Back in school

The kids have been back in school for about a week now. It’s going pretty well.  Some of their school books I had ordered are still in the States so we went shopping for textbooks at the teachers store in Grenada.  Very impressive.  I had gotten Tristan some geography textbooks and a topography book on how to read map/contour lines  in a great store in Nevis.  He loved them.  The store here was even more impressive.  I bought Spanish textbooks for both of them, writing and grammar for Tessa, Caribbean history, more geography and more reading books, (though we are never short of those!!).  The books are very engaging, lots of colors and pictures.  Tristan and Tessa prefer them over the Calvert home school books.    I have to say, they do a really good job with the textbooks in the Caribbean.  I think they may still be under the United Kingdom as far as schooling influences, and it’s very impressive!  Grenada also has a 98% literacy rate according to the taxi drivers here.  They certainly do read alot as there are several bookstores in town.

Photos

   Alegria under sail

 

   Mary, Tessa and I at Monday Night Mas  Carnival Grenada

 

   Steve’s birthday

 

  Fred and Kathy

The Hash of “You know that storm that turned into hurricane Gustav?????”

You know, most people would sit out a storm on their boats, but not us.  We chose to join the ”Hash” and expose our kids to 45 knot winds, stinging rain, lightening on a mountaintop, and dark of night during a nearly 3 1/2 hour HIKE!!!

FIrst some background. 

All the way down the island chain, we had read with great interest this thing called a “Hash”.  A hash is basically a run or walk down a trial set up by the hash leader.   The trail is marked by paper with a few false trails along the way to keep you on your toes.  The course can be set up through town, or through countryside.  Renee and Mike on Jacumba were regular participants and we were eager to join.  The first hash was a moonlight hash.  As it would be late, Dan graciously agreed to sit this one out with the kids.  I joined Makia, FIne LIne, Merengue, Jacumba and others on a nice moonlight walk along the streets, backyards and across two creeks in the hour or so walk.  A great time.

The next one however…………

We took the kids this time.   The hash started at St George’s University, and within the first ten minutes of the hash, it started raining.  No problem.  It rains almost everyday here, but just for a short time.  This time it didn’t stop.  And the wind started blowing. We were walking with Fine Line, Renee and Mike on Jacumba were ahead, and we had lost sight of Fred and Kathy (Makai).  We were nearly at the back of the group.  Steve’s phone rings and it’s Jim on Dawn Dancer.  We are all anchored together in the harbor.  The wind is blowing 45 knots and it’s a white out.  Salida (Jim and Liz) is dragging.  The other boats seem alright.  We keep moving and then Anne, Steve and Dan stop to talk to Jim again.  Jim tells them there is nothing they can do as they couldn’t make it back to the boats anyway as the wind was so strong it was shearing the tops off the waves.  You couldn’t make it out to the boats in a dinghy anyway.  We might as well keep going. 

While this conversation is going on, I and the kids have been walking with Renee, not realizing that Dan has stopped with Anne and Steve.  When we reach the end of the field the trail is not marked well and takes a sharp turn off road, and up the ridge. I look back for Dan and he is nowhere to be seen.  I wait a few moments, but still don’t see him.  I have a choice, wait for him or keep up with the pack.  I learned a good rule of hashing the first night.  Stay with someone who knows where they are going.  I perceived that to be Renee, who I was rapidly losing sight of.  I grabbed the kids and headed off.  We didn’t see Dan the rest of the hash.

 

Heading up the top of the hill, we passed Fred and Kathy.  They had gotten their call from Jim on Dawn Dancer.  Basically the same news, stay put, you can’t make it back anyway.  On top of the hill it got worse.  The wind was strong, driving the rain into us, and now we had thunder and lightening!  I was beginning to get worried as I know we had only just started the hash, and we had a long way to go.  Once on top of the hill, we had to go down.  Not an easy feat, has the hill had turned into a mud bath.  One cruiser was pulling needles out of himself after having slipped into a cactus!!  Tessa was starting to get a little scared and Tristan and I did our best to talk her out of it.  One girl was crying, as her parents were trying to get her down the steep slope.  Even the dogs were whining!!  The best way down was on your butt, and with the rain and lightening cheering us on, that’s exactly what we did.  I followed Kathy down, next Tristan, then Tessa.  Actually, that part was alot of fun, kind of like in the movie “Romancing the Stone” where they slide in the mud down the hillside.  That done, we wiped ourselves off the best we could and continued on, and on, and on.  

The trail took many twists and turns, and I kept on the kids to keep up, don’t lose sight of the group.   I was determined not to let Renee out of my sight.  I had given Dan the bag with the money and water in it, so if we got lost, I couldn’t even pay for a bus to get us home.  A few times I even had to make the kids run to keep up.  This was turning into a bad reality show!! 

We had been going a long time, and now it was starting to get dark.  Scratch that, it was very dark.  Luckily, Tristan (who somehow was now leading the group) found the route down our last hill, and one of  the girls in the group knew where we were.  She took us on a shortcut.  Well, since it still involved another mile or so hike, it wasn’t really a big shortcut, but we took it none the less. 

 The kids were wet, cold and exhausted and I gave Tessa a piggyback ride the last half mile.  The kids kept asking where Dan was, and I told them I assumed he may have gone back to the boat to check on it.  We were all thirsty and tired and I hoped I would be able to borrow some money from someone for something to drink.  Back at the university, over 3 hours later, Tristan spotted Dan.  We were so glad to see him!!!  Turns out, he had completed the hash with Anne and Steve, though he was suspiciously not muddy.  Later we figured they missed the trail that took us over the muddy ridge, and came down the road instead, finishing about 20 minutes before us!!!  There were still several people out there.  Thankfully Fred and Kathy made it back not too long after us.  We sat at the student union for awhile, eating pizza, swapping stories and trying to warm up.  All in all, it was a long hike.  I was very proud of the kids for hanging in there the way they did.  I only wish I had pictures.  Renee on Jacumba’s website has some good shots of the kids and I after mud mountain.  Check it out www.jacumbaatsea.blogspot.com   Look under Tropical Hash August 24!

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