We’ve been living 2023’s boat-life on Nancy Lu since January 29th, and my Chaco sandal tan lines are in progress! It’s hard to believe that we’ve been dividing our years between time on land and time on the sea since 2011, only taking 2021 off in the aftermath of the pandemic.
Since Nancy Lu’s been down in the Caribbean, our boating seasons have always started with a myriad of jobs to get her ready for sailing. For the last few years, NL has started out the season high and dry (on-the-hard) right where she was left for the previous 6 or so months. Each year, the exciting day of launch usually happens about a week after our arrival by airplane to the Caribbean. This year was no exception.
Every system repaired, problem solved,
and upgrade accomplished while we were on the hard and after launching were considered and done in the context of the anticipation of the arrival of our only company of this season, our dear friends,
Kenny and Katrina along with soon to be 15 year old, Ava.
It was not all work before our guests arrived!
I enjoyed my yoga classes at the treetop studio on the grounds of True Blue Boutique Resort. This year, the classes have been more like physical therapy for me. I’ve even had a couple of private alignment sessions with the very knowledgeable Rhianna!
Even the walk to yoga counts as exercise according to my apple watch,
and the sights along the way are a delight for the eyes!
We got back into the swing of hashing a few Saturdays before our guests arrived, and as had become our habit, we experienced the hashes we did in the context of planning for Kenny and Katrina’s visit. We considered whether one should be on the list of possible activities we would share with them while they were here. Our first hash of the season was Grenada Hash House Harriers’ 1230th. On hash #1230, we broke with our hashing traditions in a couple of ways. First, we took a local bus instead of calling Shademan to get there since it was very close by. We ended up getting there late, after everyone else had already set off, but we met a local man, John, who told us he’d been hashing for 10 years. He took us under his wing and guided us the whole way!
After a steep road that I thought would never end, but 66 year old John took at a quick pace, we hiked along a ridge where looking left, we could see Grand Anse Beach and the IGA grocery store where we do most of our shopping and
looking back to the right, we could see the surf that breaks on the rocks at the head of Prickly Bay where Nancy Lu is moored. In the foreground, we saw quite a few homes that we’ve learned from a trusted tour guide, Cutty, are those of squatters.
We enjoyed having our “hash guide”, John, but if there was a downside to following him, it was that he opted to lead us down off the ridge using the trail marked difficult instead of the longer but MUCH LESS STEEP and easier choice! This long, treacherous, slippery and steep path down from the high ridge + the paved but equally long and steep hill up to the ridge began Mark’s ongoing argument to convince me that a hash was something our guests might not enjoy. The second way we broke with our normal hashing traditions was taking advantage of the fact that we got there on our own and leaving earlier than normal to walk across the street to the Spice Isle Mall and do a little grocery shopping at the IGA before catching a bus home.
We scored (no pun intended) some avocados which are out of season in Grenada; and therefore, hard to find since they are imported, most likely, from Florida. With this find, I was able to make two of our favorite recipes: Mexican Caviar and a yummy Mediterranean salad. We also scored a local watermelon. As with everything in the weeks before the Emerson’s arrival, we were anticipating their visit. In this instance, we hoped we would be able to find avocados that we could enjoy while they were here.
Turns out we did! And they turned into lots of guacamole!
With the watermelon, I tried a new juice: Watermelon Lemonade Slushy! We loved it and made plans to stock the freezer with watermelon chunks to be used for this purpose and serve to Ken, Kat, and Ava!
I’m contemplating the idea of suggesting to our friend who makes the smoothies at the Native Fruit Smoothies store where we get our weekly after-shopping smoothie to add Watermelon Lemonade to his menu ! Do you think I should?
Eventually, we had about a week and a half of preparations and general boat-life activities before our company’s arrival.
We enjoyed a nice Saturday pre-hash lunch with our sailing friends, Margrit and Heinz at Port Louis Marina where I took a stealth picture of a cast member of the upcoming 11th season of the Bravo reality TV show, Below Deck. (We had stumbled upon them filming at Prickly Bay Marina one evening.)
Before our lunch date, I managed to get a picture of the super yacht featured in the show.
Hash #1232 was in the close-by village of Marian near Woburn Bay, but this time we followed our tradition of taking Shademan’s bus to get there. At the end, I tried a local dish called Pastelle. It is made with cornmeal and wrapped in a banana leaf. I wasn’t a fan. In keeping with our focus on company coming, we FaceTimed Katrina during the hash. She and Ava just happened to be shopping for hiking gear during the call! Katrina and Ava got to witness first hand how slippery some parts of the trails can be because as we were FaceTiming, my feet slipped right out from under me and I landed right on my bottom! Again, the discussion continued between Mark and me as to whether a hash was a good idea to do with guests…
The time was finally here!
All the preparations had been done!!
OUR GUESTS ARRIVED!! I’m disappointed that we didn’t get a picture amidst all the hellos and hugs, but we met them at the airport with George, our trusted go-to man for picking up guests, with his nice air-conditioned bus.
This kicked off what I hope Kenny, Katrina and Ava will remember as an adventurous, exciting, if not always comfortable, vacation! I know we enjoyed immensely sharing boat-life and island adventures with our treasured friends!
Our first full day was a doozy: An island tour with Cuthbert McMeo, more commonly known as a Cutty tour! We’ve now been on five Cutty tours. They’re all a little different, but they are always a guest favorite! This one may have been the best yet! Cutty gave us some experiences that we’ve never had before along with most of the tried and true favorites!
There are always too many beautiful views to capture all of them in photo from the window of his van…
On a tip from a fellow cruiser, we asked Cutty to include a stop at Laura Herb and Spice Garden. It was a real treat! Cutty always makes many stops along the way to educate his clients using all of their senses about all the spices of Grenada, so we were already knowledgeable enough to answer questions that our guide through the garden asked! Katrina mentioned to me that this garden tour was her idea of the perfect vacay…just what I love to hear!
On to Mt. Carmel Waterfall:
We all experienced the biggest fall along with a dog-friend that Ava made at the beginning of the trail. Katrina and Ava decided to slide down another gently sloping fall into a pool downstream from the big fall. I decided, with the guys, not to. I was just going to get pictures of Katrina and Ava… Well, of course, I changed my mind when I got there a little later than the girls. Katrina and Ava’s experience was a little less treacherous than mine. Since they had gone ahead of me with Cutty, he was better able to guide them in exactly where to go. Since I came to the place a little late, he had to yell instructions to me, and I misunderstood where to slide down. Turns out, I went down what Cutty described as “where the young boys go”. I paid for it with a bruised and scraped hip, but it wasn’t too bad!
Grenada Chocolate Company chocolate is my favorite, and we enjoyed our stop there even though it wasn’t operating that day.
Cutty had a special treat up his sleeve that totally made up for us not getting to see the chocolate production. It was something we hadn’t experienced on any previous tours we’ve taken with Cutty. On the drive to the chocolate factory, he had pointed out tall Imperial Palms soaring over all the other landscape. He told us that where those are seen, a plantation was close by at one time. As we were walking down the steps from the chocolate factory, he asked if anyone would like to see a slave pen. Of course, I said, “YES!”
So he guided us across the street and through some bush to where the Imperial Palms grew shamefully tall, towering above everything nearby…
We marveled at the ruins of what was once a beautiful and majestic plantation home, but were sobered by the fact that what we were really there to see was not far away and anything but majestic.
We trudged on to a low structure with an opening that even I had to stoop to enter. It was dark and dank inside, and my guess is that it had always been. Cutty called these structures slave pens, and he said they held as many people as could be crammed in. This was a reminder that there is not truly any paradise here on earth. I was grateful for this experience!
You can’t go far in any direction in Grenada without seeing a nutmeg tree. Nutmeg and mace (which is part of the nutmeg) is Grenada’s #1 export. Cutty taught us what he knows about them, which is a lot, including a little saying that Grenadians use to describe the fruit, “A lady in a boat with a red petticoat”. For all the years that I’ve been touring and experiencing Grenada, every time we come across a nutmeg tree and someone speaks about it, a little melody is triggered in my mind. In the moment, all I can remember is the melody and that I think it is about a nutmeg tree. As I was was typing out this blog, I decided to consult google
…Sure enough! the melody is a real memory of a song I must have learned as a child! Maybe next time I’ll sing it for Cutty!
We had a lovely lunch of traditional Grenadian dishes at Belmont Estates. Belmont Estates has the same sad history as the plantation great house that we had just experienced, but is currently an Indian owned, thriving business. Their website explains it well, “Belmont Estate is a phenomenal example of the passionate commitment of local owners to transform this relic of an oppressive past into a business that offers a happy, positive, beautiful place, and is focused on transforming lives, empowering people, supporting communities and preserving the environment.”
No Cutty tour is complete without a tour of River Antoine Estate Rum Distillery. They use the same methods and machinery, which includes a water wheel, as they did in 1785 when it was founded. Even for us teetotalers, it is super interesting! If you’re with Cutty and arrive after operating hours, NO PROBLEM! You’re with THE MAN! They will gladly undam the river and get the wheel running for a little while just so you can see it working! It was a special surprise and treat to meet the owner of the operation who we saw sitting in her chair as we were wrapping up our tour,
The biggest surprise and treat for me was when Cutty motioned us to follow him like he owned the place and took us to a cashew tree, teaching us all about it. I’d been under his tutelage about cashews before, but this time he commanded a distillery worker (again, like he owned the place) to shovel some hot coals into a trench and proceeded to roast freshly picked nuts (toxic if eaten raw) and serve them to us! It was the highlight of the day for me!
On the way back to Prickly Bay, we visited Southern Grenada’s water source, Grand Etang Lake, in the rainforest and saw more spectacular sights.
Well, that was just the first full day with our guests…
The next day, we were up bright and early, and if you want to go anywhere while staying on Nancy Lu, you’ve got to take a dinghy ride. By the end of the week, Kenny was counting down how many embarkments and disembarkments there were left to endure!
First on the agenda: public bus #1 to downtown, St. George to check out the weekly fish market and spice market and then back to the bus terminal to catch bus #5 to Concord Falls Junction.
When we were dropped off at the Concord Junction bus stop, there was a 2 mile, uphill trek awaiting us to get to Concord Falls, but
we were lucky to be offered a ride right away!
After seeing the first, more touristy waterfall,
we set off to find the secluded, real attraction, Fountaine Bleu!
The trek there was a challenge for some,
a walk in the park for others,
but the journey itself and the reward at the end was an awe-inspiring experience for ALL!
It was also fun and refreshing! Sorry I forgot to pack your swimsuit, Mark !
Where you hike in, you must hike back out…We all made it!
Now, we only had the 2 mile walk down the road, through the village of Concord back to the bus stop awaiting us, but not before meeting a friendly hair puller!
Much of the walk is through private farm land where cocoa trees are ubiquitous!
We didn’t have to wait long for the bus…
to take us to a restaurant on the beach for a much deserved meal out and a quick preview of what was to come the next day…
a beautiful morning at Grand Anse Beach! We availed ourselves of the added bonus of a public shower costing us about $.75 USD where you can let the water run to your heart’s content (unlike on Nancy Lu)!
Even though our days were action packed, most evenings were reserved for game time! CODENAMES!!
Monday was a sailing day! We sailed from Prickly Bay, Grenada up to her much smaller and more quaint sister island, Carriacou. The conditions were good, we had a great angle of sail that pointed us right to our mooring at Sandy Island in great time, which is never quick on a sailboat. We made it in 7 hours!
Some of us took turns dealing with mild seasickness, and
others of us only had to find ways to deal with temporary loss of internet access!
Thanks to our official log keeper, the trip was well documented!
Once we got moored, the girls tried on their snorkeling gear and took a little swim around the boat.
I treated us to some homemade pineapple smoothies before our dinner of tuna salad Polynesian, which I had made on the trip over.
We were all looking forward to snorkeling right off the back of Nancy Lu in the clear turquoise waters of Sandy Island Marine Preserve the next day…
We had perfect conditions and enjoyed our snorkeling experience!
After lunch, Mark dinghied us over for a stroll on the idyllic Sandy Island beach…
After a little exploring and taking some photos,
we discovered a magical cairn garden with so many creative formations to explore and examine!
I was inspired by a tail-shaped piece of driftwood to add my own whale creation!
That evening, we were ferried over to the Paradise Beach Club for a wonderful dinner.
Ava and I had barracuda.
Katrina and Mark had spiny lobster, and
Kenny had pizza, which he shared with all of us. The meals were delicious, but the conversation and fellowship was the sweetest!
We spent the last full day of our friends’ visit having a perfect sail back down the east side of Grenada completing a circumnavigation of the beautiful island!
There was no seasickness to report, and everyone who wanted to got to take the helm returning to Prickly Bay as “salty dogs”!
The next afternoon, I was sad to wave good bye to everyone, but I know Ken was glad to have his last dinghy embarkment behind him and down to only one more dinghy disembarkment left to go!
As Mark motored our company to the dinghy dock to be picked up and driven back to the airport by George, I reread the beautiful words Kenny had inscribed in the hymnal he brought me as a hospitality gift. As I flipped through the pages, singing bits of many of the hymns…
I decided on a fitting one to leave at the end of this blog post in which I had the pleasure of sharing so much of God’s wondrous creation and our time with friends with whom God has graciously provided us to journey through this life!
6 thoughts on “HAVING COMPANY ON NANCY LU IS THE BEST! Grenada Jan. 29, 2023-Mar. 12, 2023”
Such a great life! Happy to see you doing so well and enjoying the great outdoors. I enjoyed your blog and the photos are beautiful.
Wow what a great trip! Lots of love laughter and light ❤️👍cindy
As always, I so look forward to your NancyLu posts. And always, I smile through it all and end up grinning really big with inspiration. Y’all are so gracious to others and surely shine the love of Jesus. Thank you for being you. Please continue. With much love and severely jealous (LOL), Cindi (Lou) Elder
Kathy & Mark,
div>Do you usually keep Nancy Lu
Hi Sheryl, Your message is cut off, but if you are asking where we keep Nancy Lu the answer is currently in Grenada on the hard. We have also kept her in Trinidad.
Hi Kathy and Mark, Wehave had some doozy of weather with a lightening storm that took out some things that used to work around the neighborhood but all is well at your house and ours. Sure enjoyed the tour. I do not think your friends will ever have a vacation nicer than that one. Really special to share it with dear friends. I think that had to be the biggest avocado I have ever seen in my life! I had no clue they could get that size. I am wondering if they have chiggers on Granada. What a wonderful dive you had. And those sculptures are amazing and so many. I would have been there all day! I did not know cashews had to be roasted or they are toxic . I don’t remember anyone telling us that when we took a tour and saw the nuts growing. Nancy Lou deserves the love and care she receives from you and shows you by performing well that all is well and ship shape. My dad used to say, “It’s not luck that makes a good trip but planning and maintenance.” True that especially on the sea. Grenada is a jewel you are sharing and I have really enjoyed going on your vacation. Take care dear ones and enjoy.