My brother and sister and I spent a great deal of time over the many recent months in a three-way text chat. Margaret and I could vent, and Michael would regale us with his humor. We were in the middle of such a chat and I needed to break off. Our fresh fruit and vegetable stores were decidedly weak so I texted my brother and sister “Off on a Hike to find some fruit.” Margaret texted back “Are you two reduced to foraging for food again?” Michael responded “I don’t think she means traipsing through the jungle.” Well actually…..
Grenada Marine is a nice quiet marina that has recently made some significant improvements, but one of them is not, a decision to no longer permit some food vendors (mobile bakery and seafood, in particular) inside the gates. There is a very nice restaurant, but sailors are a stingy lot and eat relatively few meals out.
Our hike for Fresh Produce
George, my better half, recalled a fruit and vegetable stand that was only two mountains and a couple of miles away so off we went. Largely unbeknownst to me, as I have an exactly zero sense of direction, George strayed a bit here and there to take in a few other sites he was interested in checking out.
The hike was absolutely delightful. Along the way we got a look at the progress being made on the construction of the Six Senses Luxury Hotel Resort to the west of La Sagesse Bay while Duhkxy played hide and seek in the tall grass.
We also passed through a region of farmland that had sufficient water resources from a large stream to supply an irrigation system. There were thriving fields of “local spinach”, cherry tomatoes, lettuce and seasoning peppers (in order below).
As well as many fruit-bearing trees.
Soursop trees with maturing fruit, and buds.
Trees bearing a local nut called almond. We purchased a bottle of these nuts at one of the fruit stands – they are less than a fifth the size of the almonds you are most likely familiar with and do taste quite a bit like an almond.
A couple of cows and some beautiful flowers we have not seen before – a special plus for residing and cruising in Grenada during seasons we have not been here for previously.
Lastly, we stocked up on passion fruit, oranges, grapefruit, bananas, avocado, mangoes, coconuts, cucumbers, pumpkin, “almonds”, peppers, cabbage, ginger, and sorrel. It was a successful and thoroughly interesting day.
A Recent Sample of Michael’s humor for your entertainment (spoiler, not flattering with respect to our soon to be ex-President).
Trump reportedly considering sending Melania on an extended tour of campaign-like rallies, promoting hs current conspiracy theory of extensive voter fraud. Confidantes and advisors hint that this is part of a well laid plan that the President has outlined to reverse the election results in his favor. When asked for comment on these rumors, Melania replied “Well laid? Well, I guess there is always a first time.”
The Grenada Hash is not a local culinary dish or mood enhancer. It stems from a long history of Hashes, first imagined and initiated by a group of British soldiers in Malaysia in 1938, who were looking for a fun way to stay fit without foregoing their penchant for beer. The playful slogan for this Hash Club, and subsequent Hash Clubs is:
A trail is created by a club member referred to as a Hare and and the Hash is on. The Hares, in our experience, take devilish delight in creating trails through challenging terrain and incorporating false trails. The concept took some time to catch on, with the interruption of World War II, but today there are almost 2000 chapters all over the world.
The first Hash in Grenada was held in 1985, and with limited interruptions is held on each Saturday. The Grenada Hash Club is purportedly one of the largest in the World with 150-300 regular participants http://grenadahash.com. This season the Hashes, which ordinarily occur on each Saturday in Grenada, were interrupted for several months while restrictions on gatherings were in effect to stem the spread of Covid 19. A handful of long devoted hashers were so despondent on Saturdays that they formed an interim Bird Watchers Club until the Hash started up again on September 26.
The Grenada Hash, garners a lot of participation.
Prior to the Hash beginning, members of the Hash Club circulate throughout the participants looking for those sporting new sneakers or running shoes. These may be confiscated in the guise of testing their integrity for the rigorous trail. (SPOILER: The true reason is for a customary ceremony that entails the unsuspecting, unfortunate, owner drinking beer from the shoe.)
Separate Hash trails are laid out for Runners and Walkers. Some Hashes include two walker trails – one easier and / or shorter than the other. The trails are identified by periodic deposits of shredded paper (in Grenada) or flour. You must be vigilant to ensure you keep track of these markings as there are false trails that can lead you astray. There are invariably some parts that are steep, some wet and muddy, and some bushwhacking. More often than not there are some remnants of shoes that fell apart.
George and I participated in our first Hash on Saturday, January 23rd, 2020. It was Grenada Hash Number 1122 and was laid out by the Hash Hare “Sex Problem”. As first-time Hashers we were referred to as Virgins. Before each Hash begins, all Virgins are called to the front of the crowd for instructions (mostly lies and obfuscations). You are also informed that at the end of the Hash Virgins will be reconvened for a short ceremony to commemorate your loss of your Virginity and receive your certificate. You will want to make sure you show up for this fun ceremony. One Hash in which we participated had an extra closing ceremony for a pair of Hashers who had just received their official nicknames and another for two dedicated Hashers who had announced their intent to get married.
Dogs are welcome and when the University is in session, many Vets in training bring theirs along. All the dogs must stay on a leash and are very well behaved.
The dogs are even better behaved at the end of the Hash (see below).
Of the eight Hashes we have participated in so far, my favorite brought us through an interior part of Grenada with large and small farms and homes with vegetable gardens and/or vegetable and fruit plants tucked in wherever there was a bit of room.
Each Hash is different and they are all fun. They offer you some great exercise while you are introduced to parts of Grenada you might not otherwise see and people you might not otherwise meet.
As the United States Presidential election approached, conversations in Grenada frequently strayed into opinions about the candidates, and speculation about who would prevail. We have not met many American cruisers who support Trump, although they do exist. When we spoke with a like-minded American, various outrages were voiced and then someone would suggest the unpleasant topic be dropped. The most interesting discussions were those with Grenadian citizens and people visiting from countries other than the US.
The electoral college was a frequent topic when speaking with non-Americans, and many people were incredulous that the presidential election would not be decided by the popular vote. My explanation was that the electoral college was intended to give a fair share of voice to each state. Many would concede that they could understand some value to the process, but still far preferred their country’s use of the popular vote as the sole determinant.
As to the candidates and who would win – the great majority of non-Americans thought Trump to be without morals and foolish. They were confounded by his continued popularity in the Unites States and judged the US harshly, as a result. A disappointing number of opinions shared were that Trump would win. Disappointing, in that the view expressed was a condemnation the intelligence and morality of Americans.
Ice Floe and we are back in the water
Ice Floe was returned to the water bright and early November 2nd and we spent most of the day stowing things we brought back from our apartment, and otherwise getting her ready to sail. To be truthful, George spent most of the day in this pursuit. I made contributions when I could tear myself away from the pre-election news and texting with my brother and sister.
George and I slept well on the boat on the eve of the election with near certainty that Biden would win. The following day and for the balance of the week I was consumed by the need to follow the frequent changes in who was ahead in key states, and fretful over how close the vote was turning out in key states.
Saturday – The Grenada Hash and a new president is elected.
George and I hopped on the bus taking us to the Grenada Hash (a rigorous run or walk through the hilly interior of Grenada) with light hearts as shortly before, the results in Pennsylvania had just been called for Biden, thereby securing his successful run for president. We completed the Hash, and if not for a very steep slope toward the end, we would, for once, not have come in last. George had tied Duhkxy’s leash to a stump at the top of the incline that helped getting down the embankment and those that followed were pleased to use it, as well.
We took the bus back to Whisper Cove for a lovely dinner to celebrate the outcome of the election. We could not help but notice a young woman (American), who we learned is a full-time cruiser, dressed in such a way as to leave no doubt to the joy she felt in Biden’s election.
As we shared our happiness at the outcome of the election I mentioned that I had told George we would not put up a new American flag at Ice Floe’s stern until we had a new president. The young woman said she had made the same pronouncement to her shipmate.
We saw no cheering crowds, no dancing in the street, fireworks, or other displays of celebrations. Just a quiet sigh of reiief, a joyous sense of hope, shared by a couple of Americans who found themselves in Grenada for this historic election, It was more than enough,
We left off on our last update in the Pourquerolles on June 27. Early the next morning we headed out to Cassis.
We visited Cassis briefly on our sail with Marilla and Mitch from La Grande Motte to Nice to pick up Allison, Mike, Riley, and Tristan in. Marilla described Cassis as the quintessential French seaside village. We all wanted to return there for a more relaxed visit.
Along the way, the winds picked up to 25 knots with gusts up to 30 knots and consistent 5-6 foot waves amid “confused seas”. You may recall, when we sailed in the English Channel from Cherbourg to Le Havre, we described that there was no pattern to the waves that assailed us from multiple directions. As such, waves will periodically merge with one or more waves and with little warning, you can get a really big wave. This is referred to as “confused seas” and this type of disruption in wave pattern arises when tidal changes / current clashes with wind; when waves reflect back off land masses; when there are leftover waves from winds in a previous direction; and likely lots of other factors. Our experience in the Mediterranean is they are pretty much the norm unless it is dead calm.
We described the Channel sail as topsy turvy – this sail to Cassis, was more of a roller coaster; and once, when both a gust of wind AND a rogue wave conspired to give us a thrill, we were indeed thrilled! It was COLD, too.
George brought us in closer to land where it was a bit calmer and we motor-sailed the balance of the way to Cassis.
We spent 3 lovely days in Cassis. Riley and Tristan braved the chilly waters below a seawall with waves crashing over it. Riley stuck it out for a great big wave.
We enjoyed a close up view of a type of jousting on boats. Until this time we were left to wonder what these odd boats with long ramps out the stern were. Most seaside villages had a number of them and we learned that towns have periodic competitions. We were observing what we think were lessons/practice.
First photo – competing boats approach each other, with combatants on ramp, armed with long poles and a wooden box strapped to their chests. The box is the target and has divisions in it to capture the opponents pole. Second photo – combatants engage with the objective of forcing their opponent into the water. Third photo – Gentleman in the yellow shorts leans to far in effort to unseat opponent – the best that could be achieved is both men being knocked into the water. Final photo – gentleman in the black shorts, having maintained his steady perch, wins the contest.
We were lucky to be in Cassis on Market Day. All villages of a reasonable size have an open air market one or two days a week. They can vary in how large they are and what is for sale. Often, it is a combination of fresh (in season, local) vegetables and fruits; cheeses, fresh meat and seafood, eggs, dried sausages, rotisserie meats, olives, olive oil and tapenade, bread, clothing, occasionally a “euro” stand with hundreds of different items for 1 euro, some crafts like soap, or jewelry, and pretty much anything someone wants to sell who is willing to rent a booth. They are always lively, colorful and fun to peruse.
The produce is of the highest quality at prices not dissimilar to the village store or supermarket. The produce in supermarkets, for that matter, is also of exceptional quality – in season, local – and the fruit, consistently DELICIOUS.
Massif des Calanques
A short boat ride from Cassis, are the Massif des Calanques. These white limestone cliffs have deep fissures similar to fjords. This area is part of the 10th French National Park.
The water was frigid, but Allison and Riley swam to the shore. Tristan was kind of pushed in and had barely touched the water when he levitated up and scrambled onto Allison, protesting loudly. He decided to pass on swimming, as did the rest of us. Water temperatures in Cassis in June are historically a bit less than 70 degrees F.
They were rewarded for their bravery when they arrived at a small, secluded, albeit nude beach. The people on the beach did not appear to be delighted that clothed people had arrived. Riley and Allison were not delighted either, but balked at getting back in the frigid water. Mitch and Marilla rescued them with the paddleboards.
Mike and George took Riley and Tristan for a bumpy ride. Marilla went later but, according to George, she is a lard ass and he could not get the dinghy on a plane.
Back in the beautiful town of Cassis, Riley was rewarded with the puppy dog she fell in love with and she named her Cassis.
And then, all too soon, it was time to start heading back towards Nice.
First stop, St. Mandrier
The first evening the old folks did some necessary tasks, including finding a burger place for dinner, while the younguns walked a trail that included an exercise course (so sorry to miss it).
The following day in St. Mandrier we (including Tristan) swam off the pebble beach. It was COLD, but I expect a few degrees warmer than in the deep waters of the calanques. There was a steep bank into the water and between that, the rocks, and some waves, I found it relatively easy to get in (I fell). George and Mike were last in (inching in is the worst!!).
We all climbed a hill to an old fort that had no access but did afford a beautiful view.
Marilla and Mitch pitched in to finish the masks Tristan had been working on for a family picture. Is it just me or do Marilla and Mitch look like they are copying off of Tristan?
We enjoyed one of the best dinners of our trip at a restaurant Mitch and Marilla picked out. Fabulous duck, carpaccio de boeuf… We had previously dropped off a cake for a belated (Mitch) and early (Marilla) birthday celebration. Sadly, Riley was not feeling well and she and Allison left early to get a good nights sleep so we took the cake back to the boat and saved some for Riley.
All too quickly, we were back on our way the next day, dropping Marilla and Mitch off in Toulon to catch a train to Nice for their flight home.
Goodbye Marilla and Mitch
Allison, Mike, Riley and Tristan stayed on for another week with us stopping at La Lavendou, St. Tropez, and Antibes.