We anchored in Prickly Bay and ended up staying for three weeks in the same spot. It was easiest to catch the local buses from the road near Prickly Bay and the other anchorages didn't really draw us.
|Dinghy exploration with our buddies Trevor and Lynda|
|Fishermen behind the boat in Prickly Bay|
|Handmade batiks at Art Fabrik in St George|
|Sendall Tunnel, for cars and pedestrians, connects the two parts of the hilly town|
|Our enthusiastic guide Meeschak starts us at the cacao tree|
The pods are harvested and the beans are fermented in bins, then dried on huge racks both inside a greenhouse and outside in racks that roll back under the greenhouse for protection during wet weather.
|Fermenting under leaves and burlap|
|Beans drying inside|
|Handful of beans|
|Meeschak rolled out this rack of beans for us to see|
|And then rolled it back in!|
|Walking the cocoa|
|Drummers keep the beat while workers walk the cocoa.|
|Beans I bought and roasted. The papery outer layer comes off and voila... cocoa nibs.|
|I may not share....|
Nearby was the River Antoine Rum factory that we toured too. Almost all the work here is still done by hand and it was hot, sweaty and not especially safe looking work.
|Sugar cane on the conveyor belt headed for the crusher|
|Water from the river runs the wheel to power the conveyor belt and crusher|
|Standing by with a machete at the top of the conveyor to whack at any stalks that aren't cooperating|
|An attempt at safety...this worker tied a cloth around his face to keep from inhaling the residue from the cane waste he's burning.|
|Vats of hot sugar cane juice.....|
|.... ferment in big open pits.|
Our guide Mavis, who has clearly done this tour one too many times, finished up the tour by pouring some of River Antoine's finest for us to taste. We cautiously sniffed the fiery samples she poured and she barked, "Don't play with it! Just drink it!" Yes ma'am.
|Do what Mavis says.... or else!|
Like a lot of the islands, buses are just big mini vans that don't leave the station until there's no breathing room left inside. If you catch a bus outside of the stations or the bus stops you almost have to jump in while they're still moving because the drivers can be heavily fined if they're caught picking up passengers anywhere other than stations or stops.
In Grenada most buses also had a conductor, which is just a fancy way of describing the surly teenage boys that sat by the sliding door to let people in and out and collect the small fees for riding. It was up to them to drum up business and each one had a different technique. Mostly they just yelled out the window to everyone "heywhereyougoingwhereyougoing?goingtoStGeorge?needabus?needabus?takethebus!
comecomehurryhurrygetingetin!" The drivers would screech to a halt, back up at random, take meandering high speed detours to buy food from street vendors or do some grocery shopping, pick up and drop off friends and school kids, all while blaring their favorite music at top volume.
|Bus station in St George|
My photo doesn't begin to capture the chaotic energy of the bus station, or the noise or dust or heat. Nor does it capture the pleading sound of the young preacher who was always there waving his tattered bible and imploring riders and passersby to come to Jesus. I'll bet he's gotten some converts too.... namely people who've made it off the bus after an especially hair raising trip. The roads are steep and windy and more than once I found myself wishing the driver would pay more attention to the road than to his cell phone.
|This driver's got religion...|
But, I digress. Back to hiking. Our bus dropped us at Grand Etang where we picked up the Mt Qua Qua trail head. About an hour and a half of uphill hiking brought us to the top of the peak and gave us some fabulous views and cool breezes.
|Looking back at Grand Etang|
|Looking east toward Africa!|
|Fork in the road|
|Set self timer... hurry to get in photo without tripping and falling.|
I caught up on my flora shots along the way...
|I'd love to have an ID on this funky pod/blossom|
Since this has apparently turned into a mega-blog (sorry for not giving fair warning) I'll just carry on and finish up with all things Grenada while I'm on a roll.
More hiking.... another day and another bone rattling couple of bus rides and we were on our way to hike to Concord Falls. It was an easy hike that took us through farmland and across several streams. The farms were small and neat and rows of herbs, carrots, tomatoes, cabbage, beans, callaloo, potatoes and dasheen shared space with all kinds of trees; cacao, bananas, nutmeg, carambola, cashew, avocado, mango, soursop, breadfruit and more. Like in Dominica... food falls from the sky here.
|Yet another photo of cacao pods growing. Can't get enough of them.|
|Lone papaya on the way to Concord Falls|
Concord Falls is really three waterfalls and we went to the second one, called Au Coin. It's a peaceful lovely waterfall and we spent our time there in the quiet company of a local guy who came to just sit and enjoy the simple beauty of it.
Had enough of Grenada for now? I'm not sure we have but it seemed like time to move on so we sailed up the west coast and after a stop to snorkel the overrated (really... don't bother going there) underwater park in Dragon Bay, we spent the night in Halifax Harbor. Halifax Harbor is where the island's trash gets um.... deposited and burned. Okay... fine... it's where the dump is. And not only is the dump there, but there are power lines strung across the shores making it impossible to tuck in to the harbor unless your mast is less than the guestimated 60 feet. And really... are you willing to take that chance?
We snugged up to the north shore and had a really quiet night. What with the dump and the power lines.... of course we were the only ones there!
|Can't.... breathe.... underwater..|
|Praying to be released from the underwater park|
|The upside? In a marine park, the fish are much more plentiful.|
|Village on the west coast|
|Pretty (and odor free) Halifax Harbor. Note the power lines at 60ish feet above the water.|