Island Love Affair

We were just playing around for a few weeks, but before we knew it, several months had passed. We never intended for anything long-term to develop. But we fell in love! We think about her all the time. We have such fond memories that we know we will see her again; must see her again! We are even dreaming of maybe, sometime in the distant future, making our relationship permanent. Oh, Grenada, how you stole our hearts!

Grenada is the end of the line for many cruisers. Its location as one of the southernmost islands of the Eastern Caribbean makes it a logical and convenient stopping point to wait out hurricane season. Some sailors head back north, some launch west to island-hop their way toward Colombia and Central America, some never leave. In our case, we had been moving quickly from island to island for months, and the chance to drop anchor and stay a while was quite appealing.

Grenada has all the conveniences a cruiser needs; from large grocery stores, to full-service marinas, and enough natural and cultural beauty for months of exploration. The sailing cruiser community is quite active, and social activities abound. There is so much to do, that a fellow cruiser dubbed it Camp Grenada. There’s even a daily radio net that gives you the rundown on all the day’s activities.

No island is complete without a distillery tourNo island is complete without a distillery tour
Sundays are big gathering days at the beachSundays are big gathering days at the beach
Listening to local bands at dinghy raft-up concertListening to local bands at dinghy raft-up concert
Kimberly even played in a weekly volleyball gameKimberly even played in a weekly volleyball game

Something amazing happened when we slowed down a bit from our usual pace and let ¡Pura Vida! grow roots. We felt like we were in a neighborhood. We woke up to the same nearby boats and cruisers every morning.

¡Pura Vida! changes from sailing configuration to "cocoon" state for long stays¡Pura Vida! changes from sailing configuration to "cocoon" state for long stays
Our "neighborhood" at Hog Island in southern GrenadaOur "neighborhood" at Hog Island in southern Grenada
Grilled lobster dinner on the beach, courtesy of Haig and Nicci on Flip Flops

We developed bonds of friendship with adults and kids alike. We shared stories, food, experiences, and probably too much alcohol. We built friendships that will endure despite the now-growing distances between our hulls.

“Almost farewell” get together with Flip Flops and Ketchy Shuby

We don’t say goodbye. We bid farewell with a smiling “see you again on some island!”

Our local friend, Sperry, cooking the traditional Grenadian dish, "Oil Down"Our local friend, Sperry, cooking the traditional Grenadian dish, "Oil Down"
Everyone chipped in for the food prepEveryone chipped in for the food prep
Lots of fresh ingridientsLots of fresh ingridients
Sperry shredding coconut and tumericSperry shredding coconut and tumeric
Even the kids helpedEven the kids helped
This lobster is almost bigger than the kidsThis lobster is almost bigger than the kids

But it was not the conveniences, the cruiser community, or even the relatively safe location from hurricanes that made us fall in love with Grenada. It was the smiles! Grenadians are friendly and helpful to a fault. They seem genuinely happy that you are visiting and will go out of their way to make sure you enjoy yourself. Locals would stop us to give us tips about where to go, how to get there, what to eat, etc. Bus drivers would back up down a busy street, and almost get into shouting matches trying to out-do each other to see who would give us a ride. It’s strange at first, but you get used to it, and then you are home!

GRE - Carnival Fancymas (1)
GRE - Carnival Fancymas (46)
GRE - Carnival Fancymas (15)
GRE - Carnival Fancymas (55)

The natural beauty of the island is hard to describe, so I’ll let the pictures do the talking. We hiked up tropical forests, jumped in waterfalls, swam in secluded reefs, and walked along beaches bathed in the golden-orange glow of a setting sun.

A turtle hatchling swam up to ¡Pura Vida!A turtle hatchling swam up to ¡Pura Vida!
Caribbean Squid aboundCaribbean Squid abound
The underwater sculpture garden is a must seeThe underwater sculpture garden is a must see
A common octopus trying to hideA common octopus trying to hide
We saw Banded Butterflyfish on almost every dive/snorkelWe saw Banded Butterflyfish on almost every dive/snorkel
Smooth Trunkfish like to chill in the shade of our hullSmooth Trunkfish like to chill in the shade of our hull

We toured the island with Cutty, a man that is more professor than tour-guide. He stopped the bus often to teach us about the flora and fauna of the Spice Island. We ended the day-long tour soaking in the chilly waters of a cascading waterfall, and processing all our newfound knowledge of this thrilling place.

Click here for our entire Cutty Island Tour photo album

Cutty, our tour guide and "professor"Cutty, our tour guide and "professor"
Royal Mount Carmel waterfallsRoyal Mount Carmel waterfalls
We never get tired of the sunsetsWe never get tired of the sunsets
Swinging on the beach at Hog IslandSwinging on the beach at Hog Island

Even the mundane is fun in Grenada. Shopping in the hustle and bustle of the downtown market is exciting and overwhelming to the senses. So many colors, sounds, tastes, and the ever-present scents of fresh spices emanating from the market stalls. Each stall has way more than just spices for sale. If you have time, each stall has a historian willing to share their personal piece of Grenadian life.

And then, there’s Carnival! For these two die-hard Mardi Gras fans, it was unbridled bliss. Loud music, street food, mobile bars, vibrant costumes ranging from the elaborate to the nearly non-existent. Everyone danced and jumped in the streets, from toddlers to the elderly. It was an exuberant celebration of life. It was home!

Click here for our entire Carnival 2017 photo album

As we leave Grenada sailing north to explore some of the islands of the Eastern and Northern Caribbean that we rushed through this spring, we know we will be back. Definitely next year for hurricane season, but, eventually, maybe forever!

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