Learning about our new home

Whilst Junior and his team at Spice Island Marine were working on Kool Kat (KK) Mal and I tried out some eating places, did some food shopping, did a few minor jobs on KK and generally took it easy.

Happy chappies at Dodgy Dock

At the end of our last post I mentioned a beautiful meal we had the night before. We had walked around to True Blue Bay, yes True Blue but not the Aussie True Blue, and had dinner at Dodgy Dock Restaurant http://www.truebluebay.com/resort-facilities/details/dodgy-dock-restaurant where we’d eaten breakfast a few days earlier. I can’t remember what Mal ate but I had a meal of grilled chicken served on a bed of callaloo with garlic and accompanied by smashed plantain. Callaloo is a delicious type of spinach that is a staple part of the Grenadian diet. It was lightly sauteed with butter and garlic. Callaloo is very popular soup. Plantain is a type of banana that is a bit more starchy than our regular bananas and is used more as a potato type of vegetable here. It’s not pleasant eaten raw but is super delicious cooked, normally fried.

Previously at Dodgy Dock we had ordered a Grenadian breakfast: eggs, saltfish, plantain and warm bread. Salt Fish is fresh fish that has been salt-cured and dried until all the moisture has been extracted. It is then rehydrated to cook and remove alot of the salt. It was presented chopped up with finely chopped spring onions and red pepper. Combined with the delicate sweetness of the plantain it was delicious. The warm bread was a wholemeal damper style; I think I’m going to have a bigger weight problem fairly soon! I’d better stop talking about food.

Natalia, Paula & Owen

I also mentioned in the last post that I met a lovely young family. What I love about travel, and particularly about cruising, are the people you meet from all walks of life and from all over the world and each with an interesting story to tell. I haven’t met the father yet but I met Natalia, who is Spanish, and her two adorable children, Paula and Owen. The father is English and they have a mono-hull, Te Natura. Natalia home schools the children and they are travelling around the Caribbean. Natalia is a sculptress and says once the children are in bed at night, she then gets down to preparing lessons for the next day. Remarkable. Paula (9) speaks English, Spanish and French. Owen (4) speaks English, Spanish and un peu Francais! This is what I call education; it’s all around them everyday 🙂

The currency in Grenada and some other parts of the Caribbean is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar, known commonly as EC. At the moment, $1AUD = $2.43EC. To give you an idea of costs, this morning I bought a small loaf of bread, a croissant and a danish for $8EC or $3.20AUD. Lunch yesterday in the marina was a BLT and salad 25EC ($10AU – Sue) and Mal had roast beef, yorkshire pudds, potatoes and vegies 45EC ($18.50AU – Mal). A small charcoal type chicken is 15EC ($6AU).

Getting around Grenada on land is either by taxi or bus. Buses are obviously the cheapest 5EC for 2 of us and are definitely the most entertaining. They come along frequently and are small vans which would probably be licensed to carry about 12 people in Oz, but here the norm is 16. Mal has been in one with up to 20! They have a driver and a “lookout” who also collects the money. They are always young and the music is pretty thumpty but every trip is a surprise; including the route! They drive past as you are walking along the road and either beep their horn or yell out to ask if you want a lift. The driver stops, the lookout throws open the sliding door and you pile in. They are so diligent about picking people up that we have been in them when they have reversed, very carefully, along the main road to see if the person who was walking down a little side street in the direction of the main road needed a lift. They go down side streets and make detours to drop off or pick up either people, someone’s lunch to be delivered, or other bits and pieces. Nothing seems too much trouble and it’s always interesting. Mal & I got on one the other day followed by a woman with 2 small children – about 2 and 4. The 2-yr old, a little girl, sat in the first row of seats next to the “lookout” and the mother and the 4 yr-old boy sat in the back row behind us. We stopped a few times and then she said something to the lookout who told the driver to stop. He then picked up the little girl, holding her in front of him under her arms stepped out and looked around for who he should give her to. Meanwhile some people got on and the woman in the back told him he had the wrong stop, it was the next one. So he turned around, still holding her out in front like a parcel, and put her back in the bus next to him. She looked quite relaxed about it all. Then, before we reached the next official stop, she called out and the driver stopped on the main roundabout. No cars could get past and everyone just waited. The lookout hopped out, picked up the little parcel (girl) and took her to another van who was waiting on the central part of the roundabout. The lookout put her on the front seat, tucked in her clothes, ran back to our van and collected a black plastic bag (her lunch) and ran it over to the other van. He then hopped back in and we were on our way again, followed by the 10 or so cars who had all waited patiently. I turned to the mother behind and we exchanged big smiles.

We got off at the IGA and did some pretty basic shopping as our fridge/freezer hasn’t come up to temp yet and we’re relying on bags of ice. I’d been to this one on my last trip and it has everything you need, including vegemite! I’m pretty fussy about my muesli and I found a great one so I’m happy. I note that most of the dairy produce is from NZ, which is similar to when I lived in Kuwait 6 years ago, which makes me wonder about out our exporting. We investigate a few of the shops and checkout the wines which are mostly from Chile and Argentina, although we did find a Jacob’s Creek Nick.

Mal admiring his handiwork.

Another 5EC and we’re back at the apartment. Checking on the boat progress we find they are working so well that we should be back in the water on Friday 21st. Whilst she’s out Mal takes the opportunity to apply KK’s new name (we had to add a ‘1’ to register her in Oz) and home port.

We had morning showers come through over a few days but they don’t last long and everything dries off very quickly so this doesn’t slow the boat’s progress. While we are on land I find a local beautician within walking distance for a much-needed mani and pedi – 60EC = $AU24 for both = good value. We are currently anchored in Prickly Bay which is very close to St George’s University so there are lots of amenities nearby for students and cruisers.

Carefully lowering KK into water
Washing down

Friday comes and she’s back in the water with a beautifully clean bottie! Mal carefully reverses out of a tight spot and we’re off looking for an anchorage. This is our first shot at anchoring and Mal steps me slowly through it. No boat hooks this time, just Mal on the anchor and chain and me on the motor. We establish a transit point to ensure we aren’t dragging and all seems good. The boat is filthy after being in the yard so we set about giving her a washdown. Mal has one more job he wants to do; raise the Aussie flag! It’s always fun trying to ID all the flags on other boats so we can’t wait to put ours up. Then it’s time for a swim and a cool-off, it’s been a big morning!

Aussie Ensign on Kool Kat I

This is probably the best time of year in Grenada – humidity isn’t too high and there is a very gentle breeze to keep you cool, although it’s been a bit windier the last couple of days. Most days it’s 28C and today (Monday 24th) humidity is 69%. We’ve been having a swim every afternoon off the back of the boat, although today’s was a little earlier as I missed my footing getting on board from Kitty and ended up in the drink! Fortunately, I’m not bad under pressure! I whipped off my bag with my passport and iPhone in it and threw them on board – neither got wet 🙂 Once I knew they weren’t wet I couldn’t stop laughing, I was drenched. Good thing the water is about 26C so no worries, be happy! Sorry I haven’t got any photos to show you! Note to self: remember to use the mobile waterproof bag on KK next time I go ashore.

Barracuda and band setting up.

Friday night we went across to Prickly Bay Marina for dinner and listened to some bands. The first was a local tin band which has such a recognisable Caribbean sound to it and the second was previous KK owner Linda’s favourite, Barracuda. He was fantastic. We left before it finished due to a rain downpour but we could hear it clearly from the boat until they finished.

Buses also offer “shopping” trips for cruisers which is brilliant. I went on one Saturday morning where they picked up cruisers from Prickly Bay, Secret Harbour and then Clarke’s Court Bay and drive you into town, wait for you whilst you do the shopping and then bring you back. It’s a great way to do the shopping on a bigger scale. I met lots of other people who are doing similar things to us and it’s a great way to pick up hints and news. Unfortunately, there were two cruise ships in town and Patrick, the driver, said we’d be harassed so we should state we lived here and then we’d be left alone. Although he said those cruise ship tourists are whitey-white and you guys are brown so they can easily tell you are “locals”. So as I made my way through the St George’s market and shops I kept saying I lived here whenever someone welcomed me to Grenada or tried to sell me something. It worked well and I had a great morning.

I’m sorry this is so long. I started it today and thought I wouldn’t have much to say but I keep thinking of something else as I’m writing so it just keeps coming. Even as I’m finishing off I know there is more I want to say but it will just have to wait until next time. We might venture around to the yacht club near St George’s tomorrow for fuel and anchor off St George’s for a night.  Then we can return here and be ready for our first Aussie visitors, Jo and Bob, arriving Saturday night 🙂

Lots of love to everyone, Sue & Mal xxx


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