Tuesday, January 17, 2012


After three weeks in Grenada for the holidays,
catching up with our 'Grenada family',
we’re back in Carriacou.
(Map not to be used for navigation.)
We continue to enjoy getting to know
our ‘new favourite island’ a little better.

The Grenada Grenadines are made up of three primary islands
– Petite Martinique, big sister Grenada,
and the perfect gem in the middle, Carriacou.

At thirteen square miles and a population of less than 7,000 people,
this is an island where everybody knows everybody.
Spend a few months here and you’ll find the locals, the Kayaks,
remembering you with a ready smile.

Belair Park is at the highest elevation in Carriacou
and offers this view looking southwest over Hillsborough,
the capital city.
The main streets of Hillsborough can be busy one day
and empty the next – we’re not sure there’s a rhythm to it.

We take the local bus into the city once a week to go to the
money store and to buy gasoline for our dinghy and generator.
There’s surely something appealing about a place
that boasts one hundred rum shops and only one gas station.

The bus waits while we arrange to get the jerry can filled and
when we’re finished doing other shopping, the bus stops for pick up.
Try that in the big city.

And Patty’s Deli is a must-stop in Hillsborough for some treats.

That’s Christine behind the counter.
She knows we’ll be getting baguette, olives and blue cheese.
Possibly some chocolate. And maybe some sausages.
Is there any smoked fish today?

Carriacou was ceded to England in the mid 18th century,
but was originally settled by France, so French heritage
remains in some of the names, especially around L’Esterre.

We’ve walked from Tyrrel Bay to L’Esterre Bay several times,
passing this sign for a local restaurant on Sunset Beach.

We’ll check it out when we’re back in the fall.

And L’Esterre is home to the lovely Paradise Beach.
Note the crowds.

The Hardwood Bar and Snacket is cheap and cheerful.
We recommend the wings and fries. 

And also on Paradise Beach you’ll find this little boutique
in an old container. Fidel Productions sells local arts and crafts
with the emphasis on ‘art’.

There are t-shirts printed with local paintings,
wonderful ‘mojo’ jewelry that makes you smile,
hand-painted calabash shells, and colourful trinkets of every sort.

It feels more like a gallery than a shop.

Across L’Esterre Bay is the tiny island beach, Sandy Island.
It was stripped bare in a storm some years ago
– regrowth is slowly happening.
There are moorings there now, in an effort to protect the reefs.

Windward, a quiet little town on the northeast corner of Carriacou,
has a rich heritage of boat building.
It's clear that this boat had been under construction for some time.
Some of the frame pieces were weathered
while the recent additions were fresh, new wood.

Carriacou boats are built without written plans or molds
– everything is judged by eye. When a boat is finished,
word spreads, and there is a huge party as the new sloop is launched.
It would be wonderful to be on-island for one of these celebrations.

As we walked north beyond Windward,
every bend in the road brought another postcard scene.

At the northernmost point of our walk,
we turned to see this valley view.
There was a new concrete road through the valley.
Until there wasn’t.

Check out what awaited.

The walk was turning into a hike with the admiral lagging behind. 

But there were no significant inclines, the day wasn’t a scorcher,
and we were continually rewarded with views
of the rugged northwest coast of Carriacou.

We also had an end plan – the town of Bogles and The Round House.
This is a very popular restaurant – reservations are necessary.
We hadn’t booked so we were just stopping for a look-see
and maybe an ice cube.

The grounds are beautifully kept and there are two ‘cottages’.
This is the Mango Cottage.

But the main event is the restaurant – a visual treat for kids of all ages.

The restaurant wasn’t open on this particular day but the owner saw us
and opened the bar so we could have a cool refresher.

If you’re interested in the unusual story behind The Round House
and the family who conceived and built it,
get comfortable and check out the website.

The home base for cruisers in Carriacou is Tyrrel Bay.

The main road hugging the bay is home
to most of the businesses in Harvey Vale.

Restaurants abound. The Lambi Queen is well-known
for delicious lambi and lobster served up with fine local music.

The Twilight Bar and Restaurant offers free wireless
at their beachside 'branch'.......
......the Lazy Turtle has terrific pizza to eat-in or for take-away......

......and the Slipway Restaurant next to the yacht club,
at barely a year old, is fast becoming
a favourite happy hour hang out.

There are a handful of other little restaurants and rum shops
– gotta save something for our return trip.

We do most of our grocery shopping in Harvey Vale
at the Alexis Supermarket and the After Ours Market,
but on Saturday morning we buy our week’s worth of fresh produce
from two local entrepreneurs.

Rufus brings his own local produce so his inventory is small,
but he always has several kinds of basil and fresh chadon beni,
a great substitute for cilantro.
I’m also a big fan of his leaf lettuce – hardy and delicious.

Just off the commercial dock, Lucy makes us laugh
as she sells her produce from Grenada.
She has variety, quantity and quality.
We do a regular trip ashore on Saturday mornings 
to replenish our fresh stores.

Another Saturday event is watching the Carriacou
Junior Sailing Club have some fun.
Through donations and volunteer work from ex-pats who live here,
this lucky group of kids learn to sail and race in their Optimist dinghies.

We’ve enjoyed chatting with locals we’ve met
during our stays in Carriacou, and catching up with other cruisers,
old friends and new. We were recently invited
to a lime and barbeque on the beach, hosted by Rick and Carolyn,
former cruisers who now live here much of the year.
What a lovely way to say ‘goodbye for now’.

We’ll be on the ‘road’ north up the island chain in a few days
– literally with places to go and people to see.
But Carriacou has found a place in our hearts
and we look forward to coming back in the fall.

1 comment:

  1. We have such great memories of Carriacou. Say hi to Christine for us, and if you see Scraper, tell him that the rowboat we bought from him came home to NS with us. Have a rum for us, and see if you can scare up a buyer for Nancy Dawson. Cheers, Susan and Randy