Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Chapter Four - Trouble in Paradise

Stowaway night was…nice. But Tammy and I are into the romance thing and don’t notice too much of anything or anyone beyond our immediate vicinity. Nobody gets too raucous. Of course, I’m not sure because I don’t remember too much about it.

On the taxi ride over to the Carenage, I could see the Clipper! So beautiful it took my breath away! Got aboard and to our cabin (We had booked a deck cabin) Met the crew. Julian (Now a Captain) was first mate. Oxford (He's now a bartender on the Yankee Clipper) was our steward. Found out that there are 27 passengers for this trip and 28 crew.

I remember waking up in the wee hours of the morning because it felt like we were moving…I arose with the sun, which was to be my habit for the week. The queen slept in. We had motored out to deeper water sometime in the darkness. A container ship of some kind had apparently bumped us off the mooring to unload. One of the crew informed me that the Captain was not yet aboard. Found out later in the morning that Capt. John was going to be late. Trapped in San Francisco or someplace, he was.

The mornings turned out to be one of my favorite times of day. Up and out before the other passengers. Get my coffee and sit on the deck, listening to the ship creak and the crew in their early morning chatter, or reading something out of the one or two books that I’d brought along. Watching the sun, rise up out of the sea or from over an island if we happened to be near one. You know, we even brought a journal with us. I don’t think we wrote more than a couple of pages for the entire week. (God only knows where that thing has gotten off to!)

One thing is certain: I love it here! I'm still (to this day) thanking the Queen for showing me these kinds of places! Makes me feel so ALIVE!

After finishing my morning walkabout the deck, I take the Queen a cuppa down to the cabin. She informs me, “I don’t feel so good.” Get her up and showered. Man, the head is small but kinda cool…Close the door and you can shower, shit, and shave all at the same time. (probably a guy thing) The deck cabins are small but larger than a standard. Standards are below decks. I go to find the purser and see if they have any drugs on board. The Queen sounds like she’s coming down with some kind of Flu. “No babe, not THIS week!” But her throat is sore, and she's generally achy. Probably feverish, too. The purser did have a small supply of some kind of cold thingie. Thank God!

I go back to the cabin to retrieve the Queen and get some breakfast in her. Get her situated up on deck with food and I need a bloody mary. Other passengers are up and about now. After we eat I give her the drugs I got from the purser and we sit there and watch the world go by.

Island time is great…I took my watch off sometime during the morning and it’s the last time I wear it till we get off the Clipper.

Sometime after breakfast a launch is lowered and races(?) off towards St. Georges. Tammy starts to feel a little closer to normal. No worries, mon.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Chapter Three - Changes In Latitudes

We had to change planes in San Juan, PR and hop down the islands with a full stop in Antigua to pick up more passengers. (Just long enough for a brisk walk around the terminal and grab a smoke)

The plane was FULL! I mean F-U-L-L! Apparently we were flying with a bunch of med students returning to school in Grenada. Remember the American Medical students that were 'rescued' during the brief US 'intervention' down there?Watching these folks with all their luggage was like watching a Barnum and Bailey show.

Not to mention the local traffic was colorful as well. Kinda surprised me that there wasn't livestock in the cabin with us...We arrived in Grenada safe and sound. We could finally say we were on "island time".

Got through Customs and Immigration fairly quickly "Windjammer? Go on tru, Mon" Wished I known THAT before we got ON the plane!

White knuckled Taxi (Why do all the taxi drivers in the Caribbean dive like Satan himself is about to take a big bite out of their ass?) ride to the Coyaba, check-in in no time and off to the beach! My mouth dropped open!

My first impressions of Grenada:

  • Grenada's people seem to love Americans...Not just our Dollar$$.
  • The Coyaba is nice, but not luxurious...with open air dining and ceiling fans galore, clientele (at the time) were mostly British.Very friendly folk, but habitually punctual (seeming) and they always sit at the same table. What is that about? In other words, veddy, veddy, British.
  • Staff is nice and friendly
  • Great pool with a swim up bar...
  • The BEACH! WOW!!!The grounds of the hotel are very lush and manicured at the same time. Tammy works as an interior landscaper and she just ooh-ed and ah-ed at all the plants that she used in office buildings that were outside and in their natural settings. Grand Anse has to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Holy smokes! I thought I'd died and gone to beach heaven!
  • Beach Salesforce was persistent until it dawned on them they had got what money they were gonna get out of us the first day. Then they pretty much left us alone, except for the occasional, "Yah, mon."
  • Sunsets (!) On the beach - Simply gorgeous (sunrises, too)

Ahhhh, to be on Island time, we'd hit the beach early for a walk and then lounge around after Breakfast on the beach for a while.

Found a Creole-Oriental restaurant on the way to St. Georges. You can laugh (I know I did) but the food was good...Forget the name though.

Grenada is gorgeous.

Engaged a taxi driver for a tour of the island. Probably overpaid. We didn't care. Hit those falls where the kids would jump off for a (US) dollar, and that guy that composed the songs off the cuff (what a job that guy has, people pay him to STOP singing.), seat of the government, rain forest, up into the mountains (It was cool up there, man), we stopped at some point in the jungle to see the imported Monkey population, got a history lesson, showed us how and what nutmeg was and how it was used. Went through the market square (it was not market day, though). All in all a VERY pleasant day and he was a hell of a nice guy, too. Probably over tipped him but what the hell. He was a good guide.

We were already starting to decompress.

Chapter Two – Trying to Reason with Hurricane Season

Having got the catalog from Windjammer, (It was now June of 1997) the question became, “which one?” and “when?” This was gonna be my first real vacation in several years. Not having been on a WindJammer before, I didn't really give a rat's patoot which ship we were on! The queen seemed to prefer the smaller vessels and I must confess this appealed to me as well.

flying_cloud2The Queen had been on the Flying Cloud (The Flying Cloud has since been taken out of service by Windjammer. A damn shame because she reminds most people of a ‘Pirate ship’. She was (is) a three masted square Rigger) in a previous life, and wouldn’t mind that itinerary again, but really wanted to do something different.

Being naturally cautious (and living in coastal areas in the South most of my adult life) I did some research on Hurricanes down that way because we wanted to go in the summer and the sooner the better. It was all good!

Yankee ClipperWe finally settled on the Yankee Clipper, which was sailing out of Grenada (Little did we know what a great choice we had made) for the week of August 18, 1997. Hurricanes rarely struck the little island of Grenada in August. But if you didn’t do your research like I had you would not have known that and might have been put off by the fact it was High Hurricane season. Just the same we bought travel insurance.

As the days counted down, I became more and more anxious to get on ‘board the Clipper. My future queen was pretty excited too. I needed an attitude adjustment badly…

We had arranged to do our before and after at the Coyaba on Grand Anse Beach with a layover in Miami on the Thursday night before, arriving in Grenada on Friday.

The room at the airport hotel in Miami was a little hole in the wall. This was a big name hotel, but the name of it, at this point, escapes me. I think they made the room from a former broom closet. Friday rolled around after a sleepless (for me - The Queen slept soundly) night and we boarded the plane for our flight. I had a window seat and was instantly enchanted by the colors of the sea. WOW!!

Chapter One - A Strange Proposal

On a fine spring day in Houston about 7 years ago, The Queen and I were on our way to the beach.

Already deeply in love, both recently divorced, we had already figured out who we wanted to spend the rest of our lives with. (Or at least the next few years) The Queen turns to me, “I think we should go away together. Just the two of us.”

“Where do you want to go?”

“I want to take another Windjammer cruise. You want to go?”

After about a millisecond of thought. “Alright,” I said. “When?”

And we were off!

Texas T's and The Queen Invade....

...Grenada and the WindWard Islands!

Join TexasT's and the Queen on a sunbaked invasion of Grenada!

Then they take passage out of St. Georges, Grenada, aboard the SV Yankee Clipper.
WindWard Islands
They sail up through the Windward Islands, for a sunwashed, offbeat vacation that TexasT's will not soon forget!

The Yankee Clipper is one of the ships in the famed WindJammer fleet founded by Captain Mike Burke.