We are in the UK taking a break from the boat (and the heat) in Grenada. We will be here for about 3 months and to make it affordable we are house/pet sitting for people who are away on vacation. It is a wonderful way to experience a country, allowing the spirit of the place to seep in and avoiding the pressure to be on the tourist superhighway – which, in our experience leads to museum fatigue, information overload and the occasional argument with Google maps and each other.
High in the sky
London Bridge is falling down
Clock Tower (only the bell is “Big Ben”)
I just had to…
A little light reading
Chartwell, Churchill’s Home
Oxford’s Christ Church Cathedral
Hogwarts? (Oxford dining Hall)
National Portrait Gallery
Avebury, a better and more accessible Neolithic henge monument
thatch roofs abound
Victory, Lord Nelson’s flagship, still a commissioned Navy ship
After a few days in London, our first gig was for a charming couple in rural Hampshire. Living in a lovely old country home and taking care of two sweet old cocker spaniels was a glorious way to start. Funny thing was they went Greece to have a sailing vacation, so we felt as though we had switched lives for a week.
We especially like England’s tradition of public footpaths, byways and bridleways, which preserve the public’s right of access across private lands, complete with stiles to allow human and dog to get over fences without letting livestock escape. Wish we had such paths in the US.
Not an UBER. Our hosts take us to the train in style.
And how the dogs get through the fence.
They seem to grow a lot of hay in the UK.
How humans go over the fence that crosses a footpath
Pip and Delphi take Mary for a walk.
After Hampshire, we were off to a charming village in Buckinghamshire and then back for more city life in London.
Hunters Tom and Jerry
Peddling through the Chilterns
Bikes and Breweries
Darling Maddie showing us the way.
Sweet City Kitty Tye
This country loves their ales.
And their pubs
Anyway, just a short note to let y’all know what we are up to. Cheerio for now.
Our goal for this sailing season was to get to Grenada, far enough south to be safely out of danger from summer and fall hurricanes. Then to put the boat to bed for a while. And that’s what we’ve done.
After making a beeline overnight run from Martinique directly to the Grenadian island of Carriacou, we slowed down a bit to enjoy these charming tropical isles. Grenada has got it right. Without a giant tourist infrastructure and without subsidy from a European country that views it as a vacation playground, Grenada maintains a fairly high standard of living on its own. Agriculture vies with low-key tourism to keep the local economy humming. The many cruisers about are not an insignificant part either, and the country caters to them as well as any other island we’ve been to.
Carriacou is a small island with a big protected bay lined with a few mellow bars and restaurants. It’s a perfect cruiser hangout and we stuck around for a week resting up from our sprint through the islands. We’ll see the ones we missed on our way back up. Here we had great pizza and tried our first lionfish meal (for our non-boatie friends, lion fish is a voracious invasive species that is decimating Caribbean coral reefs because it eats everything and nothing eats it – so these islands do everything they can to limit its expansion). If you see lion fish on the menu, give it a try. Click here to learn more about lionfish. Here we also tried mangrove oysters for the first time. They are thin and slimy and Mary thinks they were the cause of a stomach bug I suffered from a few weeks later. They don’t hold a candle to Oysterponds Shellfish Co. oysters, but it was worth it to listen to Warrior’s views on life on a small island. Warrior is the guy who picks them and sells them. He told me he needed to sell some oysters to get a little money to celebrate Father’s Day with his girlfriend and her husband – go figure.
From Carriacou it was onto the grand anchorage at St. George’s on Grenada proper. It’s a giant open roadstead with easy access to St. George’s harbor and the Carenage.
St George’s Carenage
You can get everything you need in this charming old town or a short wacky bus ride away. After stocking up on groceries and precious boat parts from Island Water World, we moved around to the south side where a number of bays knife into the island. This is where most of the cruisers hang out and is where we stayed while we prepped the boat for its slumber. Luckily, we arrived with time to meet old cruising buddies Susan & Roger from Second Wind and Thomas for The Cat. With them we did an island tour with the famous Cutty and enjoyed a few dives before we had to get to work.
Yep that is a monkey on Mary’s head
The red casing around the nut is mace
sorting out the bad nuts
They don’t call Grenada the Spice Island for nothing.
Filling up rum bottles by hand.
Primitive is an understatement
Our pal Cutty
We hadn’t seen Susan & Roger in over a year
What is an island without a waterfall?
Pete sampling some coco seeds
Delicious hand made chocolates
Down the hatch
Who knew it was such a chore to leave a boat? We didn’t, since we haven’t left the boat for any significant time in over the last three years. How strange to contemplate that. But we had a plan and it meant putting the boat “on the hard,” as sailors say, for a stretch. So for a week, we worked our fingers to the bone cleaning, repairing, taking down sails and closing down boat systems. Finally, after one last back-breaking day we finished and, after packing the few pairs of long pants we have and digging out a few pairs of socks, the next day we jumped on a flight to the UK. We were going for maximum culture shock.
Neko safely strapped down in the yard taking a much need rest.