Prickly Bay, Grenada.
We leave the Caribbean in 9 days time to resume life back in Dorset, hope
they’ll have us! Life here is a long list of jobs to get Halsway Grace ready for
lift out and leaving for 8 months until we see her again next year. Robin has
his head in the engine room doing an oil change and we have just polished all
the fibreglass vainly trying to protect it from sun damage.
Last week was a busy time with Florence and Phillipa staying and keeping us
on our toes. It was nice to have some young company and fresh conversation and
although the weather wasn’t brilliant (we were rained on while sailing one day)
we managed to pack a lot in around the sunbathing.
One of the highlights was a day tour of some of the island, in particular
visiting the River Antoine Rum Distillery which only produces rum for the home
market but does make one of it’s two brands only 69% proof so that it can
legally be carried on aircraft! The other was 75-80% depending on the brew on
the day! This factory employs over 90 local people producing rum with the
machinery that was made in Derby in 19th century. The sugar cane is grown on
their own plantation along with some other crops which they sell (bananas,
nutmeg, mangoes etc). Every part of the process is produced naturally, they were
environmentally friendly before the term was introduced. The giant waterwheel
fed by the River Antoine produces the power to crush the sugar cane via
machinery with well worn cogs. The extracted juice is fed by gravity into vats
which boil them to evaporate water, fed by fires fuelled by some of the used
cane waste (the rest is dried and turned into a mulch for the plantation). After
this the liquid went to fermentation and sedimentation tanks for 8 days before
being pumped (the electric pumps are the only non renewable energy used) to
‘retort’ stills where the alcohol containing steam is condensed in coils to make
the final product, again the stills are heated from cane waste and trees cut
down in the plantation. About 10 gallons of cane juice produce 1 gallon of rum
(I may be slightly out on that figure!). Elfin Safety did not feature highly and
we were able to wander freely amongst the workers who seemed very jolly!! Trying
the finished product, drunk in the local way as a shot, left us with
streaming eyes and throats begging for a glass of water to quench the
After this we cooled off at the Concorde Waterfall where Florence, Robin
and I had visited many years ago while staying with Niki and Simon after their
ARC adventure. There were only 2 others there so we enjoyed jumping, diving and
swimming in the bracing water.
Gradually all the friends we have made over here are moving on, some
heading north to escape the hurricane belt and to explore the east coast of the
US, some returning to Europe, some travelling towards the Panama canal to
venture into the Pacific and some finding places to leave their boats like us
and return next year to explore more of these beautiful islands.
Our two final photos show part of the rum process and Flo jumping into the
We are looking forward to meeting up with all our families and friends who
we have missed such a lot.
Until next year from HG blog, au revoir.
Sue and Robin