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 GRENADA WITH CHRIS, CARIBBEAN

The nation of Grenada consists of three islands: Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique. Its people are of mixed origins, though primarily of African descent. The island is volcanic in origin with a central ridge of mountains, the highest of which is Mount St. Catherine at 804 metres (2757 ft)Grenada has a bit of everything - beaches, rainforests, mountains, a fascinating history and an unaffectedly friendly people. We thought it would be the ideal location to spend time with Chris.

December 28

Chris Arrives at Prickly Bay!

We met Chris at the airport in Grenada, so happy to celebrate a belated Christmas with him and spend 2 weeks showing him part of the Caribbean wonders. We had anchored in Prickly Bay on the southern end of Grenada a week ahead to prepare for Chris' arrival.

Prickly Bay is a convenient anchorage with good holding, but it gets rolly during a southerly wind. We were situated near a little beach between Prickly Bay Marina and Spice Island Marina. (see pic above- Ascension is marked with red arrow) "Marina" is a misnomer as there really isn't any dock facilities of significance at either location. But they do provide good shore access with dinghy docks and restaurants at both locations.

December 29

St. Georges

We took a local "bus" (Mini Van) to St. George's. Buses all have huge stickers on them announcing their names (Love-a-Lot, Rider, Obsession). This form of transport is a cultural experience within itself. The vans give new meaning to carpooling, where 8 would sit comfortably, 12 would be cozy and 20 is what the driver wants! Squashed in like tinned fish, the thumping tunes provided by the driver gets the whole crowd into it - dancehall music cranked up to 12, with the locals singing along. The buses have normal routes but will detour to wherever you want to go.

Pan Band in the street

Lagoon, St. George's Harbour

Passing modern shopping centres and the ever present favourite KFC's, a mobile Pan Band resonated the Caribbean
 beat we have come to love.

St. Georges, the capital of Grenada, is a classic Caribbean city lying around an ancient, submerged volcano crater. Fort George stands majestically on the hill overlooking the city. Georgian style buildings line the harbour, most rebuilt since Hurricane Ivan flattened the city in 2004. Stone churches, forts from a forgotten time and houses of all colors meld into a hilly buffet of urban aesthetics. We strolled along the Esplande past cruise ships, water taxis and fishing boats bobbing in the port.

We ventured through Market Square, noisy and colourful, the locals haggling over their daily supplies. The mishmash of hilly laneways surrounding the Market Square have many core elements of the historic town as it was when it was first founded.

Walking through the Sendall Tunnel brought us to the Carenage, a horseshoe shaped inner harbour and the focal point of marine activity in St. Georges.

We found a dockside restaurant for a lunch stop, where the cooling breeze was a great respite from the heat.


Happy Birthday Guys!

December 30, 2009

We had a dual birthday celebration for Gord & Chris complete with cake.

It was a hot walk to the adjacent bay, especially since we missed our turn and walked for several hours through an upscale neighborhood. Interesting to see how the upper class Grenadians live but we were grateful that there were cold drinks when we reached Mt. Hartman Bay. Gord thankfully hugs the mermaid!

New Year's Eve

We spent the evening at De Big Fish Restaurant, Spice Island, enjoying a meal of local cuisine and entertainment. British New Year's was brought in at Greenwich Midnight (9 pm) which is also Cruiser's Midnight!

We returned to the boat in time for an amazing display of fireworks, a 360 degree display of pyrotechnics around Ascension, light shows being set off from dozens of locations on shore!

January 1

We thought this would be an ideal, quiet day to tour the island. Not much traffic as everyone was recuperating from the previous night's celebrations. We had arranged for a rental car to be delivered but it was a no-show so after a walk to a backup rental agency, we were on the road.


Grenada had a fiery volcanic beginning but over the centuries its eroded volcanoes have been overgrown by dense rainforest and numerous waterfalls. We headed along the eastern coast of Grenada in search of one of these waterfalls.

Concord Falls

We hiked down to Concord Falls where there was an inviting swimming hole but we did not take advantage of it. The 100 foot cascade is on private property so we had to pay a small amount for our visit. The surrounding rainforest united flowering plants, ferns, palms and fruit trees.

Nutmeg trees are a common site around the island. Grenada produces half the world's supply.

Caribbean political messages colourfully painted on buildings along the road.


Cocoa plants


People were friendly, the children shy but curious.

We drove onward down the coast through protected forest of bamboo, eucalyptus, ferns, and palms of every size and shape. Hillside villages spilled down the tropical slopes of banana and cocoa plantations. Bright buildings painted in Caribbean colors.

Gouyave

 

Gouyave is a small fishing village where yotties like to attend the Friday Fish Feast.


Carib's Leap

 

The first people were Arawaks arriving from South America.

Eventually they succumbed to the Caribs. Rather than surrender to the French colonists in 1650, the Carib Indians leapt to their death over this steep cliff face descending vertically for more than 100 feet.

Rounding the northern tip of Grenada, there were more sandy beaches, the surf wilder on the Atlantic coast of the island.

Continuing our tour, we drove down the eastern side of Grenada passing through Grenville before turning inland to the Grand Etang Forest Reserve.

A sideroad led to the Grand Etang Lake, over 1200 ft above sea level.  Legend has it that the lake is bottomless although it is 1740 feet above sea level.

Grand Etang Forest Reserve

Grand Etang National park encompasses 30 acres full of trails and wildlife. At the visitors Center, Mona Monkeys brassily approached looking for a handout.


Seven Sisters Waterfalls

We hiked to the Seven Sisters Waterfall, escaping the pursuit of "guides" that insisted we needed them to follow the well worn path for 45 minutes to the waterfall!

The waterfalls consist of a series of falls, cascading into a cooling pool of water, where some other visitors were taking a swim. It is possible to continue the hike to the other falls but it was too hot for the steep climb further.

Beachin' It!

We spent a few days soaking up the sun.

 


One day we lazed on the little beach in Prickly Bay, "borrowing" some of the exclusive hotel's lawnchairs, the boats silently bobbing at anchor around us.


Grand Anse Beach

2 miles of white coral sand beach, Grand Anse Beach  is THE hangout in Grenada.


Molinere Reef Marine Park

We sailed up the Grenada coast past St. George's and anchored near the Molinere Reef Marine Park. We had borrowed dive gear from Grace and Gord took Chris on an introductory Scuba Adventure. Unfortunately Chris' tank did not have much air so the dive did not last long. But it was exciting for him to give diving a try.

We snorkelled around the area where there are 67 underwater sculpted statues planted in the Park. We found several of them along with some colorful fish.

 

 

Back on board, "Rasta Chris"
plays with the new toys he bought
in St. Georges.

We head back to Prickly Bay for our last night at anchor. Sadly the time has come all too quickly and Chris has to return to Canada. We will miss him terribly. A teary goodbye at the airport with hopes that we will see each other soon.