Yankee Clipper Cruise Trip Report – May 1998
Barbara & Jim Cruise
Grenadine Islands, May 11-16, 1998
Coyaba Hotel, Grenada, West Indies, May 16-18, 1998
This was our first Windjammer cruise. We had spent many months waiting for this adventure and watching the Carenage and the Yankee Clipper on the Internet. We’ve been on two foo foo’s and will probably not go on another one until we’re really old! (We’re 51 and 54.) We’ve grown tired of the artificial atmosphere on the foo-foo’s with all the dressing up and people trying to outdo each other with their clothes and jewelry and the rigid schedules. We really enjoyed the serenity of being on a sailing vessel where you can sit or lie under the beautiful skies and drink in nature at its finest. We watched gorgeous sun rises and sun sets and had a beautiful full moon the first 3 nights. It was truly an awesome feeling. The people were very friendly and willing to talk to others, something you don’t always find on a “big” ship. Since we were traveling another couple, we stayed with them most of the time and did not meet everyone on the ship. (There were about 64 passengers.) But we did talk to lots of passengers and met some very interesting people. There were two elderly couples, one of whom have done over 20 Windjammer cruises. We especially enjoyed the casual atmosphere of this trip, where dressing for dinner meant a clean T-shirt if you had one. We did wear T-shirts and shorts, some wore light, casual pants, a few of the women wore a sundress or other casual dress. I didn’t even bother with makeup for a week, something I never thought I would do. It just wasn’t necessary and I just didn’t want to do it. (I really appreciated not having to remove it before bedtime in my teeny tiny bathroom with no space to put things.) I didn’t even take the hair drier. I was also very glad I had gotten my hair cut short. It was windy all the time so forget having a perfect hairdo! It was also nice to not have to worry about locking the cabin and keeping track of the key. We felt completely safe with the crew and passengers. Of course, we didn’t pack anything of value but we just didn’t worry about anyone looking through any of our things. In fact, we liked it so much that on Monday, we asked Laurie, the new Purser, if there was room for us to stay onboard the following week so we could stay on. She said she wouldn’t know until Wednesday, after she saw the passenger manifest so we just had to wait to find out. As it turned out, they did not have room for both of us; the ship was full except for one man traveling alone who was willing to share his cabin. We joked a lot about which one of us was going to stay! This type of “bare bones”/ “camping at sea” environment is definitely not for everyone, but we loved it. The food was delicious and we ate many dishes that were new to us, especially the West Indies spices. It was presented nicely and most of it was healthful, with lots of fresh fruit and veggies, including lots of creative salads.
We met people from all over the world. We became very friendly with a couple from England. Of all the people we met, no one acted snotty. They were just laid back, “regular” people like us who were there to relax and have fun. There was not even a single person who drank too much and acted obnoxious, something I was concerned about because I’ve heard that a LOT of drinking goes on sometimes. There were no children onboard but there were two older teenagers. There was one young couple on their honeymoon. Other than that, I’d say the ages of the passengers ranged from early 30’s to 70’s, with most of us 40’s – 50’s.
The islands we visited were Grenada, then Bequia, Tobago Cays, Palm, Mayreau, and Carriacou in the Grenadines. We thought the best snorkeling was at the beach off Carriacou (Anse la Rouche), but the island itself was not pleasant to visit. It was hotter than the hinges of Hell and the islanders were not friendly at all. The other snorkel spots were good too though. And the people were much friendlier on the other islands. The weather was great, with lots of sunshine. The little bit of rain we got was during the night so didn’t really affect us. It was very hot, in the 90’s, every day. The constant heat got to Jim during the day. We were also careful not to get too much sun exposure and we both tanned quite nicely, using lots of sunscreen.
Captain John and his crew were great. Captain John has a dry sense of humor but he was very spontaneous and funny. This was our first Windjammer, so I can’t compare him to any others, but we liked him. We got to know certain crew members better than others (Julian, Oxford, Mansfield, Shawn, and Strokey, the chef) and they were all great. We actually had two Pursers because Karen was leaving for 5 week’s vacation and Laurie was filling in.
Seasickness was a problem for some passengers. We did very will using Sea Bands (wrist bands) and Meclizine, which is the generic form of Antivert (by prescription) and also Dramamine II and Bonine (over the counter, in different strengths), but I still did feel a little queasy at times. Many people on the ship were fine, it just depends on how the motion affects you. Some people also wore the patch. I took it with me but never did need it. The captain recommended that people take something for the first night’s sail to Bequia (take it at least 3-4 hours before sailing) and they have it on the ship. We had two very rough sails and many people were very seasick. The captain said the first night’s sail, 14-15 hours to the farthest island of Bequia, was the smoothest he could remember. But we thought it was quite rough. SO, I would not want to be there on a rough sailing! The last night’s sail from Carriacou back to Grenada was also quite rough. But we were OK. Laurie, the new Purser, joined us for dinner that night and she overheard Jim and I talking about getting some Meclizine from our cabin, so she gave us some. But we had been taking ½ of a 25 mg. tablet and she gave us the full tablet, so we were in bed early that night! It knocked us out, which was good, because we slept soundly through the rough seas.
All of the beaches were absolutely gorgeous and had soft sandy bottoms. In a few places, there were rocks to get across but there were easy ways to walk around them. And the water was so clear, you could see the bottom so you could pick your way around the rocks. I have never seen such clean water at a beach. Since they were mostly uninhabited, it made our visit even more special. We were all there together from the ship but probably no more than 30 of us at a time. We thoroughly enjoyed the swimming and snorkeling.
We stayed at the Coyaba Resort for 3 days after the cruise. It was a little pricey ($100 a night) but was wonderful. It’s right on Grand Anse beach. On Saturday night (and I think Tuesday also), they have a barbecue dinner that was fabulous and the best steel drum band I’ve ever heard. Not your typical steel drum sound at all where it all sounds alike after about 15 minutes. They played recognizable songs and were excellent.
Getting to Grenada
It was a very long day. We were picked up by taxi at 5:15 a.m., left Baltimore at 7 a.m., arrived in Miami at 9:30, then had 7 ½ hours before our next flight. We met our cousins from Ohio, in the airport, so we filled the time by catching up with each other, eating lunch, and roaming around the airport. We had thought about renting a car and doing some sightseeing but my hip was hurting too bad to do much walking. We discovered the pool at the Miami Hotel and it was a lovely setting for lunch. For $8 a day, you can join the pool club and use all their facilities. We had already checked our carry-on luggage which contained our swimsuits so we just enjoyed the fresh air and the atmosphere, although it was quite hot in Miami. The food was very good and reasonably priced.
At last, it was time to go to our gate area and we left around 5:30 p.m. for Grenada. We arrived on schedule at 9:30-ish, walked down the stairs (outside) into the airport, felt our first blast of the heat, and waited to be cleared through their Customs. We met many of our fellow passengers for the Windjammer. We and our luggage were all loaded into mini-vans and taken to the ship, at a cost of $5 each. It’s always a shocker to us to be driven in a country where the cars and driver are on the opposite side of the road from ours and this was no exception. Additionally, we were very tired. However, when we arrived at the Yankee Clipper, we got our second wind. Because of the darkness and low lighting, we couldn’t get a good look at her but we were very excited.
We Have Arrive-ed!!
We were helped aboard and welcomed by the Captain and crew members and taken to the dining hall to meet with the Purser to do our paperwork (checking that all was in order, turning over our Passports, and giving them our credit card to establish credit for our purchases). We also found out about bar Doubloons, a blue circular cardboard token with black dots around the edges. The dots were punched out for various drinks. We were then shown to our cabin by Shawn.
We had a Captains Cabin, number 6, on the main deck We were expecting our cabin to be small but it was still a bit of a shock when we saw it, especially the bathroom. But it was roomier than the cabins under the main deck and better for not feeling the motion as much and getting seasick. Many of the people with cabins “down under” were seasick We had a double bed with an upper bunk which was convenient for storage, but it also meant someone had to sleep underneath it. Jim decided he would do it, and he did bang his head into it several times during the week.. We had to deal with hearing the generators all the time, and we didn’t sleep well the first night, but little by little we got used to it. After we unpacked a few things for that night, we went topside for the Stowaway party. They had a delicious buffet and a steel drum band that was very good.
Day 1 (Monday)
We awoke early, got juice and coffee on the quarterdeck and explored the ship. It’s so beautiful! The wood shines and everything is very clean. (The quarterdeck is a small central area on the Main Deck, which serves a variety of functions, such as the Sea Chest and the bar. The main deck cabins are off to one side and the dining salon is off the other side. There are two sets of stairs to the top deck.) We went topside and looked around the harbor of St. George’s, with its shops and homes, mostly red roofed. It was extremely hot! After breakfast, we had our first Captain’s Story Time, where Captain John introduced himself and the crew and gave us lots of good information about where we were going As soon as he was finished, we took the launch to the dock and walked through a “commercial” area where women were selling spices to get to our van for our island tour. There were vans everywhere and our driver, Wayne, explained that many islanders make their living by transporting tourists around the island. Our island tour only cost $13 per person. The driver was great, very knowledgeable and personable, and he took us to Annandale Falls, Grand Etang, a spice shop for a demonstration about their spices (and of course, where you could purchase them). We also had time at the Spice Market, where many islanders came over to us to sell their various wares. We politely said “No thank you” but they were quite insistent. We had enough time at each place to satisfy us. It gave us sort of an overview of what was available and we planned to return on our own time as we were staying in Grenada after the cruise. The prices for their spices are terrific and the selection the best in the world. They don’t call Grenada the “Spice Isle” for no reason!
At Annandale Falls, some men were standing next to the road and as soon as the driver parked and we got out of the van, one of them came over to us and started playing his banjo and singing a song about us. We were polite and he was very good, but he walked with us most of the way along the path to the falls, and after his song, asked for a tip. At the falls, we were offered spice necklaces and other young men offered to dive off the falls for us for money. We again declined but they hung around us. Lynn tried to converse with one of the men and asked him how many times a day he dived. His answer, with attitude, was “It depends on the people.” In other words, it depended on how many tourists paid him that day. He was quite nasty and eventually moved away. We took a few pictures and returned to the van.
After our tour, we returned to the Yankee Clipper for lunch. Then it was time to raise the sails to Amazing Grace. We all joined in, as did a few other passengers, and it felt wonderful to be a part of such a unique event. We set sail for Bequia about 1:30. The motion was noticeable but not bothersome at first. We all took Meclizine and I wore my Sea Bands. About 2:30, we paid our first visit to the Sea Chest, set up on the quarterdeck and staffed by the Purser, Karen. They had an amazing array of items: T-shirts, tank tops, dresses, shirts, sweatshirts, shorts, jewelry, hats, water bottles, beach towels, stuffed bears, and post cards. Their prices were very reasonable (tank tops were about $12-$13, shorts for $15, most T-shirts $12-$15, bears $6). We spent the rest of the afternoon topside, which was absolutely fabulous, watching the water and the beautiful blue sky and clouds, and enjoying the sailing. We met some passengers and had a few drinks and completely relaxed. There are blue mats to put down on the deck for padding or on the wooden “benches” (which are really storage containers) along the sides of the ship. We used those sometimes but not always. The wind from sailing made the heat much more pleasant but we were careful not to burn. We had our first Snacks and Run Swizzles and all were delicious. We continued to relax on deck for a while, then returned to our cabin to take off swimsuits and put the T-shirts and shorts back on for dinner, a very refreshing change from our previous cruises!
Around dinnertime, it got rougher and I don’t think everyone onboard had dinner that night. We were OK and all do much better with food in our stomachs. Dinner was very good and afterward, we roamed around for a while, then were so exhausted that we turned in early.
We awoke to find ourselves in Admiralty Bay harbor, Port Elizabeth, Bequia (pronounced “BECK-wee”). This was a very pretty island, only 7 square miles, with gorgeous views of the water and other Grenadine islands. It has a population of about 10,000. There were several tours available, including a catamaran sailing excursion to Mustique, an island where the “rich and famous” live. We took an island tour with a large group from the ship. We were herded into “buses” which were really pickup trucks with a cap that had seats inside. It was a bumpy ride and we were squashed in but it was fun because everyone had a sense of humor about it all. We met Chris and John from the San Francisco Bay area and an elderly couple who have traveled all over the world, including on Safari to Africa. The streets were very hilly and steep and seemed too narrow for two cars to pass and sure enough, we were proven correct at one point and someone had to back up. (We decided that the etiquette said the car coming up the hill had an easier time of backing up.) But we all decided we had to put our faiths in the drivers as it would really ruin their business to lose a truck full of tourists!
We stopped at a high point on the island for a photo opportunity and for our guide to give us some information about Bequia. The views of the coast were gorgeous. We stopped at a Turtle Farm where the gentleman who runs the farm told us about it. The entire operation was his idea and he runs it by generators and changes the water for the turtles with sea water. He uses very little electricity because it’s too expensive. Then we proceeded to the whaling museum where we saw some interesting items and paintings and listened to a 77-year old gentlemen tell us about the time his boat was pulled down by a huge whale and he got hooked to the boat so he went down with it. Luckily for him, he had a knife that he used to cut the rope he had gotten tangled in and he survived. He showed off a little by having a man from the group try to lift a very old gun that was clearly extremely heavy. When our guy could barely budge it, the Bequian picked it up like it was a toy. Then of course another man had to try and he too failed to lift it. After the tour, we bought T-shirts near the dock.
After lunch, we took the launch to the beach for our first snorkeling. It was good and the water was very warm and very clear. At swizzles and snack time, we had our wine and cheese party, all of which were very tasty, and music provided by two local musicians, who were very good. We could have gone ashore that night but did not. We spent several hours topside talking to some passengers then hit the rack.
Tobago Cays (Wednesday)
Absolutely gorgeous deserted beaches with great snorkeling. Following the Captain’s suggestion, we took the path to the left of where the launch dropped us off and went to the far side of the island for the best snorkeling spot. Afterwards, we had a picnic on the beach with the Windjammer bar. The food, as always, was great. We are always ravenous after snorkeling and it really tasted good. After we ate, we decided against more snorkeling and instead, just went into the water on the beach where we had been dropped off. We blew up our water toys and had a blast with them! There were several vendors with T-shirts, pareos (“wraps”), and dresses on the beach. We relaxed and chatted. It felt like Heaven. We set sail in the afternoon for Palm Island.
Palm Island (Wednesday and Thursday)
This entire island is owned by John Caldwell and most Windjammer fans know the history. He leased the island many years ago when there was nothing there (and it was called Prune Island), cleared it and planted a zillion coconut palm trees, wrote a book (“Desperate Voyage”) about his 106-day adventure picking up his bride and arriving at the island, built a resort, and charged lots of money to affluent tourists who made his business grow and made him a millionaire. He evidently has some kind of deal with Windjammer because in all the trip reports I’ve read, everyone agrees that the cruise spends much too much time there since there’s basically nothing to do. However, it is very beautiful and a great spot for peace and quiet and just relaxing.
After swizzle and snack time, we had the Wacky Olympics. Captain John chose Lynn as a team captain at this morning’s Story Time. There were supposed to be 6 players on each team so she recruited two victims to be on our team with the four of us. It was a blast and the games were quite interesting! We were ahead until the last game, then somehow the other team did it much faster and won. But each team won a bottle of champagne and it was a lot of fun.
We went over to the island for dinner at the Palm Island Beach Club. Walking away from the dock was a little unnerving because there was such poor lighting along the path and it was hard to see. We got a table at the resort’s Sunset Beach Bar. Windjammer was not allowed to set up their bar here so we could not use our Doubloons and the drinks at the resort bar were quite expensive. The beach barbecue was really delicious, but it wasn’t served until about 8:45, even though it was supposed to be ready at 7:30. We know about “island time” but we were ravenous! We had taken a pair of lightweight knit pants and were very glad we did. We wore them partly because it felt a little chilly that night and partly because one of the other passengers told us he had been severely bitten by sand fleas there once before. We mostly stayed in the area by the bar, which was on concrete, and didn’t walk through the sand much (it was too dark to see), so we were fine. But some who sat at a bench on the sand (and wore shorts) did get bitten up. We missed the party after dinner because we were so tired so returned to the ship, had a nightcap, and turned in.
Thursday morning, Gary took the 7 a.m. launch to do the morning run with a group but the rest of us did not. We all went over after breakfast and walked the beach to the left of the resort’s main buildings and interrupted nude sun bathers floating on mats in the water so politely turned around and left. I wanted to look around the gift shop but the signs on the door warning people not to come in with bare feet or sand on their shoes turned me off. Come on, it’s a beach! We sat on beach chairs for a while, then Jim and I went into the water with some others. The water and beach there were fabulous as well. Gary found a brochure for us; the rates are $325 a night off-season and $400 a night during peak season. But hey, that does include all meals! There wasn’t anything to do so when the next launch came, we returned to the ship for lunch. We set sail mid-morning for Mayreau.
A tiny cay, only 1½ square miles of land, with only about 300 residents, Mayreau was lovely. We took the launch to Saltwhistle Bay and walked to the far end of the beach to snorkel. The swimming and snorkeling were wonderful. There were some pavilions along the beach in the shade and some folks were napping there. It was very restful.
We had our hermit crab races after swizzle time, which were a lot of fun. Everyone could bet on the crabs and they “raced” inside a circle drawn on the ship’s deck (topside). Everyone really got into it and there was a lot of competition. Our crab lost in the first heat but Lynn and Gary bet on every heat and they had 2 out of 3 crabs in the finals! However, they lost out to the third crab.
We had our P-B-L-T dress up/costume party that night and quite a few passengers participated. Gary made the finals and was first runner-up. The winner was Peter, who wore a woman’s bathing suit top, a towel tied like a sarong over his underwear, and his floppy hat, and called himself Peter the Prostitute. He was hilarious! Some of the Pa. gang came as babies, with towels folded like diapers over their undies. It was great fun.
It was hotter than the hinges of Hell in Hillsborough and not much nicer in general. The islanders were not at all friendly and in fact, seemed angry. We went into Grandma’s store for ice cream and the young lady behind the counter told us “no nutmeg” when we asked for nutmeg ice cream, even though one of the bins was clearly labeled “nutmeg” and appeared to contain ice cream. So we settled for other flavors and just pointed to the bins. The ice cream tasted good at first because we were so hot but as we ate more of it, it started to taste chalky, so when we came to a trash bin, Jim threw his away. I decided to do the same with mine, and suddenly an islander was up against me and said “Give it to me.” I was so surprised that I said “OK” and handed it to him and moved away. It was very sad that this man wanted my leftover ice cream so much that he didn’t care about eating it after a total stranger. We went to the dock after that to catch the next launch back to the ship.
After lunch, we were taken to a very small beach (Anse la Rouche) off the island for snorkeling and this was probably the best snorkeling of the trip. So it figures that we had not taken our underwater cameras! There was excellent visibility and an abundance of large and very colorful fish. We saw a gorgeous black and gold Queen Angel and really longed for our camera. We also saw huge brain coral, much larger than any we’ve ever seen.
The Captain spoke to everyone at dinner and thanked us and the crew, then we had a champagne toast. The seas were very rough so there weren’t many passengers in the dining room. After dinner, we went topside for a while then down to the quarterdeck then to bed early as we were feeling the effects of the Meclizine. Everyone was sad to see our wonderful cruise come to an end.
Return to Grenada (Friday night)
We woke up Saturday morning to find we were in port at the dock, not out in the harbor as we had been. We must have practically passed out! Despite the rough seas, we slept until 7:00 (all other mornings we were up between 5:00 and 6:00). Some passengers had early morning flights but fortunately we did not. Breakfast was served differently that day and everything was in the dining salon – juice, coffee, pastries, and cooked food served in large dishes “Hot Table” style) so you could serve yourself or one of the crew would serve you. We drank our coffee on the deck outside of the dining room where various people had been fishing during the week. We were reluctant to leave and go pack but we had to. Lynn and Gary found a water taxi to take us to the Coyaba, so we hurriedly finished packing and left. We later discovered that in our rush to leave, we left our wheeled cart under the bed, but we bought another one at the Miami airport.
Since the dining room will not hold everyone on the ship, we ate in shifts. Here are examples of the schedules and the food that was offered:
Sunrise (6:30-ish): freshly baked pastries (sticky buns or almond croissants or other pastries or muffins), Bloody Mary’s, juice, and coffee. Sanka and tea were also available. This was served on the quarterdeck (the area also used for the Sea Chest) around 6:30 a.m. We stuck with juice and coffee and did not sample the Bloody Mary’s. They had different flavors of juice each day.
Breakfast began about 7:30 a.m. in the dining salon and was served until about 8:30. One of the crew rings a bell and shouts “Time for breakfast” at 7:30. You just go in and sit down whenever you arrive. Peanut butter as well as various jams, jellies, and cereals were on the table (the nutmeg jam, guava jelly, and grapefruit marmalade were excellent). A crew member came to tell us what was being served that day, give us juice and coffee, and take our orders, and he brought a basket of toast while we waited. One day we had scrambled eggs and ham. Another was grits, corned beef hash, and hash brown potatoes. Or sausage and French toast (with various syrups, including nutmeg). One day we had pancakes and another was bacon and cheese omelet. They sometimes had biscuits. It was all very good with the exception, for our tastes, of the grits and corned beef hash. If you wanted only one item, you could request it and they would give you a larger serving of just that food.
Lunch was served on the top deck or on the beach as a barbecue, around 12:30. They made a lovely assortment of very creative salads, such as shredded red cabbage with a vinaigrette, hearts of palm salad, spinach salad, pasta salads with seafood, and also had meats and fruit. One day we had delicious pizzas, veggie and pepperoni. The beach barbecues were really delicious, with dishes like chicken, Shepherd’s Pie, and numerous salads. One day they made huge submarine cold-cut sandwiches They served iced tea or a fruit punch and water to drink.
Snacks and Rum Swizzles were served topside and these snacks were also creative. They had seafood puff pastries, cheese and crackers, pate, and other finger foods. The day we were at Bequia, the captain asked everyone to bring a bottle of wine and they served a wide assortment of cheeses for our wine and cheese party that night. We had a nice assortment of wines and it was fun.
Dinner started at 6:30 and the second seating was about 7:45. Every day they wrote the two entree choices on the activity board next to the bar and asked passengers to indicate their choice, so they knew how much to fix of each. They usually served soup and salad and the selections included a meat and a fish or pasta dish, such as mahi-mahi creole or lamb, ravioli or pork loin. At the beach barbecue on Palm Island, we had a fabulous selection of barbecued chicken, fish, and spare ribs, which were all very delicious. For the Captain’s dinner on Friday, we had salmon and prime rib then bananas flambe on the top deck. They served iced tea, white or red wine, and water to drink. Dessert was served on the quarterdeck because they wanted the early diners to leave as soon as they finished so the next group could come in. Desserts were usually things like squares of key lime pie or other pies, or a light cheesecake.
The lunches and dinners that we ate after snorkeling always tasted especially delicious because we were ravenous from burning all those calories!
“Midnight” snacks were served at 10:30-ish and we didn’t make it to any of them. We were too tired from having so much fun!
My Best Tips
- Everyone says it but PACK LIGHT. I tried to but still took too much. We were in swimsuits most of the time during the day. I wore shorts or a pareo or just a tank top to cover-up. I bought lots of stuff at the Sea Chest and would not have needed all the things I packed.
- Take LOTS of good quality sunscreen with at least a 30 SPF we used Coppertone sport, which our dermatologist recommended, and Clinique. It was HOT and the sun is very strong. We managed to find shade but it wasn’t always easy. Put the sunscreen all over, including around your ears. Using this advice, we did not burn at all.
- The Teva sandals were probably the best things we had. We found Aquadactyls at Sports Authority and they were wonderful. We wore them on the ship (we both have back and hip problems and are not comfortable going barefoot while walking around) and also in the launches for wet landings. We wore them to walk along the beach and into the water. We wore sneakers for traveling and walking around the towns.
- Take a beach towel or two. Windjammer does not provide them. Or you can buy them at the Sea Chest.
- Sea Bands and Meclizine for seasickness
- Take a small bottle of Ivory liquid to wash out small things. I say it that way because the sink is so small on the ship that nothing very large will fit into it. But we did wash out bathing suits, our snorkel socks, and a few pair of underwear. Nothing dried in our bathroom; I had to move stuff into the main cabin on hangers and adjust the fan to blow on them. But Joyce said her bathroom was hot and her things dried quickly. (I used the Ivory more at the Coyaba to wash out some clothes for those 3 days.)
- Get wide brim floppy hats with ties under the chin. We found them at Sunny’s Surplus for $22 (Columbia brand) and they were great. They also have them at the Sea Chest. I lost my favorite cap on deck the first time I wore a different hat; it blew right off my head despite being on tight.
- Buy spices on Grenada! We took the island tour and also went through the market and the spices smell so good. I bought small baskets with a variety of spices from a vendor on Grande Anse Beach and they are so much stronger than what we get here.
- A pair of lightweight knit pants and a light jacket
- Take everything in 1 carry-on apiece, if you possibly can. It can be done, but we ended up
- Nylon or supplex shorts are great. They are cool and wash out easily and dry quickly.
- 2 or 3 swimsuits. I hate putting on wet ones and since they took a long time to dry in our cabin, I was glad I had several.
- We did get a Hepatitis A vaccine but I’m not sure we would have needed it. It requires 3 months to “take” completely. We only had time for 1 of the 2 shots and it cost $81. I wouldn’t worry about it but do use common-sense precautions. On our first cruise, our friend who we traveled with ate a turkey sandwich made with mayonnaise and she became deathly ill. She still says she would rather die than go through that again. The Windjammer food is delicious and safe.
- The Coyaba was fabulous! I definitely recommend it. It was also a great idea to stay there after the cruise to give us time to “decompress” and get our landlegs back. I felt sorry for the folks to got off the ship and right on a plane. I think that would have made me sick.
There are also several tricks which I’ve learned that help for queasiness/seasickness:
- eating something, which most people don’t want to do, but it sort of gives your system something to work on.
- looking at the horizon as much as possible, or at least at the motion. Your brain needs to know where the motion is coming from.
- get fresh air. Also, alcohol can make it worse.
After the Jammin’
We were very happy to find out that Joyce and Peter were staying at the Coyaba Resort Hotel for the next week. Lynn and Gary stayed there one night. We arrived at the Coyaba by water taxi from the Yankee Clipper, a great way to travel and much cheaper than cab ($3 per person vs. $10 per person driving through town). The Coyaba is really gorgeous, with 2-story bungalow buildings and beautifully landscaped grounds. It’s right on Grand Anse Beach, which was only a few minutes from our room. The room was huge, especially the bathroom, after that tiny cabin on the Yankee Clipper. We were in the new section on the ground floor and had a patio with chairs off the sliding glass doors. We had a king-sized bed and two chairs with a table. Lynn and Gary’s room was a little different, with two queen beds and a small sofa. We had a huge closet and lots of drawers; everything was very clean and nice. We settled in a little then changed into swimsuits and hit the beach.
Grand Anse Beach is really beautiful – 2 miles of soft white sand and calm, clear water. The only thing wrong was the beach vendors! There were so many of them and they were overly insistent. We had been told that “a polite no thank you” was sufficient but that was not our experience and they did not leave us alone. After only a few minutes on the beach, one of them actually screamed at Jim for 15 minutes when he declined to see his wares, after having about 20 others right in our faces telling us how we owe it to them to look at their products. This guy went on to say that Jim was turning it into a racial thing, that Jim didn’t think of him as a man, etc. etc. It was ridiculous. Two local women nearby called the guy over and yelled at him and a policeman came over to him. It’s true that some of them were very nice and polite and I did make a purchase from a very sweet woman. But most of the men were either “flying high” or just plain rude.
For lunch, Peter steered us to a small building on the edge of the Coyaba, where we each had a cheeseburger and a 1-liter soda, all of which was outstanding. The spices they use on Grenada make everything very tasty. The people there were very nice. After lunch we returned to the beach but we got tired of fighting off the vendors so we adjourned to the pool. Peter introduced us to shandies, beer (Caribe brand) with lemonade. They were wonderful and very refreshing.
That night we went to the barbecue dinner in the Pepperpot Restaurant and both the food and the steel drum band were fabulous. Everyone was slightly dressed up, which I was not expecting, so we were underdressed in our shorts. But no one made us feel out of place. The food was expensive on the island but we did enjoy it. What the heck, it’s vacation!
Day 2, Sunday
We met a couple after breakfast who were taking the Yankee Clipper and they commented on Jim’s Windjammer T-shirt so we talked to them for a while. We went back to our room so I could change into my swimsuit then we walked around the beautiful grounds taking lots of pictures. We wandered down to the beach, where I talked to Joyce and Jim talked to Peter. The vendors were extremely polite and there weren’t many of them. We found out that Peter had had “a word” with the Coyaba manager and evidently his word was taken seriously!
We spent the morning on the beach and sitting on stools at the swim-up bar. Later, we decided we’d better get some lunch so Jim went to find Joyce and they met Peter and me and we walked across the street from the hotel to Kentucky Fried Chicken. We had a delicious chicken lunch and returned to the beach. We spent the afternoon there relaxing. Dinner that night was again delicious.
Day 3 – Our Last Day of Vacation!
A fabulous day! We met Joyce and Peter for breakfast, then a little later, Peter, Jim and I went to St George’s. Instead of taking a taxi, Peter convinced us to take the “bus”, which turned out to be the same type of vehicle (a van), but filled to capacity with locals and tourists alike. It was quite an interesting experience! The music was so loud we could feel the bass in our entire bodies! But we felt relaxed and enjoyed it. In town, we went directly to the Nutmeg restaurant for their famous Nutmeg Rum Punches. We found some folks who were sailing the Yankee Clipper and gave them our leftover doubloons. They were very happy o receive them! After several fabulous rum punches, we decided to eat lunch (mostly to soak up the alcohol) and it was delicious. We also had a combination of nutmeg and soursop ice cream, which were really delicious. We had hoped to watch the Yankee Clipper leave and thought we would hear Amazing Grace as they raised the sails. But the ship was way out in the harbor and we couldn’t see it at all. We did watch the launch pick people up at the dock. We were disappointed not to be able to watch her sail away.
After lunch, we wandered around the Carenage and did some shopping. I really liked Dot’s, just under the Nutmeg, and Ganzee’s, the best T-shirt shop I’ve ever seen. They had beautiful shirts. It was very hot in town so when we were finished shopping, we returned to the Nutmeg and had a few more rum punches! Then we found the bus again and returned to the Coyaba and back to the beach for a late-afternoon swim. It had cooled off by then and was delightful.
Since it was our last night of vacation, we all decided to do something different for dinner and went with Peter and Joyce to the Brown Sugar Restaurant. Someone had been on the beach that afternoon handing out fliers about it and they offered free transportation. I made a reservation and they picked us up at the Coyaba. It was one of the most fabulous dinners we’ve ever eaten! Jim and I had lobster dishes, cooked differently, but for both the meat had been removed from the shell and was really delicious. It was a full-course dinner and we had ice cream for dessert, nutmeg and coconut, a perfect ending for a perfect day.
The trip home was even longer than the one down. A taxi picked us up at 5:30 a.m. and we were at the airport before the doors were unlocked. After a short wait, a very pleasant and efficient young woman checked us in and directed us to the window where we could pay our departure tax (as we recall, about $37 for both). We then went to one of the “cafeterias” but the selection was quite grim. We both had a small can of juice, Jim had some brown liquid they called coffee that was truly horrible, and we shared a package of “biscuits” which turned out to be a shortbread cookie, not too sweet, and just fine. We were not very hungry but after all the delicious cooked breakfasts we’d had, it was depressing. I wandered around the shops in the departure lounge while Jim waited and finally we boarded and left on time at 8:10 a.m. We arrived in Miami about 11:50 and spent the entire day wandering around the airport, eating and talking to people. Jim was still feeling the effects of the intense heat and we were both very tired so we decided not to go anywhere. We bought a wheeled cart to replace the one we’d left on the ship. Finally we took off at 7:35 and we both promptly fell sound asleep and slept through the entire flight. Our pickup van was waiting for us and we arrived home, happy as always to find our house still standing. Another excellent adventure had come to an end.