Thursday, June 7, 2012

Happy Island

Happy Island
The last stop in the nation of St. Vincent and Grenadines was Union Island. One of the most interesting sites to visit here is the Happy Island. The proprietor, Janti, has created an Island out of Conch shells. He collected shells during an environmental clean up in Union Island by stacking the shells into a small Island. Happy Island is like a utopia. Janti catches rain water, he has installed solar panels, a wind generator, and everything is self made. He certainly has done a professional job and made a great business and home out of it. Everything on his drink menu is 10EC, even the local beer “Hairoun”, but don’t worry Janti will serve you at least one complimentary drink throughout the night. He was very generous to us!
Here is a video from Anthony Bourdain’s visit to Happy Island, click here.
Katherine, Janti, and Sven, Happy Island
I thought groceries would be cheaper in Union than the next Island, however that was not the case. Union Island is slightly more expensive than St. Vincent or even Mayreau. A dozen of eggs cost 12EC in Union, 10EC in Mayreau, and 8EC in the main Island St. Vincent. The difference is not significant but in the long run 3EC here and there adds up. Large mangos in Union cost 4-5EC each, which is crazy and none of them were as good as those picked from Gary’s farm in Cumberland. 

New Looks
The first Island in the Grenada Nation Southbound is Carriacou. The day we arrived, both Katherine and I decided to get a new look from the local barbers. I got a full cut and shave and Katherine got her entire head braided. The plan was to stay in Carriacou just for a couple of days, but you never know who you will meet and what your experience will turn out like. The first day, Earthling anchored in a relatively rolly anchorage in Hillsborough Bay, we met Annie. She was barbecuing for the Friday party in town. The chickens on the grill looked and smelled so good that our stomachs would not let us pass by without a taste. The stop at the grill turned into a great relationship with Annie.

The following day the Dahon folding bikes had to come out of their tote bags for a spin around the Island. Carriacou is a good island for biking,
most of the roads are not as hilly as many other Caribbean Islands. We were informed that the road around the Northern part of the Island is closed for through traffic. Later we realized the gravel road was blocked since big trees had fallen blocking the road. This didn’t stop us from continuing through.
Katherine flying over the tree
In Windward, our paths crossed again with Annie in front of her mother’s house. She was grilling for the locals this Saturday and a nice vibe was present. One conversation led to another and she invited us to her house by Tyrrel bay for dinner the next day. Long story short, Annie and her partner Nigel have served us excellent home made Caribbean dishes the last five days. Last night we invited them aboard and served dishes from the Earthling galley. Apparently today June 7th is a local planting holiday. Katherine and I are going for lunch to their home along with their family and will visit their farm to celebrate and plant for the occasion.
Nigel, Annie, Katherine, and I
Tyrrel Bay, Carriacou, high point
Tyrrel Bay, low point

Now in Terryl Bay, it might look busy because of the 70 or so boats anchored here, but it’s very quiet, maybe less than half of the boats are live aboard. There are only a couple restaurants and markets. Nothing much is really going on here, but we have met some interesting people such as Paul Earling Johnson and Eddie. Paul is a legendary sailor, he has been sailing for 65+ years. He has done 39 Atlantic crossings, his first solo crossing on a 19 footer, he’s been a boat builder, and he has tons of never ending sailing stories. Paul and Eddie were talking about Earthling as we walked by. They noticed that the top starboard spreader was slightly upward and not even, that’s how Eddie lost his mast a few years ago! Scary, but good thing they spotted it. Eddie offered to help and went up the mast and evened the spreader out. Eddie is Dominican and he has been living aboard a 22 ft sailboat without an inboard or outboard for ten years. One thing we all have in common is that we row our dinghies to shore!  
Boat building, Winward
Carriacou is also known for it’s boat building. There is not as much boat building done here as in the past but most smaller boats and dinghies are still made here. In Tyrrel Bay, there are many unique looking sailboats as well as a small boat yard of which Earthling might be hauled out in for the Hurricane season. The original plan was to store her in Trinidad, since it’s cheap and below the hurricane belt. However, there are other risks involved of storing in Trinidad so a better deal might work out in Carriacou or Granada. In 20 days, this leg of Earthling adventure will come to an end and I have to fly back to Chicago to earn dinero for the next leg.     

Love from Carriacou

See the photo album of Grenada here!

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