Hog Heaven

“Where’s the best place to anchor in Grenada, boys?” I remember Chris deferring to his two active young boys to answer my question as we talked about hurricane season plans around the picnic table at Time Out Boat Yard in St. Martin.

“OOoo, OOoo, you HAVE to go to Hog Island!” Finn answered in his adorable South African accent. And then he proceeded to rattle off the best place for chicken and chips on Thursday nights and pizza on Mondays! It was obvious that their three years anchored at Hog Island were some of their best. I quickly got out my phone and started typing notes, and my anticipation grew.

When we first arrived in Grenada, we opted to anchor in Prickly Bay first, because it had easy access to local businesses and a whole slew of cruisers to meet. Like many anchorages that attract cruisers, Prickly Bay operates an informational and social “net” in the mornings on VHF channel 66. These radio nets are a fantastic way to get connected and gather information about the area.

Jotting down the social events as they're announced on the VHF!
As we listened, I heard of a ladies Domino game happening at a local bar and couldn’t wait to go gab with the gals. We also heard about a movie night for kids and a half-day camp on the beach at Hog Island! By the weekend, we decided to move over to Hog Island and see it for ourselves.

Cruisers with kids all agree that life is a lot better with other kid boats around. Parents can take turns watching the kids and actually get a date night or simply time alone. Or, even having a play date offers new entertainment and a break from the norm, giving Mom and Dad a much-needed break.

Playdate aboard - Thank heaven for Legos!
Each morning we dinghy the kids over to the beach for camp, where they snorkel, hike, build sand castles, catch crabs, and have a blast playing with kids of all ages and nationalities. There were 15 kids in all!! Michael became great friends with a boy from Sweden, and Elizabeth helped a Spanish-speaking preschooler throughout the day. I am so grateful for the chance our kids have to encounter such a wide variety of people. Play is a universal language among young hearts, and language doesn’t get in the way at all.

Dinghy-load of beach camper kids!
Collecting and torturing the poor crabs!
'Noodling' Water Aerobics class at Hog Island
Meanwhile, Mark has had all week to work on his video editing and I have been able to take a summer break from teaching school and socialize. I have joined a group of ladies in the anchorage who “noodle” every morning for an hour. Each of us brings our foam swim noodle and participate in a great water aerobic workout to start our day. It is quite a sight, 10-12 ladies seeming to be doing a synchronized swimming routine!!  I even lead the class this Saturday!

I also joined some of my Domino buddies from Prickly Bay on a ladies outing. We went to the town of St. George’s to tour a Batik workshop. Batik is a technique used to dye and decorate fabric. A local deaf woman was using melted wax to hand paint a fish design on a piece of fabric, then she’d dye it again to color everything except the waxed portions. I remember using a similar technique with wax crayons on Easter eggs when I was young, but this seemed far more refined! The fabrics were then used to make sarongs, bags, table linens, and wall hangings.

Ladies Day Out with many gals I met playing Mexican Train Dominoes
Coating on these seeds is used for lipstick!
Next, we visited the Spice and Herb Garden. Here, we got to touch, smell, and taste a variety of the foods that are grown on the island. Ginger, soursop, basil, lemongrass, wild onions, sage, mangoes, rosemary, nutmeg, cinnamon, sapodilla, wax apples, breadfruit, cashew, starfruit, passion fruit, and much, much more. The guide also informed us about the medicinal uses for each plant. It was a feast to my senses, and evoked quite an appetite.

Thankfully, we headed to relax and eat lunch at a nearby resort, La Sagesse. The view was breathtaking and the food was wonderful. I ordered an iced tea, something I hadn’t had since we were on the East Coast. The waitress brought out the tea accompanied by a small cup of amber liquid. “Nutmeg Syrup,” she told me, “to sweeten your tea.” I grinned and poured the concoction into my tea, stirred it, and took a long sip from the straw – ahh, delightful. I mentally added nutmeg syrup to my next grocery list.

Ladies Luncheon
It was a fantastic day out, but I was exhausted! Back on the boat at Hog Island, the family reunited over a quick 'gourmet' dinner of fruit and cereal. We each shared our stories from the day before heading to bed.

The following days were packed with more camp and socializing with all the families we'd met at Hog Island.  Elizabeth and Michael loved visiting other boats and having lots of playdates, and Mark and I loved meeting families our age. We ended up hosting a movie and dinner night aboard with 5 families!  I don't think we've ever had so many kids on board at once!  The headcount was 10 adults and 9 kids - a full house and lots of fun!

While the parents enjoyed drinks and homemade sushi outside...
The kids zoned out, watching Alvin and the Chipmunks Shipwrecked!
Hog Island has turned out to be just as amazing as Finn had said it was, and we haven’t even tried the chicken and chips yet!!  We're all in Hog Heaven, down here in Grenada.


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