Saturday, October 3, 2015


Motivated to get off the boat and get our feet on solid ground by a very rolly anchorage, we decided to meet up with our friend Jason and do some exploring.  We were on what I like to call the "No plan plan," choosing to make decisions on a whim and to go with the flow.  In the past, this kind of attitude has left us open to more possibilities and taken us on some of the most magical and unexpected adventures.  Today was no exception.  

Our Camelbaks help us stay hydrated, even in the island heat

We filled our Camelbaks up with water (a necessity for any activity on this hot tropical island at only 12 degrees north of the equator), grabbed a couple of granola bars, our phones (to take pictures), sunscreen, and bug spray.  We threw on our only long sleeved t-shirts (Castaway Girl shirts,  my uniform at my previous crewing job), and decided it was okay to look like a nerdy matching couple in the name of sun protection.  And of course we had our swim stuff, because you never know when an opportunity to get in the water will arise and you don't want to chance missing out on it! 

Eastern Caribbean Dollars

We grabbed some cash, a strategically planned combination of US dollars and Eastern Caribbean dollars.  US dollars are widely accepted at stores and restaurants with one caveat: they are only accepted if in perfect condition with absolutely no marks or tears.  This is more of a challenge than you might imagine.  Open your wallet right now, and I can almost guarantee that the majority of the bills in your wallet would not meet the Granadian requirements for bill perfection.  The Eastern Caribbean dollar, commonly called "EC,"  has been pegged to the US dollar at an exchange rate of 2.70 XCD to 1 USD since 1976.  It's the currency you should use on buses, open air markets, and street stands to avoid complication or confusion. 
Momo likes to help Skeeter raise and lower the dinghy

Skeeter lowered our dinghy into the water.  We raise it up each and every night to minimize sea life growth on the bottom, and as a theft deterrent.  I closed all of our ports and hatches in case it rained while we were out.  The waves in Prickly Bay were so bad it felt like we were in open ocean!  And to make it worse, they were broadsiding us, making us rock hard from side to side.  It's not usually like this, but hurricane Joaquin, a category 4 almost 1000 miles north of us, was sucking air from all directions, making the wind and swells come from the south, which made the waves easily enter through the mouth of the bay.  Normally the winds come from the East, and there is a big peninsula blocking the waves and making it a calm, peaceful anchorage.  We climbed over the side of Salt Whistle and had to time our entry into the dinghy strategically so we didn't fall overboard.  Success!  We dinghied over to the Spice Island Marina dinghy dock, locked her up, and walked to the main road, Maurice Bishop Highway, to catch a bus.  

The #1 bus takes us to St. George

The buses in Grenada (and most of the Caribbean) are not like buses you are probably used to.  They are more like mini buses or vans with a set route.  It's very simple to catch a bus, because they are privately owned and the conductor and driver are eager to get as many passengers as they can so they can make more money.  If you are just out taking a walk it can be a little bit overwhelming to have buses solicit you every two minutes, but if you are trying to catch a bus it makes it incredibly easy.  As long as you are walking on a bus route, you will catch a bus in a matter of seconds, or at the longest, a few minutes.  Here's some more amusing and interesting information on Grenada's buses.  

We hopped on a #1 bus to the bus depot in St. George to meet up with Jason.  The 5 mile journey to the bus depot only cost us 2.50EC each, less than 1USD.  The downtown area of St. George is a bustling, lively area.  It was 9am on a Saturday morning, and there were still people partying in the streets from the previous night.  Jason was at the bus depot waiting for us.  

The #5 bus takes us north along the west coast

We decided to find a #5 bus, so we could head north along the western coastline.  None of us had explored that part of Grenada yet, so we wanted to check it out.  A young conductor (the driver's assistant) asked us where we were trying to go and I replied, "Gouyave."  It was a small town we had seen on the map.  The boy looked back at me slightly confused and said, "Gwav?"  Apparently I had butchered the pronunciation.  In the mean time, an eager conductor from another bus was trying to "steal us away" from this bus and get us on his bus.  Our conductor told him, "leave these people alone," shooed the other guy away and won our patronage.  He gestured for us to jump in.  There were only a couple of people on the bus so far.  We climbed in, and happily chatted with Jason for 15 minutes or so in the hot bus while the conductor worked hard at shepherding people into our #5 bus until it was packed full.  And then we were off. 
When the bus is full, it's ready to go

A map of Grenada

As we headed out of the capital city, the views got more and more spectacular.  The road was a hilly and windy one, following the leeward coastline.  The people and buildings were fewer and farther apart, and as we climbed to a higher altitude the vegetation got more and more lush and dense.  The greens were so green, and the flowers were so vividly colored that it seemed like a technicolor dream.  We rolled along without a destination or plan, hoping for some inspiration along the way.  We traveled past the National Cricket Stadium, Mount Moritz, through the town of Happy Hill, and past Halifax Harbour.  

This sign was our inspiration to get off the bus here

8 miles into our scenic journey, our bus stopped to let a passenger off.  I noticed a sign for the Concord Falls on the roadside, and on an impulse I said to Skeeter and Jason, "Let's get off here!"  They obliged, and we all stepped off the bus in the little rural village of Concord.  We followed the sign up a mountainous side road, not knowing how far we would have to walk to get to the waterfall.  But we didn't care.  We all liked walking and exploring new territory, and were ready for a new adventure.

Skeeter and Jason, ready for adventure!
We walked past little houses and plantations filled with tropical fruit trees.  We took lots of pictures, took in the fresh air and beautiful surroundings, and enjoyed our walk up the mountain.  We were able to walk in the middle of the road, since there was hardly any traffic.  

The road to Concord Falls

Beautiful views along the road

A little ways up the road we saw a sign saying that it was 2 miles to the Concord Falls.  There were people hanging out on their porches with family and friends, and lots of goats grazing.  

Photo by Jason Kuczek

One of many roadside goats

We were able to identify many different trees and fruits along the way, but had no idea what some of them were.  We recognized bananas, papaya (called paw-paw in Grenada), mango, coconut, breadfruit, nutmeg, and avocado.  There were also quite a few that we had no idea what they were.

Banana plants

Breadfruit tree

Some sort of citrus fruit

Nutmeg tree

We had no idea what these were

Everyone in Grenada is so friendly it almost takes you off guard.  Everyone we passed greeted us with a kind smile, a "good day," or a short pleasant conversation.  Grenadians are very proud of their country, their culture, and their island's natural beauty, and are very kind and welcoming to visitors.  I've never felt so safe and welcome anywhere else as I do in Grenada.  If a man is walking down the road toward you holding a machete, fear not.  He is not going to hack you to bits.  He's a local farmer. 

In the Caribbean, seeing a man with a machete is common

Grenada is a place where you can let down your guard and be open to meeting people, without constantly thinking that you may be about to get scammed or taken advantage of.  It's easy to make new friends here.  We've even had numerous positive encounters with people who were obviously under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.  Many Grenadians just want to talk to you and share their passion about their island with you, and want nothing in return.  Occasionally, particularly near the cruise ship terminal in St. George, people will ask for a handout...but in our experience they are friendly and non-aggressive, and don't persist if you say no.  The conversation usually concludes with, "All the best," or "Have a blessed day."

Walking up the road to Concord Falls
An abandoned house with spectacular views
Banana plants & Coconut trees
Part way up the road I was taking pictures and realized that I had lost my Virgin Islands drivers' license!  It was a real pain in the ass to get, and my only license.  I only got it a few months ago in St. Thomas.  Silly fool that I am, I had it in the pocket in my phone case and it must have fallen out when I was taking pictures.  I tried to resist panic, but it wasn't easy.  I announced what had happened to Skeeter and Jason, and started running down the road in the direction we came from like a mad woman.  Walking up the road was a man I recognized from the bus.  I decided to stop and ask him if he had found a drivers' license.  I'm not even sure I gave him a chance to answer me before I launched into an explanation of how I probably dropped it somewhere in the middle of the road.  He asked me if I was going to take him out, and then he reached in his pocket and pulled out my license!  He was joking with me.  I attacked him with a big hug and a thank you.  I was so grateful.  I thought it was gone for good, and I couldn't imagine the process I would have to go through to get a new license.
I was so happy to see my license again!

Not much further!
The walk ended up being about 2 miles from the main road to the entrance of the first Concord Waterfall and trail leading to the other falls.  There were 2 little girls holding a baby Mona monkey sitting in chairs outside of a little store.  A friendly guard greeted us.  He didn't ask us for the entrance fee, so we asked where we should pay.  He explained that we only had to pay if we wanted to swim in the first waterfall, which was directly downhill from the little shop.  There were a few local kids playing in the water, and a man with a net catching crayfish.  It was very pretty, but semi man-made.  We decided to hike to the more remote waterfall and decide whether or not we cared to swim in the first waterfall upon our return.

Sign at the entrance to the Concord Falls

We followed the dirt road to its end.  We expected to see a sign pointing to the trail head, but there was none.  We saw a very thin strip of dirt cutting through tall grass headed toward a creek.  We decided to follow it and walk across the creek.  

One of the river crossings on our hike

Once we had crossed, we decided that it had to be the path.  It meandered through grass and vegetation sometimes as high as our waists.  I regretted not wearing pants, but was prepared with Benadryl in case I broke out in an uncontrollably itchy rash (I'm kind of allergic to grass...).  Jason put on his make-shift pants, which were tall socks that came up to his knees.  Skeeter is pretty tough, plus his skin was shielded by his hairy legs.  I was grateful my legs were sort of hairy too, but for maybe the first time ever, I was wishing my legs were even hairier.  

Hiking through tall grass

Skeeter hiking through the grass

Having fun despite the razor grass

We ran into our friend Misha, who had found my drivers' license on the road earlier.  He told us this is his "garden."  His family owns this vast and varied plantation, covering the majority of the fertile valley and extending up the mountainside.  He told us about some of the different fruit trees and vegetables we would see along the way, and asked us if we brought a pot.  I was confused at first, but then realized that he was saying we should have brought a pot with us so we could collect all the necessary ingredients to cook up a nice stew after our hike.  I guess we'll have to remember to bring a pot with us next time!

This hike was amazing
We continued along the trail through what could have easily been the "Garden of Eden."  The trail split a few times, and we just had to guess which way to go.  We crossed the river various times as we ascended the mountain, trying not to slip on the mossy rocks.  Skeeter and Jason were like graceful gazelles leaping across the rocks, while I decided to trudge through the water like a water buffalo.  I preferred to get my monkey feet wet than to chance slipping on the rocks.

These rocks can get slippery
Skeeter crossed with ease

"There's no shame in crawling"
Getting ready to crawl - photo by Jason Kuczek
Sometimes we had to climb up or down big boulders or steep dirt.  My other hiking mottos, "There's no shame in crawling," and "God gave us four appendages for a reason" suited me well as I climbed up and down the steeper parts on all fours rather than relying on my less that perfect balance and footing.  Of course, Skeeter and Jason were perfectly fine hiking like human-beings.  Part of the trail was more flat, meandering through tall grassy fields or forests of bamboo and nutmeg trees.  We were fortunate it hadn't rained in a while, so our path wasn't too muddy.

Giant bamboo plants

A recently planted field

After our third fork in the road we were feeling less confident about our previous choices of paths.  We decided to go on for another 10 minutes, and if we didn't find the falls yet we would backtrack.  But apparently we had chosen wisely.  Just when we were about to turn around, Jason shouted out, "We made it!"  He was ahead of us on the trail, and first to see the tall, majestic waterfall.  It emptied into a crystal clear rocky pool, which spilled over, creating a miniature waterfall into the stream.  

We made it!

Glad we kept going

Waterfall pool spilling over into creek

It was well worth the hike, and we were all so glad we had kept going.  We were all glad to have brought our swim stuff, so we could take a dip in the crystal clear refreshing waters.  And refreshing it was.  Kind of like ice water.  There were little crayfish and colorful blue and red bottom dwelling fish swimming around the pool with us.  Most freshwater fish I had previously seen were very dull colored, typically brown or gray.       

Natural beauty at its finest

Photo by author & photographer Jason Kuczek

Pleasantly refreshed, we got out and air dried.  Still impressed with the sheer beauty of our surroundings, we took some more pictures, relaxed, and had our granola bars while we took in the views. 

What a great swim!

A couple of mosquitoes decided that they wanted a snack too, so I gave my legs a little squirt of repellent.  The hike back seemed much easier and shorter than the hike up.  I guess knowing that we were going in the right direction, and not needing to take a picture every couple of steps will do that.  

The first waterfall was pretty, but ours was better

When we got back to the first waterfall at the main entrance, we decided to skip it.  We just had such a great time in a pristine, natural waterfall, it didn't seem logical to pay to swim in a semi man-made one.  A local man welcomed us back from our hike and asked if we wanted a coconut, and Jason and I each got one for 5EC.  Kind of a touristy thing to do, I suppose, but I really like coconut water.  It's very hydrating, and I've grown to really like the taste of it too.  I guess it's a slightly acquired taste.  The man grabbed his machete and skillfully loped off the top of the coconut without spilling the liquid inside.  

Amy & Jason enjoying coconut water

We were the only non-locals there.  This time of year is hurricane season, and the very low tourist season.  Time are very slow, and unless there is a cruise ship in port, those who work in the tourism industry have a hard time making ends meet.  While we were enjoying our coconut water, another local man approached us to lure us to his little stand to see the souvenirs he had hand carved.  "Just have a look," he said.  "You'll never guess what I make these out of."  I had a look.  He had pipes, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and other things.  They were neat.  They were all made out of the same dark, shiny, twisty, skinny, branch-like material.  I decided to play his guessing game.  Was it made from a root?  Was it a vine?  "No," he said.  "It's coral."  I don't know if he noticed, but I couldn't help cringing a little bit.  As a scuba instructor and someone who deeply loves the ocean, this news was not exciting to me.  He went on to explain that it wasn't black coral, which is illegal.  But all the same, plucking coral out of it's natural ocean environment doesn't please me at all.  I didn't preach to him, but instead told him that he was very talented, and thanked him for showing me his work. 

Souvenir stands at the Concord entrance

Heading back down the road
We started our hike down the mountainous rural road to the main road to catch the bus.  Not long into our walk down, we heard the sound of a goat in distress.  Like most goats, she was tied to a rope so she wouldn't run away, but would graze in that general area.  She had managed to get herself so twisted around a tree that she couldn't move her head.  In her probably panicked attempts to untwist herself, she had made it worse.  We stopped and watched her for a while, seeing if she'd be able to free herself.  Jason warned us that he would not be able to help with this one, since he had recently been attacked and butted by a mean goat in the neighborhood where he is staying.  As a result of this violent encounter, he has developed a serious fear of all goats, big and small.  And all of the goats in Grenada can smell his fear.  They stare at him, and constantly taunt and threaten him with their evil glares.  It became an ongoing joke, but honestly, I would probably feel the same way if I was the victim of a goat attack.  

Photo by Ingrid Taylar

I wanted to help her, but I was nervous.  Skeeter bravely climbed over the stone wall and down the hill, and proceeded to rescue the goat.  I kept my distance and watched Skeeter, the animal whisperer, work his magic.  From the safety of the road I filmed the heroic rescue.  The goat was surprisingly cooperative, and seemed to genuinely appreciate Skeeter's help.  Jason and I were both very impressed.

Skeeter just rescued this happy goat

A little bit further down the road, the man who had sold us the coconuts up the hill caught up with us.  He had some big seeds with lines of red flesh wrapped around them in his hands.  It turned out to be nutmeg.  


He was very enthusiastic about showing us every tree and every fruit along the way, and went out of his way to get some of them so we could see, hold, smell, and taste them.  He was wearing flip flops, but that didn't stop him from trudging through thick brush, jumping up to grab hanging fruits, and even scaling 15 feet up a tree into its not so strong looking branches so we could experience the local fruits from his family's plantation.  

Determined to get us that fruit

Nothing will stop him

He climbed way up into that tree for us

We got to try golden apple, yellow plums, cocoa, guava, a citrus that seemed like a cross between a grapefruit and an orange, and other fruits who's names I can't remember.  

Yellow plums

I can't remember what these are called

Delicious citrus & coconut


Fitsroy showing us the proper way to eat it

Jason has a golden apple

The craziest looking one was the cocoa.  Jason said it looked like alien larva, and Skeeter and I agreed.  The inner white flesh was a tasty fruit, and beneath that was the seed.  When you break that seed open, you get to the part that gets processed and turned into chocolate!   

Cocoa fruit...looks like alien larvae!

I can't believe this is what chocolate comes from!

Our new friend and volunteer guide was named Fitsroy, and he grew up on this beautiful land.  He told us he is 50 years old, though he didn't look a day over 40.  I guess there's a lot to say for what happiness and eating abundant fresh off the tree chemical-free fruits and vegetables can do for one's health.  He has 8 brothers and 2 sisters, and he pointed out his mother's house and his grandma's house along the way.  

Fitsroy's mom's house: Photo by Jason Kuczek
He told us that the man we saw fishing for crayfish was one of his brothers.  We also strolled past a few of his family members including his sister in law and cute little niece as they were walking up and we were walking down the road.  He said that we should visit again, and next time we should bring some Irish potatoes, some flour, and some Maggi (packaged spices) and we could gather up fruits, vegetables, and crayfish and make a delicious stew together.  That would be awesome!  Jason got his phone number, and maybe when his wife, Cassie, comes down we can all visit Fitsroy and the Concord falls again.

Fitsroy & Skeeter

Once we got to the main road, a bus stopped for us within a few minutes.  It must have been very good timing, because I don't think buses are that frequent on this part of the island.  We were happy to get off our feet, since we had hiked about 6 or 7 miles in the hot sun.  I had thought the bus ride was pretty enjoyable and uneventful, but Jason, a few rows back, had a different experience.  There was a mother and a little girl sitting next to him, and the girl got sick 5 or 6 times.  She puked on top of a guy's bag who was sitting in the row in front of them.  He was reading his ebook, and when he realized what had happened he just scooted his bag forward a bit and went back to reading, as if it was no big deal.  I guess these things happen, but I was surprised to hear that the mom didn't ask the driver to pull over or at least have the little girl puke out the window.  I'm not sure what I would have done if my bag were puked on repeatedly.  

Go up the stairs in the Supermarket to find the Creole Shack

We were all hungry, so we decided to go to the Creole Shack, a cafeteria style restaurant located upstairs from a grocery store across from the bus depot.  We all much prefer local restaurants with local food and local people than the overpriced tourist places that typically have mediocre food and no locals dining there.  The food at the Creole Shack is so full of flavor, and the place is so full of character.  This was our second visit to the Creole Shack, and it did not disappoint.  The food is delicious, local, and cheap.    

Looking at the supermarket while eating

Cafeteria style delicious local Grenadian food

We got plantains, Grenadian rice, potato salad, and baked pork.  Unfortunately, I was too hungry to remember to take a picture of my food, but if you want info on traditional Grenadian food and mouthwatering pictures, click HERE.  The Creole Shack is always buzzing with people from all walks of life.  Grenada is cool like that.  You never feel out of place anywhere, because everyone seems to accept each other.  At night this place is hopping too.  In addition to being a place to eat it's a bar, a night club, and even a karaoke hot spot. 

After eating, the tiredness kicked in.  We checked our backpacks and grabbed a few groceries from the store downstairs and called it a day.  A wonderful day.  To finish it off, we enjoyed some locally made ice cream from the grocery store made by the local company, Sugar and Spice.  Skeeter and I shared a nutmeg flavored ice cream, and Jason decided to try "power" flavor, whatever that means.  From my Central American travel experiences, I knew that they probably had little wooden sticks at the register to eat your ice cream if you knew to ask for them.  Luckily I was right, and we didn't need to stick our dirty hands or faces directly into the cup.  The nutmeg was delicious.  Click HERE to learn how to make your own Grenadian Nutmeg Ice Cream!  I had a taste of power, but decided it wasn't for me ;)         

We said goodbye to Jason as we hopped on our respective buses, and on the ride back, Skeeter and I talked about our awesome unplanned day that turned out to be one of our best days in Grenada so far.  We explored new territory, made new friends, hiked through beautiful landscapes, swam in a pristine natural waterfall pool, ate exotic fruits, learned more about Grenada, and finished the day off with delicious local food and ice cream.  And we spent less than $12 US each the entire day.  Who ever said adventures have to be expensive? 


  1. Wow Amy and Skeeter! What an awesome, fun, and interesting day of adventure you had! Good job with the goat Skeeter! You're so great with animals 😅 Love all the pictures, what a tropical paradise. Hope the rolling settles down so you can get a decent amount of sleep tonight! Love you! Mamacita xoxo 😃

  2. Love reading your blogs! Keep it up!

    1. Thank you for following us, Rita! I hope you're enjoying your adventures in retirement!!!

  3. Great post girl! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you, Perry, for following our adventures (and misadventures)!