June in Grenada
What a great time in Grenada, in fact quite hectic at times.As I mentioned in the previous blog we had our first guests Steve and Lizzie, they came for 2 weeks, I think we didn't stop for the whole 2 weeks doing something, (mostly drinking some would say)
When they first arrived we had checked into Secret Harbour marina to settle in Steve and Lizzie, as it was Lizzie's birthday while they were here we had checked out a local restaurant that would collect and return us to the marina and we didn't have to be aboard a dinghy "all dressed up".
|The birthday girl|
|The Cave house|
The Cave house overlooks Mt Hartman Bay where we anchored.
|The cocktail menu is devised by the local medical students|
|It was a little windy outside|
|Men in shirts|
|Just had to have a candle|
Trips a busy timeWe had heard about something going on on the island, trips in the evening to see leatherback turtles laying eggs and the possibility of seeing hatchlings running to the sea. The beach where this goes on is a sanctuary in the north of the island, it was a long uncomfortable ride in a full minibus, however it was very moving to see such a huge turtle giving birth.
As its dark while you are there the only way to see is with red lights, you have to be very quiet too but the turtle goes into a trance while she is laying.
|Don the official turtle midwife|
|Don in action|
|This turtle was already digging the nest when we arrived, she was huge around 300 kilos.|
|Some of the eggs|
It was such a touching moment we all felt very privileged to have been there to see it happen. When she had finished she covered the nest with sand and disguised the surrounding area. I wonder how she would have felt knowing the eggs were removed but the good news is they were taken to a safer place higher up the beach. As we moved away there was another turtle leaving the water looking for a suitable nesting place but we had to leave it in peace, unfortunately we didn't see any hatchlings heading for the water. A truly once in a lifetime experience.
Island tripSo what next, I managed to arrange an island tour for not only us but 2 other boats, Eye Candy with Clare and Andrew, and Feijao with Lenny and Gina. All of us knew one another from Cartagena in Spain or from the SSB radio net. The tour took us to the Spice shop and small demonstration, the cocoa plantation and the Grenada chocolate factory, an area where there are wild Mona monkeys, the Grand Etang forrest reserve, a waterfall and gardens, then a rum distillery.
The views on the way up into the hills overlooking St George are pretty nice
|In this picture you can see where we anchored when we first arrived in Grenada, outside the harbour|
|Mace, the outer covering on nutmeg|
|Some kind of fruit, it smells awful, can't remember what that was|
|A loo with covers !!!!!|
Next stop the Grenada Chocolate FactoryNormally the chocolate factory is not open for visitors but as I had called in advance and enquired we were allowed into the factory, its a tiny place and a bit of a squeeze for us all.
|This guy does the roasting and explained about the whole process to produce chocolate|
|The smell was something else|
|The wrapper all done by hand|
|These drying racks are on wheels and rails so if it rains they are pushed back undercover|
|This is cocoa bean in its pod|
|The tree with the Belmont bell to call the workers|
While we were in the Belmont estate we had a more detailed talk about the process, we had a cup of drinking chocolate, the best I have ever tasted.
The Story of Chocolate in Grenada
Cocoa is harvested by sniping the colourful oval shaped pods off the trees using mitten-shaped knives (called cocoa knives). The pods are heaped into piles, then cracked with a cutlass or machete and the white beans (seeds) are removed and placed into buckets or bags for transportation to the fermentation point. There the beans are placed into a sifter where excess water is drained out and debris (leaves, stones, broken pods etc) are removed. The beans are then weighed and placed in large wooden bins (fermenting boxes), covered with banana leaves and jute bags. The beans remain in boxes for 7-8 days during which time fermentation takes place. During fermentation the white substance covering the beans, disappears; the beans turn a rich shade of brown and flavour develops. The beans are turned from one box into another every two days to allow an even distribution of the heat that is produced during fermentation. Once fermented the beans are placed outside to dry in the sun on big wooden trays, for six to seven days. During that period workers walk through the beans to allow air to flow evenly through the beans, to aid with the drying. The beans then go through a cosmetic process called polishing. Traditionally, beans were polishing by dancing on them in large copper pots. Polishing removes any dried pulp residue on the seed, and gives the bean a smooth, polished look. Polishing is done by commercial polishers. Belmont Estate has forged a strategic alliance with the The Grenada Chocolate Company, to make the world's finest dark organic chocolate. The Grenada Chocolate Company and Belmont Estate are a members of the Grenada Organic Cocoa Farmers Co-operative Society Ltd that grow organic cocoa to make the product. The co-operative consists of about twelve farmers that have received organic certification through the German certifying company Ceres.
We had a little walk around the estate and found this little fella
I know I'm slightly wrong on the series of places but never mind this trip was great
Next stop to see the Mona Monkeys at the Grand Etang Reserve
Next stop to see the Mona Monkeys at the Grand Etang Reserve
|Monkey decided to see his playmates|
|Focused on the food|
Next stop the waterfall and gardens, fruit too.
|Boys with fruit, what?|
At the waterfalls if you pay a young guy climbs to the top then jumps for you,its touch and go if you manage to get a photo
|Its one way to earn a living|
|Some of the lizards are very bright|
Don and Glenys Graham