29 March 2013 | Port Louis Marina, St. George, Grenada
After seventeen months outside of the United States, we flew into Miami on our way to Tampa for Mark's nephew's wedding. Upon arrival in Miami, we had to go through customs and immigration. On the form we needed to complete, it asked us to list the countries we had visited since we left the United States. The line was a bit small to list the seventeen countries we have visited since we left in October 2011. It was one of those moments when the enormity of what we have done began to overwhelm our thoughts.
Spending time with our families in Tampa was another overwhelming experience. It was incredible to see everyone. Allison and Travis's wedding was absolutely beautiful and a wonderful reason to return home early for a family reunion. Mark and I were again reminded how difficult it has been to be so far away for so long.
Once we returned to Grenada, we were happy to see the great job that was done on our teak while we were gone. A fine Grenadian named Thaddeus ended up sanding down much of the teak toe rail and filled many of the cracks. It was amazing to us how the heat of this trip had absolutely degraded the wood. We also got back our main sail which we sent in to have a rip repaired. We are coming to the conclusion that we are going to need to replace the main sail soon. It has really taken a beating on this trip. Unfortunately, this is a very expensive item to replace!
Our favorite taxi driver in Grenada, Mike, picked us up at the airport and greeted us with a warm welcome back to Grenada. We arranged to go on a tour with him before we left Grenada and we were very happy we did.
Our first visit was to the Clarke's Court Rum Factory. The factory opened in 1937 and made sugar and rum with the sugar cane grown on the island. Unfortunately in 1990, they stopped making sugar and in 2003 stopped using the sugar cane made on the island because sugar cane growth on the island had diminished significantly. Many of the sugar cane farmers ended up selling their land when the land on the island became so valuable that selling the land was much more lucrative than continuing to grow sugar cane. Now the distillery and several others on the island work together to get molasses from Trinidad imported for the production of their rum. We left the factory with a wonderful sipping rum called Old Grog which has been aged for five years and an award winning coconut rum.
Grenada (the Spice Island) is quite well known for its spice farms and we were able to visit one on our tour. Nutmeg was brought to Grenada in 1843 and much of the spice is produced on the island. Unfortunately in 2004 the category 4 hurricane Ivan destroyed approximately 70% of the nutmeg being grown on the island. The people of Grenada have been trying to rebuild the spice production on the island which was incredibly hurt by the hurricane. While at the spice farm we saw all sorts of plants, herbs and trees. Many of the herbs and plants could be used as medicine when brewed as a tea to cure everything from cancer to hot flashes. We even saw the plant used to produce the main healing ingredient in Vicks Vapor Rub. Very interesting!
Before leaving Grenada, we continued to take advantage of the fantastic and fast internet. Mark worked diligently on our taxes which you would think would be much easier since we didn't earn a dime through employment last year. Now that is a weird feeling. We also began to work on other realities of moving home like health insurance and car insurance. Again, it is odd to think about needing car insurance when you haven't driven a car in a year and a half. We joke about whether we will know which side of the car has the steering wheel or what side of the road to drive on. All of these things continually remind us about how different our lives have been and what it will be like to make the transition back home.
We have thoroughly enjoyed our time in Grenada. It is a beautiful island with very friendly people. The internet was incredibly good which was a real treat. The IGA grocery store couldn't have been more like shopping back home. Being able to plug into the dock with 110 electricity (which we haven't been able to do since we left the Caribbean) gave us endless air conditioning - a real treat. We wish we had more time here but we need to catch up to the fleet for a BBQ on the beach in Tobago Cays!