Monday, September 19, 2016

Cutty's Island Tour Of Grenada.


I recently went on the highly recommended 'Cutty Island Tour'. Cutty (real name Cuthburt) has been doing these tours for over 20 years. When some of the same motley crew that arranged the river tubing trip said they were putting a group together for Cutty's tour, I once again jumped at the chance. With it being a week day though, it was without Sim, but I don't think he minded too much.
Having spent many hurricanes seasons here over previous years we are fairly familiar with the lay of the land, seen and been to a lot of the tourist spots and can recognise and name much of the local flora. But as I said, Cutty's tours come highly recommended. He is very knowledgeable about the Island and its history, from the 1983 invasion to stopping and smelling the flowers, so to speak - and fruits and spices; plucking a bunch of grass here to show you lemongrass, stopping there to see the soursop trees. He is constantly stopping his bus to show you the sights and smells of the island. I came away, a little more knowledgeable and having had an awesome day out.

At the beginning of the trip we gathered around to discuss what we wanted and where we'd like to go. We were all agreed - waterfalls, chocolate factory and rum factory amongst whatever else we could squeeze in. I had actually been to most these places before, some several times, all in fact, except the newest chocolate factory to the Island - 'Jouvay' and I had never seen the alleged roadside petroglyphs. But I was more than happy to swim benneath the cool refreshing Concord Falls again, and take another tour of the traditionally run Rivers Rum Factory where the process is almost the same as 250 years ago.

We decided to do the west coast first taking the scenic route through Morne Jaloux passing the remnants of Fort Frederick on one side and the stunning views of St George's and the Caribbean Sea on the other.

We then turned north driving past Molinere and Happy Hill, stopping every now and then to point out different fruit trees and plants. Cutty explained the difference between the Breadfruit Trees - one is a nut, or how to identify a male Papaya tree from a female, or how to identify the callaloo leaf(like spinach) by its purple heart in the centre of the leaf.
Old petroglyphs or modern day etchings? 
A third of the way up the island, we pulled over again. This time our guide showed us some carvings in the rock by the side of the road. When asked how old they were, he said some 400 years. Old carvings among new, though I suspect most of these are more recent. These are not to be confused with the pectroglphs at the north end of the island that we didnt get to see. But they were interesting all the same.



The next stop was probably my favourite part of the day. Concord Falls. I have been here a few times and love it just as much as the first time. In fact, what's not to love, it's straight out of a Bounty advert.
My all time favourite waterfall - Concord Falls.
Jim from 'Ullr' diving in.
A waterfall above the waterfall.
A fall below the waterfalls.
The bucolic grounds around Concord Falls

The drive to and from the falls is through a nutmeg and cocoa plantation. After hurricane Ivan in 2004, 80% of the nutmeg trees were destroyed.
The inside of a cocoa pod (you can suck on the white fleshy seeds, nutmeg and Annatto seed or red lipstick as it is otherwise known from its red sticky seeds inside.

Next stop was the Jouvay Chocolate factory. We were shown around the small, pretty estate where the cocoa beans are dried, sorted and turned into pure Grenadian chocolate. The best part, without a doubt were the bowls of free samples that we liberally helped ourselves to before buying a few bars to take home
After several samples I bought a few bars with cocoa nibs.
We then drove northwards up the island past more beaches with a quick stop at the Petite Anse boutique hotel for a photo of the gorgeous Beach below.
Beach at Petite Anse
Past Leapers Leap at Sauteaurs where the Caribs jumped to their death chased by the French in 17th century.
The cliffs in the distance where the Caribs jumped to their peril.
The next stop was for lunch, conveniently at the Rivers Antoine Estate - where the Rum is made. A good buffet was put on and we ate well.
A big feast of local food.
Finally it was time to tour the Rum Factory - made today as it was centuries ago. The pungent smell of the sugar almost burns your nostrils but not as much as it burns your throat as you knock back Rum so potent it's a fire hazard on aeroplanes. The 180 proof, (90 % alcohol) literally burns as it goes down. They make a 69proof to go on planes. 

The raw sugar cane before it gets processed.
The conveyor belt is turned by a water wheel.

The chocolate Rum and rum punch were much easier on the palate than the hardcore white spirit!
We started the meandering journey home to the south coast bays stopping along the way at various places.
The derelict planes at the abandoned Pearls airport which now gets used for drag racing.
Grand Etang crater lake - the area is home to many monkeys but we didn't get to see any.
The gorgeous Heliconia.


The Motley Crew: Myself, and the crews of 'Steel Appeal', 'Ullr' and 'Cassie'.
Cutty Island Tours : 1-473-407-5153
It worked out $25US (approx $70EC) per person plus lunch $35EC
We met at 9am and didn't finish until 5.30pm
Definitely a trip to do if you want to get to know the island.


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