Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Monday, December 26, 2011 – St. George’s, Granada – Mostly Sunny – 84F

Willemstad, Curacao to Granada: 421 Nautical Miles

The seas are smooth as the ship nears the island of Granada.  It was just a short hop for the QM2.

Calm Seas near Granda (Small)

Approaching Grenada (Small)

Grenada (Small)

Top; Center:  Approaching Grenada; Bottom: The Island of Grenada

Grenada (pronounced Grah-nay-duh) is the most southerly of the Windward Islands. Columbus discovered the island but did not land on its soil.  It is known as the “Island of Spice” because of the production of many types of common spices.

The QM2 is docked at the Melville Street Cruise Port which is very close to the capital city of St. George’s (total metro population 30,000).  The city of St. George’s can be viewed from the ships open deck (three pictures below).

2011-12-26 St George's (Small)

2011-12-26 St George's 1 (Small)

2011-12-26 St George's 2 (Small)

St. George’s, island capital

We purchased tours today for “Island Charms”, which is designed to give us a grand tour of the island.  At about 9:45 AM, we head out to the tour busses.

Headed for our Tour Bus (Small)   

The guests, including Ellen, head for their busses 

Not that many folks are taking Ship Excursions today, but the mass exodus from the QM2 is still spectacular.  This is the only way to capture the entire ship at port (because it is so long). 

Exodus from QM2 (Small)

Exodus from the QM2

We are in a relatively comfortable (and air conditioned) mini-bus for this tour.  The driver and guide is “Pumpkin”, who is almost understandable through his heavy island twang.  We head first through the town of St. George’s and notice that everything is closed except for the bars.  We are told that today and tomorrow are national holidays.

As we head away from the port and start to climb the hills of the island, we get a good view of the QM2 in port.

QM2 at anchor (Small) 

2011-12-26 QM2 in St. George's (Small) 

Top and Bottom:  The QM2 at Port in St. George’s

Grenada took a direct hit from Hurricane Ivan in September 2004.  The hurricane destroyed about 90 percent of the nutmeg trees (the number one crop in Grenada) and all of the plantains and bananas.  Villages and towns were leveled.  There is still some evidence of the destruction (see below).

 Destroyed building and vegetation (Small)

Building destroyed by Hurricane Ivan

The tour takes us through several villages (populations under 1000) and parishes.  Again, all the stores are closed.

The tour makes its way to the less desirable Atlantic Side of the island.  Here the water is colder and the waves are rougher but the scenery is still spectacular.  We make our first stop at Grenville Beach.  The main vendor item on Grenada, naturally, is spice.  The vendors sell packets of spices and the “Spice Women” are looking to have their picture taken for money.  By the way, dollars are universally accepted and are equivalent to 2.67 ECD (Eastern Caribbean Dollars).

The beach is not the cleanest but the sand is black and volcanic.

 Grenville Beach - Atlantic Ocean (Small) Grenville Beach 1 (Small) Grenville Beach 2 (Small)

Grenville Beach and the Atlantic Ocean

We ask our fellow enrichment friend, the artist from Walnut Creek, to take our picture on the beach.

H and E at Grenville Beach (Small) H and E Grenville Beach 1 (Small)

We are at Grenville Beach

The nutmeg is the big crop on the island – used in egg nog and Fettuccini Alfredo – so it fitting that we get a picture of the tree (below).  The nutmeg is so important that it is on the Grenadian Flag.

Another spice, Mace, also comes from the nutmeg.

Nutmeg tree (Small)

The tour continues into the rainforests of the Grand Etang Forest Preserve. We stop here for a few minutes to take in the scenery and grab a complimentary drink – I had a Carib Beer and some Rum punch.

Etang – Crater Lake – is a small lake on the site of a long extinct volcano.

Grant Etang Lake Caldera (Small)

2011-12-26 Crater Lake Etang Park (Small) 

Etang – Crater - Lake

Every island stop seems to have a monkey or some other exotic animal on display for pictures.  Our monkey was cute and cooperative.

2011-12-26 Monkey Etang 1 (Small)

2011-12-26 Monkey Etang 2 (Small)

If you wanted to, you could take a little stroll into the forest.  We really didn’t have the time but I did take a picture.

 2011-12-26 Rainforest Grand Etang PARK (Small) 

Pathway into the Rain Forest

The Spice vendors were out in force at the Preserve so Ellen got a good deal and I got a picture of the two of them sealing the deal.

2011-12-26 E and the Spice Lady (Small)

Ellen and the Spice Lady of Etang

Further into the Etang forest was our next stop - the Annandale Falls.  The falls are not spectacular but they are scenic.  Also, local boys pretend they are Acapulco Cliff Divers and jump into the falls.  I didn’t get a picture of the divers because it is dangerous and not endorsed officially (and they solicit donations if you take their pictures).

2011-12-26 Annendale Falls (Small)

2011-12-26 Annendale Falls 2 (Small)

Annendale Falls (Small) 

Annandale Falls (including one of us)

The return route to the ship was relatively short.  Just outside of St. George’s, we passed by the incongruous “National Cricket Stadium”.  The stadium was financed and built with foreign money (Chinese, I think) and the locals got little from the project.  The building is very much out of place among the older, island like, structures of Grenada.

 Grenada National Cricket Stadium (Small)

Grenada National Cricket Stadium

The only shops open today were those savvy entrepreneurs in the terminal building.  Not all of the AC in the building was working so it was not an inviting place.  I did manage to hijack some WiFi (thank you LIME) so I could check e-mails and check in with everyone back home.  It got to be too hot so we headed back to the ship.

In the two pictures below, can you spot the one with Ellen in it.  Look carefully because it is a big ship and the people look like ants.

 2011-12-26 QM2 anchored (Small) 2011-12-26 Where is Ellen (Small)

Where is Ellen?

If you didn’t find here, she can also be seen in the photo below.  Also in the photo are the terminal building (red roof) and Fort George (up on the hill).

2011-12-26 Ellen on the Dock (Small)

Since we missed lunch, we headed to the King’s Court and were fortunate to be there for Afternoon Tea.  The finger sandwiches, tuna, egg, tomato, and cucumber, were just enough to hit the spot.

Semi-formal tonight.  Dinner is the Britannia consisted on Striped Bass – not our favorite fish.  I had two servings of tonight’s appetizer – Avocado with Pico De Gallo – or as I like to call it “Nachos and Guacamole”.  It was really good.  The Cesar Salad continues to be a fan favorite.  We caught the Harpist in the Chart Room before heading off the early show.

A Double Show tonight.  First, the Royal Cunard Singers and Dancers did a few numbers highlighting the music of Sting.  The costumes were great and the dancers were fantastic.  It may be the largest dance group at sea – there are a lot of them but they never run into each other.  The singers also did a fine job.

2011-12-26 Royal Cunard Singers and Dancers trib to Sting (Small)

Tribute to Sting

Most of the show consisted of an encore performance by Jennifer Ring.  Note:  I have seen her around the ship a number of times in her secret identity and she is difficult to identify.

She did a great job again – she is one of the best vocalists we have encountered.  She did songs from “My Fair Lady”, some popular operatic songs, and “The Prayer”.  She also sang, “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina, in Spanish and English…I liked the Spanish version better.  A great show.

Jennifer Ring Final Performance (Small) 

Jennifer Ring in Concert

We are both escorting tomorrow but the catch is that Ellen has a morning tour and I am on in the afternoon.  This is a first for us.

Back to the room to rest up for tomorrow.

Pedometer: 5198 steps; 2.46 miles; 254 calories

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