Where did I leave off… the days of the month, of the week, even the hours have blended together in a dreamy Caribbean haze. It’s Siesta time now and Francisco is serenading us on his guitar, while Silvia, Cairan, Petra, and I are laying around the boat. We’ve anchored all three boats on the south side of Grenada at Prickly Bay.
Today we sailed here from St. George where I’ve been for the last 6 days or so since I arrived. It was noticeable to the three of us sailing Goma Rota, the smell of spices wafting off Prickly Bay as we came closer, just like my grandmother always talked about. Flowers, cinnamon, and nutmeg perfume the Grenadian air. They call this place the spice island.
The boat Joshua is still in disrepair, and we had it towed here today so it can get pulled out of the water in the coming days. Sailing here was magnificent, I went with Francisco and Alex on Goma Rota, the smallest of our boats at 32 feet and the most fun to sail. As we left St. George, the mountainside city shrinks as the larger and cloud darkened mountains are revealed behind it. They look primal, jagged, and volcanic like they belong in the time of dinosaurs. Lush rainforest growth and palm trees carpet the slopes with a deep satisfying green. The water is luxurious azure, but then you can clearly see when the boat passes over shallow areas, and the water becomes bright Caribbean turquoise.
We had music playing as the three of us hoisted the sails and headed around Grenada. Estamos navigando en el barco Espagnol! Francisco is the captain of Goma Rota, he is a novice captain from Argentina and speaks excellent English although is still learning. Alex from Sweden also speaks fluent Spanish so the two more frequently converse in Spanish and I am trying to learn it. The three of us made a very fun team sailing together, all fairly inexperienced at sailing but having no trouble, no rules or judgements, just friendship and freedom.
The Caribbean lifestyle is one where time crawls. It hardly exists at all save the sunsets and sunrises. Things can always be put off until tomorrow, and they definitely are. Every activity involves some relaxing as well. I was swimming for a long way yesterday, having jumped off the boat to swim around asking our neighbors if they need their boats cleaned. I’m trying to find a way to make money around here to help pay for staying aboard, but haven’t been able to so far. All the same, as I was swimming in the crystal clear water, being carried by the current, I realized it was the month of November and how it totally made no difference to Grenada.
In the mornings I’ve been running with Silvia. She can’t help but wake up and attack the day at 6AM We ran a few miles across the island, up and down large hills, around bustling narrow concrete streets. The streets wind around with crazy beeping traffic and the shoulders of the road overflow with tropical flowers. It’s always hot and you sweat like crazy, but you can count on the cool ocean breeze to invigorate you and make you feel alive. Sweeping views of dramatically green mountains and the pristine blue bays greet you around each corner of the road.
Silvia stops at the most wonderful bakery after her run, and breakfast is where she gets back. All eight of us gather and share in sliced fresh bread with butter, peanut butter, jam and cheese, bananas, toast, and then something else like Swedish oatmeal with carrots, scones we make, potatoes or plantains. We eat with our hands, then we all gather on deck to wash the dishes with seawater. It’s always a party, extremely fun and challenging cooking for so many people. We are all like family and I feel like we all sincerely love each other and will remain friends for the rest of our lives. We are always very hungry from living so passionately outdoors like this, and dinner is the same idea. We eat what we can get at the local market. Dinner often has rice, possibly with potatoes, pumpkin, ginger and eggplant. I made a chicken curry with potatoes, eggplant, and chickpeas, served it on rice with cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger; thus is the Caribbean diet! Unfortunately mangoes and tomatoes aren’t currently in season.
This really feels like one of the best experiences of my life and I find I’ve been extremely happy. We all went sailing on Goma Rota a couple of days ago and it was fun. We went around the island north of St. George, anchoring in a pristine and enchanted spot beside some volcanic cliffs and turquoise water. The mast has steps so we climbed it and jumped off, with Claes executing a perfect swan dive from 30 feet in the air. The swimming has been sublime, and the free diving fantastic. We all get super hungry, and I get into the small kitchen with Petra and slice the bakery fresh bread, cut apples on them and make sandwiches with the leftover curry and cheese. Then work like maniacs to pump them out for the eight of us and keep them coming for seconds! These people are not sheepish when it comes to finishing the scraps off the cutting board, or sharing glasses of water. I love that.
I’ve always wanted to live in the Caribbean and I’m so glad I’m here. Unfortunately, I can’t afford to keep paying to live in this situation if I can’t find work. But I love this place, and I love the people I’m surrounded by. Whatever happens will surely be an adventure, and for now I’m thrilled to keep living with this band of gypsies for a while! Going hiking tomorrow and looking forward to the future. Above all though, I’m enjoying the moment.