September 2015 ~ Grenada
Day 1841 ~ Water ParkSeptember 30th, 2015
School starts for a few of the cruiser kids whose parents work full-time, year-round, on the island. For the last bash of summer vacation, Zoe's Dad offered to take a few cruiser kids to the water park before it closed. Several went and had the place all to themselves for a couple hours. Fun!
Day 1840 ~ Dog PalsSeptember 29th, 2015
Pippin's and my evening ritual is to head to shore, walk up the lane and go see if Abbie is home. Abbie is the pet of a med student and his wife who live in one of the cottages; she's also the only dog that actually likes Pippin. They get along famously, wrestling around, slobbering on and chasing each other and expending more energy than we could ever do walking him.
Today, she was swimming off the dock below the cottages. Of course, Pippin, who hates the water, would just run back and forth following her.
Day 1839 ~ Artists Among UsSeptember 28th, 2015
The more creative among the cruisers organized an art forum where artistic cruisers could gather, display their art and find other like-minded souls. There is quite a bit of talent in these bays.
Day 1838 ~ Blood MoonSeptember 27th, 2015
Finally an astronomological event that is early enough to view before falling asleep (well, maybe not the youngest ones) and viewable from our location. The Traveller and Neptune II kids came over and we all laid out on the trampoline. Beginning about 9pm, it made it to its full red color just after 10:30p. A very cool event and, no, the world did not end.
For more on this rare event, click here.
Day 1836 ~ Shopping BusOctober 25th, 2015
A couple years ago, when in Grenada, Nina proposed doing our shopping for us in exchange for a smoothie when she gets done. We agreed. The 'shopping bus' was set up by cruisers, for cruisers. It works great for us because, in order to just go to the grocery store, we'd have to take two busses and then buy only what will fit on our laps. With the organized trip, the driver sits and waits for everyone to finish and we can buy as much as we need. Stops include the bank, hardware store, boat chandlery, grocery store, produce market and a wholesale grocery stop. The cost of one shopping bus or four regular busses (round trip) is the same - $3.72. The cost of sending Nina with our weekly list is a $3.72 local fruit smoothie; the gain is four hours we can now fill any way we wish.
At the time, there was only one other boy close to her age and, eventually, his Mom let him go with Nina. Last year, there were a handful of teenagers, most of whom ended up going most weeks for their own families. This year, we had a teen explosion and, toward the end of the summer, we just arranged a dedicated kid shopping bus. This also served to reduce the grumbles from some uptight cruisers who don't see these 14 kids as replacements for a families' adult shoppers, but just punk kids taking over 'their' spots in the van. Whatever.
Let them grumble because, for us parents, it's a great way for kids to stretch their wings in a safe environment and have fun with their friends to boot. Go teen team.
Day 1833 ~ Dead Air SpaceSeptember 22nd, 2015
As Tropical Storm Ida rolls along above us, she also pulls the wind away and creates dead air space in Grenada. The hot summer just gets hotter when there's no breeze. To see the winds of Earth, go to this cool site.
Day 1832 ~ Tea and MolassesSeptember 21st, 2015
Nika has discovered a new love for tea. She also has her own set of friends this year. What better way to combine the two but to host a tea party for her friends?! Kaci, Hayden and Marina came over and brought their own goodies to add to the mix.
Later in the afternoon, Nana, Cora and Nicole decided to pull taffy as part of Nana's history lessons. It's always nice when you can eat your own homework.
Day 1830 ~ Volleyball NegotiationsSeptember 19th, 2015
Yesterday, while watching a soccer match on the tele, a small group of adults had had enough of the little kids spoiling the competition. Rather than going to the parents and discussing like responsible adults, they formulated a new schedule that didn't allow kids under 18 to play on the open days. They then asked one of the parents who was also one of the better, and more competitive, players to break the news to the kids and kick them off the court. Of course, none of them were around when the kids, better playing teens included, were asked to leave. Chickens.
At any rate, a few other parents got wind of the new 'decree by the invisible five' and were outraged. Our main point was that our kids are competent and responsible and should have at least had a voice in the decision-making process. Because the five were not around, we had a long discussion with the teens and told them that they need to band together and form a plan to present to the group. This morning, they were up and going at 9am to work out a schedule that would accommodate families, not very good players, competitive adults and teens who can play just as well as many of the adults. Two representatives, Michael and Nina, were chosen to present the plan in a cohesive manner.
At 10am, adults, teens (four of the five detractors didn't bother to show) and other interested parties came together and hashed out concerns and came up with a plan that they thought could work together. They essentially doubled the current 3-day schedul and left the family open days, but added a competitive day (to practice for the upcoming tourney) and two adult-only days to the mix.
All in all, it was a great learning experience for the teens (we can only hope that the exclusive adults learned a few things too). They were presented a problem, had to organize to work on a solution and then present it to the group for consideration. What better way to learn about life but to practice life tools when all that is at stake is a few beach volleyball games. Go team!
Day 1826 ~ Tramp RepairSeptember 15th, 2015
Michael replaced the grommets on our trampolines some time ago now. With the days being so hot, that's not an option. Nights are busy with dinner and bedtime rituals. However, Cora was over and the girls were all home so Peter put them each on a corner and put our boat back together. Many hands make light work. Go team.
Day 1823 ~ Bernadette's BurgersSeptember 12th, 2015
Today we dinghied over to Bernadette's over in Woburn to sample her famous burgers. We were going to hike over until Bill measured and found it to be a three-mile walk, a little more than we wanted to tackle on an empty stomach. Bernadette, who must be well into her 70s, was working and we were the only patrons. She did let us know her help was gone for the day so it might be a bit of a wait. We found enough chairs and settled in to some conversation.
An hour later, as she was washing up some dishes, she told us that it would be a bit more time. We weren't in a rush and neither was she. Perhaps another half hour passed and she came out with the plates. As she set one down, it bumped something and overturned onto the floor. We felt so bad for her. All that work and time for it just to go to the dogs...literally. The two local strays came over to 'sweep up', but not before I snatched the meat patty for Pippin.
Back she went to start again and came out with another fresh plate about 20 minutes later. Once we were fed, she stopped to chat. Such a nice lady with an infectious smile. So it took a couple hours to get our food. We're cruisers. We're flexible. It's de islands, Mon.
Day 1822 ~ Busy DaySeptember 11th, 2015
After getting Nina off to her shopping bus, Nika and I walked over the hill again to the orthodontist where she put braces on the top teeth. The bottom teeth will be done next Tuesday.
Later that evening, friends invited us to go to dinner with them at La Sagesse, our home when we first took possession of our boat five years ago. It was a fun night catching up with them and meeting two other cruising couples.
Day 1821 ~ Beer VolleyballSeptember 10th, 2015
In the afternoon, the Secret Harbor Marina staff challenged the cruisers to a three-game match. Winner gets a case of beer. They all played well, but the cruisers have also been playing together for two months now so in the end won all three. Drink up, boys.
Day 1820 ~ Like Pulling TeethSeptember 9th, 2015
Today we went to the orthodontist to get Nika's tooth pulled. Fridayshe gets braces. The office is a 15 minute walk from the marina which makes it handy. The tooth came out rather quickly and the length even surprised the doctor. We walked slowly back up the hill because she wasn't supposed to exert much energy and then a cruiser picked us up to take us the rest of the way. Nice.
Doctor's orders were to lie low and stay quiet, so I picked up a few of her friends so they could watch a movie back at the boat. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon.
Day 1819 ~ Cruiser KidsSeptember 8th, 2015
Many islands where cruisers congregate for any length of time have an interactive 'radio show', for lack of a better term. We call it the Cruisers' Net and a volunteer boater moderates it once a week so that no one steps on anyone else while transmitting his or her information. Following a general outline, these 'hosts' introduce sections like the weather, security, social activities, general cruiser questions, buy-sell-swap items and advertising from local businesses. The contents are provided by cruisers themselves. The moderator asks, "Are there any cruisers needing help with boat projects?" and each responder replies with a boat name and waits to be recognized before asking his question.
Grenada's starts at 0730 each morning except Sunday. Nina volunteered a day during the previous two summers and enjoyed it so, this year, I had the idea of creating a Kids Week to give others the same opportunity. We'd have different children and teens moderate and bring some fresh voices to the airwaves. Once I found six willing kids, aged 8-16, I approached one of the regular Net controllers and she got permission from the group in charge. Instead of one full week, they gave us every Tuesday since that day's volunteer was stepping down anyway.
Kate was already visiting from St. Martin so she was first. Another started school on land today so took last week. Nina went today. So far, so good!
Day 1817 ~ Bat House HangoutSeptember 6th, 2015
The old restaurant up on the hill overlooking the bay was damaged in the 2004 Hurricane Ivan storm. The kids have dubbed it the Bat House due to all the bats that live inside. It's a great place to hang out because it's breezy, they can make noise without disturbing anyone, it's echoey when they sing, it's safe being within the confines of the marina property and it's got a nice flat grassy area for running and dancing about. What more could kids ask for?
Day 1815 ~ Gouyave's Fish FridaySeptember 4th, 2015
Peter wanted to try something new and local. Gouyave (pronounced 'guave') is a town on the west side and a fair distance north of Grenada as well as the standard tourist route. Gouyave is very 'local'. Every Friday, local vendors set up tents and offer a wide selection of fish recipes. Fish cakes, fish kabobs, fried fish, boiled fish, fish fritters; you name it, they've probably got it. We called one of the bus drivers; we were the first to book, but he needed six minimum in order to make the trip. This is where the radio comes in handy. Rather than telephones, we use the VHF to hail other boats. In less than an hour we had eight seats filled and, by the time we left, we were ten.
Due to a cricket match in town, the bus was late in arriving at the marina, then we had to go back through the match traffic in St Georges in order to get to Gouyave. I think it took about an hour. Several of our friends opted to take their seven boats and anchor off town; it may have taken them about as long to sail around the point and up! By the time we all met up, we probably made up over half the patrons. We all expected large bustling crowds and ear-busting music, but the streets were so quiet. For a minute, we thought that perhaps we, and our bus driver, got the day wrong. However, turning the corner, we were met with good smells that told us otherwise.
The offerings were tasty, though a bit expensive: $8 for one skewer of conch and fish, $4 for other items. Sides were around $2-3 each. Feeding two was a splurge, feeding all our kids on top of it would blow the budget. With so many choices, we had to try as many as we could manage, often splitting each to double our options.
An hour later, a busload of University students arrived, but still not many locals. It wasn't until the steel pan band set up and starte their repertoire around 8:30p that we realized locals begin 'liming' around 9pm and go 'til the wee hours of the morning. By the time we left at 9pm, things were just ramping up.
With the drive time ending up about equal to the social time in town, plus being charged 'tourist prices' for the food, it's probably not something we'd do regularly. Over all, however, it was a fun evening with friends while trying something new.
Day 1813 ~ Send-Off PartySeptember 2nd, 2015
We've had Kate with us for two weeks and the sad day has finally arrived for taking her to the airport. What was intended as a quiet trip with just Kate and Nina, soon turned into a bay-wide kid shuttle, but what a great send-off. We couldnt' stick around until her plane flew out, but it was on-time so she didn't have to wait by herself for long.
Day 1812 ~ September 1st, 2015