Friday, May 23, 2014

Turtle Watch



Last week we went on a Turtle Watch for the first time.  This has been on my "Bucket List" for years and I was very excited to think that I may be allowed to witness this amazing event.  Luck was with us as we arrived at Levera beach on the northeast coast of Grenada just as a Leatherback turtle was making her way on to the beach!
 
No white lights or flash photography is allowed so it was difficult to get pictures but here are a few.
This leatherback turtle is approximately 5 feet in length and when she spread her flippers her "wingspan" was 6-7 feet.  Our tour guide thought she might weigh 800 lbs.  The turtle, not the guide!
Leatherback turtles have been on earth since the dinosaur age but their numbers continue to decrease and they are endangered.


 
Red flashlights illuminated the turtle for us.  What you are seeing here is the back-end as she is digging the hole to lay her eggs.  She digs with her rear flippers until she has a hole approximately 1 foot in diameter and 18 inches deep.

 
This turtle built her nest too close to the waterline so the researchers picked up the eggs as the turtle laid them and placed them in a bucket.  They had already prepared a new nest higher up the beach for the eggs.


Here's the researcher placing the eggs in the nest.  There were 84 yolk or fertilized eggs as well as a number of unfertilized.  They were approximately the size of a billiard ball.
 



 
 
In this picture, there is a researcher on the right holding a hypodermic needle as he gets ready to tag the turtle.  In the foreground is the turtle's huge front flipper.
 
The turtle then begins the laborious task of burying the eggs, pushing sand back with her front flippers and packing it down with her body.  She doesn't know that her eggs have been moved to safer ground.  The process of digging the hole, laying her eggs and then burying them takes several hours and she is exhausted but she's not finished yet.  She moves away from her nest and begins to dig again, creating a fake nest in the hope of fooling predators. 
 
At this point her exhaustion is great and she has difficulty just moving her huge body toward the sea.  She lumbered down into the water and eventually disappeared below the surf.  We were told that she would return again in about 10 days to lay more eggs and would lay eggs several times over the breeding season.  We found ourselves just standing there on the beach, not moving, in awe of what we had just witnessed.
 
One sobering fact; researchers believe that only 1 in 1000 leatherback turtles live to maturity.
 
 
 
 


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tri de Spice




 
Before you get the wrong idea, no we did not compete in a triathlon.
Of course, those who know me would never jump to that conclusion.
Jim maybe, Wendy never!
But we really enjoyed going to watch the event.
The Grenada Tri De Spice is held every Easter if you're interested in competing next year.

 
Swimmers begin to arrive for the start at Port Louis Marina.

 
Rounding the mark with a view of St. George's in the background.


Front row seat, I mean board for the race.

 
Transitioning to the bike race.


The leader in the Sprint division from Trinidad and Tobago.

The women's leader in the Sprint division was from the U.K.
Participants could compete in the Sprint Race or the Olympic Triathlon.
It was inspiring just watching these amazing athletes.
 
 

De Big Fish



"Where everybody knows your name.
And they're always glad you came."
 
Remember that theme from the TV show Cheers?
De Big Fish in Grenada has been our Cheers for 5 years.

 


Tomorrow it will open for the last time.
Saturday was the last big bash!
We ate and drank and laughed and danced!


Hope and Steve (S/V Starshine)
 

Margit and Wolfgang (S/V MoMo)


Maurice and Maria (S/V Cattiva)

And many more friends that I neglected to take pictures of.
We have celebrated birthdays, Christmas, New Years, arrivals and departures, held pot luck dinners and fundraisers at De Big Fish.
Thank you to Rikky and staff for all the memories!

 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sundays at the Pool


I love Sundays.
Sundays in Grenada, that is.
I know that we are retired and that one day should be the same as the next but for some reason that I can't explain, they aren't.  Businesses are closed on Sunday so the island is quiet.  There are activities during the week and chores but there are also lots of days when we don't do much of anything.  Sunday should be a good boat project day but we rarely use our time for that.  On Sunday mornings we go for a swim at the University Club.  We might meet friends or hang out alone.  We sit by the pool and read a book, maybe play bocci ball, have lunch or nap in a lounge chair.  Lately we've taken to treating ourselves to a pina colada from the beach bar.  It makes us feel like we are on vacation.  Yes, even when you live in paradise you need a vacation.  Or at least a change from the everyday.
We call that Sunday.



Our "private pool" as no one else was there when we arrived.


Jim in his favorite Sunday spot.


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Grenada Fun!


We have been very busy lately!
So much to do, so much fun to be had!
A few weeks ago we decided to play tourist and headed out around the island.  For some of us it was a visit to new places and for others, a return to a favorite.  It was a great day!


We visited Belmont Estate, where they process cocoa for the Grenada Chocolate Company.
There is also a new endeavor since my last visit.  They are raising goats and making wonderful cheese.






We also took a tour of West India Spices, Inc where they bottle essential oils like lemongrass, nutmeg and allspice.  Beautiful, modern operation and an interesting tour.


Another day we rode 2 buses to get to the town of Grenville to try out a restaurant we heard about.  You know you are retired and living on a island when you can spend 6 hours just going to lunch!  But it was worth it and the trip across the island is beautiful.  We took the bus through the Grand Etang rain forest to get there and the coastal road back which makes the ride another island tour!


While in Grenville we were treated to this parade of students.  They were celebrating the kick-off of their inter-school track and field competition.




The Grand Etang road to Grenville


Another culinary adventure was the Oil Down that Cutty, our taxi driver friend invited cruisers to.  Oil Down is the national dish of Grenada and is a wonderful stew of green banana and papaya, callaloo, coconut milk, turmeric, dumplings, breadfruit and chicken, pork or saltfish.  It's cooked in a huge kettle over an open fire and typically is a neighborhood event.  Everyone helps.


Ready for the fire and covered in callaloo leaves which is similar to spinach.
Delicious!


Monday, March 17, 2014

Breakfast of Champions!


Mom always said, "Drink your Milk!"
OK, if I must, I must.
Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone.
Slainte!


Guinness and Milk

Ingredients:
1 Guiness
1 cup evaporated milk
3/4 cup milk (2%)
8 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
pinch of nutmeg
1 cup ice
2 drops Angostura bitters
pinch of cinnamon

Place all ingredients in a blender and give it a good pulse.  Enjoy!


Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Red Dress Run




The last time I hashed was about 3 years ago.  I've done about 6 before this and liked 2 of them.
So I gave it up.  I like to hike not crawl around on my hands and knees in the rain forest!
So Jim was surprised, no let's say shocked when I told him that I thought I'd like to hash on Saturday.
I was a little surprised myself.
Why does a person go back to do something they said they'd never do again?
Does time heal the wounds, numb the pain?  It must or women would never have more than one baby.
Maybe I wanted to prove to myself that I could still handle it.
Or maybe I am becoming an absent-minded, old fart who can't remember what she had for breakfast much less remember that she is in no shape for a Grenada Hash!
Well, never mind all that.  The important thing is that I did it.  It was the Valentine's Day Red Dress Run.  Everyone was encouraged to wear a red dress.  Yes, everyone.
It was also a charity event that raised over 1000 EC dollars.  On On!


The hash started at Mocha Spoke, a coffee house/bike rental shop and then cut across the St. George's University campus.  This was one of the reasons I chose this hash.  
It was close to home and not in the rain forest.

The trail took us past the airport and up over a hill toward an area called Calliste 
before returning to True Blue.




To say that everyone got into the spirit of the event would be an understatement.
There were a few raised eyebrows from Grenadians as the hashers wound their way through the neighborhoods.  Here are just a few of the red dress participants.








In case you were wondering, yes, Jim did get into the spirit!
Here he is with our friend Rikky.


Hope and Wendy in the only red clothes we own!

These are the "Virgin" Hashers being initiated into the fold.

So back to the question I raised earlier.  Why did I go to another Hash?