Exploring Grenada

So we had the choice of hiking into the rainforest to see the real high rainfalls, a walk that would take four hours at the minimum, or the second option which was to drive around the complete island and stop at every interesting place and like that see more of Grenada. Due to our tight schedule we opted for going around the whole of the island by car and wait with serious hiking till we get to Colombia. Very thankful to our friend Roger who's born in Grenada, and who showed us around in best possible way.
mona monkey grenada, woman, sailing caribbean, grenada
A monkey friend. Outside of Africa, Grenada is the only place in the world where you can find the mona monkey. It was brought here with slave ships from West Africa during the 18th century.
 One of the many water falls.
At the highest hill.
Normally when it's sunny weather, the hill tops are covered with thick clouds. Because it was a rainy day, we could see far over the end of the island and out onto the sea.
By the volcano crater where a lake can be found. Can you imagine that this is the opening to the volcano, and where the hot lava poured out from a few thousand years ago. It all seemed so calm and quiet now.
Loving these walking boots.
Fruits and veggies being sold by the road. Sweet potatoes, cassava, plantain, cristophene...
That's how your favorite chocolate looks like before it is made into chocolate.
A typical Caribbean house.
More cocoa.
cocoa tree grenada
A typical Caribbean road.
The breadfruit trees were brought from the Pacific to the Caribbean during the colonial times. The fruit was used to feed the slaves in a cost effective way. When you've peeled the fruits, the white colored inside can be boiled in water and taste reminds of potatoes though a bit more jellylike.
And another typical Caribbean house.
lemon, orange tree caribbean, grenada
A hybrid between orange and mandarine.
banana tree grenada, caribbean,
They have so many different variations of bananas around here. Some of which never reaches Europe or the States as they ripe too fast. 
Huge Dasheen leaves/Taro plant/Elephant ears. The dasheen leaves are in the Caribbean used to make the traditional dish called callaloo which is pretty similar to creamed spinach. And the roots/corms, which are known as Taro, can be cooked in a variety of ways, roasted, baked, fried or boiled, and they have a nutty flavor.
A banana tree forest.
Grenada is a bit more civilized in many ways compared to the other islands in the Caribbean. For example, all the goats and livestock are leashed and so they can't run around blocking the traffic on the roads which is what they normally do in the West Indies.
A wasp's nest.
The white bird is picking insects from the cows fur.
Rainy roads. It's almost as if it was the rainy season right now as it's been raining great amounts every day for almost a month. What is good though is that everything is so very green and lush and the mangoes are ripe even though it normally isn't their season at the moment.
How beautiful? One of the best photos I've taken during these past two years in the Caribbean. Not because of my photographing but because of the swagger and attitude of this man. It's an image very cliché to the Caribbean culture yet his style was so perfectly well put together.
Bamboo trees.
 Selling grilled corn by the road.
Mmmm, too bad he didn't put butter on top of the maize, would have made them perfect.
Baby goats.
 Cutting fish.
 Three barracudas.
Everywhere an abundance of colors especially after all this rain.
Goat in a tree.
Unfortunately they don't make much use of the goats milk here in the Caribbean. There's tens of thousands of goats on the islands, but Grenada is the first place where I've come across one person that actually produces goat cheese. Goat meat is widely used for cooking, but there doesn't seem to be a demand of the nutritious milk. If I would have lived here, I'd have a couple goats in my garden and eat fresh chèvre each and every day.
A young mother and her son on their way to jump into the bus. All these small buses are privately run. They charge approximately 2,5 ECD per person ($1 USD) per ride. The drivers are young men of normally around 25-35. They play loud hip hop or dub music and drive extremely fast as they pull in clients from the road as if their life depended on it. It seems a job with high competition and rough banter, so no older men can keep up with the game. It's also interesting that the bus drivers are considered the tough guys on the island, guys with arms covered in tattoos and dressed in cool clothes, and they often pick up young pretty school girls who get to sit next beside them front row, riding with them back and forth all day with the occasional "break" on the way. Caribbean culture in a nut shell. How funny it would have been if the bus drivers were all considered as the hot and attractive guys in a European society for example.
Arriving to River Antoine, the oldest functioning water propelled rum distillery.

Roger, Alex and Michael checks out the old water wheel which powers the cane press and extracts the juice from the sugarcane. Bundles of cane are crushed twice...

.. and then placed in the island's only railway truck which is trundled along the island's only railway line for the short trip to a tip. Here the cane dries in the sun and, now known as 'bagasse', is used as fertilizer for the cane fields as well as being used as fuel for the fire below the boiling cane juice. Nothing is wasted.

This is where the sugar cane juice is being sent after the press. These are the original fermenting vats from 1785. Underneath is the fire that keeps the fermentation process going.

Nowadays they use these more modern vats for fermenting the sugar cane juice.

Huge stacks of remnants of the sugar cane.
A small rainfall by the distillery.
That's by the way how the sugar cane looks in the wild.
After that we went to one of the beaches up in the North, very windy and rough seas but extremely beautiful.
Two currents meet at the point.
A tradition on many islands around here, is that family and friends gather on the beach on Sundays. They bring music, barbecue, food and drinks and especially in Grenada, where the locals are very friendly and hospitable, they invite strangers who pass by, to join them in the party. We didn't have time to stay too long, but I got to try this national dish called Oil Down. It's a stew made of bread fruit, dumplings, salted meat or chicken, coconut milk, some other vegetables, callaloo, as well as a mixture of spices. Was very tasty!
Back to one of the towns by the coast. I realize I only have images of men in this series today... seems as the women were inside hiding from the continuous rain. 
In search of that rum called River Antoine..
And in a rave neon colored rum shop with a very sympathetic owner we finally found it.
It is not considered the best of rums in the world, but flavor was OK. Reminded of the Rhum Agricole that can be found on Martinique - which also is made directly from the sugarcane juice rather than the molasses. This one had 69% alcohol and mixed well with juice and grated nutmeg. Did you know by the way that Grenada is called "The Spice Isle", because of it's large production of spices such as nutmeg and mace of which Grenada is one of the world's largest exporters.
Everywhere cricket games on TV.
Nightime in Gouyave. A large fishing town that never sleeps.
Another rum shop where guys are limin' and watching another cricket game.
Bumped into one of Roger's friends.
Finally found an ice-cream shop!
The yellow one to the left is called "Power", and was probably the weirdest tasting ice-cream I had in my entire life... why? It's a mixture of vanilla and Guinness Beer... The locals seem to love it though.
A couple teenage boys watching Home Alone by their little candy store on the street..

Overall Grenada is one of our most preferred islands in the Caribbean. I know I've said that several times about other islands in the past, but after having the chance of staying here for almost a month, I can easily say that this particular place in the West Indies has the perfect mixture between typical Caribbean charm, culture and nature, well mixed with modern facilities and the people are some of the nicest, friendliest and most beautiful in the whole West Indies in our opinion. I am currently writing a long Caribbean summary where I'll share our view of each of the places we've had the pleasure to visit during these past two years. Will share it with you as soon as I can.

We're obviously a bit sad that we didn't have more time for Grenada, especially since we've learned to know some really cool people, but that's the life of a sailing nomad. You get to know people and places that you become very fond of, but unfortunately there always comes a time to say goodbye. Hoping to be back one day.