That dreaded time for cruising sailors was fast approaching – haulout time. A necessary evil of the cruising life is that you periodically must have your home lifted out of the water and placed on stilts. While in this unnatural state for a boat, all types of bottom maintenance can be performed, and ¡Pura Vida! was in desperate need of some care.
We made the most of the last two weeks afloat by visiting Martinique and Saint Lucia in the company of friends aboard s/v The Kraken, s/v Sea Frog, and s/v Carpe Ventum. Our merry floating armada sailed from anchorage to anchorage eating, drinking, and exploring until we had to split up. Some moved south to Grenada, others stayed to work on their boat, and we became landlubbers.
We chose to haulout in Carriacou, Grenada, because we adore this small island and its laid-back attitude, plus the price was below average for the work we had scheduled. If we have to live on land for a few weeks, it might as well be in paradise. Kimberly found us a small house on the hill with a spectacular view of Tyrell Bay and the sunset.
Time on land was a mixture of frantic activity and dreadfully slow waiting. Some days the boatyard workers made impressive progress, and some days we watched the rain while no work could be done. Our plan for two weeks on land turned into three weeks, then four – island time!
One benefit of staying in a single place for so long was feeling like locals. After just a week, the fruit and vegetable vendors got to know, our likes and would save some of their best produce for us. Our favorite was an elderly woman, with a fruit stand high above her fence, who would greet us every day with “hello my babies, my lovelies,” as we rode our bikes into town. “Make sure to stop by later for some soursop!”
After one month “on the hard,” our beloved home was back afloat and better than ever. ¡Pura Vida! had freshly sanded teak, a newly painted bottom, a gleaming propeller, and many more improvements. We were eager to be sailors again, and giddy with delight to spend our first night back on our floating home. Of course, French champagne was involved!
“So long, and thanks for all the fish!”
With the boat in top shape, we started looking for a weather window to do the 463 nautical mile, three day crossing to Bonaire. We briefly stopped back in St. Lucia and Martinique to do one final provisioning of spare parts and French delights, and to visit with some of our best cruising friends on s/v Kailani. The farewells to all our friends, from Grenada to Martinique, were especially hard this time. We were leaving the Eastern Caribbean for the foreseeable future, and they were all staying.
Such is the life of sailors. When the time was right, we did one final weather check, pulled up anchor, pointed the bow west into the open sea, and sailed in search of new adventures.