Is that Spice Island I can smell?

Well there's a surprise. it doesn't smell at all in fact you have to get pretty close to the spices to smell them but Grenada is full of them.   We took a tour around the island with Justin, a very well informed taxi driver, who showed us how all the different spices grow  including the Cocoa beans, and told us what they do with them.  Quite a lot of their nutmeg trees were destroyed by hurricane Ivan 5 years ago which is the one that happened just before we arrived to pick up our bareboat charter. We must have been mad coming at that time of year and it isn't really surprising we had the whole place to ourselves.  We met up with Brigante again and it was lovely to see them but a pity we just missed saying goodbye to Gaetano who flew back to Rome the morning we arrived.  Their boat was robbed, at the anchorage, while they were ashore one night.  one of the hatches had been left unlocked and they returned to find their beloved boat in a total mess as the thief had rummaged through everything trying to disconnect anything electrical of value without success and finally leaving with some lipstick, make-up and David's mobile phone.  The thief then went to an American yacht close by and broke into it, in the process of stealing a video camera he dropped David's phone on the other yacht and made off. On realising he'd lost his phone David used his wife's mobile to ring his own number. After several calls that went unanswered a voice said in English "Hello who is this"   David replied,thinking he was talking to the thief,  "I am the owner of the phone"    "Where is my camera" came the reply from the American who thought he too was talking to the thief.  "I don't have your camera why you have my phone "  The  dialogue continued along the lines of an Italian comedy until they realised what had happened.  The thief was caught by the police launch who spotted him swimming away from the scene, they fired at him and also injured him by running their propeller across his leg while trying to detain him so he went to jail via the Hospital. This incident did put a bit of a dampened on St Georges and we heard lots of stories of pirate attacks on boats South of Grenada, a place we're not intending going to.  One of the problems is that the authorities tend not to report these incidents as they are desperate to keep the foreigners coming and almost every day sees huge cruise ships arriving.  Quite amazingly most of the passengers stay in the very American style shopping mall they are disgorged into until it's time to get back on the ship. 
Gaynor and I had been told of a fish fry at Guave, about 13 miles north of St. Georges, that takes place on Friday night's and decided to get a local bus there.  We arrived at the very busy bus terminal about 1800 and were directed to a Toyota minibus with four rows of seats behind the driver, we got in and were at the back.   It was very warm, the windows were tinted black, very little air was circulating and they  kept putting people in. The rows are for 4 but they squeezed 5 onto each and for someone who gets a little claustrophobic it was becoming a tiny bit uncomfortable. Finally with 23 souls on board we set off over the first speed bump and once on the other side of it a flat out sprint to the next one ensued,  the driver then slams on the brakes to go over the bump, usually by veering diagonally across the road and then drives pedal to the metal till he arrives at the  next one.  It took an hour and fifteen minutes to go the distance and there were lots and lots of sleeping policemen.  The fish fry was very good and the taste of all that beautifully cooked food was only tainted by the knowledge that we had the return journey to look forward to.   It didn't disappoint and in fact I'm sure they got a couple more people in on the way back. 
We also met up again with Paul and Lyn and had a very pleasant evening with them at the Jazz club, the company was wonderful but sadly the music wasn't.   Lyn flew back for her Father's funeral before we too left Paul to his own devices.  Departing from Grenada on Sunday morning we headed back into Cariacou, Tyrell bay and established my temporary office at the Pizza Hut on the beach.  Sorry that's probably a bit misleading it's nothing like a Pizza Hut it's just a hut on the beach where they sell Pizzas but they have good wifi, cold beer and spectacular views.  We have been getting information and quotes for shipping LadyC back home at the end of May and have decided to go with a UK company who will pick her up in St Thomas in the American Virgin Islands sometime between the 10th and 20th of May and ship her home as deck cargo.   We are pleased with this as it means we will be able to continue cruising around here until she goes.  Gaynor and I will fly home to meet her on her arrival in Southampton.  As we're going to be here for longer, Zara and Simon are coming out to spend a week with us around Antigua at the end of April, it will be lovely to have some company onboard and to see them.
 
Friday 12th March 2010
 
We spent one night in Union after clearing in and then came over to Tobago Cays yesterday. More of the same I'm afraid, but this is Paradise so what do you expect? I know you'd be disappointed if it was cold and wet, wouldn't you?  This morning we tiptoed through the reef in the dingy, to the outside and snorkeled, Gaynor took around 300 photos with her camera in the underwater case we bought in Grenada.  It turned out to be rubbish and the pictures aren't any good at all, such a pity, I guess the only picture of all that stunning marine activity will be in our heads.  After lunch onboard we went to one of the islands where they have encouraged the growth of the underwater grass that turtles eat.  They have put a buoyed rope cordon around it to stop boats going in and created a safe haven for them.  These magnificent creatures come in some number and snorkeling around here is like being in their world.  They come very close and surface to breathe right beside you, I  was around one for a long time and he was very big, about 5 feet from tip to toe, and very graceful and really didn't seem worried by my presence at all, I felt very privileged to be allowed to observe him and occasionally one of his friends who came over to be with him. I couldn't resist placing my hand lightly on his back as he surfaced underneath me although I don't think you're meant to touch them. I was shocked to see boat boys unloading a very large dead turtle, that they had killed, from their small power boat onto a rickety floating jetty in quite a big swell in Tyrell Bay the other day, I thought they were protected but apparently there is a season for hunting them.  It seems such a shame as judging from my experience today they are very friendly and trusting. 
We have decided to stay here for "Just one more day" and do it all over again tomorrow before we head off on Sunday.   We will be visiting a couple of places on our way back up North to rendezvous with  Brigante,whose company we will enjoy tremendously for the cruise up as far as Dominica and possibly to Antigua.  One of the stops will be at Wallilabou bay, partly because I just think it sounds great but also because  it is where they have done a lot of filming for "Pirates of the Caribbean" There is also a beautiful waterfall and a volcano fairly close to the anchorage that we  hope to visit. 
 
Lady C and her underwater crew.