Wednesday, December 22, 2010

'Tis the Season

It's Christmas in the Caribbean!
Christmas carols have been playing in the stores since early November, light displays adorn the businesses and holiday events are taking place around the islands.

 Santa loves the Caribbean and he can ditch the heavy red suit.
HoHoHo becomes YoHoHo and a bottle of rum!

We're glad to see that our home state is well represented in the local supermarkets.

 Check out the gift packs of Wisconsin cheese and sausage complete with 'You cheddar Not Pout, Crackers Toasting on an Open Fire and Tis the Sausage."

 A wreath to hang on the bow has become a tradition on Merengue.

 Making Bailey pose in embarrassing ways is another tradition!

 Home for the Holidays!

Wherever you spend the holiday, we hope it's a good one.
Merry Christmas from Grenada!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Papillon Sails Away

Last time we were saying goodbye to The Dunstan Family on the S/V Orchid.  Here we are enjoying pizza and ice cream at the Tiki Bar. 

 When cruisers arrive or leave Grenada they announce themselves on the VHF radio cruiser's net.  Alexander and Nicolas did one better when they left and read a poem.  We just received a copy and thought we would share it with you.  Merengue received a mention!

I'm afraid to say it's time to go. Will we be back? I don't believe so.

The med is calling, the Pacific too.
There are just so many places, so many things to do.

But it's been a wonderful chapter in the Orchid crew's life.
We've made so many friends here on this Island of Spice.

Silver Heels III as they took us for a run. (I'm sure they said a hash was supposed to be fun...)

Beachhouse's movies have kept the kids entertained.
Their search and rescue operations returned the Lilly crew safe.

Bocci at the Sandbar with Merengue was fun.
I think it's just an excuse though for Jim to drink Rum.

Papillon are great friends, they're dependable and true.
They don't much like computers, but fortunately we do.

Kamaloha, Xicale, Magnum and Free Spirit,
If there was an honor role of good yachties, they'd all be in it.

It's amazing to find so many in such a short time.
At least boats move so we need not leave them behind.

(Ha!  8 and 9 year olds have figured Jim out!)

 This week it was Colin and Sandy's turn (S/V Papillon).
They are headed to the ABC's, Cartegena, the San Blas Islands, Panama and then down through the Pacific to Australia.  They have a great adventure ahead of them!

 It's hard to say goodbye to the good friends we've made along the way.  It's the down-side to this transient lifestyle.
 The crews of Merengue and Papillon will stay in touch and hopefully connect again.  Who knows?  We've always wanted to visit Australia and with Orchid and Papillon living there we have twice the incentive!

Fair Winds Colin and Sandy!

(for all you boat enthusiasts out there Papillon is a South African built Monte Carlo 43)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Fun with Orchid

Much of our time lately has been spent with friends, trying to fit in dinners and excursions before they head off to destinations north and west.  Matthew, Rachel, Alexander and Nicholas of the S/V Orchid came back to Prickly Bay to visit with all their friends before heading north through the islands.  Alexander and Nicholas received an early Christmas present, a Tinker sailing dinghy and I was looking forward to a ride. 

 Alexander picked me up for a cruise around Prickly Bay.

 Now this is sailing!

 When the wind died, Nicholas offered us tow.

 No Wind!  Time to put some muscle into it!

 Later Alexander stopped over to plant some seeds with Jim.  Both Alexander and Nicholas have been fascinated by the plants growing on Merengue (basil, cayenne peppers and a lemon tree all started from seeds).  They want to have a farm back in Australia when they grow up.  Here's Alexander selecting the seeds.....

 ......and planting them in the jelly-jars that Jim had filled with potting soil.  I know we'll be checking in with Alexander to see how things are growing.

There were many other fun events like dinners on Orchid and Merengue, lunch in town and bocce ball on the beach but we were having too much fun to stop and take pictures.

Alas, all good things must come to an end.  Orchid and crew sailed off a week ago to visit the islands up the chain.  They plan on crossing the Atlantic to spend some time in the Mediterranean before heading back through the Caribbean on their way back to Australia. 
Rachel, Matthew, Alexander and Nicolas - we are not saying goodbye, just see you later!  Miss you!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Carnival Ladies 2011 Calendar

Some of the most popular pictures on the Merengue blog are those that Jim takes at Carnival.  With that in mind, he has put together a calendar of the beautiful ladies of carnival, and they are Beautiful!  Are you looking for that last minute Christmas gift or maybe a gift for yourself?  2011 calendars are available at

Saturday, November 27, 2010

An American Thanksgiving in Grenada

 Thursday was our 5th Thanksgiving away from our home port of Milwaukee.  We've been in 4 different countries in those 5 years and have celebrated with friends from our cruising family.  We've spent Thanksgiving in Beaufort, N.C., Puerto Rico, Grenada (2 times) and last year we were sailing from Bequia to St. Lucia.  With the exception of last year when we were sailing, we've always enjoyed a traditional feast.  Last year was probably tuna salad!  

Kim and Ricky at De Big Fish hosted a cruisers pot luck at their restaurant.  The restaurant sits in the north corner of Prickly Bay and is a favorite of the yachties. 

It's also where we leave our dinghy when we go shopping so it's a great place for a cold beer after the hot walk to town.  For the Thanksgiving dinner, De Big Fish staff cooked a turkey and two hams and the cruisers brought all the side dishes and desserts.

John (S/V Silver Seas) carving the ham.

Everyone rushed to get in line for the food.  There were more than 20 side dishes and almost as many desserts.  Everything was delicious.

More then 40 people from all around the world gathered for the celebration.

The captain eagerly awaiting the turkey and ham.  He even snitched a piece of ham while John was carving but because I failed to get a picture he denies it!

Lloyd and Val (S/V Puddle Jumper) who are from Toronto, Canada.

Colin and Sandy (S/V Papillon), our South African but more recently from New Zealand and Australia friends.

Yani (S/V Magus)

Colin decided he wasn't going to let that last scoop of potatoes with blue cheese go to waste.

 Many thanks to our friends at De Big Fish for giving us a memorable Thanksgiving.

You are the best!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Hashing We Will Go!

Long-time followers of this blog know that Jim and I did a bit of hashing during our first season in Grenada.  We still have the scars to prove it!  After several hashes, one of which I considered good, I gave it up. 
I developed rules related to hashing.
Rule #1:  Never, ever do another hash.
Rule #2:  if wavering, see rule #1.
So  it was a great surprise when I decided that I wanted to hash last weekend.
(Someone grab some smelling salts and get my friend Renee up off of the floor)

Of course, it rained hard during the day.  It always seems to rain hard to insure a nice, muddy trail.  This was a moonlight hash and those have to be easy to so that no one gets lost in the rain forest or falls off of a cliff in the dark.  Even better, this one was starting at the Tiki Bar, right here in Prickly Bay.  Very convenient!  Was destiny calling me?  The sky looked ominous when we headed out around 5:30 p.m.  I don't think we'll see that full moon tonight.

A nice surprise at the Tiki Bar.  This is Lincus who we met hashing 2 years ago.
The walkers route turned out to be just what I was hoping for, a nice hike on the roads above Prickly Bay.  Yes, it did rain on us but the temperatures were cool and comfortable.  The walk was about 4 miles with a few steep hills to insure a good workout.
Back at the Tiki Bar, wet but feeling good.
The 3 for 10EC Caribs (about $1.25 U.S. each) never tasted better!
Will I do another one?  You'll have to wait until the next full-moon to see.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What We've Been Up To

The boat repairs from our lightening strike are progressing.  Some of it has been easy, others a little more difficult.  The anemometer (wind direction/speed) that we had is no longer available so we purchased a different model.  Of course they are never the same shape or size so now Jim is trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.  The VHF radio we want is ordered and should arrive in a few weeks.  And so on, and so on.... 
Here are just a few of the fried instruments we took off and replaced.
Owen from Enza Marine did the repairs at the top of the mast.  He spent most of the day in the bosun's chair...
... but remained ever cheerful. 
Remember, when you think you've got it bad, there is always someone who has it worse.  This small, uninhabited boat just sunk one day.  It is owned by a Grenadian and kept on a mooring in Prickly Bay.  We don't know how the leak happened but one day it was floating and the next day..... glug!  Divers attempted to re-float it with an airbag.  They had it part way up when the airbag ruptured and the boat sank again.  It kind of puts our repairs in perspective, doesn't it.
October 13th was our 31st wedding anniversary and we decided to treat ourselves to lunch at BB's Crabback.  That's a painting of chef BB in the corner of the photo with the restaurant behind.
The restaurant is very casual with a great view across the Carenage toward Grand Anse Beach, Port Louis Marina and St. George's.  The food is anything but ordinary!
For starters we had the signature dish  Crab backs (left) and spicy Salt fish Fritters.
Our main course was a spicy, chicken dish, curried goat (easily the best we've ever tasted) and a side of pumpkin fritters.  When BB learned we were celebrating our anniversary he treated us to ice cream served with a passion fruit and rum sauce.  Delicious!
We don't treat ourselves to fine-dining very often opting instead for the less expensive, local cuisine like rotis or chicken served with rice and peas and provision ( a sample of starches such as breadfruit, pumpkin, squash, dasheen, etc).  I'm sure we'll treat ourselves to BB's Crabback again.

The thing that has been frustrating about our 2 months in Grenada is that Jim and I have been sick about half of that time.  The day before Natalie came to visit I came down with a flu bug.  Luckily it only lasted 48 hours and I was feeling good when she arrived.  Unfortunately, I gave it to Jim who was sick for her first 2 days here.  Then several weeks later we both became very sick.  We thought we might have Dengue Fever, a mosquito-born illness that has been showing up throughout the Caribbean.  We had flu-like symptoms; high fever, head and body-aches but then we developed very bad coughs.  Maybe we had bronchitis, we still don't know.  We wondered if the neighboring boats could hear us coughing and we thought about hanging up our quarantine flag to warn everyone to stay away!  We ran a fever for a week and it took another week for us to get our energy back.  We were miserable.  Friends checked on us and picked up groceries when we needed something.  Then after recovering for a couple of weeks I caught a cold!  I don't think I've had a cold since I left the States 4 years ago!  Guess my immune system was not fully recovered.  And in the spirit of sharing, I've now given the cold to Jim.  That's 3 illnesses in 2 months times 2 people.  Sheesh!  So the blog has suffered along with our social life but we have managed to get in a few outings between illnesses. 
 Our Sunday routine this year has been to join Matt and Karen (S/V Where II) at the Sandbar on Calabash Beach for a game of Bocce Ball.  It's the Aussie's vs the Americans!

 You have to love a sport that you can play with a rum punch in your hand.

 The crew of another Aussie boat S/V Orchid joined us for a game.  That's Alexander, Nicholas, Matthew and Rachel.
 Matt and Jim buying refreshments from the happy crew at the Sandbar.  That's P on the right who makes a great rum punch and supplies me with the Packer scores.

Another Sunday, another match.  Karen and Matt talking with Christine and Guy (S/V Princess of Tides).

On Friday nights, the town of Gouyave holds a fish festival.  They block off two streets and vendors cook fresh fish and lobster as well as a wide variety of side dishes.  It's always fun and great eating.  We headed out with the Orchid family and Colin and Sandy (S/V Papillon).  It did rain on us but it couldn't dampen the fun.
At one point we asked someone to take a photo of our group.  We ended up with a great shot of our shoes!  Ooops, guess I forgot to tell you about the red-eye delay with that camera.  Next shot and he cut Rachel out of the picture.
We finally ended up with this picture of the happy, although wet crew.
Here's one of the vendors cooking over a grill that is made out of an old wheel rim.  We are always amazed at the ingenuity.  This is a big batch of lambi (conch) chowder.  The chowder wasn't quite ready when we took this picture and Jim forgot to go back later.  Guess we'll have to go back again.