Sunday, 29 June 2014

Meghan On Amelie -June 2014

Hello again everyone! A lot has happened since I last wrote the blog but a lot has happened even since last week’s blog so that is what I am here to talk about today! 

Island Tour
We had a great island tour around Grenada thanks to an awesome tour guide named Cutty! We started the tour by getting out in the forest and exploring all the different fruit and spices and learning what they look like. If I can remember correctly this is what each of them looked like. 

Avocado






Cinnamon                                                                                                    Nutmeg
Cocoa



After that we (ie: me) had a quick jump and swim at the Annandale waterfalls! Let’s just say it was not the warmest water I’ve been in! 
                                                                    
                                                            
The view when you look up!
                                                                                  My dad and Matthew wathcing the falls!                                                                     


                                                                                           
How we tried calling them!


We then drove and stopped at Grand Etang to search for the monkeys (which was what I had been most excited about the island tour). We went walking through the forest making a deep “Hmm, hmm, hmm” sound to call them while holding bananas out. We had started walking back quite convinced we wouldn’t see them that day until Cutty called us back saying he had found some! We ran at once and there were not one but two beautiful mona monkeys standing there ready to be fed! For me, it was my first time even seeing monkeys so it was absolutely the coolest sensation ever and still today I bring up: “Hey, remember when we saw the monkeys?”. Also when you felt the pouch under their
chin, you could feel all their stored food… too cool! 
Here are some pictures of them at their best!   

        

They sure have some funny faces!










The monkeys really make themselves at home! 


After the monkeys were full we set off to see a couple factories that helped us understand the process of how chocolate is made! 







We started at the cocoa processing factory where all the harvested fruit was dried, packed in sacks and then shipped to different places around Grenada with chocolate factories (as you see in the pictures).














Edmond our tour guide with the cocoa grinder
We then went to the chocolate factory which is where they make the cocoa into chocolate! I feel that I really do now know where chocolate comes from since I went from seeing the plant in a tree to eating the chocolate bar right where it was made! Here are some pictures in case you too are curious about what that delicious melting sweet stuff is made with!


-"Nibs" size organizer!


                                                                           
Cocoa butter is what they use to make white chocolate




Hot chocolate powder
Couldn't be eating the chocolate more fresh than this!

                All chocolate bars are hand packed!




























We also visited the nutmeg processing factory which they had 17 of in Grenada! I’m not too worried about not having any for my eggnog at Christmas (hee hee!!)! The pictures describe the experience better than words can so here is the nutmeg processing factory. 


Spices made with nutmeg
                         
What wet and dry nutmeg look like


Nutmeg as far as the eye can see!-






                                                                                       
-Nutmeg size organizer




To finish off the trip we visited a rum factory. I am not going to explain the experience of this factory because this is the third I’ve been to and I think the adults will be much more enthusiastic to explain it than I will!




In our log book we have a section to record the new foods we have tried and it is called “Culinary Courage”. During this tour we all tried breadfruit. I don’t know if it is just me but when I heard that name I never wanted to try it because it made me think of soggy bread but it turns out that I really liked it and funny enough it tasted exactly like a potato! 















Sea Turtle Watching
The night after the great island tour, we went to go turtle watching on the beach! We first took a really long and not to mention crowded (15 people in a 13 seat bus!) ride to the centre near the turtle watching beach. The instructions and information was briefly explained and then we were off to the beach hoping to return with wonderful memories (because it wasn’t a guarantee we would see anything).

In a few minutes of being at the beach the scientists released some baby hatchlings out of a sandy bucket so we watched (but never interfered) them struggle and find their way to their ocean home (we later found out that those hatchlings had hatched in the morning so the centre had put them in the bucket so no predators could hurt them)! You are probably all frantically wondering this question: “Did they all make it?!?!” so here is the answer: “Yes!”. 

After those hatchlings had all finally made it (the ones who had started going the wrong way figured out the right way to go) we sat for a while and just watched the stars. It really is like a ceiling of diamonds (everything you could see was shining!) and I even saw my first 4 shooting stars! Yes, even waiting for the turtles was exciting! 

After a few hours of stargazing and waiting for either more hatchlings or a mommy turtle to come, the tour guides decided that in order to see a mommy turtle we were going to have to move so we walked for about 20 minutes while during that time we saw 2 more groups of hatchlings (one which we came a centimetre close to stepping on!) and then finally we saw the great mama turtle who had come to lay her eggs! 

A bit hard to see but these are the eggs!
It was really, REALLY cool seeing the whole process right there a few metres away from her (even though it took around 4 hours)! We didn’t see her come out of the water (sadly) but I am still in awe that we just even got to see her! When she started digging the hole, the scientists looked for a tag on her back fins to see if she had been there before but there was none which means that this was her first time (so she is only about 15 or 16)! She first dug the hole, then laid her eggs, camouflaged it (covered it up), after that she made a few fake camouflages to fool any predators watching and finally made her way back to the ocean! I found it quite amazing to see the huge difference between the little tiny babies who were no bigger than your hand and then seeing the adult who was the size of your dining room table and just imagining the transformation over the years! We were pretty close to her the whole time but once, they let us sit right beside her while petting her and watching the eggs coming out…SO COOL! Then she struggled a bit to move but over a couple of hours she managed to make at least two fake camouflages while panting heavily! My favourite part though was when she got herself back to the ocean! 
You could tell she was so excited to feel the water again because she was moving quite fast across the beach and then finally a big wave came and she was back home! While walking back to the van, we walked by 3 other mother turtles laying eggs. In the end we got back on the boat at around 1 am but it was so worth it!!!



That is about all that has happened in the past week but here are some random pictures of all those little moments in between all the exciting things!  
Finally learned how to drive Recess! 
Grande Anse beach for my mom's special day!

My mom's birthday gift from me



Hike at Grand Etang









         

Land turtles at Grande Anse beach



Tubing with new friends from S.V Rafiki!


Incredible steel drum orchestra at Fish Friday!












Lucky me! I got the honour of holding the tambourine for one song!


                                 


                       


                                                                                                                    


Hope you enjoyed my second blog and please remember I am always looking for ways to improve so I appreciate your feedback! Until next time mateys!



Saturday, 21 June 2014

Week 11; Arrival in Grenada

GRENADA !!!  It is SO nice to see you and may I just say that you are looking gooo-ooood !

So, we made it ! After two weeks of meandering in Martinique...we have finally arrived to our new home (for the next few months) . It was a fast crossing as we had winds on our beam averaging 20-25 knots (and gusting to 30+) the whole way down from Martinique. On Meghan and I's night watch we saw Amelie speed up to 9.5 knots at one point !  It felt like we were flying !  





We have arrived to the famed “Spice Island” just in time for Meghan to get together with her friend before she and her family left for their South American adventure!  The girls had three days together in which they managed to squeeze in a game of Monopoly, a sleep over, lots of “bracelet making sessions” and one dinner party with her parents !  Since they had been here for over a month already, our friends generously shared all of their knowledge (and enthusiasm!) about the place !  

Meghan teaching her friend all the ins and outs of Monopoly
Now we can’t wait to get out exploring !....And... now that school is officially over for the year, we will have full days to do this ! Yipee !

From everything we have heard so far, it seems like Grenada has the most to offer us in terms of “things to see and do” .....so I have been happily busying myself at planning our getaways and destinations......Now I am not going to giveyou any hints on what's in store….  there will be no spoiler alerts  !    I shall wait to share with you our adventures in the next few blogs once we have actually seen something or been somewhere ! 

 For now we are just content in being back “out here”, anchored in a quiet bay in the South End of Grenada....enjoying the freedom and the relaxed pace. Matthew is quickly making up for all the lost swimming time he had in Martinique, spending hours in the water everyday ! The world is good again….


We did manage to get ourselves “plugged in" to the kids social scene down here.  As there are a great deal of cruising families spending Hurricane Season in Grenada; there are many organized activities scheduled. A few days ago we went to our first Volley Ball Game. The kids, no matter what their level, all gather together on the sandy court and are taught a few basic skills before the game starts !  Once the kids are done playing, the adults have a go.....It was lots of fun and we will be coming back, as volleyball happens every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. MC will try to get to the (free!) yoga classes offered at 6:30 am three times a week…..well ….she hopes to make it at least once ! 


That's Meghan in the blue shirt on the left, playing with the grown ups





















Oh !….and this just in : 

Lesson learned this week : What ever you do…….Do NOT try to speed up defrosting your freezer with a knife.....as you *might* puncture your Aluminium Evaporator Plate and render your fridge/freezer out of service...as Cptn Mark found out last night !  Ooops !  Looks like we have another project starting up!   (Update: Thanks to well stocked chandleries here, the freezer was back up and running in only a few days!)



(Luckily the VERY nice people at the nearby Whisper Cove Marina (actually a couple from Montreal) offered to keep our frozen meat for us in their freezer until we get a replacement !)
Since we have not done much visiting this week.. and to keep things interesting for you.We will leave you with a short video of Meg and Cpt Mark's spectacular dive of the Wreck of the Rhone in the British Virgin Islands….taken about three weeks ago.

Link to YouTube Video : Amelie IV - Diving in the BVI's
Sorry to those who checked out this post earlier and didn't find the video.  Mark ran out of patience trying to post it on YouTube from the boat, so finally resorted to going and sitting in a local bar with good internet to get it online……Oh the sacrifices!

New exploration and photos coming soon we hope !


As always.....thanks for reading  ! 



Bye for Now

4Ms





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