This is our first hurricane season, or ‘windy’ season as the local tourist authority likes to refer to it! Life takes on a completely different pace to the one we have been used to when we’re cruising.
We spent a week or so in a rolly anchorage in Prickly Bay and joined in some of the cruisers social activities at the marina. Apart from the Tiki Bar and it’s daily happy hour!, I did my first Tai Chi class under a mango tree, and we played Mexican Train Dominoes along with 18 other ‘die hards’ on Sundays.
Prickly Bay is also host to Spice Island boatyard, where boats can be lifted and worked on and there is a decent sail loft. It also has one of the Caribbean wide Budget Marine chandleries, though it’s questionable whose budget they’re working to!….., so all in all it’s a good place when jobs need doing, but there are too many shiney things to tempt idle cruisers!

Thankfully we were in Prickly Bay, for once the right place to be, when our battery bank decided to fade and die. When we bought the boat we knew that the batteries would need replacing soon, so we’ve been lucky to get three years out of them!
We bit the very expensive bullet and bought four batteries, each weighing 10 stone, from Budget Marine. The old ones had to be lifted out and replaced with four new ones……..clearly not a job for Marcus and me to tackle alone. Just getting them from the store into the dinghy would have been a mission, let alone moving them from the dinghy onto the boat!
Whilst our new batteries were still in store, charging, we moved round into Woburn Bay to anchor, and when we were chatting about our battery problem, Mike, on the Flying Buzzard, came to our rescue……… What had seemed like an insurmountable problem was solved in a morning! We now have the the new batteries which the sun and wind manage to charge with ease and we only have to run the generator to make water………!

It never ceases to amaze us how helpful and selfless people are. Any time we have a problem it seems there is someone ready to step in and help.

As I said at the top, life here has a different rhythm. There is time to commit to activities and the weeks are punctuated by regular events.

A map to give you a rough idea of our habitat.

A map to give you a rough idea of our habitat.

There is a very good Jam session every Tuesday around in the next bay at Secret Harbour marina…….I have been know to tootle on my recorders!
Wednesdays and Thursdays there is live music at Taffy’s and Nimrod’s respectively.
Marcus has found a few pool enthusiasts and plays in a tournament every Thursday.

The pool table and book swap corner at Island View.

The pool table and book swap corner at Island View.

Taffy’s bar has fish and chips on Fridays and a Sunday roast. So as you can see, there’s plenty to satisfy on the social scene.
I have joined a noodling group that meets every morning at 8.30 at Hog Island. It’s an hour’s worth of exercise and chat, done at whatever intensity you wish. Noodling gives rise to other activities, like a Noodlers’ trip to a local T Shirt factory, a Noodlers’ shopping bus and a Noodlers’ a capella singing group! The next activity is going to be a Noodler’s art session, where we all meet with art materials and wine and see what transpires!!
There are quite a few events that are organised for cruisers. One we attended was a dinghy concert one Sunday afternoon. A large barge was towed out from Le Phare Bleu marina and anchored in the bay. We all turned up in our dinghies, tied up to the barge and each other and bobbed about listening to the band……..lots of boats, lots of beer and some precarious dancing!!
Just incase you’re beginning to think life here in Paradise is all play and no work, I’d better remind you of some of the realities!
Shopping is done either on foot and with rucksacks on the local buses, which takes up to three hours, or you can take a ‘shopping bus’ that calls at a variety of stores and delivers you back to near your dinghy, which takes four hours!
The washing is done at either Island View or Whisper Cove in top loaders and then carried back on the dinghy to the boat to be dried. The whole process takes two and a half hours!

My weekly pilgrimage to the solitary machine  at Island View!

My weekly pilgrimage to the solitary machine at Island View!

Buying Marcus a pair of shorts took us all day!!
…….I had exhausted St George’s shops and was told to try ‘up island’ in Grenville, so we decided make the trip. We waited for a bus to turn up (there are no bus time tables) and eventually got to Grenville a good two hours after setting off and just in time for lunch! We found the most amazing emporium with everything under the sun on display, including a pair of shorts with cargo pockets in Marcus’ size!
Mission accomplished, we set out to catch a bus back. We got on and were assured it was going straight away……….straight after it had cajoled enough people aboard to make the trip worthwhile!
Again the trip took almost two hours and we had the extra excitement of the bus making worrying noises as it’s differential broke! Everyone hurriedly disembarked and we walked the last mile back to the dinghy, via Nimrod’s for a welcome cold drink.

I am having problems uploading photos at the moment, so I’ll publish this as is and add some more photos when I solve the problem.