Getting back to the Caribbeans after our summer break in Europe was no cup of tea. When Covid started to spread, all Caribbean islands shut their borders to avoid contamination. Health infrastructures in most Caribbean islands are very poor, or sometimes non-existent, so governments have been trying to protect islanders first by isolating them, and then by imposing very strict measures to people visiting their countries.
By September, most of the Caribbean islands had reopened, but procedures to enter the country were still very strict: not only you needed a negative PCR test to board the plane, but once landed, you were also requested to quarantine in a designated hotel for at least 4 days, until you’d get the results of a second PCR test. If they came back negative, you’d be free to move around.
Gc’s case was a bit more complicated……because he didn’t get the right test before flying back to the Caribbeans (he got a serologic test instead of the requested PCR test), and he got himself in trouble and was then requested to quarantine for the full 14 days. Luckily (at least for his pockets), he managed to quarantine on board his beloved Gladan, at Canouan Marina.
The experience is not one he recalls with pleasure…instead of being able to enjoy the facilities of the 5 star marina he was paying to stay at, he was locked inside the boat, with 30+ degrees, 80% humidity level and tons of mozzies. One night the mosquitos were bothering him so much that, frustrated, he decided to challenge them. He shut himself in the bathroom, turned the lights on and offered himself as bait, waiting for them to attack. Fully armed with towels, our Italian Stallion of the Caribbeans, tried to kill as many as he could, shouting in a frenzy of rage. Luckily, there was no one around to hear him…
To buy food, he needed to text the marina staff, who’d come to pick up the list of food he wanted as well as the money, both conveniently placed inside a plastic box left outside, to avoid any direct contact.
After 4 days of initial lockdown, Gc was administered a PCR test by the Doctor of the marina, Dr. Pope, a very friendly and chilled out guy, whom we had previously met as he’s the one going around and taking sailors’ temperature upon arrival at the marina.
The day after, the results came back negative, which should have meant that he was free to go… Gc phoned Dr. Pope to ask for confirmation.
Pope said he’d check with the health authorities and get back to him. Few days went by, and no news from the Dr…..so Gc decided to get in touch with the health authorities directly. The person answering the phone that day was adamant he’d still need to complete the 14 days of quarantine even though he’d tested negative.
Ten days down quarantine lane, Gc was struggling to sleep and function normally due to the unbearable heat and the unforgiving mosquitos…
By then, with the quarantine almost over, it was time to get another PCR test as that was the requirement to enter the island of Grenada, the next destination.
GC got again in touch with Dr. Pope to schedule an appointment. “Good morning Dr. Pope, it’s Giancarlo here from Gladan” – GC said. “Ah, Giancarlo…..” – Dr. Pope’s voice sounded strangely apologetic. “Giancarlo, I’m so sorry…”
Sorry for what? Gc thought. He had just called him! “I was meant to call you back….wasn’t I?” – The Dr. continued. “To tell you that you were free to go… You’re not still in quarantine, are you?”
Gc couldn’t understand what Pope was trying to say…”Giancarlo please don’t sue me, I’m very sorry. You were free to leave when your test came back negative, but I forgot to tell you!” – Pope further explained.
Gc was on the verge of collapsing! Did that mean he’d spent 8 extra days in hell for nothing? He could have gone to the beach, the restaurant, the pool….instead of being confined inside Gladan. Gc couldn’t believe his ears!
Several G&Ts and a few days later, Gc was on his way to Grenada, leaving Canouan Marina, Dr. Pope, and the unhappy memory of his lockdown behind.
Gladan needed to undergo a bit of aesthetic work since another boat had crushed into us a few months before, while we were at anchor in Deshaies, Guadaloupe, a bay with notoriously bad holding.
Once in Grenada, Gladan was hauled out at Clarkes Court shipyard and spent 2 weeks on the hard.
By the time Gladan was splashed in, I was also back in the Caribbean’s, after quarantining in Barbados for 2 weeks, and – one might think – conveniently avoiding the joy of being stranded in a hot and dusty shipyard while the works were carried out!
Once reunited with Gladan and my better half, it was time to discover the island!
Grenada is quite a big island, famous for its spices and chocolate.
We spent 3 weeks anchored in Gand Anse, a huge bay with a 3km long sandy beach. It was a great anchorage as it was quite sheltered from the prevailing winds, and located close to Spiceland Mall shopping centre as well as several good restaurants and bars.
We rented a car so that we could move around easily: the island is big and not well connected by minibuses.
For us, digital nomads, finding a good spot to work from, whenever we move around, is rather vital. And such place needs to meet certain requirements; fast wi-fi, good coffee, air con (possibly not set to freezing temperatures..) and decent food.
As you can imagine, these things are not so easy to find in one place, but this time we were in luck! We managed to find two places that offered the perfect working conditions: “Knife and fork“, inside Spiceland shopping centre, and Bella Milano, not far away form the mall. The first had great smoothies and decent coffee, the latter real Italian coffee and pastries.
We also found one of the best pizzas in the Caribbeans at Antonio’s. After months in the Caribbean’s, a delicious pizza is always a treat and their pizza was really good even for Italian standards!
For drinks and live music Aziz was the place to be!
Grand Anse was also close to Port Louis Marina, easily reachable by dinghy. Every Friday morning, we’d visit the local fruits and veg market, inside the marina, where we’d get our organic provisioning and delicious homemade guava juices.
Carriacou is only 15 miles away from Grenada and is part of the same administration, together with Petit Martinique.
It is a small and rather wild island with basic (expensive) provisioning and beautiful natural beauties.
We spent most of our time between Tyrell Bay, the main (and rather crowded) anchorage, and Sandy Island, the most charming place on the island, where you can only stay at a mooring buoy by paying a daily fee.
A visit to Anse la Roche it’s also a must, and the lobsters served by Tim the King at his restaurant on the beach are to die for!
While in Carriacou, we made a lot of friends and spent an incredible couple of weeks, eating loads of really cheap lobsters, snorkelling and walking around to explore the island!