Ed. note: Don and JoAnne Perrine took delivery of their Nordhavn 47 #27 in early 2005.
November 8th, 2006
What made Grenada particularly interesting for us, in retrospect, was that not much happened. Peter and Diane Werp completed their cruise with us and returned to California. We worked on our list of little jobs for the boat, in preparation for being on the hard for five months, joined a gym, made some friends and basically enjoyed ourselves. We stayed a little over one month, and our temporary “home” was at Martin’s Marina in Mt. Hartman’s Bay. It served as the base of operations for the crew building a resort on a nearby island, had seen significant devastation from Hurricane Ivan in 2004, and it had served as a base for the Moorings Sailboat Charter fleet in times past. Interestingly, in an attempt to make it easy to identify, it is locally known as Anse aux Epines, Secret Harbor, and/or Mt. Hartman’s Bay. Please hold any questions until the end.
Among the people we met were Doug and Carol Smith from England on their sailboat, Moya. They returned to the UK before our departure, and they are returning in January to cruise “up island” for six months. We also met Natalie Boudin and her daughters, Felicie and Bertille, from La Ciotat, France. Alain Boudin is an Oil Service Vessel training Captain. La Ciotat is where Pierre and Gilou Durand live; they sailed the French West Indies and Grenadines with us in March and April It’s more support for the notion that there are only 500 people in the world and they all know each other.
Martin’s Marina has a small bar offering sandwiches at lunch time and a US $5 per person BBQ on Friday nights. We went to the first one; however, in response to my drink request, they attempted to concoct a simple rum punch. Amazingly, the result was undrinkable. In preparing for the next BBQ, we asked about their bottled wine, which was limited to numerous bottles of Chablis prominently displayed on shelves. When I asked the price per bottle, the bartender said it was US $115 per bottle! When I expressed disbelief, the bartender called the marina manager and discovered that she was wrong. It was US $130 per bottle!!! There isn’t a bottle of Chablis anywhere in the world that is worth that amount of money. The solution was that we were allowed to bring our own wine to the BBQ!
One day we heard that a 130’ motor yacht had run aground on one of the reefs surrounding Grenada in general and Mt. Hartman’s Bay in particular. The vessel’s name was Tulley, and reportedly the Captain decided to enter the harbor around 4:00 PM with the sun in his eyes. This may not seem like an important point, but in the photo below you can see the reefs by the color of the water. Consequently, the single most important navigation tool becomes your eyes’ ability to read the different water colors in order to find the channel through the reefs. This point is amplified by the inaccuracies in charted reefs and rocks in the Caribbean. Most of the charts use datum that came from the late 1800s, so they can be off by several hundred yards, which is more than enough to run aground!
M/V Tulley is a steel vessel, so the damage to her didn’t include breaching the hull and taking on water. Instead, the damage seemed to be limited to destruction of the running gear (i.e. propellers, shafts, rudders, and stabilizers) and the underside of the hull being banged up. It took the tug Culpepper that came down from Tyrrell Bay in Carriacou four days of effort to work Tulley free. Evidently, at each high tide, the tug moved Tulley a small distance until finally she was free. Tulley was then towed to Martin’s Marina for an initial survey. After that, she was towed to St. George’s, the main harbor in Grenada, where a larger tug was brought in to tow Tulley to Curacao for repairs. It was in St. George’s that the Captain was fired.
We left Grenada on May 23rd bound for Chaguaramas Bay in Trinidad. Our plan was to spend a week preparing for five months “on the hard” followed by a week of local touring. Then we’d return in mid-October, re-launch, provision and head for Alaska via the Venezuelan islands, the ABCs, Cartagena, the Panama Canal and up the west coast of Central America. The next update will speak to the mother of all surprises – the loss of our boat, our home, our dream and the phenomenal disruption to our lives.