Monday, November 26, 2012


In his novel The King of Torts, John Grisham aptly describes Mustique as, “…the exclusive island owned by the rich and famous, an island with everything but a runway long enough for private jets.  Rock stars and actresses and billionaires had mansions there.”

Celebrity such as Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, David Bowie, Raquel Welch and Shania Twain are said to be regulars at Mustique.  But, we had no celebrity sightings.

Anchoring is not permitted, and the fee for a mooring ball is $200 EC ($75 USD) for the first night, but then you get two free nights.  This has a tendency to discourage many cruisers on a tight budget.

Because Mustique was our first stop in the Grenadines, we were required to check-in with customs and immigration.  This involved a quick “taxi ride” (pickup truck with benches in the bed) to the airport where affairs were easily handled.  John Grisham was right; Mustique’s runway cannot handle jets.

Of course Mustique has the obligatory boutiques that Pollie found interesting.

And, I found the bakery and coffee shop.

To work off the pastries, we found many interesting places to walk or bicycle.

Tortoise Corner

The plaque associate with this sculpture said that the art work was gift from a couple to their many friends on Mustique.  There has to be a story behind this bequeath.

Should one tire of the normal island activities, Mustique has an equestrian center.

Of course the tack room is clean and orderly.

One nice tradition in Mustique is that most all businesses close from noon until 2:00 PM for lunch and siesta.

Dinning on Mustique can be expensive.  At Basil’s we had three beers and four shrimp for a total of $120 EC.

The pricing was somewhat justified by the d├ęcor and view.

However, the next day we found the locals restaurant, The View.  There lunch for two consisting of curried turkey, rice, and a salad along with three beers was $55 EC.  That evening on the boat we had grilled lobster purchased from local fisherman for $16 EC a pound. 

Mustique is a great playground for the not so rich and famous too.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Rivers Rum Distillery

Established in 1785, Rivers Rum is the oldest distillery on Grenada.

The process starts with bundles of sugar cane.

The bundles are fed to the crusher via a conveyor belt.

Both the conveyor belt and the crusher are powered by a water wheel driven by a diverted stream.

Sugar Cane Crusher

Rivers Rum has not suffered much modernization since 1785.

Once all of the juice is removed from the cane, it is returned to the fields as mulch.

The cane juice is delivered to the boiling house via a wooden guttering system.

In the boiling house the cane juice is processed into syrup by being boiled in a sequence of copper pots and with the addition of lime as a purifier and to achieve the proper acidity.

The syrup is then placed in a tank and allowed to cool.

After two days, it is pumped upstairs to the tanks where the fermentation process occurs using yeast from the atmosphere.

The fermented juice is sent to the distillery which has three sections, the boiler, the vaporizer and the condenser.

All of the heat used in the process is produced by burning wood.

The final stage, bottling and crating, is all done by hand.

Rivers Rum does not have facilities for aging in casks so all they offer is light or flavored rum.  Their rum has a very high alcohol content.  I would rate it one step above moonshine, but their distillery was a fascinating step back in time. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Leaving Grenada

Our insurance company says hurricane season is over, and NOAA seems to agree.

So we took our dinghy to Grand Anse Bay for a bottom cleaning party before lifting it back on top.

Jeff and Izzy found “help” cleaning their bottom.

After the strenuous work, beers at Coconut’s Restaurant were available.

Professional divers were hired to clean the bottom and running gear, and check the zincs on the big boat.  With five months of growth to contend with, they earned their money.

Jeff Rogers, Izzy St. Clair, Maurice Howland, Pollie Howland, JoAnne Wagstaff Harris, and Bill Harris at Sunset Services on the beach.

Finally, it was time to say goodbye to some of the friends we made here in Grenada.  Hopefully, our wakes will cross again. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The “Rescue Mission”

Graffiti on “The Wall” at Fort George

In 1974 Grenada gained independence from the United Kingdom.  Sir Eric Gairy led this effort and subsequently claimed victory in a general election in 1976.  Most international observers and Maurice Bishop, the leader of the opposition party, did not accept the election results as legitimate.  Bishop waited until 1979 when Gairy was out of the country and launched an armed revolution that overthrew the government.

Bay used by mercenaries entering the country

Aside from Grenada’s internal political turmoil, the Soviet Union and Cuban were attempting to establish a communist foothold in the United State’s backyard.  Maurice Bishop as leader of the New JEWEL (Joint Endeavor for Welfare, Education, and Liberation) Movement was willing to accept aid from the Soviet Union, but was not seen as Marxist-Leninist enough by some.

Formerly the site of a Cuban garrison

Suspicions about Bishop were exacerbated when he made a side trip to the United States.  On October 13, 1983, a party faction led by the then Deputy Prime Minister Bernard Coard seized power and Bishop was placed under house arrest.

Fort George

This led to mass protests and work stoppages by the people of Grenada.  Protesters freed Bishop and marched with him up the hill to Fort George, the military command center.  They were met and dispersed by Cuban and Grenadian troops loyal to the new government.  Many Grenadian civilians were killed.

“The Wall”

On October 19, 1983 Maurice Bishop and seven others including government ministers were lined up on the interior courtyard wall of Fort George and executed by firing squad.   Following Bishop’s execution a military government under Hudson Austin was formed.  Austin’s first decree was a four day total curfew under which anyone who left their home without authorization would be subject to summary execution.


Six days later the United States invaded.  In three weeks, the US Army’s Rapid Deployment Force (1st, 2nd Ranger Battalions and 82nd Airborne Division Paratroopers), Marines, Army Delta Forces and Navy SEALS (7,600 troops) along with members of the Caribbean Peace Forces (CPF) defeated Grenadian and Cuban resistance.

Old Soviet Union aircraft at Pearl’s Airfield

U.S. Forces suffered 19 casualties and 116 wounded; Cuban forces sustained 25 killed, 59 wounded and 638 combatants captured.  Grenadian forces casualties were 45 killed and 358 wounded; at least 24 civilians were killed, several of whom were killed in the accidental bombing of a Grenadian mental hospital.  The movie Heartbreak Ridge, starring Clint Eastwood ends with Hollywood’s version of the invasion.

Brother Bill standing on the ruins of the Santa Marie Hotel

Above Port Louis is the site where the first hotel in Grenada stood, the Santa Maria.  Faulty intelligence indicated that the military coup leaders were planning their resistance to the invasion from the hotel so an airstrike was ordered.  In 2004, Hurricane Ivan finished off the old hotel.  Many scenes from the movie Island In The Sun starring Harry Belafonte were filmed in the Santa Maria Hotel.

October 25 is a national holiday in Grenada, called Thanksgiving Day, to commemorate the invasion.

The captured Cuban solders and Soviet “construction engineers” were detained and later deported.  Grenadians were simply told to go home to their families.  In a telephone interview on October 26, 1983, medical students told Nighlines’s Ted Koppel how grateful they were for the invasion, which they stated probably saved their lives.  International reaction to the invasion was not as positive, but the criticism was dismissed by President Reagan who said, "it didn't upset my breakfast at all."

Clement Baptiste

Democratic elections were held in December of 1984 and Grenada has enjoyed 28 years of peaceful leadership transfers.  In 2009, the airport under construction that President Reagan had pointed to as proof of "Soviet-Cuban militarization" of Caribbean, was renamed Maurice Bishop International Airport. 

On the morning of October 13, 1983, Clement Baptiste reported to work as a military chauffeur for one of the ministers.  He was told by a Grenadian military officer that there had been a coup and the minister he drove was now under house arrest.  At that point Clement made a strategic error and resigned.  He believes the only reason he was not executed was that he and the officer grew up in the same village.

For a great tour of Grenada, contact:
C B Historical Tours

Thanks Clement!