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.

Monday, December 12, 2016

A Walk Around Rock's Eco Garden

Rock is a industrious Grenadian. He looks after boats in Le Phare Bleu area, he is a taxi driver and he maintains, and is very knowledgeable about the eco garden on his property not far from Whisper Cove Marina.

For a fee of $5ec he will take pre arranged groups around his little piece of paradise and point out all the different trees and plants and their uses. His garden is full of all sorts of wonderful fruit trees and herb plants. I should have bought a notebook and pen as I can not remember everything he told us, but he certainly is a wealth of information.
Rock talking to us about the cocoa tree. 
The large yellow, red or purple pods depending on their ripeness, are full of a sweet pulp and seeds that are fermented and dried to eventually make chocolate and cocoa powder.

Trudy, Vee and Andy smelling some Lemongrass.

The breadfruit nut which looks similar to the breadfruit, but is not. The breadfruit nut is spikey on the outside. Inside is white pulp with brown seeds. The brown seeds can be cooked, like chestnuts, the outer skin removed and the nut eaten.

The female Papaya tree. The male tree is identical but bares no fruit. The papaya is known for aiding digestion, but it also helps diabetes and weight loss.  Because of its high vitamin C content it protects against arthritis and is great for your eyes.

Ackee is surprisingly full of calcium, zinc and iron so is good for bone strength and helps towards reducing high blood pressure. Though you must be careful never to eat it before it is fully ripened and opened naturally as it is poisonous.

The golden apple has a woody outer shell. Inside the ripe fruit the flesh is a golden colour.It is known to help heart disease, maintains eye health and is a good antioxidant. It is commonly consumed in Grenada as a fruit juical
The grapefruit tree. Grapefruit has numerous health benefits and is commonly seen throughout Grenada and the Caribbean.

The Noni tree - the tree in the middle towards the back of the photo, may not have the most attractive fruit and has an awful smell but what it lacks in appearance it makes up in health benefits. It is known for its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties as well as helping towards lowering cholesterol but should only be taken periodically.

Rock told us about many more plants and their uses. His gardens can be found in Woburn by taking the road down to Whisper Cove Marina and following the signs. Or by dinghying to Whisper Cove Marina and walking up towards Lower Woburn Road and following the signs from there. Rock can be reached on +473 459 1971