Grenada - and the bumpy road to get there

Once Upon A Saga: country #64 of 203
I've never been much for beautiful islands and beaches. But I certainly see why others are!

It should have been so easy. Just boarding that ship back in Port of Spain and heading north to Grenada and taa-daaa. But someone threw a stick in my wheel and changed the course of everything. And that turned out really good for me although I was frustrated for a while.

My friend Zaak who hosted me while in T&T had even created a standard form letter which could be signed by any captain in order to please customs. Good plan but it didn't work out that way. During all of this I bought a two way portable VHF radio a.k.a: a walkie talkie. Probably because you walk and talk. But where does the baby language come from? Anyway...the plan with that was to enable me to speak with multiple sailboats at the same time. I found it to be a slow process going from person to person or from boat to boat asking around. And also a little unprofessional. Radio: much better! :)


My VHF radio

So with new hope I was ready for the "morning call" at 08:00am the next day. In Chaguaramas marina most or many boats tune into channel 068 at 08:00 in order to hear the latest updates on weather, new arrivals, general information etc. Chaguaramas is only around 15 minutes away from Port of Spain so it wasn't too complicated. As soon as I saw my chance I took over on my VHF and said: "this is Thor with Once Upon a Saga". The coordinator permitted me to continue probably thinking that my boats name was "Once Upon a Saga". I explained my situation and really didn't get much of a response. However after the "morning call" a few boats got in touch with me over the radio and my hopes really came alive. One boat which sounded hopeful to me was the "ACES4".


Chaguaramas, where I met everyone

As I sat at the dock in all my hopefulness I was approached by several people who had heard me on the radio. They couldn't give me a ride but they were inspiring and helpful in other ways. 1 of them was a South African onboard the "Pussy Galore" and his name was Shaun. Shaun offered me that I could stay on his boat with him for a few days if we shared costs for food etc. As I was still hoping to find a boat that would take me to Grenada the same day I hesitated. But as the day progressed I got back to Shaun and he picked me up in his dingy. 



Shaun is a real inspiration. His living costs are around usd 5/day if you do not count repairs on the boat. He has the smallest carbon footprint of anyone I've ever met. He leads a simple but fulfilling lifestyle on his classic "bobcat" catamaran. And he is quiet, friendly and knowledgeable regarding sailing and a "yachties" life. According to Shaun all the sailboats were yachts and those onboard were yachties. A FIFO is someone who Flies In and Flies Out and not someone who sticks around on the boat for a long time. "Plastic fantastic" is any boat that has been crafted out of glass fiber. A "monohull" is a regular sailboat while a catamaran is kind of 2 sailboats connected together with a platform and with air in the middle underneath. According to Shaun (with a wink in his eye) the only real boats were wooden the one he owns I suppose :)


Shaun invited a few friends and we all went to Scotland Bay on a day trip.

I learned a lot from Shaun while we lived on the "Pussy Galore" and drank rainwater for a few days. Well, actually we used rainwater for anything else than drinking since water is free in Chaguaramas. But I'm sure that he drinks rainwater when he has no fresh water left. And why not? In fact most of the boats I have seen, collect rainwater from the roof which can be used for just about anything. To generate electricity the boats commonly have solar panels or small wind turbines - often both. It's a healthy lifestyle for the planet and for the economy of the yachties. Truly inspiring. 


At this point my Scandinavian skin must have been going: "aaaarrrrggghhh!! What's the bright light coming from the sky!!?"

Erik, the captain of the "ACES4" proposed to meet me and so we did. Later that day he came back to me and said that I was welcome to leave T&T together with him and his family in a few days. And that was great news!! Without knowing it Erik became a very important part of Once Upon a Saga. Because without any public transportation from T&T to Grenada I was very much dependent on getting help from a stranger. And what do you know? And stranger turned out to be a friend once again.

Before leaving Chaguaramas I was fortunate enough to meet John, another South African yachtie onboard another catamaran (the "Stingo"). Apart from John being a nice guy I felt lucky because John happens to be the owner and founder of which is an online forum where boats can look for crew members - or crew members can search for a boat. It's basically skills for passage in my case. However my boating skills are down to almost nothing. I can however clean barnacles of the bottom of sailboats in order to provide the boats with optimal speed. And that is precious. Barnacles are an aquatic life form that attaches it self to the bottom of the boat. They simply need to be scraped off but to do so someone must go into the water with a scraper. 


John of (and yes, that's a Viking ship wannabe in the back)

The day arrived when Erik came to pick me up. We headed out to the "ACES4" which was another catamaran. My personal catamaran experience has truly been growing lately. Now; Erik's catamaran is surely the largest privately owned boat I have ever been onboard. Erik is from Colorado in the US and his wife, Sherry, is a beautiful mix of Guyana and T&T. However she has lived the past 12 years in Colorado so it's hard to say where she is from. Christina and Andrew are their 2 children and when you put the first letter of all their names together in the right order it spells out: A-C-E-S. And they are a family of 4 so: ACES4. Magic!! :)

Christina and Andrew are 2 amazing children and they are both capable of much more than what I would expect from children of their age. Christina had her birthday today and turned 11. Andrew is the younger brother who easily starts the engine of the dingy and ferries the rest of us from the boat to land and back again. I guess that when you raise your children away from home and homeschool them then you open up a world where children can advance within skills unlike any of their peers. But perhaps you trade off the comfort of familiar surroundings and friendships with classmates. Who is to say what is best. Perhaps a mix?


When I say away from home it's not a precise description. Because the "ACES4" is certainly a home. Everyone had their own room (cabin). There is a common area and a kitchen and the boat is fitted with 2 toilets. Besides, this is where the laundry is done, tears are shed, joy is shared, meals are consumed, books are stored and life is lived. It's a floating home.

I could not have been offered passage from a lovelier family than this one. We sailed from T&T to Grenada during the night. Erik instructed me in how to steer his boat and read all the gadgets and trusted me to stand watch while he "slept" for a few hours. He never really slept and was only a few arms lengths from me but I nonetheless felt like I was guarding over his family for a few hours during the night. When my "watch" was over I was told that I could head down and sleep for a while. Technically I could. But in reality I came running up after having spent only seconds below. Seasickness struck quickly and I barely made it outside before my dinner departed my body the same way that it came in. So I stayed on deck until we reached Grenada.


Arriving, seasick, to Grenada at Prickly Bay.

We arrived to Prickly Bay and after a quick swim in the unbelievably blue ocean we all had some soup. Looking around the bay I wouldn't have thought that I was anywhere else than paradise. Erik and I headed ashore with the dingy in order to clear customs and immigration. However the immigration officer had left early so we hadn't officially arrived that day. Erik then invited me to stay another night on the fact...he said I could stay 2 more nights which I did. And that wasn't a hard choice to make...because as I already mentioned I couldn't have received passage by a lovelier family. The children were fun to be around, Erik is a solid guy and Sherry is as sweet as they come while being a great chef! ;)

I have enjoyed the hospitality shown by both the "Pussy Galore" and the "ACES4". And so far I'm only on my second country within the 13 island nations I have planed to visit here in the Caribbean. Who knows who else I'll meet? Meeting people is however not the hard part. It's the saying farewell that gets to me. Most boats are heading north right now within the Caribbean so there is a fair chance of a reunion which I hope will be the case.


I came across this wooden fishing boat from Denmark. A little bit of home.

In all fairness I haven't seen much of Grenada. It is known as the spice island and it is one of the worlds largest exporters of nutmeg and mace crops. Now how is that possible with a population of only 110,000? Probably magic. It feels magical to be here. It feels relax full, friendly and stress free. And with the small population it's not exactly the case that everyone knows everyone. But in most cases people know someone who knows the person they don't know. You know?

St. Georges is by far the most calm capital I have ever been to. Well...come to think about it I did visit Torshavn in the Faeroe Islands and that was pretty calm too. In St. Georges you can almost feel the stress slide off your body and disappear into the ground below you. The locals are very kind and helpful and news travels fast. And it all looks amazingly picturesque. The Caribbean vibe carries on from T&T with the liming and wining. The carnival, the music, the food and the happy rhythm of life. So I would certainly say that there are similarities. But I would never mistake 1 country from the other. The difference is to great for that.


Her Majesties Prison, St. George's.

And the difference from being back home in Scandinavia is clear too. I was sitting in a minibus listening to the local tunes which the driver so happily shared with us. I started wondering how someone in the back might signal the driver to stop? Perhaps shout: stop!!? But no. It's so much more elegant. Anyone who wishes to leave the bus simply taps the window or the roof. The drivers helper hears this and snaps his fingers. The driver hears that snap and pulls over to the side of the road. Fantastic! Who needs electronics?

Today I had scheduled a meeting with the press at the Red Cross with help from the Red Cross. I was in the office yesterday in order to visit and pay my respect. But it was no trouble for me to come back again today. 3 different news teams interviewed me (in a country with 110,000 people). I welcome the free press. In most cases I get the same 8-10 questions wherever I go: "why do you do it?, how many countries have you been to?, what do you think of our country?..." Always good questions but I enjoy getting new ones. In Grenada I did get a few new ones which makes me think. So thank you Grenada :)


The bay view from the Red Cross (Wednesday)

And thank you Grenada Red Cross. Because it's getting close to midnight and I'm still in the office. And I will be sleeping here tonight on a madras on a stage next door :) That's new. The Red Cross office is situated high above St. George's with a spectacular view of the city and bay. That's if you look to your right. If you look up to the left you will see a building that looks somewhat like a fortress on the top of the mountain. But it's actually a prison. It reminds me of something I heard while on the Alcatraz tour in San Francisco. The prisoners there could look out the window and see San Francisco which contained everything they couldn't have. I wonder if it might be the same for the prisoners in Grenada looking down on St. George's? It probably is.


The bay view from the Red Cross (Thursday). Raining all day. Sometimes so hard that you couldn't see a thing.

Well, if it's Friday November 14th when you read this then I will be boarding a ferry at 09:00am. It should take me to Carriacou which is an island north of here (still Grenada). And the ferry might even continue further north to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines which is the next country. So how about that? I'm so relaxed know that I don't even know exactly where I'm going ;)

Ya man...


Best regards
Torbjørn C. Pedersen (Thor) - learning a lot about islands and boats.


Once Upon a Saga
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