Day 148, Year 6 Tour of Grenada
Date: Monday, March 21, 2011
Weather: Partly Cloudy; Wind E 10-20 knots
Location: Prickly Bay, Grenada
After two weeks of being here and not seeing much of the island, we made up for lost time and saw the WHOLE island in one day. We met Howard and Judy of Laelia at De Big Fish at 8:30 am, waiting for our tour guide to arrive at 9 am. We thought we were going on a historical tour with Clemente Baptiste, but he never showed up and we didn’t have his phone number ashore with us in order to call him. So we ended up having Matthew, the taxi driver we have used a few times, take us on the island tour. It was a full day as he wanted to make sure we saw everything, and I really do think we managed to see most everything of interest on the whole island. I will outline what we saw, but first I’ll give the overall impressions. Grenada is an easy island to drive all the way around in one day. About a 100,000 people live here and most live along the coast, not inland. But living on the coast really means living on the side of a mountain heading down to the sea. Inland the island is a tangle of jungle and mountains. The road that rings the island runs along a cliff that drops into the sea. The only time the road dips down to the beach is when you come to a town, and there are not many of those. It is an island in bloom as there are flowering plants and trees everywhere. We visited a fort, a nutmeg processing plant, the cliff where the Caribs jumped off rather then submitting to the French, the oldest rum distillery in the Caribbean, a local boat builder, an organic chocolate processing plant, the old airport, and the oldest marina on the island. Then we came home and had Howard and Judy out to Windbird for dinner. Whew! What a busy, but fun day.
Our first stop was in St. George’s to see Fort Frederick. This fort sits high above the town of St. George’s and was built by the French in 1779. From here we could look down on the St. George’s, walk around to see the southern end of the island, and then walk to the eastern side of the fort to look out on the Atlantic. Our guide was a woman named Alice and she was so pro-American that it took us a bit by surprise. In 1983 when the Americans invaded Grenada, Alice was a young woman and she saw the Americans paving the way for freedom for Grenadians. The way she put it was that when Grenada dialed 911, the Americans answered, and she hopes that if Grenada would ever have to make another call for freedom that the Americans would be there to help. The views from Fort Frederick were fantastic and then from there we traveled north along the west coast to the Concord Falls. These were waterfalls high on the mountain. Here we could see nutmeg trees, avocado and mango trees, and beautiful red ginger plants. From there we went further north to the town of Gouyave where we visited a nutmeg processing plant. Nutmeg is so amazing. When it grows on the tree it looks a little like a peach without the fuzz. When it is ripe, the fruit opens and you can see the brown nut inside encased in a red maze of mace. Farmers take the ripened fruits from the trees, take off the outer covering, and then separate the red mace from the brown nut. They take this to the processing plant where they are paid $1.60 US per pound for the nutmeg nuts and $2.40 US per pound for the mace. The processing plant is definitely low tech but it does the job. From there we traveled to the northern most point on the island where in 1651 the Caribs jumped off the cliff rather than submit to the French. We then started our trek down the east side of the island and we toured River Antoine Rum Distillery. They have produced rum since 1785 and claim to have the oldest working water mill in the Caribbean. From there we went to Belmont Estates and see the organic chocolate factory. The thing we enjoyed most there was the shop where we could buy samples. We stopped south of the town of Grenville on the east coast to see a guy building local fishing boats. And then we made one last stop at the Grenada Marina on the south side of the island. It was almost sunset when we got back to De Big Fish in Prickly Bay. We had a great evening aboard Windbird having what I called a “southern” dinner-southern India curried spinach with diced tomatoes with southern West Virginia salmon cakes and fried green tomatoes. The greatest thing about the evening was the company with Judy and Howard of Laelia. They will be flying home to the US on Wednesday when we are heading north from here to the island of Carriacou. Tomorrow will be a day of “getting ready” so it is probably time to close down and get some rest so we can get our jobs done tomorrow.
|110321 Day 148 Grenada–Island Tour|