Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Many visits in Grenada

On the island of Carriacou, just north of the main island of Grenada, we visited this family boat factory where father and sons build local wooden boat by hand passing their skills from one generation to another. Everything is made here on site with some local woods as well as many imported essences. The visit here was short but this is the kind of things that you have to see once in your lifetime.

Waterfalls in the islands are one of the main attractions for tourists and we didn’t escape it either but this time we brought our swimming suit. The water, flowing from the mountains, was actually pretty cool compare to the sea water we usual swim in, which is at 87°F. But what took us a bit by surprise was how much less we float in fresh water compare to salt water. After 6 months of swimming in salt water we had to wiggle quite a bit more to stay afloat!

This is a spice house and this is the kind of place that if you don’t travel you’ll never see something like this. In this building the workers, paid about $8 per day, will work on preparing different spices before they get shipped to the processing plan. The ladies here are extracting the nuts from the nutmeg fruit as well as a red substance covering the nuts called mace, which is also a hot spice. They also process clove, chocolate, pimento, cinnamon and some other leafs I don’t remember the names. In the large racks outside you can see the cocoa drying and they can push the wheeled racks under the house to protect the seeds from the rain.

Here, like in the spice house, we had the impression of travelling 80 years back in time in this nutmeg processing plan. They would take the nutmeg nuts, dry them on those large wooden racks for a few days then crack them open and extract the nuts that would be sold, among other things, to spice companies. Nutmegs and many other farm products were a large industry in Grenada before the hurricane Yvan stroke the island in 2004 and destroyed nearly 80% of the trees. A nutmeg tree takes apparently around 20 years before producing quality nuts, so you can imagine that this industry is not about to be back on its feet before long here.

We went to visit this little fresh water pond called “Grand Etang”, which is in the hole of a dead volcano. The pond was not as interesting as all these kids who were there with their parents and who had a good time getting filmed on our handycam and seeing themselves back on the LCD monitor of the camera. Claudette here couldn’t resist getting her picture with our guide Raymond after the visit.