February 17, 2006

Stranded Ashore
Prickly Bay, Grenada

It was a cold, windy, and rainy Caribbean night as I futilely called out to the Odessa with a hand-held radio without any response.

The bay we're anchored in is only about a 20 minute walk to St. George's University; so in the early afternoon I decided to take advantage of our proximity and explain the campus. Wow, and what an attractive little campus it is!

Entry into the university grounds is controlled by a guarded checkpoint, with a wire fence enclosing the campus, and passing without a student ID wasn't much of an issue. Behind a cluster of lovely, lightly creamed colored buildings, there is access to a black sand beach—my first time seeing such a thing.

I enjoyed roaming around the campus, watching the students go about their Thursday afternoon. It's interesting how in shape everyone is, almost like all these students do is study, workout, and drink on the beach! Maybe they're bored or stressed, but either way it was noticeable how oddly fit the students were. I wanted to stay longer, but I had the keys to the dingy, and had promised to return to the marina at 5:00.

The crew members finally showed up around 6:30, going our separate ways a half hour later (the crew back to the boat and me off to use the library computers at the university). Little did I know it would be over 12 hours before I could return to the Odessa.

The Ordeal

It was after sunset as I snuck past the university security checkpoint and made my way to the new and robust computers inside the library. Several hours of deliciously fast (and free) Internet access had passed by the time I was done, and I quickly made my way back to the marina (arriving just after 11:00).

I immediately began trying to hail the Odessa on our agreed upon channel, but there was no response. Trying other common channels, I called out, "Odessa, Odessa, Odessa; Craig, Craig"—nothing. I continued to agitate the yachtie community with these called every few minutes for about two hours, until I gave up around 1:00 in the morning.

The marina was devoid of dinghies, even when I arrived two hours earlier—there was no chance of getting a life back to the boat. The restaurant had closed early, and the surrounding industrial area was dark and without people.

It was growing late, and I was getting cold with the persistent windy and rain. I walked over to the sleeping security guard at the entrance of the dry-dock boatyard, and woke him up with a knock on this guardhouse window.

Pushing past the guard with a couple of lies, I made my way into the boatyard and proceeded to zigzag between the boats (in case he decided to follow me). I came across a nice million dollar powerboat that happened to be unlocked, so I climbed inside and made myself comfortable on one of the benches (only pausing briefly when I noticed the motion detector flashing with my movements).

I awoke every our or two, trying the radio again, when at 7:00 the next morning I finally received a reply from the Odessa (on the wrong channel).

Bill remarked that "I was in good spirits" as he ferried me back to the ship. I'm not sure what he was expecting, perhaps thinking that I'd be angry and yelling about being left on shore overnight. I told him I wasn't going to get worked up over it, but was surprised that they didn't take the dinghy into the marina to verify I wasn't there when they didn't receive a radio call from me.

I wasn't able to get a solid answer for what the deal was aboard the ship that night, but my guess is that everyone was asleep with the radio turned down; Bill only switching it back to a normal volume when he awoke to listen to the morning radio chatter.

The joys of boat life…


Andy HoboTraveler.com

February 20th, 2006

I am hoping this is what you like to do…

Andy of HoboTraveler.com in Bequia, St Vincent and the Granadines. I am off to Barbados soon, if no Bikinis there, then the Caribbean is a bust.

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