02/12/2016 – Anchored off Whisper Cove

I'd discovered from Facebook that our friends Annemarie and Steve on Freebooter, who did ARC Portugal and the ARC in 2013 with us, had arrived in Grenada and had the boat relaunched. Monday morning, as we were topping up with water before paying our bill and leaving the marina, Annemarie came along in the dinghy. They had been relaunched at Clarke's Court on Friday and even came along to the food festival but didn't know we were there! We agreed to anchor near them, just off Whisper Cove Marina, with a plan to eat at the marina that evening. Unfortunately they don't do food on Monday evenings so Annemarie produced a lovely chicken curry and I provided sliced oranges steeped in red wine syrup with squirts cream. We had a great evening catching up. Tuesday we went ashore to catch the shopping bus. This is not a bus that you'd recognise in the U.K. Think smallish van with four rows of seats squashed in, basically three abreast but the near side one in three of the rows is a folds out. Health & Safety would condemn it instantly. The bus stopped at a bank drive through, then a big ACE Hardware store, next it was Budget Marine chandlery and the main stop was at a good supermarket. We were advised that the return trip would only take about half the people as the shopping would take up quite a few seats but that the driver would return quite quickly for the rest. We were lucky and got the first trip back which also stopped at a cash and carry, useful as I found some cans of diet ginger beer there. Back at the marina we stopped for lunch, chicken parmigiana with salad or chips and a bottle of beer for just under £9. It was very tasty. It rained heavily all night and Wednesday morning was quite grim. We were supposed to be going on an island tour, however the driver was willing to postpone to Thursday if all the boats agreed. That was easily sorted! The highlight of Wednesday was pizza night at Whisper Cove though it did dry up a bit in the afternoon. Thursday's tour was excellent. We went with Cutty's Tours whose bus was a very nearly new Nissan, big enough to carry 15 passengers with a small gangway between the offside seats and the single seats on the near side. Cutty was very informative, stopping frequently to point out particular fruit trees, spices etc. The first official stop was at the Annandale falls, from there we drove into the rainforest surrounding a crater lake which we had visited in March with the World ARC. This time I had a monkey sitting on my head, John did as well. It was great fun! We then continued across to the east side of the island and visited the Grenada Chocolate Company where we were shown the machinery involved in turning dried cocoa beans into chocolate. The chocolate company gets all its cocoa from the Belmont Estate which we then visited briefly. It was crawling with cruise ship passengers so Cutty first led us to the shop where there were 6 different chocolate bars to taste however at US$5 per bar we saved our money! After that he pointed out the drying racks and explained the process to us. We went inside the shed and saw the beans fermenting under a layer of banana leaves with sacking on top. It was a whistle stop tour but we were running late for lunch. Next stop was Rivers Rum Distillery. We had a very good lunch in their dining room before we had a guided tour around the distillery which still makes rum in the same way it did about 200 years ago, which is when most of the machinery dates from. A canal brings water from the river to the waterwheel which still powers a number of machines. A conveyor belt carries the cane up to drop it in a crusher, basically two large rollers which squeeze out the raw sugar. The waste is either used to fuel the fire under the pools where the water is evaporated out of the sugar syrup or it is used as a fertiliser in the fields. In the evaporation room the juice is heated slowly to start with, with the pools getting hotter as the juice/syrup is ladled into successive pools. From there it goes into fermentation bins where it stays for 8 days before going in to the still, heated by wood which burns hotter than the sugar cane waste. It was really interesting to see the whole process, in quite different surroundings from those found on the Port houses in Portugal! The finale of the visit was a tasting session: the strongest, not allowed to be taken on planes because it is flammable; the 69%, allowed on planes; a rum punch with fruit juice, only 16% and finally a chocolate punch, also 16%, absolutely delicious and the clear favourite amongst the ladies in the group! The return trip to the boats followed the east coast with one more destination, the old airfield. The runways are now used for drag racing but the reason we were there was to see two Russian built planes from the 50s which were shot up by the Americans when they invaded to throw out the Cubans in 1983 (I think). It was a very good tour, reasonably priced, with lots of information. The plan was to leave early Friday morning to sail to Cariacou, however Starblazer had other ideas. Thursday evening the generator was purring away then it suddenly stopped while we were having a late supper. John went to start the engine, it was dead. The Honda was pressed into service but wouldn't produce full power so John had to back off the battery charger. The first possible cause which sprung to mind was that the engine battery had gone flat but the windlass worked (using the remote) so that wasn't the cause. We give up and went to bed. Early Friday morning John started investigating in the engine room, looking for a single cause. He in fact found two completely unconnected faults! A fuse had gone in the generator and the ground lead from the engine starter motor was loose. Both faults were easily rectified, both started so we were ready to go. The only problem was that it had taken several hours and we didn't want to anchor in the dark. Time for a plan B, we sailed most of the way to St George's and anchored off. After lunch we went for a quick trip ashore in the dinghy, BBQ'd back on board and went to bed reasonably early. The plan for Saturday is an early start, then Cariacou to clear out of Grenada. We shall see. Joyce Sent from my iPad

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