12 January 2016

Sweet Grenada

Hello, Prickly Bay, Grenada
We have had a wonderful time in Grenada.  If we did not have plans to come back, I would be very sad to leave.  But next hurricane season will see Milly’s return, at least for a few weeks.

We left Scotland Bay, Trinidad at about 21:00 under a full moon and clear skies.  The sail was lovely and uneventful.  Only two ships were sighted, both on my watch and, of course, on collision course.  One we passed behind and the other, a bit more nail-biting, we passed in front of by about 1.5 NM.  Never feels good to see the huge bow bearing down on our little boat.  Two NM does not seem very far at all.  All went well and the excitement definitely kept me alert.  

St Georges Carenage
Police direct traffic complete with white gloves.
Grenada is a beautiful island.  Green, mountainous, cliffs interrupted with small but pretty beaches.  The south coast of the island is guarded by coral reefs and has numerous bays which offer diverse anchorages.  Grenadadians are friendly, kind and helpful. Many of the small walls and terraces are painted with the Grenada flag colours and pride of place is obvious in the tidiness and cleanliness of their private and public places.  Very little garbage anywhere, a relief after our experience in Trini anchorages.  It has been successful in finding a happy balance between authentic cultural appeal and having services and comforts that make it a very easy place to spend a few weeks.

Some highlights:

Meeting up with owners of four other Antares boats for dinner and some or others over the two weeks.  We exchanged our boats’ ups and downs and adjustments, where to go, where we’d been etc. etc. 
Antares s/v Blue heading up islands

Two hashes.  These were new to us, introduced by Jason and Gail of Two Fish fame.  They are walks or runs on routes set up weekly by the hash heads who must have military backgrounds as sergeant majors!  Great fun, taking us to neighbourhoods and jungles we would never have found or explored on our own.  The first was a sweaty affair.  Up steep, muddy hills - hands holding onto vines to keep from tumbling - and down the same - ski side-stepping necessary.  The last 500 meters was down a river, not on the banks but in the river.  The thigh height bath was a relief.  Hashes are international apparently.  Barbados has one and we will do our best to attend.
Hash antics.  New shoes? Clean enough to drink a beer out of.  New to the hash? Sprayed with a can of beer at the end.  Luckily, we were forewarned and kept our newby status quiet.

The hoards heading up
The end.  Phew!  Good fun!
The buses.  There is a very efficient system of “buses” which are the size of cargo vans in Canada converted to passenger vehicles with five rows of seats plus folding booster seats at the end of each row.  Locals are packed in.  Buses do not leave their initial location at the St George bus station until it is full.  Full does not mean one person to seat - a three person bench seat is packed with five.  Our one hour trip across island Peter and I took to see a waterfall was reminiscent of the childhood game of sardines.  I was beside the window - a privileged position usually.  I sat with my torso turned sideways - there wasn’t enough room for my great girth.  Peter sat beside me, compressed as small as possible, with a tiny school girl at his other side.  She was squished beside a rather large high school boy.  Both students were in spic and span school uniforms.  The girls usually had white blouses with coloured skirts or jumpers.  There hair was particularly neat, up in buns or braids and held in place with white ribbons tied in little bows.  The fifth in our row was the “conductor”.  It is the conductor’s job to gather the fare, usually $1US or $2 US for this longer trip, to stop the bus by banging on the ceiling and to shout out the window at possible passengers walking on the side of the road.  If a passenger wants to get off or on, the bus screeches to a halt - the brakes get a very good workout - the conductor opens the door and leaps out as the bus is still moving, and the passenger scrambles on and tries to sit down before  the bus screams off again. 
No room for error in this parking spot.
At our destination, after a bus ride and a hike over hill and dale.
Music is loud, ubiquitous and, at this time of year, loaded with Christmas pop interrupted by the occasional Christian sermon.  The roads, especially through the less travelled steep interior, are one and a half lanes travelled as two.  There are no guardrails only vegetation and steep drops to rock and ocean below.  Through the villages, for deluges of rain or sanitation??, there are square concrete ditches - a meter deep and a meter wide - that act as a curb equivalent only in the earthward direction.  In other words, the roads are intimidating enough that we didn’t unpack our bikes and the bus rides were scenic and efficient while careening around the corners, narrowly missing the abyss of a ditch all while listening to seasonal jingles and swaying as one with whoever we were wedged against.  Now this is travelling!  For a short time, we were locals.
Unfortunately, Tanty Sherms was closed so we missed out on the soulfood.

Strict dresscode.  Especially liked "no pants below buttocks allowed", "no half-naked bodies allowed", and "no see-through clothing that reveals underwear allowed".  We had to go home to change - kidding!

Goats keep the cemetery manicured.

Chinese hospital ship provides free medical care in the islands.
We will be back, Grenada!  Looking forward to more hiking, music, food, friendly faces and…adventures on buses..
Stocking up on drawers full of frozen delicacies for Christmas festivities at a French Canadian butcher/restaurant/bar/marina in Grenada.  Small world.


Now Christmas is coming and we are off to meet our children in Barbados - upwind.
Got to be good luck!

A "dinghy concert" with live music in the middle of a bay.

Until next time, Grenada!
We will be back, Grenada!  Looking forward to more hiking, music, food, friendly faces and…adventures on buses.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the article and information. Will be there in about two months crewing aboard Antares California Gold!