Grenada’s Carnival is a HUGE annual celebration here. The Carnival, also called “Spicemas” (a nod to its world-renowned spice production), is a big ball full of energy fueled by music, dance, colour and, of course, a bit of drinking. Ummm, maybe A LOT of drinking 😉. The centre of the action is near Port Louis, a 20-minute car ride from our anchorage.
Every year, the main Spicemas events start officially late on the Sunday and go until the wee hours of the following Wednesday. People can choose to participate in just a few events but the very brave do them all.
Yup! Spicemas is pure craziness. I cannot emphasize this enough. The main event of J’ouvert begins at 4am and ends at 9am. In addition to extremely mind-altering loud music and brightly costumed dancers, oil drenched Jab Jab (people dressed to represent the devil) are a key part of it. Oil? Yes, oil. Any kind of oil but mostly motor oil. There is lots of it to go around and throwing it on each other and anyone else in attendance is, well, how its done. But it starts at 4am, I mean, surely this is the most sober event? Nope. Just the opposite. Yikes!
So, let’s say you survive J’ouvert. Next up is Traditional Mas. Hmmm, sounds like a low-key event. In the words of one of our fellow cruisers who attended J’ouvert and then Traditional mas (the main Sunday to Monday events) “Hard to believe this is the same day!...I’ve passed out, woke back up, taken 3 showers, went to a parade with the loudest music ever, and now about to hike to the beginning of the night parade that we are in.”
Most of us older cruisers choose to attend the Tuesday afternoon event called Fancy Mas (also known as Pretty Mas). This is a parade down the street with beautifully costumed dancers and other performers. And, once again, it is loud. We were strongly advised, because of the noise, that it is not a place for a dog. And leaving Ocean on Wild Horses for 8 hours by herself was not an option. We had to decline attending. Our friends who participated said that it was an incredibly unique experience and unlike any other parade they have ever been to. Oh, and it was truly loud. Like, the loudest thing they have ever heard.
And there you have it. We had made the right decision. Not good for Ocean. Not good for us.
In hindsight, it was an incredibly right decision. Mid-day on Tuesday (when our friends, including Caretta, were attending Fancy Mas), an intense squall blew through our anchorage. 50+ knot winds, 5-foot seas, pelting sheets of rain.
Wild Horses’ anchor held.
Unfortunately, that wasn't the case for Caretta. The boat belonging to our boat buddies extraordinaire, Andrea and Barry, dragged towards the lee shore and, remember, they were not on board. Thankfully, their anchor re-caught just in time.
Once it was safe to climb into dinghies, all hands were on deck. The captains from four nearby boats got into their dinghies (including Mike) and they were able to confirm that Caretta had not only NOT hit the nearby shoal but also that the depth around the boat was sufficient. Just in case another squall passed through before Barry and Andrea could return, the guys deployed Caretta’s second anchor which was already set up and waiting on the stern pulpit (brilliant move by Caretta). Whew!
What else have we been up to? Well, we took part in our second Hash hike. This one was closer to our anchorage but way more difficult. Hearts were pumping! It was straight up a muddy mountain and then straight back down, albeit with a side trip through some of the captivating streets of Grand Mal. An awesome but challenging hash that left us wanting more.
Now that Carnival is over, things are getting back to normal. We are looking forward to getting some needed boat work done and to maybe visiting another waterfall or taking in yet another Hash. Whatever we decide to do, it will likely involve our very merry group of boat buddies!
Check out where we are today, and where we are going this winter, by clicking the links below.
Victoria is a hiker, dog-lover, blog writer and planner extraordinaire. Oh, yeah and she is kind of fond of living on a boat.