortunately, while a few other boats in the surrounding anchorages have dragged, Ddraig continues to hold firm.