Important business first from Amelia sending a shout out to her NZ friends Tessa, Katie, Maya! See you soon!
The reason we had been pushing south so quickly was the arrival of our good friends Nelson, Katie, Piper & Lexi for flights booked long ago. Our season plan called for us to be in Grenada for the depths of the hurricane season so we were headed this way anyway. The old truism not to sail to schedules but the sail to the weather thankfully did not cause us issues on our whole trip with our careful management. We were only late for one visitor and managed to catch good weather windows everywhere for our somewhat whirl wind trip and found it helped push us along to see more places.
Was great to have our friends back on board! Straight into water play in some stunning Caribbean weather.
Blue Zulu kids joined in the fun
We even borrowed the neighbour’s dog Bertie who swam over and invited himself in. I think his owner was a little downcast to have his dog desert ship so often and swim over to Drakkar…
A couple of days of this and they were a little sunkissed…
Time to move and Captian Boston has the helm as Shannon watches.
Stopping at the underwater statue park was cool trying to discover as many as of the hidden statues as we could. Nelson was channelling his number 8 wire Kiwi heritage and came up with the cunning plan to cover the forward cabin hatches to avoid the rain shower dance of running around the boat closing hatches every couple of hours. What a bonus being able to sleep through the night with airflow but not rainflow from the hatch over our bunks!
Four musketeers recharging.
The photobomber strikes again
Little stop back in Pricky Bay to play with Bertie again.
Night out at the West Indies Brewery. A great micro brewery and very well priced good food.
An island tour with Cuttys Tours was a must do. Grafitti revealing a bit of this islands history. Grenada’s history has been described as lively. Glad we are not living through the lively wars and revolutions! Grenada was given independence only in 1974 and the general feeling was reported to be not as happy as you would expect with islanders going on strike and protesting it was premature. In 1979 Maurice Bishop lead a left wing coup with grand ideas of social paradise, but only if you didn’t oppose him. Think jail time and no independent newspapers. His second in command and a faction of the army took him prisoner then things got ugly after a large crowd freed Bishop, then an army group executed him and half his cabinet. Bringing us to the topic of the graffiti; USA and a few island neighbours jumped in with guns on a rescue mission and got a warm welcome.
The Island has a population of around 100,000 living in a tropical paradise. Here we are trying wild growing Cocoa beans amongst a feast of fresh fruit and spices. It almost became overwhelming with the huge variety of produce and spices pulled from the verge of the road!
A waterfall was a refreshing stop with my graceful dive… Perhaps the instructions to jump out as far as possible from the slippery concrete platform was more for the locals entertainment than to avoid the supposed shallow rocks? We are still New Zealanders enough to still be uncomfortable running the gauntlet of touts down the concrete path after paying an entrance fee to a famous waterfall that was a little underwhelming. They were mostly nice and we understand this is how they make a modest living off the comparatively very wealthy tourists.
Here is one happy camper working at the Chocolate Factory! He doesn’t look too hungry either… We were fascinated going through the rabbit warren of small rooms looking at all the processes. It was a very cool and slightly surreal experience. So nice to be given an entire bar of Chocolate as a sample, rather than the usual few crumbs.
Kids weren’t the only ones happy with the visit!
Next stop was the Belmont Estate. The quiet grandeur of the beautiful grounds and historic buildings only hinted at the squalor and grind of the slaves used in its heyday. Here are the cocoa beans on the sliding trolleys on the original rails. Amelia has the cleanest looking feet and was picked to turn the beans by shuffling through them.
Rivers Antoine Rum Distillery was a blast from the past. Not much health and safety in evidence here as the original machinery from the 1800’s grumbles along to retain its title of the oldest water powered distillery in the Caribbean. Not the handbrake for the water wheel powering the cane crusher, a rather battered length of was white timber ready to be poked into the spokes.
Insert cane here, by hand.
Do not insert hand here. Can you imagine many other places where tourists can wander past unguarded crushing machinery?
Dry crushed stalks are cleared from the end of the crusher to join the mountain out the back, some of which are used to fire the boilers. This is about the only time I have seen Nelson holding onto one of his girls hands to keep them safe which if you know him says a Lot about the place… They are looking at the grubby channel where the cane juice runs into the distillery.
Boston is rather staggered by these heated vats at the start of the process. So am I to be honest, and the smell put me off rum for at least a week.
Coppers for a last stages of the process before the tasting. Some of the rum is literally rocket fuel with an alchol content so high it is not allowed to be taken on planes so they do a special cut down tourist version just below the limit so you can take it home…
Going through downtown Grenville, the second largest town on the island was a typical chaotic Caribbean experience.
I wonder what the return on this advertising expense is? We still enjoy seeing Kiwi produce in far flung places. As proud Kiwis Anchor cheese and butter is always in our fridge.
Typical street scene driving around the island. Usually houses are concrete, raised and painted a kaleidoscope of colours. The small houses up on the hill are timber houses squatting on land while trying to claim the land title. Generally the government here has done a good job in looking after everyone and dissent and crime are low.
Back to the tourist brochure programme photos we anchored off the private Calivigny Island and invited ourselves onto the white sand beach. The island is USD 100,000 per night to rent… Beautiful buildings were scattered around the manicured lawns and plenty of staff make it a paradise for those who can drop 100G a night. Hmmm, a couple of nights here honey or buy a boat and more than 6 months of cruising kitty..? Thankfully you cannot own a beach in Grenada so with strict instructions to the kids not to go onto the grass we had a great time. Obviously the price is not a concern for local politicians and their suited security heavies as we were entertained by a large delegation arriving for lunch and an afternoon on the island. Seems graft is just part of island life.
Nelson doing his chic boat bum look. Suits him well.
Wandering though Clarks Court boatyard we came across the stunning 72’ Galatea. Built in 1899 and still engineless! She is a testament to craftsmanship and dedication and is well campaigned. Lovely! I wonder how many of the modern plastics will be cherished and survive so long?
A great night out with our friends. Note the kids table away from the parents. Cunning plan.
Nelson in another happy place.
And all too soon again it was time to say goodbye, until we meet again friends!
Drakkar standing by in Prickly Bay