Friday, December 27, 2019

The Rest of the Story


I don't know whether this blog still has any subscribers, but in case I do, sorry about those eight months without updates. I got busy at the end of last season, figured I'd catch up the blog over the summer, and then it turned into the busiest summer of our lives (which itself will require a pretty big post). Those who know us or follow us on Facebook or Instagram or read my columns in Flying Magazine likely know the tale, but for those who just read the blog, I have some serious catching up to do. So first off: here's the Cliff Notes version of the last month and a half of last cruising season.

I left off in St. Lucia, where Dawn and I ended up staying for 14 days in Rodney Bay, Marigot Bay, and Soufriere, and which we left on April 1st. It was a beautiful downwind (finally!) sail to Blue Lagoon, St. Vincent, where we stopped only to check into St. Vincent & the Grenadines (SVG) and move on to the Grenadines. In fact, we could have checked in at our first stop of Bequia, but we had to make Piper a Legal Beagle with the official government vet. SVG is a notoriously tough place to import a foreign pooch but with some persistence and an extra unplanned vet visit we were able to make it happen, 100% legal, and it's a good thing we did as we were queried by policemen and other locals several times down the chain to make sure we weren't sneaking an unsanctioned dog to shore. There are (admittedly second-hand) stories about cruiser's dogs being shot for lack of paperwork. SVG is deadly serious about keeping rabies out of their islands.



After one night moored in Blue Lagoon, we made the short sail over to Bequia, which we quickly fell in love with; it became one of our favorite islands in the Caribbean. It helped that several of our cruising friends caught up with us there: Brian and Shelly on Aria, Gary and Niamh on Freed Spirit, and John and Belinda on Be As You Are. We also met "cruiser celebrities" Ann & Steve on S/V Receta; Ann Vanderhoof is the author of two fantastic books, "An Embarrassment of Mangoes" and "The Spice Necklace," which were two of mine and Dawn's first reads after we decided to go cruising. Bequia has a large fairly protected anchorage (albeit with variable holding), a cute main town with decent provisioning, good walking and hiking, a rich boatbuilding and whaling tradition, good dog-friendly beaches, plenty of dinghy docks, and a fantastic walkway around the main harbor that connects a ton of great bars and restaurants. Plus, shortly before we arrived, the floating "Bar One" was launched and quickly became a cruiser happy-hour favorite. All in all, Bequia is one of the most cruiser-friendly destinations we've found since Georgetown.

We stayed in Bequia for a week the first time, then moved on to Canouan - which is considerably less cruiser-friendly - and Mayreau, which is quite small but quirky and friendly. We spent several days in the Tobago Cays, which are a lovely little slice of the Bahamas transplanted to the eastern Caribbean, and a couple days at Union Island and one night at the private island of Petit St. Vincent before backtracking north back to Bequia on my birthday, April 17th, just in time for the Easter Regatta weekend. I did a wreck dive with the Aria and Freed Spirit crews that Saturday, and on Easter Sunday our friends Brad and Amber Phillips arrived from Portland, OR. After an additional day showing them the charms of Bequia, we sailed down to the Tobago Cays for two nights, then Union Island for a night to check out of SVG, and the short sail over to Carriacou, where we checked into Grenada. In all, we spent three and a half weeks in SVG, and really loved it. It was the highlight of our season.

After two nights at Carriacou, we sailed the 40 miles to Grenada and down the east and south coasts to Prickly Bay on the southwest side of the island. Brad and Amber left the next day and we set about exploring Grenada. After a few days in Prickly Bay / Lance aux Epines, we moved over to the Hog Island anchorage, where we were able to cover the south coast by dinghy from Mt Hartman Bay to our west, Woburn Bay and the town of Lower Woburn to our north, and Le Phare Bleu to our east. Eventually the need to make water and Hog Island's green mangrove water drove us to the Calivigny Island anchorage in eastern Woburn Bay. While there we met up with our friends Simon, Kim & Sienna on S/V Britican, who were at the Le Phare Bleu marina. During the last few days in Grenada Brian and Shelly on Aria caught up with us as well, as did Steve on S/V Alkemi, and a few days before we left we all attended a benefit concert at the popular West Indies Brewing. While we were on Grenada, we also rented a car for several days to explore the island, and went on a night-time expedition to the north coast to watch leatherback turtles lay their eggs, which was really cool. 

In the meantime Dawn and I had picked up a temporary crewmember, without really meaning to. Word had got around via the coconut telegraph that we were headed west, and Matt Ray was newly without a vessel as the boat that he had been crewing on since Australia (!) had just completed her circumnavigation and was going on the hard. Matt needed to get to Panama to complete his own circumnavigation, all done crewing on other people's boats, and was planning an intermediate stop in Bonaire, right next door to our own next destination of Curacao. Matt called us during the daily VHF net, we met up, he seemed like a cool guy and a capable sailor, and we agreed to take him on to Bonaire. He moved aboard Windbird the next day, and was with us for about a week since we left for Bonaire a few days later, after moving over to St. George for one night. It was our first time taking on crew we didn't know, and it worked out really well. Matt was a cool guy with a lot of great stories, a good cook who didn't get seasick below, a keen musician with a guitar, and a good sailor that afforded us a relaxing 3 on - 6 off watch schedule on our 4-day passage.

I think I have to back up a little bit. Originally we were planning to spend hurricane season in Colombia. Our late start to the season due to our repower, plus the fact that some good friends invited us to go sailing with them in the Seychelles in mid-May, made us abandon that plan and find an earlier hurricane season hideout. We considered Grenada, and once we got there we wished we'd gone with it as it's a great cruiser destination that we really liked. But, Curacao is considered safer from hurricanes, we could leave Windbird in the water there, and it would put us halfway to Colombia to start the 2019-2020 season cruising the Western Caribbean. We have cruiser friends who have summered in Curacao in  the past and said our intended marina was a good safe, protected place to stash the boat, and the price was quite reasonable. All of which led us to leaving Grenada before we would have really liked to, after only 10 days or so.

The 450-mile downwind passage to Bonaire was a nice one, albeit with somewhat light flaky wind  the first day out and quite a lot of wind the last 24-hours. The only real happening of the passage was routing my spinnaker halyard wrong the first day, leading to it chafing through after only a few hours of flying the kite. The mainsail was down so the boat stopped dead, and it was fairly easy to get the soggy kite back on board. We sailed northwest the first 150 miles, dead downwind/west the next 150, and southwest the final 150 miles in order to stay well away from the Venezuelan islands due to the risk of piracy. No pirates were sighted and we arrived safely in Bonaire on the afternoon of May 11th. We stayed for only 14 hours, just long enough to drop Matt off and have dinner at his Kiwi/Canadian friend Donna's beautiful oceanfront house and walk around downtown a bit in the morning. We really liked what we saw, and resolved to beat 30 miles upwind at the start of next season to enjoy Bonaire more.

On May 12th we sailed the final 30 miles to Spanish Waters, Curacao, where we spent the next couple dayings stripping Windbird for hurricane season. Curacao historically is south of the hurricane belt, but with climate change storms are becoming less predictable; better safe than sorry. We took our slip in Seru Boca Marina on May 15th, and on May 17th Dawn, Piper and I all flew to Miami and then Atlanta on American Airlines. Piper handled the flying well again. I flew a 4-day trip while Dawn visited her family as they vacationed in Pigeon Forge, TN, and then we left Piper at a DogVacay and flew halfway around the world to go sailing in the Seychelles. But that's getting into our crazy summer, which is a subject for another post.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Loving St Lucia

You never know quite what to expect when cruising. You read the guidebooks, talk to other cruisers, think you know what a place is going to be like, but it's never quite how you imagine it. And that's a good part of the appeal of cruising, of any form of travel really. If words and photos and video were sufficient to really experience what any given place is like, why go to all the trouble of traveling there?

I was prepared to breeze by St. Lucia. An early plan for this season had us spending 5 days, and at one point we considered skipping it altogether in the interest of saving ourselves two vet visits for Piper. There were a couple reasons I wasn't stoked. I knew there was a fair amount of charter boat traffic, and heard their tourism was largely geared to all-inclusive resorts and cruise ships, and I saw the reports of petty theft and even violent crime on the Caribbean Safety and Security Net website, and read online cruisers bitching about pushy boat boys. So the hassles seemed to outweigh the attractions, because I didn't really know the attractions. As it turned out, we ended up staying 14 days and loving it.

Mind you, I was gone on a work trip for 4 of the 14 days, which was our whole reason for coming to St. Lucia in the first place. It's not that easy to fly from Martinique or St. Vincent to my base airport of Atlanta, while my employer has daily flights from St. Lucia. And Rodney Bay Marina has a reputation for being nice while also being remarkably cheap. So we crossed from Saint Anne, Martinique to Rodney Bay on Tuesday, March 19th. We sailed all the way to the anchorage, beating past the beautiful Sea Cloud II sailing cruise ship. Rodney Bay has gorgeous water, great beaches including some Piper-friendly spots, a nice national park with good hiking on one end at Pigeon Island, and a cruiser-friendly dinghy dock at the marina with lots of good dining, drinking and provisioning spots around. What's not to like?

Crime, that's what. Rodney Bay has a reputation for petty theft in general, dinghy theft in particular, and even occasional boat boardings, reportedly originating from the local town of Gros Islet. And indeed, our second night in the anchorage there was a dinghy theft that was announced on the VHF net the next morning (and soon made its way to Facebook and the CSSN website). The particulars are interesting. The dinghy was secured to the mother ship, but the thief(s) were well-prepared with a bolt-cutters. The fact that the dinghy was left in the water and had a thin security cable rather than a chain made their job considerably easier.

When Dawn and I were in Antigua, we purchased a 10' section of beefy 10mm BBB chain and several additional padlocks, and revamped our security procedures before heading south. We padlocked one end of the chain to a hard point on the dinghy and, before leaving it unattended, padlock the other end to a hard point on the dock. An additional cable secures our gas tank and ties in with the padlock that secures our outboard engine to the transom of the dinghy. At night, we raise the dinghy on our davits, and lock it to our stainless railing. We also raise our boarding ladder and close the lifeline gate. Does this make us impregnable? Of course not. If somebody really wanted to get aboard, silence our wildly barking dog (arguably our best security measure), hold us at knifepoint, and steal most of our earthly possessions, they probably could (more likely scenario, they wait until we and Piper are gone, and break through the teak of the locked companionway hatch). But the point to all this isn't to make us impregnable, just to make us a harder nut to crack than the newer and fancier boat anchored right next door. I'm confident we are, so I don't worry about security too much.

Except when I'm at work. Because if anyone's paying attention, it'd be quickly apparent that I'm not onboard, and that could get some wheels turning in an undesired direction. And it's really hard for Dawn to get the dinghy on the davits by herself, which removes another protection. So far this season we haven't had to really worry, as I left her on the dock in Puerto Rico and St. Thomas, and the lagoon in St. Maarten and Falmouth Harbour in Antigua are both pretty safe. But in Rodney Bay I had to err on the side of caution. Fortunately the Rodney Bay Marina has fantastic floating docks and nice facilities at only US$.70/ft/day. That's the price of a mooring ball in the BVI. So it made for an easy choice.

The day that I flew to Atlanta, we rented a car and took Piper to his vet appointment in the hills east of Castries to get his health certificate to go to St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Then we drove cross-country to the east coast on small local roads, marveling at the sturdy houses splayed up and down the hillsides. St. Lucia was wealthier than I expected, with bigger houses and cleaner yards than seen in anglophone islands further north. We ate at a great local open-air restaurant on the east coast, Chill-n-Grill, before Dawn dropped me off at the airport. When I got back 4 days later (landing currency newly reset),  I split a $100 cab fare with a nice young couple from Birmingham, AL that was going to a resort just north of Rodney Bay.

While on the dock, I chose to have some local guys, Albi and Elvis, detail & wax Windbird (her bootstripe was quite faded and needed some restoration), and repair various dings in her gelcoat, $300 all-in. They worked wonders with the green bootstripe and waterline stripe, and overall she looks way better, but the gelcoat repairs were fairly amateurish. Which is to say, probably about the same as if I'd attempted them myself. In the guys' defense, they worked quite a few extra hours to try to make it right (only partially succeeding) and didn't try to get me to pay more than the initial quote. Because of the extra time to finish the work, we got off the dock a day later than planned (two days after my return from Atlanta).

In retrospect, taking the dock may have been the wrong move, for as soon as we got to Marigot Bay, Dawn fell in love with the place. Imagine a perfectly protected azure lagoon, surrounded by green hills and mangroves filled with birdsong on three sides and enclosed on the ocean side by a sandy spit straight out of a Corona commercial, right down to the tall swaying palm trees. Add a five star resort  with two gorgeous pools, to which your $30 mooring fee gets you free access (plus showers and fast  wifi). Add several friendly, lively cruisers bars around the lagoon and a couple of local joints up the hillside. We were planning to spend one night but immediately decided on two, and probably could have stayed a week. That resort pool was absolutely heavenly.

We knew Souffriere would be more rough-edged, with a history of theft against yachts, and so decided to take a mooring ball (mandated by national park regulations) between town and the Pitons. In fact, we thought the town wasn't that bad, and certainly has a good deal to offer cruisers, and were completely blown away by the mystical beauty of the Pitons. Our anchorage below Petit Piton was one of the most spectacular of the season, made even better by the nearness of a very Piper-friendly beach with easy dinghy landing. We only had two nights due to an April 1st appointment with the government vet in St. Vincent; we were sorely tempted to spend a third but would have had to cancel and reschedule last-minute, since we couldn't reach the vet over the weekend. SVG is one of the most notoriously difficult places for cruisers to import dogs, so we decided to stick to the original schedule. This meant that we didn't get to climb either of the Pitons.

Instead we did a half-day tour, booked through "our" boat boy (i.e. the first one that met us, a good 3 miles out of town).  It was a bit disappointing for what we paid (230 ECD, "reduced" from an initial quote of 300), mainly because the taxi driver rushed us through and the "half-day" lasted a bit over 2 hours. We toured the Souffriere volcano, which is small but pretty neat with a bunch of smoking fumaroles and bubbling mud pits, and then we visited the Black Water Pools. Dawn declined to do this bit as she hates getting dirty, which in my opinion was a real mistake. You dip in jet-black hot mineral water, emerge to smear yourself with gritty, nutrient-rich volcanic mud, let yourself bake dry in the sun, plunge into the water, and repeat. Or at least repeat if you don't have an insistent taxi driver hurrying you along to a small and fairly chintzy touristified waterfall. At least he was willing to finally drop us off at the Diamond Estate botanical garden & mineral baths, which was a really cool spot not on the tour. From there we walked back to town along a pleasant shaded lane. I was a little disappointed over the tour, but I gotta say that I felt pretty awesome after my mud bath.

I had decided to end our stay in St. Lucia with something really special. I made a 6:30 dinner reservations with Dasheen Restaurant at Ladera Resort, and we dressed up and took a taxi up the mountain at 5pm to have a few drinks and watch the sunset before dinner. Wow, what an absolutely magical, tranquil place with an utterly spectacular view of the Pitons. The signature cocktails were amazingly good, the slanting light was beautiful, the music and the mood and the attentive waitstaff just perfect. And that was just cocktail hour! As the Pitons faded in the dusk, we were ushered up two terraces to our table for two. Our waitress was super nice, the meal was fantastic, and even the live  entertainment - an older local lady softly strumming the guitar in a corner  and crooning a mix of eclectic covers and originals - was spot-on for the mood of the evening. It was one of our most memorable outings in a long time. Obviously, this is a splurge we can't afford to do very often (by my estimate, it cost 1.35 flight hours!), but it was the perfect end to our stay at a beautiful island that surprised us with its charms.

Dawn may have felt like a queen for a few hours, but when you live on a sailboat, reality is never that far from crashing on in. Soon after we returned, we got soaked while landing our long-suffering pup on a pitch-black beach in crashing surf. About five hours later, we awoke at 2:30am for a 3am departure to St. Vincent. And so it goes.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Speedblogging Thru the Islands

Ok, this being constantly behind really isn't working, I'm going to speed up our trip through the West Indies the last six weeks!

At the beginning of February, my parents (Dave & Sue) flew into St. Maarten, one day later than planned due to a family friend's funeral at which my dad (who is a pastor) officiated. I met them at the airport, rode the $1 bus to the dinghy dock bar, whisked them via dinghy to the customs dock, checked them (and us) out of Sint Maarten, and within an hour of their landing were underway to Ile Forchue, an uninhabited island just west of St. Barth. The next day, Dawn's birthday, we had a lovely hour-long sail to Gustavia (St. Barth), met up with our good friends Kara and Erin on S/V Vela, and spent the day exploring Gustavia, hanging out on Shell Beach, and celebrating Dawn's birthday at an Italian restaurant. We also ran into Dave, Erin and kids on S/V Roam at famed sailor bar Le Select. The next day mom and Dad and Dawn and I rented scooters and thoroughly explored the island, which we loved. That night we motored over to beautiful Anse du Colombier, where we rejoined Vela and then spent the next day hiking and snorkeling.

After a relaxing second day in Anse du Colombier, we set sail for an overnight run to Antigua, which was mostly a pleasant motorsail in light northeasterlies (we did get in about 4 hours of sailing when the wind got up to 8 knots - which we never would have been able to sail in before the new prop). We spent one night in Jolly Harbour, where we ran into friends Bob and Margo on S/V Ivory Star, and spent another in gorgeous Carlisle Bay. We snorkeled there and dinghied to the exclusive hotel for some rather pricey cocktails and a stunning $1000/night view. The next day we motored a few miles east to Falmouth Harbour, where we anchored close behind YouTube star boat S/V Delos. Later that day we actually ran into Brian and Karin outside the supermarket and talked to them for a little bit (we later talked a bit when anchored next to them at Green Island, and we met Brady and Alex the night they flew back in from snowboarding in CA - all very nice folks). We explored the very cool restored Nelson's Dockyard and then took a taxi up to Shirley Heights. This being Sunday, there was a fantastic steel pan band playing and excellent West Indian BBQ was on offer, both of which we enjoyed to the accompaniment of a really spectacular sunset. On Monday we rented a car and drove all over the island, getting a few practical things done along the way (including commissioning Marine Power Systems to fabricate a mounting bracket for our second alternator). On Tuesday, Dawn drove Mom, Dad and I to the airport, where we all flew on a WinAir Twin Otter to SXM (St. Maarten), hung out on Maho Beach for a couple hours, and boarded our flight to Atlanta. There we said goodbye as Mom and Dad headed back to snowy Minnesota and I started a 4-day work trip to Rio de Janiero.

After the trip was done, I flew back direct to Antigua (my airline flies direct once a week) and arrived back to a Falmouth Harbour that was abuzz with preparations for the Caribbean 600. We actually took Windbird out to near the start line to watch the start (which was a bit hectic in 20-23 kt wind and 7-8-foot seas) and then beat our way over to Green Island, which is a fantastic anchorage tucked behind a protecting reef (much like Ensenada Dakity in Culebra). After a few nights there we moved down to Mamora Bay, and the next day back to Falmouth. For a while it looked like we'd be delayed due to weather (and our next guests would have to fend for themselves for a few days) but then the forecast improved. We did Shirley Heights again that Thursday, collected the finished alternator bracket, attended the Caribbean 600 final party, got Piper's health certificate for Dominica, and sailed out of Falmouth Harbor on Feb 23rd, capping a fantastic 16 days in Antigua.

It was a lively beam-to-broad reach to Guadeloupe in big seas, to which we were rapidly becoming re-accustomed. Since our crossing from St. Barth to Antigua, I don't think we've sailed in anything less than 15 knots of wind, and most crossings have seen 20 kts or better. We've kept two reefs in the main and have mostly enjoyed the ride and especially the stellar boat speeds. Deshaies is a very pleasant, quiet little fishing village with just a little (mostly French) tourism, which turned out to be a good introduction to Guadeloupe, which is very French. I love France, so that's a good thing, but the language barrier did occasionally prove greater than anticipated. My longtime friends Lori and Kelly (who are fraternal twins) and their husbands Rob and Rob (yep) flew in on Sunday, arriving after dark. We've never had six adults stay on Windbird before, so the twins and the Robs rented a seaside apartment in Deshaies for the first three nights - that turned out to be the perfect arrangement. The next day, we all piled into their rented minivan and headed to the really wonderful botanical garden above Deshaies (which Howard and Doris on S/V Safara had told us about), and afterward rock-hopped up the Deshaies River. The next day we drove a big ring around the south side of Basse Terre, stopping at several waterfalls and beaches along the way and enjoying a scrumptious creole lunch at le Tepic in Capesterre. On the 27th we sailed down the coast to Pigeon Cay (best snorkeling of the season so far in the Jaques Cousteau marine park, but also the rolliest anchorage of the season), and continued on to the Saintes on the 28th. The mooring fields were all shockingly full, and after trying five of them we were reduced to anchoring around the corner at Terre-de-Bas' Grande Baie, which turned out to be the perfect secluded anchorage for that night. The next morning we headed back to Terre-de-Haut and scored a perfect spot in front of town. The Saintes were as spectacular as we'd hoped, and our guests loved them too - we could barely get them on the ferry to Pointe-a-Pitre! We would have liked to stay longer, but our next weather window was about to close for up to a week, so we bade a fond farewell to Guadeloupe on Sun, Mar 3rd.

Our close reach from the Saints to Dominica will likely qualify as the bash of the season, taking place in 17-20 kts gusting to 23 and steep, choppy 6-7' seas - but even in this, with double-reefed main and yankee, keeping the boat low and powered up at 45 degrees apparent, we were able to maintain about 5.5 knots boatspeed. Thankfully Portsmouth proved to be a very rainy anchorage, because there was a lot of salt to wash off! We took a mooring in Portsmouth, assisted by P.A.Y.S. member Lawrence of Arabia, who per local custom then became our designated contact point for tours, supplies, and anything else we needed while in Portsmouth. It's a decent system, one far more organized than the boat boys further south. Dominica is wildly different from Guadeloupe and Martinique, the two islands it is sandwiched between. It was always one of the poorest islands in the Caribbean, now even moreso after being devastated by Hurricane Maria. The aftereffects are even more noticeable here than in the BVI or the French side of St. Martin. The lush jungle, once the crowning glory of "The Nature Island," is still partially denuded. It's going to take years for this island and its inhabitants to recover, and even when they do I suspect the towns will still be ugly and trash-strewn, packs of skinny dogs will still roam the beaches and get kicked by drunken local teens, and unlocked dinghies will still rapidly disappear. As you can tell, Dominica isn't always the easiest place to love - but after 11 days we did end up loving it, quite a lot actually. So did our 16-year old nephew Dylan who joined us here. There is so much really cool stuff to see and do here, especially if you love wild beauty and outdoors activities (if I listed everything we did, this already long paragraph would be twice as lengthy), and the locals, whatever their faults, are generally the friendliest and most welcoming we've met since Saba (though Antiguans aren't far behind).

Dylan drove the boat for a good portion of our crossing from Roseau to St. Pierre, Martinique, which was a slightly close reach but in far more comfortable conditions than our crossing to Dominica. Arriving in Martinique after being in Dominica was slightly shocking. Everything was so neat, so clean, so frenchy. We enjoyed exploring the ruins from Mt Pelee's 1902 eruption, visiting the zoo/botanical garden, sampling distinctive agricole rum at the Depaz Distillerie, and snorkeling fantastically good coral (almost equal to Pigeon Cay) near our next anchorage at the fishing village of Case-Pilote. Dylan and I even heard whale song underwater - how cool is that!? In the surprisingly big and surprisingly nice city of Fort-de-France we met back up with our friends Jim, Lisa, and Sarah on S/V Into the Blue - since meeting them in St. Martin we'd hung out in Antigua, Guadeloupe and Dominica. We and they managed to snag a rare English-language tour of the massive fort from which the city derives its name. The next morning a very crestfallen Dylan had to fly back north to cold and snow and school, and we sailed south to Grande Anse, a sundrenched beach bum town whose beautiful bay has good snorkeling. The village of Saint Anne, our final stop in Martinique, took a lengthy beat to reach, but is a very attractive little seaside village. There are a shocking number of boats in the anchorage, but it's pretty huge and accommodated everyone without crowding. We spent a final night with Into the Blue and said goodbye, as they're headed back north after this. Saint Anne also marked the most easterly longitude that we will reach with Windbird, on this trip at least.

And that brings us up to a few days ago, March 19th, when we sailed on a gloriously easy, comfortable beam-to-broad reach (finally!) to St. Lucia. We were prepared to skip right through St. Lucia considering the tales we heard of dinghy thefts and petty crime and pushy boat boys, but now that we're here we see this island's charm too. We just took a dock at Rodney Bay Marina today and I fly out for a trip tomorrow, but when I get back we'll have another five or six days to enjoy Marigot Bay and Souffriere and the Pitons before crossing to St. Vincent and the Grenadines. This season had a slow start with the repower project, but it's been a hell of a lot of fun ever since. It's hard to believe there's only six weeks left before we leave the boat in Grenada; we're determined to get the most out of every day between now and then.