|s/y Nine of Cups
The Windward Islands - Grenada
|Carriacou is best known for its
shipbuilding and its Annual Regatta,
which is held on the 1st Monday of
August each year. We were too early
for the regatta, but did get over to the
town of Windward where all the
shipbuilding activities take place.
|Carriacou was named by the original Carib
inhabitants and means “land of reefs”. In the 17th
& 18th centuries, it was spelled “Kayryouacou”.
Area: 133 square miles
Capital: St. Georges
Language: English & French/African
Highest point: 2,756’, Mt. St. Catherine
Nickname: “Isle of Spice”
Major Industry: Tourism and agriculture
Major crops: bananas, cocoa, nutmeg
and mace (the spice)
Member of the Eastern Caribbean States
|The “Nation State” of Grenada is comprised of the inhabited
islands Grenada, Carriacou, Petit Martinique and Isle de
Rhonde and several other smaller islands.
|The 30 mile sail from Carriacou was a
delight. Calm seas and 15-20 knot
easterly winds provided ideal conditions
and we cruised through like a hot knife
Near “Kick eem Jenny”, a small island
on the way to Grenada, is an active
underwater volcano which erupted in
both 1988 and 1989. There are still
mariner’s warnings and wide berth is
given to the area when transiting.
There is a lagoon at St. George’s, but
we found it too crowded and calm…not
enough wind for the wind generators so
we opted to anchor outside in the bay.
|First sighted by Columbus in 1498,
Grenada changed hands between the
British and the French between 1609
and 1783 until the Treaty of Versailles
awarded the island back to Britain. The
French heritage is still evident, however
with many French-named places like
Lance aux Epines and the French-
African patois spoken by many of the
In 1979, a left wing coup resulted in
Maurice Bishop, an advocate of Castro,
assuming power. The USA and
neighboring Eastern Caribbean States
launched a “rescue mission” to restore
Grenada’s democracy which was
welcomed by a majority of Grenadian
Architecturally speaking, to preserve the
nature of the island, Grenadian law forbids
any hotel to be taller than a coconut palm!
According to Grenadians, there are more
spices in Grenada per square mile than any
other place on the planet. Grenada
produces 1/3 of the world’s nutmeg supply
and also produces cloves, mace, cinnamon,
cocoa, ginger and turmeric.
|Sheep with a "p".
|Hillsborough was the Customs/ Immigration
check-in port for Carriacou and Grenada. We
had to visit Customs first, then the fees collector,
then the harbor master then the police for
Immigration. The town is good-sized (by island
standards) with several stores, shops, restaurants
and even an internet café. There is a good “bus”
(read that van) transit system which services the
whole island. They also have a small museum
which we visited and a botanical garden…neither
would win any awards!
|Local knowledge really comes in handy
some times. Like here, it’s hard to tell
sheep and goats apart since the sheep
don’t have heavy wool fleeces like we’re
used to seeing. A local told us that the
sheep’s tails droop down like a “p” and
the goat tails stand up like a “t”. I’ve
been “chasing tail” all over the islands to
illustrate and finally found some!
|Goat with a "t".
Grenada is “technically” out of the
hurricane zone. The last hurricane to
hit was Hurricane Janet in 1955.
|En route to Grenada, we passed “The Two
Sisters”. Couldn’t figure out which was which,
but they looked like close family.
|Two days after we arrived, we heard sirens late one
evening and throughout the night. In the morning, we
saw the results of the night’s fire. This is part of the
Carenage waterfront pictured above. The charred,
gutted remains smoldered and smoked for days.
|The hills were ablaze with bright orange flamboyant trees in bloom. According to the locals, the blooms signal the beginning of hurricane season
and their passing means another hurricane season has ended. Above, This area of the waterfront is called the Carenage. Many of the old buildings
in this area are capped with “fish scale” red tiles, originally brought to the island as ballast in the old trading ships.
|St. George’s Methodist Church, built in
1820 and the oldest original church in St.
Georges is pictured above. It is also
seen in the picture to the left. This picture
was taken the day before the fire when
the sky was clear blue.
|The Grenada Yacht Club was friendly and
welcoming. They offered a secure dink dock,
a bar and restaurant, laundry facilities and an
awesome view of Blue Lagoon.
|We took an island tour one day to see the sights
Grenada had to offer. The interior of the island is a
lush, green rain forest which rises to about 2,000 feet
above sea level. The scenery is spectacular. The cool
change in temperature as we climbed was heaven.
Pictured above, Grand Etang (French for “big
pond”) is a crater lake and part of the National Park.
|The island has several waterfalls.
Pictured above, Lower Concord Falls.
|Spice trees abound here…growing wild throughout the
island. We saw nutmeg trees (left), cinnamon, clove, and
bay. We would stop along the side of the road and our
driver would grab a leaf or a fruit or piece of bark for us
to sniff and examine. Above, ripe nutmeg. The red is the
"mace" which surrounds the nut.
The best part of the tour, in fact, was the stop at the
Dougalston Spice Estate. Established in ~1700, this
1000 acre estate grew nutmeg, cocoa, cinnamon, bay,
clove as well as banana and sugarcane. We got a tour
of the facility and a short educational lecture on the many
spices grown in Grenada and their processing.
|Nutmegs on the tree look like apricots.
When ripe, they crack open as shown.
The outer “shell” of the nutmeg is boiled
and used to make jellies and syrup. The
red outer lacy part is mace which is dried
and sold as a separate spice. Another
inner shell holds a nut inside and this is
the nutmeg which is dried then grated
and used in cooking as we know it.
|Miss Delta offers a spicy education.
|The spice shack…drying nutmegs in large bins which
roll out on rails from under the shack.
|Happy Birthday, David! The day began with a
trumpet-playing friend serenading us in the
anchorage at 0730 with the Happy Birthday
song and ended with a super dinner at Patrick's
|As you can see, the place is not large, but the
food, all local dishes (26 different ones), was
outstanding. Dishes included lambi (conch), flying
fish, blue marlin, gingered pork, rabbit, curried
lamb, a variety of salads and veggies and for
dessert, nutmeg ice cream with a slice of rich, dark
chocolate cake made from scratch using local
cocoa. The place was packed during the evening,
but we took our time and were the last to leave.
|Patrick (yup, that’s Patrick) is the
extremely flamboyant owner, host,
waiter and chef at the restaurant.
|Throughout the Caribbean, we’ve had access
to a free yachtie’s newspaper called
Caribbean Compass. It not only provides
info on what’s happening, but also discusses
security problems, common boating problems
and things to look out for in certain areas.