Sunday, July 13, 2008

Day 12 (Wednesday)

Unable to sleep well, I woke earlier than normal on our last day on Carriacou. It was sufficiently early to enjoy watching the sunrise over the hills above Hillsborough. The sun was briefly interrupted by a rain shower, only to return brighter and stronger to warm the day. The family got moving a little later and after getting cleaned-up, we were able to pack the last of the bags.

After resting for just a few minutes, it was soon 10:00 a.m. and Philip had his bus, “Patience”, parked outside the door waiting to take us to the airport. On our way, we returned the rental jeep to Barba’s and said goodbye to some of our friends in L’Esterre. Arriving at the airport, we were happy to see that the SVG charter had already arrived and was waiting for us. After working our way through the departure process, it was 11:00 a.m. and time for us to leave Carriacou for Barbados. It was a great day for flying, with clear skies and calm winds. After take-off, we had a great aerial view of Windward and the east side of Carriacou, as well as Petite Martinique, Petite Saint Vincent, Union Island and many of the minor Grenadine cays.

The SVG charter landed in Barbados at 12:00 p.m. with the ground crew waiting to assist us. They promptly carried our baggage through customs and to the American Airlines ticket counter so that we could check in for our next flight. By 1:00 p.m. we were through customs and security, and inside the comfortable Barbados departure terminal. The international airport at Bridgetown has undergone an extensive renovation over the last several years. We believe that it is one of the best airports in the Caribbean at this time. It is well designed and conveniently arranged. The terminal includes a lot of dining and shopping options, and it is very comfortable for the weary traveler. Oh yes, Cable & Wireless provides free WiFi throughout the airport too!

The American Airlines flight left Barbados just before 3:00 p.m. and landed in Miami about three and one-half hours later. The most stressful part of the trip back to the States is being part of the throng of international travelers who need to be processed by immigration. Miami in particular has a lot of international arrivals; mostly from South American countries, but also quite a few Caribbean locations. The queues are usually long and the wait can try your patience. I am always grateful to still be rather relaxed from our holiday when reaching this point, because I’d really be stressed if this process was at the beginning of our trip.

Dining at the Miami airport was a reminder that we were not in Carriacou any longer. The modest sandwich for EC$25 and the EC$10 soda didn’t taste as good, nor was it as economical as a fresh meal from the Lazy Turtle in Tyrrel Bay. The view was not nearly as good either.

The time between our flights in Miami was almost entirely consumed by the immigration process, so our wait for the last leg of our trip was rather short. By 9:30 p.m., we had boarded our plane and we were on our way to Washington, DC. Thunderstorms earlier in the day had passed by and left just a few clouds for the two and one-half hour flight up the East Coast of the United States. When we landed at Reagan National Airport at 12:00 a.m., the terminal was nearly empty and we were able to collect our bags and make our way home in short order. Our holiday was officially over, but the fond memories of our return to Carriacou would last forever.

Day 11 (Tuesday)

The entire island of Carriacou was very quiet on election day. The music had stopped; the speeches were done; there were no more campaign messages being broadcast from loudspeakers attached to roaming vehicles. Many of the local businesses were closed or had shortened their hours to accommodate the voters. It was strange in a way, as we had gotten accustomed to hearing so much about the election during the previous ten days we had been on the island.

The morning temperatures promised another hot day. There was a gentle breeze to help keep everyone cool. The weather for our holiday was so much better than it was for our last visit to Carriacou, when it was much more windy and rainy. That is part of the crap-shoot of visiting the Caribbean in mid-summer. It is the end of the dry season and the start of the rainy season. You just don’t know for certain which of the seasons you will experience during the time that you are there. We do know that we prefer the low-season when there are fewer tourists. The more peaceful setting in the islands is worth the potential risk of experiencing less favorable weather.

Since this was the day before we were scheduled to leave, we had already planned to spend some time gathering our belongings, sorting through it all, and packing our bags for the trip back to the States. However, we were still on holiday, so we made certain that we spent some time playing in the water and visiting friends. Godfrey Calliste and his son Adrian stopped by. The brought with them a new broadband modem from Cable & Wireless for installation at the villa. Between the three of us, we had the modem and all of the phones connected and working in short order. It’s somewhat amazing to be on a small island in the middle of the Caribbean Sea, surfing the web at 100 Mbps.

Godfrey and Adrian proudly showed us their ink stained fingers. As part of the voting process, each person had to dip the tip of a finger into a well of ink to ‘mark them’ as having had voted and to avoid any malicious attempts to vote more than once. Many of the local residents we saw that day were quite proud to display the ink stain and the fact that they had voted. The word in the villages was that voter turn-out was very strong, and everyone was anxious to hear the results.

With most of our bags packed, the family got cleaned-up and traveled to Tyrrel Bay for an early evening visit with Mike and Nan Hatch on their boat, the Cynara. Mike and Nan invited us to join them for beverages and snacks. It was a perfect evening to be on Tyrrel Bay as the wind was very light, the sky had only a few clouds and temperatures were quite comfortable. While Anthony threw treats to the seagulls, Courtney enjoyed the view from the fore deck and the adults lounged in the cabin. Mike and Nan have a lifetime of experience sailing the Windward Islands. With family in Trinidad and Barbados, and their villa on Carriacou, they have sailed the passages between these locations dozens of times. As you might suspect, such experience has given them many interesting stories of their adventures. Nan is also quite the amateur poet, and we all enjoyed hearing her recite some of her favorite pieces. It was a wonderful evening spent with some of our best friends.

Our evening was unexpectedly disrupted with the sound of fireworks and possibly gunshots (which was alarming since firearms are illegal in Grenada). Initially, we were not certain what the occasion was, and then we recalled that it was election day! Marine radio traffic soon confirmed that the election’s preliminary results were beginning to come in, and at least some of the people felt confident enough to celebrate the news. There were reports of fireworks and gunshots from several locations around Carriacou and Petite Martinique.

Once we said our goodbyes to Mike and Nan, we departed the Cynara and returned to the villa. We turned on the radio to learn more about the election results. About that time, more fireworks could be heard and a parade of vehicles sounding their horns made their way about the island. The NDC had won the majority of seats and the party’s supporters could be heard chanting “Yellow! Yellow! Yellow!”, signifying the official color of the NDC campaign. Fortunately, the NNP supporters were gracious in their loss and we did not hear any reports of violence or trouble on Carriacou.

As the election day came to a close, the island again grew quiet and we enjoyed the last night of our holiday by viewing a clear and beautiful starlit sky. The children spotted the Southern Cross, Big Dipper and Northern Star amongst other constellations in the sky. We will certainly miss having such a sight overhead once we return to the States.

Day 10 (Monday)

It was hot and humid early this morning, a preview of what the weather was going to be like later-on this day. With daily high temperatures about 90 degrees and the ever-present humidity, you would think that the local climate would be uncomfortable. However, we find that the ocean breeze helps to keep everyone relatively cool. In our part of the States, this kind of weather drives everyone indoors to seek the comfort provided by modern air conditioning. On Carriacou, we simply open all of the doors and windows to let the ocean breeze carry throughout the villa.

The lack of nagging insects in the Caribbean always amazes us. Yes, you can always find mosquitoes if you wander through the mangroves; ants, beetles and roaches roam the undergrowth; and there are periods during the year when certain flies hatch to swarm for a few days. However, we could never dream of completely opening our home’s doors and windows back in the States. We prefer to use bed netting while in Carriacou, but we have had few experiences where it was absolutely necessary.

By late morning, everyone had finished their breakfast and was ready to get going. We decided to run to Hillsborough for one last trip for provisions before our holiday came to an end. As was our custom, we began our day trek with a stop at Henrietta’s Bakery in L’Esterre for a cool drink and some fresh baked goods, including a few treats to eat along the way. Once in town, we made a quick stop at the Shell gasoline station to top-off the fuel in the rental jeep and then to Kim’s Plaza for some basic provisions. After ten days of being in the area, our family had become familiar to some people in Hillsborough, and we were often greeted with genuine warmth and friendship. This is one of the reasons we like Carriacou so much. On many other Caribbean islands that we have visited, we have often felt like intruders who were only tolerated because we had money to spend. It is so much different here.

Being election day eve, the campaigns were in full force. Every utility pole held a sign or banner, vehicles of all types displayed posters supporting candidates and even the road surface was sporadically painted with campaign slogans and messages. The local radio stations continued to include campaign speeches and commentary, but we were glad to hear them also provide detailed instructions on where and how residents could cast their ballots. To simplify the voting process, the political parties had adopted symbols for representation. The National Democratic Congress (“NDC”) uses a heart shape, while the New National Party (“NNP”) uses a house shape. The ballots would include these symbols, so even those people who could not read would be able to identify which party they were voting for.

Upon returning to the villa, we enjoyed a leisurely lunch and conversation about the highlights of our holiday. The mid-day heat was bearing on us, which made the kids appreciate the convenience of the swimming pool. Our son, Anthony, greatly improved his swimming skills on this trip. He became much more confident in the water and joined his sister as a literal fish. Both of them are adept with the snorkel and mask and are able to dive to moderate depths in the ocean without weights or other assistance.

We watched with interest as the local fishermen returned to Paradise Beach from their morning’s work. We grabbed our snorkel gear and ventured down to the beach to investigate. Many of the fishermen we observed used a simple fishing line rig, although the majority of the fish appeared to be caught with large, gathering nets operated by a group of men using two or more boats. The nets are rather indiscriminate to what they catch, but apparently the fishermen must place them skillfully, as the number of non-target fish caught seems to be minimal. Entire families joined-in on processing the day’s catch. While the men cleaned and organized their boats and fishing equipment with the ‘help’ of the children, the women began sorting and cleaning the fish. It all looked to be very efficient.

Snorkeling conditions were marginal, as a light wind helped to stir-up the sandy bottom of the bay. We were able to observe several starfish, including a few that were easily more than 12 inches in diameter. The real joy of snorkeling on this day was to enjoy the cool waters. There were quite a few local residents at the beach on this day to escape the heat. We were amused to watch some of the local dogs who also joined in the fun for a romp in the surf. Apparently, they like to play in the cool ocean too!

As evening approached, the final election campaign rallies kicked-off. Both parties seemed to have saved the best for last, as large gatherings featuring enthusiastic speeches and live bands broadcasting through powerful amplifiers competed for the resident’s attention. From our vantage point on the hillside, we could hear much of it, although it was difficult to make out the details of the speeches. Election day could prove to be interesting from our independent view.

Laura and I played a couple of games of Scrabble while the children watched a movie on the notebook computer. Once the lights were out, we enjoyed a magnificent view of the night sky. I experimented a bit with the camera, trying to capture a photo of the stars. However, any picture that I could take would not do justice to the immense beauty. Standing on the veranda enjoying the view, we also noticed the sounds of the waves breaking on the beach and the clean ocean smell of the island. If there were only a way to capture these experiences to take them all home with us.

Day 9 (Sunday)

After more than a week of active days, the whole family was a bit wore out and we decided to enjoy this Sunday as a day of rest. I spent my usual early morning admiring the scene from the veranda. I found the WiFi signal from Hotel Laurena to check email and the news. I though it was important to catch-up on the current path of Hurricane Bertha. Although it was a bit early to tell with certainty, it looked like the storm was setting a course directly for Bermuda and would not affect our travel back to the States. Laura and I talked about the impact the storm could have on an island like Bermuda, and said a prayer that the people living there would be spared from any serious trouble.

Mike Hatch phoned and he mentioned that he and his son, Paul, would be sailing the Cynara to the Paradise Beach bay to work on moorings they had placed near the villa several years ago. By mid-morning, the wind had picked up a bit and there was a small chop to the water. We watched the men for a while and were impressed at how well they were able to work off the boat deck, the dinghy and in the water as the small waves kept everything inconveniently in-motion.

With election day quickly approaching, the local radio stations were broadcasting little except for campaign speeches and commentary. Since the three-island nation of Grenada is not densely populated (~100,000 people), the two political parties seem to often pit brother against brother. We were not surprised to learn that the two opposing representatives from Carriacou were, in fact, cousins. However, one must remember that just about everyone on the small island of Carriacou can probably rightfully claim to be related!

Being the weekend, the only noise to break the silence this morning was the distant sound of crowing roosters and barking dogs. Our children have always been quick to spot the various dogs and cats living on Carriacou. On our last visit they were introduced to a dog named ‘Shadow’. Shadow looked like just about every other dog on Carriacou and it was difficult to tell him apart from the others. Most of the dogs we have seen are a mongrel mix, mid-sized (18 to 24 inches at the shoulder), short-haired and tan in color. There are exceptions, but this description seems to fit most of the dogs on the island. The joke amongst our family was to name every other dog we spotted some form of the name Shadow, since they were all obviously related. We even resorted to numbering them; Shadow Number 236, Shadow Number 237, etc.

Fortunately, the slight wind and waves did not affect the sunshine, and the family enjoyed an afternoon and evening of pure relaxation. Cool beverages, a wonderful dinner of leftovers from the Roundhouse Restaurant and fun and games with the children, all placed in an idyllic Caribbean setting; we could not ask for anything more.

Day 8 (Saturday)

The late Friday night resulted in the rest of the family sleeping-in on this morning. I still woke early as usual and enjoyed some quiet time alone on the veranda working on this blog and getting our digital photos in order. The children had made several creative videos with their cameras the day before, so I had some fun viewing them for the first time too.

The weather early this morning was delightful. The air was quite calm and the water as far as you could see was smooth as glass. It was almost eerie to see the ocean so quiet. By 8:00 a.m., a slight breeze had picked-up and provided some reassuring ripples in the bay.

Everyone finally crawled from their beds and got around to getting their day started. Late in the morning, we had a visit from Mike Hatch, Paul’s father and co-owner of the Las Tortugas Villa. Mike and his wife Nan had arrived in Carriacou the day before, sailing from their home in Trinidad aboard their beautiful 41 foot yacht, the Cynara. Although Mike and Nan make their home in Trinidad, they spend a significant amount of time living on Carriacou and sailing about on the Cynara. They have done this for many years and have established themselves as relatively well known local residents. The Hatch family has become great friends of ours, and it was great to see Mike and Nan again. Mike invited us to Tyrrel Bay that evening to join the crowd in greeting the tournament competitors as they returned from the first day of the bill fishing contest.

Our friend Godfrey Calliste also stopped by to visit, and Laura invited him to stay and have lunch with us. We enjoyed a light meal and solved all of the world’s problems during a lively discussion. Spending any amount of time talking to the native residents of Carriacou gives you a very unique perspective on the island and its culture. In some ways it is very different from our life back in the States and in other ways we are quite similar and share many things in common. We have always tried to make friends with local residents wherever we have traveled. The residents of Carriacou in particular, have always been very interested and open to meeting us.

By early evening, we had all cleaned-up and made our way to Tyrrel Bay. The bill fishing competition was sponsored by the families who are constructing the new marina in Tyrrel Bay. The project has come a long way with a significant, 40 foot deep, channel dredged through the bay up to the new concrete jetty. We understand that the next big task associated with the project is a new breakwater / seawall to quiet the waters near the marina. Even on this relatively calm day, we could see that a breakwater was necessary as the large boats moved around quite a bit while being so close to the concrete walls. Rough seas could really cause some expensive damage to these ships.

While at the marina, we met many people, some local residents, some ex-patriots and some visitors who had all gathered to celebrate the first day of the tournament. The dozen or so boats ranged in size and style. Some were dedicated fishing machines, while others were simply magnificent multifunction ships. There were no trophy or record catches on this day, but stories of some good-sized fish (well over 100 pounds) that were caught, weighed, photographed and then released. A few smaller, common fish were kept for a cook-out for all who had assembled. A wonderful Dorado was the featured catch. While the designated cooks were busy preparing the meal, we said our good-byes. We had already made plans to eat out that evening and needed to get moving along.

Before our dinner at the Roundhouse Restaurant in Bogles, we needed to stop by the ATM in Hillsborough. This was not to be an easy task on this evening! The streets of Hillsborough are normally full of life on weekend nights, but with the election just a few days away, the island was also alive with enthusiastic campaigners. We had some difficulty finding a parking spot along the main street anywhere close to the ATM, and when we finally did, we were confronted by some opposition party supporters who had obviously begun their weekend celebrations quite a bit earlier in the day. It was the first time that I had ever felt any discomfort interacting with a local resident, which is unfortunate, but I suppose inevitable. After a lengthy conversation with the inebriated young man, we decided that this particular parking spot was not for us and drove around to find a better location on an adjacent side street. Once the ATM transaction was complete we were off to Bogles.

One has to be careful navigating to the Roundhouse Restaurant in the evening, as the gated entrance can be easily missed along the dark and winding roads. Laura absolutely loves everything about the Roundhouse, from its creative architecture, landscaping and interior design, to the refreshing drinks and prompt service provided by Phil, to the wonderful menu of delicious food expertly prepared by Roxanne. This night’s dining experience was no exception as everything was perfect. Even after stuffing ourselves, we were left with enough food to bring back to our villa for another meal. Laura had a tasty tomato soup appetizer, then her and Anthony both had a generous cut of beef sirloin for their entree. Courtney also had the tomato soup, but a beautifully prepared mahi mahi filet for her main course. I started off with a fresh tomato and avocado salad and then feasted on an expertly-prepared rack of lamb. The children had Roxi’s hand-made ice cream for dessert, while Laura was treated to banoffi pie (a concoction of banana custard, toffee and more) and I had a chocolate roulade. The three course meal, including beverages, was about EC$150 each, and well worth it!

Once back at the villa, I continued some work on a jigsaw puzzle started the evening before while Laura and the children watched a movie that we had on the notebook computer (Apple’s iTunes Store has really changed our travel entertainment options). I also spent some more time this evening stargazing from the veranda. With only a few days left of our return visit to Carriacou, I wanted to take-in as much of this view as possible.

Day 7 (Friday)

It was another wonderful morning to enjoy the sunrise from the veranda. I felt ambitious this morning, so I took to the swimming pool and swam several laps to start my day off right. After the entire family was ready to go, we took off to run a few errands and see some sights.

Our first stop was at Henrietta’s Bakery. Yes, we stopped here often! Today it was to buy a few snacks and cold drinks to satisfy our late morning hunger. I really like to drink Lemon Lime & Bitters made by Angostura (about EC$3 for 333 ml). It is a very refreshing beverage, especially when ice cold. The children enjoy the several types of carbonated fruit juices, something that we have not seen for sale in our area of the States.

Once in Hillsborough, we stopped by Kim’s Plaza for a few provisions. With the end of our stay in sight, we were trying to plan our meals to leave with no left-overs or waste. Today’s purchase was mainly for milk and some pasta.

The news in Hillsborough this morning was that someone had purchased the old Lime Plantation near Bogles. The property had been for sale for some time, with several acres that include about one-quarter mile of ocean frontage and a high-capacity fresh water well. The listed price for the property was at US$6 million; unfortunately, a bit high for our budget. Laura and I would often daydream about owning the land and preserving it as a way to maintain a historical part of this island from being developed. Not knowing who has purchased the land made us wonder what we will see happen to it. I know that I cringe at the thought of a resort hotel being located here.

After retuning plates and bowls from our take away dinner from the Green Roof Inn, we meandered up the hillside to visit the Carriacou Hospital. We believe that this is one stop that every visitor to the island should try to make. From this vantage point, one can see virtually around the island, with a map-like perspective of the streets of Hillsborough and a great view of Grenada in the distance and all of the small islands in between. The hospital grounds include two authentic large cannons positioned in a manner to fein protection of the Hillsborough harbor. In reality, the cannons were never actually used from this location, but were brought to this vantage point for the benefit of the tourists. They do provide a great photo opportunity and the kids loved them.

From the hospital, we ventured south along the ridges to Top Hill, and the location of the Cable & Wireless relay station. The view along the way was spectacular, with a particularly clear vantage of Petite Martinique, Petite Saint Vincent and Carriacou’s eastern coastline. Once again we noticed the large number of new homes that had been built since our last visit, or those currently under construction. Satisfied with our adventure, we traveled back to Hillsborough and then south to L’Esterre.

The afternoon winds were relatively calm, and while enjoying a hillside view of the bay off Paradise Beach, we noticed that we could see some larger fish near the surface, schools of baitfish moving to and fro and appearing as a large ‘cloud’ in the water, and even some rays as they patrolled the coastline. What a view! Intrigued by the sight of the marine life, we all grabbed our snorkel gear and hit the water at the south end of Paradise Beach where there is less grass and a little bit of coral. This area is chock full of different varieties of sea urchins, starfish and an occasional conch. The coral has not yet become well established since being cleared-out by the storm surge from Hurricane Lenny, but there is enough to attract a few interesting fish. Laura worked the grass-line in hopes of spotting a turtle, but no luck this time either. She has decided that she is a turtle jinx, and regardless of her love for the animal, she may just never see one in the ocean. Worn-out from the sun and fun, we slowly made our way back to the villa for a late afternoon rest.

We were startled when greeted by a visitor outside the door. It was our friend, Paul Hatch, one of the owners of the villa. Paul happened to be visiting Carriacou from his home in Trinidad and stopped by to say hello. He had come up to the island a day earlier by boat with a friend to take part in a weekend bill fishing competition. That explained the number of large power boats in Tyrrel Bay! We enjoyed a good visit with Paul and wished him well in the contest when he left for the tournament rules briefing.

As evening came, we were greeted to beautifully clear skies that displayed nearly every star imaginable in the night sky. The children were only slightly interested, but my wife and I were caught breathless. I remember seeing skies like this forty years ago when I was quite young and living on a rural farm in Indiana. However, it had been a very long time since I had been in a location with such little light pollution that you could see so many stars with the naked eye. It was certainly awe inspiring.

Our eyes were not alone in receiving a treat as the Friday night parties entertained us with the happy sounds of the Caribbean. The clear tones of steel drums and the get-up-and-dance rhythms from many of our favorite reggae tunes filled the air. The nearby “Off The Hook” beachside club provided us with a concert that lasted well past midnight.

Day 6 (Thursday)

I again woke early and spent some quiet time on the veranda. At 7:00 a.m., there was already boat traffic in and out of Hillsborough and the local beaches. I gathered the digital camera memory cards and off-loaded them to the computer hard drive to free-up space for more photos. Digital photography gives us the freedom to snap away and not worry about film or developing expense, which has greatly improved my creative photography. I am much more likely to experiment with lens and lighting settings, as there is no real incremental costs for consumables. On this morning, I wound up deleting a couple dozen of my ‘creative’ mistakes.

The aroma from a fresh pot of coffee got Laura out of bed, and she treated the family to a big breakfast of ham and eggs, toast with nutmeg jelly, and juice. The weather looked questionable, and while we ate, we discussed our plans for this day. I was leaning toward a hike to Anse La Roche, but Laura and the kids all said that they had a bit too much sun the previous day and would prefer a quiet and restful day at the villa. These plans turned out to be perfect as a pattern of rain showers treated the island to a good watering all day long. A few of the showers were accompanied by some pretty strong winds, creating conditions that made me glad we had not trekked down a muddy trail to Anse La Roche!

While browsing the Internet to catch-up with all of the news happening in the rest of the world, we noted that Hurricane Bertha had formed off the coast of Africa. The strength and direction of the storm was still uncertain, but we knew we would need to monitor it in the event that its path across the ocean would affect our travel plans back to the States.

During a break in the weather early in the afternoon, Laura and Courtney decided to stroll along Paradise Beach. As they were returning to the villa a rather heavy rain shower hit the area. The two ran back to the villa trying to avoid the rain, but still wound-up getting drenched. We shared a laugh at their predicament.

The evening quickly arrived and we prepared for a small dinner party that we had planned with a local couple and their children. We phoned the Lazy Turtle Pizzeria located adjacent to Lumba Dive in Tyrrel Bay, and ordered four large pizzas for take-away; two plain cheese (EC$24 each) and two with pepperoni (EC$32 each). On the way to the Lazy Turtle, I noticed a good crowd had already assembled at the Lambi Queen to enjoy their favorite beverage. There also appeared to be a few more large and impressive motor yachts in Tyrrel Bay than what we had seen earlier in the week. I got to the Lazy Turtle a little early and enjoyed the use of their free WiFi while waiting for the pizzas to be prepared. They were soon done and I was on my way back to L’Esterre.

We had a great evening visiting with our friends from Carriacou, sharing lively conversation while enjoying the wonderful pizza from the Lazy Turtle. I can’t figure out if it is the pizza ingredients or the fact that we were eating it on a Caribbean island, but my wife and I think that the Lazy Turtle makes some of the best pizza that we have ever eaten.

We wrapped-up the evening by presenting our guests with gifts that we had brought with us from the States. There are many wonderful people on Carriacou, and we have made good friends with a few of them. The gifts were simply a way to share our own good fortune. Their school-aged children were thrilled to receive a notebook computer that we no longer needed. With a fresh installation of Windows XP, anti-virus and firewall software, productivity applications from OpenOffice and the FireFox web browser, the children should have something useful to assist them with their school work and entertainment. We also gave the parents a few sets of new kitchen and bathroom towels. Everyone was sincerely gracious and thankful, and we felt fortunate to share time with such good friends.

The children on Carriacou have such a bright future. The island is known to be one of the more literate in the Grenadines, and it shows through the solid academic performance by many of the children. Although some of the people leave the island to seek their fortune in the UK or the States, others make a point of developing a career that gives something back to Carriacou. That is very encouraging to see.