Oh my, the heat. The temperature in Grenada has been dancing between 27° to 32° Celsius for the last month and we are expecting even more heat as we go into September, typically the hottest month here in the Caribbean. But wait a second. Summer in Kingston, Ontario often hits these same temperatures, right? I mean, we should feel right at home. Hmmm, not so. You see, the temperature only tells part of the story. The real story lies in a nasty mixture of humidity, the wind speed (or lack thereof) and another more subjective factor I like to call “whatcha-used-to”.
This last factor is really the difference maker.
For us in Canada, “whatcha-used-to” was air conditioning. House, car, place of work, stores. Generally all air-conditioned. Yes, one had to make multiple brave steps in the non-air conditioned humidity from house to car, and then from car to store (and then, I shudder, do it all again in reverse) but you only got hit by the heat for minutes, not hours and certainly not days. There, in Canada, “sweat” was something we did once in awhile.
For us in Grenada, “whatcha-used-to” is heat and humidity. That tolerable 27° to 32° Celsius is actually a suffocating 34° to 39° Celsius with the humidity. And we aren’t jumping from air conditioning to air conditioning. Some stores are air conditioned but you are walking at least 20 minutes in the heat to get there. Yeesh. On the boat, our air conditioning only works if we are plugged into shore power. Some boaters have a proper generator on board but not us. Our little Honda 2000 generator isn’t strong enough to run air conditioning. Here, in the Caribbean, “sweat” is a full-on Olympic event from sun up to sun down.
But a funny thing has happened on our increasingly warm trip down to the Caribbean. We started to get acclimatized to the temperature. Don’t get me wrong, we still sweat buckets on hot days, but we can tolerate more and more heat. Staying too long in air conditioning set too low is almost torture for us now. And along with our increased tolerance, we have an arsenal of ways to stay cool when that temperature really spikes.
On the boat, all hatches and our full enclosure stay wide open. The breeze coming through our cockpit is incredibly cooling. Inside the boat, we have fans. Oh, those glorious fans. We have six on the boat, strategically placed and permanently set to MAX. With this one-two punch of breeze + fans, we have yet to have a poor night’s sleep due to heat. We have also traded our hot morning coffee for delicious iced brew so we can delay the onset of “sweat”. It is still weird for me when I have to tell Mike “Drink up. Your coffee is going to get hot” 😉.
How else do we stay cool? Swimming, shade and siestas!
We are lucky to have a very nice anchorage where the water is clean and clear. Ocean usually swims most days so she is cooling off while also getting some much needed exercise. For us, we prefer the fresh water pool at Le Phare Bleu, a little resort just a dinghy ride away. There we can lounge about the shaded pool area, swimming and enjoying great conversations with our fellow cruisers. The shade anywhere makes a big difference, usually by 3° to 4° degrees. I’ll take it!
Oh and siestas. Some days, those really hot and windless days, the only way to avoid dripping in sweat is to sit still during the hottest part of the day, late afternoon. A siesta. Don’t go for a walk, don’t do errands, don’t clean/build/fix anything. Sit still in whatever shade you can find, drink something cold and read a good book, chat with friends, whatever keeps you sitting still.
Today, actually, is one of those really, really hot days. It is 39° with the humidity and there isn’t a stitch of wind. But today we are lucky. We are at a dock getting some work done on our alternator (it was running hot, just like us 😉) so you better believe that our air conditioner is ON. But it isn’t on to make things cold. It is set to 29° Celsius. Just low enough to take the humidity out of the air and let us sleep comfortably. Decadent, but not messing with that acclimatization we have earned.
Tomorrow, though, we will move Wild Horses back into the anchorage. Our boat work is done (new, bigger cables for the alternator, new fuse in one of our lithium batteries, and the batteries finally on bus bars) so we no longer have a need to be at dock. And, thankfully, the wind is supposed to pick up again. Back to breezy, comfortable sunsets in the cockpit of Wild Horses. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Click the links below to see where we are today and where we plan to be next!
Victoria is a hiker, dog-lover, blog writer and planner extraordinaire. Oh, yeah and she is kind of fond of living on a boat.