Prickly Bay. Home of the Southern Caribbean’s cruising community. Not cruising infrastructure – that belongs to Trinidad. Trinidad has boat parts, technicians, the range of specialities. Prickly Bay isn’t the home of crystal-clear anchorages either. The Grenadines wins that one. Prickly Bay wants to be Caribbean blue, but the southern anchorages in Grenada were originally mangrove bays and mangrove sites aren’t clear, even after the poor mangrove’s been cleared. Proven by the build-up on your hull if you stay here.
It’s the community that is strong. Grenada is all about cruiser’s community. The VHF Cruiser’s Net comes on Channel 66 in the morning with a never-ending list of daily activities. Shopping trips. Yoga on the beach. Mexican dominoes in the afternoon.
George, the immigration officer, checked us into Grenada. We discovered we’d last checked out of Prickly Bay on the 17th of May, 2017. We could see our same passports on George’s system. I thought it was pretty cool – how your identity is logged and traceable. It’s Big Brother machinery true, but I was too busy feeling famous that my passport photo exists on George’s computer. Anyhow, I’m digressing.
Back to George. He isn’t so pleased with Prickly Bay.
‘What’s wrong?’ we asked him. After all, Prickly Bay is civilised. Swanky homes (rumour has it Madonna owns the big white house next to the Tiki Bar), amazing wifi, an international university around the corner. It’s pleasant and dreamy here. The Customs and Immigration office is Prickly’s pinnacle. High up on the second floor with every window open. The breeze blows all day long.
But George sighed. A proper sigh to go with the proper look about him. Man, I wouldn’t mess with George. He said, ‘I’ve been here four years now. I’m supposed to be rotated already, but for some reason, no one wants to move me.’
I cocked my head. This kind of conversation is always interesting to me. ‘Where do you want to go. You want to go to the airport?’
He nodded. The starch in his sharp white shirt protested against the movement. ‘Yes!’ he exclaimed. ‘The airport. Anywhere. Just not here.’
Outside the door hung a handwritten list with George’s name on it. Some kind of appreciative cruiser’s note. No wonder no one wants to move him. The cruising community has voted – they want George to check them in and out of Prickly Bay. What the cruising community wants around here, they get. Mountain walks, the big friendly hash run on a Saturday. Gas bottles filled in every bay upon request. Beer delivered to your boat. A lot of cruisers who have gone with the Tom Selleck look.