Sugar N’ Spice – Grenada

The roadside spice shop with bags and bags of fresh cinnamon

The roadside spice shop with bags and bags of fresh cinnamon

“God gives everyone sometink, Man. Grenada got spices and water”. So said our tour guide “Yellow” when we did our island tour. Actually, I think Grenada got a lot more than that. It’s another wonderful island with a rich history, an abundance of lush tropical vegetation, its’ own rum distillery and cocoa processing factory, restaurants galore, and the friendliest of people.

We had a fabulous 4 hour sail to Grenada from Carriacou in perfect conditions – so nice that we even put the trolling lines out. The tuna must have thought it was a nice day for a spot of lunch too, as before long we’d nabbed ourselves a very fine looking fish.

Now that's a nice tuna

Now that’s a nice tuna

Up to now, the abundance of weed drifting in Caribbean waters has made fishing almost impossible, so there was much excitement at landing our second fish since Annapolis! Rob admitted he’d never been keen on the messy business of cleaning and filleting fish, but he did a great job on the back step and we had the most beautiful sushi rolls for lunch, followed by tuna steaks for dinner. Yum!

Rob getting messy on the back step

Rob getting messy on the back step

Before getting to St George’s, the capital of Grenada, we stopped at Dragon Bay for a spot of snorkeling at Moliniere Point. It was here that Jason deCaires Taylor created an underwater sculpture park in 2006, one of several around the world. His work is pretty amazing and worth checking out with a google search. Sadly much of this park has suffered storm damage and many of the sculptures were broken or flattened, so it wasn’t as spectacular as we’d hoped. This particular sculpture was mostly intact, and this is an image of it when it was first installed:

"Vissicitudes" one of many stunning underwater sculptures by Jason deCaires Taylor

“Vissicitudes” one of many stunning underwater sculptures by Jason deCaires Taylor

We organized a berth at Port Louis Marina in St George’s, a very nice establishment with restaurant, pool, laundry and day spa facilities. What luxury! Unbeknownst to us, we arrived on the final day of the large sport-fishing competition, so as we entered St George’s basin we were inundated with large fishing boats barreling their way in at a million miles an hour in order to get to the final weigh-in. It also meant there wasn’t much room in the marina, but they managed to squeeze us in between two sports boats with only inches to spare. Bruce did a great job as usual with his parking skills, and quick as lightening Penny and Jackie were off to book their manicures and pedicures!

Surrounded by speeding fishing boats!

Surrounded by speeding fishing boats!

It's a tight squeeze!

It’s a tight squeeze!

Pretty commissionaires huts at Port Louis marina

Pretty commissionaires huts at Port Louis marina

one of our favourite spots at Port Louis marina

one of our favourite spots at Port Louis marina

One of the other reasons for booking into a marina berth was that our guests had very generously offered to contribute to the cost of a wind generator for us. We’d organized the purchase through the local Budget Marine chandlery, and were hoping to find someone who could fabricate the stainless mount for it while in Grenada. It took a few days to find someone and have him come out to do the measurements. Unfortunately when we got the quote it was so ridiculously expensive that the wind generator will have to stay in its’ box until we can find a more reasonable quote further down the track.

In the meantime, we took the opportunity to do a few tours. First was a trip to Fort George, built by the French in 1705 and providing great views over the harbour, which is a flooded volcanic crater. The Fort now houses the police department and shows the ravages of time, including the more recent devastation from Hurricane Ivan in 2004.

Rob and Penny on the way to Fort George

Rob and Penny on the way to Fort George

The courtyard at Fort George

The courtyard at Fort George

Fort George

Fort George

St George's Harbour, from Fort George

St George’s Harbour, from Fort George

Some of the damage from Hurricane Ivan 2004

Some of the damage from Hurricane Ivan 2004

We also did a whole tour of the island with our guide “Yellow” who was obviously a Ronald McDonald aficionado.

Our colourful guide "Yellow"

Our colourful guide “Yellow”

It was a fabulous trip, wending our way up through the lush tropical vegetation to the highest point of the island (1800 feet above sea level) while Yellow pointed out all the various fruits and spices growing along the roadsides (it reminded us very much of our tour of Domenica). We stopped at Annandale Falls, but they were a bit too touristy for our liking.

The view from the top of Grenada

The view from the top of Grenada

Annandale Falls

Annandale Falls

Penny and the tourist trap at Annandale Falls

Penny and the tourist trap at Annandale Falls

The highlights of the trip were visiting the cocoa processing factory and the rum distillery in the north of the island. At the cocoa processing plant we were able to see the whole process of making chocolate from start to finish. The visit finished with a free sample of chocolate tea, and a taste of their 78% dark chocolate – divine!

The raw cocoa beans, surrounded by mango-tasting pulp

The raw cocoa beans, surrounded by mango-tasting pulp

After fermenting for 9 days, the cocoa beans are laid out to dry

After fermenting for 9 days, the cocoa beans are laid out to dry

Penny and Mia getting the hang of aerating the beans the traditional way. Hard on the feet apparently!

Penny and Mia getting the hang of aerating the beans the traditional way. Hard on the feet apparently!

From there we visited the only working rum distillery on the island, River Antoine. IMG_2216Again, an amazing experience with a fantastic guide who showed us how the sugar is extracted from the raw sugar cane via an English waterwheel-driven crusher.

loading the sugar cane into the crusher

loading the sugar cane into the crusher

The waterwheel at River Antoine distillery

The waterwheel at River Antoine distillery

Hot, hard work at the sugar cane crusher

Hot, hard work at the sugar cane crusher

The vats of fermenting sugar cane

The vats of fermenting sugar cane

An incredibly labour intensive process with traditional techniques that have remained largely unchanged since the distillery was established in 1785. The final product is a powerful, powerful rum – anything under 75% is sent back for re-distilling! The local demand is so high that they don’t export any of it, and in fact it would be illegal to take it on a plane due to the high alcohol content. At the beginning of the tour our guide told us we would be allowed to sample as much as we liked at the end – a pretty safe bet, as one shot was more than enough!

While we were in Grenada we also celebrated Australia Day. Bruce and I got sharp new haircuts, and despite being so far from home we managed to do hamburgers on the barbie (no lamb chops to be found for love or money!), washed down with beer of course, and followed by homemade pavlova!

Not a bad effort, if I say so myself!

Not a bad effort, if I say so myself!

Rob also got busy on the sewing machine, making up some badly needed shade covers for the cockpit, in a vibrant Toucan blue. What a handy man!

Rob putting his D & T skills to good use

Rob putting his D & T skills to good use

Sadly, Port Louis was were we had to say our farewells to Ron, who needed to get back to his business at home. He was certainly looking like a very relaxed salty sea-dog by the time he left Toucan!

Ron and Jackie at Port Louis for a farewell dinner

Ron and Jackie at Port Louis for a farewell dinner

Having done all we needed at Port Louis Marina, we moved down to the south of the island to pick up a mooring at True Blue bay. The bay itself suffered from a fair amount of swell coming around the corner, but the amenities ashore made it up for it, with the quirky True Blue resort and Dodgy Dock bar and restaurant.

True Blue and the Dodgy Dock

True Blue and the Dodgy Dock

You can see why it's called Dodgy Dock!

You can see why it’s called Dodgy Dock!

Getting on and off the dinghy “dodgy’ dock was quite a feat in itself, with all the surge and a swaying gangplank that reminded us of a ride at Coney Island! The restaurant had items like “Dodgy chicken wings” and “Dodgy burgers” but they were all delicious. We were even able to use their pool which was a godsend in the afternoons after all the chores were done.

Some of the quirky wall art at True Blue

Some of the quirky wall art at True Blue

It was here that we said another farewell, this time to Penny who was keen to attend to some business and see her daughter Lauren and family in the U.K.

Who knows, maybe she’ll be back for a few more Toucan adventures before Rob leaves the boat?

We stayed a couple of days at True Blue and then headed round to Prickly Bay where we fuelled up and found a mini-mart to use up all our leftover Caribbean dollars on rum, beer, bread and snacks!

Prickly Bay marina, where we refuelled for our passage to Bonaire

Prickly Bay marina, where we refuelled for our passage to Bonaire

After going south for so long, this is now the time to head west, just that little bit closer to Australia! Our next port of call will be Bonaire, the B in the ABC islands but on the way we plan to stop at two remote Venezuelan archipelagos – Los Roques and Las Aves. Stay tuned!

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3 Responses to Sugar N’ Spice – Grenada

  1. Deretta says:

    Phew, it sounds tiring but lots of fun. Goodonya.

  2. Linda says:

    Wow! I just caught up with the latest two posts. Just beautiful – each place looks more gorgeous than the last – (and the spinnaker looked GREAT!!)
    I’m looking forward to grilling Mia about it all if she EVER comes home!!
    xx

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