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Thoughts on Grenada

November 19, 2017

2017 summer in Grenada proved to be the best decision we could have made. No doubt everyone has read the reports from the devastating hurricane season in the Caribbean. We’ve already met three people who lost their boats in the northern islands and are here in Grenada looking to purchase a replacement.

Luckily Grenada escaped a hurricane this year. I am a little premature in saying this as the season hasn’t officially ended and doesn’t till the end of the month. However, I feel confident that we’re OK and can start slowly moving north while keeping an eye on the weather reports.

Grenada has been a good place to stop for us. Not cruising, we decided to take the opportunity of a marina slip with close access to the main town, transportation to most of the island, and the freedom to come at go at will as opposed to anchorages on the east side of the island which are sometimes exposed to the weather and are not as convenient to get back and forth to.

We’ve done a lot of small jobs on Sage as well as hauled out for new bottom paint and a few other small ‘below the water line’ jobs.

However, Grenada is not cheap nor is it an easy place to get or do work on the boat. All imported items are subject to a hefty tax and then on top of that the shipping to the island costs a lot. All imported boat items have to be imported through an agent which again adds a cost to the item.

Having work done for you here brings another dimension to the maintenance of boats. Our experience is quite typical. We had a new awning built which, if we had a strong enough sewing machine and a space to work, we could have made quite easily ourselves. We thought having someone make it would be easy.

First we had to get some quotes. The quotes varied by as much as 50%. Getting quotes took a week to coordinate with the respective companies to come to the boat and talk about what we wanted done. After another week we received the quotes and made a decision. Since there is no-one here who stocks the material used it has to be ordered from the US. We assumed that was easy, quick and included in the price. 4 weeks later the material arrived. That wasn’t without constantly contacting the awning maker to ask why the material was held up in Miami, Trinidad and Brazil according to the tracking information. With comments from the maker like ‘god willing’ and responses from me saying it has nothing to do with god but needs some severe prodding to the courier company the material finally arrives.

Now the hard part starts. The maker has the material, he has the order, he has 1/2 the cost so when is it going to be done? In the end, 8 weeks from placing the order the items are finished. A good job but like everything here it’s like pulling teeth.

In conclusion, I hope I never have to make a major repair in Grenada. Expensive, frustrating and slow. On more technical projects I would worry greatly about expertise.

Not only have we worked on the boat but we have also volunteered teaching kids to read. Saturdays were the days to head up to the school and jump in with the kids to read a story, play a game, sing a song and help the kids with their literacy. It was a great opportunity to connect locally and I think we’ll miss the foray to the school.

Trips around the island, Tuesday nights at the Brewery for the cruisets amateur music nights and visits to the waterfalls will be good memories of Grenada.

The other side of Grenada life is well spelt out in the following article – – Grenada poverty

“Grenada, twice the size of Washington, DC, has a GDP per Capita of $3,900 USD. In 2011, domestic workers received a minimum monthly wage of $277.99 (formerly $148) and the minimum wage for a security guard was $2.96 per hour (formerly $1.48). The increase was negotiated by the Wage Advisory Committee (includes representatives from the Grenada Trades’ Union Council and Grenada Employers’ Federation).

Living in the capital of Grenada, Saint George, can be expensive. Research finds that it is 87.2% more expensive than Houston, Texas for groceries; 60.5% more expensive for household costs than Kuala Lumpur, and 43.6% more expensive for transport costs than Dubai. In addition, medical treatment is expensive and medical facilities are considered adequate for general treatment; however, serious emergencies may require evacuation.”

Yes, life here in the islands is not idyllic. It is expensive, it is poor, it is friendly, it is difficult to get around, it is an expert on growing nutmeg and cocoa, it is slow, it is generally safe from hurricanes, it is full of wonderful chocolate and various spices, it is hot and humid in the summer months and it has lots of music (sometimes too much!).

And we’re leaving! So, here are a few memories in photo form.

Church of the Immaculate Conception

Feeling good

Behan, from SV Totem, shopping in the St. George market and getting some cooking advice

Ships and the port are the lifeblood of Grenada

Nutmeg and mace prices at the cooperative

Party central

And a few people we’ve met

Charter boat worker hard at work taking care of last minute details

One of the charter boat staff taking care of the last minute details

From left to right: Tim, Connie, Charlie, Tony, Karen and Margarita


Philip, Martin and Louise

Gary keeping busy

Torie having a windy day

Arliss and Eric getting ready to sail westward on Corroboree

Kids at school


2 Comments leave one →
  1. Darrel and Loretta Smith permalink
    November 19, 2017 22:22

    Interesting read, great photos. Good for you for helping the kids. Nice to hear from a couple still “leading the life”. Good luck heading north. L&D xx

  2. February 23, 2018 13:00

    Thank you for sharing your photos along with the trials & tribulations of island life in Grenada. I appreciate you being candid and letting us know of the good things along with the downside. Overall, it looks like you had a good time! Especially with the children. Please continue to share with us as you sail around the world!:-)

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