September 27 – October 13 2021; 7107 nm and 937 days after departure from La Rochelle.
Wow! That was indeed a very nice surprise to get the permission to travel to Carriacou. We were soooo happy about this information, I danced for joy, jumped in the water and I told all the fishies about it. Yippeeeeee!!! Sometimes authorities can be really nice! Now, our original plan to enjoy our last weeks in Carriacou and Saline island was again possible.
Before we set sails, we went ashore for a last garbage walk and to buy eventually some fresh vegetables in the little village Brizan, half a mile south of our anchorage in Halifax. Well, we got rid off the garbage and managed to buy some garlic. At least we got half of our minimum grocery list. Not bad at all, right? While trying to find some veggies we passed by some locals who just found a very young puppy-dog. They said it just rolled down the hill right on the street. They picked it up as there was no sight of the mother. A cute puppy, but no! we didn´t even think of taking it with us. Considering the huge amount of street dogs who are usually looking very poorly we can only hope that this little fellow will find somebody who is willing to look after him.
After our succesful grocery shopping and a last gorgeous sunset we were ready to leave the beautiful anchorage of Halifax. Though somehow we still couldn´t believe, that we were officially allowed to leave Grenada. I cleaned my glasses, checked the email again and yessss, the message was still the same. Free to go to Carriacou! And off we were, sailing to Saline island.
Arriving at Saline Island was great. Expecting lots of boats enjoying this particularly beautiful spot in the recent calm weather, we were thankfully surprised that only one sailing boat was anchoring there. And even better, it left the next morning and we again had our own spot. Due to forcasted stronger winds and waves for the next following days we reckoned, that that was the reason no boats were coming for the following lockdown weekend. With the advantage of our lifting keel, we squeezed Altimate very close to the reef in very shallow (1,4 m) waters. The reef was in the very east of the bay and to avoid some rolling we towed Altimate´s stern at a tree ashore. Like this, even with the strong gusts and the swell coming in we had a very comfortable stay.
On our first visit to Saline we already enjoyed the snorkeling – it was the first time I was snorkeling with a turtle- but this time we were flashed by the amount of fishes and corals. We were so close by the reef, we just slided (no jumping- too shallow) into the water did a few swimming strokes and the under-water-wonderland began. So amazingly beautiful! (I´m still so mad that we could not yet buy a new underwater camera.) I think I fell in love with the underwater world. To see the fishes living together in their little coral villages with beautiful anemones gardens is just spectacular. And every time you snorkel, you discover more. When we checked the anchore the day we arrived, a huge ray came to say hello and was bathing in the swirled sand pitch the anchor created. The turtles usually were pretty shy. I tried to follow one, but when she was fed up with me following her, she just accelerated her pace. I was not able to keep up with her, not even for a few seconds – she was much too fast. Spending so much time in the water I was wondering when our bodies would adapt and start to grow webs…
Saline is a private island and this time we met Ron the caretaker of the island. Ron lives with his wife and friend in a very basic hut on the island. Us, most of the times respecting and following the rules, didn´t really think of going ashore. First, there was a huge sign which sayed “private” and no trespassing and second Covid times, strong lockdown, no gatherings etc. Still we did communicate with them by waving and Ron passed by with his boat to say hello. When the three of them were gathering one morning close to us in the water we started to chat a little more. It seemed they were really keen on talking so despite of all regulations we invited them aboard. They happily agreed and joined us for a while aboard Altimate. We learned that most of the locals can´t swim (we knew that already) but they still enjoy being in the water. We´ve seen that a lot locals lay in the water close to shore or just stand in the water and chat or sing with their friends. We never really thought about it, but now being aware that they can´t swim I think they are very brave. Like Ron´s wife Faye she can´t swim but still managed to “walk” to Altimate. Ok, it was only 1,5 m but then again she was not much taller. I think I would panic to be in such deep water if I wouldn´t be able to swim😲. Ron told us a little more about the island and invited and encouraged us to come ashore. He even offered us a tour along the island. Of course we couldn´t resist. Such a nice family! So the next day, despite of lockdown weekend and whatsoever we went ashore and met Ron at his little hut. He was just finishing building a door for his house when we arrived. That gave us some time to play with his cute little dog Saline.
Faye also showed us some solar crabs (I think that was the right name), which they use as fish baits. They swore that fish love those and that they are easily to find everywhere on the island and easy to keep for a long time. So we gave it a try and looked for them. Not very succsessful! We found two tiny ones and one huge crab. They don´t seem very useful to us, which left us with no bait at all. On the other hand it was a bit horrible to use them as you had to take them out of the shell and then tear the soft body from the hard part. You would only use the soft tail end. Fishing is somehow horrible…
Ron finished his door, put on his hiking boots, took his cutlass (machete) and then he was ready to show us his small islet. (A real local never seems to leave his house without a cutlass. It is used for everything. Like clearing a way from anykind of nature, cleaning, cutting and filleting fish, chopping woods, gardening work and much more. A perfect allround tool, though quite dangerous.) We walked east through a dried out fresh water area until a watering hole for the sheep and goats who live on the island. Ron made it as he doesn´t want them come close to the beach, where they used to drink. He said, that they happen to disappear if people can see them. From the water hole we walked up the hill. It was the north tip of Saline which provided a great view of the island. We could see the saltponds in the centre and – clever as we were – we figured why the island got it´s name. Ron told us that he wanted to find and clear a way down the other side of the hill so that he could offer a round trip soon instead of going back the same way. We enjoyed the hike as it was and were very thankful anyhow. Ron was a great guide and we could stretch our legs despite a complete lockdown weekend. What a treat!!!!
After almost two weeks without grocerie shopping we were keen on buying some fresh veggies and hoping to catch up with some friends in Tyrrel bay. We said goodbye to Ron, Faye and Shiny and of course to our new underwater friends. Instead of sailing directly to Tyrrel bay we sailed almost to Anse La Roche, turned and then headed to Tyrrel bay. Anybody out there who wants to guess why? Correct! This time we were not only hoping to get a bite! We caught a nicely sized Barracuda, which served us for two days😋. By now we knew that we could eat Barracudas. Ciguaterra was not an issue in this area as long as they were less than a meter of size.
Tuesday, the following day, Keith Mitchell, the Prime minister of Grenada announced, that the restrictions of the previous weeks were partly released. No complete weekend curfew anymore and it was again allowed, though only for vaccinated people, to eat at restaurants and go to bars. Yeahhhh! Even sport gatherings up to 8 people were possible. Yessss! Back to social life, outside dining and noodling. What a relief! BUT the unexpected best part was the fact that Grenada reduced the costs for the PCR test. From unbelievable high US$ 150 to US$ 50 per person. Such good news!
You can imagine the following days we were spending a lot of time ashore meeting up with friends and enjoying the new freedom. Wednesday, the very first day of released restrictions, we met Louise and Joseph from Tangaroa 2 and walked together to Paradise Beach to have our first meal outside since 4 weeks. What a great feeling! We all enjoyed being together and able to chat so much. Only then we realised how we missed social life.
Suddenly there was again so much to do. We were even allowed to do our remaining two dives from our Open Water Diver exam. We could not belief our luck but of course we immediately booked a day for our dives with Deefer Dive. We did not pick the perfect day as it was raining like hell. Even worse, because of our excitement to dive we completely forgot to close our hatches. How silly one can be? The good thing was that I realised our open hatches when we were passing with the dive boat. That kept the damage in a reasonable range🙄. Time was flying, especially as we decided to finally leave Grenada and sail to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG). Actually it was only a little hop to the next island but of course due to Covid all is more difficult. Still, we did all our homeworks to please the authorities – in both countries. And suddenly everything we did was for the last time. Last time shopping at Alexis groceries, last time buying veggies at Rufu´s, last time noodling… Even worse was saying goodbye again. And then we were off to a new country. (Doesn´t that sound poetic? 😉)