We had a nice sail from Trinidad to Woburn Bay, Grenada, arriving on the morning of January 31. We picked up a mooring at Whisper Cove and stayed on it for a couple of nights before moving just a little further towards Benji Bay and anchoring. We stayed anchored in Woburn Bay until February 16. Then, we motored around to Prickly Bay where we were still anchored until this morning, February 22, when we set sail north for Carriacou.
I became familiar with the phrase that I chose for the title of this blog post on the first night we were in Grenada this year! It’s from an awesome original song, This Is Home, written by artist, Sabrina Francis. She calls it her love song to Grenada. Sabrina’s a local soul singer/songwriter. She and her band, F.L.O.M. play at venues all over Grenada and Carriacou. They’ve even toured in Europe, played in NYC, and Austin, Texas!
Our friend, Jeremy, captain of Right Turn, our buddy boat on the sail from Trinidad, recommended, on the night we arrived in Grenada, that we dinghy over to hear Sabrina at The Lightship. The Lightship is a cool venue docked at Le Phare Bleu Marina. in a past life, it was a working lightship (like a lighthouse) in Sweden. Now, you can go there to hear Sabrina’s mellow sound every Friday night and have a little fun exploring the ship, including the light tower. I’ve been a fan of Sabrina’s ever since that Friday night! Mark and I both said we’d be happy to go hear Sabrina again given the opportunity! This was the first of many experiences that the crew of Nancy Lu enjoyed with the crew of Right Turn!
We met Jeremy last spring when he was the designated leader for the convoy of which we were a part on our sail south to Trinidad. Jeremy takes on crew for different legs of his sailing season. Jane flew over from London and joined him just a few days before we sailed from Trinidad to Grenada.
She remained on Right Turn until February 8, long enough for all of us to miss her good company after she flew back home!
On Saturday, after the relaxing evening we spent listening to Sabrina’s smooth sound at Jeremy’s recommendation, we had a recommendation of our own: A hash. So that’s how the four of us spent our Saturday afternoon. If you’ve read my blog, you know that we’ve done several hashes. Knowing that this activity originated with the British, and with both Jeremy and Jane being British, I wanted to make sure I had all my facts straight about hashing, in case they had any questions. Here are a few pertinent facts that I learned by joining The Grenadian Hash House Harriers on Facebook and doing a little research. If this sort of information interests you, read on in purple:
1. Hashing was started in 1938 in what is now Kuala Lumpur by 3 expatriate Brits who belonged to a prestigious club there.
2. These 3 members wanted a sport for their club which involved energetic physical activity without getting in the way of their beer drinking routines.
3. So hashing was born, a fun run/walk based on the hounds and hares concept—following a prepared trail through the stunning Malayan countryside.
4. The club to which the 3 British belonged had a dining annex derogatorily referred to as the Hash House—the inspiration for the name of this newly formed group participating in this hiking activity .
5. Today, in Grenada and other House Hash Harrier groups (Kennels) around the world, trails are set and marked with blobs of flour or shredded paper by the Hare.
6. Hashers (or hounds) choose either a walking or a running trail. The Hare makes a game of it by setting marks in the shape of circles made with flour or paper along the way that indicate a split in the trail. One trail is correct and one is false. You don’t know which is false until you get to an X made by the Hare with flour or paper, or you use some hashing lingo…
7. Some hashing lingo: * “ARE YOU?!”- shout this and listen for the response if you come to a circle and you want to know if the people you see up ahead are on the right trail. ** “ON ON!!”- shout this in response to “ARE YOU?!” if you are on the right trail, or listen for it if you are the one shouting “ARE YOU?!”. *** “ON BACK”– shout this in response to “ARE YOU?!” if the trail you took is wrong, or listen for it if you are the one shouting “ARE YOU!?”.
I had assured Jeremy and Jane that a hash was a great way to get to see different parts of Grenada and that it wasn’t too strenuous. So we caught Shademan’s bus for cruisers going to the hash. He got us safely there, and we were greeted with the characteristic THUMPING music through massive speakers. After brief instructions from the Hash Master, we were off on the walker’s trail…
So far, so good… Each hash offers photo worthy sights.
For a couple of weeks, I had not been feeling quite right and after a pretty steep section of the trail, I found myself, uncharacteristically, lightheaded and in need of a little rest and some water . A couple of literal hounds were also ready for a little break. I soon recovered, and we were on our way. Actually, hash #1123 @ Tempe, by which we introduced Jeremy and Jane to the fun of hashing, turned out to be uncharacteristically difficult. A big group of us lost the trail completely and got so far along on a steep downhill section of the bush that we were unable to turn around and try to find the right trail. We just continued on the way down with controlled tumbles/ bottom-slides/Tarzan-swings from tree to tree, all the while, guided onward by the “ONONs” that our fellow “lost” walkers ahead of us provided until we finally met a road with blobs of paper that led us back to the starting field…
Before we got separated from the rest of the walking hashers, a considerate woman had offered Jane her bamboo walking stick. When we finally got back to the start, Jane was able to return it, and we all commiserated about our mishaps, minor injuries, and our general sweaty and DIRTY (especially the seat of my shorts) post-hash states of being!
Then it was time for BBQ! Jeremy let it be known that, unlike Mark and me regarding his recommendation for our Friday evening outing to the Lightship to hear some sweet jams, he would NOT be happy to ever take part again in our Saturday afternoon recommendation of a hash if the opportunity ever arose, lol!
On to other Grenadian adventures the four of us shared:
At Grand Anse Beach, we enjoyed watching the annual Grenada Workboat Regatta and just playing around.
When we were at Grand Anse Beach for the Workboat Regatta, Jeremy got information at Eco Dive about getting his PADI free diving certification (diving on a single breath without SCUBA). I ended up signing up for the course with him, and this turned out to be a fun highlight for me this season in Grenada. It was sort of a foursome adventure, because…
while Jeremy and I spent our morning taking part in our free diving class at the much quieter, weekday Grand Anse Beach,
Mark took Jane on a mini tour of St. George, including the spice market where she bought a spice necklace and
for a walk about the Carenage. They met us back at the beach for lunch at Umbrellas, a popular tourist restaurant right next door to Eco Dive. After that, Mark went home and Jane joined a snorkeling tour from the same Eco Dive boat that took Jeremy and me to our first afternoon free dive at Flamingo Bay. The next day, Mark opted out of the free diving adventure (he had pesky boat projects that needed attending). Jane hung out at the beach all day except when she met us for lunch at Umbrellas! She had a chance to make a lot of headway reading a book written by Jeremy’s father about a 3 year sabbatical that he took on a boat in the Mediterranean with his family of 5, including a teenage Jeremy. I plan on enjoy reading it at some point!
At the end of both free dive adventure days, we disembarked the #2 bus at Woburn close to where our boats were anchored. We enjoyed a drink and a sit on the porch at Kelvin’s little bar where we could take in the activity on the street. The first evening, just past sunset (too dark for a picture), we saw something none of us had ever seen before… the roosters called their hens home to roost in the TREES! Kelvin told us that’s what happens every night! Turns out that is where the free roaming, hardworking, island chickens with NO COOPS sleep at night! I’ve always thought of the island chickens as the REAL DEAL as opposed to the pretentious, pet chickens which are a part of the American trend of raising chickens in backyards, HAHA! I don’t know why these Caribbean chickens have always captured my attention and imagination! I love to hear them crowing from our anchorages and see them strutting through open air restaurants. They just seem to symbolize a simpler and less pretentious way of life. Maybe it’s just me…
Anyway, on the second evening at Kelvin’s, Jeremy and I toasted our free diving accomplishments. It was a little premature for me, but Jeremy was PADI certified after accomplishing a 15 meter dive (FIFTY-FIVE FEET!!!). The requirement for certification was 10 meters (33 feet). I had gotten close at 28 feet…
I was able to go back a week later and get certified with a 10.2 meter dive! I was pretty proud! Thanks Christine of Eco Dive!!
The picture that will be on my PADI Free Diving Certification card
One of the things that I liked about Eco Dive besides how skilled, professional, & knowledgeable all the staff was, from our instructor, Christine, to the boat captains and other staff, was that they created an atmosphere that wasn’t all seriousness, thus stress-free. Of course, this could have been because of one particular student a tad on the unserious side (me), but whatever the reason, I appreciated that Christine found humor in some of the things that I brought to the class, like having an uncontrollable outburst of laughter while we were in the pool doing a serious breathing exercise the first day. I couldn’t help it…I was picturing how ridiculous I must have looked just moments before while practicing another skill. It was like laughing in church —after my initial outburst, it took ALL the self control I could muster not to burst out laughing again, but I kept it under control!! Another weird, laughable thing that I brought to the free diving experience was the embarrassing, involuntary squeaking sound that I made while equalizing my ears at deeper depths. I fancied myself a dolphin caller ! On my extra dive, with 3 new classmates, with whom I was unfamiliar, I was actually proud to get a big laugh from Christine when she was using me to help demonstrate the technique for rescuing a diving partner who has experienced a black out on their ascent. I was the “rescuer” to Christine’s “victim”. She had just explained to the other students that after the rescuer accomplishes bringing the victim to the surface, while supporting their head, face up, out of the water, they are supposed to say something nice to them as they regain consciousness. She didn’t say so at the time, but I knew from my previous class, that say something nice meant something like, “That was a great dive!”, or “You’re doing fine!”. The nice thing I chose to say to Christine as I was supporting her head and tapping her face (like you’re supposed to do) was “You’re pretty.”…That’s nice, right?! LOL !
Back to fun with Jeremy and Jane:
We joined the big independence day celebration at the national stadium.
Proud citizens of Grenada, a British Commonwealth Country, turn out in their national colors. There was much pomp and circumstance as the different platoons parade in front of the Governor General.
“Look, it’s DADDY!” I saw and heard a little girl exclaim!
She was so proud! Her excited gesture (fisted hands to her chin) reminded me of my granddaughter!
Just keeping it real; the ceremony wasn’t that exciting for all of us non-citizens…”Wake up, Jeremy! The master of ceremonies just said to stand!”
Sadly, the next day was Jane’s last day in Grenada. We had lunch at Whisper Cove with Jeremy and Jane, she left for the airport, and we went on our 2nd Hash of the season—the Independence Day Hash—without Jeremy, of course.
All the hashing cruisers on Shademan’s bus were decked out in national colors,
The Independence Day hash(#1124) in Beaulieu offered typical Grenadian photo opportunities and was much less difficult than hash #1123!
The last Independence Day activity in which we participated was also the last thing we did with Jeremy since he headed north with a new crew member the next day…
We took advantage of our second chance to hear Sabrina Francis! This time we enjoyed her music on Hog Island! Her first song was (appropriately) “This Is Home” !
I spent the whole time right in front of the stage getting my dance on with other more long-term and devoted fans! They knew every word to her songs!
Others were less enthralled with Sabrina’s music…it was more like a soundtrack to typical fun at the beach!
A few more Grenadian goings-on:
We ate many of our tried and true Nancy Lu recipes,
and enjoyed meals out at restaurants like Umbrellas when we had business close to Grand Anse Beach and the Spice Isle Mall, or a couple of evening dates to the Container Park featuring dessert at Oui Papa’s where we were able to socialize with other cruisers,
or a nice dinner date at Whisper Cove. Also, at Whisper Cove, the looooong process of doing laundry was made almost a treat by the wonderful cup of coffee and grilled ham and cheese that staff member, Sade, made for me!
We did one last hash before leaving Grenada…
It was the annual “Red Dress Hash” where ALL hashers are encouraged to wear red dresses in commemoration of a hash back in the 1980s to which a man invited a date and failed to explain what a hash was. She ended up wearing a red cocktail dress to it…
Besides the red dress aspect to hash #1125 @ the golf course, we enjoyed all the regular sights and sounds; although,
I enjoyed the dancing at the end of this hash more than the other hashes because the DJ had time to play my usual request of the popular Soca song by Farmer Nappy, Hookin Meh, before Shademan’s bus took us back home!
The next day, we moved our boat around from Woburn Bay to Prickly Bay in order to get hauled out for an insurance survey. This was an annoying necessity because our current insurance informed us that they were not going to renew our policy when it runs out in a month. We had to get the survey in order to get new insurance for which we were now shopping. This has been happening to a number of boaters in the Eastern Caribbean due to insurance company losses due to the devastating hurricanes in recent history. UGH!
One of the crew that helped us haul out noticed the Grenada Workboat Regatta T-shirt that Mark was wearing. He proudly let us know that he was crew on the this year’s winning boat, Classic! We took the opportunity to get a photo with the winner!
Nancy Lu hanging out of the water on the travel lift while we took a lunch break…
Just a few more Grenada goings-on…
Ubiquitous beauty for the picking…
Homemade passion fruit juice…
Our last outing before we left Grenada to head north was to get a much needed haircut for both of us and shopping for some “nice” clothes for Mark. He changed into them before we left the mall to go have lunch at Umbrellas! We came back to the mall for some grocery shopping… Afterwards, on our walk from the bus stop back to our dinghy, I carried one of the shopping bags over my right shoulder. I had injured that shoulder on our first hash of the season—the one where we did controlled falls, swinging like Tarzan from trees. It had bothered me slightly ever since then, but when I woke up the morning after our shopping trip, I thought I might need to go to the doctor! OUCH, I could hardly move it! Instead, we applied ice regularly for the next couple of days before we left Grenada and that seemed to help. I think I must have tendonitis. Here’s hoping that my shoulder will allow me to do some of the adventures that we have planned as we travel north…We shall see! This DEFINITLY doesn’t mean we’re getting old!….Does it???? Let the adventures continue!!! I’ll report how things go for these middle aged, one of which is slightly worse for wear, cruisers in my next blog post!