GLORIOUS GRENADA January 2014
GRR’s very own Vanessa and James spent a week on this island in January 2014. Known as the Spice Island, Grenada is not heavily trafficked by tourists from the US/UK and we hope it stays that way because it’s looooovely! It’s also the shipwreck capital of the Caribbean, well outside of the hurricane belt.
They grow nutmeg and cinnamon, make some of the world’s best chocolate, and distil 75 proof rum. It also has a fascinating history, including ownership by the British and the French, and an American invasion in 1983 when Cuba got a little too cosy with the island. But what about the diving, you say? The reefs are in good condition because the place has not been over-dived. There were only 2 other divers on our boat, and we did not come across many other boats when we were out. The vis wasn’t great because of some windy weather, about average for the Caribbean this time of year. The reefs are well-populated with the usual suspects, a mixture of drift diving and fixed position. The most famous wreck is the Bianca C, an ocean liner which sank after an engine fire, in 100ft of water. The water was cloudy when we dove it, but you could see how huge it was. Too deep to explore inside, but still pretty amazing.
We dove a cargo ship in shallower water, still with the huge bags of cement on board which sank it in a storm. But the highlight was definitely the marine sculpture park, the only one in the world. The statues were so beautiful, and sad, and spooky. It’s a popular attraction, which reduces the vis, but we only came across 1 other group of divers.
Overall, we had a fabulous time. The diving had some challenges, but that’s because the crew realised we could handle it. There were easier dive sites for novices. The lack of big stuff (rays, turtles, sharks) was kind of disappointing, but didn’t ruin the trip for us. We heard a dive guide say that a manta joined them at the sculpture park and hung around for ages!
They do getwhale sharks and turtles. Sometimes you’re just unlucky. And when we came out of the water, there were fascinating excursions. We went to a nutmeg factory, a rum distillery, and a chocolate factory. Plus we went tubing down the rapids in the river Balthazar, which was a total hoot! The insects didn’t bother us too much, neither did the rain, which always passed over quickly. We must say something about the islanders, because we didn’t meet a single person all week who wasn’t friendly, helpful, and eager for us to enjoy our stay. They’re simply the nicest people we’ve met in the Caribbean. You can get around easily on the local buses, where everyone will make sure you get off at the right place. It’s one of the few islands that we’d visit again, in a heartbeat.