Saturday, October 10, 2015

Variety is the Spice of Life - on the Spice Island

It's been awhile since I posted, leaving you with the excitement of golf in Grenada as a lasting memory as we have continued on with our lives down here, alternating between social outings, get-togethers in the bar and now the very demanding Secret Harbour Volleyball Tournament.

Friend Robin had the luxurious use of a car the other night so we joined him on a little escapade that saw us lapping up the delicious offerings of Caribe Sushi.  We had enjoyed Yolo back when we were at Port Louis Marina and this place offered up an even more astonishing array of fresh flavours on our shared platter.  Princess Snapper and Tuna were all swimming just hours before they reached our table and the taste and presentation were wonderful.

Spicy tuna and shrimp rolls on the right, tuna and snapper sashimi on the left. nigiri top and bottom.

Beautiful, and delicious!
Next, we moved onto some more hiking with a return to Seven Sisters Waterfalls.  Our plan was to hike up above the big waterfall and visit the other five falls, which involve jumping into pools to swim across to the next cascade.  Unfortunately our day up in the rain forest delivered on just that - RAIN!  Boy did it come down in buckets.  Our visit to the falls was as fun as before and this time John braved the 40' jump into the pool below, but the rain made the conditions too treacherous to attempt to reach the other waterfalls unless you were willing to make this your final jump.  The climb down is much to dangerous.

Henry & John celebrating John's leap.

The water was cool and refreshing but to be honest with the rain coming down as well we quickly developed goosebumps and had to retreat.

Naquan (our guide) was rather taken with Henry's goofiness I think.  That's the waterfall that Naquan and John had just jumped from.

With the rain still coming down, Brita, Jason, Fiona, Henry and Dave are ready to head back.
Although we had a wet and soggy adventure in the rain forest we returned to the side road where Devon (friend and intrepid taxi driver) had parked his bus.  While we were mucking around in the mud and streams he had whipped up a fish oil down, all piping hot for us to enjoy on our return.  Oil down is the national dish of Grenada and is basically a stew of some type of meat with the addition of callaloo, pumpkin and hand rolled dumplings.

The awaiting pot of steamy hot and fragrant oil down.

The local pothound awaiting hopefully.

And of course oil down wouldn't be complete without a few beer shared among friends - Henry & Brita.
The land where the falls are located is privately owned and farmed.  The owner collects a 5EC access fee (about $2US) from each hiker and as we enjoyed our meal the guys working the farm came out and joined us as well.  Kenny, in particular, was very proud to show me his pigs and some of the local produce he was growing.

There were about 10 says with pigs of various sizes along with one big boar - who was rather camera shy.

My first taste of Wax Apple - which tasted amazing like a regular apple.  You can see just how wet it was in the rainforest by my wrinkly prune fingers.
Not quite exhausted but with full tummies we all piled back into Devon's bus for the ride back down the mountain.

Only seven of us on this hike led to a comfortably empty bus.  Quite often they cram 14-16 adults into these buses.
 I snapped a few pictures from the bus window as we hurtled around the wet corners on the road, winding our way down the steep hills back to sea level.

Huge boulders, probably spewed from an ancient volcano.

Around every corner there is a little bar - some are not much more than shacks, this was one of the fancier ones.

Still raining we careen corners - this is one of the main roads!

We made it all the way down the hill only to find that the police had closed the road.  In true island fashion, no one had bothered to put a sign at the top of the hill where there was a turn onto another road.

More lush valley views as we climbed back over the hill.

Banana and plantain plantations stagger down the hillside.
And now, all that fun and adventure will get mixed in with some serious boat work.  Our much anticipated order of boat bits and pieces arrived on Thursday after a sea voyage from Miami.  We have now moved to the dock at Secret Harbour where we are going to build ourselves a hard bimini over both the cockpit and helm station, install a new anchor light and various other projects that should see us well set up for the next cruising season.

Unloading a truckload of goodies at Secret Harbour.

Mowzer settled on the dock in the morning sun.

After two months in the nutrient-rich waters of Mt. Hartman Bay, Henry scrubbed our chain clean before raising it up on deck and as soon as we were at the dock we dragged it all out on the dock for a fresh-water cleaning.  It's amazing how a chain can make the boat smell like something really nasty died up in the anchor locker and with all the limpet and other growth on the chain it took a lot of elbow grease to get it clean.

With all our chain on the dock, you can see that we really only use about half of it.
Next project is to remove the rusty shackles and reverse the chain so we're using the fresher end for the next few years.

Let the games (boat work) begin - but not before we participate in the Grenada Hash House Harrier's 900th hash this afternoon.  This is a really big deal and we anticipate a big turnout despite the blustery rainy day.  More pics to follow.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Golf - Grenada Style

Back home in Canada we used to golf every week throughout the summer with a great group of friends (substitute curling in the winter and we were pretty inseparable!)

Living on a boat in a salty environment made us think twice about continuing one of our favourite activities and so with great sadness we left our clubs behind, hopefully for the occasional visit.  Last June saw us back out on the links on our visit home but apart from those one or two rounds, we haven’t picked up clubs for the past year.

We’ve tried to ignore the pictures and posts on Facebook from this past northern summer as friends once again tested their patience with the infuriating game, but finally as they are donning their cold-weather gear and getting ready for the curling season, we decided to get back out there on the links.

Brita, our resident social director immediately got to work on figuring out the hows and wherefores of golf on Grenada and before we knew it we had a group of eight, the location, a tee-off time and a bus ride!  Have I mentioned how hot its been down here for the past few weeks? - so hot that sitting here typing puts me in a drippy, nasty lather of sweat.  Is golf really something to undertake in this heat?  YES - but only if we start early and only play nine holes!

The Grenada Golf Club sits nestled into a bowl in the hills just south-east of St. George’s and has been there since 1936.  A simple concrete building serves as the clubhouse with a lovely view over the little 9-hole course and a glimpse of the seas in the distance.

A teaser snip of the sea to the south.

Freshly cut fairway and ninth green.
We divided up into two teams, experienced and novice players mixed together and set off with our caddies, Samuel and Sean.  Other than Brita, who somehow fits a set of clubs (and a bicycle) on her boat, we all rented clubs and pull-carts, but apparently the club only has six pull-carts so for the first time in my life:  I golfed in the Caribbean, I had a caddy and, I had my clubs carried!  I could totally get used to this ;-)

Our foursome comprised of Brita (lady of the clubs), Devon (local Grenadian and apparently an awesome cricket player), Steon (Norwegian dive buddy of Brita’s) and myself, while the other group was made up of Henry, Dave, Jason and Ken.  With our caddy pointing out the way through the criss-crossing fairways we whacked (hacked!) away at the balls all under the watchful eye of Ginger, the local dog.  As I mentioned, Devon must be a great cricket player - with elbows cocked and a short quick swing he could blast the ball out at least 200 yards.  I think we have a new convert to the game!

Brita, Steon, Devon and myself in our foursome.

Dave, Henry, Jason & Ken in the other.

Devon and his awesome cricket stance.

The only water on the course and what Samuel called "his island".

Steon practicing his swing.
Did I also mention that we were a bit lacking in the footwear department?  Flip-flops and running shoes (hash shoes?) seemed to be the wear of the day although Brita opted to get a better grip on the rock-hard tee-boxes with her toes.  It seemed to work quite well!

Rough, scratchy, Caribbean grass between the toes.

Ninth hole tee-shot - still doing fine.

On the ninth hole, Samuel stepped up to put the ball on the green with his iron shot off the tee.

Devon putts out his first round of golf, ever!

One happy foursome.
With perfect timing as the sun rose higher and hotter into the sky, we neared the end of our expedition, happily sighting the cold beer and shade of the club-house as we awaited the arrival of our second group.  Ordering a round of cold Stags and Caribs I glanced at my watch as I gulped down a cold refreshment - could it really only be 10 o’clock in the morning??!

The guys putting out with a little advice from Sean.

Ken's done, now it's Dave's turn.

And now Henry's.

Another happy foursome ... question though, what were you guys doing with all those tees?

Ready for a little refreshment?
Camp Grenada continues to deliver where even the most familiar activity becomes an adventure in it’s own right and all the better shared with friends, just like back at home!

Thumbs up for the Grenada Golf Club!  Devon is still practicing his swing ;-)

Our lovebirds - and we love you guys!!