Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Places We Had Been During Our Odyssey in 2011/2012 Season

Here is the breakdown of our trip of 842.5 nautical miles aboard Ruyam II between November 22nd, 2011 and May 1st, 2012.  After zigzagging between BVI, USVI and Puerto Rico, our longest passage was from Tortola to St. Martin. From there our route south took us along the west shores of most of the islands; however, we passed from  the east coast of Montserrat to avoid any possible volcanic ash, Union because we had to stop at Clifton on the east coast, and Grenada because it was a shorter crossing from Carriacou to St. David’s harbour.

November 22nd, 2011   Road Harbour, Tortola, BVI                           N 18 25.4     W 64 36.85
4.4 miles
November 23rd, 2011   Great Harbour, Peter Island                           N 18 21.03    W 64 35.00
17.4 miles
November 24th, 2011   Gorda Sound, Virgin Gorda, BVI                     N 18 29.96    W 64.22.4
15.5 miles
November 25th, 2011   Road Harbour, Tortola, BVI                             N 18 25.4      W 64 35.85
 6.5 miles
November 29th, 2011 The Bight, Norman Island, BVI                         N 18 19.01    W 64 37.2
11.5 miles
November 30th, 2011 Cruise Bay, St John, USVI                                  N 18 20.00    W 64 47.9
1.0 mile
November 30th, 2011 Caneel Bay, St John, USVI                                 N 18 20.6    W 64 47.35
10.5 miles
December 2nd, 2011 Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas, USVI                  N 18 20.2   W 64 55.45
 21.0 miles
December 6th, 2011 Ensenada Honda, Culebra, SVI                           N 18 18.4   W 65 18.1
25.5 miles
December 8th, 2011 Isleta Marina, Fajardo, Puerto Rico                   N 18 20.5   W 65 37.3
 18.7 miles
December 25th, 2011 Punta Arenas, Vieques, SVI                             N 18 06.6   W 65 34.6
  8.6 miles
December 26th, 2011 Esperanza, Vieques, SVI                                    N 18 05.5   W 65 27.5 
 8.6 miles
December 27th, 2011 Punta Arenas, Vieques, SVI                               N 18 06.6   W 65 34.6
 14.7 miles
December 28th, 2011 Marina Del Rey, Ceiba, Puerto Rico                 N 18 17.28   W 65 38.05
 23.8 miles
December 29th, 2011 Ensenada Honda, Culebra, SVI                          N 18 18.4   W 65 18.1
 21.0 miles
January 4th, 2012 Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas, USVI                          N 18 20.2   W 65 55.45
10.5 miles
January 6th, 2012 Caneel Bay, St John, USVI                                           N 18 20.6   W 64 47.35
14.0 miles
January 9th, 2012   Road Harbour, Tortola, BVI                                       N 18 25.4   W 64 36.85
13.3 miles
January 14th, 2012 Cane Garden Bay, Tortola, BVI                                N 18 25.43   W 64 39.6
13.3 miles
January 21st, 2012 Road Harbour, Tortola, BVI                                      N 18 25.4   W 64 36.85
 13.3 miles
January 22nd, 2012 Cane Garden Bay, Tortola, BVI                                N 18 25.43   W 64 39.6
13.3 miles
January 30th, 2012 Road Harbour, Tortola, BVI                                      N 18 25.4   W 64 36.85
13.3 miles
February 1st, 2012 Great Harbour, Peter Island                                     N 18 21.03    W 64 35.00
 4.5 miles
February 11th, 2012 Road Harbour, Tortola, BVI                                     N 18 25.4   W 64 36.85
 90.0 miles
February 12/13, 2012 Marigot Bay, St Martin                                        N 18 04.15   W 63 05.4
 12.5 miles
March 10th, 2012 Philipsburg, Sint Maarten                                            N 18 01.2   W 63 02.7
 33.0 miles
March 11th, 2012 Orangenstad, St Estatius (Statia)                                N 17 28.6   W 62 59.2
 24.0 miles
March 12th, 2012 Basseterre, St Christopher (St Kitts)                           N 17 17.40   W 62 43.5
10.5 miles
March 15th, 2012 Charlestown, Nevis                                                        N 17 08.65   W 62 37.92
 31.5 miles
March 18th, 2012 Rendezvous Bay, Montserrat                                        N 16 48.5    W 62 12.55
 42.2 miles
March 20th, 2012 Deshaies, Guadeloupe                                                   N 16 18.45   W 61 47.75
 8.9 miles
March 21st, 2012 Pigeon Island, Guadeloupe                                           N 16 10.2     W 61 46.82
13.0 miles
March 22nd, 2012 Riviere Sens Marina, Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe         N 15 58.85   W 61 43.00
 29.0 miles
March 23rd, 2012 Portsmouth, Dominica                                                    N 15 34.65   W 61 27.85 
20.5 miles
March 28th, 2012 Roseau, Dominica                                                             N 15 17.17   W 61 22.6
 35.0 miles
March 31st, 2012 St Pierre, Martinique                                                        N 14 44.1   W 61 10.7
16.5 miles
April 1st, 2012 Grand Anse D’Arlet, Martinique                                           N 14 30.2   W 61 05.25
26.5 miles
April 3rd, 2012 Rodney Bay, St Lucia                                                              N 14 04.6   W 60 57.00
18.0 miles
April 6th, 2012 Harmony Estates, Malgretout, St Lucia                               N 13 50.5   W 60 03.88
38.0 miles
April 7th, 2012 Wallilabou, St Vincent                                                            N 13 14.85   W 61 16.34
 16.0 miles
April 8th, 2012 Admiralty Bay, Bequia                                                              N 13 00.77   W 61 114.6
 25.0 miles
April 10th, 2012 Salt Whistle Bay, Mayreau                                                    N 12 38.85   W 61 23.44
  4.5 miles
April 12th, 2012 Clifton, Union Island                                               N 12 35.15   W 61 24.9
7.5 miles
April 12th, 2012 Hillsborough, Carriacou                                           N 12 29.07   W 61 27.55
 4.2 miles
April 13th, 2012 Tyrrel Bay, Carriacou                                                  N 61 29.08   W 12 27.37
 32.0 miles
April 15th, 2012 St David’s Bay, Grenada                                               N 12 01.20   W 61 40.77

Over and out until November 1st, 2012.                                         

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Grenada Chocolate Factory

All the guides about Grenada talk about the famous chocolate factory operated by the Belmont Estates at Hermitage, at the north east corner of the island. As Al is a fan of chocolate, he had a taste of their chocolate, and phoned Edmund, the overseer, to arrange a visit to the factory on Monday (April 30th), and obtained directions to get there. We took a collectivo (mini-bus/van) to Grenville, then another one to Hermitage, total trip being about an hour and half. The driver let us out at the foot of the hill, and told us to hike up. We got so steamed up that we went all the way up the hill, and asked some people lurking around where the factory was. Apparently we went too far up, the chuckled and told us to go back almost half way down. The “factory” was a small, unpretentious building, bearing its name. I guess we were expecting to see something bigger, so missed it while walking up. We found Edmund inside, and got a small tour about the process of chocolate making, by crushing the cocoa beans, mixing it with cane sugar and grinding the mixture in a marble mill into a paste, then adding cocoa butter taken out of some other cocoa beans, and molding the whole thing into bars. Apparently when cocoa butter is extracted from the cocoa beans, the remaining substance is the cocoa powder we buy on the market.
After seeing the small operation, where a total of five employees are working, including the three who wrap the bars by hand, we were told to walk down the road to the estate to see the cocoa plantation and the shop to buy the chocolate. Edmund said that it was an easy walk downhill, for about a mile. No problem. I guess Al was anxious to get there so he asked at least five people on the way, everyone telling him that we were on the right track. After walking for quite a while, we saw a cocoa plant in a forest by the road, which heralded the estate. We had a short tour of the grounds; saw the tree where the bell to call the slaves was hanging. Our young guide told us that the tree was three hundred years old and seen some slave hangings in its time. I escaped from there, the images were too sad to bear. She then showed us the fresh cocoa pod, which we know from Dominica. When Al declared his love for the slimy substance around the beans, she broke the pod open and gave him the whole thing. Al and I immediately started to suck on the beans one by one. Then she showed us how the fresh beans were fermented for a couple of days, then dried in huge trays under the sun. When Al asked what they were doing during the rains (every day since we came to St David’s), she indicated that the trays were immediately pushed into the connecting shelter, since they were on rollers. Our guide claimed that some turning of the beans while being dried was done by the feet of their employees, who walk bear-foot through the beans and leave their neat tracks as rows. Apparently they recently started to use shovels in the new system. After all the beans were thoroughly dried, the beans were polished in huge iron pots by the feet of the dancing women! After all that, Edmund gets his hands on the crushed beans to make his chocolate.
The guide pointed out that all the ingredients used in making the chocolate were organically grown; cocoa and vanilla beans at the estate, cane sugar from some plantation in Grenada. I do not know about the soya lecithin, which is used in small quantities, to give a smooth texture. Guide emphasized that because of the lack of milk in their chocolate, it does not melt in the hot weather. Since we had used up a lot of energy getting to the estate, eating and drinking the samples of chocolate and cocoa- tea (hot chocolate) (Al more than me of course) was not problem. Al bought some of the award winning chocolate, as a reminder of Grenada during the summer in Canada. What a nice way of completing our stay at St David’s Bay! Tomorrow we are off to Grooms Beach Resort for two days, and back to Canada.