5. Grenada 2016
The history of Grenada is pretty much the same as for other Caribbean nations. The original population of Arawaks and later Caribs was conquered by the French in the 17:th century. After that, a struggle between the French and English which in the end was won by the English who gave independence to Grenada in 1974.
In 1979 a coup installed socialist leader Maurice Bishop as prime minister but radical members of his party killed him and a military regime was established in 1983. This lead to an internationally criticized invasion by American soldiers and restablishment of democracy the same year.
In 2004 hurricane Ivan hit Grenada, destroyed large nutmeg plantations, killed 15 and damaged most buildings including 90% of homes and the national jail which made it possible for the prisoners to escape. Today, 12 years after Ivan, Grenada still suffers economically from the severe impact that Ivan caused and you can still see abandoned buildings everywhere.
Our first stop in Grenada was Hillsborough in Carriacou island, north of the main island Grenada. Hillsborough has a customs office and here we cleared in.
Next day we continued south along the coast of Grenada until we reached Grand Mal Bay, just north of St Georges, the capitol of Grenada. We anchored in the north part close to Moliniere Bay to have a look at the under water sculpture park which is installed there. Next day we took our dinghy to the local fish market. First thing you see is an American KFC restaurant. Not exactly what you would expect in a Caribbean fish market, is it ?
Our next stop in Grenada was Prickly Bay on the south coast. Here we stayed on a mooring for more than a week. Thanks to a (mostly American) VHF radio network that transmitted every morning we soon learned to know that this was a nice place with lots of social activity for sailors.
It seems that Grenada has a fairly big American sailing community. Some boats have been here for a very long time and some of the owners even have Grenadian citizenship. There is lots of regular activities for everybody. Shopping tours with minibus several times a week, yoga, tai chi, hiking and hashes, various forms of charity, musical events and so on.
During our time in Prickly Bay I joined two hikes. The first one went around the volcano crater Grand Etang.
A relatively wet and difficult hike. A short rest half way was welcomed.
Next hike went to the Annandale waterfall. Some of the trees in the tropical forest are really huge. Hurricane Ivan took many of them, and also many houses. The house on the picture above had its roof destroyed and is now abandoned.
If you don't walk to the Annandale Waterfall through the forest, like we did, you can also get there by car. A lot of tourists do and if you pay one of the locals he will jump from a high cliff right down into the pool under the waterfall. Check the sequence above.
Due to a bad hip, Tove could not walk very long so we joined an American party on a one day tour with a mini bus. The driver was very nice and professional.
He stopped his bus as soon as he saw something interesting and told us all about it. Very educating. He picked this Mango fruit from a tree and cut it in pieces to show us.
Then he found some Carambola.
The left one is Cashew. The two others, I'm not sure.
But this one is easy to recognize. Coco nut.
He also showed us how Cacao grows. A big fruit with white beans inside.
He then took us to a small old fashion chocolate factory, still in operation.
The beans are roasted in the machine to the left, then grinded in the machine to the right. Their chocolate has a very high cacao content, 50% or more. They made a 60% version with a little sea salt added that was delicious.
Next stop on the tour was an old rum factory, also still in operation.
The juice of the suger cane is pressed out and then fermented in big tanks.
After fermentation the juice is distilled. The heat comes from a wood fire.
And then, finally, the rum is bottled and ready for maturing. According to the man who showed us around, the alcohol content of this rum is very high, even higher than the highest amount permitted for transportation abroad. This means that export is impossible and the Grenadians have to drink all this rum by them selves.
It was a surprise for us find out that Prickly Bay is just a short walk away from a university with more than 6.000 medical students. Compared to the total population of Grenada, which is just above 100.000, this is a very large figure. Most students are from the US but there are also students from many other countries.
We thought it might be interesting to make a visit so we took a walk to the campus and presented us at the library desk. We were then invited for a tour by a very nice librarian who told us many interesting things about Grenada and the University.
It was now late March and the time for haul out was approaching. In order to see a little more of the south coast of Grenada we moved from Prickly Bay to the anchorage at Hog Island and spent our last week there.
Hog Island lies in the middle of the "Woburn Clark's Court Bay Marine Protected Area". The waters around the island are shallow so you must take care when entering.
First thing we saw was a boat named Bird of Passage. This was a surprise to us because until now we had never seen another boat with the same name as ours. It showed out to be a Vancouver 36 owned by a very nice Canadian who was just as surprised as we were.
Hog Island is a quite remote place. Maybe this is why we saw so many abandoned yachts tied up to the mangrove around the north side. I think we counted more than 20 wrecks that seemed to have no owner.
The only trace of civilization on Hog Island is Rogers Bar. A simple wooden hut that is open now and then. Some evenings there were quite a lot of sailors there having barbeque or a drink. A good opportunity to mingle not only with sailors from all over the world but also with local families who come here.
The interior of the bar, also called "The Hog Heaven". Every night when Roger closes, he removes all the bottles, puts them in his boat and takes them to a safe place.
There is no pier or jetty at Hog Island, only the sand beach in front of Rogers bar. A perfect place for children who want to have fun.
The beach was also used by various animals. We saw big turtles and also this Black Heron (Sv:Svarthäger) who has a very interesting hunting technique. You can Google for "Black Heron" to see pictures of how it uses it wings as an umbrella !
A week passes quickly and it was now time for haul out at Clarkes Court Boatyard, not far away from Hog Island. We were immediately taken care of by a large team of workers that lifted her up with a 240 ton travellift and then cleaned the bottom. All very professional.
The bottom was surprisingly clean but there were a few barnacles (Sv:Havstulpan) and even Goose Barnacles (Sv:Långhals).
Bird of Pasage was then transferred to a tractor wagon that quickly moved her to the place where she would rest during the hot and rainy hurricane season. Three days later we left Grenada for our home in Aland.
End of Grenada 2016