Night sailing from Trinidad to Grenada
Closing an Old Bank Account in GrenadaA white sandy bottom in turquoise water. We dropped our anchor in Prickly Bay Grenada. A hassle free and roomy anchorage is one of the major attractions in the Caribbean for cruisers. Hurricane season starts in June, and Grenada is out of Hurricane Zone.
We came here to take care of John’s bank account which he opened six years ago. It has charged a fee on of his deposit, but gives a 2% interest rate on the money. Grenada uses the Eastern Caribbean dollar which has a fixed value against the US Dollar.
In January, when we visited Suriname, we learned the devaluation of the Suriname dollar impacted the Surinamese economy. If one deposited money in a Suriname bank, the value of US dollars might be 50 % less than what was invested. These days, leaving money in a bank, looks to be a fool’s business
Swimming in Fresh Water by a Waterfall in GrenadaWe have more matters to resolve in the Caribbean Islands but it didn’t stop us hiking to the “Seven Sister’s Water fall” in Grenada. We jumped into the waterfall after taking two local bus rides and a short hike up the mountain. The mountain water was so sweet and tasty. It completely took the salt off from our bodies, even just for a day. I told John it was the best experience in 2018. He replied “That’s too sad.” Indeed, I really liked swimming in mountain fresh water, ironically.
Meeting a Taiwanese Sailor Girl in Grenada
Asian looking sailors are rare in this part of the world. When I see one; I immediately feel a bond and want to talk. I met Queena, a sailor from Taiwan the first time when we were in Cabo Verde. At that time, we were briefly introduced. She and her friends (from Italy) crossed the Atlantic Ocean a week or so before we did, maybe five months ago. Going to the Customs Office in Grenada, someone waved to us, Queena from Taiwan! It didn’t take much time to open our chatter box. We spoke very fast to catch up.
We learned that each of us has very little Asian food left on the boat. I mentioned to her that I ran out of Miso Paste (Soy Bean Paste). I also found that she loves Korean Hot Paste Sauce (Go-Chu-Jang) but she no longer has it. Next day, I gave a small tube of Go-Chu-Jang. The day that we left, she came by our boat and handed me some food from Taiwan. I am looking forward to making noodle soup with Dried Fish Flake and Spinach Miso Soup with Miso Paste from Taiwan. (John edit here: I would rather die a 1000 deaths than eat this stuff – end of John edit) Hoping to see her again somewhere…
Talking to “North Sails” Caribbean Representative in AntiguaOur next stop was Antigua. After finding a major problem with our main sail in Trinidad, we have been sailing without a main sail. We contacted the sail maker, North Sails. They have the Caribbean office in Antigua. John wanted to show the problem and also leave our ripped main sail in their sail loft, in case they need a special measurement while making a new sail.
We were told that our main sail is most likely sun damaged and the main sail cover (Sunbrella) life span is about three years. (North Sail’s Opinion) When we emailed Sailrite (major cloth and materials distributor), they told us the Sunbrella lifespan is about 10 years. We have covered our mainsail with a Sunbrella cover as soon as we arrive at a new place. In addition; we take our sails to a sail loft and get them inspected and repaired yearly.
After exchanging lots of talks and emails, North Sails has offered us a new sail at their cost. Our payment is a little less than if we were to order a new one from another sail maker. John told North Sails that a possible shipping place might be Colombia. In the meantime, we are sailing without a mainsail. We have been learning what a mainsail truly does when sailing. We have learned that it does a super job of damping the rolling and also makes tacking MUCH easier.
Finding Good Memories with My Mom, in AntiguaDevil’s Bridge in Antigua! About 11 years ago, I took an Eastern Caribbean Cruise with my mom. Antigua was one of our stops. At that time, my mom and I took an organized tour to the Devil’s Bridge. Arriving in Antigua this time by a sailboat, I wanted to visit this place and recollect her joyful and childlike smiles.
She passed away last month at the age of 82. A decade ago, she started showing her health issues. A few years later after having both knees replaced, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. This was the most horrible time in my life. I watched my ailing mom, who gave me nothing but unconditional love, degenerate until only her body remained; her mind was no longer there. Our siblings felt as if we and mom were living under a dark cloud during this time period. Her passing was deeply sad but we feel the sky is clear again. In my quiet times, I promise my Mom that I will live making her proud.
Enjoying French Grocery Shopping in Saint Martin, French Side
The best dinghy dock I have ever seen. Marigot Bay, Saint Martin. I recently read a book “Factfulness” by Hans Rosling. In his book, he categorized the people/countries around the world between Level 1 and Level 4. A majority of the people in a Level 1 country where the wages are about one US Dollar a day, in a Level 2 country 4 US Dollars a day, Level 3 country 16 US Dollars a day, and Level 4 Country more than 100 US Dollars a day. After reading this book, I no longer use some terms such as “Advanced, Developed, Developing, Rich, or Poor Country.” All of the people in the world thrive to move up to the next level, like we do in a school. Some Level 1 countries have moved to Level 2 and so on. By reading the data analysis on his book, the poverty and health level in the world has improved a lot.
The “Super U Grocery Store” in Marigot, French Side of Saint Martin Island is awesome! I have been enjoying the groceries from a Level 4 country, France: Gourmet Salad Leaves, Wine, Pate, Cheese, and Bread. I am realizing why French are famous for food, wine, and cheese. They are simply great and inexpensive. I wanted to stock up lots of wine and cheese but I decided not to. “Out of sight out of mind!” Having a lot of them on the boat would lead me to excessive consumption. For that same reason, I don’t keep cookies or potato chips on the boat.
One of our cats got surgery in Saint Martin, Dutch Side.Some lumps on our cat’s belly alerted us. We found a veterinarian (Consultation Fee: 30 USD) and had Enemy (Nickname: Chubster) get the surgery (removing a big chunk of belly and one of her nipples). She has eight stitches on her belly and has to live with a licking shield for 10 days. Her tissue test will be sent to the USA for a lab analysis. The doctor told us that the island doesn’t have a lab yet to justify the business. We will get the test result by email as we will be leaving Saint Martin next week.
Boating Stores, Doctors, and Pharmacies in both French and Dutch Sides in Saint Martin
Hurricane “Irma” attacked Saint Martin in September 2017. The boating stores and repair facilities have plenty of jobs to do. There are a lot of the boats to fix not to mention that some buildings and houses are still without roofs or with blue tarps. In Marigot, about one third of the restaurant/business are still out of business due to the damage. There is a McDonald’s where we used to go to use WiFi. It looks like it will re-open soon. I also noticed some street lights have been replaced with a better system using LED lights. Hopefully, pain brings gain for the Island of Saint Martin.
John visited some doctors to get his prescriptions as he had four years ago. The doctors are still at the same place. The consultation costs about 30 Euros or 33 Dollars. Medication prices are relatively inexpensive also. This is one of the reasons that we stopped in Saint Martin. In Addition, John has been buying lots of boat materials and replacement parts as they are easy to find here.