Carriacou

Mar 28, 2018 - Sea Cloud


We dropped anchor in the bay off the capital Hillsborough on the island of Carriacou. We are now in the Grenadines but not those governed by St. Vincent but rather by Grenada. This small state consists only of three islands, Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique. The Amer-Indians called this island “Kayryouacou” which meant, “the land surrounded by reefs.” It is tiny at 13 square miles has a population of about 6000 and the highest “mountain” on the island is High Point at a perilous 955’ high. Like St. Lucia this island went back and forth between French and British overlords but was finally ceded to the English in 1783 and achieved its independence from the mother country in 1974. The island’s name means the “land of Many Reefs” and is the Arawackian Indian name for the island.  There are no rivers on the island and it is clearly arid. If they do not get sufficient rain they have to bring water in from Grenada by ship. We boarded tenders at 9 for our exploration of the small but charming capital.

We dropped anchor in the small bay off the capital of Hillsborough at 8 and by 9 we were in a tender on our way to our day’s adventure. We met our wonderful local guide Alison at the quayside and began our tour of the town. It is quite substantial. We visited a friendly grocery store where the proprietor cut open a sour sop and gave us all a small taste of the sweet flesh and she also gave us fresh ginger juice (what a kick) and some sweet-sour sop juice. The street is wide enough for a single car to make its way with shops of every variety and a plentiful number of rum shacks. There is a tiny airport on the island that can handle planes with up to six passengers. The Cariacouians have a long history of ship building and fishing and to this day are remarkable fisherman. In fact, as we walked off the pier two fishermen were carrying a large yellow fin tuna. Someone will eat very well tonight. Those of us who went snorkeling reported on Sandy Island reported that it was the best of the trip. The rest of us also stopped at the local museum and art gallery dedicated to the work of the artist Canute Calliste – whose work as a “primitivist” has been exhibited in the USA and Europe. I had the good fortune of meeting him and talking with him about his art. He died in 2006 at the age of 90.

Our final stop on our 2-mile walk though the town was the Mermaid Hotel where we sampled a fabulous banana daiquiri and then went for a swim in the wonderful beach. The water was a perfect transparent blue and so refreshing.

Back on the Sea Cloud we had one of the signature dishes: pasta made inside the massive parmigano wheel. We motored out of this magical and remote place at 12:30. At 4 we all had the great treat of watching “Around Cape Horn” narrated by Irwin Johnson. This classic film of a square rigger was made in the late 20’s by a young Irwin Johnson and a copy was discovered in the British Museum some 50 years later.  Irwin Johnson was asked to narrate this classic film and it was a treat to hear this septuagenarian’s excited voice as he watched himself as a young man sailing in the crashing seas of the South Atlantic.

Tonight, we enjoyed the captain’s farewell dinner at which Captain Nemerzhitskiy proposed a splendid toast. Ian Strachan’s compilation of all your photos ran on a continuous loop after dinner at the Lido Bar. Off to bed for in the morning we will be in Bridgetown, Barbados.

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About the Author

Tom Heffernan

Historian

Tom, a native of New York City, who has had a life-long passion for travel and exploration, is the Kenneth Curry Professor of Humanities at the University of Tennessee and the founding Director of the university’s Humanities Center. His areas of interest are anthropology of religions and historical linguistics.

About the Photographer

Ian Strachan

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

One steady constant in Ian’s life has been the ocean. Born by the rocky shores of mid-coast Maine, his family repatriated to far north Queensland in Australia early on in his life where he became a dual-citizen and sparked his passion for exploring new environments. Living only an hour away from the Great Barrier Reef served to direct, if not focus, the exhilaration of discovery and set him on his current path. Returning to native soil for education, Ian was fascinated by altogether too many subjects, leaving him with a bachelor’s degree from Wheaton College in Psychobiology, focusing on animal behavior and perception, and with minors in Astronomy, History, and Environmental Science.

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