Roxanne (Dawn Dancer) organized a great day long tour for us, Fine Line, and Roxanne’s visiting brother.  We left Clarke Court’s Bay early Monday, Kennedy was our tour guide.  Kennedy is a 3rd generation Grenadian, with his family originally coming over from India. 

There are really two ways to explore an island, by yourself or with a tour guide.  We have done both.  In Dominican Republic and Guadeloupe we rented a car and drove by ourselves.  In Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat we used tour guides.  We like both ways.  It’s fun to go off by yourself and explore, and I strongly suggest doing that, but if you  only go alone, and not with a guide, you miss knowing personal things about the island that only a native can give you.  Plus, we are really into the flora and fauna and having a guide really helps us know the plants and animals of the area.

As we left Clarke Courts Bay, Kennedy pointed to a levelled ridge, not far from where we we anchored.

“You see where that mountain is flattened, and no trees are there?  That is where the US did most of the bombing during the Invasion of Grenada.”

That’s a little unsettling to be anchored next to a former war zone!!  The US Invasion of Grenada is an interesting topic, and the great thing is you can hear all about it from people who actually went through it.  Everyone we have talked to about it was very happy for the US support.  In fact, Grenadians and other Caribbean islands were begging us to come in and help them after Maurice Bishop was killed.  Around town you will still see signs saying “Thank you Americans.”  Although I am not one of those people who think the world hates us personally, (maybe only our government) it’s nice to be wanted!!

Our tour was mainly a “spice tour.”  We visited an old plantation to learn how chocolate is made.  Seriously, if you ever saw a cacao tree you would never figure out.   First, it is a pod about 10 inches or less, orangish, resembling a gourd but not as hard.  It grows directly from the trunk of the tree, not on a branch.  You open the pod and pull out a long white string of beans, surrounded by slimy white pulp.  It looks nothing like a bean really, but if you pop one in your mouth and suck on it, delicious!!!  You still wouldn’t think it’s chocolate though.  The beans are cleaned and dried in the sun.  From there you have your  cocoa bean to make chocolate.  The process is extremely labor intensive.  Here is a great website that tells more about it  Grenada chocolate is a dark chocolate that comes in two types, 60% and 70% chocolate.  I didn’t use to be a dark chocolate fan but I really like the 60% bar.  They don’t use dairy in their bars so they don’t melt in the heat.  Great for days of 90 plus digress and 80% humidity!!!

   The next stop was the nutmeg processing plant.   Again, very labor intensive.  The sorting, the drying, the packaging to ship overseas, all done by women. 

  Nutmeg being dried.    Sorting    bags of nutmeg ready to ship out 

    more sorting      I know this picture is blurry but I love the sign.  I am thinking of making one for our boat!


 OK.  Let me just stop here and make an OBSERVATION.  Island women work VERY HARD.  On any island.  They own the shops, they run the businesses, they take care of the children, they make the meals and keep the household.  Some men do work, fishing, taxi drivers and I am sure they work hard, but the vast majority of workers that we SEE are female.  In every island of course, we see lots of men watching the women working.   It’s a tough life for an island woman.  But I digress.  Back to the nutmeg factory.

The farmer brings in the nutmeg.  The nutmeg is sorted keeping only the visual best, then dried, then put into water to judge the oil content, dried again, then sorted by size and shipped out.  Grenada has aobut 10% of the world’s nutmeg market.  The islands’s nutmeg trees were wiped out by Hurricane Ivan (September 2004) and since it takes about 12 years for a nutmeg tree to mature, they are well below their normal crop. 

Our last stop was the Rum Factory.  Really, if you want to drink local rum, DO NOT VISIT the local rum factory.  The vats are open. their are bugs everywhere, it’s dirty.  The final process cleans all that up I am sure but you don’t need to watch it made.  This factory made 70% rum.  That’s 150 proof!   Jim, Roxanne and Dan sampled it and it nearly killed them.  It burned their mouth.  In case you were foolish enough to buy some, our tour guide pointed out that the airlines won’t allow you to bring 70% rum on the plane.  That says it all!!!


   Grenada’s goodness 


  it was all too exciting for Roxanne!