Monday, September 1, 2014

Welcome to Grenada, Geoie & Sarah!

Saturday, July 19 - Saturday, July 26, 2014

Yes, we're having flashbacks! Thanks to a bout with Dengue Fever (DEC-JAN), some incredibly lousy internet in Sint Maarten and Antigua (FEB-APR), and way too much fun as usual, we're once again a bit behind in our blogging...okay, make that EIGHT months behind! Granted, friends Lisa on Ke 'Ola Kai and Deana on Storyville posted such great blogs earlier in the year that they managed to cover pretty much everything we did. Rather than try to re-cap all of our adventures in one massive, sleep-inducing entry, we'll post a few "flashback" blogs of the highlights over the next few weeks. In the meantime, enjoy!

Woo hoo! We're finally having friends come stay with us on Pipe! It's been two and a half long years since Geoie and Sarah last visited us on the boat. They spent a week with us in the British Virgin Islands, having made a last-minute itinerary change thanks to the Christmas winds; no one had told us it would be so difficult to get from the BVIs to Sint Maarten in March! We likely ended up having even more fun in the BVIs than we would've in Sint Maarten...no offense to our favorite provisioning and party stop, but the BVIs offer a lot more sailing opportunities.

Anyway, since Geoie and Sarah's 2012 visit ended up being the last time we'd had visitors, the guest stateroom (a.k.a. the garage) needed some serious TLC. We got it cleaned up just in time for their late night arrival, and planned to make a quick run up to Carriacou the following morning. Fate had other plans for us, however, thanks to an over-zealous customs agent who decided the boat parts Geoie was bringing us would NOT be allowed into the country without some serious duty payments. Crap! Customs didn't even give Geoie his suitcase back that night, so he and Sarah arrived on the boat with the clothes on their backs, swim suits in their carry on, and little else. After 24 hours of high blood pressures, a second run to the airport, and some serious aggravation, we got their luggage aboard Pipe...just no boat parts. Oh, well...

Monday morning we made the 30-mile run up to Carriacou, where we anchored near friends LA and Susan on Genesis. Geoie had met them in the Bahamas a few years prior, and they were eager to see him again and meet Sarah. We hadn't even seen them ourselves since Sint Maarten back in March, so we were pretty excited, too! We dropped the dink in the water for a quick happy hour at Sherwin's Lambi Queen, and finished the night with chicken enchiladas and a bit too much Zaya rum. (Yep, THAT we were able to get back from customs!)

Tuesday, we spent an incredible day touring with Sherwin in his fast boat. Besides doing a terrific job of welcoming visitors to the Lambi Queen bar and restaurant, he also does trips to the Grenadines and beach BBQs at gorgeous White Island. We'd planned to do two days with him, but our delay made us change our plans. Fortunately, we still managed to get Geoie and Sarah up to the Grenadines. First stop: Palm Island!

Palm Island is a gorgeous 135-acre island just off Union Island. Its golden-sand beaches are home to an exclusive resort, and the palm trees along the beach have plenty of signs reminding us lesser folk that we aren't worthy! Even with the "hotel guests ONLY" signs everywhere, we managed to enjoy the crystal blue waters as much as any guest could have. Twenty minutes later, we were pounding through the surf again to our next destination, the Tobago Cays.

The Tobago Cays are still one of our favorite spots in the Caribbean. You can snorkel coral reefs in the protected marine park, where parrot fish, blue tangs, trunks, and a host of other fish grow to massive sizes. You might be lucky enough to spot a stingray swimming along the sandy bottom, and can almost certainly see turtles feeding on the grassy patches. Even if you don't feel like going into the water, the turtles are constantly popping their heads up to catch a few breaths before disappearing again. We had an added treat on this trip when Sherwin's crew, Daniel and Cordell, led us up to the top of Baradal to watch the iguanas scurry around and see beautiful vistas from each side of the island.

Our lunch stop was on nearby Petit Bateau, where we feasted on fresh mahi mahi, chicken, ribs, curried lambi (conch), salads, rice, garlic baked potatoes, plantains, and much more. We lazed in the water for a post-lunch swim, and were soon taking our full bellies and rum punches four miles across the water to Saltwhistle Bay, Mayreau. If you've never seen Saltwhistle Bay, just think of any Caribbean travel magazine cover: a perfect crescent-shaped beach with soft golden sand, palm trees swaying in the breeze, local women selling sarongs and tourist t-shirts, and of course...a beach bar called "the bar just before the jungle". We anchored off the beach and visited with Sherwin in the water while the rest of the crew wandered off to check out the more touristy offerings. Did we mention Sherwin's boat doubled as a swim-up bar?!

Our final stop of the day was Happy Island in Clifton, Union Island. Happy Island opened about 12 years ago, when its industrious owners decided to build a party bar on a giant mound of conch shells. It's a great little spot, with plenty of cold drinks and acrobatic kite boarders for entertainment. (That's Geoie high-fiving the kite surfer in the picture!) We partied the afternoon away with great friends, and managed to get back to Carriacou just after sunset.
A huge thank-you to Sherwin for giving us such a fantastic day. We never could've made it to all of those stops in the big boat in the time we had with Geoie and Sarah. This was the perfect alternative! FYI...If you're ever in the Grenadines/Carriacou/Grenada area, you can organize a trip with him through Simply Carriacou. Otherwise, just go visit him at Lambi Queen and say hi for us.

After a lazy Wednesday swimming in the surf and dinner with Genesis and Sherwin on Pipe, we had a gorgeous, calm, and...uhhh...SLOW sail back to St. Georges, Grenada. Winds were under 10 knots, meaning Pipe managed a whopping 3-4 knots most of the way...but we were SAILING!! Ultimately we turned on the engine to arrive in daylight, and enjoyed a quiet night on board to rest up for Friday's big event: an island tour of Grenada with Cutty.

We'd heard that Cutty pretty much did the best tour on Grenada...and our friends really didn't exaggerate. Stops included the Goyave Nutmeg Processing Plant, Leaper's Hill, the Grenadian Chocolate Factory, Belvedere Estates (for a quick trip to buy chocolate bars), Rivers Rum Distillery (lunch and tour), a drive through Grenville, a stop in Grand Etang park for a view of Crater Lake and play-time with monkeys, and finally...a walk down to Annendale Falls. Whew! We had an incredible time, and were completely wiped out by the time we got back to the boat. Geoie and Sarah definitely didn't stay long enough, but we hope they had a fantastic time while they were here. We know we certainly did, and look forward to seeing them (we hope) in St. Maarten next year. Til next time...

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