We are enjoying Grenada. It is a very interesting place. Sometimes interesting in a fun way, and sometimes in a way that makes for good stories…
Port Lois Marina in St George’s is well run, reasonably priced and exceeds our expectations. The staff is endlessly helpful. The facilities are modern, well maintained and clean. The cost is reasonable. Pretty much a great base to explore from.
We are only 10º north of the equator, so it is hot and humid. Pretty much every day, the weather is the same: Hot and humid, with occasional showers. Much of the time the tradewinds blow which helps, but the marina is in a well protected harbor surrounded by high hills so the breeze is not reliable. The air conditioning systems on the boat are getting a workout most days.
Weather forecasts here are so bad it is almost funny. There is no weather radar that covers the local area, and the weather approaches from the east, where there is no real detailed information about what is headed this way. A few weeks ago while I was traveling in the states, at 5AM Karen was literally thrown on the floor out of bed when the boat rolled on its side in a gust of wind. What the…!??!
It turns out a tropical wave, of which about one rolls through every week, decided to get a bit of an attitude as it approached the island. The airport (about 10 miles away) reported sustained winds of 70 knots. Most of the morning was pretty wild and crazy. Completely unforecast, and a surprise to everybody. Other than a few downed powerlines, no damage that we saw.
The bus system here is pretty great. There are nine routes across the island, and the fare is EC$2.50 (about US$0.90). The buses are run independently, and pretty much all of them are minivans configured to seat about 15 very friendly people.
Each bus has a driver, and a conductor. The conductor’s primary job is to keep on eye on the sidewalk to be sure no potential customers are missed, and he collects the fares. During the day you rarely have to wait more than three or four minutes for the next bus. They are all crowded, but somehow they always seem able to squeeze one more passenger in. Everybody is polite and accommodating.
This past week was the Grenada version of carnival, or as it is locally known, “Spicemas” or more likely, just “‘Mas.” Of the local celebrations we have seen, this one was not one of our favorites. There was almost no live music, rather all recorded techno-dance stuff, and really, really, REALLY LOUD. How loud? Our boat was over a half mile away, and the “music” had our hatches literally vibrating to the beat.
People who know me (Bill), will likely know that loud music has never been my cup of tea, but this was too loud even for Karen who described walking past one of the trucks and having the breath knocked out of her chest.
Getting Stuff Done
We always do our best to follow the rules wherever we are. Trying to be the kind of visitors that any place is happy to welcome and have back. As part of that, we did our research ahead of time and discovered that to get a local fishing license we needed to go to the Fisheries Department in downtown St George’s. So we hopped on the Number 1 Bus, and off went on an afternoon adventure.
The Fisheries Department is located above the Fish Market. Since this was half a block from the bus terminal, it was easy to find. After that, things got a bit more… confused. Wandering in we are eventually greeted by someone, and when we explain out reason for being there, she sends us to the “third door on the right”. We knock, and enter, and explain that we are there to get a fishing license. The two young ladies in the office look at us like we have two heads. Like they have never heard of such a thing, except we are in the fisheries department… “Maybe you need to go to the next door.” So off we go to the fourth door on the right…
Once again we are in an office with two women, who in the absence of any other work give us their full attention, and have NO IDEA what we are looking for. We try to explain that we want to fish recreationally, no selling of fish, and we want to have whatever permits are needed. They ask many very simple questions, and finally decide that they need to bring in the boss. Really???
After a few minutes the boss comes in and we explain what we want to him. He seems puzzled, like this is the first time this has ever come up. He says that this office can not issue a fishery registration to a foreign vessel, we will have to go to see the Minister of Agriculture.
By this point, I am convinced we are not speaking the same language. There are many non-Grenadian boats we have seen in our marina and in the local yacht club sport fishing locally, and I am sure they have not gone through this.
We get back to the marina, and Karen grabs one of the local charter boat captains to get the scoop. Turns out no permits are necessary for sport fishing, only for commercial fishing for market. Oh well, it was fun and educational…
Karen first heard about hunting season in Grenada from a local taxi driver. We saw a poster for hunting season in the fisheries office. It was more than a bit out of date, but so were ALL of the posters on the wall… but it had the basic scoop…
The taxi driver described a dinner of Mona Monkey. “Like eating a burnt baby.” This year hunting season opens Oct 1. Apparently you can put in an order with a local restaurant and hunter for a monkey dinner. Karen might try an iguana, I haven’t yet decided if I want to eat a “burnt baby.” Mona monkeys are not native, and can be serious pests in the agricultural regions of the country.