After three weeks of a wild ride in Prickly Bay I was ready for some calmer water, different scenery, and in a location I wouldn’t be tempted to spend as much money! I moved next door to Mount Hartman Bay.
This is an entry that should really only be attempted in settled weather, and during daylight. The cuts through the reefs are marked with lighted buoys, but they get you pretty close to the rocks. A squall moved in during my first attempt, limiting visibility to 100 yards and kicking up some good waves, so my conscience told me to turn around until later.
From the photo below you can make out the small breakers on the reef in front of the bay. You can see how if visibility is low with whitecaps everywhere how this could be difficult to distinguish!
Once I finally got in I motored around the entire bay looking for a good place to drop the hook. I finally decided to anchor on the southeast side of the bay where I could be on the fringe of the crowd.
There was something odd though – all of the boats on this side of the bay were facing different directions, making it difficult to tell where everyone else’s anchors were. See, the winds round the point on the southeast, and with the terrain directly east, some unpredictable wind eddies happen on this side of the bay. After securing myself to the seabed, my boat would spin 360 degrees throughout the day during my stay. After a week I finally moved to the west side of the bay, which gets some steady winds. This move also really helped my solar panels get some consistent sun.
What to Expect in Mt. Hartman Bay
Mount Hartman Bay is more peaceful than Prickly Bay if that’s your thing. It’s mine! The only noises are those of the occasional outboard engines running between Secret Harbour Marina and nearby Hog Island. But otherwise all you hear at night are the tree frogs and waves crashing on the reefs. Mangroves line the waterline around almost the entire bay.
Secret Harbour Marina on the northwest side of the bay is a nice, somewhat secluded marina. Facilities include laundry and showers. Their bar & restaurant is open seven days a week and has happy hour all day on Mondays and Tuesdays! Otherwise it’s 4-6pm with three beers for EC$12 (US$4.50). They have live entertainment most nights and really good, cheap dinner specials. Their pizza is excellent, as was everything else I tried.
Mount Hartman Bay may be away from main roads but cruisers have organized shopping buses throughout the week so you don’t have to call for cabs. There’s a free bus twice a week to go to Island Water World marine chandlery, then a regular shopping bus twice a week. For EC$15 the stops include a nice grocery store, a wholesale store (good beer & liquor prices), a fresh produce market, a hardware store, bank…everywhere you’d need to go!
Jenny and her farmer’s market stop by on Mondays at 1000…and it’ll be cleaned out by 1015 (spoken from experience), so get there early and help her unload the truck as a reconnaissance on the goods.
Live entertainment comes through here regularly. Countrydave plays a few sets on Monday nights, cruisers have their own jam session on Tuesday nights, and the rest of the week sees a variety of other local music. It doesn’t get the bigger revolving crowd like Prickly Bay and that’s why I like it.
The bar can give you a temporary wifi password good for eight hours, but if you’re using an American plug for the computer you’ll need to bring an adapter. There is a Cruiser’s WiFi net ($40US/mo) accessible in all parts of the bay but it was on the fritz during my last week.
Downsides of Mount Hartman Bay
I haven’t found a lot to dislike about this place. What I disliked the most was how much I worked while I was here!
It’s a bit of a hike to the nearest bus stop – about thirty minutes or so. The organized shopping buses are helpful because of this, but if you want to take public transportation anywhere else on the island, short of hiring a taxi, be prepared for a walk.
Boats behave fairly unpredictably on the sheltered east side of the bay as I mentioned earlier. One day I was facing east, west of my anchor and the boat west of me was facing west, east of his anchor (follow that?), and we were pretty close. Moving to the west side of the bay into the wind avoids this, but now you’re exposed to a little more swell – and you feel all of it in a 27′ monohull. It’s still nowhere near as bad as Prickly Bay!
On that note, the holding in the middle of the bay is questionable. I’m fairly certain my anchor moved when the winds shifted southerly, and I’ve talked to a number of other sailors who have dragged here. But I held rock-steady on the west side with some strong winds!
Your anchor chain will have a nice sleeve of slimy growth on the first twenty feet below the waterline if you’re there more than a few days. Aquatic crud seems to grow faster here than in Prickly Bay. After less than a week my dinghy had a nice green carpet growing on the bottom, and some was starting to grow on Saoirse as well, even though I had new anti-fouling paint applied just one month earlier. I tried cleaning the dinghy in the water but it was a futile attempt. I ended up having to take the dinghy to a small beach on the east side of the bay to clean the bottom.
A large foreign (Chinese?) corporation is planning to develop an eco-resort on the north side of Mount Hartman Bay. They’re building the eco-resort by tearing down the mangroves…seems counterintuitive to me, and a sad state of affairs. This’ll bring in a lot more traffic into the bay. No word on how fast this will progress.
Overall I got a nice, intimate feel in Mount Hartman Bay. I moved east to Woburn Bay one night but within 24 hours was back in Mount Hartman Bay. I spent in total one month in this bay. On my way out of Grenada I’ll be spending another week or so in Prickly Bay so I can be closer to public transportation and explore the island some more, but that’s the only reason I have for going back to Prickly Bay – I wish I had taken advantage of that when I was first there. I did manage to explore a little for an island-wide tour and the Gouyave fish fry.
Everything else I need is right here in Mount Hartman Bay!
Don’t you think you’d want to call this place home?