“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.
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!
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:
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!
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.
We also did a whole tour of the island with our guide “Yellow” who was obviously a Ronald McDonald aficionado.
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 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!
From there we visited the only working rum distillery on the island, River Antoine. Again, 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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!