After the last year' s inactivity, we started the new season with a relatively ambitious plan. We decided to reach St Anne, Martinique in less than a week, since Al saw a window of extremely calm weather for about 7-8 days, starting with Thursday, November 14, 2013.
We did our major provisioning from the discount stores of St George's, Grenada, like the Marketing Board, CK'S, ACE, and the adjoining Bulk Meat store and Foodland, with the help of our driver and good friend Richard. He expressed surprise about our shopping habits; since all the ex-pats go to Spice Island Mall and buy from IGA, paying almost double for the food that is not very different from the other markets. There are some items that only IGA carries, such as good yogurt and cream cheese, cookies, bread sticks etc. But it was not worth our while to visit IGA this time, we are headed to France, cheese and bread won't be lacking; but the prices remain to be seen.
We also obtained a full tank of cooking gas from our other driver and friend George on the last day, when Al panicked, realizing that the second tank at Ruyam II was empty (as if we were getting ready to an Atlantic passage). We spent half of the day and a lot of money trying to find a place to fill our tank; Richard suggested George, who performs all kinds of services for yacht owners, including taking care of the boats in their absences.
Anyway, we were ready to roll early in the morning, but it started raining. No matter, it did not last long. It was the rainy season, and it had been coming down in buckets a few times a day, but not for long.
We weighed anchor at 7:30 hours, and started up the west coast of Grenada; destination Tyrrel Bay, Carriacou, from where we were to clear out of customs. I was a bit apprehensive about this trip, because of the route passing through a narrow path between the active volcano (Kick 'em Jenny) and a series of rocks and small islands. The year before, when Deniz and Zeynep were visiting, we had attempted the same trip when the wind was much stronger, with high seas. As soon as we passed Gouyave (close to the north-west corner of Grenada), we started to feel the rap-around winds. Since Zeynep was sitting at the bow, I went down to accompany her, and started to watch the waves coming towards us. It gave me such a fear, that I asked everybody to quit the trip and turn around. Al was a bit reluctant, but our gracious guests humored me, and we went south to visit Prickly Bay instead.
Anyway, this time we were determined to get under way. I did not have a bit of anxiety; the seas and wind was calm, we were making good progress, and playing hide and seek with a mono-hull, who had started the same trip just ahead of us. As they were trying to sail, they were cris-crossing the field, as opposed to our steady motor sailing towards the channel.
As we approached to the no-sail zone of the volcano, the sky became completely black, and the fog renderred visibility almost to nil. We had seen some other sail boats coming and going a bit earlier, so we knew that they were somewhere in our path, hopefully not too close. I turned the main GPS on, and watched our progress in the danger zones, and the fog turned into heavy rain, but lifted after a while. I think I sweated a bit, but was not overly anxious. I guess I am getting used to the excitement. I have to admit that, I had missed the feel of the wind on my face, and the exilaration of looking over the sea from the cock-pit.
Thank God, the fear that paralyzed me last season, is over. I think the reason for being so paranoid last year was a series of mishaps, that had occured at the beginning; like launching Ruyam II with loose engine belts and no cooling water (poor mechanical service and skipper' s lack of experience); radar reflectors dropping on my head while tidying up the lines right after the launch; starter battery failing at the morning of Deniz-Zeynep' s arrival, both of the belts being shredded while underway, etc, etc.
This year, I do not have any bad feelings about going places, I hope we will have a season of safe and happy sailing.