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GRENADA      INFO & DIARY  1

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 GENERAL INFO (Jump to Diary)
Grenada consists of the island of Grenada itself plus the smaller islands: Petite Martinique, Ronde Island, Caille Island, Diamond Island, Large Island, Saline Island, and Frigate Island, which lie to the north of the main island. It covers 348,5 km2 and have around 110.000 inhabitants of which 80% are African, 10% Mixed, 5% Indian and .5% Other. 89% are Christians, 1%  Rastafarian.
Christopher Columbus sighted Grenada in 1498 during his third voyage to the Americas. Although it was deemed the property of the King of Spain, there are no records to suggest the Spanish ever landed or settled on the island. Following several unsuccessful attempts by Europeans to colonise the island due to resistance from the Island Caribs, French settlement and colonisation began in 1650 and continued for the next century. In 1763, Grenada was ceded to the British.  British rule continued, except for a period of French rule between 1779 and 1783, until 1974.On 3 March 1967, Grenada was granted full autonomy over its internal affairs as an Associated State, and it gained its independence on 7 February 1974.
The islands are of volcanic origin with extremely rich soil. Grenada's interior is very mountainous with Mount St. Catherine being the highest at 840 metres. The climate is tropical: hot and humid in the rainy season and cooled by the trade winds in the dry season.
That create a rich flora and fauna, although humans have driven some species to extinction. On the other hand, many invasive animals have been introduced like mongoose, monkeys, donkeys, cane toads and rats.
Among the more interesting mammals are the Nine-banded armadillo; Dasypus novemcinctus, Robinson's mouse opossum; Marmosa robinsoni along with ten species of bats. Here are three species of amphibians, the Red-footed tortoise; Geochelone carbonaria, the Turnip-tailed gecko; Thecadactylus rapicauda, Bronze anole; Anolis aeneus, Grenada tree anole; Anolis richardii, Green Iguana; Iguana iguana, Giant ameiva; Ameiva ameiva, LaGuaira Bachia; Bachia heteropa, a skink; Mabuya mabouya and six snakes. The avifauna of Grenada include a total of 177 species, and the surounding sea is teaming with life.

DIARY
13/4 2019. I arrival from Saint Vincent at nine in the evening, and my car rental office is closed. US$25 for a taxi to my hotel, but at least the driver know the place - and it is exactly where I thought is should be, for once. I have finished most work in the airports, and just have to finish the programming of the GPS.

14. It rains through the night, and only stop around eight. I walk down-town to the bus station, and it is truly DOWN! I catch the almost-airport bus, and zigzag out of town, and around the huge harbour.
I'm the last passenger, and I think he terminates a bit early: I have to walk almost three kilometres. When I get to the airport, the office is still closed, but the girl next-door make a call. Eventually, I get a Toyota Raw4 and a new driving license.

I do a little loop around the back of the airport, and see some yellow hills along the coast. Then I head around the corner to a beach; Morne Rouge Bay, which should be nice. And it sure is! I do a tour around it in the hills, then a stroll along the water. I sneak in on a crab, but besides from the great view, I don't find anything else.

The next beach is almost as pretty, and I passes it without stopping. Some of the homes in this area are really posh, others are made from scrap. It is truly a weird mix, and I guess the big new ones will win. They tend to close the beaches for others with big fences and guards, and that is sad for the mortals.

On the other side of Saint George, I find two French fortresses; Fort Fredric and Fort Matthew - renamed by the English, I guess. They are falling apart, and not really old enough to be that interesting. But I find some lizards; Ameiva ameiva here, although they are way too fast and shy for photos. I have some more success with a Tree Anolis; Anolis richardii.

Under the ruins are some tunnels, actually; a lot of tunnels. They have made it fare better through time, and smell like they are appreciated by the rats, although it could be bats?
It seems like Fort Fredric is older, or just more robust. From here, there are a great view down to Saint George port and city. Outside, I find the biggest bulb-plants I ever seen, and it could be Crinum asiaticum. Fort Fredric and Fort Matthew

From here, I head up the eastern coast, although quite inland most of the time. Here are a lot of settlement, but a lot of green areas too. I am aiming for La Sagesse Nature Centre, and end out at a nice beach. Just before I reach it, I pass a cricket match and a Chinese factory.

I fail to find the office, but it might be within the nice looking restaurant. I just make a stroll along the beach, and a bit into the mangrove. I fail to find any trails, but I might have to return one of the days.
I head further up along the eastern coast - but way too long in. I find some small trails, but only a few actually lead all the way down to the water. In this area, the homes are not big, nor fancy, but the people real friendly.

On one of my desperate attempts to reach the water, I cross an old stone bridge over a small river. It is only a few I have seen in the entire Caribbean. I make it out on a large meadow, next to the water. The beach is covered in seaweed, and that seems to be common along the eastern coast today.

The houses and huts are getting scares, the great nature sights plentiful. I stop at another little fishing village, and they sure have got their share of the dead seaweed. I do a little tour along the coast, and back along the village. Some of the huts are real small.

I end up around Grenville, but the sun have gone for the day, it seems, and I turn homewards. It is through the low central mountains, and they are beautiful. Despite it is only just passed four, the light is fading, and I have to come back to make some better photos of this area, which holds so much forest on steep hills. Some areas are dominated by giant bamboo.

I find a open supermarket, and stock food enough for the Easter - I hope. At home, I get a fantastic sunset from the porch, although it is quite short around here. Morne Rouge Bay, Fort Fredric and Fort Matthew, Eastern Coast

15. It is a sunny morning, and I head into the central mountain rich part. I passes yesterday afternoon, and it is still a fantastic area. Dense forest covered small mountains, scattered houses and a winding road. I pass a 582 metre mark, and guess this is the pass. Not much of a view, but I have had my share on the way.

On the other side, the Grand Etang National Park is found, with its 35 kilometres of trails. It has been raining here the last days, and even this night, and I'm warned: The trails might be slippery. And they sure are! It feel like walking on butter with oil on.

I had planed to take the three hour Qua Qua trail, and I start on it. First, it passes Grand Etang Lake, a large crater lake. It is not as drastic as I had hoped. I head on, and the trail leads up and down some real steep mountainsides. The soil is clay, covered in dead leaves.

I struggle for a hour, but I spend most time, figuring where to set my feet, not enjoying the nature. I turn around, and give Bonjour Lookout a try. It is partly blown apart, partly rotted away, but it do offer a great view over the lake and all the way out to the coast over the green mountains.

I don't hear many birds, and hardly see any Anolis, but I find a quite little slug. At the parking lot, I meet a mongoose that is not afraid. I think it is because it is use to being fed. While I wash my feet, a local woman is really scared by it. I tell her; nothing to worry about - and then I see it chase another young woman. I send it away, stamping my flip-flops. Then a guy turns up, and explain; They have rabies, and are quite aggressive. Bummer!

I head on, and before long, I reach Seven Sisters Waterfalls. It is a far better trail, deep into the rainforest. It follow the river the last part, and here are real pretty. The lower two falls are a real joy, and I get way too many photos. I have no idea how the upper five are, and I don't have to look long at the trail to find out I can't be bothered.

I pickup to young American volunteers on the way out, and they are heading for yet another set of falls, on my way. We find Mount Carmel Waterfalls, near the town of Tivoli. They are quite different, located in a way dryer forest. The first is just sloping down a rockwall, while the other is sprinkling down over quite some distance.

While the young people have a dip, I try to get pictures of the falls and the numerous loricariidaes, found in the stream. Some are greyish, some striped and some orange. Then we drive up to Grenville, the "agriculture hub" of Grenada. I drop them of, and do a loop in town - that is enough.

I aim for the crater lake of Lake Antoine. It is along the partial coastal road, and I stop every time the road meet the sea. Here are quite some seaweed too - and that is the most interesting I find!
Lake Antoine is surrounded by farmed hillsides. Here are cane, bananas and mango. I don't think here are a soul, but in a little sheet, two guys are partly sleeping. They are the security officers of the area. They don't see people every week!

I start walking around the lake. First on the road, connecting the fields with crop. Then a but closer to the lake in the rather dry forest, and at last; just along the  - dense greenery along the shore. A few cows are tied up here, and there are some banana fields. The road end blind.

I don't feel like walking back, and accordingly to my GPS, I am only 200 metres away from the car, straight away from the lake. But it is a steep hillside. I start walking through the dry bushes, entangled in spiny lianas. Pretty soon, I have to hold a branch, not to slide down the gravel and dried leaves. Sometimes, I have to re-route, as there are no non-spiny things to grab on to.

Dripping of sweet, I reach the road, just where my car stands. I think the most interesting thing I saw was the encasing of a huge snail. Bigger than a hens egg, looking like a roman snail, but way more pointy. It reminded me of some Congo Snails I once had, and it do seems to have invaded Grenada.

When I'm here, I might as well find out what Welcome Rock is. It is on a tall and very steep mountain peak, and a big boulder. The views all around are great. I do a part of a coastal trail, and find a large centipede.

It is getting late, and I have seen my share of waterfalls, crater lakes and green hills for one day. It is pretty much the familiar road home, but I still enjoy it. As it is Easter, many of the more or less occult churches are active. One have a preacher, sounding like a demon, others play gospel of calypso.
I am home alone, as my host is away for the newt week. Grand Etang NP, Seven Sisters WF, Mount Carmel WF, Lake Antoine and Welcome Rock
                                        It is time to open for Diary 2

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