15 January 2015 | Prickly Bay, Grenada
We anchored in Prickly Bay and stayed there for nine days. Our friends Stewart and Dan had rented a cottage in the beach at the head of the bay. Every morning we dinghied ashore and met with them in their idyllic cottage complex which sported a beautiful beach and an air-conditioned meeting building with pool and ping-pong tables and a big TV with cable (necessary as the Super Bowl playoffs were on!).
Grenada is a beautiful island with lush green mountains, worth a visit of the interior and not just the coast. We wanted to explore everything, so we did a diving (Mark and Roan) and snorkeling (Alec, Stewart, Dan and Marta) trip to the spectacular reef in Flamingo Bay and the Sculpture Garden. In the latter one, a sculptor, Jason Decayers Taylor, had placed several stone sculptures underwater which are slowly becoming a reef on their own - quite different but not as spectacular as the explosion of yellow and orange and red coral and even more colorful fishes of Flamingo Bay.
The six of us did an organized one-day tour of the island. We did a mini hike to one of Grenada’s wonderful waterfalls. We also visited the Nutmeg Processing Factory, The Grenada Chocolate Company at Belmont State and the River Antoine Rum Factory. Each one was an experience on itself. Grenada is the second largest exporter of nutmeg in the world (after some Asian country/island which I do not quite recall). Hence its other name is “The Spice Island”. The whole process is still heavily manual and mostly done by women. At the factory shop, Alec got some nutmeg syrup, nutmeg jam and nutmeg jelly and has been nursing them and carefully allocating portions as to not run out too quickly. We had a buffet lunch at the Belmont State, home of the Grenada Chocolate Factory. We toured the areas of cocoa collection, fermentation and air-drying, but the chocolate processing areas were off-limits. After getting some samples from the factory shop, we drove to the Rum Factory. We had been in a Rum Factory in Martinique, and we were expecting something similar with oak barrels and shiny equipment. We were in for a big surprise: sugar cane was dragged up a conveyor belt and chomped by a grinder propelled by a water wheel. A man was precariously perched at the top of the conveyor belt to make sure that the cane would enter the right way through the chopper section. We were all anticipating an awful accident, Indiana Jones in the Temple of Doom style, but the man seemed unconcerned. The turbid whitish liquid coming out of the chopper section travelled by a half broken PVC tube to some concentration and fermentation cement vats before being distilled as many times as necessary until the appropriate strength was achieved. The final product was mixed in plastic barrels with distilled water before being stored under heavy locks in a floor cement vat. Only Stewart and Mark dared to try the final 150 proof alcoholic product. I got half drunk just by smelling the fumes coming from the little plastic thimble. Needless to say, we did not purchase at this factory shop.
After Stew and Dan left for Australia, we left for Chaguaramas in Trinidad. Por Dos was in for a full cosmetic re-fit. The poor old girl had been looking increasingly tired and she was closely approaching the derelict boat hue.