Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Time Marches On

I awoke this morning after another hot sweaty night, listened to the morning net where it was announced that another end-of-month jumble sale would soon be taking place and that another full-moon dinghy drift is being planned.  Normally, event announcements just have me making a note on the calendar but what really got me thinking about these two in particular is that they will mark the end of our second month in Grenada.

Really???  Two whole months!!

I know I've said this before but I can't believe how the time is flying by down here.  We have of course been participating in the numerous social offerings and have tried to get out and about the island at least once a week for a hike or Hash event.  We have also been busy planning our next round of boat work and once all our bits and pieces arrive in Grenada we will have to knuckle-down and get to work to be ready for the next cruising season.

Lots of thought going on here between Henry & Rej, figuring out a new solar panel configuration.  Gotta love a bar that provides both 110V & 220V outlets of various configuration right above the tables for all the international cruisers.

Out and about on Grenada, following this cow and calf up the road and around many bumpy corners which had them scrambling to keep their footing on the truck.

This week also marked "somebody's" birthday, which he got to celebrate with two other friends with birthdays around the same date.  We marked the events with a pig-roast on the beach on Sunday and lots of good friends.

Starting the day with pancakes, bacon and our carefully guarded supply of Ontario maple syrup - yum!

We gathered at the beach for some serious limin', and cheers to Henry, Brita and Jackie.

Trying so hard to blow out the candles that just wouldn't stay lit.

Henry has diligently turned his attention to organizing league play on the volleyball court - who knew my stature-challenged hubby was so into volleyball, but since it is the most serious competition around here it's not surprising that he has gotten involved.  We now have volleyball keyed up for play everyday of the week except Saturdays (when we Hash instead) and the prep is starting for the big tournament in October.  The level of play is definitely improving and most interestingly the teenagers have taken it upon themselves to bring defeat to the adults so they are practicing day - and night, with the lights turned on.  I have no doubt that the adults are going down!

Yesterday we set off for another hike up in the rainforest, this time at The Seven Sisters waterfalls.  With development at the site, this turned into a bit of a stroll rather than a hike but there were some very tricky bits we would not have attempted without our guide Naquan.  Here's the pictorial view of our hike ...

Loaded up in Devon's van and all ready to head out for adventure.

Brand new steps and a rail have been installed to make the descent a whole lot easier than the river scramble it apparently used to be.

Eleven of us headed out - some of the crew making the descent:  Wendy, Gavin, Jackie, Carla, Robert & Dave.

We eagerly peered upward to see if we could spot a Mona monkey in the bamboo - unfortunately they were playing more "hide" than "seek"

Zip lining stations have been built but stand silent at the moment awaiting settlement of a land dispute.   They will most likely be in operation by the winter cruiseship season.

Naquan lent us a hand as he led us up the river to the Honeymoon falls.

Tucked into the secluded greenery, Honeymoon falls descend into a heart-shaped pool.  Could there be anything more romantic to share with 10 other sweaty hikers? ;-)

Making our way back down the little cascade below the pool.  It was difficult to get a grip with the water trying to push your foot off the rocks.

Adding to the drama, streaks of sulphur line the cliff walls in bright orange banners.

Our intrepid group at the lower two falls:  Gavin, Catherine, Robert, Carla, myself, Dave, Jackie, Wendy, Bill, Judy, Andy.
I just happened to have picked this picture where some were trying to imitate the monkeys we couldn't see - lots of fun on the trail with this group.

Its hard to get the feel of just how magnificent the rain forest is when in its depths.  This little opening by the river gives a feel for the surroundings - green, green, everywhere.

First in - Andy!

Cold fresh water falling from the volcanic lake at Grand Etang.  So refreshing!

We didn't want to come out until all covered in goosebumps, such a rare happening here on Grenada.

One last swim under the waterfall for Bill & Wendy.

Naquan entertained us with a jump from the top of this 45' waterfall while Dave looked on.

Naquan - soccer player and nature guide - most of all just a wonderful spirit.

Near the end of the hike we were offered up a 'shoe shine' to get the mud off our shoes.  We all happily stood in line for this service.

Andy offered up a muddy foot, and perhaps had just a little bit of mud cleaned off his legs as well.

This variegated Hibiscus bush was a new one for me. 

A happy hiker and guide.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

A Flighty Visit & Livestock Bingo

When we left Canada, our trusty feline companion of 15 years did not join us.  Sadly, Minnie succumbed to illness a few months before our departure.  I often feel the emptiness of being a home without a four-legged friend, but whenever ashore there are plenty of cruising dogs and other assorted animals to make friends with.

Recently however, we've had some seriously different encounters.

Our new friend Carlos (from Brazil) travels on his boat Namaste with a parrot and a dog.  As we sat on the back of the boat the other day watching the anchorage, off went Carlos in his dinghy with the dog avidly perched on the front with the same grin on his face as a dog with his head out the car window.  Perched on Carlos' shoulder was Lauro the parrot - making Carlos look truly piratical!

On the return trip the little menagerie stopped by for a visit and Lauro even came aboard to sing a beautiful Brazilian tune.

Our next encounter was a little more hands-off but gives a pretty good idea of what life is like here on Grenada.

As we wander around the fields and roads, both in town and out, we often see livestock tethered in among the trees:  goats (tails up), sheep (tails down), and cattle, with chickens of all colours running free.

Well, last night we decided to partake in the weekly Bingo shenanigans at Prickly Bay and once the prizes were announced we were seriously considering what we might do with the winnings.  Along with good cash prizes, the three big awards included a little more than the just dollar bills.

  • 1st game prize:  cash ... and a rabbit
  • 2nd game prize:  cash ... and a pig
  • 3rd game prize:  cash ... a rabbit ... and a pig ... and a goat
All livestock very much alive and kicking.

It's really hard to see in this blurry photo but there's Darren calling the bingo numbers on the left and over on the right is a pull cart with a pig in it (not visible) and standing in front of the woman in blue is the little goat.

Roti anyone??

Sunday, September 6, 2015

What On Earth Do You Do All Day?

It's amazing how the time flies down here in Grenada but what is most confusing to me is that I can never remember what a specific day has entailed.  Social activities, general chores, a little bit of boat work (but not much) fill the calendar and always with the growing heat and humidity and the search for just a little cooler breeze.

So, what on earth can keep us so busy that the days are flying by, you might ask?

We usually start the day with the Cruiser's Net at 7:30.  Each day a different host gets on the VHF radio and we all religiously listen in and participate when needed - getting an update on security issues and the weather, filling in the calendar with upcoming social activities, trading/selling "treasures of the bilge", and getting the lo-down on local businesses and services available to us.  There's been a huge effort recently on the part of the cruising community down here to raise funds and goods to help provide relief to Dominica following tropical storm Erika, which has all come together on the Net.

Mondays and Thursdays often continue with yoga up at the marina restaurant and on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays we play volleyball in the afternoon.  There's also dominos, trivia, bridge, euchre, tai chi, and many other activities - hence why we call it Camp Grenada.

Dinghies heading in for volleyball - the 'kid boat' in front of us has gathered up 11 teenagers from various boats to come in and play ball with us.
Following the southerly winds of TS Erika, the little beach at Hartman Bay was inundated with sargassum weed.  This stinky, smelly mess would soon become very unpleasant in our little patch of paradise so a few of us banded together to rake up the weed and the marina willingly carted it away.
Raking up the sargassum

Lugging it down the beach by the cart load - thankfully it rained and was nice and cooling, but misted up the camera a bit.

The growing pile of wet, salty weed.

A nice clean beach, and we picked up some garbage as well.

Next day the truck arrived to carry it all away.
We've found some great friends in the anchorage to share all this fun with.  In particular Gwen & Guillaume on Slow Waltz, Dave & Jackie on Tempo, Robert & Carla on Moody Mistress and Tanya & David on Dea Latis.  Many others as well often round out the group on any given day.

Enjoying a rum punch at Nimrod's before Friday fish night at Taffy's.
On Saturdays we are still hashing with the local group - running up and down the hills of Grenada which is a great way to see the island and burn off a few of the calories consumed at the local hangouts.

For the last hash we gathered at the National Stadium - on our return it was like running into an Olympic stadium with the huge satisfaction of having completed the run.

The only thing keeping us on the trail at this point is following the person in front of you - the hares had slashed through the undergrowth to get us to the top of this particular hill.

The National Stadium where we started out.

We finally emerged from the bush onto this beautifully tendered garden, but still incredibly steep and tiring.

Another glimpse of the view of old Fort George beside the Carenage bay.

The end of the hash usually includes a bit of public shaming - here the "wizard sleeve" is employed on someone who complained about the food at the last hash.  Just try to hit your mouth with the beer in your hand and not soak yourself in the process.

I can't remember what these two did but they had to drink from the "dotty potty".  Warm, foamy beer (yum).
And so the days continue, but we do try to do a bit of work on the boat from time to time.  Since we are sitting in one place for a long time in extremely warm fertile waters, we are once again growing a whole ecological system on the bottom of the boat and our anchor chain.  I think we are both trying to live in ignorance of the need to scrub the bottom of the boat, but this will take a more significant chunk of our time in the coming week.  Just to give an idea, Gwen & Guillaume hauled their boat out to get the bottom repainted and it took over an hour of pressure washing and heavy scraping to get all the growth off the bottom of the boat.  We certainly don't want to haul out at the moment so we definitely need to keep on top of it.

But, before we get to work, we just wanted to fit in one more hike up at Grand Etang - repeating the Qua Qua to Concord hike we did in the rain a few weeks ago.  This time no rain and what an enjoyable time it was with a new group of folks, who rather wondered what they were in for as we marched them through mud and river.  It's still a rain forest so never really dries out.

Carla and Robert trying to avoid some of the mud early on the trail.  Legs and shoes were definitely not this colour at the end.

One of the views we couldn't truly appreciate on the previous hike.  It's like a giant green shag carpet was laid over a child's papier macher diorama.

Climbing up to the top of the wind-blown peak.

We finally reached the turnoff to Concord.  Tonya, David, Carla Robert & Jackie still smiling after the ascent.

Now heading down to Concord and picking our way through the river boulders.

Time to clean off and cool off in one of the little pools along the way.
Lots of other things I could go on about but time to wrap this up, and just in case you noticed that I am not in any of the pictures (usually behind the camera), here's one taken at the hash just to prove I was there.  And yes, we got busted for some minor infraction and were handed the Dotty Potty for a bit of nasty beverage consumption ;-)