Tuesday, June 6, 2017

1 Year in Grenada.....& 13 Living on a Boat.

Wandering Star in Hog Island, Grenada
Hurricane season has officially started bringing the much needed rain that goes with it. It's amazing how quickly the land has changed from the brown of the winter months to lush green again. Everything is starting to flower and look tropical again. The only down side is the heat and humidity. The change of seasons brings a change of sailors too. Many fly home to spend summer in their home countries but the bays fill up with others arriving for hurricane season. Camp Grenada begins again in earnest. Let the fun and games begin! Insert rolling eyes. We are settling into our second year of living here, the longest we have stayed anywhere. And approaching 13 years of living on a boat. Who'd have thought this is what I'd be doing at 40! I guess we kind of always knew Grenada would be a place we'd settle for a while. Though how long that will be is anyone's guess. 

It's another bank holiday here in Grenada. There are 13 public holidays compared to 8 in the UK! Any excuse for a lime  ;-)  We've had a chilled weekend together....something of a rarity these days when one of us is always dashing somewhere. I even dragged Sim on a hike around Grand Etang in the rain forest which, to my surprise he really enjoyed...Though he has made it clear it wont be a regular thing. It was wet and muddy and full of mosquitos but totally stunning. I love discovering more of this island, the people, the places, every nuance of it. It continually seems to change with the people that come and go and it's subtle difference in seasons. For now we just enjoy.
Sim and myself at Grand Etang...thanks to the PalmTreemobile. 
I lured Sim on the walk with the promise of no hills.....you think he'd know better. And what is that bug!?
Bamboos and broken bridges.
More bamboo, Heliconia,  Alpinia and Anthurium
The rain always brings the rainbows

More rain!
The boatyard where Sim works aka 'the goatyard' - thanks Sarah :-)
Walking the bridge between Hog Island and the mainland
A Sunday afternoon on Hog Island with Stan and Cora and Andy playing on the rickety stage.
One of our nights out at the Tuesday Jam at the Brewery.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

An Easter Weekend Staycation In Grenada

It’s been 11months- almost a year since we settled down in Grenada. The seasons have changed and the cooler months of winter are coming to an end. My feelings for Grenada ebb and flow with the tide; one minute all I can see is the beauty here, the bright, the bold, the colourful, the uncomplicated friendliness of a small island. I enjoy our life here and I can see a future. Everything is great in my little piece of paradise. The water sparkles, the boat bobs gently in a calm breeze. The sky is the brightest blue and the birds chirp brightly. Ashore the land is lush and plentiful, palm trees bend gently in the wind, and flowers burst in colour and fragrance. Locals and friends greet you with smiles and charm and I genuinely feel lucky and privileged to be here; especially when there is so much craziness and uncertainty in the rest of the world.
View from the bus stop above Whisper Cove - Clarks Court Bay and Hog Island.
Then the tide turns and my feelings rush in the other direction, I long to get out of here, to set sail and be free.  The heat is oppressive, the friendly faces unwelcoming and the bureaucracy of a small island and community are draining. But these moments are less and less these days as we find our groove here. Sure there are moments when im just itching to leave and start quizing Sim about how long he wants to stay here. But then I remember what I often tell people, that I love living on a boat and travelling but that I can take or leave the sailing part. So perhaps this is the best place for us for now....until I work up the gumption or we save enough cash to go sailing again.
Wandering Star in her spot at Hog Island
 Sim is happy at work and enjoys his weekends pottering. I take huge pleasure in exploring this gorgeous island and have been lucky enough to do plenty of that recently with friends or on hashes.  Together we keep the boat running, Sim fixes things as they arise and I take care of the daily chores.  Noodling in the mornings with the girls (and some guys) is a godsend to my sanity, without which I would probably lose my mind and I also get a little exercise as well. 

Easter weekend has been and gone and Sim, who was still on holiday after a visit home to see his mum and family in the UK, had a few extra days off. So we shook out those sails and meandered around to St George's for the weekend.  It was a great break and good to way to make sure Wandering Star is still in working order.  The engine purred and the winches, sails and windlass all still work.  We had a chilled and relaxed few days pottering on the boat, snorkelling on the reef off Grand Anse Beach and beach combing on Pandy beach.  The water was clear and inviting, unlike in Hog Island and thankfully it wasn’t too rolly for the time we were around there.  Sim cooked the most amazing pork roast on Easter Sunday and Monday we pootled back around to Hog Island. We picked up our mooring and back to work (for some) it is.
Finally a sail after 11 months of not moving!
What do we get on the sail to St George's but a glorious sundog or sun halo.
Sim sitting patiently on Pandy beach while I hunt for sea glass.
Me and some of the noodle girls having a farewell coffee morning for those that are leaving.
Easter is traditionally a time for kite flying in the islands.
A quiet Hog Island....except for the cows.
Mum, Dad and baby cow on Hog Island.
Our favourite little furry thing
Beautiful Grenada, La Sargesse beach,  Lance Aux Pines beach and a goat!

On some of the hikes and hashes in Grenada 
Nature's amazing shapes and patterns.
The hiking gang, Cathy, Cathy, Cora and Andy. Grand Etang lake and Cora and I sitting at the top of Mount Qua Qua.

Tracy and I have been on lots of little outings recently including the various forts around St George's.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Grenada Daze!

It’s been a long, long time since I have written. I never imagined I would let the blog slip so much. Initially because each week seemed to be the same. Sim worked and I looked after the boat. Its hard to appreciate when you live on land how long chores like shopping and laundry and fuel and water runs take, especially on your own. So there wasn’t much new to say. Life in Grenada carried on at a steady plod. The temperature cooled a little more and though still hot, we are no longer brow beaten by the debilitating heat.  Christmas and New Year came and went in a frenzy of parties and get togethers, and our livers longed for celebration time to be over. My sister Jen arrived in the new year and we had a fab time hanging out, kayaking and taking long walks to gorgeous Grand Anse Beach or around St Georges the capital of this little island .....while Sim was at work. I hashed a few times with my friends Sharon and Paul. Boats have left now sailing season has started. I've said goodbye to lots of friends. But strangely new boats arrive all the time. And the bays don't seem as empty as the should.  
Some of the celebrations over my birthday, Christmas and new Year...including Sim eating pigs tails..
strangely straight.....given to him as a belated birthday present from Andy and Trudy.
Another hash somewhere....can't quite remember where,  but I think it was halfway up the
west side of the Island - very steep and full of huge bamboos and always worth the views.
My sister Jen arrives and we walk all over the place, rewarding ourselves with Roti's and beer.
We walk all around St Georges, all around the carenage and lagoon and up the hill to the fort
for fabulous views.
We went to the dinghy concert in the rain- it was warm rain after all, around in Phar Bleu.
As soon as my sister left I got involved with helping out with the Grenada Sailing Week – a week long event at the end of Jan/beginning of Feb. Which swept me up in a whirlwind and three weeks later has spat me out the other side. 

What a great opportunity and a fabulous time I had helping out with the Grenada Sailing Week.

And a  photo of the residents iguanas at Whisper Cove Marina.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

A Hike.... Grand Etang To Concord Falls.

A little over a month ago I went on an intrepid hike through Grenada's lush rainforest with my friends Silke and Andy. Silke had mapped out the route found on Wikilocs - An informative wiki site that shows you hikes and cycle rides logged from all over the world for others to follow. This one has all the info on this particular hike. I did not know all this info at the time and blindly followed my friends in my very unfit and under exercised state. Had I read the info that said it was 'extremely challenging' and rated as 'very difficult' I might have thought otherwise about going. But I hadn't. Which I'm grateful for as although it nearly killed me - I loved every minute of it...in a torturous kind of way!

We took the number 6 bus out of St Georges up the west  coast and then inland into the bowels of Grenada's cool interior. We jumped off the bus at Grand Etang tourist centre and headed to the start of the trail.
The start of our hike that goes up and around the peak of Mount Qua Qua (2370ft) and a long descent down to Concord Falls.
We hiked up a fairly well marked path and around the west side of the Grand Etang Lake. The air was fresh and cool and the views, stunning. We could see for miles and miles.
Andy on top of the ridge to the west of the Grand Etand Crater Lake.
We had been climbing for about 45mins.  There were a LOT of up hills and I was starting to flag.  Andy and I traipsed behind as Silke lead the way.  It was around this time I asked how far we had gone....really meaning how far did we still have to go. I was in for a shock when Silke told me we were only 1/10th of the way to our destination! And once we reached there, it was a 2 mile walk back down to a bus to take us back to St Georges!

All along the ridge we marvelled at the awesome views and all the different ferns and plants.

You can take an hours detour to the peak of Mount Qua Qua to the right on continue the journey to Concord Falls. Needless to say I wasn't up for making any detours.

We finally started our descent. The rainforest canopy thickened over us and it wasn't long before the obvious path disappeared and we started to follow the yellow tags periodically tied to trees to lead the way.

I honestly don't know how Silke found the way without us back tracking once. We climbed over rocks and boulders, waded knee deep through rivers. We clung to the sides of slippery slopes and our feet were often ankle deep in mud. We had to descend the side of a steep rock face - not a place for anyone suffering from vertigo and I admit I spent a fair amount of time sliding on my bum. 

Silke taking the big leap.
I was exhausted by the time we reached Concord Falls four hours later. My legs felt like jelly and walking was painful. We were lucky that it was still cloudy and cool.  We ordered water and beers and hobbled (OK, only I hobbled) down to the pool below the falls for a welcome swim.

The long walk home
By now it was getting late.  We still had a two mile walk to the bus stop to take us back to St Georges and then another bus to take us back to Woburn. I thought we would be back in time for me to pick up Sim from work but we were hours late.  At 6.30pm we rolled into Nimrods the local rumshack where Sim was waiting, tired but exhilarated by our days wonderful hiking adventure.
View froms the bus on the way home.