Home » BLOG » grenada

Tag: grenada

An Interview with Sailrite

sail repair-7

Most of you know I’ve really been enjoying my LSZ-1 Industrial Sewing Machine from Sailrite. Even though I hadn’t used a sewing machine since 8th grade Home-Ec, Sailrite makes it so easy for anyone to learn how to do truly professional work! I’ve completed quite a few projects and the list keeps growing with items that need to be repaired.

Last year in Grenada was our first sail repair project. We took the genoa down and hauled it up to a flat grassy area at Secret Harbour Marina for easy access. Our buddy Steve from Lunacy (sistership/buddyboat) helped us out in exchange for letting him use the machine for some repairs of his own. He fell in love immediately! The LSZ-1 quickly went to the top of his wish list. He has plenty of sewing experience, and his own machine onboard, but he said this one takes the cake. He was blown away at how easily it handles heavy-duty materials like sailcloth and several layers of Sunbrella.

After hearing how happy we are with their products, Sailrite interviewed us for a feature on their blog. Curious about what we said? Check it out here! “Sailing & Sewing Where The Coconuts Grow

sail repair-2 sail repair-5 sail repair-6sail repair-8 sail repair-9 sail repair-10 sail repair-3 sail repair-4

Hurricane Danny

AL0415W5_NL
http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/cyclones/

Well folks, it’s that time of year. The hurricanes are upon us. This is our second season hunkering down in Grenada where we hope to be out of the path of most of the cyclonic activity. Why Grenada? Many other cruisers in the Caribbean choose to take their boats south of 12-degrees for four reasons.

  1. Many insurance companies will only cover you “outside the box” from June 1 to November 1.
  2. Everyone else does it.
  3. Grenada is very cruiser-friendly and it’s a fairly convenient place to spend a few months while hiding from hurricanes.
  4. It is statistically safer than anywhere else in the Eastern Caribbean. There is a really neat interactive tool on the NOAA website showing the tracks of all recorded hurricanes throughout history.
Atlantic_hurricane_tracks_1980-2005
www.spaghettimodels.com

Though there have been some devastating direct hits on Grenada, such as Hurricane Ivan in 2004, we generally have ample time to head south to Trinidad before we would be in the path of something so evil. I wrote an article about Hurricanes on the Horizon the other day on TinyHouseBlog. It also includes some interesting info about Kick ‘Em Jenny, the underwater volcano that we sail dangerously close to on the way to Grenada. Yep, you read that right, underwater volcano! Not only to do we have to watch out for hurricanes, we have to make sure we don’t sail our boat over the top of an active volcano. Boats don’t float on gas bubbles ;)

kej_3
http://www.uwiseismic.com/general.aspx?id=27

Not too long ago we saw a disturbance near the Cape Verde Islands off of Western Africa begin to grow. Along with everyone else in the Eastern Caribbean, our eyeballs were suctioned on to the screens of our laptop and iPhone as we watched it grow into a hurricane. This is the fourth named storm of the season, though the first that really had any danger of coming for us. Danny has been slow moving and very hard to predict. He is undoubtedly aimed at St. Martin, The Virgins and Puerto Rico now but forecasters think he will fizzle back down to a Tropical Storm by the time he makes landfall.

While Peter and I are relieved that we won’t feel any effects from Danny all the way down here in Grenada, our thoughts and prayers are with all of our friends that are up island in his path. Our good friend Genevieve on S/V Necesse gives a first-hand account of what it’s like to prepare and wait. I can’t even imagine what it must feel like to ram your floating home up into the shallow, dark mud of the mangroves with your family and all your belongings; tie off to the roots like Spiderman; throw out every anchor and fender you have; remove every piece of canvas and projectile object from the exterior of your boat; hope that creepy crawlies like cockroaches, rats and other bugs don’t invade your boat; praying that the forces of Mother Nature take mercy on everyone around you.

04L_tracks_latest
www.tropicaltidbits.com

That’s the thing with a hurricane – you just never know what might happen. Danny may decide to veer North or fizzle out and all that may be felt is the normal trade winds of 20-30 knots of wind. The price we pay to live in paradise… At least with a hurricane we are semi-mobile on a boat. It’s a lot harder to run from a tornado or earthquake.

So we wait. While Danny makes up his mind about what he’s going to do, we are watching two new disturbances that are scrambling to catch up to big brother Danny. A perfect storm? Let’s hope not. They’ve got a pretty strong chance of cyclone formation within the next 5 days so we’ll be watching intently from our cozy boat.

two_atl_5d0
www.nhc.noaa.gov

In the event that any named storms decide to put a bullseye on our bow, we’ll be referring back to some of our favorite resources on Commuter Cruiser and The Boat Galley here and here. Both Jan and Carolyn give some very helpful tips to keep in mind while preparing for a hurricane.

I have these posted on my Resources page, but if your curious what weather sites we like to check on a daily basis, here they are:

  • National Hurricane Center – Tropical weather advisories from NOAA/National Weather Service
  • Mike’s Weather Page – Up to date tropical computer models, graphics, links and storm discussions at www.spaghettimodels.com
  • Current Storm Info – Global Tropical Cyclone and Disturbance Info from Tropical Tidbits, including predicted intensity graphics
  • StormCarib Satellite Images – Particularly helpful to see the tropical waves and Saharan dust coming off Africa towards the Caribbean Islands
  • WunderMap – Interactive Weather Map and Radar from Weather Underground, with radar images for the Caribbean Islands
  • Weather Underground – Weather Forecasts and Reports
  • Windfinder – Wind and Waves
  • WindGuru – Wind and Waves

For the most current updates, click LIKE on our facebook page! That’s where we post all the daily happenings right now :)

Goodbye Grenada, Hello Virgin Islands

passage north GND-STT-5

I know, I know, I’m terribly behind in sharing with you all what we’ve been up to the last six months. I’ve been a bit more active on Facebook but it’s time I catch up here on the blog. Lets step back in time a bit…

It was the end of November when we decided to pack up and leave our cozy little anchorage as we waved ‘Goodbye Grenada’. Our friend Steve on Lunacy was aiming for the same weather window we were to head North before the Christmas Winds arrived, though he took off a few days before us (pictured above). He knew it would be a little rough but preferred to have enough wind to sail the entire way and not have to motor as long as he could help it. We, on the other hand, preferred to wait for slightly calmer waters.

Instead of island hopping up the chain, we plotted a course straight to USVI from Grenada. The first day offshore was a bit uncomfortable, but we had been through worse. Eventually the wind and waves subsided and we motor-sailed the rest of the way in the light and variable winds. Could we have handled the rougher conditions that Steve experienced and used less fuel? Sure. Did we want to put the stress on our boat and on ourselves? No. Because we have dogs on board, rough conditions make it very challenging to take the dogs potty on deck and to simply make sure they’re safe. Gunner is getting older and we agreed it would be better for all of us if we took it easy.

DCIM100GOPROG0300521.

I’d say Gunner was comfortable, wouldn’t you? :)

passage north GND-STT-10

It was just us and the ocean. All alone. We were maybe 100nm away at most from any land though it felt as if we were in the middle of nowhere. After living in Grenada for a solid 4 months it was really strange to be on a passage again. Only this time, we felt at home. It was a new experience in the sense that it was our longest offshore passage to date, though we knew what to expect and we were prepared in a way that we hadn’t been before. A little bit of experience goes a long way.

passage north GND-STT-14

I had made a few ziplocks full of popcorn to snack on and the dogs sure were happy to share. It’s been Gunner’s favorite treat since he was a puppy so he was pretty excited when Peter kept tossing him some as we leisurely cruised along.

We saw gorgeous sunsets and sunrises, each with new palettes of colors painting the entire sky.

passage north GND-STT-23

We saw The Green Flash and even captured it on camera a few times… Can you see it? Look close.

passage north GND-STT-25 passage north GND-STT-27

Before we knew it, three and a half days had passed by and we were sailing into the US Virgin Islands. We passed by St. Croix and headed for Great St. James Island. Little did we know, Christmas Cove would be our home for the next six months.

 

We are currently STILL sitting in Christmas Cove and preparing to had back down island for Hurricane Season. Stay tuned for photos of all the friends and family that came down to visit and kept us busy during the last six months!

IZZY IN THE ISLANDS

It feels like yesterday that our friend Izzy was here on the boat with us…

Izzy-26

Peter and I had been chatting with Izzy over emails for quite some time. He found us while searching for cruising blogs with dogs and had a-million-and-one  questions about how we went from zero sailing experience to being liveaboards in the Caribbean. He had questions about having a dog on board, safety in foreign countries, how we have access to the internet, what we do for food, and all kinds of other questions about the cruising lifestyle. He seemed genuinely interested in the whole experience and was very appreciative of the time we spent talking with him. We knew there was something special about this guy, so we kept writing back.

You see, Izzy has the same dream we once did to sell everything, buy a boat and sail away with his furry four-legged best friend. He desperately wants to leave the rat-race behind and go explore the world. He shares our passion for the sea, for the tropical sun and for the feeling of freedom you get when you hoist those beautiful white sails and turn off the engine.

Izzygopro-1

We invited Izzy down to come sailing with us and see what this lifestyle is all about. He arrived in Grenada toward the beginning of November just after our haul out. We took him grocery shopping in Grenada and showed him how to get around. Then we showed him our whole routine. Docking the boat for fuel, cleaning the bottom of the boat, securing the outboard motor before a passage, navigating through channels, trolling fishing lines under way, and many other operational tasks. He learned about watermakers, engine maintenance, marine plumbing, and all kinds of other bits of knowledge we’ve acquired over the last year and a half.

Izzy-1Izzy-2 Izzy-3

We left Grenada and sailed up to Sandy Island just North of Carriacou. Peter and I had been there before and wanted to show Izzy the pretty beach and great snorkeling.

Izzy-5 Izzygopro-7

Peter showed him how he dives the anchor to make sure it’s dug into the sand well. We even had him watch underwater as I backed the boat down in reverse so he could actually see the anchor dig in.

Izzy-6 Izzy-7

It’s a good thing we took extra care making sure our ground tackle was secure because later that night Izzy experienced his very first squall. We had gone over to visit our friends Mike and Jennifer on Three Sheets for sundowners and dinner when a 30-knot squall barreled through. It was pitch-black and we had anchored in the back of the pack just in front of a reef. It was more stormy than we cared to venture out in by dinghy to go check on the boat so we sat tight on Three Sheets and waited out the storm. Our Delta anchor held solid, though my stomach was in knots the entire time.

That night we laughed so hard we all got an ab workout and Izzy was super stoked to experience first hand just how amazing the cruising community really is. He couldn’t believe how easy it was to meet such kind people that all share a similar passion. We’re pretty sure he was already hooked but this night really sealed the deal :)

Izzy-9 Izzy-10 Izzy-12

To put the icing on the cake, we took Izzy to the Grenadines and made our way over to the Tobago Cays. Our first trip there a month before was amazing but seeing it again was just unreal. The view is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced and I’m pretty sure Izzy felt like he was in a dream too.

Izzy-14

We swam with turtles and dove along the drop-off at Petit Tabac. Izzy got the full Caribbean experience in our favorite place of all time.

Izzygopro-8Izzy-15 Izzy-16 Izzy-18

We visited with our friends Dustin and Courtney on Captiva over an incredible gourmet lobster dinner and Izzy heard even more amazing cruising stories.

Izzy-20 Izzy-22 Izzy-24 Izzy-27 Izzy-29

I’m short and all… but Peter was standing up hill from me, I swear :)

Izzy-36 Izzy-37 Izzy-38 Izzy-39  Izzygopro-3 Izzygopro-4 Izzygopro-6  Izzygopro-2

We hope Izzy had a good time, we know we sure did! He is back in LA now tying up some loose ends and selling many of his belongings. When he finds the perfect cruising boat he plans on moving aboard with his dog, Kova, and then he’ll prepare the boat to meet up with us (we hope!) down island.

Izzy is a fantastic writer and an INCREDIBLY GIFTED artist, illustrator, designer and instructor. If you’re interested in learning more about Izzy and why he is choosing this amazing life at sea, click >>here<<. If you’d like to follow his progress be sure to check out his website: www.artaboard.com 

We’re currently in the US Virgin Islands looking for work now that Peter has completed all the coursework for his 100-ton Masters Captain’s license!  Do you know anyone that’s hiring?

Hauling Out

Before we left Grenada a few months ago, we were singing the boatyard blues, hauling out to fix a few things and get some fresh bottom paint on Mary Christine.

haul out 2014-1

Read more