Monday, October 12, 2009


When your 6’4” baby boy is escorted through the arrivals door at the airport by a 6’7” customs officer, a parent’s first thought is “Oh my god. What has he done?”
So quick hugs and kisses, then the formalities with authority. It was simple enough. When asked where he’d be staying in Grenada, Bil answered that he was visiting his parents on their boat. And of course he knew the name of the boat. All good. But he didn’t know where ‘Beach House’ was anchored, and immigration needed to know, hence the escort out to us for the answer. Phew. No cuffs, no jail, no delay. Let the week begin.

We planned a quiet day for Bil’s first full day in Grenada – a bus ride to St. George’s to meet friends for lunch at one of our favourite spots on Lagoon Road.
Bill has the local style down – shades, t-shirt, bathing suit, sandals.

Here’s the ‘welcome’ sign at our restaurant of choice.

The HorniBaboon is a great venue with good local food and unexpectedly decent burgers and fries.

Here are father and son at the entrance to the HorniBaboon, bonding at the Carib tree.

Next night we took Bil for happy hour at Le Phare Bleu, just a dinghy ride around the corner from our anchorage.
Bil is giving the callaloo fritters his glare of approval.

Wednesday was the big tour day. We'd waited for Bil’s visit before touring, so we were all pumped. Jim and Wendy from ‘Merengue’ and Ray and Genna from ‘Nighthawk’ joined us for the day – a great group.

There are many beautiful waterfalls in Grenada, some requiring a hike to get to them, but since we had multiple stops to make, our tour guide took us to the Concord Waterfall, no hike required.

Bil did the fresh water swim at the base of the waterfall. It was a typically sweltering day, so he didn’t stay all that refreshed for long.

At the top of the stairs that lead to and from the waterfall……

…… is the expected tourist row with food, drinks, and trinkets for sale.

Here’s Bil shopping ……
…… and finding a shark’s tooth necklace to his liking, so Mom
is reaching into her purse for the cash. Gotta get the lad a souvenir.

Next stop was The Spice Factory. Our guide was excellent – informative, patient, and quite funny in her quiet way. She’s got a great eye roll.

She showed us the island spices in their raw state ……

…. then cut them open and let us smell and taste where appropriate.
Cocoa beans, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, bay leaves, to name just a few – a colourful and intoxicating experience.

This is Michael Williams, our tour guide and driver for the day ……

…… showing Bil how easy it is to balance a basket of spices on your head. I don’t think Bil is buying the ‘easy’ part.

After another half hour drive through Grenada’s beautiful countryside, we arrived at Petite Anse for lunch. This is a colonial-style cottage-resort and restaurant on the north shore of the island, opened this past March by a couple of Brit cruisers who came to Grenada two and a half years ago and stayed.

The food was outstanding, the site was beautiful, and the scenery from the restaurant balcony was breathtaking.

All of us would have been quite happy to wile away the afternoon right there on the balcony, looking north toward Carriacou, sipping one more drink, but there was more to see.

 In French, 'sauter' means ‘to jump’. The town of Sauteurs on the upper east coast of Grenada has a place in island history.

Bil is standing at the edge of the precipice -
– well, at the ‘mom-approved’ edge.

Next stop was the Rivers Rum Distillery – the last place in the Caribbean where rum is made in the age-old way with the original equipment built over 200 years ago.

We were fortunate again to have a delightful guide for this tour. Here’s Patsy doing her thing, while Bil and Jim take pictures in the background.

This was typical of the tour – there are so many photo-op moments in this ancient distillery. Patsy was patient, surely used to people wandering around taking pictures while she’s trying to do her job.

The smell throughout is sickly sweet. And this last view of rum-to-be in one of the last steps before distilling? Could put you off rum.

But apparently not for long.
Here’s the elegant tasting room. The large orange container is ready and waiting, full of water.
Rivers Rum Distillery puts out 80,000 bottles of rum a year, but there are only three choices. The Rum Punch is red and quite sweet, although it’s only rum and lemon juice. The middle rum is 69% alcohol by volume – 138 proof.

But wait. Royale on the right is their most famous rum – 75% alcohol by volume. Yes - a mere 150 proof.
Patsy doesn’t ‘recommend’ starting with the 150 proof, but she does say that if you’ve come to the Rivers Rum Distillery, this is what you’ve come for, so why start with a lesser rum. Okay.

There’s about half a shot in that glass.
The men tell me that tossing it back is best.

Jeez. Best at burning the back of my throat. Thanks guys. That’s water in the other glass and I couldn’t get it down fast enough. I believe I may have won ‘face of the day’.

Our drive home took us through the Grand Etang Forest Reserve with a stop at Grand Etang Lake. Our guide, Michael Williams, is telling us about the damage done by Hurricane Ivan throughout the rain forest and about the continuing regrowth.

He had many stories and was very entertaining, but the best part of this stop was the cool fresh air coming off the lake. It was the coolest we’ve felt in months. I’ve no doubt that’s why Michael chose this spot for his longest talk. The whole day was excellent, the highlight of the week – good company, great sites, and a charming guide.

Friday night we took Bil to the weekly street party in Gouyave, a small fishing town about 15 miles north of St. George’s.
Two streets in Gouyave are closed to traffic for the evening and vendors set up their kiosks, selling fish prepared in every imaginable way.

There are fish fritters, tuna kabobs, fish lasagna, lobsters, fish spring rolls, and sides of plantain fries, corn bread, and more. Much more. And of course you can get something to drink. Bil is getting the rum rundown from one of his new rasta friends at the rum tent.

He's decided on Old Grog and apparently doesn’t want to share.

On Saturday we took the bus to Grand Anse Beach, one of the most famous in Grenada. This two mile sweep of white sand is the hub of the island’s hotel industry, but you don’t really see that. Strict laws prohibit any building higher than the tallest coconut tree.
Once again, Bil didn’t seem to have any trouble relaxing. Island life seems to agree with him.

The rest of Bil’s week? Shopping, more visiting with cruising friends, snorkeling, watching a big-time cricket match, sleep, and more sleep. He had a good week and we had a better week. “It don’t get better than this.”

Here’s one last shot of the Captain and the Kid at Le Phare Bleu on pizza night.

And here are a few websites with further information for inquiring minds.

I’m including the website for Barefoot Man as well because this blog entry title is one of his song titles. His music is silly, irreverent, and fun. “It don’t get better than this.”

Bye, Bil !!!

1 comment:

  1. Always enjoy your excellent prose & even better pictures.Great memories for me.Oh the leaves are beautifully changed here but falling fast and the little sports are going to bed soon. Boats are hauled tomorrow, except for Lady Simcoe who is languishing in Beaufort N.C.