Grenada is the smallest independent country in the western hemisphere. It’s 133 sq. miles with approximately 100,000 people. We docked at 8:00am and by 8:10 we were heading off on a tour of the island.
Our first stop was a spice drying station where farmers bring their spices for processing before export. At one time Grenada was the number 2 producer of nutmeg in the world. Hurricanes Ivan and Emily in 2005 seriously damaged the nutmeg trees and it will be years until they recover. Other products include mace (also from the nutmeg tree), cinnamon and cocoa.
In order not to loose essential oils, nutmeg is dried in the dark attic of the building. Cocoa, on the other hand, is sun dried in large trays. The trays are on wheels which allows them to be rolled under the building in case of rain.
Banana plantations are also scattered over the island. Since the hurricanes they’ve become a major export crop as they can produce fruit in as little as 9 months after planting. The nutmeg trees can take as long as 15 years to begin producing.
Our next stop was at the Grand Etang Lake visitors center near the volcanic crater lake. From here we could see a lot damage to the surrounding rainforest. It’s hard to imagine what that hurricane was like to cause such destruction.
From Lake Etang we went to one of the many waterfalls (sorry I didn’t make a note of the name of this one) This was a beautiful setting and very popular with both tourists and locals. A group of young men put on a ‘show’ of jumping from the cliffs above the waterfall into the pool below.
For the sake of brevity I won’t try to cover all of the other things we saw on this tour. It was a long and very interesting day. Of all the islands, Grenada is the one I would most likely want to visit again.
Next post – Tobago