Monday, August 26, 2013

Luckily, we were here for the Grenada Carnival.  It is a week of unforgettable events and activities.  No way could we go to all the events but we did attend 2 very big special ones.  The first was the competition of the steel bands on a Saturday night at the National Stadium.  Steel bands in the West Indies are called pan bands and the competition is the Panorama.  There were 9 bands competing from all over the island.  There are about 70 people in each band ranging from age 8-72.  Each band has over 100 drums in it.  They are quite spectacular and loud.  Loved the music and the band we wanted to win was last and they won.  This is something like their 9th year of winning.  See pictures

short video of 1 of the bands playing

Then we went to the very long 5 hour parade downtown.  The costumes are fantastic and the children are so cute.  See pictures below

He is suppose to be a lion fish and he has captured me

Amazing costumes
Men oiled up after the 

J'Ouvert: Blackened with stale molasses, tar, grease, creosote or mud, and wearing little more than their horned helmets, these masqueraders in previous times set out to terrify onlookers with their grotesque appearance and repulsive dances.  It has to do with freedom from slavery

The children were so good and so proud

Her face is actually there next to Harry

Hanging out in Grenada for hurricane season is like a party every day with a 1000 other cruisers.  We are so busy socializing there is no time to do boat projects.  Weather is hot but nice breeze so therefore, we have to noodle in the water every day for exercise.  Then people love playing games down here so we play a lot of Farkel, Mexican train dominos, and there is trivia night as well.  We do hiking, shopping, visiting, barbecuing on the beach and hanging out at the local Tiki bar in the harbor.  It’s such a hard life and hard decisions on whether we play dominos or watch a movie on one of their big screens at a restaurant.  Of course there is hamburger night at one marina while there is ½ price pizza at another marina.  So hard to decide!!   This past week we have been catching the Louis Vuitton races for the America’s cup at another restaurant.  It’s lots of fun with a bunch of sailors all sitting in the bar watching the races and making their comments.
We actually did two different raftups with our dinghies.  The first one was in the afternoon with a band playing on a huge raft.  There were 40 or 50 rafts.

Jam session on Sunday afternoons at Whisper Cove marina.  These are all cruisers who play instruments and just come to enjoy putting their music together.

Big raftup with a steel band playing off a raft
The Steel band.  They played great

Full moon raft up with 13 dinghies and lots of refreshments at night.  We floated around the harbor for 4 hours partying and making lots of noiese

John and Shirley, good friends of ours from South Africa
We were obviously having fun

Lela and John, good friends as well

Last week Harry and I decide to host an SSCA (Seven Seas Cruising Association) event.  We have been active commodores for years and I am on the board so we have been trying to be ambassadors for SSCA as we cruise through the Caribbean.  It’s a wonderful worldwide organization but needs more publicity.  So we publicized 4 days ahead of time that we would do this at the Tiki Bar.  We announced it each morning on the local Net (radio for all cruisers to hear what’s going on for the day).  Anyway, we didn’t know what to expect but 80 people showed up and took over the restaurant.  After everyone had lunch I did a 15 minute talk on what we are all about and then did some small group round tables about different destinations that people are headed for and need information.  This lasted most of the afternoon.  It turned out to be a big success so we may try it again in Trinidad.  We have found it is not hard to get cruisers to come if we arrange something.  They love to socialize.  I didn’t get really good pictures but here are a couple.
Yesterday, we did the hike of the year.  We joined the Granada HASH, which is a weekly planned, difficult hike through some part of Granada followed by a wild party with booze, food and music.  We had been planning to do one for ages but yesterday we nearly killed ourselves climbing up and down hills and valleys, forest, creeks, fields etc.  It was the second largest HASH out of 921 HASHES and one of the most difficult.  They didn’t tell us that part until we got back almost dead.  A few beers and some food finally revived us.  There was a large group of cruisers plus tons of college kids from ST. George University and then many locals.  There was somewhere around 400 + people and I was one of the very oldest so I am proud of the fact that I could even do it.  I wonder, if when all those people get to be my age they can do what I did yesterday.  I have to admit we came home, showered and collapsed.

This man runs on the HASH with the basketball on his head, amazing

The crowd of 400 before we took off

View from the first hilltop where we hiked,  many more hills to come

Us after the HASH with Gary (old friend from Bradenton).  They had thrown beer all over us

So the plans are to stay here until Oct 1 and then sail to Trinidad.  We are waiting for Pat and Geoff, good cruising buddies from Canada, to arrive the end of Sept so we can see them before we take off.
We will leave the boat on the hard (out of the water) for 6 weeks while we go back to the states for our daughter’s wedding and then for a big SSCA event in November.  That’s all for now.  Hope this finds everyone in good health and happy.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Bequia to Grenada

We finally left Bequia after 10 days of parties, barbecues and socializing and had a fantastic sail to Tobago Cays.  The carnival in Bequia compared to Trinidad is small town fair to a state fair.  They had 2 trucks drive through town with lots of young people singing and dancing behind the trucks.  That basically was it and all us cruisers stood out in the rain watching this event. At least it only lasted 10 minutes

Baby and larger turtles at the Turtle Sanctuary in Bequia.  At age 5 they are released into the sea

 18 of us on a very long and treacherous hike up to Peggie's Rock.  Harry sitting on the rock on the top and the view from the rock
Interesting Rastafarian house in Bequia

We did barbecue on the beach several nights.  Such fun

The grill master with ten different kinds of meat

Half way up the mountain

 Our next hike was not as high as Peggie's Rock but just as much fun and wow what view
Game day at a local restaurant.  They let us have the whole place all afternoon if we pay for drinks.  No problem with that

Another night of sundowners on a boat called Sweet Chariot with Jim and Tammy (not Baker)
 Someone compared Tobago Cays to the San Blas islands due to its beauty and anchoring out on a reef.  Your view would be Africa if you could see that far.  We did some fantastic snorkeling with very large green turtles – saw about 8 in all and tons of fish and squid.  It was quite an experience.  Although we have been here twice before, it’s one place you just can’t get enough of.

Magnificent water, reefs and beaches on Tobago Cays.

These are the turles we swam with, they are so graceful and fun to watch

Today we moved 4 miles over to Union island.  Another fantastic place anchoring behind a reef.  We had sundowners at a bar out on a reef built on conch shells.  It was really a cute place and so cleverly done. (see picture)
We then motored another big 7 miles to Carriacou.  It is owned by Grenada but has its own flavor.  People are great and the harbor is huge and comfortable.  We stayed tucked away in there for Chantel, our first name storm since getting down here.  Luckily she went way north and leaving no heavy winds or anything.  Tomorrow we leave for Grenada, which we plan to call home until October, unless a named storm decides to show her bad side.  If that’s the case, Trinidad, here we come.
We have now been in Grenada for a month and love it.  The people are wonderful, tons to do, good grocery shopping and a great place to get boat projects done.  We started off in Hog Island for a week where we did noodling everyday for exercise (see pic) and played games and swam at Roger’s tiki bar on the beach
Then we moved to Prickly Bay where lots of evening events take place and we spend too much money. The Tiki Bar there offers Tuesday night trivia.  Our team came in 3rd place one week with about 15 teams playing.  Harry was at his best.  We play dominos on Sunday, women’s dominos on Wed, noodling every day and dances at night.  
My good friend June Gradman from Chicago came to visit for 4 days with her daughter Annie.  It was a whirlwind tour of Grenada.  The first night out we went on a tour with 28 people to see the Leatherback turtles nesting their eggs and new born baby turtles crawling for dear life down the beach to the water, getting turned upside down and falling into footprint holes on the way.  It was such an awesome experience for all of us.  It only happens at night with red flashlights so pictures were hard to get.  We didn’t get back until 1:30 am but so well worth it. I had wanted to do this for years but never had the chance.June and Annie loved the experience

Mom is 7 feet long and 4 or 5 feet wild.  Just an amazing creature.  She digs the hole for the eggs with her hind legs and then after she lays the eggs, she buries  them and then goes back to the sea.
Our Mom laid 104 eggs that night.  Researchers are always present to count the eggs

Party at Tiki Bar with June and Annie and a life band called Baracuda

Then we took them to Grand Etong National Park and hiking down to the Seven Sister’s Falls.  Wonderful hike and swimming in the falls was fantastic (cold but fun).  When we got back to the entrance there were Mono monkeys.  Our guide enticed them with food so they climbed down from the trees across Annie’s and Devin’s shoulders for the food.  We got a great movie of it.  Devin is a 23 y/o college student who is staying on his Dad’s boat this summer.   We came with us on the tour.

Devin, Harry, me, June

Our guide in yellow is Clifton Castle.  He is on the olympic diving team for Grenada.  Watch for him in the Australian nationals coming up.

Mono Monkey

Saying goodbye to June and Annie

Tonight we are going to an event tonight where they are preparing for their carnival.  It will be a very big whole week event.  We get to see the steel band players tonight, have a oil down dinner and watch the costumes for the carnival being made.  It really should be fun.  Will post that later.