Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Winding Down And One More Hash

Its hard to believe we have been sitting in Grenada since July 10th. At times time moved slow and as we were winding down it seemed to speed up. November 1st is the end of hurricane season this far south and many boats are starting to head out in different directions. Some South, some West, and some like us back North. So if we wanted to do it or see it, it was time to do so as time was getting short. I talked Dirk into doing a Hash with me. It was the 900th Hash for Grenada so it was a biggie. Six buses just from Mt. Hartman and Prickly Bay went. It too was on the north end of the island and it had been raining for several days before and raining as we were driving out there. This was going to be a muddy one. Traffic was busy and the bus driver was doing all he could to make sure we arrived on time. It was a bit scary and we told him he could slow down if he needed. Many of these roads are twisty and one cant see on the other side of the turn so everyone blows their horns to alert the other drivers. After a hair raising ride we arrived and had just enough time to sign in before the Hash started. Several of the Rat Packers were with us. These were the boaters we left Georgetown Bahamas with. And as I thought it was a wet trail. They offered 7 different trails depending on skill level.
I opted for the long walkers trail of 3 miles and Dirk did the short runners trail of 4 miles. Off we went into the rain forest.
Some skinny places to walk
It was single file over this. It was a decent fall down if you slipped
The trail led us through many nutmeg trees, avacado trees, by waterfalls, through running brooks and a fairly deep(thigh high) running stream. The trail was muddy, slick and in some areas pretty darn scary as it was a major drop off if you lost your footing. Several areas I skied down as it was too slick to try and walk, other places I literally had to crawl because I kept falling. Always I would feel someone grab my arm and pull me to my feet before heading off. Never saw who they were but thanks.
Sign on the trail
Into the bush, and boy was it slick
I fell twice big time at the above photo area. There was alot of downed bamboo that was very slippery, just when I thought I had my footing bam....down again. There was no free beer stop on these trails but as we finished the Hash we were given one. It went down too easy. Now to find Dirk and let the after party begin.
Me with the Hashmaster
Being that this was in a small village and apparently the bar that was there said they would not allow us to use the restroom there, the Hashmaster insisted we buy no beer from them and reduced the price at the hash tents to 3 for 10EC. Thats about $4.00 US for 3, not too bad, but where were we gonna go potty? I already had to go before the Hash, now it was time. Hashmaster arranged with a couple of houses to let us use the bathroom. Yeah, thats what I would want, a million muddy people tracking through my house. Caroline, Liz Ann and I set out for the house first stopping at a public faucet to wash off our shoes, legs, and feet . We knock on the door and a younger girl answers the door. Its a very modest home with a couple chairs pushed up against the walls and a tiny TV. An older woman was sitting in the dark as the girl led us down the hall into the bathroom area. Caroline was the first to go and afterwards she claims she was locked in, could I come help her. I asked which way the door opened, she couldnt remember and said in. So from the outside I am pushing with all my might, she is pulling and the door is obviously going the wrong direction. We try and pull back the other way, Caroline at this point is beginning to panic a bit as Liz Ann and I are giggling about it. After all we werent the ones locked in. I finally went to ask the homeowner which way her door opened. When she saw how her door was going the wrong direction she was not happy. Her and Caroline pushing and pulling, the lady cursing aloud and of course Im videoing it and laughing. I would remember which direction the door went when I got in. At last she was turn to use the so called bathroom which was a toilet, no seat, no toilet paper, and no running water. Oh joy.... Next time ladies, we are using the bushes which is exactly what I did. Once that fiasco was over we headed back to the party in time to see the virgins getting lined up.
Hashmaster calling all virgins
Gary and Dirk standing in wait
Gary, Vanessa, and Dirk
They are getting the speach
And now getting sprayed
After spending a bit longer here visiting, dancing and having a good time it was time to load up in the busses for the return trip. Shademan, our bus driver stopped at a small bar so the ladies could use the potty and we could all get a beer for the road. Guessing drinking and driving really does not matter here. Soon we were all back to the marina where we piled in to get something to eat before heading back to the boat. It had been a long day.
You could say I fell a few times.
One more big event was to come. The Halloween party which also signifies the end of one cruiser season and the beginning of another. The other group that come in is the people that leave boats in Grenada on the hard for hurricane season, fly back home and return once hurricane season is over. But they usually travel while here and dont just sit in the Bay day after day. So stay tuned for the Halloween Party and our farewell to Grenada.

Camp Grenada Continues To Get Busier

After six weeks in Prickly Bay we finally decided we had enough of the swells, the Coastguard flying through the anchorage and swinging too close to our neighbor boat. Besides that it seemed that most things we were doing now were taking place in Secret Harbor. Several times a week Dirk walked over for volleyball, Monday's was Texas Hold'em, Tuesday's was jam session. To top it off we had to lug the amp, sax, and all the assorted stuff for the walk. It was great for exercise but hot as it could be. I always walked around like I had just gotten caught in the rain as one was soaked after the walk. We found a spot in among the boats and anchored in about 30 feet of water. We were a bit further out in the bay but that was okay. It was still only a short dinghy ride to the dock.
Renegade marked by the pink arrow
Thanks to Cathy Tyda for letting me use her photo. As I said life here was becoming more busy. Seems everyday you had decisions of what to do as there was so many things going on that many things over lapped. Plus you still had to manage to get shopping and laundry done. Shooping from Mt. Hartman Bay is a bit different from Prickly. There you could walk to pick up a city bus anytime just about. Here you had 2 days a week, Tuesday's and Friday's that you could shop without taking a private taxi. There were usually 2 busses a day leaving that would pick up at 9 and 9:30. I always caught the early bus cause I just wanted it to be over. It takes you to the bank, the Spiceland Mall which has the IGA inside and then to the Veggie Shop and finally onto CK's which is like a big box store except its very small. Between all these stops you could usually find everthing you needed but many days that was not the case. It usually got you back to the marina by 11:30 and cost 10 EC per person. They did just raise the price to 15 EC due to fuel prices. Volleyball was a huge part of the day for many and they began to have adult volleyball, kids volleyball, and fun volleyball. Finally they had a tournament started. There were 7 teams and Dirk led the Renegades. Tournament play lasted several weeks to get the teams in order for the finals. Finally finals weekend came and it was a big event, plus very anxious for me when the Renegades were playing.
Here the Renegades are playing The Kids Team
Big crowds showed up for support.
Games went on into the night
Finally...after several close games Team Renegade emerged the winners, The Crazies came in second and The Kids Team in third. The other 4 teams gave it a good go though. They had a ceremony a couple days later to give out medals and prizes.
Team Renegade missing one member Matt.
Dirk with the trophy that will have a plaque made for the marina
Showing off his first place medal
The prizes were a case of beer to split, a bottle of wine and bragging rights. And finally I got to wash his lucky shorts that I wasnt allowed to wash since the beginning of the tournament. Whoa, were they in desperate the way, they lived in the cockpit as they werent allowed down below. Once all the serious volleyball was over we could get back to filling that time in with jam sessions again.
Gary & Dirk playing as the girls sing backup
A different crowd tonight
Scott being all serious
Dirk playing a tune
Sing it....
When we first started attending the jam sessions it seemed they were a bit mild and ended semi early in the evening. Seems though that it got to be where several of us would stay after the regular crowd left and it would be turned into jam session/ karaoke. So much fun, anyone could join in and we even had the staff join in after the manger left for the evening. Many nights we stayed till after 10pm. The bar closes at aroud nine but they stay till we leave. I have to give it to the staff at Secret Harbour. From the bartenders to the kitchen staff, they were all so friendly and wanted to make sure we were taken care of. They have a few problems with management but hopefully for the staff that will work itself out soon. Soon, the Tiki Bar at Prickly Bay started advertising for jam sessions on Thursday nights. Add another day to the calendar....the management however would send a free bus over to pick us up and take us back which was nice. They also gave all the musicans free drink tickets which was gracious. This would be Dirk's first time outside of his comfort circle and he did great.
An actual stage
I know when we leave he will miss the jam sessions and Gary off Neptune II who gave him so much knowledge and confidence. Hopefully we will see them up island and the guys can do impromptu jams along the way. A few other things we manged to fit in was a trip to La Sagesse Nature Center. Its a resort on a great stretch of beach that several couples decided to treat ourselves dinner at. We all put on nicer clothes, a bit of makeup and did what we could with our hair. The resort had a van come pick us up, no charge and take us there. It was a nice 1/2 hour ride up the coast and we arrived at a very quiet secluded area. We ordered a round of Rum Punches and strolled along the the beach taking in the beauty and beach to ourselves before returning for dinner.
Nice secluded beach
Enjoying the sunset
We were seated outside with the setting sun behind us. We were the only people in the place as hurricane is off season for many places. We ordered and had a great meal followed by a flaming dessert.
Our group
Bananas, rum, and icecream
We also found time to attend a benefit concert for Dominica. This was a couple weeks after the hurricane went through and devastated the island. It was at a place called Our Place and it sat along the hillside with Port Louis down below.
Jazz Musican and owner
Gerard playing for us on the bus ride back
Gary played his sax, Gerard the guitarist /singer played and it turned out to be a nice evening. On the way home Gerard played and sang the whole way back for us. And the days kept going on and on. Stay tuned for more Camp Grenada, we are here for a while.

Camp Grenada and My first Hash

Life in Grenada can either be very boring or so busy as there are so many things daily to do. It feels like camp at times because of the social activities. 7:30am is the cruisers net where there is a net controller and they let you know of all social activities going on for the day, shopping bus schedules, people looking for help or parts to fix things, and a section for the island businesses to promote themselves. After sometimes an hour of radio net it is time to either catch your shopping bus, go to yoga or aerobics, or Thai Chi under the almond tree. We were still in Prickly Bay so we were still attending the 1/2 price pizza nights and bingo nights but then volley ball had started at Secret Harbor marina in Mt. Hartman Bay which was the next bay over or a good 15 minute walk. There also was the Tuesday jam sessions for musicans to get together and have fun. We found that our anchorage and mooring were getting rolly and tight. Winds shifted one day and we were so close to our neighbor boat that we had to step on their boat and fend ours off. We also had to fend off the channel marker that had a nice metal spike sticking out of it. It became obvious it was time to go. We told the marina that those two mooring balls were just too close for bigger boats. Besides it would be nice moving over to the next bay to get out of some of the swells we were having.
A little too close
Now thats really too close
This is the channel marker
I had heard about hashes before coming to Grenada. They basically call it runners with a drinking problem. It is basically a way for people to get together, walk or run trails laid out by the hash queens, see the countyside and have an excuse for a party afterwards. Most of the trails are straight forward marked by blobs of shredded paper or arrows showing which turn to take. They also lay out false trails but you dont know it until you reach an x marked in shredded paper. Then you have to turn back, retrace your steps until you can pick up your old trail and try once more to find the real trail. The first one I did Dirk decided not to go as he really doesnt like to hike that much, so I decided to go with some others. The hash this day would take place on the north end of the island and was a long 1 1/2 hour bus ride through the small villages that dot the island. We arrived, I signed in, paid my 2EC and hung out while we waited for the start.
Victorias Ghost and Lequesto
Once the Hashmaster lets us know its almost time to start then everyone gathers around and she gives the rules mostly for the virgins. Yes that would be me and the couple other newbies. Just letting us know about the trails, no picking of any fruits that you see and then they make anyone who has new shoes on drink a beer from them to break them in.
Time to break in new shoes
We began the hash which started on the beach and the the runners break off for their trail and the walkers on our trail.
Let the hash begin

Lots of the trails are on personal property thus no picking of the fruits that were everywhere.
Shredded trail marker
Skinny trails
Part of the way through the hash we came up to a bed and breakfast type place as the trail went through the yard. The guy was great and had a truck waiting with either a free beer or a free water. We chose the beer. I was already carrying a water. His property had beautiful views of the islands north and Carriacou.
Beautiful views
Toasting the view
After taking a rest to enjoy the beer and the views we continued on.
Some trails almost hidden
Some trails heading right through a back yard
And some running trough the front yard
Resident animals greeting us
Other animals too tired to move
And finally back to the beach.
Looking north towards Carriacou

Once we got back I had a beer and was gonna get some BBQ chicken but the line was too long. Someone told me that the oildown which is a traditional dish here was good so I tried it.
Oil Down
There was one piece of chicken in it, bread fruit which I dont care for, plaintains, some green stuff and some salt fish which I really dislike. I even had one of the many stray dogs want some yet refuse to eat what I handed him. I hated waisting it but I couldnt eat it and the person that told me he liked it didnt eat his either. Apparently it was different then what he had before. I should have known with a name like Oil Down what did I expect. After everyone made it back and signed in, the after party begins. First they bring out all the virgins, aka first time hashers which I was one today and made us stand in front of the Hashmaster as she read us our introduction into hashing certificate.
Virgins no more
After reading this to us we are then sprayed with beer from all sides.
Afterwards we were soaked.
Showing off our new certificates
After the welcoming of the virgins the anyone who did something wrong on the hash and got caught had to drink from the Dottie Pottie which has warm beer and must be shared with everyone that got caught with you. Its a small metal bucket that has goodness knows what in it, and never gets washed. But thats the punishment you get for picking fruit and getting caught. After an hour or so of mingling around we loaded back on the bus to take us back. There were three virgins on our bus and stale, sweaty soaked bodies made for a stinky ride back to the marina. It was a blast and I will do it again....