I have wanted to try river tubing for some time but had chalked it up as another of those expensive tourist experiences that was probably out of our budget. But when I heard that our friends on 'Steel Appeal' were booking a trip with 'Shademan' one of the ever friendly taxi drivers with a rickety old red bus and a reputation for squeezing everyone in like packed sardines - I knew we were in.
For $90EC (£25, USD33) we were getting transport, river tubing and lunch. That's not a bad deal, is it? We were all picked up around 9am-ish from our various bays on Grenada's south coast and made our way winding up the scenic east coast roads.
With a quick stop at a cash point in Grenville we turned west, following Great River inland.
We finally stopped after an hour or so's drive at a place called 'Mellows' River tubing, Birch Grove in the parish of St Andrews. This was not where most of us thought we were going tubing with, but no matter. Hopefully this place was just as good as the more expensive competitor down the road.
Now a word about what to expect. There were about 26 of us in total and only 11 tubes. Which meant a lot of waiting around. But this is the Caribbean and a little patience is required. Though it was unorganised, I enjoyed it immensely. Even Sim who was getting a little fed up of hanging around on his precious weekend off, enjoyed himself once his butt was firmly planted in the inner tubes.
When you spend your life by salt water, cool, crisp, fresh water is just glorious. The tubes floated along twisting and turning with the river current as we wound our way down, bouncing off the rocky boulders as we passed them. It was fairly gentle, more so than I expected, I dont know if thats due to water levels - there certainly seems to have been a lot of rain this season.
The river, known as Balthazar or Great river is lined with huge bamboos and lush tropical vegetation. To me, it is simply stunning.
The trip is about 30 mins long give or take. At the end the tubes are taken back in a truck for the next group and Shademan our taxi driver drove as back to the group. When the last of us had finally had their turn tubing, we were all sat down to a fish or chicken lunch served with local provisions like plantain, pumpkin and breadfruit and a glass of juice. There is also a bar for those who desire something a little stronger.
Would I do the trip again? Yes, it was great. Getting out into the cool rivers and and gorgeous tropical countryside to do something fun is a win, win in my books.
The taxi journey back was less raucous than on the way out. But Shademan soon put an end to the quiet when his tire blew out on the way home!
|Sim and I, all dressed up and ready to go.|
|Cassie, Sarah and Nigel from Yacht Steel Appeal.|
|Anne Louise, Martha and Asprin from Yacht Cassie.|
|''Shademan' our trusty taxi driver loosening his nuts.|