From Bequia we had only 76 miles to travel to get to the southern tip of Grenada. The forecast everyday was for 25 knot winds and six foot seas. Normally we wouldn’t go out in those conditions, but we were ready to get it over with and reach Grenada in time to prepare for our friends upcoming visit on July 10th. We left Bequia with the wind blasting behind us. I felt as nervous as I had when we first started sailing back in Maine and insisted that Jon and I both wear our life jackets and harnesses. This helped to eliminate my need to think through each step I would take if Jon were suddenly knocked off the boat, so I was able to relax a bit. Once we left the protection of the islands, the waves picked up and we entertained ourselves by trying to guess just how big they were, comparing them to the biggest we’ve seen.
Later that afternoon we anchored in Charlestown Bay, Canouan, just outside the moorings which held the only two other boats in the harbor, both charters. Squalls were predicted for the next day and we decided to stay put to wait them out. That next morning I declared that I would not be leaving the boat at all and was just going to relax. I had had my fill of long hot walks and decided I’d seen enough until we reached Grenada. Jon felt obligated to go ashore for a look around but must have been feeling equally ready to be done moving, as he returned without any clear and convincing evidence of any need to go ashore.
The next day I stepped foot on the island to accompany Jon to the immigration office where we checked out of St. Vincent. Several hours later we navigated our way through the hundred or so boats anchored in Carriacou to check in. Our sightseeing on the island was limited to the dock for immigration and the dock of the Purple Turtle where we ate a delicious pizza with callalou (a spinach-like vegetable), bacon, and egg, and drank our first couple of Stags. We called it a night so we could get up nice and early to complete the final 37 miles of our long voyage.
Within the first hour of leaving Carriacou, we were questioning our decision to go out that day. We were headed downwind with only the jib out when the first squall came through, so we reduced sail and comfortably managed the 30 knot gusts. The wind calmed a bit so we put up the main sail, but not long afterward the wind kicked up and hovered on either side of 30 knots for 30 tense minutes. This was around the time we were nearing the underwater volcano, Kick ‘em Jenny. We thought that instead of going around the outside of the cautionary zone we would run for the cover of the other islands on the inside track of the volcano. The wind and current had other ideas and we ended up going straight over the volcano as the boat ahead of us had also done. We didn’t think much of it until a couple weeks later when we were talking to friends who directed us to various news articles, informing us that when the volcano is degassing, all of the bubbles could lower the water’s density to the point that a boat could lose buoyancy and sink! I guess we’ll make sure to go around it on the way back.
Soon we could see mainland Grenada in the distance. I didn’t want to get too excited and say we had reached our destination while we still had 25 miles to go before we would be safely anchored, but the increasing proximity to our goal brought increasing relief. Mostly it felt surreal to find ourselves at this milestone – the island we had talked about for months where we would be able to stop and rest for awhile – and I’m not sure if it’s really even sunk in yet that we actually did it.
We’ve been pushing onward in a southerly direction for nine months, with the first few months spent working to escape the cold and the last hurrying to get out of the hurricane zone. We’ve visited 35 islands in nine countries and traveled 3500 miles. Spending the next four months in the same place seems an impossibly long time. That is, until I think about the work that we should probably be doing on the boat before we make the long return trip. But those thoughts can wait for now. My plan for the next several days and maybe even weeks, is to settle in and just enjoy not moving.