We are now in Grenada having spent a few days in Carriacou where we met up one last time with Jeremy from “Right Turn” who we’ve spent a fair bit of time with since Portugal last August. He had organised one of the fleet trips south to Trinidad, this is due to the piracy issues by Venezuelan’s in the area. With at least 8 boats travelling together, the Trinidad coastguard sends a vessel out and escorts them into safe waters. Many boats go on their own whilst some prefer safety in numbers. Sadly it only takes a couple of boardings to make cruisers think twice about going to Trinidad.
You need a cruising permit in Grenadian waters which is renewed monthly at 75 EC dollars. We anchored in Tyrell bay as it looked more protected and enjoyed a week there including a walk to paradise beach and then on into Hillsborough the capital. There we saw quite a few businesses all called Bullens, which incidentally is the same surname as Nick & Carol’s (our Atlantic crew)….. they get everywhere!!
There is an underwater volcano called “kick em Jenny”which is quite active meaning there is an exclusion zone around it. This varies in size depending on how active it is, for us it was only about 2 miles as it was quiet. The route from Carriacou to Grenada is straight over the area, this picture from 2017 shows why you should listen to the locals. The name says it all as if you’re too close when she rumbles, the sea lets you know about it!
We anchored in St George’s the capital to get our bearings and also checkout the Carenage where all the shops are. It’s a commercial port with large ships entering through the tight channel daily, delivering everything this island needs. There’s 2 marinas here, the small Grenada yacht club which does a fantastic BBQ on Fridays for 15EC (less than £5) and the very smart Port Louis marina owned by Camper & Nicholson. Whilst in the anchorage Christoph & Angela from Ithaka arrived, we hadn’t seen them since January so a catch up was certainly on the cards. Also Brendan & Brenda from Crean arrived ……. more drinking! Potential cruisers beware, there’s a theme running here 🙂
Most cruisers who stay on island throughout the hurricane season tend to stay in the bays on the south of the Island, so we checked out Clarkes Court bay, Hog island and eventually settled on Prickly bay. There are social activities in most bays if you want to join in, from jamming sessions in Rogers beach bar & Nimrods to dominoes in the Tikki bar Prickly bay! 6 mornings a week there is a very active cruisers net on ch66 giving security messages, weather, social & business information along with treasures of the bilge where cruisers sell buy or give away boat stuff. We’d heard about this long before leaving the UK but to actually be here now listening to it is quite surreal! We will use this during our stay… more on that soon.
We decided to do a private taxi tour of the island so together with Christoph & Angela along with 3 unexpected stowaways from Trinidad (who were lovely though), we were driven around the island by Tom who was very informative. Leaving the dinghy dock in 30 degrees we quickly climbed into the rain forest, past a delightful place dubbed “Hotel California” by the locals. This was the main Prison and most definitely not our kind of hotel, a reminder to stay on the right side of the law!
Stopping at the viewpoint the temperature had dropped to about 18 degrees, the coolest we’d been since Europe, and the air felt damp & so refreshing. After a stop to find “George”one of the local inhabitants, we moved on to one of the islands Nutmeg factories. This was stepping back in time as everything thing is done by hand from the moment the local farmers bring in their bags through to sorting, separating and grading.
It was certainly an eye opener BUT nothing had prepared us for what we were about to see at the Rivers Rum distillery!We actually thought we’d arrived at a derelict set of buildings initially but this was the River Antoine estate, a Rum distillery which makes Rum in exactly the same way as they did when first opened in 1785 with the same equipment!
We can’t do this process justice on a blog but hopefully the pictures will help. The huge wheel is turned by water supplied from a stream, this wheel drives a conveyor belt which transports the sugar cane into crushers and melting pots. The “alcohol” is sent to huge tanks and the alcohol is actually then moved by hand ladle to other tanks, unbelievable in today’s automated world. The Rum is then sent to underground storage where it is manually tested and a percentage proof decided (tough job) before being bottled. They make 500 bottles a day here and all is sold locally. With investment they could easily make this 5000 bottles a day but you know, small is good and it wouldn’t taste the same either!
We then went on to the Diamond chocolate factory to see how it’s made. My cousin Kerry is a chocolatier (chocolates by Miss Witt) in the UK with international awards so this was something of interest too. The process here was very automated with large machines which make bars of different cocoa percentage and very clever…. I do think Kerry’s chocolates are better and certainly made with love! Didn’t stop us buying some chocolate though 🙂
Our final stop was to the Concord water falls……enough said!