Saturday, July 1, 2017

My Parents 50th Wedding Anniversary on Canada Day 2017

July 1, 2017

On July 1, my parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. We were thrilled to be a part of this special celebration. The weather was wonderful, my brother and his wife provided the setting, the guests provided the ambiance and the band rocked in the background.

The food was excellent and enjoyed by all. Our good friend Ron was the "tarbender". The wine and beer were flowing and people were catching up after years (in some instances) of absence. Our girls got to hang out with their cousins and two other friends. They had a ton of activities from painting pillow cases to bug hunting paraphernalia. 

Many memories were shared and remembered. It was heart warming to see, just how many people that my parents have touched over the years. I feel very fortunate to have parents that have stayed together through thick and thin and sickness and in health. They have provided an excellent role model and I am glad to be able to share it with my girls as well. 

I want to say a huge thank you to my brother and his wife for organising and opening up their back yard to host this momentous event.

pictures laminated into placemats
family photos hanging from the bar umbrella

Shaun and his Mom, Margo and Dad, Lou
from left to right, me, Margo, Shaun and Lou
Leanne (family friend), Jeff (my brother) and Ron (the bartender)
cousin Lucy, Mason and Jordan
Lauren, Paige and cousin Lawson
Dave, Roger (my dad), Colin and Terry
the kids tent
the band
friends enjoying the band
Helen and my brother Jeff
Sally and my mom Betty
my dad and his oldest friend Harry McWaters
Scott and Lucy (his daughter)
friends and family
Jeff and Leanne the hosts
friends and family (do you think they coordinated their outfits?)
Helen and Shaun
Jordan and Mason grooving to the music
good friends
my Dad
Mandi and Roger
Betty and Roger, my parents
Lucy and Mason dancing the night away
another great shot of Jeff and Leanne
great friends
Lou, me, Suzanne and Margo
Lou and Suzanne, new friends yet both born in Hamburg, Germany
me and the tarbender
my father in-law Lou
Jordan taking a breather from the dancing
Mandi and Ron
a speech to his bride
shake, shake, shake
the band was so gracious and allowed the kids to air guitar, this was Mason's turn
Lucy's turn
Jordan's turn
Lawson's turn
Lauren's turn
You might be wondering where Paige was in the air guitar? She ran around to the front yard to hide, as this would be her worst nightmare.

Terry singing
Ron and Leanne
the cake - it was amazing
Mom and Dad
the happy couple
Follow our video adventures on our YouTube channel: Video adventures of s/v Element

Friday, June 9, 2017


June 9 - July 23

We arrived into Clarks Court, Grenada after our visit in Carriacou. It was lovely to see our good friends Maple anchored there as well. A few days later s/v Dream Catcher and Manado arrived.

Luckily we were able to drop anchor right next door to Maple. The water in the bay was brackish so swimming was not our first choice. The Maple crew dropped by on their way into the marina to visit with mutual friends on s/v Counting Stars. Our timing was perfect as Counting Stars were flying out the following day for a few months. The girls and I tagged along to say hello. This same evening the marina was celebrating their 2 year anniversary. It worked out perfectly.

a blurry picture of the kids on Counting Stars, Element and Maple
Clarks Court was not our favourite anchorage. It was windy, brackish and far from town. The plus side, was our friends.

The bus system in Grenada is wonderful and reasonable (2.50 EC per adult and 1.25 EC for kids). They are always on the lookout for fares and will wait for you even if you are around the corner.

On the our first Saturday we dropped the kids at Maple and Darryl took us in to St. George’s to show us around. There is a market everyday but, Saturdays are the best day to go as it is the largest. Usually, it is 1 bus from Woburn to the bus station but on this day whopped out at gas station near Island Water World and walked all the way around to Port Louis marina to check it out as this is where we had a reservation.

If you like Roti, Nimrods in Woburn is really good and, at 12 EC a portion is good value. The roti can be pre-ordered on Tuesday at lunch. Nimrod's Mom is the lady who makes them.

On Wednesday, we got our butts in gear with Maple and Manado to take the local buses (usually 3 in total) up island to see the River Antoine Distillery and Belmont Estate Chocolate Factory. The driver that picked us up at the bus station in St. Georges happened to live near the distillery. After he dropped all the Grenville people off he continued on to the distillery. The extra charge was very small.

The entrance fee is 13 EC for adults and the kids were free. The distillery still uses the traditional ways for making rum that date back to the 1700's. Water from the river is diverted and used to turn the wheel to crush sugar cane. They only run the wheel at certain times of the day so call in advance. They offer 4 different rums for purchase, a 75 proof (not allowed on airplanes), a 69 proof, mango/passion fruit punch and a chocolate liquor. The property is beautiful with flowers, trees, lizards and birds.

beautiful flowers
we spotted this Grenadian Black Crow, larger than the Grackle
the traditional water wheel to crush the sugar cane for the rum
the cane "crusher"
the left over crushed cane aka "bagasse"
huge piles of bagasse
the boiler room
a sign in the boiler room

a view from above in the boiler room
the fermentation room
distillation area
the fire under the distillation container

best friends forever (Iris and Jordan) at the rum tasting
crew of Element
crew of Maple
view as we were leaving the property

good friends walking down the road
After leaving the distillery Element and Manado wanted to head over to see Belmont Estate chocolate factory (we didn’t want to make the trip back up island later because it was a very long trip). We parted ways with Maple as they had already visited Belmont.

Belmont is a MUST see in Grenada. The grounds are incredible. Our guide Meshach is enthusiastic and engaging. The orchard where the cocoa grows has a plethora of fruit from mango, golden apple, bread fruit, avocado, to banana. It is located across the street from the buildings. We were shocked to find out that 1 cocoa pod can create 4-6 bars. Meshach explained the cocoa pod they use is called a Trinitario (hybrid of Creole and Foresterio pod).

all the fruits and spices found at Belmont Estate (wax apples, bananas, cocoa , nutmeg, golden apples, papaya and more)
bridge to the orchard
cocoa pods growing
the cocoa pod before Meshac opens it
the fresh cocoa beans from inside the pod
the fermenting boxes

fermenting cocoa beans
mace from the nutmeg drying out
drying cocoa beans
moving the cocoa beans around to help dry them out
a professional, moving the beans
burlap bags full of cocoa beans

sign on the property
an old bell (not sure of the significance)
large copper pot to polish the cocoa bean by foot (aka dancing the cocoa)
while waiting for mom and dad Jordan practices her ballet positions
Once we finished at Belmont we walked out front and hopped on a bus heading back to Grenville. I sat beside a lady who recommended a local restaurant The Melting Pot (above Aldars). Super cheap local food that is excellent (2 EC - 12 EC per portion).

The following Saturday, Janet (s/v Maple, Darelle & Deon (s/v Dream Catcher), Paige and I took a local taxi to the Grenada Hash House Harriers ( hike. Every Saturday there is a hike held at a different location around the island. It was super fun.

Deon having his shoe christened
Deon drinking water from his shoe
Janet at the beginning of the hike
views along the way

the loss of our Hash virginity certificate
As time went on, a tropical storm "Brett" was heading towards Grenada. Shaun and I decided that we would be more comfortable if Element was tied safely in Port Louis marina. We called and moved our reservation up a few days in order to prep Element before we were scheduled to fly back to Canada.

Prepping for a tropical storm is a lot of work. We removed fore sails (which ended up in Jordan's room), secured the main, and removed everything on deck that might blow away. We used the windlass to tighten our bowlines to make sure there was very little movement. Luckily the storm bypassed Grenada, the highest gust we saw was 40 knots. We were able to leave Element safely tied up while we flew back for my parents 50th wedding anniversary.

Once we returned from our trip, we stayed a few extra days in the marina because another tropical storm "Don" was forecast to hit. Again, the storm bypassed us. During our final stay at the marina, Maple's kids would often join us to play at the pool. Janet and I also were walking in the mornings before it got too hot. A day or so before we left the marina a "bunch" of kid boats organised a beach day. It was fantastic!

just a "few" kid boats in Grenada that we hung out with at the beach (there were 28 kids in total that day
water fun
building sand castles
We finally moved out into the anchorage for a few days before departing for Los Roques, Venezuela. It was lucky that we did this as our dinghy motor was acting up. While we were out in the anchorage, Shaun and I provisioned Element as we knew that it would be difficult to find anything in Los Roques. 

Follow our video adventures on our YouTube channel: Video adventures of s/v Element