Dave's Grenada & Grenadines Page 2

Dave's Grenada & Grenadines

Page 2- Grenada

Sunday 17th: Passengers board - Grenada

"Visitors to the lush island of Grenada will love the tropical climate, white sandy beaches, and thriving green vegetation. Aromatic spice plantations give Grenada the nickname “Isle of Spice.” There are spectacular mountain ranges, waterfalls, and rainforests.

Beach lovers will be in paradise, relaxing the day away on the soft white sands of Grand Anse. Shoppers will love the colorful sights and smells of the spice market, where you can banter with the friendly “spice ladies” for spices, souvenirs, clothing, and jewelry. In town you'll find art galleries, fabric shops, and waterfront restaurants where you can enjoy a cold rum punch and fresh seafood. Be sure to bring your camera to capture the views of the narrow, picturesque streets of St George’s and the beautiful vista of the Carenage, one of the loveliest harbors in the Caribbean. Plenty of night life can be found at the many clubs and restaurants around the island.
Set sail for the rhythms of spice!"

Morning from my balcony.
I then head out with my stuff back to the lobby to be picked up around 8:20am for a tour.

As part of my "Invasions of the 80s" Tour Grenada was of course a mandatory stop. You can read more about it at the links below:
Wiki- Invasion of Grenada
I remember in one training exercise I had in ROTC there was an infantry major with a Ranger tab that had combat jumped into here. That is the only personal connection I can think of to having here.

And of course there is the Clint Eastwood movie " Heartbreak Ridge" about Marines that trained and came here. It was fun to watch back in the day, but would seem pretty laughable now and is very far from the facts.

Thinking about the flyer above, note how it is black and white. Back in '83 it was probably prohibitive to have made this in color, although color and its help in being able to identify uniforms of "good guys" could have been invaluable. Now an elementary school kid with a $40 inkjet printer could do it better. Funny.

The two pics below are of the original St. George's School of Medicine True Blue campus, where protecting the few hundred American students there was one of the main stated reasons for the invasion.

Gee Dave, looks like a parking lot and a low income apartment building...yeah, I'm not sure there was really a whole lot here to be rescuing.

I saw a postcard of below, bought it, and asked our guide if this still existed. He knew where it was, so cool to go see this.

The 82nd Airborne is still seeing plenty of action in the Caribbean, almost parachuting in to Haiti in 1994 and just now being deployed there to help with the earthquake.

Richmond Hill Prison

Ft. Frederick

Ft. George (formerly known as Ft. Rupert)- where Bishop was executed.

Let's see, other relevant sites to the invasion:
Las Salinas Airport- this is the airport I flew into, the country's international airport which has been renamed (just last year) for the Marxist prime minister Maurice Bishop.
Pearls Airport- long closed down, there may be some decaying Cuban aircraft still there. It is on the middle of the east coast so I didn't have time to get out there.
Grenada National Museum- this is supposed to have a good exhibit but unfortunately is closed Sundays.
Off Hogs Island- there may be some decaying Russian gun boats there.

We live in a really different world now, so hard for me to judge the threat from the Russians/Cubans and the influence of communism/cold war politics here in the grand strategy of things. But whatever it was then, to an American (or anyone for that matter) today it can be thought of as a really great Caribbean vacation getaway. A result of the intervention, or would that have happened anyway? Impossible to say.

Also it had been about a decade since America had seen any combat, the first major combat operation since Vietnam. From a somewhat perverted point of view, it was a live fire training exercise that taught our military valuable lessons- for instance the various services need to be able to communicate with one another. Duh.

I asked Eddie my guide what he thought of the invasion- he said the controlling party at the time handed him and others an AK-47 and said to shoot Americans. He was 12 at the time, about the same age I would have been. He ignored the orders, and seems to have a good life today.

October 25 (the anniversary of the invasion) is a national holiday in Grenada, called Thanksgiving Day, to commemorate this event.

"Best of Nature Tour"- $35

Coming up on February 7th.

Our guide and driver Eddie

A view back to Grand Anse Beach

We picked up these cruise ship passengers- from Denmark and Finland.

Crickett stadium, apparently built by the Chinese as a gift.

"Typical" neighborhood

We stop by a spice shop.

The national spice- nutmeg. Actually represented on the country flag.

Annandale Waterfalls

Grenadian houses like this will often have cooking and washing facilities under the house.

Here you see a nutmeg tree.

Fairly common leftover devastation from Hurricane Ivan.

Views from Ft. Frederick

Rum distillary was closed today.

The tour ended here at Grand Anse Beach, but I immediately had to be dropped off back at the hotel to meet the driver for my next activity. Definitely trying to pack a lot in. Ideally I would have had half a day to just chill here, instead of a couple minutes. Looks like a fantastic beach.

Aquanauts- refresher dive, to include sculptures, 4hrs $80

First I watched a refresher video- remember to keep breathing.

Then did some brief pool instruction with Charlene- recovering your regulator, hand signals, clearing mask,...

Bob and Christie, on their honeymoon from North Carolina.

The new St. George's campus- looks pretty nice.

The beach in front of The Aquarium Restaurant, where we would have dinner later.

I think she looks like a little seal here. Apparently I have enough fat to keep me insulated.

Seahorse 1

Seahorse 2

Underwater Sculptures
"Creator of the world’s first underwater sculpture park, Jason de Caires Taylor has gained international recognition for his unique work. His sculptures highlight ecological processes whilst exploring the intricate relationships between modern art and the environment. By using sculptures to create artificial reefs, the artist’s interventions promote hope and recovery, and underline our need to understand and protect the natural world."



The Lost Correspondent

La Diablesse

The fall from grace

Grace Reef

Bob, Christie, and I had an excellent dinner at The Aquarium Restaurant.
Beautiful location, live music.

I had two rum punches and the jerk chicken.

Then back to the hotel to pick up my luggage, and to the boat around 7:30pm.

Cabin #2 to myself

From "left to right":
DLS- man of leisure, Florida Gator.
Terry and Vince- a great couple from southern Maryland. A nurse that likes to dispense HIV advice at town carnivals and refuses to train any potential replacements, and a business owner that needs a smart, short middle-aged Chinese-Jamaican guy to take over for him since his son hasn't expressed any interest.
Don and Char- another nice couple from the Seattle area. Retired, but also have a travel business that we need to discuss further.
Next we see the new on island coordinator for Island Windjammers, along with the current coordinator- I believe a founding member of the company and passionate Windjammer fan. In his one maroon shirt we have Captain Stuart, whose career came up through the Windjammer ships. And finally Tom, an engineer by trade who I believe is a major owner who found the ship and does most of the major maintenance and repair, pretty impressive guy.

Arriving later that night would be:
Nell- a long time Windjammer with almost 30 cruises on them.
Abby and Kat- animal lovers currently in Boston, an aspiring vet and also do work in the travel business.
Kerry- a Florida Gator from Vero who does a quarterly travel magazine, and almost 30 Windjammer cruises under her belt as well.
Catrin- another Florida Gator and a friend of Kerry's since college.
Sheana- Kerry's daughter, also a Windjammer vet who had been to many of these islands before and recently moved from Vero to Tennessee. "A graphic designer, a free spirit, a work-a-holic, a dreamer, a do-er, a girlfriend, a sister, a daughter ..."

The next time I'm in Grenada I'd like to see:
Carib's Leap
Seven Sisters Falls
Kayak the mangroves off the south
And as mentioned earlier spend time at Grand Anse Beach, go to the Grenada National Museum, and Pearl Airport.

Grenada Explorer

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