Grenada, the Spice Island

The Hood

Well here we are.  As I mentioned in our previous post we have settled into Mt. Hartman Bay, home of Martin’s Marina at Secret Harbor and just one of the many bays that line Grenada’s south coast.  We have found it to be a calm and quiet harbor.

To the west is Prickley Bay.  It is a popular anchorage because there is a marina, a boat yard, a marine supply store, restaurants and relativly close access to one of the bus routes.  We can walk over to the marina, but until we find some shortcuts, we won’t be walking to the other destinations.  It is possible to dinghy over if the weather is VERY calm.

Going east you come first to the anchorge at Hog Island.  On the island side of the anchorage is an old beach bar that sells beer, rum punch, and barbeques something on Sunday afternoon. On the mainland side of the anchorage are the remains of a couple Cuban gunboats.  Pass under the Hog Island bridge and you enter Clarks Court Bay.  Directly across the bay is Whisper Cove Marina.  It is owned by a French couple and although it is a very small marina, it boasts a selection of fresh meats.   One of the owners or employees is a meat cutter and butchers the animals on the premises.  On the west side of the bay is Clarks Court Marina, where they try very hard to keep the cruisers coming in.  They host weekly movies, water color painting classes, and a variety of other social activities.  Finally towards the north end of the bay is the dock that leads you up the hill to Nimrod’s Rum Shop.  The shop is a modest establishment and has been a community fixture for a very long time.  Just north of the bay is the Clarks Court Rum Distillery.  The water at the north end of the bay has a reddish brown color due to the outflow from the distillery.

We did some snorkeling in Mt. Hartman Bay and in the area between here and Hog Island.  We discovered a lot of conch, but only one had a fully-formed lip, the mark of a mature conch.  Mark found that one and managed to capture it.  We brought it back to the boat, cleaned it, and had it for dinner.  Now we have to wait for his friends to get a bit older.

Mark's Conch

Getting Around

Mt. Hartman Bay is not on one of the bus routes.  We can dinghy over to Clarks Court and catch a bus by Nimrods Rum Shop.  We do have an enterprising taxi driver, George of Survival Anchorge, who provides a ride into town every wednesday and friday.  He will stop at the bank, hardware store, grocery store, marine store, beverage store, various produce stands, and almost anywhere else that isn’t too far off the route.  The cost is $10 EC for the round trip.  And not only is this a great way to get your shopping done, but you get to meet all the other cruisers in the bay.

The buses here are like in the other islands, but more so.  They are still minivans, but the drivers fill them to the max and drive like crazy.  And although most of the roads here are in good condition, they are narrow, winding, and hilly.  It’s like an amusment park ride.  Eighteen or twenty passengers plus a driver and conductor in one van is not uncommon.  At least no one brings chickens or goats on board.

And speaking of goats, there are livestock everywhere.  At first we thought we were seeing goats, but they didn’t seem quite right.  It turns out they have sheep here that are either short haired by nature or are kept clipped short.  We learned that “long tail down = sheep; short tail up = goat.”

Outings

We weren’t here very long before our brother-in-law, Mark, came to visit.  We took one of the buses into St. George, the capitol.  As with most Caribbean towns, St. George is built around a harbor.

The Harbor

Another view of the harbor

What did I do with that map?

The Best Little Liquor Store is closed on Sunday. Mark and I are devestated

 

It was a sunday, so the town was quite empty.  The only people there were taxi drivers looking for fares and a few guys who wanted to take us on tours of the city or the island.  We didn’t need either.  Eventually we walked up the hill to one of the forts that overlooks the harbor and a local “guide” cornered us.  We agreed to let him show us around the fort.  He was quite a character and at one point did a commercial for his services while Mark filmed with his ever-present video camera. 

Mark films our tour guide while he does a commercial for his services.

According to Wikipedia, “Grenada gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1974. Left wing rebels seized power in a coup in 1979. After a 1983 internal power struggle ended with the deposition and murder of revolutionary Prime Minister Maurice Bishop, the invasion began on October 25, 1983. A combined force of about 7,600 troops from the United States, Jamaica and members of the Regional Security System defeated Grenadian resistance and the military government of Hudson Austin was deposed.”

One of the sites we saw on the “tour” was the door to the room where Maurice Bishop was held before he was executed.  We also got to see the stone walls with divots in them from the bullets.

The dungeon where Maurice Bishop was kept

On a more positive note, we caught a bus into the country where Mark and I climbed Mount Qua Qua, one of the higher peaks on Grenada.  The climb took us up ridges between the peaks.  The trail was a bit muddy and slippery which made it interesting on the steep parts and on a couple very narrow ridges.  After we got back down we had lunch at a small local restaurant.  While there a tour bus stopped across the road and the driver started tooting the horn.  Pretty soon a monkey came out of the brush.  He climbed up on a fence and walked down to where the bus driver was waiting with a banana.  Evidently they are trained to show up when they hear a horn.

Bug on the rail. The park hostess was leaning against the rail only inches away.

View from Mt. Qua Qua. Mt. Hartman Bay is behind the mountain just left of center

A monkey waits for a banana

A few days later we took a tour with Cuddy, perhaps the most popular tour operator on the island.  Grenada is known as the spice island, so about half the tour focuses on the various spices grown on the island as well as nuts and cocoa.  Chief among the spices is nutmeg. Until hurrican Ivan decimated the nutmeg plants, Grenada was the number 2 producer of this spice.  They have replanted, but the trees are not yet old enough to support much of a crop and the recent drought hurt the crop even more.  A second product from the nutmeg plant is the spice mace.  We visited both nutmeg and cocoa processing facilities.

Jackie holds a nutmeg. The red stuff is the spice mace and surrounds the nutmeg

Bags and bags of cocoa. What a nice smell

We also visited a rum distillery.  This facility has been in operation for a very long time.  They still use and ancient waterwheel to drive the equipment that crushes the sugar cain.  The juice is fermented in open vats before being distilled to create rum.

Old waterwheel is still used to drive the cane crushers

Rum Distillery Boiling House where they ferment the cane juice

Next: Return to Carriacou

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One Response to “Grenada, the Spice Island”

  1. Mark Says:

    I had a great two weeks on Compass Rose in July. Great touring of Grenada and Carriacou and great snorkeling. And the bus rides were scarier than the rides at Cedar Point.

    Jackie and Eric, thank you for the hospitality and great cooking.

    Mark

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