The sailing community, on and around the lovely island of Grenada, is quite large and fairly well-established. That’s because this island is so far south and on the “Hurricane Line” (12º 40′ N). Cruisers from around the world, many annually, go to one of a variety of safe anchorages around the island to avoid hurricane season. Many of those that do, never leave and establish permanent residency in an anchorage. This is why the Morning Net, 7:30-8:30 is also firmly established and there is (at least while we were there for nearly 2 months this summer) someone broadcasting over the VHF Radio Channel 66, Monday through Saturday, the report for the day. The report starts off with a “radio check” to make sure the announcer’s broadcast is reaching all the anchorages by the announcer first asking listeners, “May I have a radio check, please….?” And then the voices, in a variety of accents, start to pop into the air by simply stating where their boat is anchored, as proof that the Net’s broadcast is being heard. You’ll hear calls for: “Secret Harbor”, “Mt. Hartman”, “Prickly Bay”, and then one sailor with a sense of humor likes to say “From wall-to-wall and up and down the hall…” or he’ll alternate that phrase with ”Loud and clear for all to hear… in St. George’s Anchorage”. But he’s always in St. George’s.
Then a general weather forecast is given for the Caribbean, an area spanning a much larger geographical position than any of us really need to know about to get by for the day and that’s, in part, so no one is dependent on it for their passage-making needs. That sort of weather forecasting is much further in depth and closely honed research you do yourself for your specific passage.
Then there’s safety and security info, shopping buses, commercials for local businesses, “hellos” and “good-byes” for new arrivals and departures, and “treasures of the bilge”…. “Treasures” are essentially the boating community’s version of a daily garage sale and often things are just given away as well. At this time a sailor can also ask to see if anyone has a certain part or piece of equipment s/he might need. One morning I heard another boat say that they had two foldable bikes for sale for $50 bucks. After we got to their boat and they unfolded them in their cockpit for us, we found out they said $450 (each!). I selectively heard “for” when it was actually “four”. So no, we didn’t buy them. Primarily since we can buy brand new ones for about that same price.
Mainly what we like listening to the Net for is the goings-on/events portion. We’ve learned about Saturday volunteering for a children’s reading program, yoga classes, Tai Chi classes, bingo, dominoes, poker, live music, weekly “hashes” (hikes in all forms through the jungle), a classical concert sponsored by the U.S. Embassy, and after the hurricanes… announcements for all the fundraising and volunteers needed for relief efforts.
So believe it or not, with all these events going on, our lives aboard a boat have begun to evolve into a different kind of busy as we pick and choose how, when, and where we’d like to get involved, have fun, or work out. Sometimes it’s fulfilling a burning need to help as best we can and others it’s just another opportunity for adventure and to explore, meet amazing people, and learn about things we know nothing about.