My husband and I sailed with Windjammer Barefoot Cruises three times before the company ceased operations in 2007. Classical sailing ships are a great way to see some of the less-populated, smaller islands of the Caribbean. If you want to leave your make-up and sequins at home, love to snorkel or sit on secluded beaches, then you might enjoy a cruise on a sailing ship. Many cruise ships stopover in Grenada, so this article focuses on some details about this fascinating island in the Southeastern Caribbean. Take off your shoes and I will take you along on our memorable journey, starting with a weekend on Grenada.
The ship wasn't sailing until Monday, but since we had never toured Grenada, we left Atlanta on a Friday morning for an uneventful flight to the Spice Island. (Since Ronnie HATES to fly, all uneventful flights are a good omen to start a vacation.) We had some beautiful views of the Bahamas, Turks & Caicos, and the Virgin Islands from the air. While waiting in line to clear customs in Grenada, we quickly spotted some of our future shipmates. Many were either decked out in their Windjammer gear purchased on previous trips, or just had the seadog "look". By 9:00 pm, we had picked up the Geo tracker rental and made the short five-minute trip to the Rex Grenadian, our hotel for two nights.
The Rex Grenadian was a lovely hotel with beautiful grounds, but we would probably stay elsewhere if we ever return to Grenada, only because there are so many other gorgeous locations on the island. We bravely struck out on Saturday morning in our rental car to explore. Grenada was a former Crown Colony of Great Britain, and the British influence is still evident on the island--driving was on the left-hand side! However, like in the Virgin Islands, the car was "American-style", i.e. the steering was also on the left. This fact made it even more difficult to remember to stay on the left, especially when turning a corner. The Grenadian roads were horrendous. Driving slow was a necessity due to the many pot holes and narrow, unmarked roads. Saturday was market day and everyone was out and about. The traffic jams of families going to market were certainly more interesting than those we see daily in Atlanta. We spent the morning driving up to the Grand Etang Forest Reserve for some hiking and wild monkey-watching. (Yes, there are wild monkeys in this forest!)
I was proud of my navigational ability when we pulled up to the Morne Fendue Plantation House for lunch. This authentic plantation house built in 1908 was highly recommended by many guide books and past visitors, but it is not easy to find. The house was made of river rock held together with a mixture of lime and molasses, and the driveway was covered with nutmeg hulls. (Grenada is the world's second leading producer of nutmeg and mace, and also grows cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.) Very enchanting. Our West Indian meal included a traditional Caribbean dish--Callaloo soup, and some delicious plum pudding.
Since we knew we were going to be spending the next week on and in the sea, we spent the rest of the day driving around the island rather than setting off for the nearest beach. Grenada has some beautiful vistas overlooking the ocean, secluded harbors, and a mountainous interior of rain forests. Like many other Caribbean islands, the country is poor. Although the island is small, (7 to12 miles wide by 21 miles long) you will need at least a day to circumnavigate and explore the interior rain forests.
Since I always assume that all cruise-lovers also are food-lovers, I will tell you that we ate dinner "on the beach" with our feet in the sand and a thatched umbrella over our heads at Coconut's Beach Restaurant. It was on the east side of Grand Anse Beach, Grenada's main resort area. It was casual and rustic, the seafood was very good, and the sunset was spectacular.
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