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Boldly Going Where Many Have Already Gone

It is a lot, and we are not even sailing yet.

Before we go any further, there is homework. Your job is to Google everything I bold in this post. Just so you get an idea of the kinds of rabbit holes that present themselves to us.

We have already discussed the preparations for this travel; we will pick up upon arrival in Grenada. This country has a system, and they are friendly and helpful about it, but it still a system and you will comply. In the arrivals area of the airport, we were tested again for Covid. This test took 48 hours to process, so we were whisked to our quarantine hotel on the Grande Anse. But not before we were quizzed about boat parts.

“Do you have any boat parts?” we were asked.

“No, just Jasper Hill cheese and two bottles of duty-free booze.”

“So, no boat parts?”

If we had only known that boat parts were to quickly become our new adopted child, we would have smuggled in every replacement part necessary to rebuild a Beneteau Oceanis 381 sailboat.

We isolated in the Seabreeze Hotel on Grande Anse, and were entertained by the driving shenanigans on display. Grenada has a highly developed system of private buses that serves as public transportation—and by private I mean O&Os, but serving a route, after a fashion. Each bus has a conductor that tries to drum up business as the bus travels down the road. Any hapless pedestrian will be accosted by these buses (think Toyota mini-buses, ca. 2010): “Bus! You need a bus! Bus!” But talking is a secondary impulse; Grenadians talk with their horns. It is a gentle, lilting dialect, and it fills the afternoon air with crescendo of tooting.

Freed from our splendid isolation, we were deposited at Whisper Cove

Marina to meet the boat dealer who sold us the boat. He dinghied us out to Camino (still called Nelson B at the time) and gave us the tour, which, on a 38-foot sailboat, is over quickly. We soon found ourselves alone on board, with a fresh wind blowing and Woburn Bay rolling us intently.

The first few days were a blur of discovery and bewilderment. As we dove into the lockers, we discovered the concept of

redundancy. And the concept of inoperation. Some things worked (the Navicom VHF radio). Some things worked but were clearly out of date, their time long passed (the SIMRAD, which is useful because it runs the radar, but which has largely been replaced for chart plotting services by things like Navionics and others like it).

And then there were the bugaboos of the refrigerators and sailboat holding tanks. W/R/T the refrigeration, we discovered that our batteries are/may be dying/dead, because they could not power the two units we have. Our house bank consists of three 165Ah AGM batteries, and they are failing. W/R/T the holding tanks, inactivity has left their outlet hoses calcified, and so we are learning about the process of removing ossified excrement.

But Grenada is gorgeous, the people are charming, and the ocean is everywhere. It should come as no surprise to us that there is a population of British/Commonwealth nations expats living here. Some are living aboard their boats. Some used to, but now live on land. And some are still sailing, taking a vinyasa on this beautiful land, where mangoes sweeter than you have ever tasted fall at your feet, where beer is cheap and cold and ubiquitous, and where rum (Clarks Court, Westerhall) is plentiful and flavorful.

So yes, a lot. But we learn. We beat on, boats against time and tide, borne back ceaselessly in two directions at once, taking one step forward, because that is the only direction.

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