Cutter Loose is underway from La Phare Bleu Marina on Monday at 7:30 AM. Our destination on this final day of our 2013 winter cruise is Grenada Marine located in St. David’s Bay, four short miles to the east of La Phare Bleu Marina, made longer by the wind-driven swells that impede our progress. Grenada Marine is the boat yard where Cutter Loose will spend the summer and fall. At 9 AM, we ease her into the Travelift slip where dockhands secure our lines while the lift straps are positioned under the keel.
After power washing and scraping the normal accumulation of barnacles and marine growth from the hull, Cutter Loose is hauled to “the nursery”, a section of the boatyard dedicated to the storage of vessels in steel cradles. Steel cradles are preferable to jack stands in hurricane-prone areas because they cannot be dislodged by the wind or knocked away from the hull by flying objects or tidal surge. Because all of the vessels in this area of the yard are stored in cradles, it is highly unlikely that a neighboring boat will be washed over onto Cutter Loose in the event of a major storm. We justify the added cost of cradle storage on the grounds that we will sleep better at home knowing that we have done our absolute best to protect the boat from hurricane damage. She will remain in this spot until we return in December, 2013. To further insure her safety in the event of a hurricane, her two bow cleats and two stern cleats are strapped and ratcheted securely to giant underground concrete cubes.
We are now in final shut-down mode, reviewing task lists with the yard supervisor and preparing the boat for storage. Mark from Island Dreams Yacht Services stops by to explain his monthly inspection procedure for battery charge level, mold, mildew and other potential problems. Perishables from the fridge are highly sought after by yard workers. Through hull valves are lubricated and repeatedly open and closed. The entire interior of the boat is rearranged to encourage air flow into and through storage areas. There is no doubt that the cabin will be a high temperature/high humidity environment for the next seven months.
Protected from the breeze, the storage yard at Grenada Marine is hot and dusty. This is no place to live aboard during de-commissioning. We have opted instead for the comforts of La Sagesse Nature Center, a small resort located a short distance away in the adjacent Bay. The staff at La Sagesse is warm and welcoming. Upon arrival, the first order of business is a swim in the Bay, a walk on the beach and a glass of wine on our private patio alongside the palm tree-lined beach. This is the perfect antidote to a hot and sweaty day in the boatyard. Dinner tonight is in the open-air dining room at La Sagesse. We fall asleep to the sound of waves lapping on the beach just a few yards from our room. After living aboard Cutter Loose for nearly seven months, the full sized bathroom and the king bed at La Sagesse is a welcome luxury.
On the afternoon of our final full day in Grenada, we are surprised by the arrival of Dragon’s Toy in the harbor at Grenada Marine. Tom and Cary have come to bid us farewell. They opt for a room at La Sagesse. We spend a delightful evening together, reminiscing at the beach and over dinner about our Caribbean cruising experience. We have thoroughly enjoyed their company along the way and we look forward to reuniting with them in December.
Tomorrow, we will depart La Sagesse at daybreak en route to the airport for our 9 AM flight to Miami.