Grenada, the "Spice Isle"    Click for the chartlet of our first Caribbean trip
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Our departure from Tobago was a bit delayed because of an other rudder problem; this time it was the trimrudder that bounced softly against the keel. But from where the noise originated, we discovered only after days of searching and sleepless nights. We quickly put on our diving gear and fixed the trimrudder with wooden wedges. In the meantime the weather had become unstable and with so much rain that the beaches were completely deserted. So we waited a couple of days and stayed for a while on the W-side of Tobago, where the sea is turquoise and the beaches are snowy white, even when it rains. Did some snorkeling between the showers and  fixed the rudder with more wedges to be absolutely safe.

The fun of the sailing to Grenada (75 miles) was provided by dolphins and flying fish. Apart from that it was a long day with fluky winds hence fights with sails that had to go up and down all the time. It took us 17 hours to cover the distance of only 75 miles, which is on average 4.4 kts. In the meantime we (P!) also decided that next year Miep will be fitted out with a furling genoa .

Arrival on Grenada in Prickly Bay. Customs & Immigration are here, despite negative news in various pilot guides, very relaxed, so we didn't have to inflate our dinghy in the middle of the night to report ourselves instantly. Navigation fees to be paid in EC (East Caribbean dollars), which we obviously didn't have. When we finally found an ATM in operation, we explored Prickly Bay completely. Very pretty, all those big homes and gardens with blossoming bougainvilleas and oleanders, but dull. So after checking in with Customs, we immediately sailed to St.George’s, the bustling capital.
This city appeared to be extremely attractive. We found an excellent anchor spot in “The Lagoon”, some kind of hurricane hole. The old inner city is next to the lagoon and is shaped around a natural very protected harbour with pretty old houses; it reminds slightly of Kopenhagens Nyhaven. Very busy and colourful with narrow streets packed with small shops, markets and many, many people. And almost every day a cruiseship coming in
. This kind of tourism has a strange effect on the island as the ships come in in the morning and in the evening they are gone and the town is peaceful again.

Prices are reasonable here, but the more northerly we sail, the higher they will be. On Tobago we paid 7 euros for a permit to stay one month, on Grenada this cost already 18 euros. Gasoline on Tobago: 18 eurocents per liter; petrol a bit more expensive. Food is on Grenada slightly more expensive than on Tobago and 50% more expensive compared to Surinam… But the variety to choose from! We are not used to this anymore and actually the urge to luxury has vanished completely from our system. After one and a half years we found roasted red peppers again, sundried tomatoes and even French cheeses... One would expect that we would take our chance and grab what we could get, but no, we were satisfied with only a few things. (Great, isnt't it?!) And we visited a real chandlery again. Our eyes popped, also because of the prices but we could buy duty-free which made a small difference. On top of this, one more new invention that slept already for over a year in our laptop: WiFi. Wireless internet on the boat as parasites on the chandler's server. But we are not yet as infantile as our Austrian neighbour who balanced with headset and laptop on his foredeck while skyping, and when this didn't work stepped into his dinghy to get a better connection closer to the source.

The history of Grenada in a nutshell: vulcanic origin 30 million years ago; first inhabitants were indians who came from South-America to the north in their canoes. Columbus named it Concepción but the island reminded Spanish sailors of Andalusia thus gave it the name of Granada. This name stuck to the island when the British took over, although spelling and pronounciation were changed into the more English form of “Gre-NAY-da”.
Grenada carries the nickname “Spice Island”. In 1843 the nutmeg was clandestinely imported from the Dutch-Indies and in those days nutmeg was a precious seasoning and even more important it has healing qualities. The nutmeg gave the island a gigantic economic boost and nowadays Grenada is worldwide the second largest supplier of this spice. The nutmeg is even a symbol in the flag.

Export product #2 is tourism and the Grenadians do a lot of marketing. Focused on Grenada’s #1 product the innocent tourist has to bring home nutmeg jam, nutmeg syrup and liquor. They also do nutmeg icecream but this is less easy to take home. The taste is good, actually.

Public transport is well organized here. Mini vans all around, hooting their horns and the drivers shouting at you inquiring if you wanna have a ride. There are more or less scheduled bus services, similar to the wild buses system in Surinam, and there are taxi buses. For example Felix, who has the yachtclub as a taxi rank, and we made a 5-hours tour with him.

First we drove along the west coast and saw many picturesque villages where houses are painted in the national colours.
We visited a “spice factory” dating from the 18th century where cocoa beans were dried and cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg were processed. The mace that we use in the kitchen is the pulverized “netting” around the inner nut and it gives a lighter nutmegtaste.
We drove on to the interior (greengreen and many flowers) and saw the nutmegtree live. There are still a lot of nutmegs but their number is diminished by hurricane Ivan who swept over the island in 2004; and Emily following in 2005. The sad remainders of the disaster are still visible: there are many ruïns but there is also a lot re-built and renovated. Many roofs on Grenada are new, and the roof of the catholic church is still under restoration. People now prefer concrete over wood to build their homes. Nevertheless Grenada is not located in the hurricane area...???...!!!
The top of the island is formed by a crater with a lake at 1740ft height. Quite cool high up there (26 degrees C). More cooling down when we took a shower under one of the many waterfalls; a lovely back massage and extremely refreshing. It was a very nice trip, Felix was a good guide and we all had an enjoyable day. And Grenada moved up on our list of islands that are worth a second visit.

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