Trinidad will not open its border in time for us to leave the Caribbean before the hurricane season intensifies in August. As a result, we decided to haul out the boat at Grenada which has just opened its border. We have chosen to split the route from Sint-Maarten down to Grenada and the first stop will be St Anne on Martinique where Mirja and Håkan are with Flying Penguin. The distance is about 250 M against the current and the wind.
Two days of sailing
With the weather forecast we have, it will be just over 2 days of sailing close hauled against the wind(you sail as much against the wind as possible) down to Diamond Rock which we will round before continuing east to Sainte Anne. We plan to leave Sint-Maarten as soon as the forecast shows wind from the east or even better from the north-east and in early June it looks promising. The day before we leave, we buy vegetables, apple and ice cream. Ice cream is important for raising morale during the quarantine outside Grenada.
Right now we can only clear out of Sint-Maarten on weekdays in Philpsburg and we are anchored in Simpsons Bay further north on the island. Taxis do not drive and it is not possible to rent a car, we do not want to go by bus because of infection risk. So without a car or a bike, we can’t get to Philipsburg. Since we plan to leave on Saturday when the wind seems to be most favorable. That means we need to clear out on Friday. We have to use our agent again to clear us out.
The journey south begins with the expected wind and we get a good sailing down to St Kitts and Nevis, though without any fish on the hook. In the evening we sail west of St Kitts and Nevis and get a fantastic sunset in the stern. During the evening and night when sailing south past St Kitts, we see two large fires on the island, but no fire truck appears to come to either of them.
As usual, the wind turns a bit back and forth, and sometimes we have to go west of our route, sometimes we can keep the course down towards Martinique. During the second evening, when we pass Guadeloupe the wind decreases and there will be strong counter current for a while. We want to arrive at Sainte Anne while it is light, so we take the opportunity to drive the engine a few hours outside Guadeloupe.
As we sail past St Pierre on the northern Martinique, Flying Penguin has seen our AIS and calls us at VHF and welcomes us to Martinique. It always feels good to hear a familiar voice after a long time at sea.
Arriving in Sainte Anne, Mirja and Håkan meet us in their dinghy and they show us to a place just behind Flying Penguin. Here it is much less swell than in Simpsons Bay, nice, now we do not have to hold on to something when we move around on the boat.
Arriving at Martinique, we have to stay aboard the boat for two weeks, that is, until we move on to Grenada in about 10 days. During the quarantine at Martinique, we must only be aboard the boat or swim near the boat. We are getting used to do quarantain time, we fix small things on the boat, checking Facebook, Twitter, reading, bathing and eating well. It makes the days go by fast and soon a week has passed and it’s time to think about sailing down to Grenada. We check the weather forecast every day and the forecast promise light breeze Tuesday-Wednesday, so we wait until Thursday to start sailing to Grenada which is 165 M. With the wind in the forecast, w it will take us about 24 hours to sail the route.
Grenada quarantine preparation
The condition for being admitted to Grenada is that we accept a two-week quarantine on board our boat (again) and the risk that we are infected with corona must be minimal by now. Then we have to do a final covid-19 test. Authorities have set aside an anchorage area outside St Geroge at Ross Pt with a notoriously poor anchorage. They fill up with 30 boats Wednesday to Friday every week and after two weeks you must do a covid-19 test and if you are healthy you must leave the area. Those who meet certain conditions may purchase an entrance ticket for such a period. In order to have time to quarantine and prepare the boat for admission in early July, we have chosen to start our quarantine during the period 10-12 June. This means that we need to leave Martinique around June 10, depending on the weather.
In the next section, we sail down to Grenada and spend 2 weeks at an anchorage with non-existent anchorage and constant swell without getting ashore other than to throw garbage at the Q-dock in Port Louis.