One year in the Caribbean…

It’s amazing how time flies! We just realized we’ve arrived to the Caribbean exactly one year ago. Little did we know back then that the world was going to change like we’ve never seen before. Lockdowns, curfews, face masks, contact tracing, emergency laws…

After Saint Vincent and the Grenadines lifted the requirement to quarantine in a hotel on land, we left Antigua and Barbuda and headed south because it is safer during the Hurricane Season. We spent a couple of months in the Grenadines kite boarding and religiously watching the weather for the next hurricane.

Frigate

The peak of Hurricane Season in the northern Atlantic runs between July and September, when tropical storms form south of the Cape Verde islands at a rhythm of 1 every 3 days.

Cape Verde hurricanes typically develop from tropical waves that form in the African savanna during the wet season, and then move into the African steppes. From there the disturbances move westward and become tropical storms soon after moving off the coast.

These Cape Verde-type hurricanes often are among the strongest, longest-lasting, and most dangerous.

Cape Verde hurricanes

The 2020 Hurricane season so far has seen a total of 29 named storms, 11 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes. It’s been a record breaking season: all the letters of the Latin alphabet have been used and we are now using the Greek alphabet. It only happened once before, in 2005. But there’s still a month to go to the official end of the Hurricane Season.

Anyways, here we are in Bequia enjoying a cold beer:

Bequia

Summer in the Caribbean is very hot, humid and windless. But, we enjoyed some good wind for kite boarding until mid August.

At some point our Raymarine Axiom stopped working. We tried to trouble shoot but there was nothing to do. Luckily it was still covered by the warranty, but we had to ship it back to the US. Unfortunately in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines there is no FedEx, and the Government stupidly imposes 50% taxes on anything coming from abroad, even parts under warranty. And because of Covid, they suspended the tax exemption to Yachts In Transit. Strange countries, these island nations.

So we decided to go back to Grenada, before entry entry rules changed again. We didn’t have to do any quarantine.

The RayMarine agent in Grenada was pretty useless. So I had to pull some strings, and I was able to get a RayMarine Axiom replacement unit shipped from the US in only 3 business days.

We had a long list of things to do, so we spent two months just working on the boat:

– Ray marine chart plotter under warranty replacement – Genoa stirrups under warranty replacement – Swimming ladder step replacement – Rain water catcher installation – Yanmar spare parts purchase – 3rd reef installation – Mosquito net hatch installation – Sail drive oil purchase – Sliding door block installation – Scuba tank purchase – Over the ceiling ladder purchase – Contact lenses purchase – Foot blocks for organizing lines – Haul out for anti-fouling – Under warranty gel-coat repair

We found a good sail maker and we had the 3rd reef installed on our main sail. We hope to never have to use it, but as our friend Joaquin says, “it’s a safety item, just like your life raft”.

Hauling out in Grenada was not as great as in Trinidad. Clark’s Court boatyard in Greneda and Powerboats in Trinidad have exactly the same cost, but unfortunately in Clark’s Court they don’t offer the AC unit, making living on board unbearable. So we were forced to get an AirBnB for the duration of the haul out.

Contractors in Grenada are generally less skilled then in Trinidad. Also, in Trinidad, the boatyard guarantees the quality of the work carried out by their contractors, and only contractors approved by the boatyard can work on your boat. They also vet contractor’s quotes.

In Grenada you are on your own, so you need to select and supervise contractors by yourself. That makes things very difficult. Luckily, labor is as low as USD30.00 per hour.

Anyways, we are very pleased with the results of the work carried out in Grenada, and now Oroboro is ready for the next Ocean crossing in May 2021.

Once all maintenance was done, we had no incentives to remain in Grenada.

So we decided to set sails for Antigua to resume our voyage north, exactly where it stopped because of Covid last March. And also because we think that after all, Barbuda is the nicest island we’ve been to so far.

#Bequia #Grenada #Grenadines #SVG

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