We now return to regularly scheduled cruising adventures


Grenada brings respite to the Totem crew. The last five months have been crazy: bashing against conditions from Bahama to the BVIs, dealing with skin cancer scares in Puerto Rico, running south from hurricanes through the Lesser Antilles, and working the whirlwind of the Annapolis boat show. This frenzied roller coaster was well outside our usual rhythm, even though not much of typical life on Totem could really be characterized as “normal” anyway. Finally, here in Grenada, there’s a strong sense that we’re finally getting back to something resembling our normal. Taking time to get out and enjoy the place we’re in, the company of people around us.



The biggest reason life is especially good right now: KID BOATS. Totem’s younger crew members are so happy to be among a group of other kids. Reuniting with old friends has been exceptionally sweet for the kids (and pretty awesome for me and Jamie, too).  As if converging with these families wasn’t good enough, there are teens. Lots of teens!

Ava and Mairen
Ava and Mairen

There’s a beach to dinghy to and hang out.  Organized volleyball on a sand court at the marina where we’re anchored; there’s a skilled cruisers giving instruction to the kids. Sleepovers…and toasting with your forks over chocolate-chip pancakes the next morning.

Teens/tweens from four different boats
Teens/tweens from four different boats

Late departure (March) from Florida put us behind typical Caribbean route timing; coming through the Bahamas, most of the kid boats we met were going the other direction. Beyond the Bahamas, they’d already jetted to safe territory further south. Well, here they are!

Dinghy full of teens and tweens
Dinghy full of teens and tweens

I’m told this is a “slow year” for kid boats in Grenada. Granted, we’re less dialed into the younger kid fleet, but not feeling a shortage.

Everyday life

A cruiser flock migrates annually to Grenada to wait out the hurricane season in a (relatively) safe zone. One of the less appealing aspects of being among a large group of relatively stationary folks on boats is the culture that seems to spring up around it. The same phenomenon happens in George Town, Bahamas, and other cruiser nooks around the world. Some of this is great, like cruisers sharing their skill sets, from yoga to volleyball. Some is decidedly not, as facets of the mainstream we hoped we’d left behind crop up (plans for anchorage trick-or-treating have as many rules as a homeowner’s association in a gated community!). There is SO MUCH going on: the “events” segment of the morning VHF net lasted 23 minutes recently. People: thats Twenty. Three. Minutes.

Colorful shop inland
Colorful shop inland

Some of the culture/rulesy stuff may grate, but on balance it means positivity in new faces, new stories, new opportunities. Like getting together with a few boats to organize island tours to cool spots: a rum distillery with works dating to the 1800s, a cacao plantation with a chocolate production factory, a string of waterfalls.

Crushing sugar cane
Crushing sugar cane

Or another day, to gather with a few boats to be led by an experienced hand from one bay to another, through a nature preserve (thank you Fatty!).


There’s a great vibe to Grenada in general, friendly and mellow. The easy greetings of a small community, eye contact and a smile. Walking on a country road? Someone will stop to see if you need a ride, just because. I would happily have walked to a meet up the other day but ended up with rides both times, only a couple of minutes into what should have been a half hour walk.

Grenada is lush, a gardeners dream. It’s been really wet, but the rain creates that lush landscape, cascading waterfalls and beautiful flowers. Driving around the island, there’s food everywhere you look: banana trees, breadfruit, papaya, mango, avocado, taro, cassava… and nutmeg, nutmeg trees are everywhere (that’s a nutmeg fruit Mairen’s holding, below).



Float like a butterfly... no wait...
Float like a butterfly… no wait…

It’s sometimes frustrating how wet things are this time of year; more often rain just nudges us slow down and breathe. After so many arid months this year, we soak it in. We’ve been parched.


Rain squalls can drop the temperature to around 80... enough for Siobhan to put on jeans
Rain squalls can drop the temperature to around 80… enough for Siobhan to put on jeans
Squalls mean shower time for Niall!
Squalls mean shower time for Niall!
Squalls also make dramatic photos. The Goodlander's Amphritite, Ganesh
Squalls also make dramatic photos. The Goodlander’s Amphritite 43, Ganesh

Hauling out

We hauled out with just one day’s rest after I got back from the Annapolis boat show: not exactly a break, but deferred maintenance called. It’s almost exactly three years since Totem was last out of the water in Thailand, and new bottom paint was past due. It’s a strange feeling to see all the old paint removed. Yes, the hull needs a paint job too…no, it won’t happen this time around. Or probably the next!

Bare bottom!
Bare bottom!

I”m expecting to have a lot to say about being hauled, the Grenada vs. Trinidad haulout options, what we learned out of the water this last week, and work planned on Totem next… that will have to wait for future updates. We’re splashing today, and Jamie and I have a date to walk around the yard and look at the other boats. Romantic, no? Our version of a date anyway!

Until later… a dose of the great colors of Grenada.

colorful Grenada

14 Responses

  1. Lot’s to be said for dropping back to normal… however each of us know it. The known routine and muscle memory of where to reach for your toothbrush or just sleeping on your own pillow are restorative. That said, marching out past normal (abby normal?) is how we humans move ahead.

    Looks like everyone’s having a ripping good “normal” time down there. Some normals are a tad better than others.

    Cheers! Jim (in Essex)

  2. Glad to hear you’re back to regular cruising with the family. I love following your adventures so much! When do you think you’ll get the canvas finished on the bimini?

    1. thank you so much Stacey! I’m glad too. Re: the bimini – we live on a thin financial margin. The haulout wasn’t cheap and we’ve got big expenses for Panama and the canal to save for. I don’t know when we’ll get to the canvas honestly. We heard about a good, affordable marine canvas shop in Panama that may be our spot.

  3. You describe perfectly that conflict of the cruiser’s Mecca effect: Marathon FL, Georgetown Bahamas, Grenada… Other cruisers to meet is wonderful (to a point, I’m an introvert!) but please – a 45 minute VHF net every morning? I just don’t get the “let’s make this place just like back in suburbia” mind set. I opt for quiet and indigenous when I can!

    1. Thanks Keith. I suppose as there are a growing number in one place it’s unavoidable! On the W coast it’s Puerto Vallarta and La Paz, MX.

  4. Did you happen to take note of the Open boat in the background in the photo of Totem on the stands, in particular the name? It has the hull and keel form and the particular graphics of Anasazi Girl. I’ve seen no update on their blog that the boat was moved from Chile. On the other hand I just assumed the graphics were custom, not production.

  5. You’ll love the net in Curacao if you stop on the way west, the cruisers net took 3 minutes and 47 seconds yesterday. Including a social event, someone looking for an anchor and a security warning. I stopped listening to the net in Grenada.

    1. Curacao net sounds lke PERFECTION! Hope to experience Curacao in November. We’ll head up to the Grenadines first, though, I’ve been looking at your blog for ideas! Thanks Jon.

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