Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Return to Grenada

Back to Grenada Again!

We flew out of Grenada originally July 23 after hauling the boat out of the water at Spice island, the boat needed a new bottom job and we felt that up on the hard would be the safest way to store Discovery. After spending almost 4 months crisscrossing the country visiting our son, daughter, grand kids, aunts, nephews, niece's, parents, sisters, brothers and friends we left Ft Worth and flew to Miami, there we caught a Caribbean air flight to Trinidad and then finally on to Grenada arriving at 945 pm! Still seems crazy that it takes us 6 months to cover the 2500 miles by sailboat but only 4 hrs by the big bird! We checked into our apartment that night and got a good nights sleep and then headed out for the 3 block walk to the yard and our home that's now up on stilts. We clambered up the ladder and noticed a pretty think coat of dust and dirt on deck but everything seem in order. The shade was still covering the cockpit and all looked I order so we opened the companionway and descended down into our salon, or as we learned to call it afterward 'THE MOLD FARM". Just about every surface of the  boat had some level of mold growing on it! The leather salon cushions were originally tan, now a light shade of green, mold was on may of the wall surfaces also. As we investigated we found mold in many lockers, most of the bedding was in zip lock bags but still we had mold, the top surface of the memory foam topper was green also. We had someone change the damp rid we positioned in the boat before we left  but as it turned out changing it every 2 months was not enough.
     So began a 10 day battle against the mold and the weather, it was hot and it was rainy both conditions did not make the process of cleaning the interior of the boat a easy chore and it did not make for comfortable working or sleeping conditions! Because we had such a easy time of finding a apt when we arrived in June for the haul out in July we didn't make a reservation for November till October and guess what.... no room in the inn, so we had a couple of days of air conditioning and showers before we had to move aboard our hot , muggy, mold encrusted home!
     We set about washing every thing down with a water vinegar mix, then Murphy's oil soap on the wood work, and followed that with lemon oil. We did our best to launder all the towels, bedding etc. and then set it out in the sun... here lies the rub because we seldom got more than a few hours of sunshine in between the  monsoons! In addition other chores needed to be done. the new Mainsail we had ordered had to be braced on, the head sails that were re-sewn had to be put back up, all the gear stored below needed to be replaced up top and the boat needed to be polished and waxed before going back in to the water! Needless to say we were very busy for the 11 days we spent in the yard before splash day! We were very lucky, aside for the hard work it took to clean the mold the boat looked good as new inside when we got finished! The above jobs and many more were eventually done and on November 27th Discovery felt the warm waters of the Caribbean tickle her keel again!
We spent our first night in the water actually in the slipway at Splice island and then next morning we shoved off to find a spot out in the roll of  Prickly bay to continue the fitting out process for this next 7 month voyage up island! But before we leave Grenada we have a guest flying down to spend a week with us, a friend from our live aboard days in Kemah Texas at Waterford marina, Dawna!

Our Guest Arrives

We had invited a friend we made on the docks of Waterford Marina while we lived in Kemah Texas, Dawna was on a Nordhaven 55 just down the dock from us and we shared many great times around the marina and at the local watering holes that surrounded the marina. Kemah is a amazing place to live aboard, there are about 10 large marinas within a five mile radius that host over 5 thousand boats, mostly sailboats. The Marinas are some of the best we have seen in our travels both in the USA and overseas, there are several west marines, and other ships stores within walking distance and home depots, super targets etc. Dawna flew in to St Georges and we picked her up at the airport in a car we had rented for a few days and brought her back to Prickly bay for a good nights sleep and began her tour of Grenada the next morning!

Tour begins with Rum

After a morning swim and breakfast our adventure began, our plan was to first hit a rum factory and then  travel further up island with our destination to be Belmont plantation and the chocolate factory there. We arrived  first at Westhall rum factory and toured the ruins behind the factory, the grounds are simply gorgeous, beautiful flowers, mango trees, breadfruit trees, Bougainvillea and the huge metal work that dates back to the mid 1800s, large water wheels really make for a great pictures, just the ruins are worth the trip but there is more... In addition to the grounds there is a small museum that has many artifacts from the rum factory but also historical items from all around the island that are interesting in and of themselves. But finally its about the rum isn't it! We stopped by the office and were given a taste of the many different rums that they blend here at Westhall, yes blend they no longer manufacture here, its more cost effective to purchase the ingredients from Trinidad and blend the finished product here at the factory! The prices are right and our guest of course was able to pick a few examples to try and bring home!

Death by Chocolate

After our close encounter with the rum gods we were headed north to Belmont Plantation, the island is only 25 miles long and Belmont was about two thirds of the way up island, every drive on the island is a adventure very unlike anything we experience in the states, in Grenada there are no yellow lines in the center of the roads, no white lines on the edges, many hairpin turns, no highway signs pointing you to your destination and sometimes very little road at all. The road map is actually just a tourist map that has very little detail. We relied mostly on stopping and asking the many people that are always walking along the road, they always are willing to point you to your destination. After a  two hour exciting trip we arrived at Belmont ready to show our guest this very interesting  attraction.
First your struck by the beauty of the plantation and the smells, on this rugged hillside you can see the mango, papaya, banana, coconut, nutmeg, star fruit, cashew, breadfruit, and many other tropical fruit trees that are among the coco plants, They are cultivated here because these many fruits add flavor to the coco beans! After arriving we proceeded to the tour that starts with a detailed explanation of all the fruits and nuts that are grown at the plantation with examples of each for us to examine and in some cases taste! especially fun is tasting the raw coco beans right out of the pods, they are covered in a white goo that tastes like citrus!

     After the explanation of the different fruits and nuts grown on the plantation we moved on to a tour of the plantation, we saw the fermentation process for the raw coco beans that are harvested and placed in bins, then they are put outside on drying racks to dry. After  seeing how the beans are processed we visited the store and sampled the finished chocolate bars with many levels of coco content. The Belmont plantation is a can't miss destination in Grenada.

 After our road trip we returned to our boat and prepared for our sail around the south side of the island over to St Georges and the anchorage just outside. The next morning we had a great sail to St Georges. While at St Georges we spent some time on the beach at Grand Anise, and then snorkeled on the reef just off of the beach. Saw some of the best stag horn coral in the Caribbean. The next day we sailed over to the other side of the harbor and  had a chance to snorkel on the famous statues that are on the floor of the cove on that side of the island. Quite a kick to see those statues on the ocean floor.

     After another great day we sailed back around the southern edge of Grenada  this time anchoring in Secret harbor and enjoyed the calm waters of this protected anchorage and the wonderful  bar and restaurant at the marina at the back of the harbor. A week went by fast and sadly we had to say goodbye to Dawna but she's agreed to come visit us again in the future.


The main Retail shop at Belmont Plantation (where you get the yummy Chocolate)

Our Guest Dawna O'neal and Anita at Grand Case beach

Girls shopping at the crafts shops just off Grand Case beach

The Coco beans drying at Belmont Plantation on our trip up island with our guest

Looking down on the inner harbor on our bus ride up to the Church for Xmas carol night in St Georges

The bell tower is all that survived hurricane Ivan, church has still not been rebuilt

Looking down Grenada's finest beach Grand Case

Scene at church for our carol Night

Some great Stag horn coral just out from Grand Case in St Georges

Coco beans fermenting at Belmont Plantation

The anchorage off of St Georges

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