Thursday, December 12, 2013

They're Baaaa-aaack!!!

November 13 - 30, 2013
Clarke's Court Bay, Grenada

Woo hoo! Deana and Troy have finally come back to us! Okay, so they've REALLY come back to their beloved home on the water, Storyville. Still, having last seen them in St. Martin eight months ago, we've been suffering from some major separation anxiety! We hopped into a taxi with Dave and Lisa to play "welcome wagon" for Deana and Troy as they got off the plane, and Lisa even thought to bring a cooler with a few cold Stag beers for them. (She's such a great hostess!) We shared big hugs and a few tears as we finally got to welcome our friends to Grenada, and it took Miss Luna all of two minutes to remember us and give us slobbery kisses. Deana and Troy had some serious work ahead to get Storyville back into cruising shape after being closed up on a mooring ball for so long, but they managed to get over to our neighborhood just in time for the Thanksgiving festivities.

Before celebrating Turkey Day, however, we had a more "local" offering to celebrate: RUM! We attended the 4th Annual Caribbean Rum & Beer Festival, which was held on the 22nd & 23rd of November in Grand Anse. The festival showcased beers and rums from all over the Caribbean and included beverage tastings, cooking-with-rum demonstrations/tastings, recipes, cocktail-making contests, a steel pan band, and a live Soca band to round out the evening.
We apparently missed the beer tasting on Friday, but thoroughly enjoyed the rum and food sampling on Saturday afternoon. We had an opportunity to try rums from Grenada, Barbados, Guyana, Dominica, Jamaica, Suriname, and the US, and were hard-pressed to choose a favorite. We had such a fantastic time that we ended up closing down the festival. Our taxi driver seemed a bit impatient, but we sure had fun. Who knows? We may have to stick around for next year's festival! Interested? Save the dates: November 21st & 22nd, 2014.

As if November hadn't been a crazy month already, we still had American Thanksgiving to celebrate. (Why "American" Thanksgiving? Because both Grenadian and Canadian Thanksgivings were celebrated here in October.) Clarke's Court Bay Marina hosted a beautiful Thanksgiving dinner, transforming our normally-casual cruiser bar into a lovely spot with tablecloths, candles, and floral centerpieces. They provided turkeys, stuffing, and gravy for a small fee, and 60-70 cruisers brought mouth-watering salads, veggies, breads, starches, and desserts to share. We were full to bursting by 3pm, and couldn't think of eating another bite till the next morning. One thing's for sure: we cruisers can cook!

Our second Thanksgiving feast was held the following Saturday, when we made a huge turkey and ham dinner - complete with 16 sides and desserts - for our Grenadian family.
Eslyn graciously offered her home and downstairs apartment, where we filled two ovens and half a dozen stovetops with turkeys, crescent rolls, soups, veggies, and casseroles for four solid hours. We began serving around 6pm, and the get-together lasted well into the night. Troy even brought out his guitar to entertain the last of the group, and we ended up spending the night at Eslyn's. We had some serious clean-up to do... :-)

December is shaping up to be yet another busy month, with concerts, island tours, hashes, Christmas and New Year's celebrations, and get-togethers we don't even know about yet. Rumor has it the family is planning another oildown on the beach, and Lisa is organizing a movie and ice cream day out with the kids once they're out of school. We'll definitely stay in Grenada through New Year's, and will begin slowly moving north at our first weather window in January. Til next time...

Thanks again to Lisa & Deana for sharing their pictures with us!

Please enjoy more photos here.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Grenada: Putting the "TIRED" in RETIRED!

November 1 - 12, 2013
Clarke's Court Bay, Grenada
Yes, we know...we've used the "[insert beautiful island here] puts the TIRED in RETIRED" line before, but sometimes we get a little reminder than we're not in our 20s anymore. Between island tours, happy hours, nights out with the family, hashes, potlucks, dominoes tournaments (don't laugh - Mexican Train is a blast!), and marathon shopping buses, we sometimes feel like we're burning the proverbial candle at both ends.
We thought that maybe life would quiet down as nearby anchorages emptied out. (Even though hurricane season officially lasts until November 30th, a quiet 2013 in the southeastern Caribbean meant that many cruisers began leaving Grenada in late October and early November.) Silly us - we should've known better!

November had barely begun when we hosted a going-away Mexican night for Island Dream aboard Pipe Muh Bligh. Pat and Darnell were anxious to see Trinidad & Tobago before heading back north, and we couldn't let them leave without a real send-off. We hadn't done a Mexican potluck in quite awhile, and Darnell had the brilliant idea to re-start the tradition. We had a dozen people on the boat, complete with Ke 'Ola Kai, Island Dream, Bad Kitty, Blues Breaker, and Graunya. Besides our usual dishes of enchiladas, Mexican cornbread, guacamole, and such, Vee from Blues Breaker upped the ante with yummy margaritas...complete with massive fishbowl-type margarita glasses! All of the food was fantastic as always, and we found a few new recipes that will definitely make a re-appearance.

The next day, Clarke's Court Bay Marina hosted the 2nd Annual Junior Regatta.  Lisa, Gary, and Stacy volunteered to be on the race committee, so we got to watch these talented youngsters race from the perfect vantage point of the committee boat.
Gary kept time on our Mickey Mouse look-alike "official" clock, while Lisa and Stacy played scribes. Local kids, ages 6-17, raced in Lasers and Mosquitoes (similar to Optimists), and there was even a "Big Men (& Women) in Little Boats" race for the cruisers. From what we heard, the cruisers had a whole new appreciation for the kids in the boats; they were a lot harder to sail than anyone imagined!

We had an absolute ball the following week at our first-ever dinghy concert, held on a barge near Le Fare Bleu Marina. The band was made up of local Grenadians plus a Swiss singer, and they kept the party going until the rain shut us down just before sunset. We managed to get there early enough to get a front row seat (or tie-up, as it was), and we loved watching the concert up close and personal. There's supposed to be another one in this rate, we may still be in Grenada for it!

The next weekend, we attended Papa Steve's 88th birthday party.  How much do we LOVE this family? We finally had the opportunity to meet the last of Teresa and Steve's children, their daughter, Eastlyn. She, along with her husband, Dean, and son, Marcus, came up from Trinidad to help celebrate Papa Steve's birthday. We can only imagine how much it meant to Steve & Teresa to have all six children together again, and we were honored to be invited to such a special "family-only" event.

If there's one thing we've learned about Grenadian traditions, it's this: one night of celebration is NEVER enough! With that in mind, we joined the rest of the family the following morning for a cookout and pool party at Kenny and Lisa's lovely home. Kenny, Lisa, and their son, JJ, live on a hillside with gorgeous views of the valley and Egmont harbor, and we felt absolutely spoiled by their kindness.
After stuffing ourselves silly with chicken, hot dogs, burgers, kabobs, and salads, we hopped in the pool for a cool-down. We weren't sure who had more fun - us or the kids!

We also had a chance to spend more time with Eastlyn and Dean, along with Richard and Jonelle, when they came aboard Ke 'Ola Kai and Pipe Muh Bligh for happy hour and dinner a few days before their departure. We had a great time showing them the boats, and had a cockpit party to introduce them to the "real" cruiser lifestyle.
Sadly, we had to say goodbye to Eastlyn, Dean, and Marcus a few days later when they returned to Trinidad...but not before another going-away party at Grandma Theresa's and Papa Steve's, of course! It may be awhile before we get to see them again, but we love knowing we'll have family to visit once we head south.

It's hard to believe we've had such a busy month already, and yet November isn't even half over. The next two weeks have even more fun in store, with the return of Deana and Troy on Storyville, a Caribbean rum festival, our 7th wedding anniversary, and TWO Thanksgiving celebrations.  'Til next time!

Please enjoy more pictures here.