Sunday, September 29, 2013

A Cruisers Life in Grenada

When we're not fixing everything on our boats, even us yachties can fall into a familiar lifestyle when we spend more than a couple weeks at one location.  We decided to move from all the conveniences of Prickly Bay (good Internet, two great restaurants, and a well stocked Budget Marine store) and motor about 5 miles northeast to Hog Island where our friends Field Trip, Sea Shell and Escape Velocity were anchored. Since this area is bounded by very shallow reefs, it required some precise route planning using our MaxSea Time Zero navigational software.

Hog Island and Rogers Bar.

Hog Island (romantic name, eh?) is always crowded so we didn't have a lot of options on where to anchor, but it was definitely more protected from the Easterly swells that can plague Prickly Bay. Hog is a favorite with "kid boats" such as Field Trip since it's very well protected and has a good beach where the kids can play on the white sand beaches.

Cruisers BBQ sponsored by Melinda and Harry on Sea Shell.

The first night we went in for a BBQ that Sea Shell was sponsoring and got to meet a zillion kids and their parents. Was a fun night with some delicious food a la "cruisers pot luck style." Hog Island is a great central location since you can get to four of the major marinas, Secret Cove, Clarks Court Bay, Whisper Cove, and La Phare Blue by dingy and the fifth, Prickly Bay, by a short walk across the peninsula.

The nautical equivalent of a quilting circle.

The yachtie daily routine varies from boat to boat, but certainly will start with one of these three activities: "noodling classes," a kind of water aerobics that involves placing a floating foam noodle between your legs, arms, and anywhere else it might fit (as they say, you can get mighty lonely out cruising). All you see are these bobbing heads floating by in the water. I think the real appeal is the opportunity to get off the boat, cool down in the water, and just gab with other women.

Morning yoga classes at Secret Cove Marina.

Another favorite activity is yoga classes on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday at Secret Cove Marina. Since my body has a zero tolerance policy to flexibility, this is something Meryl does with some other women and a couple of very flexible guys.

The warriors of Prickly Bay practice the fine art of Tai Chi.

On Tuesday and Friday they offer Tai Chi, which I tried for the first time and fell in love with. It's a Chinese martial art that mixes ballet moves, some yoga positions, and defensive/offensive fighting positions. It's taught by a French Canadian man named Pierre-Yves who is an absolutely wonderful instructor, very supportive to complete dolts such as myself. If you ever want a great belly laugh, come watch me try to move through the 108 positions of Tai Chi without killing myself.

Meryl's favorite: the vegetable lady at Le Phare Blue.

Other popular activities include Mexican Train dominoes, a weekly pool tournament at Clarks Court, and volleyball at Secret Cove. A couple times a week the mini van drivers offer shopping buses that take people directly to the staples of the cruising lifestyle:  Ace Hardware, Budget Marine CK Wholesale Foods, IGA supermarket, and ATM machines. If you are a cruiser you are either fixing something or eating something. Meryl's favorite is the "vegetable lady" that comes to La Phare Blue twice a week with an exotic variety of local fruits and vegetables.

Cooking classes with Omega and Ester.

One of our favorite activities (also talked about in a separate post) is cooking lessons at True Blue Bay with Ester and Omega. The comedy shtick between the two is worth the trip alone and the food is outstanding. Plus the mile long walk back to the dock helps burn off those calories.

"Can I add just two more tools without sinking the boat?"

About once a month there is a Jumble Sale at Secret Cove where everyone rummages through their boats gathering up expensive but mostly worthless stuff that they try to sell to other cruisers. "Who needs a 150 amp Class T Blue Sea fuse?" It becomes mostly a social get together with people wandering from table to table trying to figure out what everything is.

The perfect burger at The Merry Baker at Port Louis Marina.

Fridays includes a short trip on the number one bus down to Port Louis Marina to the Merry Baker bakery where they host "Build Your Own Burger" at 11:30 am. She lays out a center table with all the fixings:  lettuce, tomato, cheddar cheese, lettuce, grilled onions and the best hamburger buns on earth. You then go outside and her husband is manning the BBQ with stacks of hamburgers cooking. All for about $4.50, a deal for something that tastes that good. Also hidden away in a non-descript freezer case is small plastic cups of incredible homemade ice cream made with real cream and exotic flavors such as mango, passion fruit, etc.

Helping local children to improve their reading skills at Mt. Aires.

On Saturdays a bus picks up cruisers at the various marinas for the trip up to Mt. Aires for the children's reading program. We'll talk about that in a later post but it's a great opportunity to give back to the local community.

Jamming with de Boyz.

Sunday's at 3:00 pm is the weekly jam session at Whisper Cove Marina where various cruisers bring their guitars, ukuleles, mandolins, saxophones and whatever and put on an excellent show for the cruisers. Since you get free beers if you sing three songs it does promote some less than Broadway quality singing, but what the heck.  As the songs are strummed and sung, everyone once in awhile you stop talking and put down your beer and just intently listen. This was the case when a cruiser, who used to play professionally with Steely Dan, played beautiful riff of Santo and Johnny's Sleepwalk.

Early on in the America's Cup, another Kiwi win.

The all time best attended event on the island has been the last two weeks showing of the American's Cup.  We've watched it at two venues, Clarks Court and Prickly Bay. Both rig up a computer showing the live broadcast via YouTube and run that into their wide screen TVs at the bar.  By far the most raucous crowd has been at Clarks Court Marina, with scores of Kiwi supporters and a large black New Zealand flag waved during each of the early victories by Team New Zealand. The Americans had all relegated their hopes of winning to zero and watched as a bit of a masochism exercise. Then the tide turned. The Kiwis got real quiet and the Americans were high five'ing as each day the impossible dream got one more race closer. During the final sudden death race you could cut the air with a knife, then Team USA slowly started pulling away. As they used to say in Seattle, "the fat lady just sang." What an incredible event to share with a group of sailors from all over the world in a bar in Grenada. Absolutely incredible!  Even the Brits and Aussies got to root for all their countrymen who were on the crew of Team USA and responsible for the win.

One of the most difficult things for Meryl and I has been exercise. Yes we walk everywhere, but in 90+ heat you're not to inclined to take up jogging again.  We have begun swimming from the boat towards a nearby beach (we haven't made it yet) and try to not think about the sharks.

The reason you need to get serious about exercise here is the multitude of good restaurants who advertise their "cruiser specials" on the morning radio net. Happy Hour at de Big Fish, Two for One Pizza Night at Prickly Bay Marina, Caribbean Mexican Night at True Blue Bay Marina, Thai Night at Le Phare Blue, and of course the outstanding baguettes at Whisper Cover and the Vegetable Lady at Le Phare Blue twice a week.

Again, all this happens only when we have spare time from fixing just about everything on the boat that decides to break on any given day. The definition of cruising:  Fixing your boat in exotic locations.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

It's the Ester and Omega Show!

When you have six months to kill waiting for hurricane season to end, you begin to get creative with how you spend your time. Working on the boat, watching the America's Cup at Clarks Court Marina, Trivia Night at Prickly Bay, drinks at De Big Fish, noodeling around the boat; it can be tough spending time in Paradise.

Each morning on VHF Channel 66 the Grenada Cruisers Net opens with any safety issues (stolen dinghies), reports the weather, asks if anyone has any parts or services they need, sells things on Treasures of the Bilge, announces shopping buses into town, and finally, allows the local shops to promote their specials.

One announcement that intrigued us was cooking lessons at True Blue Bay Resort. Since it was only a short walk down the peninsula from where we anchored at Prickly Bay, we decided to give it a go. The resort, located on (where else) True Blue Bay, is a funky but high quality resort with a very well regarded restaurant. Since it's close to St. Georges University, lots of med  school students show up for the resort's famous Mexican night on Fridays and the Sunday BBQ.

On Thursdays at 3:00 pm the resort offers the best deal on the island, cooking lessons (and you get to eat what you make) for US $4.40. You sit out on the large veranda with hopefully a cooling breeze blowing through and watch as the kitchen staff begins to bring out the gas cooker, plates, utensils, and a finally lots of little bowls with the ingredients for the day's dish. The trick is they don't ever announce what they are going to cook ahead of time. Sometimes I think they don't even know.

Next a rather ample Grenadian woman named Omega makes her way to the cooking table and begins a little small talk with a table of cruisers who are regulars at this event. She then may begin to set the stage for some dispute or misunderstanding between her and the other chef, Esther.

Omega on right announced that Esther is "unhappy."

Hearing this, Esther emerges from the kitchen and like Abbott and Costello, off they go. Today Omega commented that Esther hadn't been able to get all the ingredients for their planned dish, fish lasagna. Omega says "Well, if it were my responsibility I would have gotten up early this morning and gone to the shops myself to get the ingredients . . ." which triggers Ester to chime in with all the reasons she couldn't get up early and on and on. While it looks acrimonious, they are the best of friends and their continual shtick while cooking is part of what people come to see.

Omega announces that Ester's back up dish is stew fish in gravy. Normally I would have left at that point because I'm not a big fan of most fish dishes, but just listening to the repartee of the two women is such a trip it's worth the time.

It's time to cook and Ester takes over and adds oil to a large cast iron frying pan on the grill. She mentions that all the recipes are passed down from grandmother to mother to daughter, and everyone has some variation to even the most basic dishes.

An eclectic group of cruisers gathers each Thursday for cooking lessons.

With the oil now hot, Ester adds onions and lets them caramelize, the smell of which tantalizes everyone in the audience. Next she adds the garlic, chive and thyme, curry powder, peppers, carrots, Christophe (a local vegetable), some ketchup, and finally, boiling hot water. All this slowly bubbles in the pan as she takes a spoon and puts a very small amount of the broth in the palm of her hand and sips it, judging the spices too weak. In goes a little more salt and some Goya Adobo, a wonderful local spice mix. She lets this boil down to what they call a roux, a flour-thickened rich vegetable/spice mix to which a variety of other foods can be added.

A little boiling water helps reduce the solution down while not slowing the cooking time.

For this dish they added flour pan-fried chunks of freshly caught Mahi-Mahi. I am now salivating as the rich smell of the dish wafts out over the crowd. A helper brings out a large flat of mashed potatoes, which sets Omega off on a rant about the time they had a huge crowd for cooking lessons and Ester walked out of the kitchen carrying a large flat of the mashed potatoes and managed to spill them all over the floor. The banter about this goes on and on an I'm whispering under my breath "Just stop talking and serve the food."

Finally we all gather around as Omega, one at a time, slowly dishes up the stew fish in gravy, making us wait until all twenty plates are served before we can dig in. Again, I would not normally order something like this is a restaurant but it was like a little piece of heaven as all the spices and flavors competed for attention in my mouth. I even went back for seconds, having to walk a little quicker as another cruiser got the same idea and made his way to the skillet.

The walk back to our boat in the 90-degree heat was worth it as we marveled about everything Grenada has to offer, if you just stay long enough and are willing to explore a little.

Stew Fish in Gravy, Grenadian Style

Stew Fish in Gravy (Grenadian Style)

8 servings- coated with flour
4 cloves Garlic
1 large onion
2 strands chive and thyme
1 tablespoon curry powder or turmeric
4 seasoning peppers
2 large carrots
1 large Christophe
4 cups water
Salt, pepper and tomatoes
2 tablespoon vegetable oil

Fish Preparation:

Remove scales and clean fish. Cut your fish into slices about 1 1/2 to 2 inches. Use a sharp knife to cut several slits in each piece of fish.

Add 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper, and 1 tsp seasoned salt. Mix to spread seasoning evenly. Add a half of chopped pepper (optional). Let stand for 30 minutes to allow seasonings to penetrate.

Coat fish on both sides with flour.

Add one cup of cooking oil to a large skillet. Heat the oil on medium high. When oil is hot, fry fish until both sides are brown. Reduce heat if your fish is cooking too fast.

Gravy Preparation:

In a large sauce pan. Add all seasoning (chopped and sauté. Heat oil on low heat. Sprinkle curry powder or turmeric.

Add tomato paste or ketchup, continue sautéing, sprinkle flower into pot, until it turn a golden brown, or red color appears, add water and bring to boil,add vegetables (carrots and Christophe) until cook.

Add fry fish to gravy, salt and pepper to your liking.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tour de Grenada

Whenever you have guests aboard, you tend to want to do everything and go everywhere. One solution is the “around the island tour.” With Meryl’s sister, Duryln, fresh off the airplane, we wanted to show her the best Grenada has to offer.

As with all things in Grenada, you first listen to the cruiser’s net at 7:30 am to get some recommendations from other cruiser as to who offers the best island tour. Cutty’s name kept popping up, and we had already used him for our leatherback turtle trip so we booked an island tour with him for the next day.

Overview of St. Georges with the Fort on the hill in the center.

Bright and early we made breakfast and dingied into Port Louis Marina to meet an Austrian couple who will be taking the tour with us. We all pile into Cutty’s van and wind up through the hilly streets of St. Georges. One of the first stops is at an overview of the harbor by the island’s only prison. Cutty gets real quiet as a gray Nissan slowly goes by driven by an older man. Under his breath, he whispers “That’s one guy I never want to cross.”  We press him a little and find out the gentleman is the former general of the Grenadian Army and the one in charge when the military took over and executed the then Prime Minister, Maurice Bishop, and nine of his cabinet members. We agree with Cutty, that’s one guy you don’t want to cross.

Our indomitable guide, Cutty.

After admiring the view of the harbor, we turn around and look at the two forts, Fort Matthew and Fort Fredrick, former French forts on the hill behind us. On the ridge line between the two forts stood the Grenadian Army’s headquarters building. Apparently when the Americans attacked in 1983 they were supposed to bomb the Army’s HQ but instead hit a mental health hospital nearby.

During our tour Cutty would pull over and point out some tree, herb or plant. His knowledge of the local flora and fauna was impressive. Jumping out of the van he would grab some leaves, grind them up between his fingers, and pass them around, with us trying to guess the plant from its aroma. We guessed correctly on cinnamon, lemon grass, and cilantro, but a lot of them took quite a few guesses to get right.

Cutty pointing out various flora the cover the hills of Grenada.

He broke off a piece of non-prickly cactus (and we can’t remember half of the names of things he showed us) and demonstrated how the pulpy interior of the leaf is used by locals as a shampoo. We drove up the road a bit and he pulled over at a non-descript location and described it as a former plantation. We climbed up some rickety steps and Cutty immediately started picking leaves off various plants and playing “Twenty Questions” about what each was. Over the next twenty minutes Cutty showed us clove bushes, cinnamon trees, cocoa trees, ginger flowers, grapefruit trees, papaya trees, avocado, and callaloo plants. Grenada has been traditionally called “The Spice Island” and the name is well deserved.

Annandale Falls.

We next drove to Annandale Falls, a beautiful waterfall in a park-like setting. We had debated about going swimming, but no one seemed too excited. Several local guys had a mini business set up where they would climb up to a high point above the falls and do cannonball-type dives in hope of donations from the tourists. Have to give them credit for being entrepreneurial.  As usual, we got to see several exotic (to us) plants such as the brilliant pink ginger flower and the deep red, multi-leaved heliconia (my favorite).

A photo op if I've ever seen one.

We continued driving through the jungle-like mountains to the Grand Etang Forest Preserve. I noticed Cutty honking his horn as we drove up and on cue a woman dressed in Grenadian national colors balancing a basket of flowers came walking out.  As a former photojournalist I refuse to pay for these “photo opportunities,” but someone else did so I shamelessly took the photo.

It's difficult to explain how slippery this mud was, one misstep and you'd be flying down the slope.

Next on the list was what was described as a “short nature loop hike around the lake.” Sounded simple, but the devil is always in the details.  We brainlessly started walking up the trail to an overlook and realizing the trail had ended, we headed back down in search of the turn we missed.  An obvious trail took off to the west and that was the direction we thought we were supposed to go to get back to our van. It was a beautiful trail, but considering we were in a rain forest with over 160 inches of rain/year, the trail got progressively steeper and muddier. Oh, it also got darker as we slid our way down the trail. The “loop” hike was supposed to take only twenty minutes, but we all thought the road around the next corner.

The further we got, the worse it got. I was in flip-flops, a huge tactical mistake, as my feet were covered with mud and sliding sideways out of the shoes as I tried to gain traction on the trail or literally being sucked off my feet in the mud. It got so dangerous that I simply took them off and walked barefoot. This wasn’t so bad until I felt a razor-like slices across the top of my foot and saw blood oozing out from the mud. We had gotten tangled in thin, long blades of a grass-like material that was as sharp as razors, and cut just as effectively. That, added with the mud, debris, and God knows what fungus’ growing in the jungle made my day just that much better.

We eventually decided to cut our losses and reverse our way back to the trailhead. Naturally we fell in the slippery mud and covered our butts and everything else with the thick, red mud.  When we finally emerged onto the correct trail I went straight to the restrooms and, to my joy, discovered the showers. Off came my mud-colored white nylon top and my once black shorts and everything went into the shower for a through cleaning. I felt a million dollars better when I emerged but I don’t think Cutty was impressed with our trail-following skills.

The rather ugly, but incredibly healthful noni.

We continued around the island with occasional stops for plant identification and local interests. One of my favorite plants was the rather ugly noni, kind of like a pimply potatoes. Cutty said the locals put the noni in a glass of water and let the juice ooze out and then take a teaspoon of the juice each morning to improve their immune system.

The Grenville Nutmeg Processing Station where nuts are bought from farmers and weighed to determine payment.

Farmers dump their nutmeg onto large tables where the shells and debris are removed prior to bagging.

The nutmeg is separated into shells with the meat (top) and the undried (red) and dried mace.

The mace, used to make allspice, grows around the nutmeg shell.

The shells are dried over a period of weeks on large drying tables.

This women sorts the nutmeg by size and quality.

In the market behind the processing station Meryl and Durlyn purchase some nutmeg syrup that's used for pancakes and as a sweetener for tea.

Our next stop was on the east side of the island in the town of Grenville where we visited the local nutmeg processing station. Cutty said many of the processing plants are closed as a result of devastation to the trees from the last hurricane. The building was constructed in 1947 and was virtually unchanged since the day they built it.  One of the workers gave us a tour and enthusiastically described each stop of the processing, including the purchasing of the nutmeg from local farmers, drying of the nutmeg, the separation of the mace, drying them, and finally grading and sorting into various sizes for different markets. It’s amazing our versatile the nutmeg plant is:  first they use the outer fruit to make jams and jellies, the shell is ground up for mulch, the nut inside the nutmeg is ground up for spice and pressed into an oil, and the spider-like mace surrounding the nut is dried for use as a spice.

A local stream provides power to this huge waterwheel imported from England in 1785.

The waterwheel provides power to a huge sugar cane crushing machine.

The sugar cane comes down a long conveyor belt and the cane juice is crushed out by this huge press.

Next on the tour was the River Antoine Rum Distillery. The distillery was built in 1785, and much like the nutmeg processing station, is virtually unchanged since then.  A large iron waterwheel brought over from England provides the power to the distillery. It powers a huge crushing mill that flattens the sugar cane, producing a steady stream of the cane juice that goes down a long open trough into the distillery building, and the remaining crushed sugar cane which is stockpiled near the still and used as fuel for the distilling process.

The cane juice travels through a wooden trough into the boiling house where first filtered then hand transferred through a series of copper boiling pots. White lime is added as a purifier to the cane juice and to control the acidity. A worker uses a large ladle to transfer the juice from one boiling pot to the next, with each pot getting progressively hotter. Once the desired level of sweetness is reached the juice is transferred to a holding tank for two days to cool down.

The large goose-neck copper boiler is where the wash is heated to 250 degrees in the final distillation process to make the rum.
The boiled cane juice, now called a “wash,” is transferred to large fermentation tanks where natural yeast helps transform the wash to rudimentary rum over the next eight days. The final step is the distillery, where the wash is converted into rum. The wash is poured into a large goose-neck shaped copper boiler where a wood fire heats it up to 250 degrees. The alcohol leaves the boiler in the form of steam and travels through a worm-like pipe to the condenser where it is condensed back into a liquid in the form of rum.

At a 150 proof, this is a rum you sip very, very slowly.

It the final building, a very simple room where the rum is stored, bottled and labeled, they have a tasting room where three bottles of rum are set on a small table. The first is 150 proof, which they can’t sell through normal distribution channels since the degree of proof is so variable. After taking a small sip of this I can’t adequately describe the feeling of the liquid flowing down my throat:  a pleasant hot sensation that completely overwhelms your sense of taste. You seriously can’t drink too much of this if you want to walk back to the van. The second bottle was a 120-proof, and the third a rum punch, a proprietary mix of fruit juices with rum. After the 150-proof the rum punch seemed so mild you could have it as a breakfast drink.

The crushing mill pulverizes the cocoa beans into a paste that is added to sugar and other ingredients to make chocolate bars.

Next on the tour was the world famous (if you are a chocolate lover) Grenada Chocolate Company. The company has a colorful history, founded by an eclectic Ivy League drop out called Stuart Mott. He left Penn in the 60’s to help provide electricity to squatters in Philadelphia’s tenements. A fervent sailor, he ended up in Grenada where he founded the Grenada Chocolate Company in 1999. He ran a totally “green” operation, powered by solar cells and even delivered the chocolate bars to Europe in a brigantine sailboat. Mott died an untimely death on June 1, 2013 when he was electrocuted working on the factory.

Since Mott’s death they have not allowed tours of the factory, but we were very fortunate that Cutty had a friend who worked there and gave us a very quick peak of the miniscule factory operation, showed where the cocoa beans are crushed, mixed with liquid and sugar, and formed into chocolate bars.

Leapers Hell where thousands of Carib Indians jumped to their death rather than be captured by the French.

Our final stop on the tour was the town of Sauteurs on the very northern tip of the island. Sauteurs is famous as the location of Leapers Hill, where in 1651 the local Carib Indians made a last stand against the French invaders. Rather than be captured, many chose to commit suicide by leaping off the 150 ft. cliff to the shark-infested waters below.

Janet houses have a unique design with alternating directions of their siding and dimensions that makes them easy to identify.

Driving back to St. Georges on the beautiful coast road Cutty pointed out some strange little structures he called “Janet” houses. They were donated by Venezuela after Hurricane Janet devastated the island in 1955 and are identifiable by their unique design. Cutty said these houses were very well built and have survived subsequent hurricanes.

Durlyn and Meryl enjoy a great dinner at BB's Crab Restaurant in St. Georges.

We ended a great day with dinner at a local institution, BB’s Crab Restaurant, where we enjoyed a delicious crab salads and I had one of the hottest Jerk Chicken. After several swallows of Diet Coke I finally regained my sense of taste and smell. I’ve still haven’t learned my lesson about eating spicy foods in the Caribbean.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sisterly Visit to Grenada

I had been trying to talk my sis, Durlyn, into visiting us while we are here in Grenada for the hurricane season.  She spends six months in the Seattle area each summer and six months in the winter in Maui. (Poor thing!)  Finally, she is coming September 15th for a week but Bob, her husband decided he would stay at home in Seattle.  I guess some people just aren't comfortable on boats, especially during hurricane season!

We had held off doing tours and tourist type stuff, but with Duryln on the way we went into full planning mode.  Like all guests visiting the boat, Durlyn became a courier for items that arrived after we left Seattle, parts we needed for things that broke since we left Seattle, and endless other things you just can't get here in Grenada.

We moved our boat to Prickly Bay a few days earlier, where it would be more convenient to pick her up from the airport, and started preparing the boat for our guest.  I go into a deep cleaning mode and do a more complete cleaning of woodwork, floors, linens, etc. and stock up the pantry.  I always ask myself: why don't I do this all the time just for us?

Her flight was due in at 7:30 pm, so we dingied over to the dock and met up with Shademan, our reliable taxi driver who took us over to the airport.  We had a little wait for her flight to arrive. Finally passengers began exiting from Customs to the waiting area outside.  We were starting to get a little worried that she was held up at Customs and being interrogated for bringing in all our "stuff,"  but finally she appeared with a big smile of relief.

A hearty breakfast of  scrambled eggs and english muffins.

After a good night's sleep aboard and a leisurely morning breakfast we upped anchor and motored northwest up around the point to a new anchorage location closer to town at St. George's.  It takes awhile for guests to get their sea-legs so we recommended a little anti-seasick medication to help take off the edge.  Fortunately, the seas were calm, but not enough wind to sail but.  St. George is a beautiful spot with clear water,  great sunsets and is close to the action in town.

Later that afternoon we dingied two miles up to Moliniere Pt. to snorkel at Grenada's Underwater Sculpture Park that was created by Jason Decaires Taylor and made famous by photos in National Geographic. We tied up at a mooring buoy and started looking for the sculptures with a rough idea of where things were from a map online.  We found the famous circle of children holding hands, a mermaid, random nude women lying in state, but were unable to find the Christ statue, man on a bicycle, the desk, or the still life.  It was a little like trying to find a needle in a haystack.


Also, the visibility was not the best with the rainy squall that passed over us while we were snorkeling.  It would be wonderful to dive the park with a guide next time.

Next day we took an island tour with Cutty, a popular local Grenadian guide, to learn more about the flora and fauna and visit some sights around the island.  We started out at 9:00 am taking in some views and learning about some indigenous plants that grow abundantly on the island.  We also visited Annandale Falls, Grand Etang Forest Reserve for a hike and picnic, a nutmeg processing plant,  River Antoine Rum Distillery, the oldest rum factory still in production in the Caribbean, Grenada Chocolate Factory,  Sauteur's famous Carib Leap, and then back down the West coast returning to town around 5:30 pm.

Cutty dropped us off at BB Crabs a local seafood restaurant in St. George's just in time to catch the sunset.  Please see Walter's Tour de Grenada post for more details.

View of St. George's.

A very rare message for American's traveling to foreign lands.
Dinner at BB Crabs in St. George's. 
Gorgeous sunset from St. George's anchorage

Shopping was on the agenda the next morning, so Walter dropped us off at the Carenage and we headed up Young St. to Fabriks, a wonderful local batik clothing shop.  We explored the upstairs of the shop and learned how batik is made by waxing patterns onto the cloth and then dying with different colors.  Durlyn, being a quilter was very interested in batik process.

We couldn't resist buying some of the beautiful and colorful clothing.  Since Tikal's was across the street we looked around at some of their lovely art objects made by local artisans as well.  We later met up with Walter for lunch at the Grenada Yacht Club.

Relaxing on the deck of the Grenada Yacht Club while watching the America's Cup.

In the midst of Durlyn's visit, the America's Cup finals between the US and New Zealand were on each afternoon at 4:00 pm so we were always trying to find a good location to see the races on the big screen.  It was to say the least one of the most exciting weeks with NZ in the lead 8 to 1 to finally be tied up 8 to 8 a week later in a sudden death race for the championship. Unbelievable odds.  In the end we were pleased with the US victory but with only one American on the team and the rest Aussies and Brits we really couldn't take all the credit, could we? 

The next day we managed to get in a lovely walk along the two-mile Grand Anse Beach and took a nice long dip in the ocean to cool off afterwards.  Most days we either walked or did some noodling off the boat to cool off.  The current was so strong that at times we paddled laboriously but didn't make much forward progress and if we just relaxed and floated we would soon be heading out to sea.

We had heard about True Blue Resort's cooking class on the morning net and decided we would attend a class to learn a little about Grenadian style cooking.  Omega & Ester provided lots of laughs as they played out a little bicker & bantering with one another.  The menu was Vegetable Callaloo Soup which was actually very tasty.  More on that later.

Callaloo Soup with dumplings
The last day we headed for Merry Baker's for a wonderful cruisers lunch special 10ec ($4.40) burger on a fresh baked bun. A cruisers favorite.  To cap off the week Duryln graciously treated us to a wonderful dinner at the Port Louie Marina Restaurant.

Before we knew it, it was time for Durlyn to leave and head back to Seattle.  We had such a great time and hope next time she'll come for a little longer visit and bring along her hubby Bob.  Safe journey's sis, I am really going to miss you.

Getting ready to fly back to rainy Seattle.