Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Welcome To My Island

The Saharan Dust Haze has returned!
Nine months.  I can't believe we've been here in Grenada for almost NINE MONTHS!  And in that time, we have made ourselves very much at home.  We arrived when most Cruisers were just beginning to migrate away for the season, way back at the first of November.  We remained here through the slow season, and are still here as the Cruiser migration begins to arrive back in Grenada for another Hurricane season.  And with the migration comes new friends as well as old ones!

I've watched with excitement as friends from Texas got closer and closer.  Ken and Carrie from Griffin were our dock mates back in Port Aransas.  As we welcomed them and others to the island, I've been planning all the things I wanted to show them, as well as some new spots for Bruce and I!

Added Bonus:  A stop to see the Mona Monkeys!
There are many choices of drivers to take us around the island, but I enjoy the company of our friend Chico!  I arranged for him to pick us, and ten of our closest NEW friends, up mid morning and whisk us all off for a fun day of adventuring on this beautiful island!  Our destination:  Claboney Sulphur Springs!  I felt giddy with excitement and just couldn't wait for everyone to see the little treasures we've found here - and there is just SO MUCH to love!

Several other popular attractions punctuate the route to the springs.  Chico made sure we enjoyed them all!  He knows the secret spot to find the Mona Monkeys and we all got to try our luck with a banana today!

A shy guy watches from the trees.
Ron (Follow Me) taking his chances with this big boy!
Carrie laughs as the monkey takes the banana!
And away he goes!
The obligatory Monkey-Selfie
Mindy (Follow Me) having some Me-Time with a Mona Monkey
He walked right over my head!
Gimme that banana!

We had a blast holding and feeding the Mona Monkeys!  Eventually we had our fill, and continued on the short distance to take a look at the beautiful mountain spring-fed Grand Etang Lake.  Chico told us that the lake is connected to the Kick 'em Jenny volcano and that when it rumbles, this lake will bubble!  No bubbles today!

But the fish kind of bubbled when bread crumbs were involved!

Next stop:  Claboney Springs!  We bounced along roads that got more and more remote.  It's a good thing we're not in charge because it became quite a challenge to get the loaded van up the slippery cement roads.  Several times we had to back up and get a running start... and STILL had to move the weight to the back of the bus to make it up the slope!  It was just a little bit scary!

Funny thing... evidently this was Chico's first time coming up here and he wasn't exactly sure where we were supposed to go.  He tried taking us all the way to the springs, but we ended up doing all that danger stuff for nothing.  We had actually gone too far and had to backtrack to the little shack where a guy was probably wondering where on earth we were going!

The real way to the springs... notice the sign!
We all loaded up our picnic gear and set off into the unknown.  The path was well worn, but a little slippery with mud that always seems present in the Rainforest.

We crossed a couple of little streams and climbed some embankments, but the going wasn't too tough and the forest was beautiful!

Gotta watch your step, no time to gaze up at the soaring treetops!

Almost there... really!

And we finally made it!  There's a clearing where we all found spots for our stuff and began shucking the clothing.  We were all a little warm from the physical exertion it took to get here, but the air was cool up in the mountains so most of us were game for the warm waters of these mineral rich springs. 

The mineral deposits made a natural non-skid coating on the rocks in the stream bed.

Our band of noisy Cruisers interrupted the solitude of these two young ladies.  I felt a little bad about it, but not enough to forego the pleasures of a warm dip!  We were counting on these waters taking ten years off our age!

Joey was the first one in!
I picked my way down into the warm waters.

I moved cautiously along the bottom, feeling my way with my feet.  The bottom was silty and the water quickly filled with murk, much of which was flakes of the yellow/orange mineral deposits that lined everything the water touched.

The water was bathtub-warm... very nice in the cool air.  We all just milled about, enjoying the lush garden that we are so fortunate to have at our disposal.  I am continually amazed that there are so many of these hidden treasures out here for us to explore... for FREE!
Little murky!
Mindy exploring the spring.
See the little cave?  That's where the spring is hiding!
I took Mindy's spot and moved toward the spring.  I wanted to see what was in there.  My curiosity was thwarted by the appearance of this millipede!  I don't care if it will hurt me or not!  I didn't want to find out!

Mindy flung it away and I was able to resume my exploration.  Thanks Mindy!

I moved closer to the small rivulet of water escaping from the tiny cave.  Bubbles tickled my body as they rose from the floor of the pool... the water made my skin feel almost like it was covered with some sort of water repellant as the bubbles clung and tickled me. 

I got close enough to peer inside the cave and suddenly felt like I couldn't breathe!  There were gasses escaping from the cave that almost choked me!  I backed away quickly to find breathable air again!  You're welcome!  Now nobody else has to do that!!!!  If I develop some sort of mysterious lung-funk, tell the doctor this is what happened!

Eventually we relinquished the pond back to the two young ladies who had tolerated our presence with grace.  We were warm and the cool air felt so good on our skin as we crept back out of the pool and began thinking of lunch!

A rickety bridge made of felled bamboo leads the way across the orange-bottomed stream

A hidden oasis?  YES!
But I wasn't done yet.  When we came in, I wondered if this was the right pool, or if there was another one further down the stream.  A makeshift bridge spanned the tiny yellow/orange stream bed that disappeared into the jungle.  I could see a clearing off in the near distance but couldn't see water.  One of the men volunteered to scout it out for us, and gave us the thumbs up!

We filed across the bridge and forged the muddy stream all the way to the next beautiful little pool paradise!

Ginger growing wild

The second pool was smaller and not quite as deep, but just as beautiful, maybe moreso!
You can see our camp back across the ravine.

I spotted the spring and MORE BUBBLES!

Just milling around in paradise
We're lounging beneath the shade of a giant tree fern!
One last look at our oasis and we went back to camp for some lunch
Our bridge doesn't look like much...

But it served its purpose!

Continuing on with our bamboo theme, some of the guys were busy at camp creating a table for our pot luck banquet!  The legs were a little rickety so they moved it to the ground and I used my grass matt as a table cloth.  We spread our dishes out and feasted like royalty here in this hidden little nook in the jungle!

While we feasted, so did the mosquitos unfortunately!  They never tell you about the bugs in those magazine articles!  Well, I'm telling you!  We were a buffet for the skinniest bunch of mosquitos I've ever seen.  I almost felt like just letting them have an arm because they were obviously starving! 

We ate. We drank. We were merry!  And then it was time to pack our stuff back out and continue on to our next destination!

La Sagesse Beach is another of those spots that not everyone knows about.  Chico brought us here on another excursion, but we didn't swim, and I have wanted to get back here ever since. 

We gathered our beach gear and followed the manicured pathway down to the lovely secluded beach!

We made our nest and headed for the water.  Remember we're no longer in the cool rainforest anymore and the days are becoming hotter here.  We were all feeling it and the water was perfect!

It was easy to get past the breaking surf where we could just float in the shallow swells

Not much time left as the sun begins to sink

C'mon Ken and Carrie!  The water is fine!
The waves carried us back to the sand

Now refreshed and revitalized once more, we did our own thing on the beach for a while.  For some that meant a romantic stroll up the deserted beach... for others, that meant a game of Bocce!

I've never played before but I'm game.  Evidently it takes a lot of deliberation from the looks of it... Maybe next time, there will be more time and I'll get to try my hand at it!

Ken and Carrie joined Bruce and I on the beach in the spectator's box, just watching and chatting, until a man and his wife came walking up the beach and recognized Ken.  They stopped and talked for a bit and the takeaway was that they were locals and had a home nearby.  They let Ken in on a little secret!  The stream that split the beach just down the way was actually fresh water and could be used as a rinse before leaving the beach. 

We meandered over past the Bocce bunch and followed the stream up into the mangroves.  A freshwater rinse would be nice before we boarded the bus for home!

Somebody tasted the water and pronounced that it was indeed FRESH!
Carrie forging ahead!

The stream seemed to disappear into the mangrove jungle
But then it opened up into an inland pool.  
We followed the stream back up the bank until we found a deeper pool surrounded by jungle.  There were several birds disturbed by our unexpected and unwelcome presence, but we were on a mission.  The water looked a little brownish, stained by tannins from the vegetation, but it didn't smell - much - so we took a dip.

Looking back toward the beach

Bruce was ALL IN!

C-Dock represents on La Sagesse Beach!
I can't adequately express to you the joy it brings me to share these wonders with friends.  It's almost like I created this world for them and just want to spread the good fortune to all!  Living here in Grenada has given me a strange but comfortable proprietary feeling that I just love. 

Getting this outing together gave me a little bit of anxiety... would they like what I have planned?  Would everyone have fun?  Would they feel that it was a good value?  As our day came to a close, it became obvious that everyone DID have a good time, and so my anxiety relaxed and pride took its place. 

It's over.  Time to load up and go home.
Not pride at what I had done to arrange for the day, but pride that my new home - AND CHICO - had shown themselves well for my new friends. 

What a great day with good people!  I can't wait to get out again and see more of this beautiful island and her gentle people.  Welcome to my island!

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