Grenada lovely Grenada - Part 2 12:00.60N 61:40.70W

Pacific Bliss
Colin Price
Tue 1 Jun 2010 18:50
Grenada - Part 2
We met up once again with Zinnia's first cruising friend,  Charlotte, the little girl who taught Zinnia and Cosmo to dive, during our first few weeks in Jolly Harbour.  Z was very excited and I think, Judy,  Charlotte's mummy was relieved as at least two little people would be at the pending birthday party.   The event was to be held a Hogg island, Colin and my least favourite place in Grenada,  and the rest of the party would be relied upon to be a 'rent a crowd'.   I'm not painting a particularly lovely picture but that's how we felt.  The party however was a triumph,  a crowd of 4 local boys joined us aged between 9 and 16, to play pin the tail on the donkey, Bash a Pinyata, pass the parcel, musical statues and do a treasure hunt.  Unlike boys of this age in the UK, they were a joy, just happy to have fun regardlss if it was cool or not.  Great to see the world hasn't grown too cynical (just this blog).
Having had a rather challenging time over the past few weeks, and definitly hit the manditary boat fatigue at 6 months it's time for a few full days on the land.  Starting with a
Guilded Tour  -  very unlike what Colin and I would usually opt for especially as we had been strongly recommended to do it, but it was worth the money,  From our guide, an old chap called Cutty, we found out why the island is called the spice island, visited old Nutmeg processing plants, beautiful,  whilst the island's production will not return for another 15 years still after the effect of hurricane Ivan,  the processing is pretty much by hand and the factory's wooden interior is rich with oil that has been absorbed from the nut over the years.  It really looks like a film set.
Inside of a Cocoa Bean
We walked moments from the road side to discover amazing rich and diverse amount of forna and flora growing wild,  this particular stop our guild found for us:  Ulang ulang, Turmeric, Coconut of course, wild garlic tree, Lemon Grass,a tooth brush leaf, Cocoa,Cinnamon, Tamarined, the kids particularly liked the little green plants that closed up if you tickled them. Glue Berries, grenadain use these berries regularly to glue book and crafts together,  Cutty just glued his lips together!  We visited an old Rum Distillery, still producing the rum using a water wheel to crush the sugar cane, and then the sugar is heated in copper bowls over fire and then hand laddled down the evaporation chain  all very aesetic  but the rocket fuel it produced was not for the faint hearted.  We followed a tour of slipper clad British Saga holiday makers around the distillery, which made Colin and I feel very intrepid!, but is was enjoyable watching facial expressions after quoffing 84% alchol by volume rum! They make another variety which is only 79% by volume which you CAN take on planes.  Dispite it being the most expensive rum produced on the island,  there is none available for export. We learnt so much about the island and the islanders including the cockups the Americans made during the '83 invasion,  and other than bombing the long since decomisioned  18 century fort in error for the one in use next door, my favourites is they bought a spanish interprater with them thinking they had invaded Grenada Spain........................  Does make you wonder about other more recent invasions by the US. Bottom line seems to be that the main reason for the invasion was due to increasinly close ties with Cuba,  the Grenadian are very thankful but it was done under the different pretences.  All this aside when asking the kids what was the best bit of the tour, "MONKEYS  ON MY HEAD" was the answer.
 Nutmeg factory 
 Jumping into the falls.
Wild monkeys can be called by the car horn, or a gutterall throat 'honk', Brought bannanas with us to feed them.
Grande Etang -> Mt. Qua Qua -> Concord Falls
Our main Cruising friends to date have been Tim and Steph Dickinson,  Our Dentists from home, not that we had ever met them socially before bumping in to them in St Martin,  we now know Tim thought we (Colin) were weirdo's for persisting on making contact with them pre there departure. There goes Tim telling how it is again..........  Anyway we only seem to have made our social lives move by about 3 miles out of the Bosham bubble dispite being thousands of miles away.
It would not be an untruth to say Tim and Steph are a lot sportier than The Price Clan.  But this is no bad thing as it has stimulated us into doing more than we would usually attempt.  Pre leaving Grenada Tim suggested we try one of the many great walks to be had on Grenada.   One in particular, that he had seen written about in a yachty news paper earlier in the year, The Caribbean Compass.  The suggested time allowed for the walk was 4-6 hours,  we suspected this was conservative, as most cruisers seem to be in there 60's.  After abit of yes/maybe/it might be a bit muddy etc we egged each other into a plan of getting on with it.  So with a few mouldy old sandwiches in our back-pack, some ritz crackers and sweets we caught a bus up to where we had seen the monkeys the previous day.  The heavens opened the moment we stepped off the bus which in retrospect should have been a little auspicious.   We had hoped we would get a map from the national parks office, but sadly they told us that no maps had been printed since Ivan.  So now we were down to a cutting from a newspaper, a hand held gps and a machette.
The walk started in a very pedestrian way,  nice well defined paths, the only concerns were when we and the children had to pass over very fine pathways with dramatic shear drops either side.  Luckily for Steph and I at this point the mist was rolling in and the real degree of danger was shrouded.  Our first waypoint is near the top of Mount QuaQua, a volcano,  here we were told to hang a left and decend down a ravine.  By this time the path became much less well trodden and machette wheelding Tim was a necessity.  A bit of a wrong turn took us off piste for about 1/2 an hour but then once we came to a precipice we realised our mistake and doubled back to find the real ravine.  Given we had probably been walking for an hour or so at this stage  we felt in good form and ready to tackle our off piste route.  Cosmo and Finn were in there element attacking the steep bits abit like kids from THE INCREDIBLES.
When we got into our 3rd hour of relentless rain drenched arduous hike I developed a nervous laugh and the Sam and Zinnia were having a bit of a sese of humour failure and not wanting to continue.  It was all very off piste, we where all covered with razor grass cuts and mud  from having to decend steep places on our bottoms.  All  this seemed to increase Finn and Cosmo's enjoyment as it was an opportunity to mud slid,  they were still attacking the adventure at speed.  Zinnia refused to eat my humble excuse for a sandwich and ended up in a mire of low energy, but Ritz biscuits supplied by Steph saved our bacon.  The light, and mist you get in a rain forest is increadible and we passed by hundreds upon hundreds of wild heliconia, bamboo bushes, soaring trees, and plams.
Colin in a romatic moment decided to pick some of the fauna and flora.  Having decanted the revolting smelling liquid stored in the recesses of the flowers over his head we realised that giant sized flowers wasn't the great umbrella it was meant to be but actually made walking a little more tricky. 
Our trek now nearly 4 hours in and still no clear path the adult were becoming rather concerned, and vaguely considering retracking our GPS waypoints.  Luckily at that very moment Colin spotted some Orange ribbon tied on to an abandoned branch, which we decide to read as a message to follow.  We are now walking down a bolder strewn stream that appears to be getting faster flowing and given our destination is Concord falls we start to feel a little more confident. 5 hours in,we find ourselves at what appears to be at the top of a water fall, but the most dangerous decent left to stubble down.  After another 45 min we are all mud clad and sore,  and we make a dash for the waterfall removing clothes as quick as possible. Living next door to the naturiest Dickinsons and their stern-abluting tendencies leaves you decidedly relaxed about exposure.  After turning in to prunes, and knowing we still had another 45 mins still to go,  getting our filthy clobber back on was less than enjoyable, especially craming our  feet back into wet shoes and socks. 
The next leg of stream crossings and more visible paths were rather more comfortable trekking,  and we were now back into the fruit basket, with mango's, Nutmeg, sugar beat and veg patches aplenty,  so the kids had mango scrumping on there minds which caught there imaginations so much they each managed to fall fully clothed into the streams, which they all enjoyed with gusto.  Finally back to a road  Zin and Sam at the end of the end but we still have 1/2 hour to go down a man made road,  Cosmo and Finn finally stopped running due to being given the trusted job of machete carriers. 5 mins to go and Cosmo finally runs out of steam.  Nothing has ever tasted so good as the cold beers and Sprite we gluged once we reached the store by the bus stop. Looking up the road at Concord I saw an orange building that looked interesting something to do with fabric and printing but to do one step more was more than I could muster.
Zinnia who had walked the final part of the trip in pants has now opted for a black rain poncho which she has managed to fashion to look like a Prada halter neck and is ready for dinner at a smart restaurant. 
Moments later we're given permision to board our tired filthy bottoms onto a over crowded minibus. Seconds after that Sam has passed out and remains in this state for the entire night only waking for moments when being transfered to a new mode of transport, bench in a bar, or other flat surface.
The following day I found myself unable to move,  boat life requires very little physical activity,  but due to it being Colins Birthday I am up with the lark wrapping present with the kids,  Tomorrow is D-day and we are leaving with s/v Bonaire to go to Bonaire.
 Homemade Pizza, anytime.