With the watch system now in two sections in place of the 3 we have to work a one day on one day off. Because there is half the crew on board we can afford to split into two groups. Each group spending either a morning or afternoon small boat sailing. Donald the chef has left early from the ship to travel to the next island, his home town of Granada. his daughter is getting married, so he had things to sort out. This means that each watch needs a chef. Katie cooked lunch and I cooked dinner. Everything feels very chilled out and relaxed on board.
Went ashore on the 8:15 skiff. Went straight to a small but perfect cafe that served breakfast and smoothies. Great start to the day. Met up with John.
After breakfast we jumped on a minibus and went to Windward. This is the home of Caribbean hand built wooden boats. We walked around for a couple of hours searching out the old fashioned boat building yards. The houses here have a gingerbread feel to them. Everything is sort of cute in a fairy tail feel, all I need is a castle with a princess and a handsome prince.
We returned back to our home port for lunch and found a tiny beach front cafe that served the best burgers and fish burgers ever. We were joined by Alison and Tofar.
The four of us then got in a minibus to Paradise beach. The journey was incredible. The minibuses have three rows of back seats each row seats 3 people. We were full at the beginning of the journey, with the exception of the last seat that was occupied by a sack of potatoes. We started the journey and within a couple of minutes the driver stopped to pick up another fare. The potatoes were taken off the seat and the person sat down. The potatoes were then put on his lap. 2 minutes later we stopped again, the driver the shuffled a couple of people around until he managed to get four on one row, the potatoes were again taken off during the shuffling and then put back on. This procedure happened multiple times until we all sat four to a seat, shopping piled on our laps and the potatoes still coming off and being put back on each time. By the time we reached Paradise island we felt like sardines packed in a tin, but also laughing at the way the driver kept moving people about like puzzle pieces including the potatoes. A true Caribbean experience.
Every holiday destination has a place called paradise beach, this is for tourists. This paradise beach was named before tourists existed. It is edged by beautiful turquoise sea on one side and mangroves to the back. At one end there was a set of small bars that served rum punch.
A very relaxed day ending with chicken at Lauren’s and a couple of drinks before going back to the ship to sleep.
A very busy workday on the ship, getting everything ready for the following days sail. We have a new temporary cook. Queenie. She is taking over from Donald whilst he goes home to Grenada for a few days. We did some small boat sailing during the morning and had a swim off the boat. Some more of the books had to be unloaded ready to be delivered to some more schools. A long hot day.
We were up and ready to sail again at 8am including a few friends of Queenies who wanted to experience the ship, they were sailing to Grenada with us.
We all spent the day raising the Anchor, taking the skiff out of the water as well as the other boats that we had been sailing and sail handling. All in the sun all day. It was a really nice sail and the last one with Captain Moreland on board.
We arrived and set anchor at 5pm at Grenada. Went ashore at 7pm after a swim call off the ship. I had a walk round and met a couple of young Grenadian men who advised me of the best places to visit whilst I was on the island.
Workday. After spending time in the two watch system we have now gone back to the original 3 watch system. This means that unlike Cariacou where I only got one whole day ashore I will now get two days off on Grenada.
My work day started with an hour and a half stint in the scullery with Vicky. It was so hot we were both dripping with sweat before we were finished. Then the call went out for all hands to unload the rest of the books from the hold. This took another long stint of chucking heavy packs of books from the bottom of the boat to the deck. I looked like I had taken a shower by the time we got the last books out. I was pleased to then be asked to join John the sail maker and help him for a few hours. No more hot physical work thank goodness.
I spent an hour in the sun on the quarterdeck before heat stroke hit me. I then spent the next few hours on my bunk with a fan blowing over me, being washed down with wet towels, feeling absolutely terrible. That evening I was starting to feel human again, Donald our chef was having a party at his house, I stayed on board ship. Sebastian bought me some chicken back from the party, however I didn’t feel like eating so he finished it off during his night watch. I was kept off of the night watch bill just in case I felt ill again.
Grenada. The spice Island.
Up and feeling fine, thankfully. Got my laundry done nice and early, sent it all back to the ship, then met up with Vicky and Annlora for a day tour of the island.
We had Ian as our guide. He took us to the nutmeg factory. Thousands of tonnes of nutmeg and mace processed each year by hand before being shipped out around the world. The town has two work forces. The women work in the nutmeg factory and smell sweet, the men are all fishermen. This is also to home town of Kirani James. 400m gold medalist at the 2012 Olympics. The town has been renamed Kirani town in his Honour.
We went up into the rain forest canopy and visited the Concorde waterfall, Ian kept stopping on route to point out the various spices and fruits. Nutmeg trees and bay trees, bananas, mangos and breadfruit. We saw a mongoose, they were bought to the island during the days of the sugar plantations. The sugar was being eaten by rats, mongoose kill rats. We then saw an Armadillo, well we saw two halves of the creature. A local man that lived in the hills held it up proudly as he was preparing it for his lunch. Yuk.
Next we went to a sulphur Spring where we had our legs smothered in poo smelling green mud. Vicky even had it spread on her face. This was later rubbed off and washed off by a local guide, who finally smoothed us off with a coating of cocoa butter. We left donations in the box to help the running of the sulphur park.
Chocolate Factory. This again is a very manually intensive system. The Cocoa pods are all produced by local farmers. The beans are taken from the pods, dried then brined. They are then sorted into sizes and roasted. The outer shells of the seed are then removed to leave just the nibs behind. These are ground up through various stages and chocolate is produced. Sugar is added and some bars get nutmeg or ginger to spice them up.
All the ingredients are local to the island. The chocolate tasting at the end proved how wonderful the ingredients must be. It really is the best chocolate I have tasted. (Yes mum I have bought you some.)
Or Caribs Leap. This is the place that the last 40 Caribs (indigenous caribbean population) on the Island after fighting with the French, had the choice of surrendering or jumping. They chose the latter. If it wasn’t for the few Caribs left on Dominica there would be no indigenous people left in the Caribbean.
The factory was very old. The local sugar cane farmers deliver there goods and they get paid by the amount of juice that comes from there canes. It’s all listed on a blackboard, no computers here. We were taken round the whole process, a water wheel driving the crushing machines and the fire pits that distill the rum. The place smelt amazing. We then got to sample the rum at the end of the tour.
We tried to see some monkeys towards the end of the tour, however it had started to rain and it was getting late. The monkeys go back into the forest for safety as it gets dark.
Final part of the day we went to a disused airstrip and saw the last plane to fly from Russia to the Caribbean during the days of the Cold War. It doesn’t look,like it will be able to fly anymore…..
Finally at 5:30 we got back to port. I booked myself an apartment for two nights. I went to a supermarket bought provisions for breakfast and snacks. I got a takeaway pizza from a local restaurant and after such a busy day had an early night.
Saturday morning. Cooked breakfast, drank coffee and called various family members on FaceTime. Just being normal for a bit. Feels strange.
I jumped on a minibus and went to the market. Half way round my sandal fell to pieces. After buying new shoes and some herbs and spices to bring home I then found a nice bar and sat and watched the world go by whilst having lunch.
I went back to my apartment for the evening, another early night. Got to be up early to have time for breakfast before catching the 7:15 skiff back to the boat.
Back on board, back at sea on route to Anguilla by 10am. 500 miles approx 5 days at sea.
We said goodbye to a few people at the last port and are now down to 32 people on board. Captain Sam has taken over the ship. The watches have be moved about. I’m still on 4-8 but with different people on the watch. Hanna has now joined me again.
I had a good evening watch until about 7pm when I started feeling ill. Made it through to the end of watch at 8 then fell in my bunk feeling terrible. Up,at 4am and spent most of the watch just sitting midships, feeling dreadful and hanging my head over the side from time to time. I can’t believe that after all this time I get seasick. By 7am the medical officer came to see me, my vision had gone and I could not focus on anything. He immediately sent me to my bunk, dosing me up with pills for a migraine. Not seasick after all. Spent the next 30 hours in my bunk being poorly. All I wanted to do was get off the ship and go home. feeling very sorry for myself.
Got back on watch at 4pm and managed to keep going until 8pm. Stood on helm, pulled ropes etc and started feeling better.
Back up,and running. A lot of sail handling as we are passing various islands in route to Anguilla, they have a big effect on the wind and the tides. Sails keep being set and then taken in all the time. Very hard work.
The sun is shining and the sailing is good.