Harbor Watch, Bus Rides and Friendly People
19 July 2011 | Tyrell Bay, Carriacou
Well it's been some time since the last report. Sorry about that. There has been quite a bit of turnover here in the harbor since the last report. During that time "The French Family" on the catamaran have moved on, heading further south to Grenada and possibly Venezuela. We wish them luck especially on the last place, although perhaps a French flagged vessel won't be the target that an American flagged one would be in Venezuela. The "White Boat Blue Stripe" moved on after appearing to re-seal virtually every window in their cabin house. They were one of the hardest working people in the harbor. Of course all the rain that we were having at the time must have provided much of the motivation to keep working on sealing the leaks. A leaky boat is generally not a happy boat. We met the folks aboard the boat that we called "The Swedish Couple" . Well more correctly we met the husband when he came over one evening to ask us if he could buy a couple of eggs from us. Seems it was his turn to make dinner and he wanted to make quiche and was two eggs short. We told him that he couldn't buy them from us, but that we would give him two. The following afternoon he stopped by and gave us two eggs. They seem to be nice folks and we may see them again as he told us that they are also going to Grenada. "Big Top" is still here with their big dog, looks like a Rotweiler, who barks at all the passing boats that he detects. He's serves as the early warning device for our little neighborhood. There isn't a whole lot of movement in the harbor before 8:30 am as all the cruisers as listening to weather and other single side band radio nets that happen between 7:00 am and 8:30 am. After that the dinghies get lowered and everyone that has errands to run gets moving along with boats getting underway for their next port of call. In the afternoon things slow down a bit with the increased heat. The primary activity in the afternoon is the arrival of new boats. We have noticed that if a boat comes from the south, probably Grenada, it tends to be a chartered boat since there is a charter company based there. If the boats come from the north they will either be returning charterer's or cruisers that are working their way south for the hurricane season. So, they come and they go through good weather and bad with each day bringing another potential confrontation between the OARs and the NARs.
Here in Tyrell Bay we have basic stores and fruit and vegetable stands. But there are some things, like sliced turkey, that we can only get at Hillsborough the island's largest town. Hillsborough also has the island's only gas station and hospital. To get to Hillsborough we take the bus. Now don't think of your local transit system bus, think of a mini van filled with seats. During our two rides into Hillsborough we have noticed a few interesting things. Formerly being part of the British Empire Carriacou drivers primarily drive right hand drive vehicles and therefore drive on the left side of the road. However, here on Carriacou there are no lines marking lanes on the roads and the roads are very narrow. They are just wide enough to tightly allow the passage of two vehicles. And it appears that this narrowness causes all drivers to drive down in the middle of the road only moving to the left when confronting another vehicle. With no lines to dictate the lanes on even the concrete roads there appears to be a very fluid interpretation of vehicle position by the drivers. This fluidity also appears to apply to the bus route to and from Hillsborough. The route seems to be determined by the locals on the bus. You see the drivers seem to know where everyone lives and/or works, so the bus driver alters his route to accommodate whichever local gets on the bus. Now we're not complaining here, quite the contrary, because of this phenomenon we have gotten to see a lot more of the island than we would have if the driver's had always taken the most direct route. For example we got to see part of the windward side of the island when the driver took two boys home from school. The boy's home was a bit off the beaten path as the road to their home was dirt and it appeared to be one way because there was no apparent provision for a vehicle coming the opposite direction and we were happy that we didn't have the opportunity to find out if it was truly one way. Another interesting thing happened last week on our way back from Hillsborough. The bus stopped to pick up an elderly lady who was standing at one of the bus stops. After stopping the bus the driver got out of the bus and came around to the loading door on the left side of the bus. He then leaned in thru the sliding side door and reached towards where we were sitting in the back row of seats. From under one of the seats he pulled what looked like a plastic five gallon bucket. We wondered, what the heck does he need a bucket for? Well our question was quickly answered when he took the lady's plastic bag of fish, blood dripping out the bottom, and put the bag in the bucket. We were very happy that this bus was well equipped with a fish bucket so we didn't have to risk stepping in fish blood when we got off the bus. And boy were we glad that she didn't stay on the bus very long - whew.
As with our first visit, back in 2001, we have found Grenada's people to be very friendly. Here in Tyrell Bay we have met David, the owner of a very nice home that just happened to be along the way of a hike that we took with some other cruisers a little over a week ago. We were following some very vague directions on how to get to the top of a mountain for a beautiful view of the harbor. Well, we got off track and ended up basically trespassing along David's fence. David was in his yard trimming his many fruit trees so we decided, since it didn't appear we were going in the right direction, to ask him for help. One of the cruisers started off the conversation by asking him if he was pruning his trees. He was and seemed to be very proud of them. Since our friend has done the same for his trees at home they established a common ground immediately. One thing lead to another and eventually David told us exactly how to get where we wanted to go. As we were leaving Pam told him that he had a very nice home. To which he replied, "would you all like to come in for a drink and see it?" We told him that he was too kind and thanked him for the offer, but that it would probably be best that we continued with our walk before it gets too hot. Later on, after completing our hike, we were walking along the main street in Tryrell Bay and David drove up to us in his car. He stopped and asked us if we managed to complete our hike to which we said "yes and it was only because of your great directions - thank you so much." We've also gotten to know Denise who sells fruits and vegetables from her stand along Main Street. She has been very helpful to us by describing the different fruits and vegetables to us and if necessary she has told Pam how to prepare them. This kindness has also been exhibited by the other ladies that sell the same produce at other times of the week. We have used the laundry here in Tyrell Bay once since we have been here. Since that time we have run into the lady that runs the laundry once while we were in the market looking for bread. She recognized us and came over and told us that we might not want to buy that bread that we were looking at because it was likely at least a couple days old. Then she proceeded to show us that the bread on the top shelf of the cabinet was the newest, what doesn't sell the first day gets moved down to the second shelf and so forth. We were going to take a loaf from the third shelf, so we were very happy that she came along. It's this unsolicited help that has made our stay in Carriacou so great. We have truly had a good time here and this is why we have contributed items to be auctioned at the end of this month. The proceeds from the auction go to the Carriacou Children's Fund, which gives money to the schools here on the island. In the next entry we should have a report on the auction and the regatta that takes place at the end of July - stay tuned.