'Carriacou and Petite Martinique' is a dependency of Grenada, lying north of Grenada island and south of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in the Lesser Antilles. The Grenadine islands to the north of Carriacou and Petite Martinique belong to the nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Thank-you Wikipedia for that wonderful summary!
Fortunately for us we were ready for some lunch and found a delightful waterfront restaurant that was nearly empty and it wasn't because the food was bad. Our table sat just feet from the surf, the wait staff was fun to talk with, and the support staff (a grackle and a dog) provided the occasional entertainment. The only other couple that wandered in from the cruise ship were delightful, verbalizing their joy at finding our we were NOT from the cruise ship. John had chicken with mac'n cheese, pasta salad, pumpkin, plantain, rice and peas, steamed veggies, and shredded cabbage with carrots. Jan had a Chicken Roti that was 'bone in' as the locals like it. The curry, one of her favorite food groups now, was much stronger. Our waitress gave us some tips on making a Roti from scratch, soon to join the Cornish Pastie on Jan's list of favorite recipes. So, now that we know there was no need for dinner or breakfast for that matter, we moved on.
Alwyn Enoe and his son were working on this sailboat next to their house as we walked by. John had met Alwyn before when he was working on Genesys, the first Carriacou deck sloop that had been built in many years. The completion of Genesys kick-started interest in building and racing both new and renovated traditional boats. These boats are now raced up and down the islands from Trinidad to Antigua. Interesting!
Carriacou boats are designed in the old-fashioned manner: by eye, and without recourse to a tape measure. Their keels are made from greenheart which is imported from Guyana. After the keel has been laid, and the boat has therefore become something more than a rum-shop boast or a smoker’s-dream, the village celebrates the event. In past times the keel was bathed with the sacrificial blood of a goat and blessed by the utterance of secret words, but nowadays, we were told, they don’t usually mess about with the goat; they just roast it and eat it, washing it down with large quantities of Jack Iron.
The boats are framed with a local wood known as white cedar. According to Paul Johnson (himself a boat designer and builder, of course) this timber is good only when it is cut at exactly the right time of year. The Kayak (Carriacou) boat builders choose their own trees, fell them themselves, and arrange their haulage down to the shore. Then they set about cutting the timbers which will form the skeleton of the boat. Most of the frames are grown (which is to say that they are cut from one piece of wood which was especially chosen for its appropriate shape) but we noticed that in each boat a few of the frames were made from timbers which had been scarfed together. The scarfs (or joins) were short (ie they had a only a short overlap) and they were doubled (or reinforced) with pieces of plywood nailed and glued onto one side.
The deck-sloops are planked with cheap Guyanese mahogany, silverballi, which is fastened onto the frames using silicone bronze nails . Each nail costs about 70 cents US.
Carnival (see external link below) is held in February or early March. The Carriacou Regatta, held on the first weekend in August, is a racing event for locally built boats. In 2005, the Regatta celebrated its 40th anniversary. Alwyn hopes to launch the boat for Carnival, and race ready by Regatta.
But there was other stuff that caught our eyes as we wandered along.
At this point it was time to get back to Elephant's Child having sweat enough for the day. So we boarded another shock absorber-less bus driven by another graduate of the Carriacou Driver's (racing?? ) School and made our way back to Hillsborough where we needed to catch the bus that would take us to Tyrell Bay. Phew....we're almost there!
We can see the boat but wait a minute, where is the dingy? We walked out the dock and could see the painter fastened to the cleat but no dingy. Hmmm, there is an underneath to this cement dock. Great, there's the dingy....but not so great, it won't come out. Well, the story comes out OK in the end. Jan sat in the dingy and pushed up on the bottom of the pier while John bounced on the front. I guess it must have been that more than generous meal we had in Hillsborough, because the weight we 'applied' to the dingy resulted in it's release.
Note to John: we have a stern anchor for the dingy—use it!
We made it back just in time for a Sundowner and beautiful show courtesy of the Lords and Ladies of the Sky.
Another day in Paradise.