La Aventura with Patti & James

06 July 2018 | Faial Island –Atlantic Portugal
24 June 2018 | National Holiday day in Faial
22 June 2018 | afternoon whale watching boat trip
20 June 2018 | an enjoyable day trip to another island.
19 June 2018 | Fabulous Faial. – Azorean Island
18 June 2018 | Faial Island – Horta Harbour - Mid Atlantic
29 May 2018 | Mid Atlantic - in the middle of nowhere
26 May 2018 | the cruising yachtsman’s haven
25 May 2018 | party day in Hamilton
10 May 2018 | Vero Beach/Ft Pierce –road trip to Jacksonville.
12 April 2018 | Vibeke onboard
17 March 2018 | lovely to return to Belize and Mexico and meet up with sailing friends along the way
24 January 2018 | I have become so interested in Guatemala textiles
17 January 2018 | So great to catchup with so many friends and our families
01 November 2017 | what a wonderful Guatemalan fiesta to experience
29 October 2017 | Volcanic crater
28 October 2017 | Antiqua - Guatemala



With the Olympics and Annual SpiceMas Carnival coming up on the calendar we moved back around to anchor off St Georges on Thursday 26th to have good and easy access to all the action. From the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, right through to the final day we ‘attended’ every day via the excellent Caribbean TV coverage in our front row seats at the Grenada Yacht Club. We watched most days in the company of US Jim from S/Y Quickset and Ellen & Harry a Dutch couple from S/Y Zwerver. Along with many of the locals we cheered when the Grenadian local lad from Gouyve - Kiriani James won Grenada first every medal – and a gold!! All the large vessels in and around the harbour sounded their horns in recognisition. The locals packed the Yacht Club Bar the following day (thanks for a half-day holiday issued by the government) for his medal ceremony and we all stood as the national anthem was sung and the flag raised – they were all just SO PROUD. We experienced a genuine friendliness and warmth from the Grenadians we met and interacted with.
31ST JULY – STORM APPROACHING. Thankfully we have had a good daily WiFi signal from the Yacht Club, and now that we are officially in Hurricane Season we look at the excellent National Hurricane Centre website every morning to check on any developing tropical depressions. Also the daily VHF cruiser net at 7.30am announces a weather bullitan, and we now have ‘something’ heading our way.

We ‘batterned down the hatches’, put out a second anchor, stowed everything below deck and prepared to stay on-board with a few extra food supplies. We did contact a few family members and close friends – just in case – so sorry for the alarm, but we did feel it was necessary on this occasion. Thankfully this storm passed north of Grenada, but it did look early on that we could have been in for some high winds and big seas. This Tropical Storm did eventually develop into a hurricane and travel across the Caribbean Sea and up into Mexico. As it happens the main effect for us was a very large swell much made it very difficult and at times dangerous to get off the boat and into the dingy. Oh – the joys of the Caribbean in hurricane saeason. During this time we explored various parts of the island, mainly as half-day trips so we could also watch the daily Olympic events. Our northern trip was along the west coast up to in the Dougaldston Spice Estate and the village town of Gouyave. Dougaldston is a historical family estate where most of the spices are grown and receive primary processing. The very basic processing hall and drying sheds looked well past their prime and are now no more than rusting corrugated iron roofed stone buildings. The local lady was glad to show us and explain the various spices grown on the estate and explain the various processing activities for each different spice. Gouyave is THE local fishing village on the west coast, and now famously home to Grenada’s 1st and only Olympic gold medal athletic Kirani James. We took an interesting and informative tour of the large Nutmeg Processing Station located here. Due to the lack of nutmeg trees since Hurricane Ivan, this processing station has a ghost like empty and abandoned feeling, with the only staff present being a few local ladies hand polishing nutmeg nuts mainly for worldwide export. The narrivate and poster exhibition displayed a once thriving cottage industry working environment.
A few days later we enjoyed a trip to the Grand Etang National Park – a nature park which encompasses the Grand Etang extinct volcano crater lake, covering 30 acres. The lake is approx 1,740 ft above sea level and is situated in the rainforest. We caught a local van out from St George’s town and enjoyed the views as the van wound its way along the twisting narrow roads – and at times we climbed high enough to be surrounded in the misty clouds, feeling the rainforest world envelope us. We enjoyed walking through this beautiful area and our picnic lunch was very enjoyable in less humid climate and away from the seaside heat. The Grand Etang area is home to the Mona monkeys, who were introduced from Africa – they are very cheeky and become very photogenic for the tourists whenever a banana is offered – otherwise they live high up and well comflaged up in the trees.
To expand our experience and knowledge of the spices, we visited the Herb and Spice Gardens (Minor Spices Company) where they are cultivating samples of herbs and spices for medicinal and culinary uses. We had a good personal guide with thorough explanations, and it was all very interesting and enjoyable getting to know this ‘Isle of Spice’ being high up in the hills – again less humidity and heat, was a real delight.
Of course we toured the Clarks Court Rum Distillery – still family owned, was originally production was steam powered, from English and Scottish steam engines. Now making products from brought in molasses and using modern technology and equipment. They have a variety of rum based products. We enjoyed an interesting and knowledgeable personal tour and stocked up our drinks locker
On a day trip to the east coast we visited the lively, bustling little town of Grenville – the 2nd main town on the island. Grenville is the agricultural hub of the East Coast and also a major seaside community. The locals were very helpful and friendly with info and directions. Whilst on the east coast we visited the historical River Antonie Rum Distillery. A privately owned distillery, whose process and equipment has changed little since the 1800s. It is the oldest and now only functioning water-propelled distillery in the Caribbean. Producing high alcohol % white rum from locally grown sugarcane. We enjoyed a very interesting tour explaining the production and distilling process and watching the water-mill actually turning and crushing the raw sugarcane.
As the Olympics were ending, the annual Carnival in Grenada was starting. The carnival here is named SPICEMAS – and is the final island carnival of the summer, being preceded by St Lucia and St Vincent. Carnival is BIG here – soaked in tradition and history – and we just had to see and experience as much of it all as possible – and the whole 5 days of events were a riot of colour, music and locals of all ages out having just so much fun as possible. The masquerade costumes were all individually hand-made in intricate and lavish designs, and wonderful to see. On Saturday 11th August we attended our first SpiceMas Carnival evening event – Panorama at the National Stadium with Ellen and Harry. Prior to this finale event there had been regional finals held throughout the island. At ‘Pan’orama several steel bands performed to show off their skills (they all sounded the same to me) to be judged ‘best Pan’ – New Dimensions band from St Georges won. On Dimanche (Sunday) Gras evening at the National Stadium, we all again attended to get the first public viewing and judging of the Queen and King of the Troupes. 4 queens and kings paraded, danced and cavorted to the live music played by the Royal Grenadian Police Band. The costumes were amazing, and all different in theme, style and colour. During the evening several Calypso artists renditions were also judged. We all found to be very political and locally topical – so hard for us to understand. Monday 13th – the early morning event is called J’Ouvert starting around 4am. Revellers of all ages pile into the streets and lather themselves and others in mud, paint, and glitter. A specific group called Jab Jab wear a horned helmet are covered head to toe with black used grease and oil and have a vivid red tongue. All basically go mad while following trucks blasting soca music and the drinks are flowing. The afternoon event was called Pageant Mas. This is the parade that the entire country has prepared for and participates in. This was a big parade of various groups lead through the streets by Queens and Kings of the various troups, all in brightly coloured costumes, accompanied by LOUD soca trucks with DJs and steel bands. Monday night mas-was for corporate groups i.e. Digicell, Lime, Carib with several 100’s of members behind the VERY LOUD music trucks with illuminated horned hats, banners, necklaces and headdress. Tuesday 14th as a hot and humid day, and thankfully we found a good viewing spot with some shade to watch the finale - Parade of the Bands. This was the winner’s parade – i.e. the best steel band, the best Queen, Best King, best pageant Mas Troupe. These were some visiting groups also from the neighbouring islands of Trinidad and St Vincent – so everyone could join in the party. The parade route was for several miles right around the harbour, Carenage and through the streets of the old town. This parade therefore lasted for hours – well into the night, with an after-mas party showcasing the best voted SOCA artist (called Lavaman) and the best Calypso band and artist. As carnival is traditional associated with Lent, we were really please that the tourist event calendar here in the Caribbean has the massive events spread throughout the year so that all the islands can make the most of the tourist $$ that events like these bring in. It was all so wonderful to see, hear and experience. On Wednesday 15th with no Carnival or Olympics we did a few odd jobs around town, said goodbye to QuickStep and Zwerver then motored 2 miles north from St Georges to Moliniere Bay to snorkel at the Underwater Sculpture Park This is an art gallery on the seabed. In shallow, but not very clear water we could see a ‘family’ of 30 life-size human adult sculptures all standing upright on the seabed holding hands in a circle looking out beyond their boundaries. Sadly a few had fallen over, and the faces would have been clearer if we could get closer by diving. There is also a man sitting at a desk and a solitary mountain biker. The whole exhibition was full of colourful reef fish. – all in all a very worthwhile final tourist thing to enjoy – but maybe it would have been better if we had prepared our drive gear and got a better and closer view.
As were are off to Trinidad after the weekend – it was now time to head back to Prickly Bay and do some final clothes washing, clear the bottom of the hull and prepare for our 90 mile sail further south.
We have really enjoyed our stay here in Grenada. There are approx 200 other yachts here –about 500 other sailors just like us – hanging out here below 12degrees north out of the hurricane belt for the season. There are many activities – some call it Adult Day Care – but mostly everyone it into a similar routine as start day - 7am (noon UK time) checking emails; listed to 7.30am VHF channel 68/66 cruisers net; breakfast approx 8-8.30am ; then the day flows!! 6pm listen to BBC news on SSB radio; Swim and shower in cool after the sun has set approx 6.30pm; sundowners in the cockpit; dinner; watch a movie or a few TV programmes as evening entertainment; bed by approx 10.30;
Vessel Name: La Aventura
Crew: James & Patti

Who: James & Patti