Leaving Carriacou behind, Ongemak’s crew hand-steered full sails to the “main” island of Grenada at great speed, with intervals of zero winds, bobbing along the coastline. We admired all the picturesque towns and the roads bending around the land bulging over the sea.
The sun drew its last sip of water as we approached the mooring balls on the Sculpture Park – our destination for the evening. All six moorings were taken and the friendliest advice was to head across the bay to find a mooring by Saint George’s. Night virgin navigation is not ideal, so with eyes widely stretched and Navionics glued to our hands, we navigated the final three miles and found a mooring ball that would hold us nicely for the evening. It was a beautiful evening with the lights of Grenada’s main town, St George’s, glistening on the water and with a light roll of the boat soothing our tired bodies to sleep.
We left early enough to sidestep the mooring fees. Muir and I took turns at the helm so that the other could stand on the bow and gawk at the absolute crystal clear water and reefs around us – a deep, pure turquoise.
We had only about 5 miles to cover before entering Prickly Bay at the South of the island with 15min to spare until I had to have my laptop open for a meeting. We took the first, best anchoring spot at the very end of the bay and happened to be close to Cerice and its captains – Mel & Dan – whom we met in Cabadello, Brazil years ago. Mel & Dan are both 100% committed cruisers, having lived aboard Cerice for the past five years with no end in sight.
DAY 1. That evening they introduced us to rum punch and homemade ginger beer, planning the days ahead. Turns out that, even though they’d spent ages at Grenada, their visas were coming to an end and they hadn’t explored the island much yet. Without trying, we would spend the next five days ticking off Grenada’s to-do list.
DAY 2. The next morning, we met up and caught a local bus (much like South African minibus taxis) to St George’s, and again from there to the North of the island at Grand Etang. The aim was to hike up to the peak of the Qua Qua mountain but first, we visited Seven Sisters falls, just a few kilometers away. It must be very difficult to understand, but being able to swim and bathe in fresh water is a real treat when you live on the sea. We swam under the waterfall and had some shenanigans.
From here, it was a 3km hike back to the starting point of the trail heading up to Mt Qua Qua. Grenada’s rainforest mountains are simply beautiful! The trail was muddy and slippery from the rain the previous day. We slid on the way up and slid on the way down and miraculously no one fell.
DAY 3. We stayed put, did some work and shopping, and had a chicken braai on Ongemak with Cerise, confirming our to-do list for the days to follow.
DAY 4. On the way to town, I jumped off at a mall to buy a new phone (mine was destroyed on the journey to St George’s), then met up with Muir, Mel, and Dan for lunch in the market. For dessert, we took another long bus ride along the coast to Jouvay chocolate farm/factory. It wasn’t the best experience. They had no one to show us around and closed soon after we arrived. We did buy some choccies and had a beer in the town of Victoria, chatting to the friendliest locals along the way.
DAY 5. Part of our Day 1 activity could have led to the Concord falls from Qua Qua mountain but it would have been a suicide mission (one that Dan was eager to take). Luckily the bus rides are almost all the adrenalin and adventure you need on a trip to Grenada. (If you’ve ever been in a virtual reality truck that shakes and bends as it navigates exotic terrain, you get the drift). They tend to race each other, seeing how many people they can drop off and pick up before another taxi overtakes them, hooting before sharp bends, warning anyone who might be on its other side.
The tar road leading up to the falls is strewn with fruit trees – mangoes, avocados, starfruit, nutmeg (so much nutmeg), custard apple, cacao, papaya, golden apple, etc. We picked some off the road for a snack. True to form, Dan & Mel suggested that we pass the Concord falls and walk through the lushest and thickest rainforest to another set of falls. We were offered a guide but declined and, washing his hands of us, the guard explained that we needed to cross the river four times, then head left and cross a total of six times before we’d reach the falls. It was slightly tricky navigating the path, but we made it to the center of Eden. The falls poured through what looked like a hole in the forest into a pool below a crown of green. By the time we reached the falls, we were cool and soaked in constant rain but decided to embrace the fresh water and swim anyway.
We returned from this long day tired and hungry. Muir and I offered to take Mel & Dan out for pizza in return for Dan offering to sew us a wind scoop (ok, I don’t know what it’s called). Essentially, our hatch opens toward the stern and so any breeze blows over it, never entering our cabin, even with 26 degrees (Celcius) nights. The wind scoop ties over the hatch, facing the bow, scooping wind into the hatch adn cabin. It was a lifesaver! Thanks, Dan & Mel!
Did I mention this was also the day we realised that one of the thru-hulls on the boat had corroded OFF.
Mel & Dan finally had to leave Grenada. We waved them off in the morning and then returned focus to the question at hand…was Ongemak slowly destroying itself? Not a stressless day but another blog entry’s problem.