Friday, February 8, 2019
My SVG flight was quick and easy taxis were available at the airport, a guy that turned out to be a government minister took the same taxi as I did, they take multiple passengers and each pays the fare to their destination. I was in and out of the Osprey office in a minute to retrieve my bag and then we headed off for the cottage on Paradise Beach. Kim wasn’t so fortunate; she got pulled in for secondary inspection, chemical swabs and all, in Grenada. I suspect the large bag of tamarind balls she was bringing back for Boomer might have had something to do with it. Her flight from Grenada was delayed and same with her connection at JFK, where they were on the plane for over an hour before it took off. No wonder she stresses about traveling, she has the worst luck.
My humble abode for the next month
Mine is the building the arrow is pointing to
I’m renting a small cottage at Off The Hook, a well known bar in the windwards and a favorite with sailors. I first spoke to Curtis about it in March when we came through with the last leg of the WARC. It’s very basic, a large room with double bed, table and chairs, easy chair, two burner gas cooktop, dorm fridge and a separate bathroom with shower. There is no hot water but I don’t think any place on the beach has it not even the hotel two lots down; I take my shower early and it doesn’t feel so cold, kind of like the water always feels warmer at night when you’re swimming. In the past, when we stayed at the Sunset Beach Hotel, I would bring a camp shower for Kim and heat the water up in the kettle. There is no public water system on the island, unless you count the communal wells, but that water is only fit for bathing and domestic purposes. Water is collected from the roofs of the houses and buildings, everyone has either water tanks or a cistern for storage; being the start of the dry season Curtis had to have a tanker come fill the tank the day I arrived. I tell people the accommodations aren’t palatial, but my patio is awesome.
Perfect place to relax
I stopped over at Joe’s bar on my way into Hillsborough, I took the trail through the mangroves and along the beach. The usual stop at Butterfly Bar for a couple and then picked up some stuff at the grocery store to get started. I had wanted to get a jerk chicken dinner at the Laurena but they were sold out so headed back to Butterfly for a chicken and chips, turned out to be a great substitute, the two chicken thighs were freshly fried as were the best potato wedges I have had in a long time. Spent the evening on the beach at the bar, it gets pretty quiet at night and by dark there is no one else on the beach.
In the local bars here, when you order a rum and OJ they give you a 1/8th bottle of rum (100 ml), a can of OJ and a glass with ice
Saturday February 9, 2019
I made myself a nice breakfast in the morning, you couldn’t ask for a better view than from the picnic tables on the beach. I fed Chelsea, the bars dog, when I was here last year and now, she follows me everywhere of course she got some of my breakfast.
Breakfast on the beach every morning
They were getting ready for a big concert at the bar next weekend, the contractor was pouring a concrete floor for what will be a new outdoor covered stage and dining area after the show. They’re putting a lot of work into the bar new chairs and tables it’s going to be nice.
I took another walk into Hillsborough, I plan to walk a long distance each day; I went back to the Laurena, by the time I got there they were out of most sides but the chicken was good.
Another night of just chilling on the beach, a couple of the local guys are working on the improvements so after work we had some Jack Iron and chatted.
Some photos from my rest stop in the mangroves
Sunday February 10, 2019
There was a cruise ship scheduled to arrive in Tyrell Bay, the Sea Cloud, one of those tall ships that carry a limited number of passengers. It is the first cruise ship ever to visit the island with five more visits scheduled for this season. Everyone has been talking about it and they hope to get a little business from the passengers. The ship was anchored off shore, apparently too deep of draft for the new pier. The tourist board was on hand providing some special entertainment and filming the reactions of the people to the island. Unfortunately, they herded them into buses for an island tour and then took them to the far end of Paradise Beach, where some seaweed is accumulating; they had a food and drink stand set up and it didn’t look like anyone even visited the Hardwood Bar or one of the other two restaurants right there.
A colorful yard with Tyrell Bay in the background
The crowded anchorage at Tyrell Bay, some of those boats haven't moved in ages
While I was walking into Tyrell Bay, about 1 ½ miles/ 30-minute walk, I asked a young man who was also walking where I could buy some coals. Turns out he is a local musician, Boneless, and he is competing in the Calypso semi-finals on Wednesday. He went out of his way to show me the road to the house of the guy that sells the coals and invited me to a beach cookout later in the day. He is also a finalist in the Soca Monarch competition and I would later find out that the new song I have been listening to on the radio, Jack Iron, is his entry for the competition. Jack Iron is the very strong rum that is the favorite on the island.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xSFQcmC80zo
I stopped at the new grocery store that has recently been built in Tyrell, it was OK, but not as well stocked as I had hoped. It’s convenient for the yachts that are in the harbor though. I never did make it to the BBQ, but rather just cooked up some tuna at the cottage.
Curtis told me he would be going to Grenada for a couple days to get some lighting for the new stage and asked that I keep an eye on Chelsea; it’s quite enough here now at night, I can only imagine how quite it will be when he is gone too.
Monday February 11, 2019
I heard there was a drop off laundry in Tyrell so I went up to the road and got on the bus; when I asked the driver about it he said his wife also did laundry and he could take care of it for me, so problem solved. I got off at the grocery store and picked up a few things before walking back to the cottage.
Later in the day I walked to Hillsborough and on the way saw what could have turned into a disaster. A group of bareboaters had come into shore and raised their engine as they approached the beach; all got off except for one lady and it looked like either she got hit with a large wave at the wrong time or didn’t put the engine fully down before taking off. She was thrown out of the boat and then it started speeding off at full throttle before turning hard right and going around in circles. It looked like she was going to try to stop it, but her friends on shore yelled for her to get out of the way; I though for sure the prop was going to run right over her. A dingy from another charter boat was able to grab the wayward dingy and kill the engine. Lesson learned always wear the kill cord when operating the dingy.
The wayward dingy
I got back to the bar and the usual afternoon crowd showed up, they were disappointed that the bar was close so they and some passersby opted for the bar at the Sunset Beach Hotel. Some kids came running up to me on the beach with a package, turns out it was my laundry all washed, air-dried and folded delivered right to my door, can’t beat that service.
The beach south of the bar, very little development here
Tuesday February 12, 2019
It is pretty quiet here most of the time and it can get a little boring with no one to talk to except the guy working on the bar, so I thought of a good way to meet some people. I went to Tyrell Bay and picked up some ice, 3 six-packs of beer, and some mixers. As people would come to see if the bar was open, I’d tell them no but help yourself to a cold beer or drink; it worked great I had people to talk to all day long
I met one group who had chartered a bareboat out of Grenada but their transmission went out on one engine. They were delayed a day, out of their 7-day charter, while waiting for a replacement boat to be delivered. They had chartered a 52’ cat, but the replacement was going to be a 4- footer. They weren’t sure what sort of compensation the charter company was going to offer; I wonder if you could claim a trip delay on your travel insurance policy for something like that. It was just two couples on board so that must have cost a good bit of money.
I had picked up a small bag of coals from a stand opposite the grocery store, I’ll get some from the guy that makes them another day. After the beach quieted down and the guys finished painting for the day, I decided to do a little cookout. Instead of using my grill I fired up the grill for the bar. I invited the guys working on the new addition and we had grilled pork and the last of the tuna from Grenada along with some potatoes.
After that it was just rum on the beach with the never-ending sound of the waves in the background.
Gypsys in the Palace, tuna in foil and jerk wings on the grill
Wednesday February 13, 2019
I walked into Hillsborough in the morning to pick up some more fruit and things, it’s a nice walk, for the most part you are on the beach or in the mangroves, the last bit from thee airport road into town is on the road, I tried walking the beach but the sand is very soft and deep making it strenuous. There’s a little restaurant in front of a house that has fresh juice, I stopped and got a nice glass of lime juice perfect thing to refresh me.
Fishing boats anchored off the mangroves
A large power yacht anchored off Sandy Island, the wreck on the beach marks the start of the trail through the mangroves from the Hillsborough side
Picked up a roti at the little yellow shop and ate it in the waterfront park across from the Laurena, fishermen pound their conch on the wall there. I couldn’t decide what to have for dinner so I stopped in the fish market to check it out; they had a nice little tuna 5 ¾ pounds, which I was able to get for 52 EC ($20 US) including filleting charge.
Back at the cottage I lightly seasoned one of the upper halves of the fillets and pan seared it, then made a nice fresh salad; I buy all my fruit and veggies from the little roadside stands around town, this time of year citrus is in season so grapefruit, tangerines, oranges, lemons and limes are readily available.
The only downside to this cottage is there's always sand on the dining room floor
Tonight, are the Calypso semi-finals at Carnival City in Hillsborough. I grabbed the bus up there so I could see Boneless perform, there weren’t a lot of people there so they had chairs for just about everyone. Some of the songs were better than others, but I’m more of a soca guy than a calypso fan. Boneless was eliminated, his song apparently didn’t fit the theme but he has a great chance in the Soca Monarch Championship.
I was hoping to take a bus home but ended up taking a taxi, I should have waited at the terminal a little longer as we passed one on its way back to town when we got to L’Estere.
Boneless performing at the Calypso Semi-Finals
Thursday February 14, 2019
After a late-night last night, today was just a limin’ day. I took a walk into Tyrell to pick up some drinking water, beer and pork for the grill, I can usually get a bus right at the supermarket but none were there so I started walking. They must have all been at lunch as I didn’t see one until I was so far along it would have been silly to get on it; well there’s my exercise for the day, walking a mile and a half uphill in the mid-day sun carrying a six-pack of beer and five liters of water in my pack.
The beach at the bar is great for swimming, the water is so clear you can see the starfish on the bottom. The sand is soft and it’s a gentle slope into the water with no rocks at all; any seaweed in the bay collects at the other end by the mangroves.
I called mom and talked to Kim, I wish we split her time up differently so she could be here. The bar closes early most nights and I have the whole beach to myself. The cottage doesn’t have AC, it does have a large fan but I haven’t needed to use it; there is a large screened window just above the bed and with the shutters open a constant breeze keeps the room nice and cool at night. The sound of the waves breaking against the shore are an added bonus.
The break wall along the road to Hillsborough
A water taxi off the beach with Sandy Island in the background
Not a lot to do here, but the perfect spot to get away from it all