The event we’d been anticipating was upon us! CLAIRE WAS COMING TO VISIT US IN GRENADA!
First, we had a squally motor-sail from Carriacou to Grenada! A captain’s life can be a wet life, at times!
Once we got to Grenada, we had two days to get things ready for Claire. Probably the most important thing we had to get ready was our outboard dinghy motor. Back in Bequia, the throttle cable had broken, and we were “dead in the water”. This is NOT a good thing since our dinghy is like our car! Our good friends, Bob and Anita let us use their little spare 6 horsepower outboard motor. They even let us leave them behind in Bequia with their motor on our dinghy to allow us to get around until we could get the part to fix our motor. We carried our broken motor on the bracket on the stern rail of Nancy Lu as we sailed from Bequia to Carriacou and on to Grenada. Thankfully, we were able to get the part we needed in Grenada, and Mark was able to fix our outboard right away. We owe a huge thanks to Bob and Anita for trusting us with their spare motor! We gave it back to them when they arrived in Mt. Hartman Bay a few days after us.
Other things to be done in preparation for Claire’s arrival were menu planning, grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning, and planning adventures! I had gotten her cabin ready a couple of weeks earlier!
She ARRIVED! We were so happy to see her! It was a nice sunny day, but we were worried that the forecasted rain would put a damper on our week.
The first day was rainy, on and off, but we enjoyed relaxing and hanging out in the cockpit visiting, listening and singing along to music… and crafting with snacks, ha! Nancy Lu is so inspiring!
The next day was also punctuated with rain showers, but hiking up to a waterfall is a perfect activity to do on such a day! We took a public bus to the bus stop at the Concord Falls sign and walked along the road the 2 more miles up to the first set of waterfalls. Claire was already expressing her appreciation for Grenada’s beauty on the bus ride, exclaiming to us that this was the first time she’d ever been in a rain forest and that this would be the first waterfall she would see, but…
she was ooing and ahhing even more on the walk up!
That did her daddy’s and my heart good! It’s always fun to share the beauty of God’s creation and the uniqueness of the island nations that we get to experience on our travels with those we love!
And we love her!
Private farm-land lined both sides of the road we were walking.
There were lots of cocoa trees along the way.
I think it’s interesting that the cocoa pods grow right from the trunk, as well as the limbs.
It looked like someone was about to be able to harvest avocadoes, and I was hoping that I was going to be able to find them in the market!
Someone was keeping their bin handy for picking ripe mangoes! These weren’t ready yet, but they were starting to be ubiquitous in all the markets. We were having them every morning for breakfast!
Claire posed for a picture with one of the many goats that we saw tied up along the road!
“Don’t worry about me, y’all! I’ll catch up!” It’s hard to keep up when you’re bombarded with so much beauty to capture photographically,
We reached the place where the first set of waterfalls can be viewed, one from the top
and two from below. There are viewing platforms with stairs down to the falls and a few little shops where snacks and souvenirs can be bought.
In one of the shops, Claire and I became smitten with this baby Mona Monkey. The boy who invited us to play with him keeps him as a pet and has named him Cesar. He said that Cesar was an orphan, and I just hope that the boy didn’t make him one. We’ve heard that this happens. Anyway, Cesar was sooo cute, and seemed happy. It was like playing with a cross between a puppy and baby human!
Our guide was Elvis, and he was very kind and helpful. He was not shy about expressing his appreciation for Claire’s beauty.
He pointed out lots of things along the way like Dasheen, the edible root of the Callaloo.
a harmless snake,
a tiny gecko,
which we enjoyed! Elvis set a couple more Papayas and the Dasheen aside on the ground to be picked up on the way back.
Although Elvis did a good job of clearing the path for us with his machete, it made Claire, who was walking right behind him, a little nervous that she might get whacked with it! Besides making sure the path was safe for us, he gave us a hand if we needed it, explained things, and answered questions that we had.
One question that he couldn’t answer for us was the meaning of this sign—No Mole Sting Respect. He told us that he’s never been able to figure it out. Later, when Claire and I were looking at the photos, it hit her—No Molesting, Respect! We had a good laugh! Still, I don’t exactly know what to make of it! It looks like people may have carved into the trunk, so it could be asking people to respect the tree, but who knows?
There was beauty every where we looked.
Finally, Elvis was proud to show us that we were almost there!
Claire and I went in!
Mark handed me the camera; I took a picture of him, and
then set about having fun trying to capture the experience of swimming near the waterfall, which is always hard with water spraying everywhere! The sun cooperated, and came out at the perfect time!
I even tried to get a picture of the waterfall gushing into the pool from underwater! Kind of a fail.
Of course, we took some more pictures when we got out, and then
we hiked back the way we came!
My favorite man with his cute grin!
I got more photographs, Elvis picked up the fruit and veggie that he’d set aside for dinner that night, received his guide’s fee, we said goodbye, and
we started our 2 mile walk back down to the bus stop along with
the man who had arranged for Elvis to be our guide. Mark had asked him if they grew Chadon Beni, our favorite spice, on any of the farms around there. He said that he did, and wanted to take us to where he pulled some for us, along with some basil!
He also pointed out some unripe, but pretty pineapples!
We caught the bus, and were on our way back home completely happy with our first adventure with Claire!
The next day brought sunshine, so
We enjoyed the pool at Secret Harbour Marina, in the bay where Nancy Lu was anchored.
On Wednesday, we treated Claire to a Cutty Tour. I wrote a whole blog post about the tour we took with Cutty when we were in Grenada earlier this year. Claire enjoyed it as much as we did, and we enjoyed it for a second time!
JUST SOME HIGHLIGHTS—CUTTY WITH CLAIRE:
Behind Annandale Waterfall
Using the hole in the tree as a frame for my picture
This man made up a song about us…of course, he expected a tip!
Grand Etang, a volcanic crater lake
The view of the lake from the old plantation home that now serves as a museum
The transporting of nutmegs
It’s always laundry day somewhere!
Drying Mace, the red part of the nutmeg, used in cosmetics
We visited Belmont Estates, currently operating as an agri-tourism operation, still owned by the same East Indian family who were the first family of that descent to buy a plantation on Grenada back in the 1940s. The plantation started in the 1600s during the colonial era, owned by a French family, with coffee being its major product. Sugar was the major crop in the 1700s. Belmont Estates still farms cocoa and nutmeg.
Claire and I took part in part of the drying process of cocoa beans.
Our lunch spot at Rivers Rum Distillery
The distillery is operated using the same process and most of the same equipment, including the water wheel, as when it first began in the 1700s! It’s like a working museum!
The wheel was spinning,
sending the sugarcane up the conveyor belt to be squeezed.
As we were driving along the northeastern side of Grenada, we passed a fishing village. Some young men were hanging out around their boats in the yard by their houses. They motioned for us to stop and take a look, so this was an unplanned bonus to our Cutty tour! One of the men was the boat builder and the other was the boat owner.
Our last stop was at a fancy resort that is near our anchorage. It was also an unplanned stop, but Cutty wanted to show us a memorial to an American Marine helicopter pilot killed in the American invasion/intervention back in the early 1980s that was on the property. We had been talking about this shared part of Grenada’s and the United States’ history.
When we got back, Stan, a fellow cruiser with whom we attended church whenever possible, posed with his business partner, our tour guide, Cutty…
They make wine out of native plants and bottle it in Cutty’s home!
8:00 pm or 9:00 pm is known as Cruiser’s Midnight among the sailing community. Well, we stayed out WAY PAST that hour one night when we went on a “turtle watch” with Claire and some other cruiser friends! We piled into Paul’s Red Cab at about 5:30 pm to make our 2 hour journey to a beach at the northeast corner of Grenada where the mother Leatherback Sea Turtles were laying their eggs! We had to wait until 12:00 midnight to follow our volunteer-guide up the beach where a turtle was busy laying her 84 eggs! She was over 5 feet long according to the researcher that was there to record all the data! Because of the trance-like state that a mother sea turtle goes into as she follows her instincts, we were allowed to, one at a time, massage her soft front flipper and wipe away some of the thick coat of wet sand that she had flung on herself as she dug her nest. This revealed a little section of her beautiful, smooth carapace. I felt privileged to feel the sand smack against my legs when the mother was ready to use her back flippers to cover up her eggs and then went about sweeping sand all around with all of her flippers, camouflaging the area where she had buried them. During the hours we waited for our group’s turn to go observe our turtle, and the one and a half hours we spent watching our turtle complete her arduous laying process, from digging her hole to disappearing back into the surf, 4 other turtles came out of the water to lay their eggs. As we were trudging back down the beach by the light of the recently risen moon, after our turtle finished her labor, we saw another one emerging from the crashing, frothy surf! It was a visceral experience that made me appreciate the complexity of God’s creation! Even the long wait was amazing (Although, Claire went to lay down in the bus after a few hours, and I have to admit, I joined her for about the last 30 minutes of waiting). But before I wimped out, I reveled in the scenery. As it got darker and darker, the stars became brighter and brighter. With no light pollution, no clouds, and a yet-to-rise moon, we were able to gaze up at the cloud-like Milky Way. It wasn’t long before I noticed that the crashing surf was GLOWING, not by the light of the absent moon, but from within, with bioluminescence! It was truly WONDER-FULL! It was one of those times when I was reluctant to take my eyes away from the sight before me, trying to memorize all the details and sensations, knowing that the chance to take it all in was fleeting. We didn’t get back to the anchorage until 4:00 am, and there was no way we could go to bed without showers—no cruiser’s midnight bedtime for us that night!!! Side note: Our cute, sweet, 23 year old volunteer-guide, Javiel, took a fancy to Claire and made good use of the hours we were waiting on our mama turtle, trying to woo Claire into coming to Grenada for grad school and possibly find love, awwwww !
The next day, we had a nice sail to Molinere underwater Sculpture Park.
At our mooring around the point from the underwater sculptures
I saw only one statue that I didn’t see the last time we were here in February, and I couldn’t find some of the ones that I did see last time. To see more pictures of the impressive statue park, you can click here
Claire saw the statue called Vicissitudes (more commonly called the circle of children)
Mommy with the circle of children
We went around to Flamingo Bay where I found some beautiful snorkeling, but
my snorkeling was cut short after running into a sea urchin! OUCH!
I enjoyed the beautiful sunset while I was soaking my leg in vinegar, trying to dissolve the bits of black spines that were left in my leg after Claire and I pulled them out. Before that, I followed the advice of the captain of a snorkeling-tour-catamaran whom we saw in the vicinity of my misadventure and dinghied over to to see if he could tell us what to do. First of all, he told us to pull the spines out, so Claire and I did that while he watched from his boat. When we got back to our boat, we did the next thing he said to do, and poured uric acid on my wounds. Mark provided the uric acid in a cup. The local captain didn’t word his advice exactly like I recorded it here, and I actually had to ask him to repeat it because I didn’t understand his words, “Have your husband piss on it!”, the first time he said it. With his accent, it sounded like he said something about peace. The second time he said it, he added some motions so I’d make no mistake. He was very serious about it. Sure enough, most of the advice on the internet suggested the same thing. So we did that, washed it really well, and soaked it in vinegar (another thing the internet suggested doing). It stung pretty bad, and was pretty painful to the touch. The pain subsided by the next morning, but a few days later some of my glands began to hurt and swell, so I went to the doctor and got some preventative antibiotics. I’m all good, now!
The next morning we made our way to Port Louis Marina where we got a taxi to take Claire to the airport that afternoon. We got busy and spent the next ten days checking things off of our to-do list for leaving Nancy Lu in Grenada for hurricane season.
One of the first things on the long list that we did was pickle the watermaker. Soon after, we dug out the window unit air-conditioner from under our berth and installed it in the companion way. This makes climbing in and out of our cabin quite awkward, but the cool temperature is worth it! The main reason for the air-conditioner is to keep the humidity down so that mold and mildew don’t grow while the boat is all closed up while we’re gone for the off season, and it works great!
Mark worked tirelessly, sometimes in the rain, at getting the dock lines as perfect as he possibly could. We had a tropical storm looming in the forecast while we were there. The worst of it ended up staying south of us, but it sure did cause us to get busy with our to do list!
My sea urchin wounds gradually got better.
We took some time out to enjoy a meal or two with friends and to take the bus to the open air market for goodies. The bagged local-cherry juice was not a fave, but I love Genips, the little green balls!
Mark had to squeeze himself into some tight spots for some of his projects, and while I was handing him tools, I couldn’t help but admire the clean decks that took me a couple of days to finish! We accomplished a myriad of projects, leaving
Nancy Lu looking like she’s ready for the Oregon Trail with the shade cover that we always put up when we’re docked for hurricane season.
We met our taxi at 4:00am, in the dark, on June 28 in the middle of a torrential downpour. By that time, Mark had moved the dock lines, once again, to where our boat was about 6 feet from the dock—impossible to step off of the boat and onto the dock. When we needed to get off the boat, we climbed onto our neighbor’s boat and then walked the 6 foot long and 12 inch wide plank that they had hung with rope from the dinghy davits of their boat to the dock. At 4:00 in the morning, that plank was floating about a foot above the concrete dock because of high-tide. To negotiate that with empty hands in dry weather was a pretty precarious proposition, but to do it with 2 HUGE hard sided suitcases and other luggage was a major accident-waiting-to-happen! I was so afraid that either the luggage or one of us was going in the water! It took both of us to get all the luggage off the boat and to the taxi. We made it with nothing and no one going into the water, but both of us were literally soaked through and through from the hard rain, as if we’d fallen in the ocean. The only thing that made it better than falling in the ocean was that it wasn’t salt water. We never did completely dry out before we got to Dallas, but we weren’t as miserable as I thought we’d be, thanks to a few clothing items that we had in our luggage to change into.
It seems that there is an adventure around every corner in our sailing life, and we were in for a surprise when our Caribbean sailing adventures met our Pacific sailing adventure from 2009! In the sparse pre-dawn security line, we ran into our crew mate, Lisa Starinchak, from the Mahina Tiare Expedition that we took from Fiji to New Zealand before we had our own blue-water boat!
What fun it was to catch up with her after not hearing from her for 8 years! We took this picture when we landed in the USA before parting ways!
Our good friend Kenny picked us up from the airport (as is tradition), and after my long anticipated Sonic Drive Thru run,
we got home in time to take a trip (our Suburban started right up) to Wal-Mart, the land of ENDLESS, BEAUTIFUL, AVAILABLE-IN-ANY-SEASON, FRESH produce and ANYTHING you can think of that you might want! Of course, I took a picture!
We’re glad to be back to our land-home even though we had one of our best sailing seasons yet!
I was soooo excited to see our grandbaby, and I look forward to seeing her precious little face as much as possible while we’re here, as well as other loved ones!
We got to see her and her daddy at a swimming lesson.
Just up from naptime
Making music with Granddad
Granny K likes to act silly and try to make her laugh—SUCCESS!!
The only reason we haven’t been able to see more family so far is because of the inevitable yet gratifying responsibilities that are part of the blessing of life back home.
I’ve already enjoyed being a counselor at Jan-Kay Ranch for our church’s Junior Camp! WHAT FUN!
Mark is dutifully taking care of business that keeps our life running along smoothly, which I greatly appreciate!
That’s it until next year!