Spice Up Your Life in Grenada
Although Christopher Columbus dubbed the southernmost of the
Windward Islands Concepcion during his 1498 trip to the New
World, the name didn't stick. Mist-shrouded green peaks of the
main island so reminded Spanish sailors of their homeland that
they called it Grenada. The island chain, which includes Petit
Martinique and Carriacou, is mountainous, with lush rain forests
capping the nearly arid conditions at sea level. This varied terrain
so near the equator is ideal for growing spices, and nutmeg,
mace, saffron and cloves are among the islands' exports. What
they can't export is the friendliness. Their courtesy was
demonstrated when the Bianca C sank in St. George's harbor.
When the boiler explosion on the "Titanic of the Caribbean"
shook islanders awake early on Oct. 12, 1961, they rushed to sea
and managed to rescue everyone except two crewmen who died
in the blast. They took the 670 passengers into their homes, and
clothed and fed them until another liner could pick them up
several weeks later. The approach to Carriacou passes Sand
Island, which is familiar to anyone who's seen ads for premium
products with an idyllic line of palm trees on a sandy beach as
the background. Beauty continues beneath the waves. Huge sea
fans with nary a fin-kick wave gracefully in divers' wakes.
Topside and underwater temperatures are in the low-80s F, and
the horizontal visibility can exceed 60 feet. Electricity is 220 volts
at 50 cycles, so don't expect U.S. electric alarm clocks to wake
you up on time. And don't necessarily expect to wake up at all if
you sample too much "jack iron" homebrewed rum. A much
safer gamble is the nation's only legal one -- betting on crab races.