23 October 2008

Grenada: the Spice Island

Thursday, October 23, 2008

We've been exploring the beautiful island of Grenada over the past few days. There is a fantastic, albeit scary at times, public bus system which gets you around the island from $1 to about $3. The drivers like to play their music loud and test their acceleration and brakes, so without seat belts it can get pretty hair raising.

Kit Kat is due for surgery tomorrow morning at 8am. She'll be at the animal hospital over the weekend to recover but the vets are hopeful that she'll have a speedy recovery and will be healthy for several years. So keep you fingers crossed!

Today we're extracting the final pennies (or so it seems) from our bank account and are buying a 85 watt solar panel from Island Water World. Our wind generator and 36 watt panel are not keeping up with the fridge and we're running our engine to charge the batteries far more than we want. There's nothing like disrupting a peaceful tropical anchorage with running your diesel engine to keep the batteries full! No thanks!

The other day we went on an in-island tour with Jim, Wendy and Mike. Stop 1 was the Mt. Carmel Waterfalls, the tallest in Grenada, 75 feet.

Mike paying his bus fare in St. George's, Grenada.

After the waterfall, we took the bus to Grenville, a town on the east coast, and had one of the best island meals I've had: jerk chicken, breadfruit, plantains, rice, stewed calallo, a green salad and fresh golden apple juice. With full stomaches, we walked a couple blocks to the nutmeg factory for a tour. Before Hurricane Ivan, Grenada was the 2nd largest nutmeg producer in the world (Indonesia is #1), but now they are only at 10% of their pre-Ivan levels. The factory was a flashback to the early 1900s: everything was made of wood, the nutmeg was left to dry on wooden frames, the woman who sorted the nutmeg sat on wooden stools and they had wooden chutes and block and tackle wooden "elevators" to move the nutmeg around the factory. All around Grenada there is evidence of USAID donations, most obviously on signs, but in the nutmeg factory I saw some USAID tarps. I didn't know USAID made tarps!

shopping for groceries can be done at the 1-stop modern IGA, but it's a lot of fun to spend a couple more hours and go to the fish market...

the produce market, and stop at the IGA for things like pasta and cereal.

It's been raining a lot...yet another downpour approaches Whisper across Prickly Bay.

19 October 2008

Jolly on Jacumba

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Jacumba was the designated party barge on Friday. We all showed up at 10am, equipped with full coolers, snorkeling gear and sunblock and we headed north to an anchorage on the west coast of Grenada reputed to have underwater statues. Jacumba is a 37 foot catamaran and sailing on her was a lot different than sailing on Whisper: no heeling, we all stayed dry, drinks placed on a table didn't fall over and there was plenty of room for everyone to spread out. We arrived at the underwater statue site to find the water murky with about 1 foot visibility. Oh well. We'll blame it on Omar. We swam around, ate chips and dip and other goodies and danced in the cockpit.

It was fun day out! Check out Jacumba and Merengue's blogs for more pictures.

4 men...doing what they do best: sitting around, drinking beer, shooting the sh*t.

Hans and Jim, doing more of the same.

The Great White Hunter toils away for the family.

The lobster that got away! (it didn't get away, it was spared by the magnanimous white hunter.)

Relaxing on Jacumba for sundowners.

16 October 2008

Kit Kat and Whisper in Grenada

We've arrived in Grenada after a hectic couple of weeks getting Whisper put back together in Trinidad. We were really glad to leave the dusty and unbearably hot boatyard and actually quite glad to leave Trinidad itself. The water was dirty and full of trash and oil and there was quite a lot of crime on the island (a Swedish couple who were on vacation got chopped to death in their condo by teenage robbers last week).

Kit Kat, however, had a great time in the boatyard. She had been staying with our friends Tom and Maureen on their boat Tillywhim (which was on the hard right next to Whisper all summer). She had been very well-behaved all summer long and never went off their boat. Well, as soon as Kit Kat got back on Whisper she decided that she wanted to explore the boatyard, and we'd find her prowling around eating grass and getting dusty.
On another note, some of you may have heard that KitKat has been really sick. The short of it is that she has cancer. We finally were able to take her to the vet here in Grenada today, and they believe that she has a good chance of recovering, but they have to do some pretty major surgery. So poor Kit Kat is in for another shaved tummy it seems.
Kit Kat will go under the knife sometime early next week so we'll kick around here in Grenada until the end of next week. Then we'll probably start heading north.

Meanwhile, hurricane Omar has been wrecking havoc north of here. We're hoping that our friends in St. Martin and the Virgin Islands are all OK. The Hurricane Center shows that Omar went straight up the Anegada passage, and passed somewhere in between St. Martin and Virgin Gorda. Hopefully this means that they didn't get hit too hard.

09 October 2008

More pictures!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

We found a cord to connect the camera to the computer so, as promised, here are some more pictures from Italy and a few from England.

Dave: "where's my dinner?!"

What are we doing you ask? zombie trances? new age meditation? hypnosis? magic? no...charades!


Dave and April taking a rest from the sights in Siena

Italians sure know how to dress!

Hanging out in England...walking on the beach by the north sea, rowing along the river stour with Kristen's cousin Emily & Tristan.

05 October 2008

Back in the Caribbean

Spain: Check.
France: Check.
Andorra: Check.
Italy: Check.
England: Check.

Time to get back to the Caribbean!

We're back in the heat and humidity of Trinidad after a three week driving and camping tour of southern Europe. We left Sweden on September 10 and spent the next 10 days driving around northern Spain (home of the Rioja wine region) and a detour to southern France to visit our friends Chris and Julie who we met in the Virgin Islands. Next stop was the Tuscany region of Italy (home of the wine province of Chianti and some truly excellent pizza). In Italy we met up with our friends Dave and April, who we got to know in the Bahamas in 2007. After Italy we flew to England and spent some time with Kristen's family (her mother is English, you know). Since we spend almost all our time on the water, we mostly traveled in the mountains. It was bloody cold at night (no sleeping bags) but the scenery was amazing. Anyway, it was too cold at the beach to go swimming!
Somewhere in Italy the cord that connects our camera to our computer went missing, so the pictures below only get to the first bit of Italy. Stay tuned for more pictures. We skipped adding captions so you'll have to use your imagination. Try to figure out why Kristen is sleeping on an air mattress outside the Pisa International airport.