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December 2007

Since we posted our November log a couple of days early, we didn’t get a chance to report on a big event that happened on November 29.  We had just arrived in Carriacou and were walking in a boatyard on shore when we realized that the sailboats stored in the yard were all moving, shaking and making odd noises.  Workers who had been standing under a boat painting its bottom, ran out from underneath the boat and into the open.  That’s when we figured out we were experiencing an earthquake.  We later confirmed that a 7.5 earthquake was recorded about 130 miles north of Carriacou. The earthquake was deep in the ocean so it did not cause a tsunami.  There was minimal damage on the surrounding islands. Earthquakes are fairly common in the Caribbean, and we have had news of several earthquakes during our eleven months in the Caribbean but this is the first one we felt. 

Tyrell Bay anchorage, Carriacou

Tyrell Bay, CarriacouWe originally visited Carriacou in late June.  It is a small island with friendly locals and beautiful scenery.  We took a long hike every day in Carriacou, often hiking through fields of grazing cattle, sheep and goats.  The visibility was wonderful for several days and we could clearly see Grenada twenty-five miles to our south from the high hillsides.  We had our sights on hiking to the top of Chapeau Carre 954 feet above sea level, but the only path we could find stopped about four fifths of the way up the hill.  One day, we made our plans with Barb and Chuck our friends on Tusen Takk, to find and climb the path leading to the top.  On our way to the hillside, we asked several locals about the path to the top.  Everyone agreed there was a path, but no one could tell us where the path started.  We hiked to the point of the hill where the path stopped its descent and asked a family living near-by about the path.  A twelve year old boy and his younger brothers showed us the beginning of the path to the top.  The view at the top gave us views of the Grenadine islands to the north.  We hiked back down the hill and treated ourselves to a roti lunch at the Cow Foot restaurant.

Carriacou school boysOne day we were hiking by the local Harvey Vale School at recess.  Girls were dressed in plaid jumpers and blouses and boys were dressed in yellow shirts and dark pants.  We noticed several children in clothes that are very large for them.  Families may pass uniforms down or buy them a few sizes too large, so they can be used longer.  Families are required to buy their own school uniforms and school books.  These are difficult expenses for some and we have noticed more than one family of children playing at home while others are in school.  During recess, several boys had climbed a tree and were making “motor” noises with their mouths.  We asked the boys what they were doing and they told us they were riding in a fast boat.  Two things seemed important.  These young boys were having a great time with only their imagination (no video games required) and the fact that they were riding in a fast boat reminded us that these islands identify more with water transportation than they identify with land transportation.  Most locals do not own cars and they walk or ride buses to their destinations.

Carriacou boys "riding in a fast boat"

John had eaten the local mangrove oysters during our first visit in June.  We purchased oysters again from Robert, the local resident who visits all the anchored boats each day and rows into the mangrove swamp to gather the oysters.  Robert agreed to let us watch him gather the oysters.  We rode with Chuck and Barb in the dinghy from Tusen Takk and towed Robert and his small row boat into the mangrove swamp.  In only fifteen minutes, Robert had gathered more than five dozen oysters by carefully breaking them away from the mangrove tree roots.  He opened the oysters using a small kitchen knife as we towed him out of the swamp and back to the anchored boat.  The oyster shells are very thin and the oysters are small, but tasty.  Robert brought along local limes to accompany the oysters and carefully arranged them on the trays provided.

Robert gathering oystersRobert opening oysters

Robert gathering mangrove oysters

Three dozen would be better!

 

 

 

New cushionsWe reluctantly left Carriacou for a quick trip back to Grenada and then to Trinidad.  Once we reached Trinidad, we had our new saloon cushions delivered.  The cushions replaced our old, uncomfortable saloon seats and perfectly fit the rebuilt and wider saloon seats.  We now have some comfortable seats down below!

We flew back to Georgia from Trinidad for a one-week Christmas visit to Ann’s parent’s home.  It was great to spend Christmas with the families of daughters Courtney and Ashley including six grandchildren.  We returned to Trinidad for Old Year’s Night (the term used in the Caribbean for New Year’s Eve) and saw a small fireworks show as 2008 arrived.  Our northbound trip to revisit several of the islands in the Eastern Caribbean will begin in early January.

Our new saloon cushions