Grenada -- Part 2: July 10 - 26, 2007

Click on the above thumbnail for a map during this time period

Hog Island and vicinity

Hog Island is a quite small island.  There is a nice cozy anchorage between Hog Island and mainland Grenada to the north.  The entrance twists through outer reefs, but it is well marked, and the reefs serve to minimize almost to the point of elimination any rollers.  Hog Island is uninhabited, with no dwellings save for one ramshackle bar, run by a young man by the name of Roger.  Several times a week, several huge catamarans bring in tourists from St. Georges.  The big cats throw out a stern anchor and then inch up to the sand beach in front of the bar and stay for several hours.  The youngsters on board play in the water off the cat, and the not-so-youngsters drink at the little bar.  There is a BBQ at Roger's at 3 PM every Sunday, an event that brings extra boats into the bay and dinghies from many of the near marinas and anchorages. 

Old sailing acquaintances Jim and Norma on Mi Lady are anchored here, as are Steve and Ann on Receta.  Just to the east of the anchorage is a narrow cut that breaks out into Clark's Court Bay, and at the north end of that bay, either at anchor or at the dock of Clark's Court Bay Marina, are a number of cruising friends (that go all the way back to the Turks and Caicos and/or Luperon and/or our previous winter in the Exuma Islands.)  There is an active cruisers' net on the VHF at 7:30 AM in the mornings; and on this net activities are announced that almost rival those of Georgetown back in the Exumas.  Domino tournaments and poker games and pot lucks and karaoke nights and island tours and cooking demonstrations and watercolor art classes and exercise every morning at 8 AM, etc., etc..

Barb attends a cooking demonstration

BB shows how to cook the local foods

Sunday mornings this young man picks up garbage for a modest fee

Roger's Bar on Hog Island -- home of Sunday BBQ

Bocci on the uneven land around Roger's

Chuck takes the game seriously

Free pool table at Clark's Court Bay Marina

Karaoke on Friday nights at Clark's Court Bay Marina

Island Tour

Ten of us arrange for an all-day tour of Grenada.  With us are old acquaintances from Seaman's Elixir and Solstice, and newer acquaintances from Sol Magique and Minx.  Our driver/guide is Cutty, a warm and friendly local that does a splendid job.  We learn about many of the local plants, including the spice of such economic importance to Grenada:  nutmeg.  The nut of nutmeg grows inside a fruit.  When the nut is ready to harvest, the fruit splits.  The nut can then be removed from the fruit.  The nut is surrounded by a thin red layer called "mace" that is itself an important spice.  The mace is removed and retained, and the nuts are dried.  When ready, the nuts are cracked by a machine and then the meat is separated from the shells by hand.  We visit a huge processing and storage facility for nutmeg in Grenville, where we learn that 90% of the nutmeg trees in Grenada were destroyed by hurricane Ivan in 2004.  Hence, most of the drying racks are unused when we visited.  It is expected that it will be 10 to 15 years before the nutmeg industry on Grenada fully recovers.

We visit Allendale Falls, where everyone takes a dip except documenting photographer Chuck.  We visit the ancient fort Frederick, which was considered a military target by the USA when President Reagan invaded Grenada in 1983 on the pretext of "rescuing" a handful of American students in attendance at the Medical College, but whose real purpose was to topple the government of Grenada in response to their getting too chummy with Cuba.  From the fort one can look to the east and see the ruins of a mental hospital that was destroyed by the invading Americans when they mistook it for the fort.  (The hospital has moved to a new location -- the ruins have been left as they were.)  From the fort one can look north and see the outbuildings, grounds and gardens, and main buildings of Her Majesty's Prison where certain members of the deposed government are still held.  (They assassinated one of their own and took over the government just before the invasion, and hence are in prison for murder.)

We visit an old rum factory, where they still do things the old way.  At the conclusion of the tour we all get a taste:  very strong and with a strong sugar cane taste -- no aging whatsoever.  We buy a bottle whose label reads:  Royal Grenadian Rum, 69% alcohol, at the River Antoine Estate, organically produced rum since 1785.

We pass through an abandoned airport, where several planes lie in ruins.  One belonged to the deposed ruler of Grenada, and the other belonged to the Cuban military.  After the USA invaded Grenada, she refused to allow the Cuban plane to return to Cuba. 

And then up a steep grade and into a rain forest, at the apex of which we stop and our driver Cutty beeps his horn.  Soon wild monkeys appear, anxious to partake of the fruits that Cutty has brought along for just that purpose.

Tour driver/guide Cutty

Cutty explained fruits, herbs, spices and roots along our route

Cashew nut grows outside the fruit! There is also a large pit inside, and the fruit itself is quite delicious.

Cocoa beans in their pod

Cocoa tree



Nutmeg on a tree -- when ready the fruit splits

Chuck documenting nutmeg

Cutty shows the crew a split nutmeg

Red banana

Sweet Banana

Volcanic lake in the background

Annandale Falls

Fellows jump into the pool in return for contributions -- note jumper on the way down

Paul decides to come up directly in the falls

Barb, Jeanette & Paul play in the falls

The crew relaxes in the warm waters

Amanda, Cynthia, Linda, Jeanette & Barb

Barb and Linda

Fort Frederick -- ancient fort attacked by USA in 1983

Mental hospital mistaken for the fort by the Americans, who destroyed it

Still-active prison on ridge below the fort

The Lagoon, where TTII hit a submerged piling

Wild monkey

But they trust Cutty

And love to steal from his pockets

Brazil nut case

How to carry something in the Caribbean

Mace collected from the outside of nutmeg nuts

Nutmeg nuts drying in racks

Mostlly empty racks

Sacks of nutmegs

Nutmeg sack

Shell crusher in nutmeg factory

Separating stations downstream from the crusher

Abandoned Cuban planes in an abandoned airport

Feeding chute to a crusher/squeezer at River Antoine Estate rum factory

Crushing/squeezing mechanisms

A water wheel powers the crusher

Sugar cane juice runs down this dirty trough

Cane juice is concentrated in open boiling pans

Casks formerly used for fermentation

The ferment is now done in a large concrete container

Boiler for the distillation process

Cooling chambers

The "quality control lab"

The single machine used to cap the rum bottles

And now for a review ...

Near the end of the tour -- a beautiful beach (note cows to the right)

The cows get a drink in a fresh stream that runs into the ocean

The beach in the other direction

Cutty shows the group a loofta

Loofta grow on vines, and are filled with seeds


Hash House Harriers

Every other Saturday, the Grenada Hash House Harriers ( set off on a shredded paper trail laid earlier in the day and designed to take the "pack" through off-road locations on the island.  Some run, some walk, and some dawdle.  Hashing was started in 1938 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaya, and there are now some 1700 "kennels" throughout the world -- mostly at locations associated with the British.  Hashes always start and end at a rum shop, which says a lot about the real purpose of the organization.  The trail is "new" each time, having been set by two designated "hares" who reconnoiter the area and create a suitably picturesque but character-forming trail for the pack.  First-timers are called "virgins".  The pictures below are from the hash on July 14, where there were perhaps 150 hashers, most of them locals but also with a good representation of cruisers and tourists.  As this is written we are on the eve of a special moonlight hash on the 28th -- celebrating the full moon.

Ready for a ride to the hash!

Getting instructions at the start

Down a road, then into the riverbed, and oops, a crossing!

Up the steep bank on the other side

Through an overgrown meadow and then up a steep forested slope

After a long lateral trek along the forested slope, a breakout into the yard of a mansion ...

...where Barb pauses briefly

Even the dogs were dressed for Bastille Day

Non-virgins waiting for the start of the loss-of-virginity ceremony

Showing his certificate of lost virginity

Barb, Chuck and Steve (Receta) in the foreground