You know you’re in Grenada when nutmeg is added to literally everything- local chocolate, ice-cream, banana smoothies… Not complaining though. I adore nutmeg, so am in heaven over here.
We’re leaving Grenada tomorrow and are quite shocked to realise that we’ve been here a week! That’s forever in sailing-time! That said, we’ve been quite busy. In between the obligatory afternoon naps, lazy mornings drinking coffee and listening to the cruiser’s net, and yoga classes (yes, I finally found one that fit into my hectic schedule!), we had to make time for more serious pursuits. Namely, changing the boat batteries. Our first morning in Grenada we dinghied over to Budget Marine- the only reason we chose Prickly Bay anchorage. Nick scuttled off to enquire about the batteries and I hung around the book section. They had free magazines and leaflets and I picked some up for perusal at my leisure. Then I went to find Nick, who quietly slipped me some money and advised I head over to the bay-side bar. This was going to take a while.
After an hour, we were finally free. They had the batteries and would deliver them in two days. So we turned our attentions to securing a berth in Prickly Bay Marina, which were stern-to moorings with a lazy line. To make a long story short, Nick spent a long sweaty day changing the batteries over, and we spent two nights listening to the live music from the marina bar (like, we’re trying to watch Game of Thrones over here!), and then decided we’d had enough of marina life. We went back to the anchorage.
And Now For The Weather
We had all sorts of weather over the week. While we were in the marina, it was still and humid. There was almost no wind- quite unusual! It made sleeping at night quite difficult and we were grateful when the breeze picked up again a few days later. Then of course we had a different type of sleepless night- the one where we’re lying in bed listening to the shrill whine of the wind generator, feeling the boat swing back and forth and buck with the swell, knowing that it was gusting over 20 knots all night long and fretting that our anchor was going to drag. Just can’t win.
We also spent a day doing the grocery shopping. Okay, not particularly exciting, but it’s a curious fact of life these days that the simplest of chores can take up an entire day. Consider how long your last trip to the supermarket took you. An hour? Well, we first had to dinghy across to the dinghy docks, ask around for the location of the bus stop, walk to said bus stop, hail down a bus, make that first nervous bus journey where you know where you want to go in theory, but you have no idea how you’ll know when you’ve arrived. I didn’t even know how to stop the bus when we got there (turns out anything from yelling, “Here!” to knocking on the window to tapping the driver on the shoulder will work). In the end, we passed the supermarket, and, not wanting to cause a scene, simply got off when the next person- a little old lady- did. It just seemed easier.
Then we backtracked, found a little cafe for lunch, did the shopping (there’s always something oddly exciting about entering a supermarket in a new country for the first time) and, exhausted, got a cab home.
The following day, invigorated by our successful shopping trip, we caught the bus again into St George’s, the capital. The bus system here is quite fascinating. They’re actually a series of privately owned minivans. Some are old, hot and uncomfortable. Others are wonderful, with air-conditioning so powerful that you start to shiver. Without exception, they all play pop music at full volume. There is the driver, but there’s also an assistant who sits in the back and sticks his head out the window to call out to pedestrians, “Bus!? Bus?!” Some nod, and the bus swerves suddenly to the side of the road to pick them up.
The driver and assistant frequently call out familiar greetings to other drivers on the road, or people on footpaths. Even the passengers join in: we were parked to let someone off, and the elderly lady seated in front of me had a shouted but necessarily brief conversation with another woman waiting at the bus stop, before it was cut off mid-sentence as we sped away, door still open.
It was brilliant. Nick and I sat there grinning the entire journey. We’d been observing that we’ve been struggling to break away from the sailing communities on these islands, and find a more authentic cultural experience. Not to sound like a travel snob, but hanging out with a bunch of yachties is rather a pointless exercise- I could have done that by staying in Conyer. We’re here because we want to explore other cultures and see how the locals live.
St George’s was hilly and situated around a small harbour full of tourist boats and small wooden dinghies, but it was lively and colourful and, despite a slightly tacky air and the overwhelming presence of cruise ship passengers, we loved it. We wandered the streets and finished up at the market. Finally, we found the main bus station where we were crammed into another minivan. Nick was sitting next to a young girl attempting to juggle a baby, a bagful of recently purchased fruit, a handbag and a hold-all, along with her packed lunch in a plastic bag. Nick offered to hold her lunch while she fed the baby, and when it came to our stop the elderly man behind me, having heard my earlier conversation with Nick, cheerfully informed me that this was where we had to disembark. Nick knocked on the window like a pro. It was all very satisfying.
Tomorrow we head north again, as it’s already the second week of February and if we’re going to make it to the US for hurricane season, we need to get a wriggle on!