Grenada is known as the spice island, famous for its cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and more. The island consists of 133 square miles of astounding variety, from lush green jungle covered mountains to cascading waterfalls, from verdant crop covered hills to rushing rivers and streams, and from placid lakes to 45 beautiful sandy beaches. Grenada has it all. We decided to explore St George (easily one of the most picturesque port cities in the Caribbean), which formed in an extinct volcano crater. In the afternoon, we had prebooked a snorkeling excursion to an underwater sculpture park with Seafaris Adventure Tours.
21 Mar: St George’s, Grenada
As advertised, pulling into St George harbor was one of our most picturesque stops. We had gotten up early to run in the gym, and were pulling in ahead of schedule (before 0700) so we rushed through our workout and ran upstairs for some photos from the deck. We were able to disembark at 0800, but were running a bit late, so we finally hit the ground 20 minutes later. Gotta love St George! Free internet was to be had, which was especially great since we had to check to see where to meet the Seafari Adventures tour. After briefly checking our email, we decided to walk up to Fort George, which provided a panoramic view over the entire city. Touts offering their services (tours, spices, company) were everywhere, but a polite “no thank you” was all it took to dissuade them. Becky later found out that she could halt them mid sentence with this simple phrase “we already have a tour booked’…that was the magic phrase to send them chasing other customers for their business. Awesome!
Entrance to Ft George was $2, and we later found out that if we had walked up the rear entrance (by the police academy), we could have entered the grounds for free! Oh well, live and learn. The weather hadn’t made up its mind whether it wanted to be nice or naughty, so it sprinkled one minute and saturated us with sun the next. We briefly debated whether to head back to get our rain jackets, but Robby felt that the rain would be brief (he was right). We walked over to Caranage, the scenic harborfront of St George. The Marryshow House was listed on our map as one of the city’s highlights, so we wandered around until we found it. Today it is a University of the West Indies, with an active folk theater. The back streets of St George were tourist free, and we could see some of the devastation that Hurricane Ivan wrecked several years ago. Three churches in the city lost their rooftops, and were undergoing renovations. A couple of colorful fishing boats caught our attention, so we headed down towards the fish market (closed because today is Sunday), and saw the colorful assortment of vessels tied up to the dock. We wanted to head back towards the Caranage section of the city, and found the 1894 “Sendall Tunnel” to take us there. A jovial tour/taxi driver named Soulja Boy caught our attention and convinced us to take his $10 tour up to the nearby waterfalls to see some monkeys followed by a refreshing dip, a spice plantation and a visit to Grande Anse Beach. It seemed to be a bargain so we agreed and piled into his van, meeting 3 other Germans who had agreed to the same tour. We had made it clear that we needed to be at Grande Anse by 1 pm, as we had another tour waiting for us there. However, Soulja Boy’s sidekick was more intent on getting more passengers for the tour, and we wasted half an hour trying to convince other tourists to join us. With the clock ticking, we decided to take a water taxi to Grande Anse Beach (US$4 per person, one way), where a 2 mile soft sand beach awaited us. Much to Becky’s chagrin, she realized that our beach towels had been inadvertently left in Soulja Boy’s van….dammit! Well, the only thing going for us was that we knew the beach stop was part of Soulja Boy’s itinerary, and we were hoping that we’d be able to link up with him there. In the meantime, we relaxed at the bar at the Coconuts Beach Restaurant, where we ordered some drinks while we waited for our afternoon excursion with Seafaris. Happily, we ran into Soulja Boy and he actually seemed happy to see us, stating that there was no hard feelings when we ditched his cab. He returned our lost bag and we bought him a beer. Good times…we’d love to link up with him again…such is the hospitality and kindness of the Grenadians, whom we found to be very friendly and honest people.
We met Susanne from Seafaris at 1245, and met her husband Howard and his helper, Albert. The RIB (rigid inflatable boat) was awesome…we got in, strapped into our vests and were zooming off. What a smooth and fun ride! Howard was the perfect host, as he sped us along the western coast of Granada towards our first stop, an underwater sculpture park. It was awesome, as we had tons of time to snorkel amongst the sculptures, and saw some colorful fish, squid, lobster, eels, culminating in being surrounded by greedy Sergeant Major Fish that swarmed us at the end of our session. Two thumbs up…Albert was our underwater guide and he was very patient, guiding us through the major sites. There was an underwater ring of children, carved faces, laying ladies, a bicycle rider, and “the correspondent”, (complete with laminated news articles about Granada!). After our snorkel session, Howard took us over to a black sand beach (hot hot hot in the summer) and we got a nice view of the western side of Granada. Curiously, we saw smoke rising in the distance, and Howard told us that it has been unseasonably hot and forest fires had broken out all across the island. In fact, his son’s school had been evacuated the week prior, and that was located right in St George! On our return trip, we stopped off at St George where Howard gave us a brief history lesson on the harbor actually being the site of an old volcano basin, filled with a fresh water lake 200 years ago. It was joined to the sea so that boats would be allowed safe harbor. Since we were the only two cruise passengers, Howard dropped us off first, playing “Grease Lightning” while speeding in circles in the harbor..lots of fun and a very nice excursion. We thanked both Albert and Howard for the good times and agreed that Granada had turned out to be our favorite island so far.
After boarding the Millennium, we grabbed a quick snack, before hopping in the pool. Dinner at 6 pm was pleasant as usual with our dinner mates (broccoli soup, caesar salad, rack of lamb…yummy), and we decided to attend the 9 pm “70’s Boogie Nights” show. Since we had a sea day tomorrow, we tried to stay up late watching a movie but we both fell asleep shortly after hitting the sack.