Spicy Islander # 37
Hey folks, the newsletter is here again. Things are fairly quiet here at the moment, and it being the start of the dry season, we are not even getting much rain. Of course that doesn't stop the insects and frogs celebrating at night, and normally I don't mind except for the fact that they are SO LOUD!!! when you are trying to do some work!
Between that and a couple of roosters who don't seem to have gotten the idea that they should crow at daybreak and not ALL NIGHT, its a wonder that we manage to get anything done after sunset.
Anyway, just so you can understand the trials and tribulations we have to go through to produce this literary masterpiece...:-)
1. Tip of the Month: Stamps
Postcards are part of any holiday, aren't they?
There are plenty of places in Grenada that sell them, and there is sort of choice you expect from a Caribbean destination. Beaches, waterfalls, boats, sunsets, and, this being Grenada, nutmegs. Now all you have to worry about is whether you'll get home before they arrive. (Yes: it is worth sending them early.) And, of course, where to post them.
Post boxes are few and far between, well concealed, and the little post offices are not all on the tourist beaten track, and do not all look as it they'd work. (But they do.)
And what of stamps? You'll need them, of course. For postcards to anywhere in the world, one EC (East Caribbean) dollar. For letters, the cost varies according to destination. Many places that sell cards also stock stamps.
What I am recommending this month is that you don't just buy the first stamps you are offered, but that you go in search of special issues. I have come to the conclusion that the beauty of a country's stamps is in inverse proportion to the size of the country. Grenada is no exception to this rule. We have set after set of delightful special stamps, in addition to the standard ones, which are themselves too pretty to take for granted.
It would be foolish of me to predict what you will find: obviously, special issues come and go. But there are nearly always sets of fish, flowers, butterflies, and shells available. The sheets of millennium special stamps are superb. There have been sets of ships, & mushrooms.
A look at Grenada's special stamps is less like a visit to the post office, more like a cameo of a natural history museum or an art gallery in miniature.
You will also find stamps that have less to do with Grenada or the wider Caribbean. Some seem positively incongruous. Railways of the world have been featured. So have Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, the Carry On films, Hollywood stars, the Three Stooges, cats, dogs, horses, nursery rhymes. The current Chinese horoscope is always in evidence: there are some very fetching triangular 'Year of the Snake' stamps available at present.
Where do you find this philatelic feast?
Not at any postcard sales point, and not at every little post office (which are dotted around the Island, increasingly in brightly painted livery.) You need to go to the main post office at Burns Point, just before you get to the Carenage as you approach St. George's from the Grand Anse side. Walk in: the main counters are to the right, and the philatelic section is right in front of you.
And this is where the second treat of the day awaits you.
As soon as you begin to look interested in the display, you will be called in, to go behind the counter. You will be sat down. You will be given album after album of special edition stamps to browse through. It is not service: it is hospitality. Your hostesses are Florence and Gemma, wholly delightful people who will make you feel welcome, will get to know you, will find out more about you than you normally tell strangers, but because they are interested, not because it is a means to the end of selling. And their love of Grenada's stamps is infectious.
You will leave after spending more time than you usually spend in a post office, and you will feel that it was in the company of a close friend.
I have not collected stamps since I was a boy. But these stamps are in a league of their own: alongside nutmegs, they are one of the most truly Grenadian souvenirs. (If you pick the right ones, that is.) And many of them are prettier than the cards you will be sticking them on!
(Don't worry: Grenadians are not too heavy-handed with postmarks.)
2. Carnival in Carriacou:
The Carriacou Carnival is coming up again this February.
This year will be the 14th annual event, since the pre-lenten festival was revived. The many events for this carnival will be held between 16th - 27th of this month and will consist of the following :
If you happen to be in the island around this time, its quite easy to catch the Osprey ferry to Carriacou and check out one or more of these events. Of course, you will have to overnight, but finding suitable accommodation is not difficult, and its not called the island of rum shops for nothing...
3. Dive Grenada Specials:
O.K., you're not a diver, but your spouse is and you would like to get the best deal possible for your vacation.
With this in mind, you may wish to check out the specials offered by Dive Grenada.
They include dive packages, 5 or 10 dive packs, plus accommodation. Even if you are considering learning to dive, it is definitely worth an inquiry. Grenada has some of the best diving in the caribbean, and the staff at the dive shop are quite helpful. For a complete listing of what's available and the best way to contact them, check out their web site at the following address: http://www.divegrenada.com
4. New Yacht Charter Company:
Horizon Yacht Charters has opened a new charter base in Grenada, located at True Blue Bay Resort and Marina on the south coast of the island in new office and dock facilities. The Grenada base is an expansion of Horizon Yacht Charters in the BVI. The company offers charters on thirty five to fifty foot yachts for cruising in the Grenadines.
The sailing area extends from Grenada in the south to St. Vincent in the north, covering the most popular islands of Carriacou, Mayreau, Tobago Cays and Bequia. The yachts will also be available for charter in Trinidad & Tobago and for Tobago Race Week.
The company offers sailing courses up to Bareboat Certification with the affiliation of the American Sailing Association. Daily or weekly courses are offered to suit the individual. Horizon Yacht Charters is the only company to do this in Grenada, and Captain Peter Alexander from Carriacou has become the first qualified ASA instructor in the region.
Horizon Yacht Charters offer a skipper at the start of charter to enable clients to reach Carriacou on the first day. During the passage the skipper familiarizes the crew with the operation of the yacht & sailing area. The skipper then disembarks in Carriacou, leaving them to enjoy cruising at their leisure through the Grenadines.
Horizon Yacht Charters also offer management services for owners of private yachts who wish to base their vessels in Grenada for their own personal use. The company is owned and managed by James and Jacqui Pascall, who have over twenty years experience in the yacht charter industry. They have been in Grenada for three years, and feel that the island currently has tremendous potential for growth within the yachting industry.
5. New Discussion Board:
We have recently started making some much needed upgrades to some of the features we have on our web site. One of the more popular features is the discussion board.
Here, anyone wishing to ask a question about the island, or some aspect of it, can do so online and usually get a response from someone who has visited Grenada previously. Since we added the board, the response has been quite good, but unfortunately it is getting a little 'dated' now and is very much in need of being replaced.
So, if you would like to check out the new look, go to: http://www.grenadaexplorer.com/cgi-bin/ikonboard/ikonboard.cgi
It may take a little getting used to, but once you become accustomed to it (and once we have ironed out the kinks) it is actually a vast improvement to the last one. We would appreciate any comments you may have about it, as well as suggestions on how it can be improved. We realize that most people do not like having to register, to use a discussion board, but this has become necessary in order for us to better control things. Unfortunately, one or two persons decided to
spam the old board, as well as pass unsavory comments about their own pet peeve. We could not previously stop someone from doing this, nor easily erase their rantings. The new board gives us this feature, as well as making it easier to check for new postings.
We hope you all continue to enjoy this feature on Grenada Explorer.
6. Spice Isle Trekking:
" Water Wonderland " Seven Sisters falls. FULL DAY
Our trip is unlike any other and should be missed by no adventurous person! It is our way of showing you the amazing beauty, romantic rain forest and storybook waterfalls that this country has to offer.
Our first stop is to the Crater Lake in the Grand Etang, then the back route to the 7 Falls. Our hike takes us over a river, along a remote trail made interesting by the natural steps created by tree roots. Tarzan vines are everywhere and we have found the perfect one for swinging on!
45 minutes into the hike will bring us to the top of the 7th fall, this is where we start are water adventure, soft canyoning. This consists of our guides helping and guiding you through 5 captivating, hidden pools, as you jump, swim and rock climb through a thousand year old canyon. A marvelous tree canopy, made more magical with the sunlight beaming through and dancing on the crystal clear water below, surrounds you. Swim on your back and look up, the sheer beauty all around mesmerizes you. The canyoning takes half an hour to complete and is rewarded with a fantastic view of the lower 6th and 7th fall, before we navigate our way back.
Our hike then continues through the rain forest, which will unravel its mysteries to you as the Spice Team explain the many secrets!.
Learn about Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cocoa, Callaloo, Dasheen and much more. We arrive at the two bottom waterfalls where we swim, and enjoy the tranquility of nature. Then we are off on another adventure to Honeymoon Falls, just 15-minutes away. The hike is through a nesting area for humming birds, and the waterfall here is majestic, the pool shaped like a heart. It's hidden in an open-air, canopy toped cave, with natural minerals seeping out of the walls. We then have a well deserved and delicious picnic lunch while listening to Mother Natures Orchestra. Then back to the vehicle and on to another Island secret, the healing hot pool created by Carib Indians. The water is naturally warm, being Volcanic and close to the base of Mt. St Catherine's. It is also very healthy, consisting of Iron, sulphur (but not odorous) and soda. Immerse yourself into the bubbly water, and enjoy the warmth of a natural volcanic tonic while drinking a glass of wine AAHH!
Cost $U.S. 45.00 +5% Tax. Departs 8.30AM returning at 4.30 PM .
Children under 10 1\2 price. Students 20% off
( Bring along a change of clothes , towel and swimsuit) -Check out their web site at the following address:
7. Specials /Events
EVENTS: Independence day (Feb7th)
8. Scooter Rentals:
Its a great alternative to renting a car, as well as being lots of fun. I'm talking about renting a scooter.
We have been getting a lot of inquiries from people who will be visiting the island, regarding where they can rent a scooter or motorbike. Well we still don't have a place where you can rent a motorbike, but it easy to find somewhere to rent a scooter now. Recently opened, Sundance Scooter Rentals has a nice selection of brand new scooters for rent (and before you ask, yes they do have helmets).
They are a lot cheaper to use, and the cost of renting one is about half that of a car (of course there is not much place for luggage, but the air-conditioning works great).............
Cost, about US$25/day including insurance.(but not the tax). Want more info? Check out the web page at: http://www.grenadaexplorer.com/scooter/
That's all for now.
Seems as though the wildlife is taking a break (although there are a couple of roosters auditioning for a place at the next barbecue!!)! Oh well, at least our hounds have decided to call it a night... now if I can only stop one of them from snoring............That's life in the tropics...or so i'm told.
Till next time...