7 Things We Will Miss about Grenada
Written by Pieter Jan on Aug 17, 2020 — 6 min read
At: Hog Island
7. The view
Cruising on a sailboat naturally leads you to the most beautiful and unspoiled places in the world. You can go to the spots where no one else can come. And those spots, on the boundary between land and sea, are magnificent.
For me, the most alluring of those places are piraty tropical volcano islands, like Grenada. The mountains are steep and dramatic, but covered in the most eye-popping, greenest jungle you can imagine. The sea and the sky are a deep blue hue. The boats of fellow cruisers add romantic accents of bright white to the landscape.
It’s simply breathtaking, every day anew.
6. The fresh air
The map above says it all. Air quality in Belgium is quite bad. Ever since we started sailing, we have not been ill once. Granted, tropical diseases are nothing to sneeze at, but at least there are ways to protect yourself. It’s not easy to protect yourself from air if you’re a living, breathing organism.
EDIT: We got back to Belgium. Sneezing, coughing, lungs and sinuses seizing up within hours of touching ground in the mother country. No COVID19, just bad air.
5. The fresh food
Grenada doesn’t have a huge choice when it comes to prepackaged and processed food in the supermarkets. Not like Europe or Northern America anyway. But what they do have are really short supply chains when it comes to fruit, vegetables and fish.
You walk up to a food stall next to the road, you ask if they have bell peppers, and the lady in the shack calls down to someone working the field: “HEY! Bring up some bell peppers!!” That’s fresh.
You walk in the harbor, see a fishing boat that just caught an enormous tuna, fishermen celebrating. They sell you a huge steak for the price of one piece of sushi back home. You head to the boat and grill it for half a minute. That’s fresh.
You drive along the road, next to a forest. You see a starfruit tree with a mountain of starfruit underneath that nobody has picked, because there’s simply too much. The driver pulls over and speaks to an old lady walking by, who coincidentally is a friend of his and also the owner of that piece of forest. She urges you to pick as much starfruit as you can carry. That’s fresh.
4. The weather
Everyday is hot and sunny in Grenada. Now, I can handle rain, snow and rosy-cheeked women, but I prefer being able to don just a t-shirt and shorts every time of the day, every day of the year, day or night. Fashionable? No. Funky? Sometimes. Feels good? Always!
Small talk is never about the weather in Grenada, because it’s always the same. 30ºC during the day, 24º during the night, topped off with a constant cooling trade wind breeze. I’ll take that over the usually cold and wet weather of Belgium any time.
EDIT: We got back to Belgium end of August. August should be nice and warm, right? To let us ease into our old life again? Nope. A chilly 17º, rainy, overcast. Welcome home.
3. The music
Music is such a big part of life in Grenada, especially in the cruiser’s community. There’s something to do for music lovers every day.
Monday? Practice jam on the beach for the musicians. Tuesday? A gig at Whisper Cove marina. Wednesday? A few guys will usually play at Roger’s barefoot bar. Thursday? Legendary Thursday Jam at Nimrod’s Rum Shack. Friday? Beach Jam on Hog Island. Saturday? A well-deserved rest and recuperation day, although you could head to the brewery where there’s probably a live band playing. Sunday? Hog Island party with live band for locals and cruisers alike.
That would be good anywhere, but what makes it really great is how inclusive and encouraging everyone is. Even if you’re an absolute beginner, you’ll be playing with the best in no time. Having no portable instrument on board, I borrowed an accordion from the lovely Sarah (whose riveting story about her boat restoration you should absolutely read). I discovered I could get a few notes out of it and tuned it. Within 4 weeks I was on stage at Nimrod’s performing next to Tom, a cruiser and captain whose kindness and encouragement are only matched by the size of his gigantic repertoire.
It’s simply magical. Music really does bring people together, so much that I’m planning to start or join a band when I’m back in Belgium. Looking for a percussionist, a bass player and a guitarist with a gigantic repertoire, but any friendly musician will do. I’ll play fiddle, keys or — why not? — accordion.
2. The freedom
The ability to just take the dinghy and go do whatever is very liberating. No deadlines, no stress, no “I-have-to-get-up-tomorrow-morning”.
What shall we do today? The beach? The swimming pool? Go hiking? Visit friends? Have a beer? To the city? The world’s our oyster.
The kids have their freedom too. Just drop them on the beach and let them explore. They’re known by everyone — cruisers with kids are a rare-ish breed — so everyone keeps a collective eye on them. Especially the older cruisers, missing their own grandchildren, give their grandparental feelings free reign.
Sailing gives you a lot of freedom anyway. Don’t like where you’re living? Just pick up your house and move. Like where you’re living? Stay a little longer. Want to live closer to your friends? Pick a new anchor spot. In Grenada, the gentle trade winds generally blow from the same direction, so the whole weather window hassle is eliminated too.
1. The friends
What we’re going to miss most about Grenada are our friends. The cruising community is close-knit, very welcoming and everyone takes care of each other — and of each other’s boats. Friendships blossom easily. We have the same interests, the same outlook on life, the same appetite for adventure, the same fears even. That creates an instant bond.
Thank you Tom, Liz, Keith, Ben, Anja, Aaron, Megan, Kat, Wazza, Rachel, Trampus, Brooke, Tyler, Mark, Abby, Mark, Olov, Gabby, Kirsten, Jens, Percy, Jack, Sarah, Gilmore, Jane, Jan, Gerry, Chantal, Jenny, Alistair, Ingrid, Mike, Karen, Bobbie, Noel, John, Anne, Denzel, Debbie, Julian, Gary, Dominic, Denis, all the boat kids and all the other ones whose life too briefly touched ours. We have become better people because of you.