Grenada:  Dec. 14-31, 2009

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

Comparing notes with other cruisers, we have come to the consensus that the question most often asked by non-cruising friends is:  "What do you do with all of your free time?"   The implication is that we must be horribly bored, just sitting around on some sunny beach drinking pina coladas.   Actually, Barb and I have spent almost no time on beaches   The rare exceptions have been when we had company who would have been badly disappointed had they not able to indulge in their pre-conceived notion of what island hopping is all about.  So what do we spend our time on?   Consider the following list of activities for the second half of December:

Roger's Bar on Hog Island:  December 13

Every Sunday afternoon Roger features a barbeque.   Lately he has also had a band, and the effort has greatly increased the attendance.   The only way to get to Hog Island (since the new bridge is locked) is by boat.   Look at the number of cruisers and locals that attended to drink and eat.

Receta's New Stove:  December 14

When the stove/oven on Receta gave up the ghost, after a mere 15 years or so, I offered to help with the removal of the old (to Clarke's Court Bay Marina) and the transport of the new back to the boat, since I owe Steve bunches of favors and we have the best dinghy for freight purposes.

Off w/ the old ...

... and away with it!

Here comes the new, all nicely boxed ...

... which must be removed to make it fit down the hatch ...

... and there goes the new beauty

Dominoes:  December 15

We invited the crews from Receta, Arctic Tern, Jabulani, and Bee's Knees over for home-made pizza and Mexican Train dominoes.  A good time was had by all, and Barb's pizza was delicious.

Retracing Hash Route:  December 17

Gary and Jeanie (At Last) invited us to meet them at Le Phare Bleu Marina, from whence they would show us the walker's portion of the Hash House Harrier trail they had set out for the Halloween Hash.   Also included were Receta, Arctic Tern, Unicorn, and Jeanie's friend Lucy.  There was an abandoned house along the route, and on the night of the hash it had been decorated with ghosts and goblins and tombstones.   There was fire burning in the fireplace, and a small room was converted to a sound chamber in which an accomplice played creepy organ music.   A grim reaper hung around on the edge of a nearby clearing.   It took Gary and Jeanie and Lucy (and Mike) about a month to get everything set up, but non-hashers should understand that much of that was taken up with bushwhacking new trails through the bush -- including an approach to the haunted house.

Pausing on the top of a hill, early in the hike

Gary and Jeanie

We hear about the "haunted house"

Chuck's Birthday:   December 19

On the day of my birthday Barb and I joined Hunter and Devi (Arctic Tern) for salsa lessons at Le Phare Bleu.  Afterwards we were joined by Receta and Bee's Knees and Gary ("Doc") and Jeanie for dinner at the shoreside restaurant.   We all stayed for the performance of Gary's blues band.

Pizza night:  December 23

Through Receta we have all gotten to be friends with locals Dwight and Stevie.  Dwight free dives for fish, lambi (conch), lobster, and sea cat (octopus) while Stevie mans their boat and attempts to keep up with Dwight in cleaning the catches.  Dwight suggested to Ann (Receta) that they devote one day to just catching lambi and lobster for a pizza party.   And so it was that we all (Receta, Arctic Tern, Tusen Takk II, Dwight and Stevie) gathered on Receta for some of the best pizza that has ever been created.  Knowing that Dwight had a birthday coming soon, Barb also baked a cake and after our pizza we surprised Dwight with it.  He was clearly touched.   (You can read about Dwight and Stevie in Ann's book "An Embarrassment of Mangos", and even more in her new book:  "The Spice Necklace".   We can give high praise for the guys, and just as exalted praise for the books.)

Debating which is better: lambi pizza or lobster pizza


Dwight admires his birthday cake

Christmas Walk and Dinner

Christmas morning we joined Arctic Tern for a morning hike.   Then I spent some time creating a shelf to be used as a platform for storage bins down in the engine room.   That evening Receta and Arctic Tern joined us for a pot luck dinner, the main course of which was sailfish prepared by Steve.   Delicious!   Devi brought a pumpkin and key lime pie.   Yummy!

Carrying garbage to the local bin in Lower Woburn

Resting briefly atop one of the local ridges

We all find that walking sticks are useful

My new shelf for the engine room (hatch not yet cut)

Steve and Ann cook while I "supervise" ...

... and Hunter relaxes

Nice to have gourmet friends!

A pause for ...

... a toast

Pumpkin and key lime pies for dessert

Cheek Darts (also known as "Ass-Hole Golf"):  December 26

Arctic Tern had been extolling the pleasures of Cheek Darts, and finally on Boxing Day had convinced a number of us to give it a try.  Specifically, the competitors consisted of the crews of Arctic Tern, Receta, Tusen Takk II, and Unicorn.   The rules were simple:  there were nine "holes", each of which consisted of a plastic glass strategically placed so as to provide "interesting" complications.   Each player chose a rock, which served as his/her "golf ball".   The "ball" was moved from a "tee" to a "hole" by being tucked in between the cheeks of the bum of the player.   A stroke was counted each time the "ball" hit the ground without going into the cup.   When that happened, the ball was re-inserted, and the player continued from the spot of the stroke.   There were very few strokes lost on the "drives", as it turned out, but the "putting" was another matter.  Anna (Unicorn) and Devi (Arctic Tern) were heads and shoulders better than the rest of us.   Or should that be "cheek and jowl"?   Anna practices Pilates regularly, and Devi is a yoga devotee.  It showed.   Anna in particular had an incredible string of "holes in one", but was nudged out "in the end" by Devi only because she (Anna) had a single disastrous hole in which she apparently lost her concentration.

Anna "putts" -- note the Leader Board, the fans and the sponsors (Nike shoes)

At the conclusion, champion (Devi) receives her prize: a single discarded Nike shoe

To see videos of some of the golfers, select them below.

Anna video     Devi video    Haakan video    Chuck video    Hunter video

Concord Falls Hike:   December 28

Early in the morning we (Arctic Tern, Receta, Unicorn, and Tusen Takk II) left our dinghies in Lower Woburn and caught a bus into St. George's, where we caught another bus that took us to Grand Etang.   Our hike would take us past the volcanic crater-lake of Grand Etang and up the ridge toward Mt. Qua Qua.   Just before reaching the mount, we branched off onto a lesser trail that was more wash than trail, and descended downward and downward, eventually arriving at streams that we sometimes forded and sometimes paralleled and sometimes crawled along.  Eventually our trail intersected another path.  We took it to the left and shortly arrived at Fontainbleu Falls, where everyone (except me) enjoyed a dip in the cool, refreshing waters.   Afterwards,  we reversed our direction on the path and soon were on an ancient rock-paved narrow road that traversed down the widening valley.  On each side of the road, and up the steep sides, were cultivated fields of carrots and cabbage and bananas and sorrel and pigeon peas and callaloo.   As we paused briefly after fording the stream yet again, we were overtaken by a short squat lady who carried a black umbrella in one hand and a sack of roots in the other.   She wore a thin white bandana on her head, over which she had crammed a black floppy hat.   Below her dress she wore black rubber boots that reached to her knees.   She introduced herself as "Dora", and said that she was 75 and a half years old, and that she walked up from her home twice a day to tend her various "gardens" along the road.  We asked her where she lived, and she indicated that she lived down the road at the village of Concord.   Hunter offered to carry her bag for her, and so we all made our way down to Concord Falls, where we tourists paid a nominal entrance fee to get to the area near the base, and Dora waited patiently at the top for our return.   The rest of the way to Concord was often steep, but asphalt-paved.   When we reached Dora's home, she offered to show us the garden behind her house, and cut us a large bunch of callaloo to share.  She takes her produce into the market at St. George's every Friday, and we all vowed to make it a special point to stop and buy from her in the future.


Bus left us off here, near the start of the trail to Mt. Qua Qua

Looking back along the ridge to Grand Etang Lake, where our hike began

On the ridge trail toward Mt. Qua Qua

Shortly before reaching Mt. Qua Qua we veered off onto a lesser path which following a wash down the slope

Some portions were quite steep

As we approached Fontainbleu Falls, the trail became more "civilized", and even had steps carved into the rock

At the bottom of the valley we travesed a rocky creek bed

How to stay young: hike rocky creek beds!

Fontainbleu falls

The girls enjoy the cool refreshing water

Crowding together for a group portrait

Below Fontainbleu the valley widened and the path soon morphed into a stone-paved road through small productive fields -- this one had sorrel

Stopped for lunch at Concord Falls, much more "commercial" and not so nice as Fontainbleu

Hunter shows where we have been

Portraits ...

... at ...

... Concord ...

... Falls

We met Dora up between the falls. She waited for us at the lower and Hunter carried her sack of vegetables as we descended down the road to her home

We passed this sign as we walked

Dora showed us the garden behind her home, and insisting on giving us a bunch of callaloo

We watched her gather from the ledge behind her home

(Almost) Daily Early-Morning Walks

Arctic Tern, Unicorn, and Tusen Takk II have been walking almost every morning.   Ann on Receta usually comes too.   On the morning of December 30, Barb accidentally brushed up against something that gave her a painful and itchy reaction.   Her knee developed liquid-filled bumps, swelled up in general, felt hot, and was very uncomfortable.   She doesn't remember the plant she encountered, but the rest of us are convinced that it was probably the infamous "zooti", or "devil's nettle".   I'll spare you a picture of her knee, but include here a picture of zooti, complements of Devi (Arctic Tern).   Note the toxin-filled needles on the stem and leaf.