After the Stormy Weather that wasn’t Tomas, our son Chris picked the perfect few days of Blue Skies to visit us in Grenada.
Here’s the requisite arrival shot. Chris didn’t ‘rate’ the Immigration escort his brother Bil did last year. But that’s another story. So is the one L in Bil.
By the way, this is the last time you’ll see Chris in long sleeves during his stay. Grenada’s temperature seldom varies out of the mid 80s, although it has dipped into the high 70s the last couple of nights.
We hit as many of the usual haunts as time allowed.
Le Phare Bleu’s Poolside Bar......
Whisper Cove Marina......
Nimrod's Rum Shop......
The open air market in downtown St. George’s......
The Creole Shack near the cruise ship docks for lunch, and, an introduction to Farkel......
By the way, the blog photographer enjoyed all these stops with us – he just couldn’t manage to get in the shots. He needs a different lens, I guess.
One of Chris's favourite stops was Roger’s Barefoot Beach Bar on Hog Island.
Who can blame him? Cold beer in hand and warm sand between your toes.
Not to mention loud island music as the sun goes down. This place is the real deal, enjoyed by locals and cruisers alike.
An island tour filled one day. First stop was a rum tasting at Clarke’s Court Bay Distillery.
At nine in the morning, we were sipping rum punch. Not a bad way to get your morning juice. We love this island.
Our guide made every stop we requested to get the postcard shots, this one on the high road above St. George’s.
Here's the family tree shot.
This is a kapok, or silk tree. They are huge and majestic. The human-looking trunk and limbs could be the stuff of nightmares. Remember The Wizard of Oz?
Next stop was Annandale Falls, one of six waterfalls in the mountains of Grenada. Chris is watching Matthew and Nicholas from the Australian boat, s/v Orchid, jump into the cool, fresh water under the falls. That’s Byron with the camera, crew from s/v Astor, who also joined us for tour day.
Geoff , Nicholas and his brother Alexander, tried to get Chris to join them, chanting his name and slapping the water.
To no avail. Chris kept me company in the peanut gallery, taking this picture.
Here’s Michael Williams, our excellent tour guide, setting up another rum tasting at Mark’s Sports Bar.
Mark makes his own spiced rum punch.
We didn’t really need a second taste to decide that it was the best of the day. So far.
But we accepted another sip after buying our own bottles. That’s Mark, sending us off with half a bottle of the rum punch.
Rachel, mom and first mate from s/v Orchid, took custody of that bottle.
It was empty by the end of the day. Rachel???
Our meandering tour worked its way through Grenville on the central east coast of Grenada. We stopped at The Nutmeg Factory, one of three that are still operating on the island. There used to be eight. The storage bins in the picture below on the right are all empty. This factory has operated at about one tenth capacity for the past five years. Why?
In 2004, Hurricane Ivan devastated the nutmeg crops, leaving diminished forestation of any kind to hold the soil in place. The next year, though Hurricane Emily was only a Category One, she compounded the problem, her rains and winds sweeping away more nutmeg trees. Grenada has replanted in many areas, but the nutmeg itself takes 12-15 years to mature. The island economy has a long recovery ahead.
Our guide at The Nutmeg Factory was soft-spoken and, in his way, captivating. He told us the economic side of the story and also the journey of the nutmeg itself – growth, harvest, and processing.
His lovely, slow, island manner was unintentionally dramatic. Look at the faces of Alexander and Nicholas.
We stopped for lunch at Belmont Estate, a 400 acre working plantation, inland and north of Grenville.
We had a delicious three-course island meal. Is Chris yawning?
Part of Belmont Estate is an area for the gathering and processing of cocoa beans to make Grenada’s world-famous organic chocolate. The cocoa plant fruit resembles a good-sized yellow mango. The guide broke one open to reveal the cluster of cocoa beans that looks like a bunch of grapes. We were invited to take one of the beans and treat it like a hard candy – don’t bite down, just suck on the gelatinous white coating till just the brown cocoa bean remains.
The adults look a bit squeamish but Alexander and Nicholas enjoyed the sweet white pulp, taking one whole fruit along and finishing the pulp off the seeds in the bus.
Kelly was our energetic and entertaining guide at Belmont Estate.
He was a hit with kids of all ages.
Chocolate bars don’t last long aboard Beach House. Even our Dutch and German cruising friends admit that Grenadian chocolate rates extremely high on the world scale of excellent chocolate.
Our last stop was at the River Antoine Rum Distillery. It’s the only rum factory in the Caribbean still operating with a water-powered wheel powering the cane crusher that starts the rum-making process. If it’s worked for 250 years, why mess with that?
We were delighted to see Patty, the same guide we had last year at the distillery.
Chris tasted the extra proof River Antoine rum.
I stayed with the rum punch. Tried 160 proof once. Never again.
On the ride home, our guide showed us a Hurricane Janet house.
After Hurricane Janet in 1955, small, prefabricated homes were brought in to replace many homes lost in the hurricane. Hurricane Janet houses were the only ones totally untouched by the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Ivan in 2004. They were clearly built to withstand mighty winds.
No visit to Beach House in Grenada is complete without an evening or three at Clarke’s Court Bay Marina, our home-away-from-home when we’re off the boat. Chris’s last night happened to be Hamburger Night at CCBM – what good planning. We like the food, the bar and the music, but the best part of Clarke’s Court Bay Marina is the people.
There are lots of reasons to like Charmella – in addition to her beautiful smile, she serves up the cold Carib. Looks like this was Chris’s round.
Here we are with Jim and Wendy from s/v Merengue. They came around from Prickly Bay that night and we’re really glad they did. They made a good night even better.
The back steps are a favoured gathering spot. That’s Pia and Erling, our Danish friends from s/v Thora II.
A game of pool broke out later in the evening. Every body took a turn showing me how to sink this particular shot. Charles from s/v Margaret Sharon is in the background – he’s the real player, but Pia’s form was impressive.
I sank the shot, by the way. Must have been the advice. Or maybe the easy angle?
And this last picture says it all. Here’s Charles again and that’s Jenny in the middle. She keeps Clarke’s Court Bay Marina running smoothly.
Just look at those smiling faces.
So - one visitor in 2009 and one visitor in 2010. Here’s hoping we double the number of visitors to Beach House in 2011. At least. Cheers, everyone.