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31 January 2012

A brief month end post

We came back to Prickly Bay from Clarke's Court a week ago; we THINK the solar panels were on the boat from Miami that arrived last Friday and will clear Customs today or tomorrow. Our installer THINKS that he can have the project done by the end of next week (though when we reminded him that Grenada Independence Day is next Tuesday, his confidence fell a bit).

On Thursday last week, we did a double excursion, first to the north again, to see the nutmeg production in Gouyave and the cocoa production at Belmont Estates; in the evening, after a quick stop back at the boat to turn on the anchor light, we headed up to St. Paul's parish for a concert of the steel pan band Lime Comancheros and a little barbecue, Grenada style. The sub-set of the band that night were the young folks (under 20, mostly under 18); they are so talented. It was a rainy evening, so we were dodging raindrops between sets, but no one wanted to leave early. There was a bit of cooking (of "mannish water" - goat parts with seasonings, vegetables and handmade dumplings)going on for the band and we poked our heads in to get a little local cooking advice. We wound up inviting a couple of the guys who recruit and train young people for the band to come on the boat. Stephen and Sean are both in the late 20's (we think); Stephen has a number of family members in Canada and the US and has traveled there and to other Caribbean islands; we had a great evening liming and consuming copious quantities of that favored local product. I even cooked for them, with some trepidation (Bahamian style Mac and Cheese; a doctored version of the lambi and seacat chowder that I had made the week before; and a Beth-style Chinese cabbage with a bacon/vinegar/sugar/egg dressing).

We went back for a second time to the Mt. Airy Young Readers program on Saturday; it's not really clear to me how effective we are, but it's a way to try to give back just a little bit of what we get from being so welcomed here in Grenada. I know our dollars are very welcome (the unemployment rate is probably 30% here) but if you stay for more than a few days you start to want to feel some other kinds of connections.

We are scheduled to fly to Nice from Fort de France in Martinique on the 15th of March (returning on the 5th of April) so we figure if we leave here by the end of February we can still make's about 170 nautical miles.

I'm going to be a great-Auntie! Cass called on the 23rd to tell us that she and Adam are expecting "Baby L"; her due date is the 2nd of September, one day before their first wedding anniversary. Everyone is over the moon, me included (after the initial shock wore off).

Here is a slideshow of our pictures since we came back from Almost Paradise on the 8th.

23 January 2012

You've really got a hold on me

We briefly considered heading up to Bequia for a week or two, but since the solar panels are reported to be on the boat from Miami and arriving in Grenada this week, we decided to wait and hope we can expedite the project if we are on hand when they arrive. So, what have we been up to?

--we broke a dinghy oar, so ordered a new pair that arrived from St. Martin late last week. Susan and JP epoxied them Saturday but they are taking FOREVER to dry.
--we all three got haircuts from a fellow cruiser (thank you, Terry!)
--we've been to cooking class every week (though JP skipped thus past Thursday)
--we've discovered the joys (fresh baguettes, nice meat and fish market, breakfast, lunch, dinner and great Internet access) of Whisper Cove Marina, run by a very nice French-Canadian couple
--we finally made it to Roger's Beach Bar for their Sunday BBQ
--we bought (actually, we traded - for a case of Carib IN CANS - now a scarce commodity because the Carib bottling plant folks are on strike here) a 19" flat screen as a temporary replacement for the dead screen on our Qosmio laptop; we'll get a new boat pc when next Stateside, but now at least we can watch movies and use charts again
--we entertained a few times; Saturday night we had Jamie and Casey from Santa Magdalena. We made vichyssoise, fish in gravy (a recipe from cooking class, and skate from Whisper Cove), basmati rice, and an apple tart that produced an interesting effect; I'll try to post a photo if the smoke filled galley)
--Leigh went to an every other week farmers market that re-started after a holiday break
--we participated in the Mt. Airy Young Readers program, a cruiser/community partnership to provide several hours of tutoring in reading, spelling and arithmetic. We missed this last weekend but will try to return this coming weekend I think.

We have gone swimming every day (except yesterday, as it rained all day until we headed off to Roger's), gone to burger night at Clarke's Court Bay, had lunch at the Phare Bleu, read a's been really nice to stay put. Tomorrow we will pick up a couple of kayaks (a local business is sadly struggling with a greatly reduced number of visitors, and reports that there will be even fewer cruise ships stopping in Grenada next season); we will get one single and one double, for less than half the price of one new single.

09 January 2012

A northern tour

We left Raconteur on Friday and headed first to the east coast (the Mt. Carmel waterfall and the town of Grenville) and then north to stay two nights at a place called Almost Paradise. It's a B&B (though they cook dinner too, on request) run by Canadian Kate and German Uwe; they have had the place about nine years, and it's really an amazing spot. They have a number of cottages, plus a bar/eating porch, that perch above the northern coast with spectacular views to the small islands and then to Carriacou. Lovely people, very comfortable "eco" style accommodations, and just the right spot for a cruising crew looking for a touring base.
We took the usual TOO MANY photos, since we also drove around on Saturday and stopped at a couple of places on the way back south on Sunday as well.
Today I am doing a little cooking (we got two lobster tails from the local guys right before we left on Saturday, and I am finally going to make my peanut-sesame noodles to go with them), Susan is reading and JP is taking advantage of our good Internet connection to do some work, though he keeps threatening to take the car off on a few errands as well.
Tomorrow or Wednesday we will go back on the hook; it was good to have her safe and sound in the marina while we made our tour, but I miss swimming from the transom.

05 January 2012

Starting 2012 in Grenada

Photo: Rainbow in Prickly Bay

We have moved around the corner (about five or so miles) from Prickly Bay, temporarily. We want to do a couple of days of driving around Grenada and so wanted to leave the boat tied up and plugged in, so we came to Clarke's Court Bay yesterday and Raconteur will stay here while we drive north to a B&B called Almost Paradise overnight tomorrow and Saturday. It's an interesting place, but no swimming off the transom so I won't last long once we get back on Sunday.

We have made a decision on how and where to install the solar panels - over the bimini toward the back - and so are waiting for the various parts of that project to come together. We are really looking forward to having a way to charge the batteries - and thus run computers, the fridge, and the fans - without running the gen twice a day. We are considering adding wind power at some point, but it has taken such an effort just to get the solar project kicked off, who knows when we might do that?

We did some entertaining this past week - Chris and Yanni on Magus, who hosted us when we were in Trois Ilets in May, then Vicki and Bob on FoxSea (we met them in Les Iles des Saintes, Guadeloupe, and re-connected in Chaguaramas), and finally Michael, Karen and Sam from Msichana. Sam is 14 or maybe 15 and planning to apply to Wellesley early decision this year - finally, a live one! She has been a "cruiser kid" nearly her whole life, and I think Wellesley will love her.

I've been enjoying shopping and cooking, but I'm doing a lousy job recording my efforts. I've made Pumpkin-Ginger Soup, Cream of Callaloo Soup, Curried Lobster, Stewed Lambi and Lobster, Sorrel (drink), Ginger Beer, Passion Fruit Nectar, Saffron Rice, Roasted Carrots and Christophene, Eastern Curry Dip, "Pizza Crackers" (pepperoni and cheddar on a Triscuit melted under the broiler), Lobster Broth (using the lobster carcass, carrots, potatoes, spaetzle)...really enjoying it. I tried breadfruit again - I love it when we get it in restaurants) - and again felt it was a failure (breadfruit salad, breadfruit undercooked, I think).
I will soon be out of real saffron, but I am going to need a care package from my sister at some point anyway so I will add that to the list. AND our supply of Trini channa and split peas (roasted and spiced, used at cocktail hour) has dwindled to a mere SIX bottles. Might have to go south again.

We are actually still doing some work. One of our old colleagues is joining MCP for a little while, transitioning to more flexibility, and helping us keep our hand in at the DoD. JP is working for our European client, and Susan is providing some advice to an old mentor. As I said to someone this long as it doesn't involve a cubicle, life is good.