Carriacou, Grenada: June 21-June 27, 2007

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


We leave the Tobago Cays at 9:25 AM, and by 1:20 PM we are already checking in to another country: Grenada, composed of the islands of Carriacou (Carry-a-coo), Petite Martinique and Grenada.  The northern-most customs office is in Hillsborough, Carriacou, and that is where we briefly anchor.  Sol Magique is just launching their dinghy as we arrive, and Paul hails us on the VHF and offers us a ride.  Since we haven't even had time to set and test the holding of the anchor, Chuck elects to stay on board while Barb becomes the "captain" long enough to go ashore and complete the customs paperwork.  The fee, incidentally, is $75 EC (Eastern Caribbean),  just under $29 USA.  By 1:50 we are back underway, and by 2:30 we are entering Tyrrel Bay, where we will spend nearly a week.

Tyrrel Bay is a nice anchorage.  We have a little trouble getting the anchor to set on the first day -- the open spot is fairly grassy, and the Bruce anchor doesn't like grass very much --  and we are out far enough to suffer a little rolling, but when a vessel leaves the next morning we move up and find good holding and minimal rolling.  In the process of getting a wireless connection from the boat, we discover that the expensive Radio Labs wi-fi antenna that we bought back in St. Thomas no longer works.  Fortunately, one of our Dell PCs has a very strong internal card so we can get a marginal signal using it.  It is amusing to see what we cruisers go through to get an internet connection.  Often it entails cruising around an anchorage checking for a signal and then finding where to drop that anchor so we can get the strongest possible signal.  Of course, it is usually the case that a number of other boats are already anchored in the best spot.  Often we have to take the PC to shore and find an internet cafe.  Often we find ourselves parked on a picnic table under a tree trying to find an angle where the glare from the sun is not too strong.  One of our PCs is running so slowly that it has almost become unusable.  After many calls to both Symantec and Dell, the verdict is to reload the operating system and all the software from scratch.  Barb is almost in tears remembering the days it took the last time she had to reinstall, but eventually decides to get on with it.  She finds a place where we can get an internet cable connection for our PC -- as well as use the PC next to it to call the software vendors via Skype.  She is able to accomplish in one day what took almost four days in St. John back in March. 

There are boat boys in the harbor, offering wine or bread or mangrove oysters, but they are pleasant and don't pester.  Chuck finds a running route that takes him one mile up a concrete road and then another mile on a narrow dirt road that winds up and down along brush-filled pastures with goats and sheep, along turquoise seashores and under manchineel (Poisonwood) trees.  The road stops at an abandoned house at the end of Southwest Point.  Two miles out and two miles back makes for a pleasant run.

Buses are easy to catch at Harvey Vale, the name of the small settlement adjacent to Tyrrel Bay.  The two grocery stores carry only the minimum, but fresh vegetables and fruits are available at an outdoor stand.  Barb takes a bus to Hillsboro several time to reprovision and to get a SIM chip and a Grenada phone number (473-459-1807) for our unlocked phone.  We were pleasantly surprised to discover how inexpensive it is to set up a phone.  Only $40 EC or $18 US gets one a phone number and 25 minutes of phone usage.  It is easy to buy additional minutes and the cost for calls is about 14 cents a minute for local calls and 37 cents for calls to the States. 

One of the cruisers has taken an island tour, and reports that "Thomas" is very good.  So Barb contacts him and arranges for a tour for our group.  Thomas speaks loudly and clearly, and stops frequently along the road to gather a fruit or a leaf or a small branch, which he brings back to the van with an explanation of its identity and significance.

One of the highlights of the tour is a stop at Windward on the northeastern tip of the island.  Windward has long been a center of wooden boat building, and even today one can see vessels that are being built entirely by hand.  When a boat is finished the locals gather for a day of celebration and to launch the boat.  [Many days later, Steve and Ann (Receta) return by ferry to Carriacou from Grenada in order to participate in the launching of a 40' sailboat.  They report that it is quite the event.  A priest first gives a blessing with holy water and then someone else blesses the vessel with a bottle of rum.  Guess they are attempting to cover all bases.  There is also a cake dance around the vessel before the launch, and throughout the day much eating and consuming of rum.  The launch itself takes many hours, since the craft is slowly rolled over logs into the sea.  We envy them the experience, and hope to one day witness a launching ourselves.]


Fixer upper on a cliff at the north end of Carriacou

Barb and Paul return from customs at Hillsborough

Any port in a storm -- Tyrrel Bay

Exploring the mangrove swamp at the north end of Tyrrel

More explorers

Members of the tour using the ATM in Hillsborough

The only gas station in all of Carriacou

The entire group on tour -- photo by Thomas

Hillsborough as seen from the hospital on top of a mountain

Note the volcanic rock on the hillside

Black volcanic beach at Windward

Boat under construction

Another view

And another

Some of the tour group, as seen from the boat under construction

Monument to fishermen killed by a WWII mine that washed ashore at Windward

Thomas gathering yellow leaves for a tea that "purifies the blood"

Ruins of windmill used for sugarcane processing

View from inside of windmill

View up from inside

Amanda (Solstice) capturing the windmill on film

More windmill photo-takers

Nick, Jim and Amanda at the windmill



Flag courtesy of ITA's Flags of All Countries used with permission.