Oh gosh, another crazy week! Our days are getting a little busier now that we only have about six more weeks left in Grenada. We will be heading north to the island of St. Vincent once hurricane season is over, about November 1.
First up this week was renewing our Grenada cruising permit. Most islands in the Eastern Caribbean require you to maintain a valid cruising permit while hanging around in their territorial waters. For Grenada, the monthly cruising fee is $75 EC (Eastern Caribbean Dollars) which is equal to $38 CAD. Not a bad deal considering it is our only “rent” cost since we can anchor Wild Horses for free. The only down side to renewing our cruising permit is the process of getting to the Customs Office, which is at the Port Louis Marina, about two hours away on foot. To get there, we can get a taxi for $80 EC ($40 CAD) or we can take the city bus for just $2.50 EC ($1.25 CAD). Awesome! City bus it is 😊. We dropped Ocean off to be babysat at her favourite boat, Caretta, and headed off to the bus stop.
Oh, what an adventure. There are no bus routes close to our anchorage so we had to dinghy around the bay to Woburn, 10 minutes away. Catching the bus is straightforward. You just stand outside Nimrod’s bar and wait for a van that has a big “2” on its windshield. Don’t worry about which direction its going, the route runs in a big circle so you will get to your destination either way. Okay, interesting. But it worked. We caught the bus and twenty minutes later we were at St. George’s Inner Harbour. After getting off the bus, we had a lovely ten-minute walk along the waterfront and, voila, we were at the Customs Building at the Port Louis Marina. Easy!
After renewing our cruising permit, we decided to do some shopping. We picked up a few grocery items at the nearby Foodland and then popped into the huge marine store called Island Water World that was on the way back to our bus stop. Island Water World had a lot of the boat supplies we needed (yes!) so we left there with several big packages and two big smiles!
We got to the bus stop at about 1400 hours and waited for our bus. And waited. And watched as a few #2 buses sped by us. Then we waited some more. And watched more buses go by us. Each bus was packed full. Hmmm, what is going on? Well, we came to learn from a local guy that today, Monday, was the first day of school. And, 1400 hours was the end of the school day. You guessed it! We were competing for bus space along with hundreds of school kids and their school (and bus stop) was well before ours. Yikes! No wonder the buses were full!
Forty-five minutes later, a bus finally stopped and the driver said there was room for just two more people. Awesome! Well, sort of. The two available spaces were more like two half size spaces that we had to wedge into. And all those packages from Island Water World? They were stacked high on our laps! But the fun was not over yet. The bus was still on route. Stops had to be made and, remember, this is a van. When someone wants off the bus, everyone in front of that person must get off the bus to let them out, and then reboard the bus. This happened many, many, many times along the route. With our big shopping bags in tow, this was quite the exercise. Thankfully, the regular bus riders were very patient with us crazy tourists!
The next day was a bit of a play day for us. Dale on Wahoo (our event planner extraordinaire) booked a tour of the Belmont Estates Chocolate Factory, followed by the beautiful Annandale waterfalls. For those keeping score, this is our second chocolate factory and third waterfall in Grenada. Neither disappointed. We had a fabulous tour, some exceptional chocolate and then it was off to the waterfalls.
After grabbing some lunch at The Wild Orchid, a tree top restaurant right beside the waterfalls, we all went swimming. Oh, it was glorious. Fresh, cool, clean water and lots of time on our hands. It was a great way to spend the afternoon for all of us, including Ocean who needed a lot of coaxing to get out of the water at the end of the day. She was having just too much fun!
We rounded out our week with getting a few more tasks off our plate. Barry, our resident master electrician and amazing boat buddy, came over to install a second engine blower on Wild Horses (with two blowers in place, we now have a system that both sucks and blows 😉) and to create a new 50 to 30 amp shore power converter (lots of dock spaces have a 50 amp power supply but our boat runs on 30 amp). While Barry was creating the shore power converter, Mike mentioned that two of our solar panels were not working. This issue had just developed this week and was causing us to be in a power deficit every day, even on very sunny days. Not good! Barry dove into the issue and we are extremely glad he did. After testing the panels and the charge controller, and working through a few different scenarios, he found the issue. A fuse between the charge controller and the battery had melted. Yes, you read that correctly. Fuses should blow and not melt but this one was defective in a very dangerous way. It had loose connections inside the fuse that must have been wiggled free during some recent wiring upgrades we had done. This was a situation that could have resulted in a nasty electrical fire in the stern of our boat. Luckily, we have a battery monitor that showed the defective panels and a master electrician friend who was able to trace the problem right to the melted fuse. Whew!
Just a side note, tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of the day we threw off the dock lines and sailed away into the sunset. Well, technically, we motored into the mid-morning sun after waiting out some early morning fog, but the feeling was the same 😊. It has been a journey of gorgeous vistas, up-and-at-‘em days, planning, fixing, exploring, laughing and a lot of adult learning. A lot.
It also brings us a lot of excitement, hope and inspiration as we look forward to Year Two. We can’t wait to see what is around the next corner!
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Victoria is a hiker, dog-lover, blog writer and planner extraordinaire. Oh, yeah and she is kind of fond of living on a boat.