Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Rum Shack

We’ve been keenly following the weather forecasts as tropical waves and weather disturbances roll off the coast of Africa and move westward across the Atlantic and towards the Caribbean; hoping that they don’t form into hurricanes or if they do that they track further north of us. Grenada is supposed to be relatively safe from hurricanes – that is why we are here – but its easy to forget that it was only 7 years ago that Hurricane Ivan flattened and destroyed a lot of Grenada.

The days drift by and before we know it the weekend is upon us again. After 7 weeks in the same spot in Prickly Bay Sim and I, after much persuasion from our friends on SY Irie, managed to tear the roots we had grown in “our spot” and move around to Clarks Court Bay to join them for the promise of a party and most importantly free food with the locals that evening. We arrived in time to be hit by rains squalls but we didn’t mind as it cooled the air and washed the decks clean off salt. Clarks Court is a deep bay surrounded by low green hills. The small town of Woburn sits at the head of the bay. A town is probably an over exaggeration, a cross road with a few scattered shacks and houses dotted between the palm trees and fruit trees and small areas of scrub land are probably a better description. Heavy rain, the loudest thunder I have heard in ages and lightening threaten to curb the evenings events but the clouds finally cleared. We bailed the dinghy which was ankle deep in water and made our way across the bay to a dock on the other side and locked up our dinghies. It was then a short walk to Nimrods Bar. Nimrods is a rickety little shack of a bar with a separate kitchen built around a breadfruit tree. There is a small patio with chairs and an umbrella. When we arrive at 5pm (happy hour time) the party is still to get started but the few locals that are there are already well on their way! They show us the kitchen and how they are making Oil Down, which is the national dish of Grenada. Amongst other things it has various chicken and pig parts, onions, potatoes, Callaloo (spinach like leaf) and breadfruit (a starchy vegetable). The rum is served in either quart bottles or full bottles and individual bottles of coke. The night moves on and we chat to some locals. Sep is the bar owner and usually looks completely off his head, which I think he is. Ralf (a rather large guy) was cooking the food and Sheldon and Renny provided us with entertainment. They were extremely funny (and drunk) but also very generous. Our rum was topped up often and they let us sample the moonshine rum that is generally not drunk by tourists and contained in one gallon bottles with dubious bits of plants and twigs floating around in it. Huge plates of Oil Down arrived by which time it was dark and we were unable to recognize quite what we were eating. Though Sim was the only one smiling while chewing on a pig tail the rest of us politely chowed down on the vegetables and interesting lumps of dough that they call dumplings while quietly slipping the stray dogs (or Sim) the unidentified fatty bits of meat! According to Renny and Sheldon if you eat Oildown while drinking rum it is impossible to get drunk! I think it is quite safe to say by their constant singing and shouting that it is not actually true but a nice thought!! The quart bottles of rum moved on to full bottles. The next thing we know more food is being brought out – this time fish broth with octopus and sea urchin. Sim would not participate in this round and I have to admit that by this point even I was getting full and barely able to put another spoon full of a sea urchin soup laced with octopus legs full of little suction cups – ee ewe in my mouth! 5 hours later and we had had enough. I still don’t think the party had got started but it was only 10.30pm….it seemed like a very late night to us.

Sunday had us starting the day with Buckfizz or Mimosas as our American friends like to call them on SY Irie. Mark cooked up a huge breakfast and Susan and Jan from SY Peter Pan joined us, as well as Bjorn from SY Buena Vista. We hung out on Irie for a little while and had a swim before getting ready for the next party. Liesbet dragged Susan and myself for a walk across the deserted island that is slightly hilly and over grown with bush to get to the bar while the boys took the dinghy. Because of the rain the ground was muddy and our feet were getting caked with the stuff, mosquitoes were biting as we lost the path and had to walk ankle deep though warm brown sludgy water …..it was not my idea of fun! Every Sunday Rogers beach bar on Hog Island serves beer, rum and food. A live band show up and locals and boaters alike hangout together on this little island. The beach is lined with dinghies. Kids play in the sea and people wind (rhymes with grind) and grind to the rhythm of reggae and soul. Tunes of Tracy Chapmen float out across the bay. As the sun sets and beers and rums are downed everyone is friendly and chatting or dancing the last light of the day away. Irie kindly have us back to their boat for dinner and when we eventually roll home Sim and I swear that we will have a few days of peace and quiet for a while.

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