15th December to 29th December 2013
A few days in Grenada allowed us to settle in and get a few things done. Our screecher was handed in to be repaired.
I decided to spoil Zack by ordering a Steiner Commander 7x50 marine binocular with compass for his birthday at Budget Marine. The service with Volvo for our 40Hp engine was booked as well as a service on the 3,5 Hp Mercury outboard.
16th December was very special. That evening we celebrate this special day with Shabbat and reading about the history of that day in our history in South Africa. A special evening of praise and worship.
From Big Fish it is easy to catch a mini bus into St George. Mini Buses are vans that have generally a slogan on the back window and a number on the front windscreen. You just held out your hand and they stop. You are picked regardless if they have space or not. One day we were picked up with the mini bus already full. Too much amusement of the fellow passengers I had to sit on my hubby’s lap for a few blocks till somebody climb off.
Every morning we rowed in the bay for our daily exercise. The windy conditions made it a special challenge.
Upon the third day in the bay we managed to get Hothothotspot Internet going on Vagabund.
“Grenada is an island country consisting of the island of Grenada and six smaller islands at the southern end of the Grenadines in the southeastern Caribbean Sea. Grenada is located northwest of Trinidad and Tobago, northeast of Venezuela, and southwest of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
Grenada is also known as the "Island of Spice" because of the production of nutmeg and mace crops of which Grenada is one of the world's largest exporters. Its size is 344 square kilometres (133 sq mi), with an estimated population of 110,000. Its capital is St. George's. The national bird of Grenada is the critically endangered Grenada Dove.
The recorded history of the Caribbean island of Grenada begins in the early 17th century. First settled by indigenous peoples, by the time of European contact it was inhabited by the Caribs. French colonists drove most of the Caribs off the island and established plantations on the island, eventually importing African slaves to work on sugar plantations.
Control of the island was disputed by Great Britain and France in the 18th century, with the British ultimately prevailing. In 1795, Fédon's Rebellion, inspired by the Haitian Revolution, very nearly succeeded, and was crushed with significant military intervention. Slavery was abolished in the 1830s. In 1885, the island became the capital of the British Windward Islands.
Grenada achieved independence from Britain in 1974. Following a leftist coup in 1983, the island was invaded by U. S. troops and a democratic government was reinstated. The island's major crop, nutmeg, was significantly damaged by Hurrican Ivan in 2004.
The island of Grenada is the largest island in the Grenadines; smaller islands are Carriacou, Petit Martinique, Ronde Island, Caille Island, Diamond Island, Large Island, Saline Island, and Frigate Island. Most of the population lives on Grenada, and major towns there include the capital, St. George's, Grenville and Gouyave. The largest settlement on the other islands is Hillsborough on Carriacou.
The islands are of volcanic origin with extremely rich soil. Grenada's interior is very mountainous with Mount St. Catherine being the highest at 840 m. Several small rivers with beautiful waterfalls flow into the sea from these mountains. The climate is tropical: hot and humid in the rainy season and cooled by the trade winds in the dry season. Grenada, being on the southern edge of the hurricane belt, has suffered only three hurricanes in fifty years.
Hurricane Janet passed over Grenada on September 23, 1955, with winds of 185 km/h, causing severe damage. The most recent storms to hit have been Hurricane Ivan on September 7, 2004, causing severe damage and thirty-nine deaths and Hurricane Emily on July 14, 2005, causing serious damage in Carriacou and in the north of Grenada which had been relatively lightly affected by Hurricane Ivan.”
On Friday we did an Island tour with Henry’s safari Tours. We pass through St. George's, a pretty town in the Caribbean.
We follow up the west coast to till we turn off the tiny mountain road that leads up to the Concord Waterfalls. These falls are set in rich agricultural land with lots of nutmeg trees and small houses with flower gardens.
We carry on to Douglaston Spice Plantation, where you can see where the island gets its nick name "Isle of Spice" and how the spices are treated after picking, in much the same way as they have been for hundreds of years.
The Gouyave Nutmeg Processing Station is one of the largest nutmeg processing factories on the island, in the center of the west-coast fishing village of Gouyave (pronounced gwahv). The beach has black sand from the volcanic source.
We learn all about nutmeg and its uses, see the nutmegs laid out in bins, sort them by hand and pack them into burlap bags for shipping worldwide. The three-story plant turned out 3 million pounds of Grenada's most famous export each year before Hurricane Ivan's devastating effect on the crop in 2004, when most of the nutmeg trees were destroyed. By 2013, production finally began to reach pre-hurricane levels.
Sauteurs is a fishing town in the saint Patrick Parish. At Helens restaurant we were entertained on local dishes for lunch with ice cream and cake for desert.
Located north of the town of Sauteurs is a steep cliff face that descends vertically into the sea for more than 40 meter. It was from the top of the cliff that Grenada's last remaining Carib Indians hurled themselves in 1651, preferring suicide to domination by the French. The town was named Sauteurs, which is French for "jumpers".
Visiting the rum distillery Rivers Rum in the north of the island is almost like taking us a step 250 years back in time.
Rum distillery process of River Antoine Royal Grenadian Rum:
“Central to the entire process of manufacturing Rivers Rum is a water wheel. Fed by the River Antione, that wheel has been the driving force behind crushing cane for as long as there’s been Rivers Rum—making it the oldest distillery driven by a water wheel in existence.
From the crusher, the cane juice runs down a tiny, open-air wooden guttering to the boiling house.
It’s then stirred by hand and brought to a boil in the boiling room.
Once the right sugar concentration has been reached, the hot juice is spooned into cooing tanks at the back of the building. The fermenting juice is then pumped upstairs into concrete fermentation tanks, where it bubbles away for eight days.
After this, it is ready for distillation. Here, the fire below the boiler is heated with wood, because bagasse does not burn hot enough to (super-) heat the liquid.
For the final step, it’s hand-pumped, hand-pumped from tanks under the building into bottles held near a pipe.”
After a walk back in time is a taste of this River Antoine Royal Grenadian Rum. Three bottles on the table:
Sip- Wow!!! **Cough**Cough**
This is very strong! Taste like “mampoer.”
The next one: A lighter fluid.
The third one is a rum punch.
A visit to this distillery is a strong recommendation when visiting Grenada.
On Saturday we explore the streets of down town St George by foot. We started at the Market Square that is in the heart of Grenada’s commercial center. Farmers and spice vendors sell their produce to locals and visitors. Products mainly vary from tropical fruit, vegetables, some colorful clothing as well as the different herbs and spices that grown on the island.
Walking up the hill to Fort George we passed the remains of the old Presbyterian Church that was damaged during the passage of Hurricane Ivan on September 7th 2004. The Hurricane caused damaged to building, agriculture and many lives was lost. The economy took years to recover from the set back.
Fort George is still an active Police Academy.
The fort was not well maintained. The view is worth the walk. Great views across the harbour, the town of St Georges with the three churches: Roman Catholic Cathedral, Anglican Church as well as the Presbyterian Church and the marina.
For us some fun to clamber around the old fortification.
Tuesday the 24th December we sailed out of Prickly Bay round the SW tip of Grenada and sailed the 40 nm North to Carriacou.
A Strong Breeze of 20 to 25 knots pulled us along a choppy sea. Shortly after two the afternoon we dropped anchor in Tyrrel Bay.
Christmas eve was spent at the Lazy Turtle restaurant. The local youth band entertained us with their version of Christmas carols.
That night the wind blow in all the directions. We made at least two 360 deg turns on our anchor nearly touching “Prism” a few times. Quite a few boats had to anchor again after touching next-door neighbors.
Christmas morning was a rainy day. We had a lovely lunch with my mother in law’s pretty overlay on the table. With only the two of us we had a special time down memory lane.
With the previous midnight swinging around of boats and casual greetings we decided to properly introduce ourselves to our next-door neighbours on Prism by inviting them for an afternoon tea. The cake given by Ma Corrie was very special and the last “krummeltjie” was eaten. A special new friendship was started with Charlie and Anina from Albany New York.
The earliest settlers, the Amerindians, called Carriacou "Kayryouacou", meaning "the land of reefs.” The island is 13 square miles (34 km2) with a population of 4,595 (1991 census). The main settlements on the island are Hillsborough, L'Esterre, Harvey Vale, and Windward.”
26th December 2013
Every morning we rowed in the bay for our daily exercise.
We headed around Carriacou to Sandy Island. It is a flawless strip of white sand. Pellicans and seagulls dive in the water for their daily food. Upon snorkeling we saw schools and schools of fish. Waving curtains of minnows.
After a lovely day on Sandy Bay we managed to still find our vacated anchor spot as still available and after setting our anchor we spend the evening at Lambi Queen Restaurant with our friends Charlie and Anina.
The next day we explored the island on land. We visited Hillsborough with a local bus. Our main mission to find a big enough pressure cooker for the two lobsters he has bought.
That evening we were treated by Anina and Charlie with a traditional Scandinavian supper.
Charlie and Anina joined us the next day on Vagabund to Saline island. A gorgeous expanse of golden sand, lapped by translucent turquoise water – the ultimate picture perfect Grenadine beach.
We rowed in to a close by reef and snorkeled there. The snorkeling at the island was even better with fish, sea sponges and coral.
The swimming exhausted us and we enjoyed a braai on Vagabund before returning to our anchor in Tyrrel Bay.
29th December 2013
We cleared out of the Granada and headed to Union Island in the Grenadines.